VIDEO May I? Asking for the Old Paths

This is what the Lord says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.” Jeremiah 6:16, NIV

Our society is at a crossroads and we should ask God for the ancient paths.

What are the ancient paths? Not the 1950s. Not the era of the Founding Fathers or when the West seemed more established on Judeo-Christian principles. Jeremiah wasn’t talking about the good old days.

The Bible uses the word ancient to describe things that are truly old, that go back to creation and before. Psalm 119:52 refers to Scripture as God’s “ancient laws” (NIV). God is described as “ancient,” a word indicating eternality. Before the mountains were born or the world was made, He is God. In Isaiah, He said, “From ancient days I am he” (43:13, NIV). In Daniel, He is called the “Ancient of Days” (7:9).

Our world offers lots of new paths, but the Bible tells us to stick to the old ones—to the paths and choices outlined by our Creator in His Word. Only there will we find rest for our souls.

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference. Robert Frost


The Old Paths, Jeremiah 6:16 – Pastor Chuck Smith – Topical Bible Study

 

Do Whatever

For without him, who can eat or find enjoyment?  Ecclesiastes 2:25

In a recent film, a self-proclaimed “genius” rants to the camera about the world’s “horror, corruption, ignorance, and poverty,” declaring life to be godless and absurd. While such thinking isn’t unusual in many modern film scripts, what’s interesting is where it leads. In the end, the lead character turns to the audience and implores us to do whatever it takes to find a little happiness. For him, this includes leaving traditional morality behind.

But will “do whatever” work? Facing his own despair at life’s horrors, the Old Testament writer of Ecclesiastes gave it a try long ago, searching for happiness through pleasure (Ecclesiastes 2:1, 10), grand work projects (vv. 4–6), riches (vv. 7–9), and philosophical inquiry (vv. 12–16). And his assessment? “All of it is meaningless, a chasing after the wind” (v. 17). None of these things is immune to death, disaster, or injustice (5:13–17).

Only one thing brings the writer of Ecclesiastes back from despair. Despite life’s trials, we can find fulfillment when God is part of our living and working: “for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment?” (2:25). Life will at times feel meaningless, but “remember your Creator” (12:1). Don’t exhaust yourself trying to figure life out, but “fear God and keep his commandments” (v. 13).

Without God as our center, life’s pleasures and sorrows lead only to disillusionment.

By:  Sheridan Voysey

Reflect & Pray

How much do you seek happiness through things that won’t last? Since the writer of Ecclesiastes didn’t know the hope of resurrection, how would you consider his search in light of Romans 8:11, 18–25?

God, today I place You anew at the center of my living, working, joys, and disappointments, for without You nothing will satisfy or make sense.

The Word of Our Salvation

1 Corinthians 15:1-4

Try to imagine a world without Bibles. The reality is that there are places on earth where Scripture is unknown, and the people who live in those cultures don’t know anything about Jesus Christ. This truth should stir us to pray not only that God’s Word will reach them, but also that they will realize how valuable the Bible is. Without it, none of us would have any idea how to be saved—or even that we needed salvation.

• The Bible reveals God’s holiness and exposes mankind’s sinful, hopeless condition (Rom. 3:23). Our sin makes us His enemies, and we can’t do anything to remedy this situation.

• Scripture explains what God did through Jesus Christ to provide a means of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:19-21). The Father sent His Son to earth to become a substitute sacrifice to pay the penalty we deserved for our sin.

• God’s Word explains that we can receive Christ’s gift of salvation by repenting of our sin and trusting in Him (Mark 1:15).

The next time you pick up your Bible, stop and thank God for giving you such a precious gift. And praise Him for making His wonderful plan of salvation known to you.

Eternal Cosmos

“He hath also stablished them for ever and ever: he hath made a decree which shall not pass.” (Psalm 148:6)

In this central psalm of the last five psalms comprising the “Hallelujah” epilogue to the book of Psalms, the entire physical creation is exhorted to praise the Lord, as all the universe is restored to its primeval perfection. All the people of the earth, all the angels, even all the animals, will praise the Lord.

Furthermore, in some way that can only be understood by faith, the entire inorganic creation—sun, moon, stars, mountains, winds, everything—will be able to praise Him. Even the primeval waters above the heavens (Genesis 1:7-9) will have been restored, and they will praise the Lord (Psalm 148:4-5).

And all of this will continue forever and ever! The new heavens and new Earth—that is, the renewed heavens and Earth, with the curse removed (Revelation 22:3)—the sun and moon and stars, with the eternal throne of the Lord Jesus established on the earth in the New Jerusalem, in the midst of all the redeemed men and women of all the ages—all of these will forever be a praise to God.

God is not capricious, and He does not fail. He will not “uncreate” what He has created. “Whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever” (Ecclesiastes 3:14). The earth must yet be purged by fire (2 Peter 3:10), but it will be renewed in righteousness (v. 13) and without any evidences of the former regime of decay and death.

And then it will last forever. “And he built his sanctuary like high palaces, like the earth which he hath established for ever” (Psalm 78:69). “[God] laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed for ever” (Psalm 104:5). “And they that turn many to righteousness [shall shine] as the stars for ever and ever” (Daniel 12:3). HMM

An Off-Color Humor

Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers…. Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.

—Ephesians 4:29, 5:4

 

One of the most shocking things in the church is the dirty-mouthed Christian who always walks on the borderline. There is no place for borderline stories that embarrass some people, and there is nothing about sex or the human body that is funny if your mind is clean.

There was once a gathering of officers, and George Washington was present in the room. One of the young officers began to think about a dirty story that he wanted to tell, and he got a smirk on his face. He looked around and said, “I’m thinking of a story. I guess there are no ladies present.” Washington straightened up and said, “No, young man, but there are gentlemen.” The young officer shut his mouth and kept the dirty story inside his dirty head and heart.

Anything you could not tell with Jesus present, do not tell. Anything you could not laugh at were Jesus present, do not laugh at.   RRR067

What an important reminder, Lord! Keep my thoughts pure. Amen.

 

One Enemy, One Goal

Let us lay aside every weight, and…let us run with patience the race that is set before us.

—Hebrews 12:1

 

All of us Christians have a common enemy, that old devil, Satan. As we stand together, pray together, worship together, we repudiate him and his deceptions. He is our common foe, and he uses a variety of manipulations to hinder us in our spiritual lives.

When by faith we have entered this lifelong spiritual course, the Holy Spirit whispers, “Do you truly want to be among the victors in this discipline?” When we breathe our “Yes! Yes!” He whispers of ways that will aid us and carry us to certain victory.

The Spirit tells us to throw off everything that would hinder us in the race. He tells us to be aware of the little sins and errors that could divert us from the will of God as we run. But here is the important thing: He tells us to keep our eyes on Jesus, because He alone is our pacesetter and victorious example. JAF076-077

The secret of victory is to recognize the Conqueror within and the adversary as a conquered foe….Satan has power only when he can make us dread him. He flees before the victorious faith and holy confidence. HS546-547

 

Reconciliation great theme

2 Corinthians 5:19

Reconciliation is one of the Apostle Paul’s great themes, one of his flaming certainties. “Now then!” cried he to the Corinthians, who dwelt in the center and seat of worldly wisdom, “We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:20).

Reconciliation is both a message and a mystery. But because there is mystery in the heart of this great fact it is not therefore to be rejected. We dwell in the midst of mysteries, and we are ourselves mysterious creatures. Our unresolved interrogatives circle the globe and fill the skies, but we go on living, though we fail in knowing. So many facts must be accepted without explanation. This is true of spiritual as well as of material things.

Look with me at this lovely word reconciliation. It fills the mind with a healing color, like that of a golden sunset, closing with its quiet benison of a stormy day. It is as quiet and potent as a falling tear, when repentance and forgiveness meet, as sacred as the kiss that ends a quarrel and disperses misunderstanding, as strong as the renewed clasp of friendship when hands that have been separated are joined again in a touch warm and strong.

The initiative in reconciliation comes from God. Calvary is God breaking through to save us. There was no precedent for Calvary: there has been no repetition. It is unique and final.

Calvary cries aloud to men, “Come here, come near, and see what is God’s mind toward you!” Stand at the cross and wonder and pray, for here was made possible the greatest moral miracle, divine forgiveness.

Luther said, “Sin is a knot which it needs a God to unravel.” In Christ, the fact of sin and the fact of forgiveness are brought together, the legally irreconcilable are “made one” at the cross.

We are all hopeless moral and spiritual bankrupts. We face the tragedy of life’s insolvency—our wasted capital, our disappointing or bitter dividends. Into this hopeless reckoning comes Christ, the Reconciler, compensating for our inadequacy, building again our wasted reserves, supplying the equation which balances and integrates the disordered life. He reconciles life’s accounts and meets human deficit by divine forgiveness.

Never again can you hold yourself cheap, never again admit the inevitability of your own failure, if once you see human personality at Calvary’s valuation. There stands at the cross, in the midst of our turmoil and sin, its loving and unchanging message to all mankind, “Be reconciled to God!”

Albert Orsborn, The War Cry