When The Lord Restores His People
From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.Ephesians 4:16
Unto every believer is given some gift of grace, for their mutual help. All is given as seems best to Christ to bestow upon every one. He received for them, that he might give to them, a large measure of gifts and graces; particularly the gift of the Holy Ghost. Not a mere head knowledge, or bare acknowledging Christ to be the Son of God, but such as brings trust and obedience. There is a fulness in Christ, and a measure of that fulness given in the counsel of God to every believer; but we never come to the perfect measure till we come to heaven. God's children are growing, as long as they are in this world; and the Christian's growth tends to the glory of Christ. The more a man finds himself drawn out to improve in his station, and according to his measure, all that he has received, to the spiritual good of others, he may the more certainly believe that he has the grace of sincere love and charity rooted in his heart.
O precious Father, I have several people on my heart today whose hope is nearly gone. They can't seem to find their way to Jesus. Please keep their flickering hope alive. Please use me to help them find Jesus to slake their thirsty soul. Use the people around them to keep them asking and looking and longing for something, for your Someone, to do what no one else can do for them. I pray this earnestly for those I love, in the name of Jesus. Amen.
ALTAR OF WORSHIP Hebrews 13:10-21
Thank you for providing an altar of worship for me and all those who have faith in Jesus. Thank you that our Lord Jesus was willing to suffer outside the gate in order to call to himself a people sanctified through his blood. Thank you that I am one of these!
Let me therefore go to him outside the camp, bearing abuse for him. Father, here I have no lasting city, no permanent country, but I seek the city which is to come, that you are preparing.
Through Christ therefore I offer up to you a continual sacrifice of praise, the fruit of my lips which acknowledge your name.
My Lord, help me never to neglect to do good and to share what I have, for I know these sacrifices are pleasing to you.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Trust ye in the Lord for…Continue
It is a happy way of soothing sorrow when we can feel--"HE careth for me."…Continue
Thou whose ways we praise,
Clear alike and dark,
Keep our works and ways
This and all Thy days
Safe inside Thine ark.
Thou whose face gives grace
As the sun's doth heat,
Let Thy sun-bright face
Lighten time and space
Here beneath Thy feet.
Bid our peace increase,
Thou that madest morn;
Bid oppressions cease;
Bid the night be peace;
Bid the day be born.
One of the ground thoughts in the Book of Revelation is that Jesus Christ, who died upon the tree, sits upon the throne of the universe. We find the thought expressed in varying forms. For example, we are told that Jesus is the First and the Last, the origin and the goal of all things. We are told that He has the key of David, an expression signifying absolute power and irresistible will. We read that His feet are as fine brass, describing His sovereign march over the fields of life. But the clearest expression of the thought is the phrase which we have chosen as the heading for this chapter, in which Jesus Christ, the Lamb as it had been slain, is represented as seated on the central throne of the universe, and receiving the praises of the various orders of creation. This great thought may be viewed under varying aspects. Jesus Christ rules the universe as Creator, Lord, and Reconciler.
He rules it as the Creator. All things, according to the uniform doctrine of Scripture, were made by Christ. Whether there be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers; whatever orders of being may exist, these and the worlds they people came from His creative mind and His plastic hand.
He Himself was the anticipation of creation. In the remarkable prefiguration of Christ in the Book of Proverbs, Wisdom is made to say, "I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. When there were no depths I was brought forth, when there were no fountains abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth." Jesus Christ is the image of the invisible God in a sense which does not depend upon the Incarnation, and which does not vanish with earth or time, but which remains when the veils of flesh and sense are lifted, and we see face to face. The absolute invisible God no man can see, save as He is revealed in Jesus Christ. This Christ was the prophecy of creation, and He Himself fulfilled the prophecy. The creating power passes through Christ as its medium—"Without Him was not anything made that was made." All the products of nature are from His hand; from Him all the terms of creaturely existence take their rise, and of all life, in its lowest as well as in its highest forms, He is the Distributor and Giver; so that in a manner, for all creatures, to live is Christ, whether they acknowledge it or not.
How much needed is this great and half-forgotten truth in days when men soar and roam through the universe, and find it empty of God, when everything spiritual and divine is said to be vanishing from the world before the march of Science. Nothing can be sadder than to wander through Nature and find it tenantless. But how different when we render to Christ the things that are Christ's in it all! There is nothing created, said Goethe, so mean and trifling that it is not a thought of God. But the more beautiful and tender truth is that everything created is a thought of Christ, meant to lead us straight to Him. We are, in spite of ourselves, swayed by the influences of our time. Nature often seems, even to the Christian, very stern and pitiless. It is blessed to be able to see in it all proofs of the thought and expressions of the mind of Him who is not only Creator but Redeemer.
The Lamb of God: Expositions in the Writings of St. John.
Death is a great loss to a carnal, worldly man, for he loses all his earthly comforts and all his hopes; but to a true believer it is gain, for it is the end of all his weakness and misery. It delivers him from all the evils of life, and brings him to possess the chief good. The apostle's difficulty was not between living in this world and living in heaven; between these two there is no comparison; but between serving Christ in this world and enjoying him in another. Not between two evil things, but between two good things; living to Christ and being with him. See the power of faith and of Divine grace; it can make us willing to die. In this world we are compassed with sin; but when with Christ, we shall escape sin and temptation, sorrow and death, for ever. But those who have most reason to desire to depart, should be willing to remain in the world as long as God has any work for them to do. And the more unexpected mercies are before they come, the more of God will be seen in them.
Fill us with courage so that Christ will be honored in our bodies, whether by life or by death.
For us to live is Christ, to die is gain!
Grant that our manner of life may be worthy of the Good News of Christ.
Help us to stand firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the Good News, not frightened in anything by our opponents.
Grant that we may not only believe in Christ, but that we shall also be willing to suffer for him if necessary, engaged in the same conflict as was Jesus, the apostles, the martyrs, and all of your church until this very day.
In the name of Jesus I ask. Amen.