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A TRIBUTE

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A TRIBUTE TO ELISABETH ELLIOT

Below are a few memorable quotes in memory of a magnificent saint, Elisabeth Elliot, who “fell asleep in Jesus” (1Thes 4:14) and entered through gates of splendor into the glorious presence of Jesus Christ on June 15, 2015 (1926–2015).

There is nothing worth living for, unless it is worth dying for.

Faith does not eliminate questions. But faith knows where to take them.

The fact that I am a woman does not make me a different kind of Christian, but the fact that I am a Christian makes me a different kind of woman.

Of one thing I am perfectly sure: God’s story never ends with ashes.

Does God ask us to do what is beneath us? This question will never trouble us again if we consider the Lord of heaven taking a towel and washing feet.

Freedom begins way back. It begins not with doing what you want but with doing what you ought – that is, with discipline.

God is God. Because He is God, He is worthy of my trust and obedience. I will find rest nowhere but in His holy will that is unspeakably beyond my largest notions of what He is up to.

We want to avoid suffering, death, sin, ashes. But we live in a world crushed and broken and torn, a world God Himself visited to redeem. We receive his poured-out life, and being allowed the high privilege of suffering with Him, may then pour ourselves out for others.

Maturity starts with the willingness to give oneself.

I have one desire now – to live a life of reckless abandon for the Lord, putting all my energy and strength into it.

Where does your security lie? Is God your Refuge, your Hiding Place, your Stronghold, your Shepherd, your Counselor, your Friend, your Redeemer, your Saviour, your Guide? If He is, you don’t need to search any further for security

God never withholds from His child that which His love and wisdom call good. God’s refusals are always merciful—‘severe mercies’ at times, but mercies all the same. God never denies us our hearts’ desire except to give us something better.

Waiting on God requires the willingness to bear uncertainty, to carry within oneself the unanswered question, lifting the heart to God about it whenever it intrudes upon one’s thoughts.

I do know that waiting on God requires the willingness to bear uncertainty, to carry within oneself the unanswered question, lifting the heart to God about it whenever it intrudes upon one’s thoughts. Its easy to talk oneself into a decision that has no permanence—easier sometimes than to wait patiently.

If we hold tightly to anything given to us unwilling to allow it to be used as the Giver means it to be used we stunt the growth of the soul. What God gives us is not necessarily “ours” but only ours to offer back to him, ours to relinquish, ours to lose, ours to let go of, if we want to be our true selves. Many deaths must go into reaching our maturity in Christ, many letting goes

The will of God is not something you add to your life. It’s a course you choose. You either line yourself up with the Son of God . . . or you capitulate to the principle which governs the rest of the world.

Does it make sense to pray for guidance about the future if we are not obeying in the thing that lies before us today? How many momentous events in Scripture depended on one person’s seemingly small act of obedience! Rest assured: Do what God tells you to do now, and, depend upon it, you will be shown what to do next.

To be a follower of the Crucified means, sooner or later, a personal encounter with the cross. And the cross always entails loss.

Worry is the antithesis of trust. You simply cannot do both. They are mutually exclusive.

One does not surrender a life in an instant. That which is lifelong can only be surrendered in a lifetime.

Worship is not an experience. Worship is an act, and this takes discipline. We are to worship ‘in spirit and in truth.’ Never mind about the feelings. We are to worship in spite of them.

When obedience to God contradicts what I think will give me pleasure, let me ask myself if I love Him.

The will of God is never exactly what you expect it to be. It may seem to be much worse, but in the end it’s going to be a lot better and a lot bigger.

To love God is to love His will. It is to wait quietly for life to be measured by One who knows us through and through. It is to be content with His timing and His wise appointment.

The life of faith is lived one day at a time, and it has to be lived—not always looked forward to as though the ‘real’ living were around the next corner. It is today for which we are responsible. God still owns tomorrow.

The world looks for happiness through self-assertion. The Christian knows that joy is found in self-abandonment. ‘If a man will let himself be lost for My sake,’ Jesus said, ‘he will find his true self.”

Is the distinction between living for Christ and dying for Him so great? Is not the second the logical conclusion of the first?

We never know what God has up His sleeve. You never know what might happen; you only know what you have to do now.

By trying to grab fulfillment everywhere, we find it nowhere.

Money holds terrible power when it is loved.

It is God to Whom and with Whom we travel, and while He is the end of our journey, He is also at every stopping place.

The Word of God I think of as a straight edge, which shows up our own crookedness. We can’t really tell how crooked our thinking is until we line it up with the straight edge of Scripture.

It is in our acceptance of what is given that God gives Himself.

Our vision is so limited we can hardly imagine a love that does not show itself in protection from suffering. The love of God is of a different nature altogether. It does not hate tragedy. It never denies reality. It stands in the very teeth of suffering.

The secret is Christ in me, not me in a different set of circumstances.

God knows what He is doing and He is not under any obligation to make us any explanation

Until the will and the affections are brought under the authority of Christ, we have not begun to understand, let alone to accept, His lordship.

If your goal is purity of heart, be prepared to be thought very odd.

Cruelty and wrong are not the greatest forces in the world. There is nothing eternal in them. Only love is eternal.

Don’t dig up in doubt what you planted in faith.

A young woman asked the great preacher Charles Spurgeon if it was possible to reconcile God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility. “Young woman,” said he. “You don’t reconcile friends”

You can never lose what you have offered to Christ.

God has promised to supply our needs. What we don’t have now we don’t need now.

God has never promised to solve our problems. He has not promised to answer our questions … He has promised to go with us.

The work of God is done on God’s timetable. His answers to our prayers come always in time—his time. His thoughts are far higher than ours, His wisdom past understanding.

You can’t get to tomorrow morning without going through tonight.

Restlessness and impatience change nothing except our peace and joy. Peace does not dwell in outward things, but in the heart prepared to wait trustfully and quietly on Him Who has all things safely in His hands.

Leave it all in the Hands that were wounded for you.

Elisabeth Elliot’s life was a life wisely spent, one that forever “will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven.” (Daniel 12:3)

Father, may you cause her “tribe” to increase for the glory of the Lamb! Amen

Play this beautiful version of “When It’s All Been Said and Done”

MESSIAH THE ANOINTED ONE

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MESSIAH THE ANOINTED ONE: Webster says Messiah is a title given to “the promised Deliverer of the Jewish nation prophesied in the Hebrew Bible.” Messiah is derived from the Hebrew word mashiach which means “anointed one” and which corresponds to the NT title of “Christ” (Christos = anointed one). As Andrew exclaimed to his brother Peter “We have found the MESSIAH” (which translated means CHRIST).” (John 1:41) And as the Samaritan woman at the well said to Jesus “I know that MESSIAH is coming (He Who is called CHRIST).” (Jn 4:25) So when you encounter the title “CHRIST” in the NT, you are really encountering “MESSIAH.” Let me encourage you, as you read the NT, especially the Gospels and Acts, to consider substituting “MESSIAH” when you see the title “CHRIST”. Indeed, even “Jesus Christ” can properly be read as “Jesus the Messiah,” for Christ is actually Jesus’ official title more than His proper Name. Some translations such as the NIV (2011 edition) and Christian Standard Bible (Holman) even translate “Christ” in the Gospels and Acts with the title “Messiah” to emphasize the importance of the concept of Messiah. And as discussed below the majority of Jews (and this Gentile writer) have come to salvation by grace through faith (Eph 2:8-9note) as the Spirit unveiled the OT messianic prophecies (2Cor 4:6note, Jn 3:8) to clearly show “Jesus (is) the Messiah appointed for” them and for us, “to the Jew first and also to the Greek (anyone not Jewish).” (Acts 3:20, Ro 1:16note). In fact the main purpose of John’s Gospel is that “you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His Name.” (Jn 20:31) Jesus is the Anointed One, the fulfillment of the three OT offices which God anointed (selected and set apart for special service): Prophet (Ps 105:15note, Dt 18:18, fulfilled = Jn 7:40), Priest (Ex 29:7, Lev 4:3note, Ps 110:4notefulfilled = Heb 6:19-20note) and King (1Sa 2:10, Ps 2:2,6note shadows of Messiah fulfilled = Mk 15:26,Rev 19:16note). Norman Geisler adds that the concept of MESSIAH (Christ) “is the key to the interpretation of the Bible, not only in that He is the fulfillment of OT types and prophecies, but in that Christ (Messiah) is the tie between the Testaments, the content of the whole canon and the unifying theme in the Bible!” In short the entire Bible is “Messiah-centric” or “Christo-centric!” Beloved brethren, God’s Anointed is appointed, and we shall not be disappointed! “All hail the power of Jesus’ Name!, Let angels prostrate fall; Bring forth the royal diadem, And crown Him Lord of all.” (Perronet)

MESSIAH THE EXPECTED ONE: The anticipation of national deliverance through a Man anointed by God has been a theme of Judaism throughout the ages, even as many first century Jews were “eagerly waiting for the Messiah to come and rescue Israel…looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem” (Lk 2:25,38). John the Baptist asked the question every pious Jew had been asking for centuries “Are You the Expected One?” (Mt 11:3, Lk 7:19-20), which is another way of asking “Jesus, Are You the Messiah, the Anointed One, the Deliverer?” The 12th article of the orthodox Jewish creed says “I believe with a perfect faith in the coming of the Messiah, and though He tarry, yet will I wait daily for His coming.” (Rambam) The first century Jews expected a conquering king who would free them from Rome, but instead this Messiah died a shameful death on a Roman cross. And so there was great disappointment because Jesus did not appear to be the Expected One. Have you ever been discouraged because someone in whom you placed your hope let you down?” Then you can identify with the two disciples who walked on the dusty road to Emmaus and were joined by a resurrected Stranger whose identity was veiled. Jesus saw they were “looking sad” for they “were hoping that (Jesus) was (the Messiah) Who was going to redeem Israel.” (Lk 24:17, 21) Had not Zacharias said that “the Lord God of Israel…(had) visited us and accomplished redemption (paid the ransom to effect deliverance) for His people?” (Lk 1:68) And yet Israel was still in Rome’s grip, a grip “as strong as iron!” (Da 2:40note) Against this backdrop of hopelessness and despair began the greatest Bible lesson ever taught, for the Teacher, the Messiah, “beginning with Moses (Pentateuch – Genesis to Deut) and all the Prophets explained to them what was said in ALL the (OT) Scriptures concerning Himself.” (Luke 24:27, cp Jn 5:39, Lk 16:29-31)

And so Messiah gave hope to these downcast disciples explaining that the woman’s SEED (Messiah) would have His heel bruised but would crush the head of the serpent (Ge 3:15 – the protoevangelium = the “first Gospel,” cp Heb 2:14-15note, Ro 16:20note). He explained that the prophet Micah had foretold of His birth from the clan of Judah in Bethlehem Ephrathah (Micah 5:2note). He explained that 500 years earlier Daniel had predicted the exact time of His arrival as “Messiah the Prince” (Da 9:25NASBnote) and that He would not conquer but “be cut off” (crucified) (Da 9:26note). In fact 60 major messianic prophecies with 270 ramifications (Jewish rabbis saw up to 456 messianic allusions!) were inspired by the Spirit so that there would be absolutely no doubt to OT readers that the Man Jesus was truly the long expected Messiah. Sadly, first century Jews were looking for Messiah to be a conquering King, not a suffering Servant and as a result most failed to recognize Him as God’s “Wonderful” One (Isaiah 9:6note) because they missed Isaiah’s later prediction that He would be “despised, forsaken of men, a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief…stricken, smitten of God, afflicted…and pierced through for our transgressions…crushed for our iniquities…by His stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:3-5) In His first coming Messiah came as a King riding a donkey to conquer sin (Zech 9:9, Mt 21:4-5), but in His second coming He will return as King of kings riding on a white horse to conquer sinful men (Rev 19:11-16note)! “Born Thy people to deliver, born a Child and yet a King; born to reign in us forever, now Thy gracious Kingdom bring.” (C Wesley)

MESSIAH THE END POINT: Jesus was the “end point”, the fulfillment of all the OT prophecies that foretold of a coming Messiah. Many men have claimed to be the Messiah over the centuries and these pretenders will proliferate in the last days for Jesus warned that “false Messiah’s and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect” (Mt 24:24), but only Jesus fulfilled every detail of the more than 300 OT Messianic prophecies. Applying the laws of probability, Stoner says that the chance of fulfilling just 8 of the 300+ Messianic prophecies is “1 in 10 to the 17th power.” To help visualize these odds Stoner says imagine one had 10 to the 17th power silver dollars and scattered them over the surface of the state of Texas producing a pile two feet deep. Mark one of the silver dollars distinctively and stir them together. Now blindfold a man with instructions to travel anywhere in the state and select one coin. The chance of finding the marked coin would be the same chance that the prophets would have had of writing just eight prophecies fulfilled in one man! And Jesus fulfilled every detail of every prophecy perfectly declaring to His disciples that “ALL THINGS which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” (Lk 24:44) As Josh McDowell said the “New Testament writers spotlighted the Old Testament “ADDRESS” of Jesus for one main reason–to convince their Jewish readers that Jesus was the Messiah—the Deliverer they had been praying for God to send.” “Come, thou long-expected Jesus, born to set Thy people free; from our fears and sins release us: Let us find our rest in Thee.” (C Wesley)

An old pastor was speaking with an inquisitive Jewish man and began to read Isaiah 53 to him asking where he thought this was in the Bible? The Jewish man said “probably Matthew” and when he was told it was “his Scripture” (the Jewish Old Testament), he realized that this description was none other than the Messiah! (See link below for Michael Goldstone’s fascinating testimony) The apostles give us a good pattern to imitate when we speak to our Jewish friends, as they repeatedly appealed to the Messianic prophecies to substantiate their claim that Jesus was the long expected Messiah. And so Peter declared to the Jews that “the things which God announced beforehand by the mouth of all the prophets, that His MESSIAH should suffer, He has thus FULFILLED.” (Acts 3:18NIV, cp Acts 5:42NIV) Paul speaking to the Jews at Thessalonica was “explaining (lit. “opening wide” the OT passages) and giving evidence (lit. “setting before” them) that the MESSIAH had to suffer and rise again from the dead, saying, “This Jesus Whom I am proclaiming to you is the MESSIAH.” (Acts 17:3NIVnote, cp Jews in Berea Acts 17:11note) Paul in explaining the Gospel wrote the Messiah “died for our sins in accordance with what the Scriptures foretold (Ps 22:1, 16note), that He was buried (Acts 2:31) and that He arose on the third day as the Scriptures foretold. (Jonah 1:17, Mt 12:40, Ps 16:10note)” (1Cor 15:3-4note) “Tis finished! The Messiah cries, Cut off for sins, but not His own: Accomplished is the sacrifice, The great redeeming work is done.” (C Wesley)

MESSIAH OUR EXAMPLE: Paul instructs believers to “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ (Messiah).” (1Cor 11:1NIV) But how can we imitate the Messiah? What pattern did He provide? At the beginning of Messiah’s ministry, He was FILLED WITH “the Holy Spirit…and LED about by the Spirit in the wilderness where He was tempted by the devil” (Lk 4:1-2). We as His followers are commanded to continually be “FILLED WITH (controlled by) the Spirit” (Eph 5:18note) that we might be “LED by the Spirit.” (Gal 5:18note) After His temptation “Jesus returned to Galilee in the POWER (dunamis = inherent ability to accomplish a task) of the Spirit.” (Lk 4:14) Similarly, we as His followers are “to be strengthened with POWER (dunamis) through His Spirit in our inner man.” (Eph 3:16note, read Acts 1:8note) When Jesus entered the synagogue in Nazareth to begin His ministry, He read from Isaiah’s Messianic prophecy “The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, because He has ANOINTED (chrio – verb root of Christos = Christ) Me to preach the Gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.” (Luke 4:18-19 quoting Isa 61:1-2). As Warren Wiersbe explains “When our Lord lived on earth, ALL THAT HE DID was directed by the Father and EMPOWERED by the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father gave to Jesus “without limit” (Jn 3:34).” And so at the beginning of His ministry “God anointed Jesus with the Holy Spirit and power, and He went around doing good and healing” (Acts 10:38). And even as Jesus was anointed for ministry, the Father has established us “in Christ and ANOINTED us.” (2Cor. 1:21NIV) John adds that like Jesus every believer has “an ANOINTING (the Holy Spirit) from the Holy One” (1Jn 2:20note) and that “the anointing which we received from Him abides (continually) in” us empowering us and enabling us to “walk in the same manner as (Messiah) walked.” (1Jn 2:6note). Are you walking in your natural “power” or in the SUPERNATURAL POWER of the Spirit Who anointed you for service? If we are to successively walk in the “good (God) works which God prepared (for us) beforehand” (Eph 2:10note), we must continually seek to follow Messiah’s example of ministry, “redeeming the time, for the days are evil.” (Eph 5:16note) “Give every flying minute, Something to keep in store; Work, for the night is coming, When man works no more.” (Anna Coghill)

MESSIAH OUR EXPECTATION: After American troops were forced to surrender the Philippines in May, 1942, General Douglas MacArthur vowed to retake the islands, giving his famous “prophetic promise” “I WILL RETURN” which was printed on thousands of matchbooks, buttons, bars of soap and leaflets dropped by air all over the Philippines to encourage and give hope. MacArthur kept his promise! But even better the “Commander of the Lord’s army” (Josh 5:15NLT), Jesus our Messiah, made a similar “prophetic promise” to His disciples declaring “I go to prepare a place for you” and “I WILL COME AGAIN!” (Jn 14:3) As Hoekema rightly observes “The faith of the New Testament is dominated by this expectation.” Indeed, the NT has some 318 prophetic promises (direct and indirect) describing Messiah’s triumphant return as King of kings, and Lord of lords (Rev 19:11-16note), which means that there is approximately one prophecy on the Second Coming in every 20 verses! In fact it has been estimated that for every prophecy of Messiah’s First Coming, there are eight describing His Second Coming! As the old Scottish preacher said “The doctrine of Messiah’s Second Coming, as it appears in the NT, is like a lofty mountain that dominates the entire landscape.” John Walvoord adds that Messiah’s Second Coming is also “implied in hundreds of OT prophecies” often mingling them with His first coming as in Isa 61:1-2a which was fulfilled at Messiah’s first coming (Lk 4:18-21) and Isa 61:2b which describes “the day of vengeance of our God to comfort all who mourn” to be fulfilled at Messiah’s Second Coming. And so just as MacArthur’s promise on leaflets gave hope during the dark days of WWII, the prophecies of Messiah’s Second Coming “give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises” (Ro 15:4NLTnote). As this world grows darker and the promised return of Messiah grows brighter, we should continually be “looking (expectantly) for the BLESSED HOPE and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ (Messiah) Jesus.” (Titus 2:13note) Paul called Messiah’s return ‘the Blessed Hope’ and as our world unravels morally and ethically, indeed He appears to be the only hope for the world! And so it is interesting that the largest type used by newspapers for headlines of astounding events is called “second coming” type and is reserved for the most amazing front-page news (beginning or end of wars, moon landings, etc). One day soon every eye “will see Him,” (Rev 1:7) the One for Whom “Second Coming” type was named! Messiah came first as the “Man of sorrows” (Isa 53:3), but will come again “with power and great glory” (Mt 24:30) as Judge and King (2Ti 4:1note). Martin Luther well said, ‘I preach as though Messiah died yesterday, rose from the dead today and was coming back tomorrow.” How different our lives would be if we lived them in that spirit! As one has well said “Don’t complain about what this world is coming to. Proclaim the One Who is coming to this world.” “And for the hope of His return, Dear Lord, Your Name we praise; With longing hearts we watch and wait; For that great day of days!” (Sherwood)

APPLICATION: Jesus may come at ANY time, so we must be ready ALL the time! This begs the question, do my day to day choices reflect the reality of an expectant attitude? “Expectant looking” is always a great “antidote” for “apathetic living!” Look for Christ’s future return, and you will live for Christ’s glory in the present, remembering that His SECOND Coming is as certain as His FIRST! Indeed, “the certainty of the Second Coming should touch and tincture every part of our daily behavior.” (Blanchard) “We know that, when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” (1Jn 3:2-3note, cp 2Pe 3:11note) “Precisely because we cannot predict the moment, we must be ready at all moments.” (C S Lewis) “Uncertainty about the date of the Lord’s return is calculated to keep believers in an attitude of constant expectation and to preserve them from despondency.” (Ryle) John Piper asks “Does your mind return frequently to the truth of Christ’s appearing? When your mind turns to the truth of His appearing, does your heart want it—is there an eagerness to see Him? Do you pray for His coming? Maranatha, prayed the early church! Come, Lord Jesus!” Amen! (Rev 22:20note)

Play Chris Tomlin’s “Jesus Messiah”

FOR FURTHER STUDY:
Summary of Messianic Prophecies
How a Jewish man Michael Goldstone met Messiah
How to Recognize the Messiah as “More Than A Carpenter”
Jewish Tradition of Two Messiahs
Questions Skeptics Ask About Messianic Prophecy

A WORM AND NOT A MAN

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A WORM AND NOT A MAN
– Psalm 22 is often called the “Crucifixion Psalm” or “The Psalm of the Cross” and is clearly a Messianic psalm giving a detailed prophetic description of our Lord’s crucifixion almost 1000 years before the actual event. Spurgeon writes “For plaintive expressions uprising from unutterable depths of woe we may say of this psalm, “there is none like it.” It is the photograph of our Lord’s saddest hours, the record of His dying words, the lachrymatory (containers used in Roman tombs to collect funeral tears) of His last tears, the memorial of His expiring joys. Before us in Psalm 22 we have a description both of the darkness and of the glory of the Cross, the sufferings of Christ and the glory which shall follow (Heb 2:9). Oh for grace to draw near and see this great sight! We should read Psalm 22:1-31 reverently, removing the sandals from our feet, as Jehovah instructed Moses at the burning bush (Ex 3:5), for if there be holy ground anywhere in Scripture it is in this Psalm.” “And can it be that I should gain, An interest in the Savior’s blood? Died He for me, who caused His pain—For me, who Him to death pursued? Amazing love! How can it be, That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?” (C Wesley)

Matthew and Mark both quote from Psalm 22:1 as they record Jesus’ cry of anguish “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” (Mt 27:46, Mk 15:34). In verse 6 we encounter a most unusual description of Messiah – “I am a WORM and not a man.” While there is no record of Christ uttering these words on the Cross, there is little doubt that these words were on the heart of our Lord. As Jon Courson says “Great is the mystery (of godliness) that God became a man (1Timothy 3:16). But greater still is the mystery that the MAN became a LAMB (Jn 1:29) and the LAMB became a WORM to save you and me!”  As Spurgeon says Psalm 22:6 “is a miracle in language. How could the Lord of glory (1Cor 2:8) be brought to such abasement as to be not only “made for a little while lower than the angels” (Heb 2:9), but even lower than men? What a contrast between “I AM” (Jn 8:24,28, 58) and “I AM A WORM”! Yet such a double nature was found in the Person of our Lord Jesus when bleeding upon the tree. He felt Himself to be comparable to a helpless, powerless, down-trodden WORM, passive while “crushed for our iniquities,” (Isa 53:5), and unnoticed and despised by those who trod upon Him. “He was despised and forsaken of men, a Man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and like one from Whom men hide their face. He was despised (disdained, held in contempt), and we did not esteem Him (Literally, “we estimated Him as nothing”).” (Isaiah 53:3) He selects a WORM the weakest of creatures, which is all flesh; and becomes, when trodden upon, writhing, quivering flesh, utterly devoid of any might, except strength to suffer. This was a true likeness of Himself when His body and soul had become a mass of misery—the very essence of agony—in the dying pangs of Crucifixion. Man by nature is but a WORM (Job 25:6, Isaiah 41:14); but our Lord Jesus puts Himself even beneath man (Php 2:7-8), on account of the scorn that was heaped upon Him and the weakness which He felt, and therefore He adds, “and not a man!” Indeed, as William Cowper wrote, “God moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform!”

Spurgeon goes on to observe that “There is a LITTLE RED WORM which seems to be nothing else but BLOOD when it is crushed, it seems all gone except a blood-stain; and the Saviour, in the deep humiliation of His spirit, compares Himself to that little red worm. How true it is that “He made himself of no reputation” (Php 2:7KJV) for our sakes! He emptied Himself of all His glory; and if there be any glory natural to manhood, He emptied himself even of that. Not only the glories of His Godhead, but the honors of His manhood He laid aside that we might come to “know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for our sake He became poor, that we through His poverty might become rich.” (2Cor 8:9) “Were the whole realm of nature mine, That were a present far too small; Love so amazing, so divine, Demands my soul, my life, my all.” (Isaac Watts)

Warren Wiersbe adds that Psalm 22:6 is surely a description that applies “to our Savior. “I am a worm and not a man” is a forgotten “I AM” statement that speaks of how little value the leaders of Israel and the Roman officials placed on Jesus of Nazareth. A WORM is a creature of the ground, helpless, frail, and unwanted. Isaiah 52:14NIV predicted that Messiah would be terribly disfigured by His enemies and not even look human  – “Just as there were many who were appalled at Him–His appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and His form marred beyond human likeness (so that He seemed to be “not a man”).” Isaiah’s description recalls the words of Stuart Townend’s beautiful modern hymn “How great the pain of searing loss, the Father turned His face away. As wounds which mar the Chosen One, bring many sons to glory (Heb 2:10).”

As mysterious as is the figure of the King of glory (Ps 24:7-10) condescending to become like a mere WORM, the picture is even more profound when we examine the original language. The Hebrew word for WORM is TOLA, which most scholars associate with a CRIMSON WORM (Coccus Ilicis) that in ancient times was crushed to procure its blood-red SCARLET dye (Hebrew for “scarlet” is same word TOLA), the SCARLET dye used to adorn the “ten curtains” of the Tabernacle (Ex 26:1), “the screen for the (one) doorway of the” Tabernacle (Ex 26:36, cp “I am the door” Jn 10:9), the Veil separating the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies (Ex 26:31, cp Jesus’ cry with a loud voice, yielding up His Spirit and the Veil of the temple tearing from top to bottom, opening “a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His [torn] flesh” – Mt 27:50-51, Heb 10:19-20) and the beautiful garments of the high priest (Ex 28:5-6, Jesus became our “merciful and faithful high priest” Heb 2:17). Indeed, how deep is the mystery of these OT uses of TOLA which depict a WORM in Ps 22:6 and in 33 OT passages (most in Exodus) depict the blood-red SCARLET material which foreshadowed the Messiah, even His work of redemption on the Cross! Little did the Roman soldiers comprehend the deep significance of the SCARLET robe they placed on Christ, mocking Him with their cry “Hail, King of the Jews” (Mt 27:28-29)! And so we see the Holy One of Israel Who was “made for a little while lower than the angels” (Heb 2:9), then even lower than man, and yes finally made like a mere TOLA, a helpless “crimson worm,” a WORM that was crushed beneath the load of our sin, “having become a curse for us.” (Gal 3:13)  “Well might the sun in darkness hide, And shut His glories in, When Christ, the mighty Maker died,For man the creature’s sin.” (I. Watts)

And so it should not surprise us to see the Spirit use the Hebrew word TOLA to picture our SIN! In Isaiah 1:18 Jehovah gives the universal invitation “Come now, and let us reason together. Though your sins are as scarlet, they will be as white as snow. Though they are red like CRIMSON (Hebrew = TOLA!), they will be like wool.” In a display of God’s amazing, mysterious grace, the Spirit chose the same Hebrew word (TOLA) to depict MESSIAH and SIN! Indeed Paul explains this deep mystery, writing that the Father “made Him Who knew no sin to be SIN on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2Cor 5:21) When Christ was crushed by the weight of our sins, like a crushed crimson worm (TOLA), He shed His blood, that our sins might be covered by His crimson flow and we might be forever clothed in Christ’s “garments of salvation, wrapped with His robe of righteousness.” (Isaiah 61:10). These deep truths recall the original words of Isaac Watts’ hymn “Alas! and did my Savior bleed, And did my Sovereign die! Would He devote that sacred head, For such a WORM as I?” And the answer is a resounding “Yes!” His crimson blood for our crimson sin, that we might be washed whiter than snow!  “Hallelujah What a Savior! Thank You God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Amen”

Play this wonderful modern hymn…
How Deep the Father’s Love for Us (by Stuart Townend)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7fGEOH2XiY

How deep the Father’s love for us, how vast beyond all measure
That He should give His Only Son, to make a wretch His treasure
How great the pain of searing loss, the Father turned His face away
As wounds which mar the Chosen One, bring many sons to glory

Behold the Man upon a cross, my sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice call out among the scoffers
It was my sin that held Him there until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life; I know that “It is Finished!”

I will not boast in anything: no gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ; His death and resurrection
Why should I gain from His reward? I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart: His wounds have paid my ransom

For more detailed discussion:
http://preceptaustin.org/psalm_226-i_am_a_worm.htm

THE SUN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS WILL RISE

bondage breaker 5

THE SUN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS – The last prophet of the Old Testament wrote “For behold, the day is coming, burning like a furnace; and all the arrogant and every evildoer will be chaff; and the day that is coming will set them ablaze,” says the LORD of hosts, “so that it will leave them neither root nor branch. But for you who fear My Name the SUN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS will rise with healing in His wings; and you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall.” (Mal 4:1-2) And so the Old Testament closes with the prophecy of the day of the Lord and the coming of the Sun of Righteousness. The New Testament ends with the testimony “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, the BRIGHT MORNING STAR.” (Rev 22:16) Who promises that to those who “hold fast until I come…who overcome (not a special group but all believers – see 1Jn 5:4-5)…who do  my will to the end…I will give the MORNING STAR” (Rev 2:25-28) Christ Himself as our eternal possession! Hallelujah! The prophet Daniel adds “those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.” (Da 12:3) Dear tried and true saint remember that though we live in a time of great spiritual darkness, the MORNING STAR heralds the SUN RISING with healing in His wings. In the meantime, we must hold fast to (and be held fast by) “the prophetic word made more sure, to which we do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the MORNING STAR arises in our hearts.” (2Pe 1:19) The darker the night becomes the brighter the MORNING STAR shines and the nearer must be the hour of the fulfillment of the pledge of the Sun of Righteousness to come again. This blessed event, the Second Coming, is the hope of the church, the hope of Israel and the hope of the world. Just as the sun drives away darkness and clouds, bringing light and joy, so the Sun of Righteousness will appear to forever dispel gloom, oppression, and injustice. “As the sun is full of light, the ocean full of water, Heaven full of glory, so may our hearts be full of Thee, O Sun of Righteousness.” (A Puritan Prayer)

The One described as the Sun of Righteousness can be no other than Jesus Christ Himself to Whom the ends of the earth will sing “Glory to the Righteous One,” (Isa 24:16),  the “Righteous Branch of David shall spring forth” (Jer 33:15), the One Who “loves righteousness and justice” (Ps 33:5), the One Who brings healing in His wings causing the unrighteous to “become the righteousness of God in Him” (2Cor 5:21), for “by His doing (we) are in Christ Jesus, Who became to us…righteousness and sanctification and redemption.” (1Cor 1:30) And at the end of this age the Sun of Righteousness will rise “to judge the world in righteousness” (Ps 96:13), and “all the arrogant and every evil doer will be chaff.” (Malachi 4:1) “In His days the righteous will flourish, and abundance of peace till the moon is no more,” (Ps 72:7)  and in that day “the earth will be filled With the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.” (Hab 2:14) May our song ever be “Christ, Whose glory fills the skies, Christ, the true, the only Light, Sun of Righteousness, arise, Triumph o’er the shades of night, Dayspring from on high, be near, Daystar, in my heart appear.” (C Wesley)

Spurgeon writes that while the Son of Righteousness rising with healing in His wings was “fulfilled once in the first advent of our glorious Lord, and will yet have a fuller accomplishment in his second advent, this gracious word is also for daily use. Is it dark time with you reader? Does the night deepen into a denser blackness? Still let us not despair: the Sun will yet rise. When the night is darkest, dawn is nearest. The Sun which will arise is of no common sort. It is the Sun—the Sun of Righteousness, Whose every ray is holiness. He Who comes to cheer us, comes in the way of justice as well as of mercy, comes to violate no law even to save us. Jesus displays the holiness of God as much as His love. Our deliverance, when it comes, will be safe because it is righteous. Our one point of inquiry should be—“Do we fear the Name of the Lord? Do we reverence the living God, and walk in His ways?” (Mal 4:2) Then for us the night must be short; and when the morning comes, all the sickness and sorrow of our soul will be over forever. Light, warmth, joy, and clearness of vision will come, and healing of every disease and distress will follow. Has Jesus risen upon us? Let us sit in the light of the Sun. Has He hidden His face? Let us wait for His rising. He will shine forth as surely as the sun.” And while we wait we sing “Hail the heav’nly Prince of Peace! Hail the Sun of Righteousness! Light and life to all He brings, Ris’n with healing in His wings.” (C. Wesley)

Ralph Erskine rightly said that “The sun in the sky is only a shadow of the Sun of Righteousness and of His glory.”  The sun is the great star of our galaxy but the Son’s brilliance infinitely outshines the sun. Balaam prophesied of a Star, the Sun of Righteousness, declaring “I see Him, but not now; I behold Him, but not near; A STAR shall come forth from Jacob, and a scepter (King) shall rise from Israel.” (Nu 24:17) Habakkuk saw an incredible vision of the Sun of Righteousness rising declaring “His radiance is like the SUNLIGHT. He has rays flashing from His hand, and there is the hiding of His power.” (Hab 3:4) The wise men asked “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His STAR in the east, and have come to worship Him.” (Mt 2:2) Zacharias filled with the Holy Spirit, prophesied of the coming of the Sun of Righteousness, saying “Because of the tender mercy of our God, with which the SUNRISE (DAYSPRING – KJV) from on high shall visit us, to shine upon those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace (“with healing in His wings”).” (Luke 1:78-79) Peter, James and John saw Him on the mount “And He was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the SUN, and His garments became as white as light.” (Mt 17:2) Paul was healed in a moment by the Sun of Righteousness when “at midday (he) saw on the way (to Damascus) a light from heaven, brighter than the SUN, shining all around.” (Acts 26:13) John “was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day” and beheld the Sun of Righteousness testifying that “in His right hand He held seven stars; and out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword; and His face was like the SUN shining in its strength.” (Rev 1:16) And because Jesus is the Sun of Righteousness, John writes “the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining” (1Jn 2:8) and in that glorious day to come “the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine upon it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb.” (Rev 21:23) Hold on, dear stormed tossed child of God. The Sun of Righteousness will soon rise with healing in His wings! “One day He’s coming. O glorious day! O glorious day!” (Song by Casting Crowns)

Spurgeon again applies the truths of Sun of Righteousness – “Believer, in the midst of plenty there is a famine if your Lord is absent. The sun may shine, but if Christ is hidden all your world is dark and it is night (cp Jn 13:30). Is the Bright and Morning Star gone and there is no other star to yield a ray of light in its place? What a howling wilderness this world is without our Lord! If we do not see Him our flowers wither, our enjoyable fruits decay, the birds stop singing, and storms overturn our hopes. All the lights of earth cannot produce daylight if the Sun of Righteousness is eclipsed. He is the Soul of our soul, the Light of our light (Jn 8:12), the Life of our life (Col 3:4). Dear believer, what would you do with the temptations and cares of this world if you did not have Him? What would you do when you awaken and prepare for the day’s battle if you did not have Him? What would you do at night when you arrive home exhausted and weary if there were no door of fellowship between you and Christ? Blessed be His name, the Sun of Righteousness. He will not leave you. His promise is sure, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Heb 13:5 – Greek has 5 negatives!) When you think what life would be like without Him, it magnifies His preciousness.” May our prayer daily be “Sun of my soul, Thou Saviour dear, It is not night if Thou be near; O may no earth-born cloud arise, To hide Thee from Thy servant’s eyes.” (John Keble)

The Sun of Righteousness has come. He has risen from the grave! He is here. He has risen in the hearts of those who fear Him with a sense of reverence and awe! And He will come again “on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory” (Mt 24:30) and we will come with Him “clothed in fine linen, white and clean, on white horses” (Rev 19:14)! O glorious day! Indeed, the Sun of Righteousness has come and He has risen, shattering the power of sin and death that we might be justified by grace through faith in His glorious Gospel of peace (Eph 6:15). Then the Sun of Righteousness rose from the earth (Acts 1:9-11), sending us His Spirit, the Helper, the Spirit of Truth (Jn 15:26), that we might might be sanctified and transformed from glory to glory, as with unveiled faces we behold as in a mirror the glory of the Lord (2Cor 3:18). And yet the best is yet to come for when the Sun of Righteousness rises with healing in His wings “we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is.” (1Jn 3:2-3) and “we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye” for “this perishable will put on the imperishable and this mortal will but on immortality” (1Cor 15:51-54) Dear child of God, “the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” (Ro 8:18) Therefore “let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary,” (Gal 6:9). Instead may God’s Spirit grant us faith to wait for the LORD that we might gain new strength (exchange His strength for our weakness) and mount up with wings like eagles, able to run and not get tired, able to walk and not become weary (Isa 40:31), ever mindful that the Sun of Righteousness says “Yes, I am coming quickly.” And so we cry “Amen! Come, Lord Jesus.” (Rev 22:20)

O GLORIOUS DAY! (PLAY)

FAMOUS LAST WORDS

Glory

FAMOUS LAST WORDS – The last words of any dying person are always worth our full attention. Is not the question when a loved one passes, “Did they have any LAST WORDS?” And so we desire to hear the LAST WORDS which are indeed the greatest words from the greatest Man the world has ever known! Let us linger over the FAMOUS LAST WORDS of our Savior, Redeemer and Friend, His last words at His CRUCIFIXION, His last words after His RESURRECTION and His last words after His GLORIFICATION.

FAMOUS LAST WORDS AS HE WAS CRUCIFIED – Jesus spoke seven times while hanging on the Cross.

(1) He prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34).

(2) He promised one of the criminals crucified with Him, “Today you shall be with Me in paradise” (Luke 23:43).

(3) He remembered His mother, “Woman, behold Your Son!” and to John, “Behold, your mother!” (John 19:26-27).

(4) In agony “About the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “ELI, ELI, LAMA SABACHTHANI?” that is, “MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAST THOU FORSAKEN ME?”” (Mt. 27:46; Mark 15:34).

(5) “After this, Jesus, knowing that all things had already been accomplished, in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said ‘I thirst.'” (John 19:28).

(6) He uttered His cry of victory – “When Jesus therefore had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” (Tetelestai – “Paid in Full!”) (John 19:30).

“Yes, indeed / Finished, ev’ry jot / Sinner, this is all you need / Tell me, is it not?” (Ira Sankey)

(7) “Father, INTO THY HANDS I COMMIT MY SPIRIT.” And having said this, He breathed His last.” (Luke 23:46)

When our Savior cried out these FAMOUS LAST WORDS from the Cross “with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. Behold, the VEIL of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom” (Mt 27:50-51), the VEIL through which we now “have confidence (boldness) to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the (rent) VEIL, that is, His (rent) FLESH.” (Hebrews 10:19-20)

FAMOUS LAST WORDS AFTER HE WAS RESURRECTED – His last words to His disciples (which includes us beloved) were “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Mt 28:18-20) “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

FAMOUS LAST WORDS AFTER HE WAS GLORIFIED – Our glorified Redeemer spoke His last words in the last chapter of the last book of the Bible – “Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end….Yes, I am coming quickly.” (Rev 22:12-13, 20)

To which we cry “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!”

An ancient legend says that in the early church a believer was about to be martyred for his faith in the Messiah and as they tied his hands to the stake, they asked if he had any LAST WORDS, to which he jubilantly shouted “HE IS RISEN!” Unknown to the authorities, in the surrounding hills, the followers of Christ had gathered to watch the execution. When they heard the martyr’s last words “He is risen,” they cried out with one voice “HE IS RISEN INDEED!”

HE IS RISEN INDEED!

Below are the powerful words of the great Phillip Bliss hymn “Halleljujah! What a Savior” (Sung by my home church, The Austin Stone)

Man of Sorrows! what a Name
For the Son of God, Who came
Ruined sinners to reclaim.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Bearing shame and scoffing rude,
In my place condemned He stood;
Sealed my pardon with His blood.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Guilty, vile, and helpless we;
Spotless Lamb of God was He;
“Full atonement!” can it be?
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Lifted up was He to die;
“It is finished!” was His cry;
Now in Heav’n exalted high.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

When He comes, our glorious King,
All His ransomed home to bring,
Then anew His song we’ll sing:
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4u7Ayhsj18c

TABLE OF CONTENTS – 2012-2015

BIBLE - PIX

THE PROVIDENCE OF GOD February 11, 2012

1 Peter 2:1-3 COMMENTARY August 21, 2012

COMPROMISE August 9, 2012

POIEMA – GREEK WORD STUDY September 24, 2012

BOOK OF MALACHI – OVERVIEW September 14, 2012

FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT-RICHLY INDWELT BY THE WORD Sept 2, 2012

CHRIST JESUS OUR HOPE October 17, 2012

CHRISTIAN CONTENTMENT October 11, 2012

BIBLICAL PEACE – PART 2 November 20, 2012

BIBLICAL PEACE – PART 1 November 18, 2012

A POWERFUL PRINCIPLE: HOPE IN GOD November 7, 2012

THOUGHTS ON HALLELUJAH December 28, 2012

THE WILL OF GOD December 5, 2012

ABBA, FATHER January 22, 2013

THOUGHTS ON A “MARANATHA MINDSET” January 9, 2013

THOUGHTS ON HOSANNA January 5, 2013

SHEKINAH February 24, 2013

SHALOM February 13, 2013

GOD IS ABLE February 9, 2013

OUR SPIRITUAL ADOPTION February 1, 2013

THE LAMB OF GOD March 27, 2013

IMMANUEL, EMMANUEL (GOD WITH US) March 6, 2013

TETELESTAI – IT IS FINISHED! PAID IN FULL! April 5, 2013

JESUS NAME ABOVE ALL NAMES May 31, 2013

AN UNDIVIDED HEART

undivided-heart
LORD, GIVE US UNDIVIDED HEARTS (Psalm 86:11) – Integrity (see note) is derived from “integer” (a whole number as opposed to a fraction) and speaks of the quality of being undivided. O, to be men and women of integrity, lights shining in the midst of the darkness in such a way that the world might see our undivided hearts and this would bring glory to our Father Who is in heaven. (Mt 5:16, cf Php 2:15).

A great prayer in 2015 would be to pray (daily) David’s words…

“Teach me Your way, O LORD; I will walk in Your truth.
UNITE MY HEART to fear Your Name.”
(Psalm 86:11)

The NIV has “Give me an UNDIVIDED HEART.” Pastor Ray Pritchard paraphrases it “Put me together, Lord, because right now my life is scattered in a thousand directions!” (The Undivided Heart)

An UNDIVIDED HEART, O Lord,
Is what we need each day,
For we are prone to compromise
And wander from Your way.
-D De Haan

The men of the tribe of Zebulon “helped David with an UNDIVIDED HEART” (literally “without a double heart” = undivided loyalty) (1Chr 12:33) They were “all in,” of one heart, all the time, nothing held back.

Spurgeon commenting on Psalm 86:11 said “Having taught me ONE WAY, give me ONE HEART to walk therein, for too often I feel ‘a heart and a heart’ (In Ps 12:2 “double heart” in Hebrew literally = “a heart and a heart”), two natures contending, two principles struggling for sovereignty (Gal 5:17). Our minds are apt to be divided between a variety of objects, like trickling streamlets which waste their force in a hundred rivulets. Our great desire should be to have all our life floods poured into one channel and to have that channel directed towards the Lord Alone. A man of DIVIDED HEART is weak (cf Jas 1:5-8), the man of one object is the man. God Who created the bands of our nature can draw them together, tighten, strengthen, and fasten them, and so braced and inwardly knit by His uniting grace, we shall be powerful for good, but not otherwise. To fear God is both the beginning, the growth, and the maturity of wisdom (Pr 9:10, Job 28:28), therefore should we be undividedly given up to it, heart, and soul (cf Mk 12:29-31).”

Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.
(Play Fernando Ortega’s vocal)

May we all be motivated by the Spirit (Php 2:13) to imitate men like Paul (1Cor 11:1,Heb 6:11-12) who said “this ONE THING I do. forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Php 3:13-14)

And remember that “the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.” (2Chr 16:9)

Lord, by Your amazing grace and enabled by the power of Your Spirit, give us undivided hearts to fear Your Name, in the Name of Jesus, the Name above all names (Php 2:9-11). Amen

Listen to Rich Mullins great song “My One Thing” that speaks of an UNDIVIDED HEART

Click the link to read a convicting, practical message by Ray Pritchard  on “THE UNDIVIDED HEART” 

SEE RELATED TOPICS:
Compromise

Backsliding

Backsliding: Drifting Away from God

LIVE WISELY: REDEEM THE TIME

Hourglass (1)
MAY WE LIVE WISELY IN 2015: REDEEMING THE TIME, “THE TIME OF OUR LIFE” –
 Before reading on, pause and make a list of the things you value most in life. Undoubtedly God, Jesus, family, etc are at the top of your list. But did you list “TIME?” Ephesians 5:15-16 has been called the Bible’s key to “Time Management,” but might be more aptly called the key to “Life Management!” In these passages Paul commands all believers “Therefore (because we have been awakened from spiritual stupor and spiritual death and have the light of Christ – Eph 5:14BE CAREFUL (a command to continually take heed, be alert, be vigilant, to discern with Spirit enabled vision) how you walk, not as unwise men (“fools”), but as wise, REDEEMING THE TIME (making the most of every opportunity) because (explains why we must redeem the time) the days are evil (Corollary: The evil of our day should motivate us to redeem the time each day).” (Eph 5:16) If we are continually filled with God’s Spirit (Eph 5:18), He will enable us to be on “high alert” for spiritual opportunities which we can seize before they are gone. What opportunities are passing before us today? How will we respond? Will we even see them? We don’t want to be like agnostic Mark Twain who said “I was seldom able to see an opportunity until it had ceased to be one.” As followers of Christ may we imitate Paul’s example and live as if every minute counts—because it does! (Read 1Cor 11:1, Heb 6:12) It takes only a moment in time to be kind, but that moment will bear fruit that lasts throughout eternity. Indeed, as Wiersbe reminds us “No good deed done for the glory of Jesus Christ will ever be forgotten before God. No loving word spoken in Jesus’ Name will ever be wasted. If we don’t see the harvest in this life, we’ll see it when we stand before the Lord. Even a cup of cold water given in the name of Christ will have its just reward” and hear “Well done!” (Mt 10:42; 25:31-46)

Some lives are darkened by want and care;
The lack of sympathy brings despair;
Seek out such souls and their burdens share,
Redeeming the precious time.

Adoniram Judson a famous missionary to Burma wrote that “A life once spent is irrevocable. It will remain to be contemplated through eternity and the same may be said of each day. When it is once past, it is gone forever. All the marks which we put upon it, it will exhibit forever. Each day will not only be a witness of our conduct, but will affect our everlasting destiny (Read 1Ti 4:7-8Rev 22:12). How shall we then wish to see each day marked with usefulness! It is too late to mend the days that are past (Read what Paul did with his regret-Php 3:13-14). The future is in our power (when we are in His hand). Let us, then, each morning, (enabled by God’s Spirit) resolve to send the day into eternity in such a garb as we shall wish it to wear forever. And at night let us reflect that one more day is irrevocably gone, indelibly (forever) marked.” Like Adoniram Judson we need to embrace an eternal perspective in this temporal world. Too often we number our years and not our days. However we live one day at a time, and so we should instead number our days that we might make them count for eternity. “So teach us to number our days that we may present to Thee a heart of wisdom.” (Ps 90:12)  

A day is full of many hours just waiting for your using;
and there are many ways to spend them,
so be careful in your choosing.

A farmer’s clock ran amuck one morning and struck seventeen. The man of the house jumped up and ran all over the place, saying, “Get up, it’s later than it ever has been before!” It is later than it ever has been by God’s eternal timepiece. It is later than you think! Don’t vacillate! Don’t hesitate! Don’t procrastinate! Time is loaned to us and, as stewards of Christ, we must use it wisely. Let us each redeem the golden moments of opportunity while we still can!  We do “not know what our life will be like tomorrow. We are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.” (James 4:14) “Man is like a mere breath; His days are like a passing shadow.” (Ps 144:4) “As for the days of our life, they contain seventy years, or if due to strength, eighty years, yet their pride is but labor and sorrow; For soon it is gone and we fly away.” (Ps 90:9, 10) As Spurgeon (who went home at age 59) said “A short life should be wisely spent. We have not enough time at our disposal to justify us in misspending a single quarter of an hour!” He even reduced our lives to four words “Sown, groan, blown, gone!” Dear Father, in light of the fact that our life is but a vapor and the “night is almost gone and the day is at hand,” (Ro 13:12) by Your Spirit grant us the desire and power to obey Jesus’ command to “lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal” remembering that “where our treasure is, there will our heart be also.” Amen (Mt 6:20-21)

The grain stands white in the harvest field
And rich the fruitage which it will yield.
Step in today and the sickle wield,
Redeeming the precious time.

Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel awoke one morning and read his own obituary in the local newspaper. It read, “Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, who died yesterday, devised a way for more people to be killed in a war than ever before, and he died a very rich man.” It was Alfred’s older brother who had died; a newspaper reporter had bungled the epitaph. But that account had a tremendous impact on Nobel, who decided he wanted to be remembered for something different. As a result, he initiated the Nobel Prize to reward individuals who foster peace. He said,Every man ought to have the chance to correct his epitaph in midstream and write a new one.” Alexander Graham Bell said that “When one door closes, another one opens, but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one that has opened for us.” In Christ and enabled by His Spirit, we are given a golden opportunity to see those divinely opened doors and pass into the inheritance beyond, even “writing” a new “eternal epitaph!” As Larry Moyer said “Decide now what you want written on your tombstone, then live your life backward from there.” Stated another way, instead of counting your days, make your days count!  In fact, we should live every day as if it might be our last, for one of these days we will be right!

The Lord soon comes, His own to take,
And of their stewardship reckoning make;
Blest will he be, that for Jesus’ sake,
Has ever redeemed the time!

The word OPPORTUNITY is derived from the Latin “ob portu.” In ancient times before modern harbors, ships had to wait for the timing of the tide before they could make it safely to port. Thus “OB PORTU,” described the ship waiting “FOR PORT,” ready to seize the crucial moment when it could ride the tide into safe harbor. The captain knew that if he missed the passing tide, the ship would have to wait for another tide to come in. God gives each of us many “ob portu’s”, but we must be spiritually wise and Spirit filled in order to see and seize them. As Charles Swindoll said “We are all faced with a series of great opportunities (ob portu’s) brilliantly disguised as impossible situations.” Joseph Parker described “a king of Sicily who was called “The Lingerer,” not because he stayed till opportunity came, but because he stayed till opportunity was lost. There is a time to wait and a time to act. Overlong waiting means loss of chance!” Shakespeare’s famous line from Julius Caesar conveys the same thought: “There is a tide in the affairs of men (an “ob portu”), Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune; Omitted, all the voyage of their life Is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat; And we must take the current when it serves, Or lose our ventures.” History tells us of Hannibal that when he could have taken Rome he would not, and when he would he could not! Hannibal missed the “opportune time,” the brief “window of opportunity,” even as believers can if we lose our eternal perspective!  

John Broadus said “Opportunity is like a fleet horse that pauses for a moment at one’s side. If you fail to mount him in that moment, you can hear the clatter of his hoofs down the corridors of time. That opportunity is gone forever.”

Now is the only time we own
To do His precious will,
Do not wait until tomorrow;
For the clock may then be still!

Opportunity is the flower of time which blooms for a moment and is gone forever. Napoleon said, “There is in the midst of every great battle a ten to fifteen minute period that is the crucial point (cf kairos). Take that period and you win the battle; lose it and you will be defeated.” D. L. Moody recalls an incident in his ministry that brought him great distress because he failed to redeem the time. “On the night when the courthouse bell of Chicago was sounding an alarm of fire, my sermon was upon ‘What Shall I Do with Jesus?’ I said to the audience, ‘I want you to decide this question by next Sunday.’ What a mistake! That night I saw the glare of flames, and knew that Chicago was doomed. I never saw that audience again!” Redeem the time!

Lost souls are hastening down to doom
Without a ray to dispel the gloom
Give them the Gospel, their path illume,
Redeeming the precious time.

Jonathan Edwards America’s greatest theologian understood Paul’s charge to “redeem the time” and so as a young man wrote “Resolved: Never to lose one moment of time, but to improve it in the most profitable way I possibly can. Resolved: to live with all my might while I do live.” The 16th-century reformer Philip Melanchthon kept a record of every wasted moment and took his list to God in confession at the end of each day. Little wonder that God used him in such mighty ways. Like these great saints before us, we too should spend time wisely, by investing in eternity! 

Time that is past you can never recall,
Of time to come, you are not sure at all;

Only the present is now in your power,
Therefore, redeem and improve every hour.

Noah Webster said that opportunity is the convergence of a favorable juncture of circumstances, but in God’s universe the convergence of circumstances is not left to “chance” or “fate” but is under His providential control, so let us pray daily for God’s Spirit to open the eyes of our heart” (Eph 1:18) to recognize and seize the fleeting opportunities God gives us. Most of us are familiar with Garage Sales – if the ad says the sale begins at 8AM, you can be sure there will be “redeemers” on site thirty minutes early, lest they miss the best opportunities which go fast! As J H Jowett says “in all these purchasings everything goes to the early buyer. To be first in the market must be our constant aim. Let us regard every moment as precious treasure, and before the enemy of our souls can lay his hand upon it, let us be up and buy it for the Lord.” Indeed, may we be as determined as shoppers eager for temporal trinkets, making the most of every opportunity to purchase timeless treasures!  

The time is short!
If thou wouldst work for God it must be now;
If thou wouldst win the garland for thy brow,
Redeem the time.
With His reward He comes; He tarries not; His day is near;
When men least look for Him, will He be here;
Prepare for Him!”
–Horatius Bonar

John Piper reiterates the truth that the “OPPORTUNITY of a lifetime” may “never come again. The days are evil; opposition is great; be wise as serpents (Mt 10:16). Understand what the will of the Lord is (Eph 5:17). These words ring with a sense of urgency. They are like the words of a platoon leader addressing his unit just before they enter combat. The air is tense and your heart is beating fast and, even if you love battle, your hands are sweaty. “Watch your step; be smart; don’t miss your opportunity; keep yourself lean for the battle!” In other words, the Christian life is a vigilant life, defensively guarding itself from the subtleties of the evil days and offensively redeeming the time to strike for love and righteousness again and again. We are a vigilant people at war with unbelief and evil. O to be a faithful steward of the breath God has given me. Surely God means for our minutes on earth to count for something significant. Paul said, “In the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain” (Php 2:16). In the same way, I have good hope from the Lord that my “labor is not in vain in the Lord” (1Co 15:58). And I commend this promise to you. No minute need be lived in vain. Eternity will render it significant if lived in faith for the glory of God. In the end we rest in this: “My times are in Your hand” (Psalm 31:15).

The clock of life is wound but once,
And no man has the power
To say just when the hands will stop;
At late, or early hour.

As we have seen the idea of KAIROS is not “clock time” but what one writer calls “kingdom opportunities” those openings for ministry that often come at inconvenient times – a friend who wants to talk, a child with a problem, the chance to lend a hand to someone in need. Paul is encouraging us to keep our lives uncluttered so that we are prepared to respond when the need arises—lest the fleeting kingdom opportunities, which are “the best,” be squeezed out by “the good” in our busy schedules. Think back on your last 24 hours – were there some “kingdom opportunities” you saw (or see now in retrospect) and which you rushed past because you were “too busy”? Are we so task oriented that we miss the “kingdom tasks” God gives us the privilege to experience? May His Spirit give us all “kingdom vision”! Amen

The good we do is never lost,
Each kindly act takes root,
And every bit of love we sow
In time will bear rich fruit.

Beloved, it is too late to redeem the time that has passed but not the time that is passing. We can always make more money, but we cannot make more time. Once it is gone, it is gone forever. And when our time on this earth is over, “we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ” to give an account to the One Who gave us the priceless gift of TIME (2Cor 5:10). May God grant us His amazing grace that we might make the most of the rest of our time on earth, knowing that one day soon we will enter into the “rest of our life” in Christ. Amen

Now may we all take a moment, to prayerfully ponder the days God has numbered for each of us, as we listen to the soul stirring words of Robin Mark’s song

When It’s All Been Said and Done

When It’s All Been Said and Done
There is just one thing that matters.
Did I do my best to live for Truth?
Did I live my life for You?

When It’s All Been Said and Done
All my treasures will mean nothing.
Only what I’ve done for love’s reward,
Will stand the test of time.

See Related Topic – A Year of Grace

IMMANUEL, EMMANUEL (GOD WITH US)-Pt 2

Immanuel
IMMANUEL, EMMANUEL (GOD WITH US)-Pt 2: Whether spelled with an “I” (Hebrew ‘Immanu =with us + El = God) or with an “E” (Greek = “Emmanouel”), Jesus is our IMMANUEL. So let us come aside from the hectic pace of the season for a moment and meditate on the great Name Immanuel, the Name which was Foretold, which was Fulfilled and which will endure Forever.

IMMANUEL WAS FORETOLD – The Name “Immanuel” occurs only three times in the Bible, but the great truth of “GOD WITH US” saturates the Scripture from Genesis to Revelation. We first see Immanuel as God with Adam, the “LORD God walking in the Garden of Eden in the cool of the day” (Ge 3:8note), Creator communing with creature, until that awful day when “sin entered into the world and death (symbolic of separation entered) through sin” (Ro 5:12note). Thereafter God’s interactions with man were generally more remote (Jehovah descended upon Sinai with fire, a mountain that could not even be touched!  Ex 19:18, Heb 12:18-19note), less personal (pillar of cloud by day and fire by night Ex 13:21-22) and less accessible (Only the Levitical high priest could enter into Jehovah’s presence and only once per year Lev 16:31-34note). And yet because of His great lovingkindnesses, God “set eternity in our heart” (Eccl 3:11), giving every person a deep yearning to intimately know Him, for “that which is known about God is evident within us.” (Ro 1:19note) But it is not enough to know that God is “up there” or “out there” somewhere. We want to know that God has come down to where we are, that He knows where we live, that He knows our name, that He cares about us, that He has “walked this lonesome valley” we walk. We want to know that we are not alone in the universe. Even wise Solomon asked “will God indeed dwell with mankind on the earth?” (2Chr 6:18) In His great grace and mercy, God answered through the prophet Isaiah who foretold that “the Lord Himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call Him IMMANUEL” (Isaiah 7:14note). And so our hearts sing “O come, O come, Emmanuel, And ransom captive Israel, That mourns in lonely exile here, Until the Son of God appear.”

IMMANUEL WAS FULFILLED – The young boy looked into the sky and asked his mother, “Is God up there?” When she assured him that He was, he replied, “Wouldn’t it be nice if He would put His head out and let us see Him?” What the boy didn’t understand was that God has let us see Him—in Immanuel. We don’t have to guess what God is like. Nor do we have to wonder if He’s alive. Matthew described His miraculous birth writing “Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet Isaiah: “Behold (pay attention!), the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and they shall call His Name EMMANUEL,” which translated means, “GOD WITH US.” (Mt 1:22-23Spurgeon’s sermon “God With Us”) Not God without us! Not God against us! But God with us! While Emmanuel in Isaiah 7:14 was a sign of God’s deliverance of Israel from temporal trouble, the Name Immanuel in Mt 1:23 is a sign of God’s deliverance of sinners from eternal trouble! The Father sent Messiah to earth as a Man and “the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth” (Jn 1:14note), “the mystery of godliness, Who was revealed in the flesh.” (1Ti 3:16). As someone said “God did not send Christ to us. God came to us in Christ.” Immanuel, the Infinite became Finite, the Divine became Human, while remaining fully God and fully Man, veiling His Majesty (2Pe 1:16note) in Meekness (Mt 11:29note). The King of glory became the servant of men (Php 2:7-8note, Mk 10:45). “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift” (2Cor 9:15note)! Little wonder that as John Wesley lay dying in 1791, he roused himself, opened his eyes, and exclaimed “The best of all is, GOD IS WITH US!” Then he closed his eyes and fell asleep in Jesus, His Immanuel! Indeed, as Spurgeon (CHS) affirmed, Jesus Christ is “IMMANUEL, GOD WITH US in our nature, in our sorrow, in our lifework, in our punishment, in our grave, and now with us, or rather we with Him, in resurrection, ascension, triumph, and Second Advent splendor.” “There is a fountain filled with blood, Drawn from Immanuel’s veins, And sinners plunged beneath that flood, Lose all their guilty stains, Lose all their guilty stains.” (William Cowper)

The Gospel of Matthew opens with “Behold!…IMMANUEL…GOD WITH US” (Mt 1:23) and closes with “Lo! I AM WITH YOU always, even to the end of the age!” (Mt 28:20note) Warren Wiersbe writes “What a tremendous assurance – “I am with you always!” In Mt 1:23, Jesus was called “IMMANUEL,” God with us, and in Mt 28:20 He reaffirms that Name. He is with us through His Spirit, in His Word, by His providential care, and with His divine presence. This is the promise that has encouraged and enabled messengers of Christ down through the years.” Indeed, Immanuel was God FOR us before He became God WITH us, and it was because He was FOR us that He became God WITH us. GOD WITH US allowed Jesus to be crucified as the God-Man, so that He could be GOD IN US, the hope of glory (Col 1:27note). And if He is GOD IN US, then He is also GOD FOR US as Paul affirms asking “What then shall we say to these things? If GOD IS FOR US, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?” (Ro 8:31-32note)  “Veiled in flesh the Godhead see; Hail the incarnate Deity, Pleased as Man with men to dwell, Jesus, our Emmanuel. Hark! The herald angels sing, ‘Glory to the newborn King!'” (Charles Wesley)

IMMANUEL WILL ENDURE FOREVER – From Genesis to Revelation, from “the garden of Eden” (Ge 2:15) to “the paradise of God” (Rev 2:7note), God is IMMANUEL, GOD WITH US. John testifies to the surpassing richness of the future grace to be revealed to us (Eph 2:7note, 1Pe 1:13note) writing “And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is WITH MEN, and He shall dwell WITH THEM, and they shall be His people, and GOD HIMSELF SHALL BE WITH THEM.” (Rev 21:3note) Jesus descended to be GOD WITH US so that as a Man He might be “pierced through FOR” US (“for our transgressions”). (Isa 53:5note) After His resurrection Immanuel’s wounds remained visible to His disciples on Earth (Jn 20:20, 27) and will remain visible to His bondservants in Heaven. Standing in heaven, John writes “I saw between the throne…a Lamb standing, as if slain (~His scars!)” (Rev 5:6note)  It has been said, “the only man-made thing in heaven will be the scars of the Savior.”  “The first Heaven and the first earth” will pass away (Rev 21:1note), but the Lamb’s scars will never pass away, marks that will forever testify of His unfailing covenant love. Spurgeon says “Wonderfully true is this fact: when you and I come to the closing scene of life we will find that Emmanuel, “God with us” has been there. He felt the pangs and throes of death. We will be raised in His likeness, and the first sight our opening eyes will see is the incarnate Lamb of God, God with us. We will see Him as Man and as God, and throughout all eternity He will maintain the most intimate relationship with us. As long as ages roll, He will be “God with us.” Both His human and divine life will last forever, and so will our life.” He became Immanuel on earth that He might be our Immanuel throughout eternity, God with us, we with Him, bound fast by the unbreakable union of the everlasting, new covenant in His blood, forever sealed by the marks on His glorified body! As Immanuel, Jesus entered time as a Man to die in our place, and arose a Man to be eternally our Immanuel. Hallelujah! Let us joyfully sing “All hail to Thee, IMMANUEL, we cast our crowns before Thee; Let every heart obey Thy will, and every voice adore Thee. In praise to Thee, our Savior King, the vibrant chords of Heaven ring, And echo back the mighty strain: All hail! All hail! All hail IMMANUEL!” (D R Van Sickle)

APPLICATION: In our daily experience, when trials unexpectedly assault us, do we run to the Strong Tower of Jesus, our IMMANUEL that we might be safe (literally “lifted up” [above the fray!])? (Pr 18:10note, cp Ps 91:14note) I fear many of us (myself included) are too often like the children of Israel who showed their lack of faith asking “Is the LORD among us or not?” (Ex 17:7) We need to take up the shield of faith (Eph 6:16note) and remind ourselves that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, yes and forever” (Heb 13:8note) and that He has promised “I will absolutely never, not ever, leave you, no, never, not ever forsake you.” (Heb 13:5note five negatives in Greek! Cp Josh 1:5note) Indeed, what we need even more than deliverance from trouble is the sure knowledge that Jesus is our IMMANUEL in the midst of the trouble. The secret of peace is not a plan or program but a Person, IMMANUEL, God with us (cp Ps 20:7note). David testifies “those who know (intimately, by experience) Your Name (IMMANUEL) will put their trust in You.” (Ps 9:10note) Knowing and trusting in His Name IMMANUEL is God’s antidote for fear. When Israel feared the giants in the land God had promised to give them, Moses reminded them “the LORD is WITH US; do not FEAR!” (Nu 14:9) When danger threatens or calamity strikes, we can be assured of Immanuel’s personal presence and power to comfort and calm. In our valley times, we would do well to remind ourselves of David’s affirmation that “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I FEAR no evil, for (explains why “no fear”) YOU ARE WITH ME, Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” (Ps 23:4note) In Isaiah God tenderly exhorts us “Do not fear, for I AM WITH YOU; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” (Isa 41:10note, cp Dt 20:1, Isa 43:5). Enabled by the Spirit of Christ, let us put our faith in His Name IMMANUEL and put our fears to rest! And when fear knocks at our door, may God grant us the grace to send faith to open it. “Adam’s likeness, Lord, efface, Stamp Thine image in its place: Second Adam from above, Reinstate us in Thy love.” (C. Wesley)

IMMANUEL SUMMARIZED: “If GOD be WITH US, we are in ennobling company, even though we are poor and despised. If GOD be WITH US, we have all-sufficient strength (2Cor 12:9), for nothing can be too difficult for the Lord (Ge 18:14). If GOD be WITH US, we are always safe, for none can harm those who walk under His shadow (Ps 57:1). Oh, what a joy we have here! Not only is GOD WITH US, but He will be with us— with us as individuals, with us as families, with us as churches. Is not the very Name of Jesus, Immanuel—GOD WITH US? Is not this the best of all, that GOD is WITH US? Let us be bravely diligent and joyously hopeful. Our cause must prosper, the truth must win, for GOD is WITH THOSE who are with Him.” (CHS)

PRAYER: Let us consider echoing Spurgeon’s prayer “Blessed Immanuel, we gladly obey You! In You our darkness ends and from the shadow of death we rise to the Light of life. It is salvation to be obedient to You (Jn 3:36ESV). It is the end of gloom to the one that was in anguish to bow himself before You. May God the Holy Spirit take of the things of Christ and show them unto us, and then we shall all cry— “Go worship at Immanuel’s feet! See in His face what wonders meet! Earth is too narrow to express; His worth, His grace, His righteousness.” to which we add “O Come, O Come Emmanuel.” Amen

Play Immanuel, God is with us! by Michael Card

A sign shall be given, A virgin will conceive
A human baby bearing undiminished Deity
The Glory of the nations, a Light for all to see
And Hope for all who will embrace His warm reality.

Refrain
IMMANUEL, OUR GOD IS WITH US
And if GOD IS WITH US, who could stand against us?
Our GOD IS WITH US, IMMANUEL.

For all those who live in the shadow of death
A Glorious Light has dawned
For all those who stumble in the darkness
Behold, your Light has come.
Refrain

So what will be your answer? Will you hear the call
Of Him Who did not spare His Son but gave Him for us all
On earth there is no power, there is no depth nor height
That could ever separate us from the love of God in Christ.
Refrain

For more detail on Immanuel see
http://preceptaustin.org/immanuel-emmanuel.htm

ARE YOU THIRSTY FOR LIVING WATER?

Waterfall
Are You Thirsty for Living Water?
– Thirst is a basic God-given longing for water which is accompanied by a sensation of dryness in one’s mouth. In the same way, spiritual thirst is a God-given longing for Jesus “the fountain of living waters”
(Jer 2:13), accompanied by a sense of “dryness” in one’s soul (cp Ps 42:1-2note Ps 63:1note). A man can live weeks without food, but only a few days without water. Even as water is necessary for life, so too the “living water” from Jesus is necessary for life everlasting. Absence of both physical water and “living water” means suffering and sickness, dearth and death, one temporal, the other eternal! A source of fresh water sustains life in both a physical and a spiritual sense. And yet no matter how much we drink from the world’s “broken cisterns” (Jer 2:13) of wealth and achievement, we only become thirstier. Seeking to satisfy our thirst with the things of this world which “is passing away” (1Jn 2:15-17note) is like drinking sea-water, for the more we drink, the thirstier we become. Puritan Richard Sibbes said “All earthly things are as salt water, that increaseth the appetite, but satisfieth not!” Man was made for eternity, and the things of time can never satisfy! The Rolling Stones’ were right: “I can’t get no satisfaction!”…at least not from the world’s water, which is like a mirage that promises but is never able to satiate our deepest needs, for “everyone who drinks of this “water” will thirst again.” (Jn 4:13note). Thomas Brooks reminds us that “A man may have enough of the world to sink him, but he can never have enough to satisfy him.” A thirst for God can only be satisfied by Christ, Who freely gives Living Water (Jn 4:10note, Jn 7:38note, Rev 7:17KJVnote). Indeed, only when Jesus is our sole Source of satisfaction, shall we experience supernatural satisfaction in our soul. “Therefore you will joyously draw water from (His) springs of salvation.” (Isa 12:3note) Is He enough for you beloved? As the Psalmist said “He has satisfied (is “enough” for) the thirsty soul, and the hungry soul He has filled with what is good.” (Ps 107:9note) Augustine prayed “Thou hast made us for Thyself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee.” Spurgeon (CHS) adds that “The Lord sets us longing for Himself and then completely satisfies us with Himself. That longing leads us into solitude, separation, thirst, faintness and self-despair, and all these conduct us to prayer, faith, divine guidance, and finally to satisfying of the soul’s thirst and rest (in Christ). The good hand of the Lord is to be seen in the whole process and in the divine result.” And remember that if I am not satisfied with what I have (in Christ), I will never be satisfied with what I want (in the world)! In what or whom are we seeking soul satisfaction? Too often when we are spiritually thirsty, we are tempted to go everywhere except to the Source, Jesus Christ. Remember that “Jesus quenches our thirst personally, not by proxy.” And the risk of not going to the Source is that “untended fires soon die and become a pile of ashes.” We need to repent and re-kindle our love for Jesus (Rev 2:4-5note) and the best kindling is to let the living and abiding word Word of Christ dwell in us richly (1Pe 1:23note, Col 3:16note) and to pray about everything (Php 4:6-7note).  “The Lord wants us to come to Him, To quench our thirsty soul, For from Him flow life-giving streams, To heal and make us whole.” (Sper)

Robert Browning said “I thirst for truth, but shall not reach it till I reach the source.” Whether Browning ever drank from the Source, I do not know, but He was right. Scripture reveals that the Source of Truth for which all men thirst is a Person, Christ Jesus. In one of the greatest invitations in the Bible “Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If any man is THIRSTY, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.’” (Jn 7:37-38note) Ray Pritchard writes that “Jesus’ words must have shocked His hearers with their stunning simplicity for His short statement contains the essence of the Gospel message. It is centered in a Person-JESUS CHRIST. It is offered to all without restriction-IF ANYONE (cp Joel 2:32, Ro 10:13note). It is predicated upon human need-IF ANYONE IS THIRSTY. It demands a personal response-LET HIM COME TO ME (cp Mt 11:28note). It invites personal participation-AND DRINK (cp Mt 11:29note).” Over and over, God offers redemption to rebellious men – “Ho! Everyone who THIRSTS, come to the WATERS…Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what DOES NOT SATISFY?” (Isa 55:1-2note) “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” (Ps 34:8note) As John Piper pithily says “Compared to His excellencies, all the world is an uncooked egg white. But the honey of heaven makes the eyes glow!” Indeed, “Blessed (spiritually satisfied independent of circumstances)  are those who keep on (present tense) hungering and keep on (present tense) thirsting for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” (Mt 5:6note) Spurgeon writes “if you be but willing, you are invited; therefore COME! You have no belief and no repentance. COME to Him, and He will give them to you. COME just as you are, and take ‘Freely,’ without money and without price. He gives Himself to needy ones.” In the Revelation God declares “It is done (cp Jesus’ cry on the Cross = “It is finished”-Jn 19:30note). I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give to the one who THIRSTS from the spring of the WATER OF LIFE without cost.” (Rev 21:6note) And again “the Spirit and the bride say, “COME.” And let the one who hears say, “COME.” And let the one who is THIRSTY COME; let the one who wishes take the WATER OF LIFE without cost.” (Rev 22:17note) As Billy Graham once said “God puts no price tag on the Gift of gifts—it is free! Preachers are not salesmen, for they have nothing to sell. They are the bearers of Good News! (as are all saints)” Indeed, “As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is GOOD NEWS (the Gospel) from a far country” (Proverbs 25:25). I pray all who are reading these great Gospel invitations can sing with gusto the words of Bonar’s great hymn…

I came to Jesus, and I drank,
Of that life-giving stream;
My thirst was quenched, my soul revived,

And now I live in Him.

Are you Spiritually Depleted? Do you feel like you are sinking in a slough of despond? Perhaps you feel like David who prayed (a pattern we do well to imitate) “Deliver (save) me from the mire (“temporal trouble” – CHS), and do not let me sink.” (Ps 69:14note, cp “deliver us” in Mt 6:13note) Mexico City is sinking according to a report stating that “So much water has been pumped out from the aquifer beneath the city to satisfy its 18 million thirsty residents that the ground is collapsing at a stunning rate,” sinking 30 feet in the past century. Is a similar dynamic occurring in you, spiritually speaking? You’ve given so much to others that your energy is gone and you feel drained and depleted, as if your life is collapsing in on itself. What started as a noble venture to help thirsty people has become a journey through the desert. If this describes you beloved, recall that Jesus said, “If ANYONE thirsts, let him come (present tense – keep on coming) to Me and drink (present tense – keep on drinking). He who believes in Me, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ and this He spoke concerning the Spirit.” (Jn. 7:37-39note) And speaking to the Samaritan woman at the well, Jesus said “whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst, but the water that I shall give him shall become in him a well of water (present tense = continually) springing up to eternal life.” (Jn 4:14note, Jn 6:35note) So yes, one drink of His living water saves us forever (Heb 7:25note), but daily drinking sustains our spiritual vitality (Mt 4:4).  And so Jesus paints a picture of an indwelling, ever bubbling supply, one which produces not just a trickle but rivers (plural) of living water as the Holy Spirit flows forth from our innermost being. As Jesus explained “It is the Spirit who gives life. The flesh profits nothing. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.” (Jn 6:63note) In summary, Jesus is the Fountain of Life, His Spirit the Flow of Life, and His Word, the Word of Life (Php 2:16note), the means of experiencing the living water, as the Spirit daily enlightens our heart and transforms our inner being into the image of Jesus from one degree of glory to another (Eph 1:18note, 2Cor 3:18note). Indeed, although our Christian life sometimes seems like a waterless waste, Jesus’ living Word is ever able to quench our thirst in those times of spiritual declension. His trustworthy word to sinking saints is “I the Lord, am your God…open your mouth wide and I will fill it” (Ps 81:10note), promising “I satisfy the weary (Lxx = thirsting) ones and refresh everyone who languishes (Lxx = hungers).” (Jer 31:25) When by faith we believe the promise that Jesus’ divine power has granted to us everything necessary for life and godliness (2Pe 1:3note), we begin to experience the Spirit’s rivers of living water which are more than enough to refresh us in times of spiritual depletion. “Well of water, ever springing, Bread of life so rich and free, Untold wealth that never faileth, my Redeemer is to me.” (Clara Williams)

Father, I fear that too often I drink from the stagnant, broken cisterns of this passing world, fully aware that they can never satisfy my deepest longings. Forgive me and enable me to find in Christ Alone the only “fountain of life” (Ps 36:9note) that can quench my thirsting soul. And by Your Spirit, may Christ’s life and fruit flow forth from me as rivers of living water, flowing in such a way that others may see Your Son in me and be drawn to drink of His living water. Amen

Play Horatius Bonar’s “I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say”

I heard the voice of Jesus say
“Come unto Me and rest.
Lay down Thy weary, one, lay down,
Thy head upon My breast.”

I came to Jesus as I was,
So weary, worn and sad.
I found in Him a Resting Place,
And He has made me glad.

I heard the voice of Jesus say,
Behold I freely give,
The living water, thirsty one,
Stoop down and drink and live.

I came to Jesus, and I drank,
Of that life-giving stream;
My thirst was quenched, my soul revived,
And now I live in Him.

I heard the voice of Jesus say,
I am this dark world’s Light.
Look unto Me; thy morn shall rise.
And thy day be bright.

I looked to Jesus and I found,
In Him my Star, my Sun,
And in that Light of Life, I’ll walk,
Tell traveling days are done.

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