“Unto you therefore which believe He is precious” (1 Peter 2:7).
How precious is the person and work of Christ to you? He means everything to God. We read: “To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious…Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on Him shall not be confounded” (1 Peter 2:4, 6). This is God’s estimation of His beloved Son, in spite of what man thinks of Him. We also read of God’s value of the blood of His Son, Scripture calling it “the precious blood of Christ” (1 Peter 1:19).
As we consider the preciousness of Christ to the heart of God His Father, it will increase and deepen our value and sense of His worth, and worthiness. This will also produce praise and worship in our hearts, like Mary who took, “an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious; and she brake the box, and poured it on His head” (Mark 14:3).
A foreign prince, travelling through France, visited the arsenal of Toulon, where the galleys were kept. The commandant said he was welcome to set free any prisoner he chose. Wishing to make the best use of this privilege he spoke to many, inquiring why they were condemned. Injustice, false accusation, oppression, were the only causes they gave. They had all been ill-treated and were innocent.
At last he came to one who answered: “My lord, I have no reason to complain, I have been a very wicked, desperate wretch. I have often deserved to be broken alive on the wheel. I account it a great mercy I am here.”
The prince said, “You wicked wretch! It is a pity you should be among so many honest men; by your own confession you are bad enough to corrupt them all; but you shall not stay with them another day.” Then turning to the officer, he said, “This is the man, sir, I wish to release.”
All the prisoners were guilty, but only one owned and confessed it, and he was set free. So our gracious God deals with us sinners. “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy” (Proverbs 28:13).
“I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding; And, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down. Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction. Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth; and thy want as an armed man” (Proverbs 24:30-34).
God never encourages laziness or indolence in any aspect of our Christian life. Laziness and self-indulgence are the deadly poisons of all good. Fields overgrown with thorns and thistles, and fences broken down and in disrepair are evidences of physical laziness; but far worse than even that is spiritual laziness. We must be diligent and consistent in studying the Word of God and in our personal prayer life, in order to hear His voice, and to know His desires and will for us. Let us study, let us pray, let us seek His counsel, that our spiritual field may flourish and be a testimony to those around us, and a joy to the Lord.
“From above the horse gate repaired the priests, every one over against his house” (Nehemiah 3:28).
This gate would suggest the thought of Christian warfare and the defence of the truth. Solomon tells us: “The horse is prepared against the day of battle” (Proverbs 21:31).The Christian does not have a physical warfare like God’s people, the Israelites, did in the Old Testament. We read, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood” (Ephesians 6:12). Nonetheless we have a very real warfare. It is a spiritual warfare, as the verse goes on to explain: “against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
The enemy, Satan, is busy to discourage the believer and to undermine the truth of Scripture. This is especially true in these closing moments of the day of grace. That’s why Jude said, “It was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (verse 3).
Keeping the Horse Gate repaired is standing firm for the Lord and for the truth in a day of spiritual battle.
“The name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” (Matthew 28:19).
I suppose if we could understand God and the Trinity He wouldn’t be God. He is infinite and we are finite—mere mortals. The following account illustrates this fact very well.
It is said of Augustine (334-430 AD), that he was once walking along the seashore, while he was greatly perplexed about the doctrine of the trinity—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, equal in wisdom, power, and glory, yet three in one. As he meditated, he observed a little boy with a sea shell running to the water, filling his shell and then pouring it into a hole which he had made in the sand.
“What are you doing, my boy?” asked Augustine.
“Oh!” replied the boy, “I am trying to put the ocean in this hole.”
Augustine had learned his lesson, and as he passed on, he said, “That is what I am trying to do; I see it now. Standing on the shores of time I am trying to get into this finite mind things which are infinite.”
When Paul wrote to the Thessalonian believers he had a special burden and prayer for them. “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:23).
Man is a tripartite being, spirit, soul, and body. The body is the physical part of us, the structure in which the spirit and soul dwell. When they leave, the body is dead according to Scripture. “The body without the spirit is dead” (James 2:26).
The spirit enables a person to have fellowship with God. The soul enables him to interact with his environment, and is the seat of his feelings and emotions. We are perfectly designed by the grace of God, for the complete enjoyment of God’s creation, of one another, and of Himself. No one can deny this marvellous design. So if there is a design, how can anyone deny that there is a Designer? The Bible plainly declares: “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Genesis 2:7).
“Good morning.” We often hear these words, especially when we get to school or work, meet our friends during the morning, or stop to buy a cup of coffee along the way. It is a greeting of politeness that perhaps we think very little about.
But God our Father wants us to not only have a good morning, but a good day as well. We read of God’s people in the days of Esther, that they “had joy and gladness, a feast and a good day” (Esther 8:17). There had been much to cause sorrow and anxiety, but God had intervened on behalf of His people, and they rejoiced and had a “good day.”
We too can have a “good day” as we recognise God’s hand in the circumstances and ordering of our life. Let’s focus on His goodness this week, realizing that “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).
Walk with the Lord, and you will have a good day, and a good week too.
“Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? who hath gathered the wind in his fists? who hath bound the waters in a garment? who hath established all the ends of the earth? what is His name, and what is His Son’s name, if thou canst tell?” (Proverbs 30:4).
If we notice the beginning of this chapter it is, “The words of Agur the son of Jakeh.” He raises a very interesting question as to the name of God’s Son, to which he himself never got the answer. Later Isaiah gives us some further revelation. “Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel….And His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 7:14; 9:6). Then in Matthew the angel says to Joseph, “Thou shalt call His name JESUS: for He shall save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).
Today, we do not have to wonder what His name is. We know Him as the Lord Jesus Christ. His name and person have been fully revealed in His coming into the world as a man and giving Himself for us on the cross. What a name! What a Savior!
Most people are looking for all they can get in this world. They will accept the pleasures, riches, honors, or anything which will add to their enjoyment here. But when it comes to accepting true riches from God, pleasures for evermore, and a place with Christ in glory, they are not so ready or willing. Salvation, forgiveness of sins, eternal life and an everlasting inheritance in glory are freely offered by God to every needy sinner. We either accept these gifts or we reject them and spend eternity in hell. The same God who created us in the beginning also has something much better for us in the end. All that is required is our acceptance.
Yet how few there are who are willing to receive these priceless blessings! How freely God, in His Word, offers His gifts to every believing sinner! “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23). No matter what your past life has been, if you will just bow to God in true repentance, and put your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, then this blessing and many more will be God’s free gift to you.
The following incident illustrates in a simple yet beautiful way the fact that we do not have to try to be a Christian, it is all the work of grace in us and for us:
A visitor to the nursing home asked an elderly, bed-ridden woman who said she was trying to be a Christian: “Are you trying to be Mrs. Whyte?
“No,” was the reply, “I am Mrs. Whyte.”
“How long have you been Mrs. Whyte?” the visitor questioned.
“Ever since this ring was placed on my hand.”
“That is how it is with me. I do not try to be a Christian. I have been one ever since I put out my empty hand and received Christ as my Savior.”
The Word of God declares: “But after that the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us” (Titus 3:4-5).
We also read: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8).