“The Lord is my Rock” (Psalm 18:2). “For Thou hast been…a refuge from the storm” (Isaiah 25:4).
I have been to Burrington Combe in England, and I have a photograph of myself standing in the cleft of the rock to prove it.
According to a famous but largely unsubstantiated story, Augustus Toplady sheltered in this cleft in the rock during a heavy storm there in Burrington Combe, at the southern end of the Mendip Hills. Toplady, a preacher in the nearby village of Blagdon, thought of “Rock of Ages” as the title of a hymn and scribbled down the initial lyrics on a playing card.
Whether the story is altogether authentic or not, the truth of the hymn he wrote still stands, and will stand forever:
Rock of Ages! cleft for sin, Grace hath hid us safe within! Where the water and the blood, From Thy riven side which flowed, Are of sin the double cure; Cleansing from its guilt and power.
Q. Sometimes when depression sets in it is hard to find comfort, even from the Lord. Is there some Scripture that can help those with this problem?
A. “Set your affection (mind) on things above, not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3:2).
“The peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Philippians 4:7-8)
In these verses we see the importance of guarding the mind, and being careful as to what enters the mind, and what we think about. We are to have our thoughts directed by the Spirit of God. “Bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).
There are, however, chemical imbalances that need to be treated medically, and the Lord has raised up doctors and experts in this field.
“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25).
If you are in the habit of absenting yourself from the assembly of Christians and the weekly meetings, I ask you to ponder and rethink the matter before the Lord before you absent yourself again. Think of the damaging effect of your absence in every way. You are failing in your testimony for Christ; you are injuring the souls of your fellow-Christian, and you are hindering the progress in your own soul in grace and knowledge. Do not suppose that you can act in such a way are without having an influence on the whole body of Christ. You are this moment either helping or hindering every member of the body on earth.
An older brother once said to me, “Every time you miss a meeting for ministry of the Word of God, you miss hearing something you may never hear again.” More than that, you rob the Lord of the joy of your presence. As things get worse and worse in this world, we need to assemble more and more.
1 For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of Hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.
2 But unto you that fear My name shall the Sun of Righteousness arise with healing in His wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.
3 And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the Lord of hosts.
4 Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments.
5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord:
6 And He shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.
“Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord” (Jonah 1:3).
The first two chapters of the book of Jonah teach us two all-important truths. In the first we learn that there is no place, however likely for escape, where God’s arm cannot reach us. The second chapter shows us that there is no prison, however unlikely for escape, from which God’s hand cannot deliver us. What place more suitable for escape than the wide endless sea? If the criminal wants to escape from the hands of justice, he embarks for some distant country. God knows how to overtake the fugitive, who, Jonah-like, desires to go his own way, and to “flee from the presence of the Lord.”
And where in this world could a prison be found from whence escape appears to be more impossible than the fish’s belly at the bottom of the sea? Do not despair. To God it is but a small thing to deliver from the strongest prison, as soon as it seems good to Him, and He has accomplished His purpose in placing you there.
Do you ever feel like quitting? Sometimes we get the feeling that it’s not worth the hassle; we might as well give up. Perhaps you might have thought that you didn’t have the Lord’s mind in a certain thing because things didn’t go right. The Apostle Paul was stoned and thought to be dead. But he got up, walked into the city, and the next day continued on his journey as if nothing had happened. He would not give up! God had work for him to do and do it he would. “And there came thither certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium, who persuaded the people, and, having stoned Paul, drew him out of the city, supposing he had been dead. Howbeit, as the disciples stood round about him, he rose up, and came into the city: and the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe” (Acts 14:19-20).
Don’t quit serving the Lord, young person. Keep going. It’s worth it, and the Lord values it very much even if nobody else seems to.
“But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him” (John 4:23).
True worship! I wonder how many times our worship is only superficial—our heart is not really in it. Let’s examine our heart today, before we worship Him who is worthy of our worship, and make sure it’s right before God. Our worship should be in and of the Spirit and with the right heart, that is one that’s full of thanks for who God’s Son is, and what He has done for us in that great sacrifice of Calvary.
Worshippers! That is what God really wants. Those whose hearts overflow. How much will it be true of us today? Here are a couple of Scriptures to keep in mind as another Lord’s Day has rolled around.
“Give unto the Lord the glory due unto His name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness” (Psalm 29:2).
“So shall the king greatly desire thy beauty: for He is thy Lord; and worship thou Him” (Psalm 45:11).
“Then are they glad because they be quiet; so He bringeth them unto their desired haven” (Psalm 107:30).
The life-boat so simply illustrates God’s glorious gospel. Its object is to save people. It is a boat which can be trusted, even in a stormy sea; and thousands have been saved from a watery grave by it. It therefore brings to mind Jesus, God’s beloved Son, the Saviour, who died to save us. He is the One who is worthy to be trusted by all, and who has saved millions from the storm of judgment and brought them to “their desired haven.”
Great and heroic rescues, involving suffering and self-sacrifice have been made by brave life-boatmen; many giving their lives for others. However, the supreme sacrifice of Jesus is the only means by which we can be rescued from eternal death and brought to the harbor of peace. Every one who discovers that humanity is a total wreck and all human efforts are in vain, and trusts himself to Christ in confidence of faith will be saved. “Wherefore He is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him” (Hebrew 7:25).
Yesterday we had a meditation in connection with Colossians 1:10. Today we will notice the verse that follows.
“Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness” (Colossians 1:11).
God will strengthen us, poor weak, feeble people that we are, to all patience, and that is what we all need. We are often weary, the road seems long, and we need patience.
You are never to be impatient. You may say, I have a bad temper, and can’t help it. The Lord is the great One, the only One, to cure bad tempers. Christ never had one, and Christians are to live for Christ. Sometimes instead of being strengthened to longsuffering with joyfulness, we are apt to be short-suffering with grumbling.
If we are strengthened unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness, we will rise above the trials of the way. Christ’s power keeps the soul strong throughout the trouble. We have to live where the Lord puts us. May we live more and more like Him here, till we are fully like Him, there—in heaven.
“That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God” (Colossians 1:10).
If you are a Christian, be the real thing! “Walk worthy of the Lord.” Perhaps you often want to know whether you can go here or there. A friend asks you to go with him somewhere. You are not sure whether it would be right. Whatever you do, don’t go and ask a good person if they would go, but go and ask the Lord. Wouldn’t you like to please the one that you love best? And whom do you love best now? JESUS. Then the answer is very simple: Will it please Him? Our thought should be, if it won’t please Him, it won’t please me. And if it doesn’t please Him, I don’t want to displease Him.
The rest of the verse says, “Being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God.” If people look at their own experiences and feelings it will do them no good; but if they look at Christ, they will bring forth fruit to Him, for His glory, and for eternal blessing.