I am writing this letter from Guyana, in South America. Over the past week I, with others, have had the privilege and joy of visiting many believers, and preaching the gospel. Many times I have heard wonderful stories of how the Lord has saved folks and how He is providing for His people in miraculous and wonderful ways. It is a rebuke to my faith—or lack thereof—to see those who are so happy in the Lord despite very difficult circumstances and a daily grind of life of which I know nothing. Everywhere we go we hear verses quoted such as, “The Lord is good” (Nahum 1:7), “God is our refuge and strength” (Psalm 46:1), and, “My God shall supply all your need” (Philippians 4:19). They’re more than quoted—they’re spoken with the joy of the Lord radiating from their faces, indicating the reality that is in their heart.
These believers have no other resource than their God, and it is wonderful to see how they trust Him implicitly. What a good lesson for me, and for us all!
Worship is the out-flow of a heart overflowing with an appreciation of the person and work of Christ. The following are some scriptures that would encourage and instruct us concerning this subject:
“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).
“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. God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23-24).
“For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh” (Philippians 3:3).
“The four and twenty elders fall down before Him that sat on the throne, and worship Him that liveth for ever and ever” (Revelation 4:10).
“And, behold, there was a man named Zaccheus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich. And he sought to see Jesus who He was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature” (Luke 19:2-3).
There were three things that Zaccheus could have allowed to hinder him in coming to the Lord.
His profession……….. “chief among the publicans.”
His possessions………………………….. “he was rich.”
The people………………………………….. “the press.”
There are many things that may keep someone from accepting God’s offer of salvation through His Son the Lord Jesus Christ. However, we find in the story of Zaccheus an earnestness that would not let anything or anyone stand in his way. He had a desire and opportunity to meet the Lord, and he didn’t let it pass. He found out too that the Lord knew all about him and desired his blessing and company.
If you are not saved, today may be your last chance. Don’t let it pass…there may not be another one!
Q. Will a faithful life ensure a more lovely crown that we can cast at the feet of the Lord Jesus?
A. Crowns for faithfulness are set before us as an encouragement in running the Christian race. Paul was running with the “prize” or “goal” in view. “I press toward the mark for the prize” (Philippians 3:14). However, crowns or rewards are never to be the object or motive. They are a nice incentive, but Christ is to be the object and motive.
The Bible brings the subject of crowns before us to spur us on in the path of faith and service, and it is good that we be exercised to obtain that which we can cast at the Lord’s feet, giving Him all the glory, realizing that if we were faithful it was not of ourselves but His grace working for us and in us.
“The four and twenty elders…cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power” (Revelation 4:10-11).
Many will receive a crown, as Paul said, “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:8).
“But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear” (Isaiah 59:2).
In Christ we know separation to Him!
“But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ” (Ephesians 2:13).
When Adam sinned in the Garden of Eden, the happy communion that he enjoyed with his God was immediately broken. Having received a conscience, realizing that he had sinned, he hid himself behind the trees of the garden in fear of the voice of God.
But for those of us who know Christ as Saviour, we have been brought into the closest and most blessed place of relationship possible. There must be practical separation from the world and from evil if we are going to enjoy that relationship. We are exhorted, “Be ye separate, saith the Lord” (2 Corinthians 6:17).
What will this week bring? Joy, sorrow, pain, laughter and probably some surprises as well. But whatever life brings this week, remember, there are no surprises with God. “Known unto God are all His works from the beginning of the world” (Acts 15:18). Thankfully we don’t know the future, for it is a burden we could not carry with us. But our wise, loving God and Father knows all about it, and we can trust Him for what is best.
Remember too, that while the future as far as this life is concerned may be uncertainty at best, yet the future for the believer as far as the next life, is certainty beyond a shadow of a doubt. “That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast” (Hebrews 6:18-19).
Have a good week, and no matter what happens, “rejoice in the Lord alway” (Philippians 4:4).
“For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; And that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).
What a revelation! Such simple, yet profound and weighty words. The death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Can anything be more vital and precious than that? What does it mean to you today? So often we get complicated when it comes to the truth of Scripture, and certainly there are “the deep things of God” (1 Corinthians 2:10). But how good to return again and again to the “simplicity that is in Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:3).
As another Lord’s Day is upon us, let’s stop and get back to basics. Let the work of Calvary thrill your heart once again. Read the closing chapters of any one of the four gospels slowly and reverently. It will cause worship, praise and thanksgiving. These are the fundamentals of the gospel and the basis of our eternal blessings.
Because he could not comprehend eternity, a young man by the name of Jason became convinced that his accomplishments here on earth were of the utmost importance. He decided that he needed to make his presence in this world count for something. He convinced himself that somehow if he did enough humanitarian work and made enough impact, that even when he was gone, his name would be recognized, achieving some sort of immortality. As a result his life took on a self-importance that it was never designed to have.
In order to make your life count on this earth we must remember how short life is. It is true your life has a purpose, but if you are not right with God and ready for the next life, nothing is right. There was a young man in the days of the Lord on earth who, when part of the law was quoted to him, replied, “Master, all these have I observed from my youth” (Mark 10:20). However, the Lord said, “One thing thou lackest” (Mark 10:21). His life on earth and toward his fellow-man was impeccable, but he lacked the very thing he needed most: salvation and a right relationship with God and the Lord Jesus. If this is not right, nothing is right!