I am writing to you this morning from the desert. I am in Yucca Valley, California, visiting a brother in Christ for a couple of days. As I sit at the desk in my room and look out at the early morning dawn, I am reminded of what the Lord said to the disciples after they told Him of the death of John the Baptist. “He said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while” (Mark 6:31). How gracious of the Lord to draw the disciples aside for a few moments of personal fellowship and refreshment with Himself. They were no doubt burdened and perplexed with what had just happened to John, and the Lord knew that they needed some time alone in His presence.
Maybe you are starting the week with a troubled heart. Perhaps you dread to face what you anticipate will happen. Take time to slip away and be alone with the Lord, even if just for a few minutes at a time. Maybe on your lunch or coffee break or between classes. And don’t forget to spend some time with the Lord at the beginning of each day.
“Jesus, when He had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost” (Matthew 27:50).
This loud cry came as the Lord dismissed His spirit at the end of the three hours of darkness when He had finished the work of bearing “our sins in His own body on the tree” (1 Peter 2:24). In another gospel we read the very words He spoke at that time, saying, “Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit” (Luke 23:46).
This was not the weak whisper of a dying man succumbing to death, but a strong cry of victory. Never think that the death of the Lord Jesus was the result of physical decline caused by the sufferings of the cross, severe as these were. The Lord Jesus was not overcome by death, because death had no claim upon Him. He had already said, “No man taketh it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of My Father” (John 10:18). We also read, “He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:8). What a Saviour! What love!
Magazine publisher, J.I. Rodale, a zealous advocate of health foods, claimed at the age of 72 that he would live to be 100. The same week his prediction appeared in The New York Times, he was being interviewed for a televison program, claiming that his bones were as strong as ever. Moments after making his boast, he died of a heart attack.
The reasonable person knows that there are no guarantees when it comes to life. Long ago Job declared, “Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble. He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down: he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not” (Job 14:1-2). Centuries later, James wrote, “Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that” (James 4:13-15). This is why it is so important to be saved and ready for eternity. When we leave this world it is too late to prepare for the next world. Do you have ETERNAL LIFE?
Q. What does it mean, “redeeming the time” (Ephesians 5:16)? How do we do this?
A. To “redeem the time” is literally to “buy up every opportunity.” That is, we are to use every opportunity for Christ and to serve Him. The exhortation is given in view of the fact that time is short and often, sad to say, there is a shortness of spiritual energy on our part. In the previous verse we are warned to “awake” from a state of spiritual sleep and laziness and to walk circumspectly and wisely.
There is no shortage of opportunities to serve the Lord every day. When we get up in the morning, it is not so much a question of asking the Lord for opportunities, but praying that we would be in a watchful state of soul and in the path of obedience, so that we would avail ourselves of the opportunities and open doors as they present themselves. So often we squander our time and opportunities rather than buying—or “redeeming”—them.
There are only a few more moments of service for Christ left. Are we using our time wisely? We will have to give an account of our allotted time when we get to heaven. What excuse will we be able to give the Lord then?
“Continue in the faith grounded and settled” (Colossians 1:23)
I live in Canada. The name comes from the Iroquois Indian word “kanata,” which means “settlement.” The early pioneers were glad to arrive on the shores of a new land and be able to settle into what they hoped would be a better life and a better country than what they had left behind.
As believers in Christ it is good for us to be “settled” as well. Not “settled” down in this world, but “settled” in our souls as to our salvation, our eternal security and all that is ours in Christ. “The faith” referred to in the above verse is not the individual faith of believers, but the truth of God as revealed in the Word of God. It is what Jude refers to when he writes, “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, 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” (Jude 3).
An unsettled believer is an unhappy believer, with no rest of soul or peace of mind. The more you prayerfully read your Bible, the more “settled” you will become.
“I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:1-2)
The story is told of a preacher visiting an old feudal castle in England, so old that one of its towers dated back to the days of King John (1167-1216). When the preacher went down to breakfast, he found the young owner of the castle with his family and servants, assembled for morning prayer conducted by the head of the family.
As the visitor lifted his eyes, he noticed overhead a massive beam that spanned the grand old hall and bore in old English script the following inscription:
That house shall be preserved
And never shall decay,
Where the Almighty God,
Is worshipped day by day.
For hundreds of years the people of that old castle turned their faces toward God at the beginning of each day. How about you? Do you look up each morning and find your strength and joy in the only true source of blessing?
I read an article the other day about a Chicago physician who had to abandon the use of dogs in an ulcer research program. The dogs refused to get tense or worry, which are prominently listed as two of the main causes of ulcers. The doctor concluded that if you inflict an ulcer upon a dog by artificial methods, he will sit down and placidly cure himself by refusing to be bothered about anything.
This rather amused me and also made me think. By nature I tend to be a worrier. I have often thought about the words of David when he said, “Fret not thyself” (Psalm 37:7). What will we worry about this week? Or will we calmly, confidently be able to commit things to the Lord knowing that He is in control and working everything for our good? Here is a good verse to take with us as another week of activity begins: “Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself” (Matthew 6:34)
“We see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that He by the grace of God should taste death for every man” (Hebrews 2:9).
When Queen Victoria had just ascended the throne of England she went to hear “The Messiah” rendered. She was instructed beforehand that as royalty she must not rise when the others stood at the singing of the Hallelujah Chorus. When that magnificent chorus was sung…“Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth,” she sat with great difficulty. However, when they came to the part where the singers with a shout proclaim Him King of Kings, suddenly, in spite of royal protocol, the young queen rose to her feet and stood with bowed head. Any earthly glory and acclaim she might have as sovereign of the realm only paled into insignificance in the presence of the Lord of glory.
May our hearts be truly filled with worship today as we consider the glories of the person of Christ, who loved us enough to die for us so that we can share in His glory in a future day.
Amid the loud applause of a crowded audience, an infidel lecturer was laboring to prove the folly of believing in a living God.
When an opportunity was given for discussion, a man stepped forward, and narrated how, from a river bank, he had once witnessed a boat driven down the current towards a dangerous rapid. In it was a man struggling to make the shore. All his efforts failing, frantically he cast away the oar, and cried to God to have mercy upon him. Marvelously he was rescued from the brink of death in the nick of time.
Imagine the confusion of the infidel when the the speaker pointed at him. Amid breathless silence, the speaker said, “And that was the man who is now before you, attempting to prove that there is neither God nor eternity; neither judgment to come nor the need of salvation.” The pretended infidel withdrew, while in solemn silence the audience dispersed.
People may brush the Bible away as fairy tales, but when eternity is staring them in the face, it is often a very different story. Remember there are no atheists in the next life.