“This is my beloved, and this is my friend” (Song of Solomon 5:16).
“What a friend we have in Jesus.”
Are you ready to start the week in company with your best friend; the “Friend that sticketh closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24)? Don’t leave your room or home today without the conscious sense of the presence of the Lord Jesus, so that you can enjoy sweet fellowship, and so that you can turn to Him at anytime and in any situation.
Life may not be easy this week, and you have no idea what unexpected twists and turns the road of life may have, but with the Lord by your side, and dependence on Him, you can make it through. One of the Old Testament prophets tells us: “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31).
“And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight” (Acts 20:7).
Here is what characterized the believers at the beginning of the Christian era, and here is the example for us to follow even though we are at the end of that era now. You may have wondered why we remember the Lord every “first day of the week” rather than some other day or only a few times a year. We get our example from what is recorded here in God’s Word regarding the early Christians who came together with the purpose of remembering the Lord in the breaking of bread on Sunday, or as John refers to it later on, “the Lord’s Day” (Revelation 1:10).
Don’t ever let it become an empty ritual—one that means nothing to you. This time should be the highlight of a Christian’s week, the time when we spend a few moments thinking of Jesus our Saviour and what it cost Him to get us to heaven.
This is a day when, in general, people are turning away from the light of the gospel, and choosing rather to walk in darkness. The following account shows how God worked to first bring the gospel to England several hundred years ago.
When the first missionary who came to England arrived in Kent, he presented himself before the king to solicit permission to preach the gospel in his dominions. After long deliberation a negative was about to be put upon his application when an aged counsellor, with his head silvered over with grey hairs, rose, and by the following speech obtained the permission which was requested. “Here we are, like the birds of passage; we know not whence we came, or whither we are going; if this man can tell us, let him speak.” That missionary’s visit was the morning star of the day of Gospel Light, which has so long shone through. Many today are turning their back on it.
“God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6).
“Four living creatures…and they had the hands of a man under their wings” (Ezekiel 1:5,8).
The living creatures in Ezekiel’s vision had “hands…under their wings.” What an ideal for the Christian. Hymn-writers and singers have written and sung about both wings and hands. For example: “Give me the wings of faith.” And also: “Take my hands and let them move, at the impulse of Thy love.”
Here we see the necessity of combining heavenly aspirations with earthly duties. The wings of faith carry us into the place of holy contemplation and communion, when the things of earth grow dim and the glories of heaven shine brightly. But while we remain here on earth we have to serve, and hands are essential for this. There is no doubt that they who exercise their wings daily will know better how to use their hands in service for Christ and others.
If through constant use of our wings we have learned the secret of communion with God, we shall be the better equipped for communication to our fellow men through our hands.
“And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice” (1 Kings 19:12).
The loudest speaker is not always the most effective. It is possible to rant and rave and make a tremendous din, yet make little or no impression on the hearers.
Leaves and flowers unfold silently, and the most profound thoughts may be expressed in quiet utterances. The whisper of God is more powerful that the shouting of men.
Elijah on Mount Horeb had an ear that was tuned to catch the whisper of God, while he had remained unmoved by the crashing and flashing of that which preceded it.
Lovers have secrets between themselves, and they whisper to one another of their love.
We can expect that He whom we know as the Lover of our souls will from time to time whisper in our ear.
Pray for such sensitivity to His voice that we shall hear His whisper, and distinguish His voice amid the reverberation of the world around us, and say, like Samuel, “Speak; for Thy servant heareth” (1 Samuel 3:10).
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ” (Romans 1:16).
“I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed” (2 Timothy 1:12).
Today you may be called upon to make a stand, to show whose you are and to whom you belong. Are you prepared to do this? Are you prepared to say, and show by word and act, that your trust is in Jesus Christ, and that He is your Lord?
There is a cowardly streak in most of us which may cause us to be silent when we ought to speak, and hide when we should be on the front line.
When we talk about suffering and shame, let’s remember that Christ endured the one, and despised the other. Of the Apostles it is written: “And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name” (Act 5:41).
Peter wrote: “If any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf” (1 Peter 4:16).
“Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint” (Isaiah 40:30-31).
If you try to go on your own this week you are going to stumble and fall in the path of faith. Natural strength, even of youth, isn’t enough to meet the situations and temptations that you will face in a cold hostile world, that hates Christ, and of which Satan is the “god” and “prince.” No it takes more than natural fortitude and ability.
However, if you go forth this week in the strength of the Lord, whether soaring like an eagle, running like an athlete or just walking like the hiker, you will find a resource for every mile of the way, and you will not faint. Don’t count on yourself, count on the Lord.
“I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day” (Revelation 1:10).
“And upon the first day of the week…the disciples came together to break bread” (Acts 20:7).
Here it is, another Lord’s Day, another first day of the week! The Apostle John was “in the Spirit,” and as a result had a wonderful revelation of the person and work of Christ. He also breaks forth in praise and worship. “Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father; to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen” (Revelation 1:5-6).
The early believers in the Apostle Paul’s time gathered together to remember the Lord Jesus in the breaking of bread, in response to the Lord’s request, “This do in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19).
What wonderful and instructive examples these are for us today. Let’s take them to heart and “worship…in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23).
People talk a lot about destiny and fate, but whether they want to recognize it or not, there are two destinies when we leave this world. For those who know the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour the destiny is HEAVEN. There they will live eternally with the one who loved them enough to die for them on the cross of Calvary. The Lord said of His own, “I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:3).
For those who reject or neglect God’s offer of pardon through His Son and the blood that He shed to cleanse us from sin, the destiny is HELL. What an awful place of eternal separation from God that will be! The Lord stated plainly that for those who are not saved when they leave this world, “Whither I go, ye cannot come” (John 8:21).
Salvation is being offered now. But there is no guarantee that it will be offered at a later time. When we leave this world it is too late to make a decision for Christ. At that point our final destiny is fixed forever. Which destination are you headed for?