“There was a certain rich man…And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus” (Luke 16:19-20).
Read the account of these two men in Luke 16:19-31, and you will see that the rich man lived well, ate fine food and had the best of clothing and circumstances. In contrast the beggar was sick and hungry. They lived within close proximity of each other, but the rich man ignored the poor man. The rich man had plenty of good food to eat; the beggar wanted to eat the crumbs that fell from the rich man’s table.
In the course of time the rich man died and was buried; the beggar also died and went to heaven. What was the difference? Faith. Actually they both had faith. The beggar had faith in God and lived for eternity. The rich man had faith in himself and his riches, lived for time, and lost everything.
Which one are you? What are you trusting in? The Lord said on another occasion, “How hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God” (Mark 10:24)! Rather than trust in material goods, we need to “Have faith in God” (Mark 11:22).
Let’s conclude our meditation on this subject, by saying that instead of being overwhelmed, we can be overcomers. Here is what the Apostle John had to say of the matter to the youth of his day: “I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one…I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the Word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one” (1 John 2:13-14).
In our own strength and with our own resources we are going to be overwhelmed, but with the reading and enjoyment of the Word of God, the Spirit indwelling us, and the Lord Jesus living to intercede for us as our High Priest and Advocate, we can be overcomers in every situation. When John wrote to the seven Churches in Asia Minor, in each case, no matter what the circumstances, there was a word of encouragement to the overcomer. (Notice Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 26 & 3:5, 12, 21). There is then one final encouragement at the end of the Inspired Word: “He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be My son” (Revelation 21:7).
Today I feel completely overwhelmed. I have heard of so much serious illness, and terminal sickness amongst those I know and love, that I am simply overwhelmed. And yet as this flood of emotion came crashing over me the Lord brought a verse from the Bible to my memory. It is a verse I have often read and thought about, and one on which I based the writing of a hymn some years ago when going through a really severe test in my Christian life. The verse is as follows: “From the end of the earth will I cry unto Thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the Rock that is higher than I” (Psalm 61:2).David was used by God to pen these words, and he must have felt the reality of them as he went through some rough times in his life. He knew what it was to suffer physically, emotionally, and mentally. He fled for his life, suffered reproach, knew the results of sorrow that sin brings, even in the life of a believer. But through it all he always found his rest, comfort, encouragement, and strength in the Lord. When he came to the Rock (His Lord), it was always greater than the problem. I need to do the same thing, and I hope you will too. Over the next couple of days I will share the hymn I wrote on the subject some years ago.
I realize that these calendar pages are read some time after they are actually written, but as I write today’s letter, the news is full of war and terrorism threats are on every hand. It has recently hit me that this world, socially and politically is spiralling out of control, and there are two verses that come to mind; verses that prove we are in the days just before the return of the Lord Jesus.
1. “Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken” (Luke 21:26).
2.“And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars” (Matthew 24:6).
Thankfully there is an end to all this, and we can with assurance go on living for the Lord in spite of what is taking place around us. He watches over each of His own, and will take us safely to heaven, and then come back and set things right in this world. Yes, soon will “the Sun of Righteousness arise with healing in His wings” (Malachi 4:2).
“And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the Lord it shall be seen” (Genesis 22:14).
In Genesis 22 we have a wonderful story of the father who offered up his only son whom he loved. We all know the story, and we know that just as Abraham was about to slay his son Isaac, God provided a substitute, “a ram caught in a thicket by his horns” (verse 13).
We then find that Abraham called the name of that place “Jehovah Jireh,” which means, “The Lord will provide,” or “The Lord the Provider.” This is the character in which we must first learn to know our God. The God who provided Himself a Lamb, who provided a substitute. The One that John the Baptist declared, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).
He is also the provider of all our temporal needs…our food…our clothing…our shelter: but it is well to always remember that the first and primary thought in this lovely name, is that God provided Himself a Lamb…and that Lamb is the Lord Jesus Christ.
Some people believe one thing and some believe another concerning life, death, and eternity. Some believe religion has the answers, and some believe science is our hope. Others believe life just happened and death is the end, and some don’t know what to believe.
Consider man’s relentless search for the meaning of life and for relief from his anxieties through sensual experiences and numerous philosophies. Consider the social unrest, uncertainty, and utter despair of many people.
Then consider the peace, the joy, and the eternal hope God gives in His Son—that which man so desperately seeks in every other way.
There are many of us who have been glad to find that God has not left man to wander, wonder, and worry. We have read in His Word of His promises and we believed them. “God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life” (1 John 5:11-12).
We received His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, into our hearts by faith, and found to our great joy that it is all true and real—the reality of salvation in Christ.
“An inheritance may be gotten hastily at the beginning; but the end thereof shall not be blessed” (Proverbs 20:21).
Money and worldly gain rapidly accumulated at the expense of conscience and honor will yield little if any comfort or peace of mind. “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (1 Timothy 6:10). It is the blessing of the Lord that matters most in the Christian’s life, and this and this alone will bring contentment. “The blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich, and He addeth no sorrow with it”(Proverbs 10:22). Those who set out with the determination to gather wealth at all cost learn in bitterness of soul that they have missed the true and lasting treasures which give the heart joy in its possession. Worldly gain not only leaves a person with an empty, aching heart and a nagging conscience, but it does not last either. Notice what Solomon states further on the subject: “Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished” (Proverbs 13:11). Let’s set our hearts on the “true riches” (Luke 16:11).
“I have esteemed the words of His mouth more than my necessary food” (Job 23:12).
“Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and Thy Word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart” (Jeremiah 15:16).
The Word of God is food for the new life that we received when we were born again. The life we have from God is a perfect life, and it is the very life of Christ. However, it is a dependant life. If we are to grow and have a happy, healthy spiritual life we must feed on God’s Word every day. When we eat something we take it into our system and it becomes part of us. This is true of the Scriptures. When we read it, meditate on it, and digest the truth of it, we receive eternal benefit. Then we will be able to “Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). Just as we take care to eat good healthy food every day for our physical well-being, so we need the spiritual food of the Bible for the nourishment of the divine life we have from God, in Christ.