“Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord” (Genesis 18:27).
An English businessman was returning from a European trip before World War I. He got into the Pullman car at Basle, and found that the only other occupant of the car was a pleasant-looking gentleman in the opposite corner. He thought it would be nice to get into conversation, but being reserved and shy by nature he did not do so. As the train drew up to the terminal in Brussels a roll of red carpet was brought to the carriage door and as the gentleman stepped out there were shouts of “Vive le Roi” (Long live the king). It was King Albert of Belgium!
The Englishman telling his friends, said, “I could have kicked myself. I had been for hours in the train with a king who would have been quite ready to talk with me, but I missed the opportunity.”
“Don’t miss the opportunities to speak with the King of Kings in prayer today. He has invited us to, “Come boldly unto the throne of grace” (Hebrews 4:16). We can talk to Him anytime of the day and night.
“Make your plans with pencil so that the Lord can rub them out and change them.”
This would be a good motto to keep in mind as you start another week. Often I have had my weekly plans disrupted and changed, and then looked back with thankfulness, realizing that His plans are really the very best.
King Solomon was a wise man, perhaps the wisest man who ever lived, apart from the Lord Jesus Himself. He wrote, “The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord” (Proverbs 16:33). This is a good lesson for us all to remember. It will help us not to be frustrated when things don’t go the way we had planned and hoped. It will also help us to accept whatever twists and turns and changes He allows this week.
Perhaps Solomon learned the lesson from his father David, who said, “Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass” (Psalm 37:5)?
“I will praise the Lord with my whole heart, in the assembly of the upright, and in the congregation” (Psalm 111:1).
As you meet with other believers today to worship and praise the Lord, remember that He wants us to give wholehearted praise. Not just mumbling some words, or singing without really putting our heart and soul into it. Often our thoughts can be a million miles away, while we merely mouth the words from a number in the hymnal. We can reverently close our eyes while someone else is speaking to the Lord and offering words of praise and thanksgiving, but we are thinking about something else.
If we have been occupied with Christ and walking with Him this past week, we will come together with a true response of praise. The Lord said about certain ones in His day, “This people draweth nigh unto Me with their mouth, and honoreth Me with their lips; but their heart is far from Me” (Matthew 15:8). That is not what He wants from us today. He wants a heart overflowing with an appreciation of Himself and His work.
“A certain man made a great supper, and bade many…And they all with one consent began to make excuse” (Luke 14:16,18).
When a man prepares a feast, those who are invited rush in, and some who are uninvited may even try to “crash the party.” But when God prepares a feast they all begin to make excuses and don’t want to go.
When you read the whole parable (Luke 14:16-24) you see how foolish the excuses really were. The first man excused himself because he said he had bought a piece of land and had to go and see it. Foolish! He ought to have looked at it first. The second man bought a team of oxen and had to go and prove them. Foolish! He should have proved them before he bought them. The third said that he had married a wife and could not come. He was the most foolish of all! He should have brought his new wife with him.
We shake our heads, but people are just as foolish today. Many are giving lame excuses to God as to why they cannot come to the Saviour. If they don’t repent they will remember those excuses in a lost eternity.
How often we anticipate the visit of a loved friend, and count the days expectantly with hopeful joy.
Too often, though, we forget the blessed promise of the Lord Jesus, whom our eyes have never seen. That promise that he gave to the disciples before He went to the cross and then returned to heaven. The precious promise, “I will come again, and receive you unto Myself” (John 14:3).
The days and nights come and go, yet still He tarries; but He will not always tarry. His promise is sure; “For yet a little while, and He that shall come will come, and will not tarry” (Hebrews 10:37). The world was dark and weary when He came the first time, and then, unexpected He suddenly came, “A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of His people Israel” (Luke 2:32). So, as the moral and spiritual darkness gathers over this world today, we can, and should, expect Him at any moment.
Are we among those who are “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13)? If so, we are greatly blessed! It may be today!
“Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus” (John 20:24). Thomas was his Hebrew name and Didymus was his Greek name. Matthew, Mark and Luke tell us nothing about Thomas other than his name listed with the other disciples. However, in John’s Gospel we find him speaking up at the raising of Lazarus (11:16), in the Upper Room (14:5), and after the resurrection when he declares that he would not believe until he had seen the Lord, which opportunity the Lord graciously gave him (20:24-29). He was also among those who later went fishing with Peter (21:2).
We sometimes refer to him as Doubting Thomas, but it was really more than that…it was unbelief. He said, “Except I shall see…I will not believe” (John 20:25). Thomas was a true disciple, but there came a time when His heart was full of unbelief. It is possible for a true believer to come to that point. If we are not careful we can become unbelieving believers. The Lord said to him, “Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed” (John 20:29).
He is later listed with those who were in the Upper Room waiting for the descent of the Spirit of God (Acts 1:13).
“Speech,” someone has said, “is a child of thought, which the mind always travails and teems with, and which after birth is wont in features to resemble its parent.”
Our accent may betray our origins, but our words betray our thinking. If our words are indeed the children of our mind, then we must unhappily and humbly admit that oftentimes our children are no credit to us.
We are exhorted by the Apostle Paul to “Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt” (Colossians 4:6), and by Solomon we are reminded that, “a word spoken in due season, how good it is” (Proverbs 15:23).
The power of speech for good or evil is far greater than we realize. Let us seek the help of God, and pray with the Psalmist, “Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips” (Psalm 141:3). And again, “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord” (Psalm 19:14).
“A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance” (Proverbs 15:3).
“He that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast.” (Proverbs 15:15).
“A merry heart doeth good like a medicine.” (Proverbs 17:22).
I laughed till I thought I would be sick. The tears ran down my face, and my stomach hurt. When I thought about it later I realized what I was laughing at really wasn’t that funny. But then I thought of the above verses. God wants us to be happy, to laugh, to enjoy life. We are not to go around with long, sad, frowning faces.
There is of course a difference between having “a merry heart” and having a foolish heart. The Bible warns us to not be taken up with “foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient” (Ephesians 5:4).
So, like in most things, there needs to be a balance, realizing that there is a time and a place for everything. Even, “a time to laugh” (Ecclesiastes 3:4).
I have a busy week planned. As I write this page I am in the midst of packing Bibles and Christian literature to ship to the Caribbean for distribution in the gospel and amongst believers. Tomorrow I hope to fly from Chicago to Toronto and meet my wife so that we can attend a Bible conference over the weekend. Then we are home a day and off to a conference in southern France…then…on and on it goes…
Yes, we all seem to have busy plans, and every day of every week seems full to the brim with activity. One of the characteristics of the days just before the Lord comes is described to us by Daniel. “Many shall run to and fro” (Daniel 12:4). It shows that there is a restlessness about society in the last days, that there has never been before.
In the midst of all this, we can learn to trust the Lord, take quiet times in His presence, and not be overwhelmed by the busyness of life. Let’s learn to be like David, who said, “Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him” (Psalm 37:7).
There were two hearts exposed at the trial and crucifixion of the Lord Jesus. The heart of sinful man, and the heart of a loving God.
When was the human heart ever displayed like it was then? All the cruelty and evil that was pent up for four thousand years came gushing out in all its hatred of God’s Son. And why, what had He done? He could say, “They hated Me without a cause” (John 15:25). Still, with all the kindness and grace He had displayed during His life on earth, “they cried out, Away with Him, away with Him” (John 19:15).
On the other hand, when was the heart of God displayed in all its fullness like there at Calvary? We read, “But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
Worship, praise and thank Him today for all that His heart of everlasting, divine love has provided for your eternal happiness and blessing, through His beloved Son. Then during the week continue to worship, praise and thank Him, over and over again.