“The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread” (1 Corinthians 10:16-17).
We can only draw near to God through the death and shed blood of Jesus. We break the bread, and while breaking it, we remember His precious body given in death for us. “Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed” (1 Peter 2:24). It is by the death of Jesus that we freely approach God, and God has raised our blessed Substitute from the grave, and has set Him at His own right hand on high, which is the unquestionable evidence of God’s righteousness being perfectly and eternally satisfied, and the proof of our perfect acceptance in Christ. While eating of the bread and drinking the cup each heart can say, “He loved me so much that He gave Himself for me.”
Lord Byron was an English poet who was born in Dover, England on January 22, 1788 and died in Missolonghi, Greece on April 19, 1824. He enjoyed success, fame, and popularity, and is reputed to be one of Britain’s greatest poets. Not long before he died, at the age of 36, he summed up his life with the following lines:
My Days are in the yellow leaf,
The fruit, the flower of life is gone:
The worm, the canker and the grief
Are mine alone!
In contrast, the Apostle Paul, at the end of his life, wrote:
“For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: 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 4:6-8).
What would you write at the end of your life? What a vast difference when we know the Lord!
Safety is not found in the absence of danger, but in the presence of God. “The beloved of the Lord shall dwell in safety by Him” (Deuteronomy 33:12). When we are thoroughly exhausted by our own efforts, when we are completely bewildered and baffled by our problems, when we are wounded by our friends, when we are completely surrounded by our foes, we can hide ourselves in our great and mighty God.
There is no safety in the world. David said, “Thou, Lord, only makest me dwell in safety” (Psalm 4:8). If we were to find safety here, we would never know the joy of God’s love and protection. The only safe and secure place is in God Himself. The ancient writer realized this when he wrote, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah” (Psalm 46:1-3).
“Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first” (Luke 9:61).
On this occasion Jesus encountered a certain man who proclaimed he would follow Him wherever He went. But first he had other things to do. The Lord’s reply was, “No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62). These may seem like harsh words, but the lesson we learn is that if we want to be a true disciple of Christ we must put Him first. The Lord said, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness” (Matthew 6:33).
Someone has well said, “If He is not Lord of all, He is not Lord at all.” If He is first and foremost in everything we do, then everything else will fall into its proper place. That’s not to say everything will come easily and that there won’t be struggles and times of wondering what to do and where to go. But in the end it will be the happy and fruitful way. The promise is clear: “In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:6).
On the first day of another month let’s ask ourselves, “Who is first in my life?”
Richard Wurmbrand (March 24, 1909-February 17, 2001), who suffered so much for Christ, and was the author of Tortured for Christ, was a hardened atheist, but God had his eye on him.
As the story goes there was an old carpenter up in the mountains of Romania who prayed: “My God, I have served you on earth and I wish to have my reward in heaven. But I wish my reward should be that I not die until I bring a Jew to Christ, because Jesus was from the Jewish people.”
One day. Richard was irresistibly drawn to the village where the carpenter lived, and where there was no other Jew residing. Seeing he was a Jew the carpenter befriended him, and spent hours praying for his salvation. He gave him a Bible, and never lost an opportunity to be kind and helpful. Eventually, Richard Wurmbrand was saved by the grace of God. The old carpenter had his wish and petition, and Wurmbrand went on to be mightily used of the Lord.
Maybe you are praying for someone you have been witnessing to. Don’t give up! The promise is: “Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days” (Ecclesiastes 11:1).
Sometimes we think we have a hard life. But here is a good verse to consider as we head out at the beginning of another week. “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18).
The Apostle Paul was no stranger to pain and suffering. Many times he experienced physical and psychological trauma as part of his service for Christ. Given the increasing persecution of believers in the world today one might wonder, “Is it really worth standing for God?” The Apostle counters that there is no comparison between this age and the glory to follow. Eternal riches far outweigh temporal agony. Meanwhile, grace is able to sustain His suffering servants until Christ delivers them to glory. Like Paul we have the present promise, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). Draw on that resource as you go through the daily circumstances of life in the days ahead.
If sinners are to be saved, Christ must die; for man’s life is forfeited on account of sin. Hence He says, “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:14-15).
Man’s disobedience in Eden dishonored God, and brought the world under the power of Satan and sin. For four thousand years God tested fallen man in various ways, but it only proved how utterly fallen he is. “But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son” (Galatians 4:4). On the cross of Calvary He suffered, died, and bled. There…
God was infinitely glorified,
Satan’s power was annulled,
Sin’s judgment was borne.
Every claim of God was once and forever perfectly met. And God raised Him from the dead to His own right hand in glory, where He is now seated, a testimony to the whole universe that the atoning work is done. The Lord could declare: “I have glorified Thee on the earth: I have finished the work which Thou gavest Me to do” (John 17:4).
A young man asked a preacher, “You say that unsaved people carry a weight of sin. How heavy is sin? Is it ten pounds? Eighty pounds? I don’t feel any weight!”
The preacher replied by asking: “If you laid a four hundred pound weight on a corpse, would it feel the load?”
The youth replied, “It would feel nothing, because it is dead.”
The preacher concluded, “He, too, is dead indeed who feels no load of sin or is indifferent to its burden and flippant about its presence.”
The young man was silenced.
What a wonderful thing it is to be in possession of divine life. Here is what the Bible has to say to those of us who are saved: “And you hath He quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins…Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)…For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:1,5,8-9). Is this true of you?
Q. At the wedding in Cana of Galilee, why did the Lord save the best wine for the last?
A. The host of the wedding provided the wine that was drunk at the beginning, and the Lord provided what was miraculously changed from the six water-filled vessels. What the Lord gives is always better than what man can provide.
Also there is a prophetic character to the story of the marriage. Consider this Old Testament prophecy. “Come, and let us return unto the Lord: for He hath torn, and He will heal us; He hath smitten, and He will bind us up. After two days will He revive us: in the third day He will raise us up, and we shall live in His sight” (Hosea 6:1-2). So we learn that “the third day” (see John 2:1) has to do with the restoration, and millennial joy of God’s earthly people, the nation of Israel. This will be based on their repentance and His provision for them through grace.
On a practical note, we learn that human joy, of which the wine is a type, quickly runs out, and that it is only “the joy of the Lord” (Nehemiah 8:10), that has real lasting quality and substance. As the Lord said to His disciples, “Your joy, no man taketh from you” (John 16:22).