When We See Christ – Esther Kerr Rusthoi (1941)

Oftimes the day seems long, our trials hard to bear,
We’re tempted to complain, to murmur and despair;
But Christ will soon appear to catch His Bride away,
All tears forever over in God’s eternal day.

Refrain
It will be worth it all when we see Jesus,
Life’s trials will seem so small when we see Christ;
One glimpse of His dear face all sorrow will erase,
So bravely run the race till we see Christ.

Sometimes the sky looks dark with not a ray of light,
We’re tossed and driven on, no human help in sight;
But there is One in Heaven who knows our deepest care,
Let Jesus solve your problem just go to Him in prayer.

Life’s day will soon be o’er, all storms forever past,
We’ll cross the great divide to Glory, safe at last;
We’ll share the joys of Heaven a harp, a home, a crown,
The tempter will be banished, we’ll lay our burden down.

By Esther Kerr Rusthoi (1941)

Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:1, 2).

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Praying for Our Leaders

I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence (1 Timothy 2:1-2).

When the pulpit is silenced by government, it is a travesty of justice; when it is silent because of the perceived cost, it is sin. The pulpit is not the place of politics, but it is to be the moral platform of any nation. There is no place in the pulpit for moral cowards.

On this day, the 242 birthday of the American Republic, we ask how a pastor, a parent, and the common Christian must engage in matters of moral importance in the political realm.

First, we should teach what the Bible says about obeying (Romans 13:1-7) and honoring (1 Peter 2:13-17) our civil leaders and the laws of the land. A nation that is lawless concerning the Bible will be lawless toward civil authority.

Second, be encouraged to pray for those in authority over you (1 Timothy 2:1-2). God commands that we pray “for” the leaders God has given us; not to pray against them. Pray for God to make it possible for His people to live quietly, peacefully, godly, and reverently.

Third, we need to model godly praying on behalf of our leaders. Teach not only by your words but with your actions.

Fourth, be aware of what the Bible says about moral issues concerning government and laws, and how they affect your life as a citizen of Heaven. Learn how government actions honor or dishonor Christ. The Christian has a responsibility to be a voice for Biblical morality and godliness in society.

God of All Comfort

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation … (2 Corinthians 1:3, 4).

I’d skedaddle, fall down, and scrape my hands and knees. Mom would wash my wounds and apply a little Mercurochrome and a couple Band-Aids. It wasn’t better, however, until she finally added a gentle kiss to each boo-boo. As a little boy, it seemed to be the kiss that made everything right.

We’re prone to turn to other people, thinking they can soothe the soul, when God is the source of all comfort. We might expect God’s answer to our prayerful pleadings to be an other-worldy warm-fuzzy. We like to imagine Him bending down from Heaven to blow a mother’s kiss and wrap us in arms of love and still the raging storm.

These emotional sentiments may provide a temporary lull in our discontent, but God’s comfort in our tribulations comes in the form of a settled assurance that He is sovereign over every circumstance, and in the confidence that He never leaves us nor forsakes us in each trial He’s lovingly prepared.

In writing to the believers in Rome, Paul explained that, Whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope (Romans 15:4).

Other Christians were troubled as their friends and loved ones died before the return of Jesus. To them Paul explained our hope in Christ adding that we are to Comfort one another with these words he had written (1 Thessalonians 4:18).

God uses His Word to comfort His children. As we struggle with disappointments, trials, and the pains of this world, God uses the Bible to remind us of His promises, His presence, and His power. The Holy Spirit applies the Scriptures as His comforting encouragement in our journey through life.

Temptation and the Way of Escape

No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it (1 Corinthians 10:13).

Every temptation and trial you’ve ever faced is common to the human race. As King Solomon wrote nearly 3,000 years ago, There is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9). He went on to write that things only seem new because we’re ignorant of the past.

The word temptation means “a testing experience that breaks the pattern of peace, comfort, joy and happiness of a person’s life to prove the genuineness of a person, idea, or item.” Every temptation comes with the opportunity to prove something is exactly what it says, or that it is a failure. Temptations rightly faced prove strength; temptations given in to become opportunities for evil.

Whatever the temptation in your moment might be, God will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able. This means that for the believer, no trial or temptation you face is greater than your spiritual resources in Christ Jesus. God is greater than your trials and His “greaterness” is available to you.

Still we each sin because we want to do so. God never promises to suck us out of our troubles and plop us down in a land of lollipops, fairy dust, and unicorns. Instead, He promises a way of escape so we can bear the trial.

God’s faithful assurance is that we can trust His power to bear us up in the waves of every temptation so that we need not be overwhelmed and drown in our trials.

A Mighty Fortress is Our God – Martin Luther (1529)

A mighty Fortress is our God, a Bulwark never failing;
Our Helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing.
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and pow’r are great, and armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.

Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God’s own choosing.
Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus – it is He;
Lord Sabaoth, His name; from age to age the same;
And He must win the battle.

And tho’ this word with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us.
The prince of darkness grim – we tremble not for him.
His rage we can endure, for, lo, his doom is sure;
One little word shall fell him.

That word above all earthly pow’rs, no thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours thro’ Him who with us sideth.
Let goods and kindred go – this mortal life also.
The body they may kill; God’s truth abideth still.
His kingdom is forever.

Lyrics by Martin Luther (1529), translated into English by FH Hedge (1852)

The Lord of Hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge (Psalm 46:7).

The End of All Things is at Hand

But the end of all things is at hand, therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers (James 4:7).

In Matthew 24:45-51, Jesus told a story about two servants. The first prioritized the will of the master; the second cared nothing of the master’s will. He was too busy living life as he chose, eating and drinking with the drunkards (Mt 24:49). The evil slave believed he had all the time in the world before the master returned. What he didn’t consider was that the master would return at any time.

The world may not end tomorrow, but the most dangerous delusion a person can have is that he has plenty of time. There’s plenty of time to get right with God. Plenty of time to live for Him. Plenty of time to be saved. Right now you’re more interested in eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage (Mt 24:38) and easily forget Jesus for the cares of this world.

On a day and at a time you don’t know, you are going to die. The Bible also promises that Jesus is coming back. One way or another you are going to meet Him. He will return to take His Church to Heaven, but He will also return to judge the world. So be alert and about your Father’s business, be ready to meet Jesus at any moment, and be faithful in living for Him.

Ever Wonder?

Ever wonder about the people who question you because you had your eyes open while praying?

How did they know?

Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to Heaven and said …” (John 17:1).

Naked and Ashamed

And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints (Revelation 19:8).

Imagine having an appointment to meet the President of the United States, the Queen of England, or the Prime Minister of Tanzania. What would you wear?

As thought-provoking as that may be, there’s an even greater question to ponder: what will you be wearing when you stand before God?

The Bible pictures Christians standing in Heaven dressed like a bride for her wedding, donned in clean and bright linen, which are symbols of godly deeds. The Church’s righteousness isn’t something earned by good works or prayerful requests. It’s granted to her, something given as a gift by grace. The Scriptures say that this righteousness is Christ’s. It’s given to us through faith alone in Christ Jesus alone (Is 59:17; 61:10; Rom 3:21-22; Phil 3:9).

Ephesians 4:25-27 says that Jesus gave His life to sanctify His people. “Sanctify” means to set someone or something aside for service to God. He also gave Himself to cleanse believers with the washing of water by the Word. Through the Scriptures, we are cleansed from a sinful mind and given new habits, desires, purposes, and goals (Rom 12:1-2). He did this so that He could present us to Himself, a perfect bride for a perfect Groom.

Since believers appear before God dressed in the righteousness of Christ, what will unbelievers wear when they stand before Him? Their own works (Rev 20:12-15)!

When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, they were caught naked. They tried covering themselves with works of their own hands, sewn fig leaves. Woefully inadequate, they hid among the trees, but they were still seen by God and they stood before Him naked and ashamed (Gen 4:7-10).

If you aren’t wearing the righteousness of Christ by faith, you’ll stand before God naked and ashamed … a guilty sinner.

‘Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus – Louisa MR Stead

‘Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to take Him at His Word.
Just to rest upon His promise,
Just to know: “Thus saith the Lord.”

Refrain
Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er!
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
O for grace to trust Him more!

O how sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to trust His cleansing blood,
Just in simple faith to plunge me
‘Neath the healing, cleansing flood!

Yes, ’tis sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just from sin and self to cease,
Just from Jesus simply taking
Life and rest, and joy and peace.

I’m so glad I learned to trust Thee,
Precious Jesus, Saviour, Friend;
And I know that Thou art with me,
Wilt be with me to the end.

Lyrics by Louisa MR Stead (1882)

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths (Proverbs 3:5-6).

 

 

 

True, Effective, Productive Prayer

Take … the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17-18).

Today we emphasize a very man-centered religion. Sermons, books, and songs are fashioned toward satisfying the consumer rather than the Creator. Another way we misdirect people is through prayer.

Don’t misunderstand me. Prayer is vitally important in the Christian experience, but prayer is not profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17). This honor rests squarely upon the sufficiency of the Scriptures alone (2 Timothy 3:14-15). It’s God’s Word that empowers and equips you to live the daily Christian life … not prayer.

Prayer is man talking to God; the Bible is God talking to man. You’ve read it here before, and you’ll read it here again: you need to hear the voice of God more than He needs to hear you. His words are life, not yours.

Yet so often we downgrade the perfection and sufficiency of the Bible and elevate our own words. We pay more attention to the thoughts and feelings we have as we pray than what God has said. I’ve heard of churches holding all-night prayer meetings, but never a service for all-night reading and meditating on God’s words.

No one can truly, effectively, and productively pray until he has first heard from God and had his mind renewed by the Holy Spirit working through the holy Scriptures. Godly prayer is always a response to what God has said in the pages of His Word. The Scripture reveals God’s holy character, points out my sinfulness, and then fills me with thanksgiving to Him for His grace. The Bible shapes the priority of my needs and those of others so that they align with His will.

I will meditate on Your precepts, and contemplate Your ways. I will delight myself in Your statutes, I will not forget Your word (Psalm 119:15-16).