This Is My Father’s World – Maltbie D Babcock (1901)

This is my Father’s world, and to my list’ning ears
All nature sings, and round me rings the music of the spheres.
This is my Father’s world. I rest me in the thought
Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas – His hand the wonders wrought.

This is my Father’s world. The birds their carols raise.
The morning light, the lily white declare their Maker’s praise.
This is my Father’s world. He shines in all that’s fair.
In the rustling grass I hear Him pass; He speak to me ev’rywhere.

This is my Father’s world. O let me ne’er forget
That tho’ the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the Ruler yet.
This is my Father’s world. The battle is not done;
Jesus, who died, shall be satisfied, and earth and heav’n be one.

By Maltbie D Babcock (1901)

Since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead … (Romans 1:20).

 

 

 

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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.

The Symbol of Water Baptism

Like many American corporations, the company my wife works for pays its employees to take time off work to volunteer for community charities. A few months ago Kim took the day off of work to help build a house for a low-income family. When Kim arrived at the Habitat for Humanity site, she was assigned to a task with two other ladies.

When Kim arrived home, I knew that she’d been busy all day with interior painting. She had white flecks in her hair, white smears on her arms and face, and her jeans and t-shirt were splattered with the same.

While the paint didn’t change Kim, it has forever identified the outfit she wore with painting. When we see her outfit in the closet, it reminds us of her painting day; it’s an outward symbol of association.

Water baptism is a Christian symbol of association or identity. Water does a lot of things, but it can’t wash away sins. If water could remove sin, there would be no need for the death of Jesus. The waters of baptism are only a symbol of the washing away of sin through faith in Jesus.

As the believer goes down in the waters of baptism and is then raised out, it symbolizes a believer’s identification or association with Christ Jesus in His death, burial, and resurrection.

Do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life (Romans 6:3-4).

Leadership

In the past 17 years, Christian circles have been overwhelmed by books on leadership. A quick search on the ChristianBook.com retail website lists 253,161 current books with the term leader or leadership in the title.

Despite all these resources, there is a desperate lack of true leadership in the world today. A man is elected prime minister on the basis of his youthful good looks. The businessman is promoted because he’s put in his time at the company. There’s the woman who makes herself a pastor – not because she’s Biblically qualified – but because she feels a calling. None of these are evidences of godly leadership.

When His disciples argued over their own leadership rights and potential, Jesus deflated both their egos and their ambitions with a Heavenly perspective contrary to popular thought.

Whoever desires to be great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave – just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and give His life a ransom for many (Matthew 20:26-28).

Godly leadership isn’t created by reading a $25 book of principles, attending a weekend seminar, making resume bullet-points, following 40 days of something, or engaging in self-service or self-promotion; leadership is developed and demonstrated through Christlike humble service toward others.

It will never happen, but what I’m really waiting for are more books on following Jesus. Perhaps if we had more people who were truly following Jesus, we’d also have more qualified godly leaders.

And Jesus said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matthew 4:19).

‘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).

 

 

 

The Monster Within

Janice pressed her back hard against the window and held her breath. Hiding in the shadows, the terrified woman was sure the monster would crawl past her and she could escape its hungering belly. She waited silently, one minute and then five.

Since a teen, Janice had been fully aware she was being hunted by a blood-thirsty creature that seemed to shadow her every move. No matter where she went, how far or fast she ran, the monster was always as near as her own shadow. Tonight she knew it had followed her yet again.

The past 25 years had been a whirlwind of travel and attempted disguise. She couldn’t hide among the masses in New York. Neither the empty open prairies of Wyoming nor the sky rise flat in London sheltered her from the creature that stalked her every move.

Deep down, Janice knew there was no escape from the creature. She’d put it out of her mind or try to mask it with a substance or a relationship, but in the still moments of the night it was so close she could feel its heart beating in her own chest. In those moments she recalled her mother reading stories from a black book about the monster. Mother said it had been following Janice since before she was born and there wasn’t a soul on earth strong enough to slay the creature and set her free. But she decided that if the monster was going to kill her, it was her life and she’d go out fighting on her terms.

A few years earlier she worked with a woman who knew all about the creature. She’d been terrorized too, and claimed Janice couldn’t run away or hide from it because it actually lived inside of her. Like her mother, this woman said a Saviour had come from Heaven a long time ago and gave His own life to defeat and set her free from the creature and its power. Janice just needed to trust that by His sacrifice He’d become the Victor over the monster she knew as Sin.

Sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it. (Genesis 4:7). If the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed (John 8:36).

When the Work is Done

Every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God (Hebrews 10:11-12).

During the summer break from school, before I became a teenager, I’d go to work with my grandfather. He was in the business of repairing and remodeling homes and businesses. It was hard work, but I loved it because I got to spend the day with my grandfather.

Time is a constant, but the way it feels to move is never the same. Sometimes the day marched along like a tireless battalion of US marines; but the afternoons often trudged like the comatose Dunkin Donuts guy. When I was ready to quit and take a rest, my grandfather would say, “There’ll be time to rest when the work is done.”

Before dying on the cruel Roman cross, Jesus cried out, It is finished! (John 19:30). He had done everything that could be done to save sinners. The work for which the Father had sent Jesus into the world was complete. Jesus paid it all.

The Bible says that three days later God the Father raised Jesus from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places (Ephesians 1:20). God the Father revealed the standard of all miracle-working power by resurrecting and causing Jesus to sit down in Heaven. Christ’s work was done.

All that’s necessary now is for you, by faith, to accept the work that Jesus did by for you.

Jesus Paid It All – Elvina M Hall (1865)

I hear the Savior say, “Thy strength indeed is small;
Child of weakness, watch and pray, find in Me thine all in all.”

Refrain:
Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.

For nothing good have I whereby Thy grace to claim;
I’ll wash my garments white in the blood of Calv’ry’s Lamb.

And now complete in Him, my robe, His righteousness,
Close sheltered ’neath His side, I am divinely blest.

Lord, now indeed I find Thy pow’r, and Thine alone,
Can change the *leper’s spots and melt the heart of stone.

When from my dying bed my ransomed soul shall rise,
“Jesus died my soul to save,” shall rend the vaulted skies.

And when before the throne I stand in Him complete,
I’ll lay my trophies down, all down at Jesus’ feet.

Elvina M Hall (1865)

But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God (Hebrews 10:12).

 

Gold Fever

Big Thunder Gold Mine, Keystone, South Dakota RLR 2014

The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field (Matthew 13:44).

Gold fever still infects visitors to the America West. At the Big Thunder Gold Mine in Keystone, South Dakota, we explored the lives of men a century ago who gave up their worldly possessions, their health, and their lives for the chance of striking it rich. On our visit in 2014, we watched men, women, and children panning the sands for flakes of gold or even that rare nugget.

A quirk of human nature is that we’ll willingly sacrifice things of value for the potential of greater value. We’ll risk everything on a roll of a pair of dice or turn over our paychecks to a lottery scheme promising that one out of 100 million tickets is a winner.

Jesus told a short story about a man who found a treasure buried in a field. This man didn’t suspect a treasure, he actually found it! He then sold all that he had so he could buy the field where the treasure was hidden.

God the Father provided His Son as the salvation for the sins of the world. His forgiveness can’t be bought with gold or silver or hid in hole in the ground. God’s salvation must be accepted by faith, trusting that Jesus has done all that is necessary to save the sinner. This priceless gift of eternal life isn’t a gamble, but when possessed, is a source of great joy.

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).