About five months ago I met Billy at an event called Live after Five. I gave Billy a gospel tract and talked to him about Jesus. He had been in a life of addiction but was getting back on his feet, had just started a new job and was on his way to being independent. But he was currently staying in the homeless shelter and only had 20 minutes to get there or he wouldn’t have a bed for the night. There’s no way he could make it in time. So me, James Goss and Billy power walked to my car and drove with purpose to the homeless shelter with a few minutes to spare. The whole way there Billy was thanking us and marveling that God would show him such mercy. He said he wanted to come to church but I tried to contact him for several weeks afterwards and he never returned my messages.
While I was on my way downtown to Live After Five yesterday afternoon I was remembering my encounter with Billy, so I thought I would just check his Facebook page to see if he was still in Baton Rouge and try to follow up on him again. What I found was that Billy died two weeks ago of a heart attack.
Life is a vapor.
Jesus knows all my wants and weaknesses; all my sin and misery. He knows the malice of my enemies, and the foolishness of my heart. He has power to subdue my whole nature to Himself, and to defeat the wiles and machinations of my foes.
His grace is all-sufficient.
His love is infinite.
His wisdom cannot be defeated.
His power cannot be resisted.
He has all power and strength–and I am very weak. He has all the knowledge to understand my whole case, and all the wisdom necessary to direct everything concerning me. He makes no mistakes. He is never deceived. He is never outsmarted. He knows all things.
He knows my weaknesses. He knows my sorrows. He knows my heart. His wisdom never fails. He is never confounded or perplexed. He has as much mercy and kindness as I need. His loving-kindness is so great that we cannot fathom its top or the bottom–the length or the breadth of it. The ocean of the Divine love is boundless and inexhaustible! It is infinite!
I have no sorrow to which He is a stranger.
He sympathizes with me in all my sufferings and temptations.
I need just such a friend.
(William S Plumer)
“How shall I feel at the judgment, if multitudes of missed opportunities pass before me in full review, and all my excuses prove to be disguises of my cowardice and pride.” – Dr. W. E. Sangster
1 John 2:28 And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.
What a tragedy that some will be ashamed before Jesus. This isn’t talking about those who rejected Him. This verse is to the “little children”….those in the family of God.
I’m certain there will be many who will sense the regret of a life wasted on their own pleasures rather than whole hearted service to the King. But John isn’t talking about that. He’s talking about the shame of knowing there was a God to know and walk with and choosing other things instead. How ridiculous all those other things will appear on that day.
Will we then remember all the sporting events we cheered loudly at and the worship services we almost slept through? Will our dead, dry prayer life witness against us when all the while there was a living God always ready to infuse our prayer time with life? But because we rushed in and rushed out of prayer, we didn’t meet with Him. We just tossed our list at Him as we ran right past Him, so anxious to get to the next thing.
Consider the greatness of WHO is desiring this abiding relationship with us! It is God Himself! Could anything be more glorious? Does anything else so deserve our life’s priority and focus as this? Brothers and Sisters, let’s not neglect the tremendous privilege that has been set before us. Today, right now, we can walk with God. Let the glory of the abiding life be the testimony of your life….until the day you see Him face to face….unashamed.
Political and social reforms labor in vain–because they ignore the fall of Adam and original sin. These are great stubborn facts, which ruin all their calculations. Without acknowledging the reality and consequences of sin–the great problems of human nature can never be solved.
How much we ought to hate sin, and to make the checking of sin the first object in our efforts to do good! How much we ought to long and strive to promote the progress of the Gospel of Christ! This, after all, is the only true reformer of mankind. Just in proportion as men are brought under the influence of the despised old Gospel–will be the increase of peace on earth and goodwill among men.
The more Christ is known and loved, and the more the Bible is read–the more will the inhabitants of the earth love one another. The more grace reigns over hearts and lives–the less hatred and violence will there be in the world. If pure and undefiled religion prevailed everywhere–then such plagues and pests and nuisances as quarreling, robbing, murder, drunkenness, immorality, swindling, gambling, idleness, lying, and cheating would be comparatively unknown. Most of the prisons and workhouses would soon be shut. Lawyers and policemen would have little to do. Taxes would be cut in half.
He is the truest friend to human happiness–who does the most to spread the knowledge of Christ and evangelize the world!
So often recently I have been reminded of how important it is to be faithful to the ministry God has entrusted to me and to the people God has placed in my life. Many times we go through difficulty or discouragement and we are tempted to give up and walk away. But the word of God tells us this:
And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Galatians 6:9
That due season is a tremendous time of rejoicing both in heaven and on earth. But there may be a very long (and sometimes frustrating) season of sowing and watering and praying and waiting.
Don’t lose heart! Because the reaping shall surely come. See it with the eyes of faith as you consider the faithfulness of Him who promised.
Many chapters in the book of Exodus are concerned with the making of the tabernacle in the wilderness, both God’s detailed instructions for it and the people’s detailed following of those instructions. It’s tempting to just pass over these chapters as unimportant. But sometimes God stores a treasure in the midst of the monotony, maybe just to see if we’re looking.
There were many articles and utensils and furnishings made for the tabernacle. Once the tabernacle itself was erected, those things just needed to be put in their place inside the tabernacle. But God was very particular even about this. Here are His instructions to Moses:
Exodus 40:1-3 Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: On the first day of the first month you shall set up the tabernacle of the tent of meeting. You shall put in it the ark of the Testimony, and partition off the ark with the veil.
It can be easy to pass over this as just another item in a detailed to-do list. But I think it speaks to us something that is so important to the heart of God….first, the Presence.
The ark of the testimony is the place of meeting between God and man (Exodus 25:22). So while all the other things in the tabernacle are about religious service, the ark is about intimacy. And intimacy must come first for it is the fuel for our religious service. Many time we get this backwards, zealous about our spiritual disciplines but never really getting to Him….which seems to be a time tested recipe for Pharisee making.
Believer, we are the dwelling place of God in the Spirit (Ephesians 2:22) We are the tabernacle. He abides in you and empowers you for service in the kingdom, and this is so important to Him. But His priority for your life has not changed….first, the Presence.
But it is good for me to draw near to God; I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, That I may declare all Your works. Psalm 73:28