Overcoming discouragement brings great blessing

Overcoming discouragement brings great blessing

Come to me and I will set you free. Love Jesus

Have you experienced the peace of God during times of trouble?

The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved:
he uttered his voice, the earth melted.

Psalm 46:6 

Be still my soul

Be still, my soul! thy God doth undertake
To guide the future as He has the past,
Thy hope, they confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul! the waves and winds still know
His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.
Be Still, My Soul (v2) , Katharina Amalia von Schlegel (1697-?)

Whatever your circumstances, if you believe the first line of this great hymn, you will be at rest. In the midst of the psalmist’s troubles, the Lord said, “Be still, and know that I am God.” It was these same words that spoke to Katharina von Schlegel in the turbulent times of post-Reformation Germany. A century after Luther’s reforms, central Europe was racked by the Thirty Years’ War, which pitted Catholics against Protestants. The Lutheran church lapsed into formalism and dead orthodoxy. In the darkness of that time, God raised up the Pietist movement, which stressed personal holiness, charity, missions, and music.

The songs of the Pietists were largely unknown outside of Germany until three British women — Jane and Sarah Borthwick and Catherine Winkworth — began to translate them into English a hundred years later. This hymn, penned by the leading woman of the Pietist movement, a canoness of a women’s seminary, was among those forgotten songs.

Adapted from The One Year® Book of Hymns by Mark Norton and Robert Brown, Tyndale House Publishers (1995), entry for January 10.

 

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House

Pentecost was fully come

Pentecost

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And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Acts 2:1-4

Suggested Further Reading: 2 Corinthians 3:1-6

How absolutely necessary is the presence and power of the Holy Spirit! It is not possible for us to promote the glory of God or to bless the souls of men, unless the Holy Spirit shall be in us and with us. Those who were assembled on that memorable day of Pentecost, were all men of prayer and faith; but even these precious gifts are only available when the celestial fire sets them on a blaze. They were all men of experience; most of them had been preachers of the Word and workers of miracles; they had endured trials and troubles in company with their Lord, and had been with him in his temptation. Among them were the apostles and the seventy evangelists, and with them were those honoured women in whose houses the Lord had often been entertained, and who had ministered to him of their substance; yet even these favoured and honoured saints can do nothing without the breath of God the Holy Spirit. Apostles and evangelists dare not even attempt anything alone; they must tarry at Jerusalem till power be given them from on high. It was not a want of education; they had been for three years in the college of Christ, with perfect wisdom as their tutor, matchless eloquence as their instructor, and immaculate perfection as their example; yet they must not venture to open their mouths to testify of the mystery of Jesus, until the anointing Spirit has come with blessed unction from above. Surely if so it was with them, much more must it be the case with us.

For meditation: Unbelievers are unspiritual by nature (1 Corinthians 2:14); believers can be unspiritual by practice (1 Corinthians 3:1). Anything in our lives not derived from the gifts (1 Corinthians 12:4,7) or fruit (Galatians 5:22-23) of the Holy Spirit is by definition unspiritual.

Sermon no. 511
24 May (Whit Sunday 1863)

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HIS CONSTANT UPHOLDING

Morning

“Forsake me not, O Lord.”
Psalm 38:21

Frequently we pray that God would not forsake us in the hour of trial and temptation, but we too much forget that we have need to use this prayer at all times. There is no moment of our life, however holy, in which we can do without his constant upholding. Whether in light or in darkness, in communion or in temptation, we alike need the prayer, “Forsake me not, O Lord.” “Hold thou me up, and I shall be safe.” A little child, while learning to walk, always needs the nurse’s aid. The ship left by the pilot drifts at once from her course. We cannot do without continued aid from above; let it then be your prayer today, “Forsake me not. Father, forsake not thy child, lest he fall by the hand of the enemy. Shepherd, forsake not thy lamb, lest he wander from the safety of the fold. Great Husbandman, forsake not thy plant, lest it wither and die. Forsake me not, O Lord,’ now; and forsake me not at any moment of my life. Forsake me not in my joys, lest they absorb my heart. Forsake me not in my sorrows, lest I murmur against thee. Forsake me not in the day of my repentance, lest I lose the hope of pardon, and fall into despair; and forsake me not in the day of my strongest faith, lest faith degenerate into presumption. Forsake me not, for without thee I am weak, but with thee I am strong. Forsake me not, for my path is dangerous, and full of snares, and I cannot do without thy guidance. The hen forsakes not her brood; do thou then evermore cover me with thy feathers, and permit me under thy wings to find my refuge. Be not far from me, O Lord, for trouble is near, for there is none to help.’ Leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation!'”

“O ever in our cleansed breast,

Bid thine Eternal Spirit rest;

And make our secret soul to be

A temple pure and worthy thee.”

Evening

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“And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem … and they told what things were done in the way, and how he was known of them.”
Luke 24:33-35

When the two disciples had reached Emmaus, and were refreshing themselves at the evening meal, the mysterious stranger who had so enchanted them upon the road, took bread and brake it, made himself known to them, and then vanished out of their sight. They had constrained him to abide with them, because the day was far spent; but now, although it was much later, their love was a lamp to their feet, yea, wings also; they forgot the darkness, their weariness was all gone, and forthwith they journeyed back the threescore furlongs to tell the gladsome news of a risen Lord, who had appeared to them by the way. They reached the Christians in Jerusalem, and were received by a burst of joyful news before they could tell their own tale. These early Christians were all on fire to speak of Christ’s resurrection, and to proclaim what they knew of the Lord; they made common property of their experiences. This evening let their example impress us deeply. We too must bear our witness concerning Jesus. John’s account of the sepulchre needed to be supplemented by Peter; and Mary could speak of something further still; combined, we have a full testimony from which nothing can be spared. We have each of us peculiar gifts and special manifestations; but the one object God has in view is the perfecting of the whole body of Christ. We must, therefore, bring our spiritual possessions and lay them at the apostle’s feet, and make distribution unto all of what God has given to us. Keep back no part of the precious truth, but speak what you know, and testify what you have seen. Let not the toil or darkness, or possible unbelief of your friends, weigh one moment in the scale. Up, and be marching to the place of duty, and there tell what great things God has shown to your soul.

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God wants your worries!

Give your worries to God, for he cares for you

thinking THY WORD

 

He will not forget

And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:.

Matthew 6:28 KJV

 

God knows your name

“A good friend of mine once went to visit his brother during a time of deep crisis. His marriage was struggling, his business was near collapse, and his money was drying up quickly. He had just sold his home and moved into a one-bedroom apartment and had no idea how he was going to dig himself out of his financial and relational problems.

My friend listened as his brother confided in him about his deep frustration. “Some days you want to go outside and shake your fist at heaven and say, ‘God, why don’t you help me?'” his brother said.

My friend looked at his brother in the eye and said somberly, “That wouldn’t do any good. He doesn’t even know who you are.” The two looked at each other for several seconds then burst out laughing. The two brothers had spent their lives trusting God and studying his Word, and the absurdity of the statement left them both in stitches. Years later, the brother told my friend that his joke had brought him a great deal of comfort during his trying time. Even more, it gave him renewed perspective.

We’ve all felt abandoned by God at one time or another. God cares deeply when we suffer, and he is right there beside us all the time.

At times like these the best thing to do is put your hand in his and trust him with your future. Because he not only knows what you’re going through, he knows exactly who you are.

from Embracing Eternity by Tim LaHaye, Jerry B. Jenkins and Frank M. Martin (Tyndale) p 166

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House

FOR ALL THE SAINTS

God will conquer death

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For all the saints

“For all the saints, who from their labors rest,
Who Thee by faith before the world confessed,
Thy name, O Jesus, be forever blest,
Alleluia, Alleluia!

And when the strife is fierce, the warfare long,
Steals on the ear the distant triumph song,
And hearts are brave again, and arms are strong.
Alleluia, Alleluia!”

For All the Saints
William Walsham How (1823-1897)

19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;

20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner [stone];

21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:

22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

Ephesians 2:19-22 KJV

A hero of the faith

“In 1864 Bishop William How wrote this hymn for All Saints Day. He cited Hebrews 12:1 in his original title, but he drew on all of Hebrews 11 for inspiration. That’s the famous “faith chapter,” which praises the faithful deeds of a score of Old Testament heroes.

The author might be considered a hero of the faith himself. He was a man of the people, regularly reaching out to minister to the poor and needy in his area. Once he listed the characteristics that a minister should have; among them was being “wholly without thought of self.” Those who knew him said that Bishop How was like that, selflessly caring for others.”

From The One Year® Book of Hymns by Mark Norton and Robert Brown (Tyndale) entry for November 1

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House

A troubled prayer

A troubled prayer

2 Cor 12 9 10

 

Look upon mine affliction and my pain; and forgive all my sins

Psalm 25:18

Suggested Further Reading: Hebrews 11:2-28

A Christian counts sorrow lighter in the scale than sin; he can bear that his troubles should continue, but he cannot endure the burden of his guilt, or the weight of his transgressions. Here are two guests come to my door; both of them ask to have a lodging with me. The one is called Affliction; he has a very grave voice, and a very heavy hand, and he looks at me with fierce eyes. The other is called Sin, and he is very soft-spoken, and very fair, and his words are softer than butter. Let me scan their faces, let me examine them as to their character; I must not be deceived by appearances. I will ask my two friends who would lodge with me, to open their hands. When my friend Affliction, with some little difficulty, opens his hand, I find that, rough as it is, he carries a jewel inside it, and that he meant to leave that jewel at my house. But as for my soft-spoken friend Sin, when I force him to show me what it is that is hidden in his sleeve, I find that it is a dagger with which he would have stabbed me. What shall I do, then, if I am wise? Why, I should be very glad if they would both be good enough to go and stop somewhere else, but if I must entertain one of the two, I would shut my door in the face of smooth-spoken Sin, and say to the rougher and uglier visitor, Affliction, Come and stop with me, for maybe God has sent you as a messenger of mercy to my soul.  Look upon mine affliction and my pain, and forgive all my sin.  We must be more express and explicit about sin than we are about trouble.

For meditation: Anything has got to be better than sin; the Christian is not short of alternatives to prefer (Psalm 84:10; Matthew 18:8-9; Ephesians 4:28; 5:4,11; Hebrews 11:25). Are these your sentiments or would you rather hold on to your sin (John 3:19), regardless of what it has done to you (Romans 7:11) and what it will do to you (Romans 6:23)?

Sermon no. 741
28 May (Undated Sermon)

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Resurrection Christ the firstfruits

Resurrection Christ the firstfruits

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But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.

1 Corinthians 15:20

Suggested Further Reading: Romans 6:5-11

Why is it that the resurrection of Christ is of so much importance? Upon it we have said that the whole system of Christianity rests; for if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain ye are yet in your sins (1 Corinthians 15:14,17). The divinity of Christ finds its surest proof in his resurrection, since the apostle tells us that Christ was declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead (Romans 1:4). It would not be unreasonable to doubt his deity if he had not risen. Moreover, Christ’s sovereignty also depends upon his resurrection, for Scripture affirms:˜to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living (Romans 14:9). Again, our justification, that choice blessing of the covenant, hangs upon Christ;s resurrection. He was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification (Romans 4:25). Our very regeneration depends upon his resurrection, for Peter, speaking by the Holy Spirit, exclaims, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (1 Peter 1:3). And most certainly our ultimate resurrection rests here; for if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you’ (Romans 8:11). If Christ be not risen, then we shall not rise; but if he be risen, then they who are asleep in Christ have not perished, but in their flesh shall surely behold their God.

For meditation: A great emphasis was placed by the preachers of the early church upon the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ as well as upon his death (Acts 2:24,31-32; 3:15,26; 4:10,33; 5:30; 10:40-41; 13:30,33-34,37; 17:3,18,31; 26:23). Is it important to you?

Sermon no. 445
20 April (1862)

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