Bringing In The Sheaves


untitledSowing in the morning, sowing seeds of kindness,

Sowing in the noontide and the dewy eve;

Waiting for the harvest, and the time of reaping,

We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves.

 

untitledSowing in the sunshine, sowing in the shadows,

Fearing neither clouds nor winter’s chilling breeze;

By and by the harvest, and the labor ended,

We shall come rejoicing, bring in the sheaves.

 

From Bringing in The Sheaves by George A. Minor, 1880

 

Galatians 6:9, “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”

 

Prayer


Praying-Hands-over-BibleWe are familiar with 1 Thessalonians 5:17, “Pray without ceasing.”  Most Christians know we should pray more.  Perhaps we could use some simple reminders from the instructions in the example prayer that the Lord gave His disciples.

Matthew 6:9-13

After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

 

Many points of application could be drawn.  Let us consider the following:

  1. Prayer is talking to our Father. Prayer is communication between God and his children. Are you a child of God? If not, prayer cannot mean much to you. Fellowship with God begins with salvation by trusting Him to save us through the death and resurrection of Christ. Also, since prayer is a time to talk to our Father; prayer is not a time for thinking about what others are thinking about us. We do not need to be embarrassed when we pray. Nor do we need to try to impress others when we pray. We are just talking to God.
  2. Prayer is telling God why we love Him. Jesus said, “Hallowed be thy name.” Jesus praised God for being holy. We should be thankful for all that God is and all He has done. We should praise His character in our prayer. Notice that Jesus concluded His prayer by crediting an eternal kingdom, power, and glory to God.
  3. Prayer is telling God we are sorry. Jesus said, “Forgive us our debts.” We should confess our sins as soon as we realize that we have committed them.
  4. Prayer is asking to have what we need. Jesus said, “Give us this day our daily bread.” James 4:2-3 explains that we do not have because we do not ask; and what we do ask is a selfish request. We should ask for what we truly need today.
  5. Prayer is desiring God’s desires to be accomplished. Jesus said this in several ways.
  • Thy kingdom come.
  • Thy will be done in earth…
  • Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

There is indeed much to pray about!

 

Reading the Bible Like a Horoscope


imagesA few months ago I took a job almost an hour’s drive from our home (when traffic is good).  It has been an exercise in learning to listen to good, calm music while observing some crazy drivers and not letting their tactics get to me!

Amazingly, the scariest part of my morning drive is about a mile from our home.  I enter our interstate on a short, uphill onramp, exiting into three lanes of traffic that are often chock-a-block at 5:30 AM.

Even more amazingly, I have only run out of room at the end of that ramp and had to continue on the shoulder three times so far.  But I have had one near miss when someone going very fast suddenly swooped into my lane right behind me, just as I entered it.

Those of us who have tendencies to OCD know that a situation like that can both bring out the worst of our fearfulness and drive us to our knees in prayer.

So it was that I opened my Bible one morning, while working through the vicinity of Psalm 100, and read the following:

Psalm 102:23, “He weakened my strength in the way; he shortened my days.”

I then noticed that I was in the wrong chapter—I was supposed to have read Psalm 100 and Psalm 101. It was then I started to get scared. Was God trying to tell me something? Was I about to get hit in that on-ramp in ten minutes’ time?

But it was also then that I remembered all I have learned about my God in His Word. He does not let the Bible be used like a fortune-telling tool. Opening your Bible and randomly inserting your finger in it is no more likely to give you the counsel you need for your day than a regular Bible reading plan would! And many, many other believers have read the words of that verse many, many times in the past, then gone on to live a long life!

In fact, God most assuredly does not operate that way in this New Testament day. He does not use fear to control us and would gain nothing by announcing a sudden death in advance, even if it were going to take place.

God is good to those who are His. Some He blesses with long life and others He blesses in a different way. All we can do is confide in Him and drink deeply at the fountain of His Word every day.

With those thoughts and assurances, I confidently got my coat on and went out to successfully navigate that on-ramp once again.

Psalm 100: 3, 4, “Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.”

 

 

Peace on Life’s Pathway


imagesPhilippians 4:4-9

4 Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.

5 Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.

6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

9 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.”

I have always found the words of the passage above to be both comforting and challenging. There is much comfort in knowing God always has a plan. Here the plan is to rejoice in the Lord and to be careful for nothing or don’t be afraid. We are to enter into seasons of prayer. Lastly we are to put limits on the scope of our thinking.   In these verses 4, 5, 6, 8, there is a formula for individual peace and happiness.

It is not always easy to rejoice, but neither is it impossible for the believer.  Far too often the child of God looses an opportunity because of fear. We are inclined to hold back because of fear. When God has given clear direction, there is no room for fear.  We notice that all things are to be brought before the Lord in prayer. Getting an answer from God brings real assurance and wipes away all fear. While all of the above are for our benefit, there is an even greater benefit to others.

In verse 5, there are two ways this is done. The first is … let your moderation be known to all men and the second one is … the Lord is at hand.   In this wild mixed up world, the believer is to be the picture of moderation. We are to be reasonable, we are to be satisfied, and by all means we are not to be a “me first” person.  We should ask ourselves—“Am I a spiritual benefit to those in my circle? If I fear, fret and fumble folks are not seeing Christ.  They will not believe that I believe that His coming is at hand or near.”  Our testimony will be week, wobbly, and non-effective.

How the Christian lives and acts is very important. May I challenge each of us to show that Christ has changed our lives and that we trust Him in all things? May we also be “reasonable” in all aspects of our life?

If you read verse 9 and come to the conclusion that you do not have peace, let me offer two possible solutions. The first is that you do not have peace because you are saved but not following God’s plan given above.  The second reason you are not able to live in peace is that you do not know the God of peace. You must make peace with God before you can have the peace of God. If there is a need in your life today, call us at Tabernacle (757-424- 4673).

 

Count It All Joy!


images                    Count it All Joy

When the ways of God unequal seem to be,

And the trials He sends appear too hard for thee.

He has promised you His wisdom shall be given liberally.

If you ask in faith with patience

Soon His purpose you shall see.

 

Count it all joy

When darkness clouds the path you trod.

Trust in His Word that the secret things

Belong to the Lord our God.

Count it all joy,

And for the Crown of Life endure.

Let your patience make you perfect

And complete in all His will,

And the grace of God employ

To count it all joy.

 

As with Job the Lord doth often hide His face.

Still He’s faithful to provide a secret place

To escape from each temptation

Through His all sufficient grace.

So rejoice in tribulation,

And your trial now embrace.

 

Count it all joy

When darkness clouds the path you trod.

Trust in His Word that the secret things

Belong to the Lord our God.

Count it all joy,

And for the Crown of Life endure.

Let your patience make you perfect

And complete in all His will,

And the grace of God employ

To count it all joy.

 

And the grace of God employ

To count it all joy.

COUNT IT ALL JOY!

 

Sung by The WILDS on the CD God is Enough

Trophies


images29XCC0S2God is the One who builds trophies from the scrap pile–who draws His clay from under the bridge–who makes clean instruments of beauty from the filthy failures of yesteryear.

John 15:3, “Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.”

 

Starting Over, p. 23

It Is For Him Not Them


imagesNU332289Hebrews 6:10 – “For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.”

 

Looking back on 2014, how was your attitude most of the time when it came to your service for the Lord?  Did you have times where you felt that the things you did, didn’t even matter to anyone?  Or maybe you felt like they even went unnoticed?  Let me encourage you in 2015 not to worry about what other people see or think or even know about what we do for HIM.

If we are doing things for the Lord to get noticed or for recognition, we are doing them for the wrong reasons.  The majority of the time, in the gospels, when Christ healed someone, he said, “Tell no one.”  People didn’t need to know who did it, but they just needed to know it was God.  It should be the same in our lives.  Maybe no one says “Nice song today” or no one thanks you for the snacks you put out or the bulletin board you put up or even that no one thanks you for the sermon you gave on Sunday morning that you put hours into preparing.  God sees our works for him but, more importantly, he sees our hearts.

If we are ministering to the saints and for our Savior, and it is in the flesh, then our reward is here, and it is temporal; but if we do the things we do in the spirit, those rewards are eternal.  God will give us our just rewards, for our labor of love, in heaven one day, and we will turn back around and lay them at HIS feet.

Be Not Afraid, Only Believe!


imagesMark 5:36

“As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe.”

Recently in reading a series of passages in Scripture that deal with faith, I came across Mark 5.  There are several situations that Christ encounters here that illustrate faith.  The one the caught my attention is found in Mark 5:21-43.  A ruler of the synagogue named Jairus comes to Christ asking for His healing for his daughter.  Christ makes His way to heal her fever when He is detained by the crowd of people and encounters the woman with the issue of blood.  Her faith heals her, but in the delay, Jairus’ daughter dies. When her death is reported to the Lord, He responds to Jairus with a powerful statement – “Be not afraid, only believe.”  Many times in our lives we face circumstances that naturally elicit fear – a serious illness, loss of a job, financial difficulties, death of a loved one.  Obviously, the Lord knew that He would raise this little girl up, but her father did not know that.  Christ ministered to Jairus’s natural response of fear with an admonishment to believe.  It seems as if the Lord knew in our human nature that we would need to be reminded to have faith in the midst of difficulty because most often our fear clouds the eye of faith.  What is it that is obstructing your vision of faith in this new year?  Take the Lord’s admonition to a father who had just lost his daughter to encourage your heart when facing difficulty – “Be not afraid, only believe!”

HE Careth for Me!


imagesAAJUUNJ1“Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you.”

—1 Peter 5:7.

It is a happy way of soothing sorrow when we can feel—”HE careth for me.” Christian! do not dishonour religion by always wearing a brow of care; come, cast your burden upon your Lord. You are staggering beneath a weight which your Father would not want you to feel. What seems to you a crushing burden, would be to Him but as the small dust of the balance. Nothing is so sweet as to

“Lie passive in God’s hands,

And know no will but His.”

O child of suffering, be thou patient; God has not passed thee over in His providence. He who is the feeder of sparrows, will also furnish you with what you need. Sit not down in despair; hope on, hope ever. Take up the arms of faith against a sea of trouble, and your opposition shall yet end your distresses. There is One who careth for you. His eye is fixed on you, His heart beats with pity for your woe, and his hand omnipotent shall yet bring you the needed help. The darkest cloud shall scatter itself in showers of mercy. The blackest gloom shall give place to the morning. He, if thou art one of His family, will bind up thy wounds and heal thy broken heart. Doubt not His grace because of thy tribulation, but believe that He loveth thee as much in seasons of trouble as in times of happiness. What a serene and quiet life might you lead if you would leave providing to the God of providence! With a little oil in the cruse, and a handful of meal in the barrel, Elijah outlived the famine, and you will do the same. If God cares for you, why need you care too? Can you trust Him for your soul, and not for your body? He has never refused to bear your burdens, He has never fainted under their weight. Come, then, soul! have done with fretful care, and leave all thy concerns in the hands of a gracious God.

 

~ C. H. Spurgeon, Morning and Evening

I Must Tell Jesus


imagesPXVMT86QI must tell Jesus all of my trials;

I cannot bear these burdens alone;

In my distress He kindly will help me;

He ever loves and cares for His own.

I must tell Jesus!  I must tell Jesus!

I cannot bear my burdens alone;

I must tell Jesus!  I must tell Jesus!

Jesus can help me, Jesus alone.

 

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you (I Thes. 5:18).

 

From I Must Tell Jesus by Elisha A. Hoffman, 1893