Great Is Thy Faithfulness!


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Change is hard especially when it comes unexpectedly and unkindly, but God is good in every situation.  I have been reminded of God’s goodness recently because of an unpleasant situation that people I love have been going through.  Some of God’s people are unkind, unforgiving, and harsh—BUT some others of God’s people are kind, very giving, and thoughtful!  It is not our responsibility to look at God’s people, but it is our responsibility to keep our eyes focused on God.  Too many times we focus on the negative when everything about God is so positive.  We cheat ourselves out of blessings when we fail to focus on God!  Even in this hard situation, God has been good—He has met every need and exceeded our expectations of what He could possibly do.  Why does it surprise us that God takes care of us including supplying for every need?  It shouldn’t!  Our God is able—he DOES own the cattle on a thousand hills!

I’m thankful for the lessons of faith we have learned through this situation.  Thank you, Lord, for your provision and your tender care!

Great is thy faithfulness, O God my father!

There is no shadow of turning with thee;

Thou changest not, thy compassions they fail not:

As thou hast been thou forever shalt be.

Great is thy faithfulness!  Great is thy faithfulness!

Morning by morning new mercies I see;

All I have needed thy hand hath provided–

Great is thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

Great Is Thy Faithfulness by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1923.

Near to the Heart of God


017And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place and rest a while . . . (Mark 6:31).

There is a place of quiet rest,

Near to the heart of God.

A place where sin cannot molest,

Near to the heart of God.

O Jesus, Blest Redeemer,

Sent from the heart of God.

Hold us who wait before Thee

Near to the heart of God.

From Near to the Heart of God by Cleland B. McAfee, 1903.

More Love to Thee


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Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou has created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created (Revelation 4:11).

More love to Thee, O Christ, more love to Thee!

Hear Thou the prayer I make on bended knee.

This is my earnest plea; More love, O Christ, to Thee;

More love to Thee, more love to Thee!

Once earthly joy I craved, sought peace and rest;

Now Thee alone I seek, give what is best.

This all my prayer shall be: More love, O Christ to Thee;

More love to Thee, more love to Thee!

From More Love to Thee, O Christ by Elizabeth P. Prentiss, 1856

Not I, but Christ – the Christian’s Entitlement


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Entitlement – such a hot topic in this day – everyone has rights to do as they wish with responsibility to no one, but for the Christian we can look at it from Paul’s perspective in Galatians 2:20. “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” From this verse, entitlement for the Christian can be summed up in two phrases. First, I am crucified with Christ; secondly, yet not I, but Christ. That’s our entitlement – Christ who gave himself for me. We are not our own, we are bought with a price and can only glory in the cross of Christ. “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ,” Galatians 6:14a. Job and Joseph displayed this character in their lives when they encountered adversity. Job’s wife said curse God and die – his response was “What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips” (Job 2:10b). Joseph’s response to his brothers was “But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good,” (Genesis 50:20a). Our entitlement – Not I, but Christ!

God’s Glory Revealed


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Psalm 8:1, 3-4

O Lord our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens.

When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?

This is a familiar psalm that I have read scores of times in my life.  But recently, the Lord encouraged my heart with some new thoughts about how He reveals His glory.  The psalm references the glory of God in the heavens and the work of God in carefully and meticulously placing the moon and the stars in their places.  I don’t know if you have ever had the picture in your mind of God at creation just flinging the stars across the sky like an artist splattering paint on a blank canvass.  That was kind of the picture that I had in mind when I looked in awe at the starlit night sky.  But the Psalmist here is particular to write of God’s using His fingers to “ordain” or place carefully the moon and all the stars.  When I began to think on this incredibly meticulous task, the next verse came alive to me.  The God Who purposefully and particularly placed the billions of stars in their places thinks about me and even takes time to minister to me individually!  What an amazing and humbling thought! 

But another thought came quickly after these – why do we only see the stars in the night time?  If I had done something as incredible as God has done with the stars, I would want them to be seen ALL the time.  Now I am no scientist to explain this, but the answer seems simple – it is only in the darkness of night that the light of the stars is revealed for our human eyes to see.  Just because we can’t see the stars doesn’t mean they aren’t there.  We just have to wait for God to reveal them to us.  Psalm 8:1 references God’s “glory above the heavens.”  Could it be that sometimes it takes the darkness of the night in our lives to allow God’s glory to be revealed? 

I don’t know what is going on in your life today, but I do know that my God cares about the little things in your life and mine – He thinks on us and visits us!  Maybe you are in a time of darkness – take some time to look at the “night sky” and see what part of His glory He is trying to reveal to you in your darkness.  Then praise Him because He is excellent and worthy of our praise!

Do You Ever Feel Alone?


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Sometimes, even when we’re around a lot of people, we may feel alone.  Sometimes we’re in a turning point in our lives and we may feel alone, or that we’re the only ones in that type of situation.  Matthew 28:20b says, “…and lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.”

As our Savior, Jesus is ALWAYS with us, no matter what!  The end of that verse says “even unto the end of the world.”  That tells us that whatever we are facing, He’s there.  Hard choices we may have to make, He’s there.  As we face the world and need to stand up for Christ, He’s there.  Facing a move and feeling unsure and nervous, He’s there.  Undertaking a task you never imagined facing, He’s there.

God told Moses in Exodus 33:14, “My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.”  That’s a comfort and encouragement for us.  Jesus’ presence is with us, whatever we face!  And it also says He’ll “give thee rest.”  That means in turmoil, stress, super busy days, times of conflict, terror-filled days…He will give us rest.  That means peace in our lives.

This is all as long as we turn to Him.  Search the Bible for verses to encourage yourself.  His Word will not disappoint.

Isaiah 41:13”For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.”  As a parent will stand next to a child to comfort and support, the Lord will help us.  So remember, we are not alone.  Though at times it really feels like it, and our mind tries to convince us of it, and circumstances look like it’s so, it’s not true.  We cannot trust our feelings, mind, and circumstances–we must Trust His Word.

Under Construction


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Philippians 1:6: “Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ”.

The summer months are mainly vacation time for many folks! No matter where you travel, it seems you see a sign that reads, “Under Construction.” That’s how our lives are, “under construction;” one day at a time! No matter your age, the Master Builder is still working to improve our spiritual growth, that is, if we let Him! 1 Corinthians 3:10, “According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.”

God’s first work was creation. He said it was very good, Genesis 1:31, “And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good ….” Everything God has done and is doing, will do, and remains to be, very good! As part of the song “He’s Still Working On Me,” “…It took Him just a week to make the moon and stars – The sun and the earth and Jupiter and Mars…”

Philippians 2:13, “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do his good pleasure.” No matter how it looks, or what happens, the Great Master Builder is building a perfect “house” through your life. Isaiah 64:8, “…thou art the father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.” We all know that the potter molds the item on the potter’s wheel as he desires. How wonderful it is to realize that we are “rooted and built up in Him,….” Colossians 2:7a.

He has a plan for your life and mine. We are still “Under Construction.” We are truly thankfully that God is always at work in our lives, “He’s Still Working On Me!” And we are not complete until the Lord calls us Home!

 

HE’S STILL WORKING ON ME

WORDS & MUSIC: Joel Hemphill

Chorus: He’s still working on me

To make me what I need to be

It took him just a week to make the moon and stars

The sun and the earth and Jupiter and Mars

How loving and patient He must be

‘Cause He’s still workin’ on me

Verse 1

There really ought to be a sign upon my heart

Don’t judge him yet, there’s an unfinished part

But I’ll be better just according to His plan

Fashioned by the Master’s loving hands

Chorus

Verse 2

In the mirror of His word Reflections that I see

Make me wonder why He never gave up on me

But He loves me as I am and helps me when I pray

Remember He’s the potter; I’m the clay

Chorus

Missions is Our Mission!


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Missions is our Mission. We have just begun a new mission year at Tabernacle. Our 2015-16 year ended June 30th. It was a good year with many of the normal events completed with a great deal of excitement. Each Wednesday night our church hears from three missionaries by letter. I have the joy of reading most of the letters. They are filled with gratitude, love, victories, some setbacks, additions to families, kids going off to college, converts, new church plants, furlough plans, government collapse, and many other items to numerous to mention. I love the letters and often chuckle at some of the things they do on the field. I know it is serious business, but fun things do happen.

The letters remind me that missionaries are just normal folks like the rest of us. They are often called upon to go way beyond the normal. They have to deal with housing problems, worn out cars, and folks that sometimes are not faithful. Then there are letters that relate to us the blessing of a faithful National without whom the missionary would be limited. We all appreciate the faithful in our churches. Faithfulness must mean so much more to the missionary in a foreign land without family and friends. One young single missionary remarked how excited she was to have a friend who was now ready to go soul winning with her. Another related how a local man who loves Jesus loads his scooter with Gospel tracts and New Testaments and takes them to the villages.

Did you notice I never said the missionary faces all these hardships alone? They all have the reality of God’s promise to never leave them. (Heb. 13:5b) It must be an extra burden to be without family and friends and face hardships. Survival at these tough moments comes when they are assured the folks at home are praying. We must be faithful in prayer. How many came home because the prayer warriors failed? No doubt as you read this you are aware that in a few moments you can get the help you need. Help is as close as the cell phone. May I remind you that prayer is quicker, and God has worldwide service that always works? I am reminded as I write that you and I have a role to play in the success of our missionaries.

Let me close with a challenge to give to missions. It costs to live there as it does here in America. We have so much or think we need so much here.  Our culture keeps telling us just how badly we need everything. Children are constantly shown on TV what they need and why the need it. Gadgets and fads keep us poor while the missionary needs a new tire or a chair or maybe books for a child’s education. Let’s not allow them to be alone or without on the field God has called them to. Let’s make missions our mission!

O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go


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” . . . with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the Lord thy Redeemer” (Isaiah 54:8b).

O Love that wilt not let me go,

I rest my weary soul in thee;

I give thee back the life I owe,

That in thine ocean depths its flow

May richer, fuller be.

From O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go by George Matheson, 1882.

My Hope is in the Lord


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I heard recently that someone took these thoughts from a sermon: We are worthless, filthy, vile sinners and we are “nothing.”  If we were to cleave only to those ideas, Christ’s death was in vain, and we would be essentially non-effective in sharing the hope of salvation with the unsaved world.

Elizabeth Elliot begins her daily broadcast with these words, “You are loved with an everlasting love.  That’s what the Bible says.”  We have to realize what our condition outside of Christ is and know the we can have new life in Him at the point of salvation.  That in no way indicates that we have now elevated ourselves to be “something.”  It simply means that we recognize that we have value BECAUSE of Christ’s redemption.

                                My hope is in the Lord, who gave himself for me,

                                And paid the price of all my sin at Calvary.

                                For me, he died, for me, he lives,

                                And everlasting life and light he freely gives.

                                No merit of my own his anger to suppress,

                                My only hope is found in Jesus’ righteousness!

Romans 5:19 says, “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.”  My righteousness is as filthy rags, but His is perfect and complete. We can live victoriously knowing that God allowed us to inherit the righteousness of Christ.  Let’s be obedient to Him and share to hope of salvation with others.