“Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord.” Exodus 14:13
These words contain God’s commend to the believer when he is reduced to great straits and brought into extraordinary difficulties. He cannot retreat; he cannot go forward; he is shut up on the right hand and on the left; what is he now to do? The Master’s word to him is, “Stand still.” It will be well for him if at such times he listens only to his Master’s word, for other and evil advisers come with their suggestions. Despair whispers, “Lie down and die; give it all up.” But God would have us put on a cheerful courage, and even in our worst times, rejoice in his love and faithfulness. Cowardice says, “Retreat; go back to the world’s way of action; you cannot play the Christian’s part, it is too difficult. Relinquish your principles.” But, however much Satan may urge this course upon you, you cannot follow it if you are a child of God. His divine fiat has bid thee go from strength to strength, and so thou shalt, and neither death nor hell shall turn thee from thy course. What, if for a while thou art called to stand still, yet this is but to renew thy strength for some greater advance in due time. Precipitancy cries, “do something. Stir yourself; to stand still and wait, is sheer idleness.” We must be doing something at once-we must do it so we think-instead of looking for the Lord, who will not only do something but will do everything. Presumption boasts, “If the sea be before you, march into it and expect a miracle.” Faith listens neither to Presumption, nor to Despair, nor to Cowardice, nor to Precipitancy, but it hears God say, “Stand still,” and immovable as a rock it stands. “Stand still;” –keep the posture of an upright man, ready for action, expecting further orders, cheerfully and patiently awaiting the directing voice; and it will not be long ere God shall say to you as distinctly as Moses said it to the people of Israel, “Go forward.”
For the past several mornings, lyrics from a praise song have been stuck in my mind. “God is great and worthy to be praised.” I can’t seem to get away from the word “praise.” I am still praising God for our recent trip to Uganda, and for the many blessings we received. I know I am praising him for the blessings of family, friends, home, and the fellowship with the saints of God. It is important to praise God from “whom all blessings flow.” Praise is such a powerful thing. It lifts you up out of earth realm into a connection with the divine. It also prepares you for the new. Like the scripture says, “you can’t put new wine into old wineskin. The new will burst open the old leaving the new wasted and exposed. Praise removes debris in the soil, and prepares it to receive the new wine – the seed – the word. Praise bring deliverance and restoration.
The Lord is asking “What is your first song of deliverance?” “What is your song of praise?” As the Israelites sang a song of praise after being delivered at the Red Sea, so now we should be singing songs of praise, salvation and deliverance. Songs that tell the everyone about salvation, joy, healing, and about our Holy God. Praise songs help us to seek forgiveness for our sins and brings restoration with God. They also deliver us from our enemies, and establish our rightful inheritance in the promised land. Praise brings us closer to our Lord and Savior. Praise prepares us for the new thing.
God is transforming our lives, and restoring us to our rightful positions as sons and daughters of the most High God. As joint-heirs with Christ, we are entitled to receive all the “best” and all Christ has for us. Glory and honor, dominion and power are ours. This means we can possess the land, our communities. Everything the enemy stole from us can be restored as God has appointed. We can be reclaimed as God’s precious child. When the praises go up, the blessings come down. More praise will release more power, more wisdom, more love. We become more like Christ when we praise. What are you praising God for? What is or was your first song of praise?
Sing a new song of praise. Sing songs of His matchless power, and love. Sing songs of beauty, and hope, and ones of His blessed salvation. Jesus, our Lord and Savior is our strong tower, a mighty fortress is our God. Focus on praising Him. The enemy wants to come in, stop your praise, and take away “the seed” that was planted. But praise and worship defeats all the plans of the enemy. The joy of the Lord is your strength. So sing unto the Lord a new song of praise.
Is there a church in this [your] house? Are parents, children, friends, servants, all members of it? or are some still unconverted?
Let us pause here and let the question go round–Am I a member of the Church in this house? How would father’s heart leap for joy, and mother’s eyes fill with holy tears if from the eldest to the youngest all were saved! Let us pray for this great mercy until the Lord shall grant it to us. Probably it head been the dearest object of Philemon’s desires to have all his household saved; but it was not at first granted him in its fulness. He had a wicked servant, Onesimus, who, having wronged him, ran away from his service. HIs master’s prayers followed him, and at last, as God would have it, Onesimus was led to hear Paul preached; his heart was touched, and he returned to Philemon, not only to be a faithful servant, but a brother beloved, adding another member to the Church in Philemon’s house. Is there an unconverted servant or child absent this morning? Make special supplication that such may, on their return to their home, gladden all hearts with good news of what grace has done! Is there one present? Let him partake in this same earnest entreaty.
If there be such a Church in our house, let us order it well, and let all act as in the sight of God. Let us move in the common affairs of life with studied holiness, diligence, kindness, and integrity. More is expected of a Church than of an ordinary household; family worship must, in such a case, be more devout and hearty; internal love must be more warm and unbroken, and external conduct must be more sanctified and Christlike. We need not fear that the smallness of our number will put us out of the list of Churches, for the Holy Spirit has enrolled a family-church in the inspired book of remembrance. As a Church let us now draw night to the great head of the one Church universal, and let us beseech him to give us grace to shine before men to the glory of his name.
“The spiritual heart of man is the Heart of the universe,and, finding that Heart, man finds the strength to accomplish all things. He finds there also Wisdom to see things as they are. He finds there the Peace that is divine. At the centre of mans’ being is the Music which orders the stars – the Eternal Harmony. He who would find Blessedness, let him find himself; let him abandon every discordant desire, every inharmonious thought, every unlovely habit and deed, and he will find that Grace and Beauty and Harmony which form the indestructible essence of his own being. Men fly from creed to creed, and find – unrest; they travel in many lands, and discover – disappointment; they build themselves beautiful mansions, and plant pleasant gardens, and reap – ennui and discomfort. Not until a man falls back upon the truth within himself does he finds rest and satisfaction; not until he builds the inward Mansion of Faultless conduct does he find the endless and incorruptible Joy, and, having obtained that, he will infuse it into all his outward doings and possessions.
If a man would have peace, let him exercise the spirit of Peace; if he would find love, let him dwell in the spirit of Love; if he would escape suffering, let him cease to inflict it; if he would do noble things for humanity, let him cease to do ignoble things for himself. If he will but quarry the min of his own soul, he shall find there all the materials for building whatsoever he will, and he shall find there also the central Rock on which to build in safety.” James Allen
Our spiritual hearts need to be right with God. And not until we cease from carrying the weight of our sins; not until we cease from putting other things upon our heart’s throne will we become the men and women God designed us to be. John 15:1-8
The Apostle Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus in chapter 4 about walking in unity. Verse 3 states…”endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Unity by definition is to join; to become united in oneness. When you look at the Greek and Hebrew definitions, there is an emphasis not only on becoming one, but doing so one by one for the purpose of abundance. Abundance is an outgrowth of our oneness in unity with the Spirit. It is a reward or benefit of abiding in unity. Our definition of unity is expanded. The sum of our parts is greater because of our oneness with Christ. Further in chapter 4 of Ephesians, we are told there is one body and one Spirit, and we as believers are called into one hope through our Lord, our faith, our baptism, our God and Father. How do we become one body demonstrating unity? By equipping the saints til “we come into unity of the faith” and in the knowledge of Jesus. With the combined gifts and works of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, the church becomes a mature, stronger and fully prepared entity ready to carry out His plans. We become more powerful, more loving, more compassionate, more cunning about the ways of the enemy…all parts working together in sync [harmony] with the divine plan of salvation. We become one. Not all at once, but individually, one by one until every part of the body is in place and fully operational.
The word unity appears three times in the Scriptures, just three. In Psalm 133:1, and in the verses 3 and 13 of Chapter 4 in Ephesians. And yet despite its absence in other scriptures, the theme of unity in the house of God can be seen throughout the Bible. Even before Adam and Eve sinned, God had devised a unifying plan to restored us to “glorious abundant oneness” with Him. May you grow up in all things [one body] into Him who is the Head-Christ our Lord.
Jesus is our sustainer. He is the living bread and the living water. John 6:35 records, “Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” (NIV) He fulfills us! He fills us up! He is our everlasting portion. This means the table is always set before us, and never empty.
We try filling ourselves with drugs, alcohol, sex, sports, money, entertainment and games. But those things-the pursuit of vain riches-never work! The flesh can never satisfy our spirit. The more and more we seek, the more and more we want, until our outer person appears bleak, desperate and smells like a garbage dump.
But when we go and dine at the table set for us by Jesus, and feast with him, we become a new creation– healthy and whole because of the Living Bread-Jesus.
The film by Mel Gibson, The Passion of the Christ depicts the last 12 hours of Jesus Christ on earth. If anyone who has seen the film can’t help but be moved by the gruesome, horrific scenes. However, there are some poignant ones. One in particular tugged at my heart. Jesus’ mother running to get closer to Jesus as he’s carrying his cross. Followed by a disciple and the other Mary, she stopped with tears dripping down her face, frozen in time as her mind floats back to a earlier time.
Caught between two moments in time, she remembers,when he was a child and had fallen and she ran to comfort him, and now this moment her son now a man has fallen to the ground, bloody, bruised, beaten. She runs to him again and gently touches his face when he speak to her in whispers, “See mother, I make all things new.” Sorrow and hope wrapped in precious blood surrounded by sneers, taunts, whips, angry voices. Abundant life slowly, straining with every painful step through Via Dolorosa to create a new, bright shiny life for the world-for you and me.
When Jesus was 12 years old, he remained in the temple among the religious leaders listening and asking questions. When his adopted father and his mother came looking for him and inquired why he had remained behind. His reply, he had to be about His father’s work [paraphrase]. Even at a young age, he was totally clear about his mission. He was engaged in the work of God. And just what was this work, and why was it so important? It was the inner work of clarifying who God is, and why we should believe in Him.
Jesus is still engaged in this work. He is still listening, addressing questions to our hearts. This major work involves clearing out the debris and filth of the sin that so easily besets us. Think about it, as beloved children of God, we too are called to listen to the sweet voice of the Savior, to inquire, to seek Him, to ask questions, and then bring the light of the message of the gospel to the whole world. It is a courageous act. Just as it took courage for Jesus to remain behind and stay in the temple listening, and teaching those much older than he the truth of God.
Thomas Kinkade, the painter of light wrote in his book “Lightposts for Living: The Art of Choosing a Joyful Life” about the day when he choose a difference path that the one his teachers told was the way to go. He said, “Suddenly I realized that the self-centered, self-serving artistic approach I was being taught was just the opposite of what I wanted my life and my art to be about. And at that moment a different philosophy began to form itself in my mind, one that has driven my life and career ever since.” He realized his art was not about him, but about the people who would be touched by the gift. Thomas Kinkade made a decision, and became clear about his purpose. And the world has enjoyed his gift, and will for many years to come.
Jesus came because he was clear about his direction and purpose. His purpose was clear-salvation for us. Are you clear about your purpose and direction? Are you about the Father’s work?
I hope so. The world needs your light.
A little 11 year old boy with a bright, shining smile and engaging spirit in one act of love and devotion tried to get help for his mother. He jumped out of the car unto moving traffic on a busy interstate highway. He tried to flagged down a motorist and was struck and killed. His mother was being beaten and dragged by her boyfriend who was attempting to kill her. Her son’s last thoughts were only of her-the object of his love. He wanted only to save her.
Jesus’ last thoughts on Calvary were of us-the objects of His love. He came to knowing full well he would be struck down at the intersection of hate and rejection. However, it didn’t matter. He was willing to go head long into oncoming traffic and take the full impact of an unknowing, blinded, and distracted world for love.
The scripture said, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:12-14 KJV
Divine love came to us to show us how to live and operate in the kingdom of God. He modeled love, healing, compassion, truth, justice, grace and mercy. He demonstrated how to use power and authority, and how to forgive. The Divine Expression-the Word became flesh and showed us no greater love.