Tuesday, September 28, 2010

We'll Understand it Better By and By

Jesus answered and said to him, "What I do you do not realize now, but you will understand hereafter." John 13:9

Our life here on Earth is certainly filled with challenges and struggles. We are tossed on the restless sea of time; some of us seemingly more so than others, but all of us to some extent as we strive to be in the world but not of it. I know I am looking forward to the day when we will understand it better: when God's plan for my life becomes clear to me; when I can look back and see His hand at work in all the unfolding events over time.

Paul reminds us that it will be worth the wait!

For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. II Corinthians 4:17-18

And there is the hard part for us in fleshly bodies: keeping our eyes on eternal things rather than temporal things. As this hymnwriter reminds us, we don't know the ways that God has chosen to lead us to the Promised Land, but we trust Him to lead us - even though it might be through long and difficult situations. Keeping our eyes on our future home is of paramount importance!

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
Romans 8:18

Our suffering here on Earth is not even worthy to be compared with the glory that will be revealed to us in heaven! That absolutely blows my mind. Think about it with me: whatever you're going through now, as bad as you think it is, the glory that is reserved for you in heaven is SO much greater than the sum of your suffering that you can't even compare them. Praise God for His mercy and grace!

And here's another truth to hang on to: God is using our suffering to sanctify us, to make us more like the image of His Son; to perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish us. He has a purpose in our suffering.

After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you. I Peter 5:10

Even though we don't understand it now, we will understand it later. I can't wait to look back on my life and see God's hand at work, using every situation I'm in to make me more holy and molding me according to His perfect plan.

We'll Understand it Better By and By
Words by Charles Tindley

We are tossed and driv’n on the restless sea of time;
Somber skies and howling tempests oft succeed a bright sunshine;
In that land of perfect day, when the mists have rolled away,
We will understand it better by and by.

Refrain

By and by, when the morning comes,
When the saints of God are gathered home,
We’ll tell the story how we’ve overcome,
For we’ll understand it better by and by.

We are often destitute of the things that life demands,
Want of food and want of shelter, thirsty hills and barren lands;
We are trusting in the Lord, and according to God’s Word,
We will understand it better by and by.

Trials dark on every hand, and we cannot understand
All the ways that God could lead us to that blessed promised land;
But He guides us with His eye, and we’ll follow till we die,
For we’ll understand it better by and by.

Temptations, hidden snares often take us unawares,
And our hearts are made to bleed for a thoughtless word or deed;
And we wonder why the test when we try to do our best,
But we’ll understand it better by and by.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I am Praying for You

This morning, students all around the country and around the world are meeting together outside of their schools, around the flagpoles, to pray. For the 20th year, students will gather together and pray for their friends, teachers, administrators, and for a revival across our country.

They will pray for their friends who need a Savior. They will pray for their friends who need to secure their eternal future. They will pray for their friends who need to look forward to their resplendant glory in heaven. They are praying that the gospel message will travel beyond their friends that many more might come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

They are obeying Jesus' command to pray for those who mistreat them, an experience I'm sure is common in today's high schools.

"But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you." Luke 6:27-28

As they gather to pray this morning, let's us pray for them. As they follow Paul's exhortation to offer petitions, let's pray that the students at the pole will be bold in proclaiming the gospel today, and everyday, through their words and actions.

With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel. Ephesians 6:18-19

Let's pray that the students will grow in their faith and that the Holy Spirit would increase their knowledge, that their living out the gospel message would be effective in their schools.

And I pray that the fellowship of your faith may become effective through the knowledge of every good thing which is in you for Christ's sake. Philemon 1:6

Let's pray that the students will be rooted and grounded in love, and able to comprehend the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that they may be filled up to all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:17-19)

It is a powerful thing to know that you are prayed for; when someone tells me they've been praying for me, I am incredibly moved and humbled. Join me today in lifting up these students as they lift up each other through the gift that God has given us, communication directly with Him through His Son Jesus Christ.

I am Praying for You
Words by Samuel Cluff

I have a Savior, He’s pleading in glory,
A dear, loving Savior though earth friends be few;
And now He is watching in tenderness o’er me;
And oh, that my Savior were your Savior, too.

Refrain
For you I am praying,
For you I am praying,
For you I am praying,
I’m praying for you.

I have a Father; to me He has given
A hope for eternity, bless├Ęd and true;
And soon He will call me to meet Him in Heaven,
But, oh, that He’d let me bring you with me, too!

I have a robe; ’tis resplendent in whiteness,
Awaiting in glory my wondering view;
Oh, when I receive it all shining in brightness,
Dear friend, could I see you receiving one, too!

When Jesus has found you, tell others the story,
That my loving Savior is your Savior, too;
Then pray that your Savior may bring them to glory,
And prayer will be answered—’twas answered for you!

Speak of that Savior, that Father in Heaven,
That harp, crown, and robe which are waiting for you—
That peace you possess, and that rest to be given,
Still praying that Jesus may save them with you.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Let the Holy Ghost Come In

I never tire of reading the book of Acts and seeing how the Holy Spirit was moving in the early church. The book opens with Jesus ascending into heaven. His presence leaves the earth, but He is not gone.

"I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you."

John 14:16-17

He kept His promise about sending another helper.

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance. Acts 2:1-4

Once the Holy Spirit was upon the church and moving in them, amazing things began to happen. At Pentecost, Peter gives a rousing sermon, explaining through the Scriptures how God sent Jesus to be the Messiah. And look at their response:

Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Brethren, what shall we do?" Peter said to them, "Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself." Acts 2:37-39

The Bible goes on to tell us that on that day, THREE THOUSAND people came to believe in Jesus Christ and were baptized. 3,000!!! These people were redeemed from their inbred sin and relieved from every doubt and fear.

The story gets even better:

So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls. They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved. Acts 2:41-47

The devoted themselves to teaching, fellowship and prayer. Everyone KEPT FEELING a sense of awe. I love that the author makes it clear to us that the people kept feeling a sense of awe - not that they felt it once, but that it was continual.

Many wonders and signs were taking place. The power of the Holy Spirit working through God's people cannot be underestimated!

God gave me the Holy Spirit when I, by faith, put my trust in Him and accepted His plan of salvation. But I don't want to take it for granted. I want the fire of God to fill my soul and His power to make me true and brave. I want to see God adding to the numbers of those who were saved, just like in the early church.

Dear Heavenly Father, send a great revival. And start the work in me.

Let the Holy Ghost Come In
Words by R. F. Reynolds

Would you be redeemed from ev’ry inbred sin,
Have the Holy Spirit constantly within?
Make the consecration, trust in God, and then,
Let the Holy Ghost come in.

Refrain
Let the Holy Ghost come in,
Let the Holy Ghost come in,
Make the consecration, trust in God, and then,
Let the Holy Ghost come in.

Would you have the Spirit in your heart to cheer?
Would you be relieved from ev’ry doubt and fear?
Make the consecration, trust in God, and then,
Let the Holy Ghost come in.

Do you want the “fire of God” to fill your soul,
Burn up all the dross, and sanctify the whole?
Make the consecration, trust in God, and then,
Let the Holy Ghost come in.

Do you want the “pow’r” to make you true and brave,
So that you can rescue those that Christ would save?
Make the consecration, trust in God, and then,
Let the Holy Ghost come in.