Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Bible Stands

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever. Isaiah 40:8

Tomorrow is Reformation Day, the day we remember Martin Luther, the German priest and theologian who initiated the Protestant reformation. He is probably best known for his radical idea (at the time) that salvation is a gift of God through Christ Jesus, and that we are saved by grace, rather than by works or by the purchase of indulgences.

But Martin Luther also did Christians throughout Germany and the world a great service through his translation of the Bible from Latin to German. Now people could read the Bible for themselves, instead of relying on what the priests to tell them what it said. And Luther encouraged people to do just that. His translation had a huge influence on the German church and the culture, and eventually led to the King James translation into English. He used standard language, so that everyone could read and understand the Bible. In his words, "we are removing impediments and difficulties so that other people may read it without hindrance."

We are so blessed in our day to have absolutely no hindrance in reading the Bible - we have many different translations at our disposal, countless helps in commentaries and concordances and other study tools, and, just as they had in Luther's day, most importantly, the Holy Spirit to guide us in our reading and studying.

The Bible stands! And I am grateful for it!

The Bible Stands
Words by Haldor Lillenas

The Bible stands like a rock undaunted
’Mid the raging storms of time;
Its pages burn with the truth eternal,
And they glow with a light sublime.

The Bible stands though the hills may tumble,
It will firmly stand when the earth shall crumble;
I will plant my feet on its firm foundation,
For the Bible stands.

The Bible stands like a mountain towering
Far above the works of men;
Its truth by none ever was refuted,
And destroy it they never can.

The Bible stands and it will forever,
When the world has passed away;
By inspiration it has been given,
All its precepts I will obey.

The Bible stands every test we give it,
For its Author is divine;
By grace alone I expect to live it,
And to prove and to make it mine.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Great God, We Give Thee Praise

For the LORD is a great God and a great King above all gods, in whose hand are the depths of the earth, the peaks of the mountains are His also. Psalm 95:3-4

I have spent all day today watching the rescue of the Chilean miners. Just minutes ago, the 33rd miner was rescued. I watched, tears in my eyes, as men were reunited with their wives, children, siblings and parents. The rescue was an engineering marvel; but more than that, the rescue is a testament to God's protection, faithfulness and mercy to these men and their families.

The miners all wore t-shirts as they left the mine that quoted the verse from Psalms above, and "To Him be all glory and honor!" Indeed! May the Lord's name be made great today as people all around the world marvel at this miraculous mission and hear the testimony of the miners, their families and even the President of Chile. Lord, we give You all the glory and honor for your mercy, love and protection of these men.

Truly, these men will wander no more in darkness but explore in truth and light God's wondrous love, grace and welcomed mercies.

Lord, we adore Your name and give you all honor and glory!

Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. I Timothy 1:17

Great God, We Give Thee Praise
Words by Joseph Proud

Great God, we give Thee praise
For all Thy wondrous grace
Thy wise and ever loving ways
To all our favored race.

Thou hast Thy love revealed
Beyond what prophets knew;
Thy holy Book of truth unsealed
To our astonished view.

We wander now no more
Where darkening errors lead,
But truth by light divine explore,
And wonder while we read.

Lord, we adore Thy Name
For light and truth divine!
From Thee the welcomed mercies came,
And be the glory Thine.

Monday, October 11, 2010

In Joy and Peace I Now Depart

For my eyes have seen Your salvation. Luke 2:30

After my 3-year old nephew quoted this verse to me, I couldn't stop thinking about the story of Simeon. Simeon is a man we read very little about in the Bible. Even though his appearance is brief, it gives us a lot to think about.

The story starts as we find out about Simeon's character.

And there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Spirit was upon him. Luke 2:25

Simeon was righteous, devout and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And he was on the lookout - for the long-awaited Messiah, the consolation of Israel. The consolation was the comforter as prophesied in Isaiah:

"Comfort, O comfort My people," says your God. Speak kindly to Jerusalem; and call out to her, that her warfare has ended, that her iniquity has been removed, that she has received of the LORD'S hand double for all her sins." Isaiah 40:1-2

It had been 77 generations since God had promised that He would send a redeemer (see Genesis 3:15). That's a LONG time. Can you imagine hearing the stories from your parents, grandparents and great-grandparents about this Messiah who is coming to deliver? And they would have heard it from their parents and grandparents so on and so forth, for 77 generations. But Simeon knew that it was close at hand!

And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ. Luke 2:26

Simeon was going to live to see this Redeemer - the One that had been promised for so long. He was going to see Him! Can you imagine the anticipation? He's heard the Messiah talked about by his many ancestors and now Simeon will see Him before he dies.

And he came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to carry out for Him the custom of the Law, then he took Him into his arms, and blessed God, and said,
"Now Lord, You are releasing Your bond-servant to depart in peace,
according to Your word;
For my eyes have seen Your salvation,
Which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
A LIGHT OF REVELATION TO THE GENTILES, and the glory of Your people Israel."
Luke 2:27-32

Simeon didn't get to merely see Jesus, he held him! When Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to the temple, Simeon took him and held him, and blessed God. He knew that God had kept His promise, sending His salvation, and Simeon had seen (and held!) Him!

I bring near My righteousness, it is not far off; and My salvation will not delay. And I will grant salvation in Zion, and My glory for Israel. Isaiah 46:13

The Jewish people had been waiting for God to provide this Deliverer. Now that He had appeared, Simeon knew that he could die in peace. God was faithful in keeping His promise to Simeon, and to the Jews.

I love seeing the humanity in this story, too. Look at what Mary and Joseph's reaction was.

And His father and mother were amazed at the things which were being said about Him. Luke 2:33

They were probably having a difficult time wrapping their heads around what it meant to be parents of the Messiah. Not only had the Messiah come, but He was their child! They probably also wondered who this was, saying these things, and how he knew! Simeon blessed them and then prophecied about Jesus' future:

And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary His mother, "Behold, this Child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and for a sign to be opposed-- and a sword will pierce even your own soul--to the end that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed."
Luke 2:34-35

Jesus' appearance on this Earth forced all people to make a decision - follow Him or not. Even Mary and Joseph would have to make that decision, a decision that will reveal the heart of each person. This "sword" that pierces the soul is referenced later in the letter to the Hebrews:

For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Hebrews 4:12

Jesus, in His ministry, tells His followers that indeed He is a sign to be opposed.

Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. Matthew 10:34

The "sword" of Jesus continues to divide, even in our modern times. Every person must make a decision to follow Him or not. Just as Mary and Joseph decided, and Simeon too (for he said that now that he has seen the Messiah, he can die!) each one of us must make that decision.

Jesus is Israel's praise and bliss, joy, reward and glory; and the Gentile's too! He is the Light of the World.

Have you made that decision for yourself? If not, I invite you to come to Jesus, so that you may say, along with Simeon "release me to die in peace, for my eyes have seen your salvation."

In Joy and Peace I Now Depart
Words by Martin Luther

In peace and joy I now depart
At God’s disposing;
For full of comfort is my heart,
Soft reposing.
So the Lord hath promised me,
And death is but a slumber.

’Tis Christ that wrought this work for me,
My faithful Savior,
Whom Thou hast made mine eyes to see
By Thy favor.
Now I know He is my Life,
My Help in need and dying.

Him Thou hast unto all set forth
Their great Salvation
And to His kingdom called the earth,
Every nation,
By Thy dear and wholesome Word,
In every place resounding.

He is the Hope and saving Light
Of lands benighted;
By Him are they who dwelt in night
Fed and lighted.
He is Israel’s Praise and Bliss,
Their Joy, Reward, and Glory.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Commit thy Way

Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He will do it. Psalm 37:5

Sometimes, when we're not sure how the Lord is working in our lives, we have to simply surrender and obey. I say simply but unfortunately, for most of us, it's not easy. Surrendering, giving up our control, is very difficult. However, God calls us to it - to trust in Him and follow His leading, wherever He takes us.

How do we know what way He has for us? He tells us in His word.

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Psalm 119:5

The Bible has everything we need for life and godliness. What a gift to have God's guidebook available to us at all times!

You will make known to me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; in Your right hand there are pleasures forever.
Psalm 16:11

His path IS all we need - and He guides us along it with His tender mercy. Because of His great love for us, and the grace He shows us every day, we can be confident that our faith and trust is well-placed in Him, even when we don't understand the what He is calling us to, or when He doesn't deliver us within our own prescribed time frame.

Sometimes obeying God is a matter of the will. I must choose to obey and commit my way to following Him even when I don't see what's around the corner. That's when it's especially important to obey and follow - because I know He is leading - He's in front of me, gently guiding me along this journey; through the struggles, blessings, disappointments, times of joy and challenges - He is using all the things He's leading me through to sanctify me and make me more into the image of His beloved Son.

I hope that as I walk, I will commit my way to Him, that I can say with Job,

"But He knows the way I take; when He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold. My foot has held fast to His path; I have kept His way and not turned aside. I have not departed from the command of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food." Job 23:10-12

Commit Thy Way
Words by Charles Barnes

Commit thy way, and day by day,
The Lord shall lead.
And He shall trace, with tender grace,
Thy path— 'tis all we need.
For love shall crown,
Shall crown our life indeed.

Commit thy way; our hearts obey,
And God doth lead;
And at the last shall bring to pass
All that the heart shall plead.
For love has crowned,
Has crowned our life indeed.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

In God Will I Trust

And those who know Your name will put their trust in You, for You, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You. Psalm 9:10

Those who know Your name put their trust in You - it's the opening to one of my favorite Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir songs.

Isn't it a wonderful thing to know the name of Jesus? And to know that when we call upon His name He hears us? That because of His faithfulness we can put our trust in Him? That in spite of our circumstances or the advice we receive from others, we can trust in Him and seek Him? And that He desires us to do so?

Oh how I love the name of Jesus! In His name there is refuge, strength and salvation!


On God my salvation and my glory rest; the rock of my strength, my refuge is in God. Psalm 62:7

In His name is all righteousness, truth and justice!

He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake. Psalm 23:3

Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to Your name give glory because of Your lovingkindness, because of Your truth. Psalm 115:1

There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this. Isaiah 9:7

His name is forever!

But You, O LORD, abide forever, and Your name to all generations. Psalm 102:12

Let's agree to fully put our trust in Jesus our Lord, and walk in His name forever.

Though all the peoples walk each in the name of his god, as for us, we will walk in the name of the LORD our God forever and ever. Micah 4:5

May our trust and faith in His name show others His glory!

"Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy; for ALL THE NATIONS WILL COME AND WORSHIP BEFORE YOU, FOR YOUR RIGHTEOUS ACTS HAVE BEEN REVEALED." Revelation 15:4

In God Will I Trust
Words from The Psalter

In God will I trust, though my counselors say,
O flee as a bird to your mountain away;
The wicked are strong and the righteous are weak,
Foundations are shaken, yet God will I seek.

The Lord in His temple shall ever abide;
His throne is eternal, whatever betide.
The children of men He beholds from on high,
The wicked to punish, the righteous to try.

The Lord is most righteous, the Lord loves the right,
The evil He hates and will surely requite;
The wicked His anger will drive from their place,
The upright in rapture shall gaze on His face.