Exceedingly Precious Promises
Friday, 27 May 2005
God's Unfailing Word
Now Playing: Are we absorbing the truths of God's Word ?
Topic: Spiritual Food

"And all the people came early in the morning to Him in the temple, for to hear Him." (Luke 21)

Throughout His teaching ministry Jesus' message enjoyed increasing appreciation. Thousands thronged around Him, not only to view His powers of healing and raising the dead, but also to hear His words. Jesus was more than a prophet, a priest, and a king. The gospel writers describe Him as a preacher and teacher as well. Just before the Passion Week Luke records that Jesus taught daily in the Temple, "And all the people came early in the morning to Him in the temple, for to hear Him" (Luke 21:38).

His message was not just novel; it was truth. Much of what Jesus taught daily in the Temple was prophetic in nature. In the early part of Luke 21 Jesus passed through the temple treasury and commented on the splendor of the magnificent Temple. However, Jesus predicted that it would be destroyed, and His words are descriptive of the days leading up to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in A.D. 70. The latter half of this chapter is a prophecy concerning Jerusalem during the great tribulation period of this earth. He describes it as a time in which there shall be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars. Men's hearts will fail them for fear. The powers of the heavens shall be shaken. Jesus taught the crowds who followed Him early in the morning to the Temple that God would unleash His vengeance on a sinful world before the Son of Man rode out of heaven in power and great glory to establish His kingdom on this earth (cf. Revelation 19:11-16).

 As the people came daily to hear the teachings of the Lord, He knew that His time was quickly coming to an end on this earth. Therefore He reminded them that "Heaven and earth shall pass away: but My words shall not pass away" (Luke 21:33). It is evident that the Word of God, whether given verbally by the Lord Jesus or inscribed by God in the Holy Bible, is more unshakable than the universe itself. The same God who has the power to shake the very heavens also has the power to make unshakable His Word. While the heavens will not stand according to the prophecy of Jesus, the Word of God will always stand.

Today, in the twentieth century, Jesus does not speak to us and teach us as He did early in the morning in the temple, but He still speaks to us through His Word, God's Word the Holy Bible. We have the benefit of hearing the very same teaching that these heard who came at the dawning of the day to the temple. We can sit at the feet of Jesus today by reading His Word.

H. A. Ironside told of a godly man named Andrew Frazer, who had come to southern California to recover from a serious illness. Though this Irishman was quite weak, he opened his worn Bible and began expounding the truths of God's Word in a way that Ironside had never heard before. So moved by Frazer's words was Ironside, that his curiosity drove him to ask, "Where did you learn these things? Did you learn them in some college or seminary?" The sickly man said, "My dear young man, I learned these things on my knees on the mud floor of a little sod cottage in the north of Ireland.

There, with my open Bible before me, I used to kneel for hours at a time and ask the Spirit of God to reveal Christ to my soul and to open the Word to my heart. He taught me more on my knees on that mud floor than I ever could have learned in all the seminaries or colleges in the world." To spend time in the Word of God yields a much richer understanding of the deep things of theology than to spend time in a classroom.

For the person denied a formal education in Bible and theology there is no shame if we spend time at the feet of Jesus. From early in the morning, throughout the day, and into the evening hours the great scholars of the Word become so because of time spent in God's Book and on their knees. Each of us has the same opportunity to do that. Let's take that opportunity today.

MORNING HYMN Thy Word is like a garden, Lord, With flowers bright and fair;

And ev'ryone who seeks may pluck A lovely cluster there.

Thy Word is like a deep, deep mine, And jewels rich and rare

Are hidden in its mighty depths For ev'ry searcher there. (from W. Kroll)


Posted by dondegr0 at 12:04 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 11 October 2006 5:16 PM EDT
Friday, 15 April 2005
First Appointment
Now Playing: How much time do we spend with the Lord each day ?
Topic: Spiritual Food
"O God, Thou art my God; early will I seek Thee: my soul thirsteth for Thee, my flesh longeth for Thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is." (Psalm 63)

How amazing it is that finite creatures such as you and I may have fellowship with the infinite God. Yet this is our privilege as Christians; it is our right. But rights always bring responsibilities.

Psalm 63 is a gem of a morning psalm. The eloquent preacher of the fourth century, Chrysostom, testifies, "It was decreed and ordained by the primitive fathers, that no day should pass without the public singing of this psalm." It is easy to see why the early Christians sang this song aloud at the beginning of every day. They would start their song, "O God, Thou art my God." This is easy to say, but difficult to live. To say that God is our God conveys a great deal of benefit. Because He is our God, all that He has is ours as well. We are heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ (Romans 8:17). Ours is not an empty relationship with God but one filled with great blessing, great benefit, great privilege.

But all of us who claim the Lord as our God don't just receive special favors from Him; we return special services to Him. This is why in Psalm 118:28 David says, "Thou art my God, and I will praise Thee: Thou art my God, I will exalt Thee." Because He is our God and because we have special rights it is incumbent upon us to exercise certain responsibilities. This David recognizes when he says, "O God, Thou art my God: early will I seek thee" (Psalm 63:1).

While as servants of God we may claim interest in Him, we also must exhibit our duty toward Him. Before all things, at the dawn of every day, before we seek anyone else, before we have our breakfast, "early will I seek Thee."

There seems to be a direct relationship between seeking God in the morning and success throughout the day. Dr. Andrew Bonar once wrote in his diary: "Tonight I gave myself to a time of waiting upon the Lord. I had not been much in the spirit of prayer, but now several things have become clear to me. I realize I have not communed enough with the Lord, nor come to Him as often as I should. Little forethought has been given to the requests I've made. There has been much conversing and outward engagement with men, but I have not been occupied enough with God Himself. I also realize that a closeness to Him gives abundant strength and is like sunlight shining through the clouds on a gloomy day." Bonar recognized that had he sought the Lord early, at the beginning of his day, and walked with Him consistently throughout the day, his evening time of waiting on the Lord in prayer would have been much more productive. The same is true for each of us.

Satisfaction for the soul cannot be found apart from fellowship with the Lord. David the psalmist sought to maintain his companionship with God from early morning until late at night. He made a practice of being in the "presence" of God throughout the day by the blessed privilege of prayer.

When our souls thirst for the Lord as our parched tongues thirst for water, when our appetite for righteousness equals our appetite for food, then we will make it a habit of rising early in the morning to make our first appointment of the day an appointment with God. He will be the first one on our minds in the morning, and the last one on our minds at night.

MORNING HYMN When morning gilds the skies, My heart awaking cries; May Jesus Christ be praised; Alike at work and prayer To Jesus I repair; May Jesus Christ be praised.

(from W. Kroll)

 


Posted by dondegr0 at 7:22 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 30 August 2006 8:29 PM EDT
Friday, 25 February 2005
God's Provision
Now Playing: Are we looking for regular spiritual food from the Lord ?
Topic: Spiritual Food
"And in the morning, then ye shall see the glory of the LORD; for that He heareth your murmurings against the LORD: and what are we, that ye murmur against us? " (Exodus 16:7)

If we enjoyed the vantage point of heaven, above both space and time, we would readily see the hand of God guiding us through history. The continuity of God's dealings with man-kind would then become quite evident, for we would not be bound by the years of one lifetime. But even though we cannot rise above space and time, cwe are not left without insight into God's providential leading through history. Through the use of types and symbols the Bible miraculously illustrates the essential unity between the Old and New Testaments. By comparing the prophetic types of the Old Testament with their fulfillment in the New, we see that history is proceeding on the course designed by God before time began.

One month after the children of Israel walked away from Egyptian bondage and crossed the Red Sea, they struck a course inward from the sea to the Wilderness of Sin. Their unleavened bread was exhausted, and they began to face the hunger and thirst of the sandy desert. The Israelites murmured that they had it better back in Egypt and should have remained there. But the Lord promised Moses He would rain bread from heaven to feed the starving Israelite multitudes. Moses relayed the message. "And in the morning, then ye shall see the glory of the LORD; for that He heareth your murmurings against the LORD"(Exodus 16:7). This heavenly bread, referred to as manna, was like the coriander seed of the parsley family, but it resembled the silver-white hoarfrost which covered the ground on Middle Eastern mornings. It tasted like wafers made with honey.

This manna is a type of Christ, foreshadowing God's provision for mankind centuries later. Our Lord said, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on Me hath everlasting life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever; and the bread that I will give is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world" John 6:47-51).

The similarities between the Old Testament type, the manna, and the New Testament fulfillment, Jesus Christ, are striking. The pure-white manna descended noiselessly in the night without fanfare. The Christ child was born on a silent night without fanfare. The heavenly manna was to be gathered early each morning. Nine verses of this chapter refer to the morning. We are to seek the Lord Jesus not only early in the day (Psalm 63:1), but early in life as well (Ecclesiastes 12:1).

The manna was clearly a gift from God. Israel did not earn this bread; in fact, this murmuring lot didn't even deserve it. God's salvation is never earned or deserved. "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God" (Ephesians 2:8). Manna was God's gift of life to the Israelites. Jesus Christ is God's gift of life to all mankind. Without God's gift of manna, the undeserving Israelites would have died. But without God's gift of Jesus Christ, the bread of life, all the world would be condemned to death.

God's hand is guiding history today as it always has. The theme of His life-giving provision spans the ages. This is the message of God which runs through the centuries: "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16). Past, present, or future, God's provision is always there for those who will receive it.

MORNING HYMN

Guide me, O Thou great Jehovah,

Pilgrim thro' this barren land

I am weak, but Thou art mighty,

Hold me with Thy pow'rful hand.

(from W. Kroll)

Posted by dondegr0 at 9:15 AM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 12 April 2005 9:43 AM EDT

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