48. Prayer before Dawn

Prayer Before Dawn

There isn’t much that I can do.
I am not wise. My strength is small,
But I can bring it all to You
For You are All.

I can lift to You my prayer
For You are faithful. You are there.
I relinquish all my fear
For You are here.

I only sow a little seed.
It came from You; You make it grow.
I only contemplate the deed;
You make it so.

You work in darkness, out of sight
Beyond all I can see or know.
What YOU are doing bring to light;
Your glory show!

1 Cor. 1:26-31, Prov. 30:24-26, Heb. 13:5-6, Mark 4:26-29, Psalm 126 

Penned by Steve Lamb

47. Chosen

The LORD did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people: But because the LORD loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the LORD brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. (Deut. 7:7-8)

Understand therefore this day, that the LORD thy God is he which goeth over before thee; as a consuming fire he shall destroy them, and he shall bring them down before thy face: so shalt thou drive them out, and destroy them quickly, as the LORD hath said unto thee. Speak not thou in thine heart, after that the LORD thy God hath cast them out from before thee, saying, For my righteousness the LORD hath brought me in to possess this land: but for the wickedness of these nations the LORD doth drive them out from before thee. Not for thy righteousness, or for the uprightness of thine heart, dost thou go to possess their land: but for the wickedness of these nations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee, and that he may perform the word which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. (Deut 9:3-5; see also Deut. 18:12)

For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:  That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.  (1Cor. 1:26-31)

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. (2Cor. 12:9-10)

Our God has not changed. He still is the same faithful God that He was in the days of Israel’s conquest of the land of Canaan. He still chooses to love us in spite  of who we are in our sinfulness and insignificance. He still pours strength into us because we are weak and have need of Him.

Some would question God and say, “How could a loving God order the conquest of Canaan?” The answer is found in our verses: our God is a holy God who must judge sin. In the Old Testament, He used Israel to bring judgment on the nations that turned away from Him. He did not do it immediately (Gen. 15:16), but in longsuffering waited until there was no remedy. Yet in that day, just as in this, those who turned from their sin and sought the LORD were spared (see Rahab, Joshua 2). God’s dealings with mankind are different today, however, in that we are told to “love your enemies” (Luke 6:35). God will indeed bring justice and righteousness, but it may not be in this life, and He will do it himself.

As we consider those who are chosen, let us consider God’s Chosen One, the Lord Jesus Christ:

“Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights;” (Isaiah 42:1 ESV)

Behold Him, the perfect Servant, yet Son of God.
Worship Him, the meek and lowly One who bore the weight of our sin.
Obey Him, the exalted Sovereign who will one day reign from sea to sea; and
Watch for Him with anticipation, the Bridegroom who comes again to receive His bride to Himself.

How wonderful that He should choose us! (John 15:16)

“According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love”  (Ephesians 1:4).

46. Unspeakable Worth

“For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy” Isaiah 57:15

“For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.” 2 Cor. 8:9

The high and lofty One came down to dwell among men. (John 1)

The Eternal One said, “the hour is come.” (John 17:1)

The Holy One “bare our sins” (1 Peter 2:24).

The Light of the world hung in darkness upon a tree (Luke 23:44).

The King of Kings was among men as one that serves (Luke 22:27).

The King of glory suffered unspeakable shame (Psalm 22, 24).

He who was infinitely rich became unspeakably poor (2 Cor. 8:9)

The Great Physician gave Himself to great suffering (Luke 5:31).

The Author of Life went into death (Acts 3:15 ESV).

He who breathed life into man, gave up His spirit (John 19:30).

He who put Adam to sleep and painlessly extracted part of him for his bride, suffered an agonizing death and slept the sleep of death, and from His opened side flowed precious blood.

All heaven proclaims the worth of Him who was sold for thirty pieces of silver– the price of a slave (Matt. 27, Rev. 5).

Let us proclaim the unspeakable worth of Him who is risen, seated at God’s right hand, and highly exalted today.

Behold! A spotless Victim dies,
My surety on the tree;
The Lamb of God, the Sacrifice,
He gave Himself for me!

Whatever curse was mine, He bore;
The wormwood and the gall,
There, in that lone mysterious hour,
My cup-He drained it all!

Lord Jesus! Thou, and none beside,
Its bitterness could know,
Nor other tell Thy joy’s full tide
That from that cup shall flow.

Thine is the joy, but yet ’tis mine.
‘Tis ours as one with Thee;
My joy flows from that grief of Thine;
Thy death brings life to me!

And while the ages roll along,
This shall my glory be;
And this the new and endless song,
Thy love to us-to me!

45. Not Afraid

Click for How Firm a Foundation YouTube video (listen while you read)

Over the past week “not afraid” has been coming up over and over again from various sources. I would like to share a few more thoughts that I have been meditating on in relation to this subject, even though I have written on it before.

A heart fixed on God in trouble:
–not afraid in distress

“He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed, trusting in the LORD.”  Psalm 112:7

Why shouldn’t I be afraid?

  • I’m in His hand – all is in His control (John 10:29)

A mind stayed on God in turmoil:
–not anxious over danger

“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee. ”  Isaiah 26:3

Why shouldn’t I be anxious?

  • I’m on His heart – in His care: My cares are His cares when I cast them on Him.
  • Philippians 4:6-7 ESV “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. “

A heart set on Christ in temptation:
–not affected by departure

“Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” Colossians 3:2

Why shouldn’t I be affected?

  • “For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” (v3)

Eyes directed in tribulation:
–not altered in dependence

“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2

Why shouldn’t I be altered in my dependence on God?

  • “Fear not… I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.” Genesis 15:1
  • “But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.” Luke 12:7
  • “I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me” Psalm 23:4

In the grand scheme of things, what really matters? Either I shall have His presence here, or I will be in His presence there. What Blessed Assurance.

***

About 6 years ago a girl of 14 was imprisoned for a month in Vietnam for telling others about the Lord Jesus. While there, one of the things they did to try to get her to deny her faith was forcing her to raise her arms and stand on nails and for 15 minutes. She fainted from the pain. After finally being released, she continues to share the gospel, saying, “Don’t be afraid. Believe in the Lord, then you will receive peace.” She related that she was thankful for her prison experience, and that afterward it was as though her life was made new again– it made her strong and bold in the Word of God. What a lesson from a girl of 14! (Voice of the Martyrs)

Click for A different “How Firm a Foundation” Video

44. Father

I especially enjoyed a meditation by Spurgeon today (Morning and Evening Jan 26 / Look unto Me). Here is an excerpt.

Abba, Father” (Rom. 8:15)! Whoever can utter these words has expressed sweeter music than all the cherubim and seraphim could ever sing. Heaven is found in the depth of that word–Father! In that word is all I could ever ask, all my needs could ever demand, and all my heart could ever desire.

I have all of everything, throughout all of eternity, when I can say, “Father.”

Who made this relationship possible? The Father’s beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ!

43. Continue

From “Choice Gleanings” daily calendar,  March 12, 2011

Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine: continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee. 1 Timothy 4:16

Sometimes, to act in accordance with God’s word can be embarrassing and painful. It can even affect our relationships with our closest family and friends, although naturally we do our utmost to avoid this. However, when it comes to the “crunch” the Lord must come first, and He has promised blessing to you and others if you honour His word.
-Brian Russell

Lord grant that we aright may learn,
The wisdom Thy word imparts,
And to its heavenly teaching turn,
With simple childlike hearts.
-B. Barton

Note:
The salvation in 1Timothy 4:16 is not talking about eternal life, but rather it includes preservation from evil, the world and its ways. Let us continue in truth, that our lives and the lives of those around us may be preserved.

42. Metamorphosis

An interesting creation fact…

…The fourth generation of monarch butterflies is a little bit different than the first three generations. The fourth generation is born in September and October and goes through exactly the same process as the first, second and third generations except for one part. The fourth generation of monarch butterflies does not die after two to six weeks. Instead, this generation of monarch butterflies migrates to warmer climates like Mexico and California and will live for six to eight months until it is time to start the whole process over again.  http://www.monarch-butterfly.com/

I was considering the Greek word metamorphoō today, which means “to change into another form.” It is used only 4 times in the Scriptures, and there are certainly lessons to be learned here.

“And after six days Jesus taketh with him Peter, and James, and John, and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves: and he was transfigured before them.” (Mark 9:2, also in Matt 17:2)

“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”  (2 Corinthians 3:18)

“And be not conformed [outward, W.E. Vine] to this world: but be ye transformed [inward process, W.E. Vine] by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. ” Romans 12:2


This led me to consider a different word, allassō, which means “to make other than it is” (W.E. Vine). I believe it is used, in a good sense, only in 1 Corinthians 15.

“Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (1Corinthians 15:51-52).


Finally, metaschēmatizō , meaning “to change in fashion or appearance, change outwardly, fashion anew” (W.E. Vine) is found here:

“For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.” (Philippians 3:20-21 NKJV)

C. H. Spurgeon writes,

See that creeping worm, how contemptible its appearance! It is the beginning of a thing. Mark that insect with gorgeous wings, playing in the sunbeams, sipping at the flower bells, full of happiness and life; that is the end thereof. That caterpillar is yourself, until you are wrapped up in the chrysalis of death; but when Christ shall appear you shall be like him, for you shall see him as he is. Be content to be like him, a worm and no man, that like him you may be satisfied when you wake up in his likeness.  (December 30, Morning and Evening)

Monarch transformation
Monarch transformation

 

God has given us a beautiful picture of transformation and resurrection by giving us the metamorphosis of a butterfly. We are being transformed down here, but the final, great transformation will take place in a moment, when we are raptured up to be with Christ to a much nicer climate than Mexico! Are you excited?

What are your thoughts on this subject?