March 8, 2011 – Stanley

God’s Sovereignty Ephesians 1:11

Some people question whether the Lord is truly in control. They learn about tragedies in the world and wonder if perhaps God isn’t powerful enough to overcome all evil. Or they encounter what seems like an insurmountable obstacle in their own life and  come to the conclusion, Maybe His power is limited.

My friend, we do not understand everything that happens in this life. But we know from Scripture that God has ultimate authority: “The Lord has established His throne in the heavens, and His sovereignty rules over all” (Ps. 103:19).

Consider the far-reaching implications of these words. The Lord has complete control in all the universe—He reigns over everything and everyone, and His power is greater than all other strength. The terms omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient are frequently used to describe Him. In other words, our God is all-powerful, He exists everywhere, and He is all-knowing, which means there is nothing beyond His knowledge or His ability to direct and manage.

And this limitless, unfathomable God, who is unhindered and fully in control, adopts us as His children. What an amazing thought! As we begin to grasp this truth, peace and rest will flood our souls.

If you believe God is all-powerful, is that idea simply “head knowledge,” or does it affect the way you think and feel? When you realize that nothing happens apart from His awareness, direction, and loving purpose, it becomes possible to lay down worry and fear and truly experience His peace.

March 8, 2011 – Begg

His Superlative Beauty

Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.

Acts 14:22

God’s people have their trials. It was never God’s plan, when He chose His people, that they should be untested. They were chosen in the furnace of affliction; they were never chosen for worldly peace and earthly joy. Freedom from sickness and the pains of mortality was never promised to them; but when their Lord drew up the charter of privileges, He included chastisements among the things to which they should inevitably be heirs.Trials are a part of our experience; they were predestinated for us in Christ’s last legacy. As surely as the stars are fashioned by His hands, and their orbits fixed by Him, so surely are our trials allotted to us. He has ordained their season and their place, their intensity and the effect they shall have upon us. Good men must never expect to escape troubles; if they do, they will be disappointed, for none of their predecessors have been without them. Consider the patience of Job; remember Abraham, for he had his trials, and facing them with faith, he became the father of the faithful. Review the biographies of all the patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and martyrs, and you will find that each of those whom God made vessels of mercy were made to pass through the fire of affliction.

God has ordained that the cross of trouble should be engraved on every vessel of mercy, as the royal insignia distinguishing the King’s vessels of honor. But even though tribulation is the path of God’s children, they have the comfort of knowing that their Master has walked it before them. They have His presence and sympathy to cheer them, His grace to support them, and His example to teach them how to endure; and when they reach “the kingdom,” it will more than make amends for the “many tribulations” through which they passed to enter it.

March 7, 2011 – Stanley

Living Above Circumstances Philippians 1:12-18

While under house arrest, Paul wrote his letter to the Philippians. The apostle could receive visitors but couldn’t travel. Despite living in a home, Paul was more than likely chained to a Roman soldier 24 hours a day. Moreover, because he knew that a trial was years away, these were his living conditions for the foreseeable future—perhaps for the rest of his life.

Under such circumstances, Paul might have been tempted to cry out to heaven for release. After all, God had called him to preach, to disciple believers, and to reach the Gentiles. But he was stuck in Rome, unable to plant new churches or visit those whom he was nurturing by letter. Beside being unjust, the imprisonment was keeping him from important work. Surely, if anyone had a right to gripe, it was Paul, who’d endured persecution, shipwreck, and beatings for the gospel. Yet he never once complained. His letter to the church at Philippi is filled with rejoicing, as focusing on God let him live above his circumstances (Phil. 4:8).

The more we talk and complain about a situation, the worse it looks, until the problem looms larger in our mind than our faith does. Conversely, carrying challenges straight to God keeps matters in perspective. The Lord is bigger than any hardship. On His strength, we rise above the difficulty.

Problems can look so big and unwieldy that they distort our perspective. God invites us to live above our circumstances by fastening our eyes upon Him. The trials of this life shrink when compared to our loving, powerful Lord, who exercises His might in defense of His people.

March 7, 2011 – Begg

Little-Faith

Have faith in God.   Mark 11:22

Faith gives feet to the soul, enabling it to march along the road of the commandments. Love can make the feet move more swiftly; but it is faith that carries the soul. Faith is the oil enabling the wheels of holy devotion and of practical holiness to move well; and without faith the wheels are taken from the chariot, and we drag ourselves along. With faith I can do all things; without faith I will be missing both the inclination and the power to do anything in the service of God.

If you want to find the men who serve God best, you must look for men of faith. Little faith will save a man, but little faith cannot do great things for God. Poor Little-faith could not have fought “Apollyon”; it needed “Christian” to do that. Poor Little-faith could not have slain “Giant Despair”; it required “Great-heart’s” arm to knock that monster down. Little faith will go to heaven most certainly, but it often has to hide itself in a nutshell, and it frequently loses all but its jewels. Little-faith says, “It is a rough road, beset with sharp thorns, and full of dangers; I am afraid to go;” but Great-faith remembers the promise, “Your bars shall be iron and bronze, and as your days, so shall your strength be”;1 and so she boldly ventures. Little-faith stands despondently, mingling her tears with the flood; but Great-faith sings, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you,”2 and she crosses the stream at once.

Do you want to be comfortable and happy? To enjoy the journey do you desire cheerfulness rather than gloom? Then “have faith in God.” If you love darkness and are satisfied to dwell in gloom and misery, then be content with little faith; but if you love the sunshine and would sing songs of rejoicing, covet earnestly this best gift, great faith.

1Deuteronomy 33:25 2Isaiah 43:2

March 5, 2011 – Stanley

The Moments that Sustain Us Psalm 145:1-5

When life falls apart, how do you cope? All of us face circumstances that challenge our peace—and some of these situations are very painful and prolonged. Unless we have purposeful focus, joy fades and hope seems unattainable.

King David experienced extreme hardships, including the profound grief of losing a child and a best friend. And King Saul, for selfish reasons, pursued him in an attempt to take his life. Later, David’s own son led a rebellion against him. As drastic as these trials are, they were just four of the many difficulties he endured. Yet even in times of deep suffering, David found hope and peace in God.

How was his soul sustained when others in similar situations would have drowned in despair? David knew how to meditate. He focused his mind and spirit on God—His character, ways, and will—in order to know the Lord better and to obey Him.

We should be following David’s example. Our role during difficulty is to set our eyes on our heavenly Father and meditate on His Word. The Psalms document the depth and passion for which the shepherd and soon-to-be king delighted himself in God. By continually pondering the attributes and ways of the Lord, he found solace in the midst of turmoil.

What subjects consume your thoughts during the day? Do you have time set aside to dwell solely on the Lord? Perhaps you can remind yourself periodically to bring your attention back to your Creator—one way is to read several of the Psalms and notice how the author refocuses on the almighty God.

March 5, 2011 – Begg

Stay Awake!

Let us not sleep, as others do.

1 Thessalonians 5:6

There are many ways of encouraging the Christian to stay awake. First, let me strongly advise Christians to talk to each other about the ways of the Lord. In Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, Christian and Hopeful, on their journey to the Celestial City, said to themselves, “To prevent drowsiness in this place, let us fall into good discourse.” Christian inquired, “Brother, where shall we begin?” And Hopeful answered, “Where God began with us.” Then Christian sang this song:

When saints do sleepy grow, let them come hither,
And hear how these two pilgrims talk together;
Yea, let them learn of them, in any wise,
Thus to keep open their drowsy slumb’ring eyes.
Saints’ fellowship, if it be managed well,
Keeps them awake, and that in spite of hell.

Christians who isolate themselves and walk alone are very liable to grow drowsy. Keep Christian company, and you will be kept wakeful by it, and refreshed and encouraged to make quicker progress on the road to heaven. But as you enjoy fellowship with others in the ways of God, take care that the theme of your conversation is the Lord Jesus.

Let the eye of faith be constantly looking to Him; let your heart be full of Him; let your lips speak of His worth. Friend, live near to the cross, and you will not sleep. Work hard to impress yourself with a deep sense of the value of the place to which you are going. If you remember that you are going to heaven, you will not sleep on the road. If you think that hell is behind you, and the devil pursuing you, you will not loiter. Would the innocent sleep with the enemy in pursuit and the city of refuge before him? Christian, will you sleep while the pearly gates are open–the songs of angels waiting for you to join them–a crown of gold ready for your brow? Ah, no! In holy fellowship continue to watch and pray, that you enter not into temptation.

March 4, 2011 – Stanley

Carry the Light Psalm 96:2-3

In the New Testament, the word light is identified with goodness and holiness. Darkness, on the other hand, is frequently associated with unrighteousness or evil.

Jesus described Himself as “the Light of the world” (John 9:5). He invited the people to put their trust in Him so that they might become sons of light (John 12:36). The apostle John called Jesus “the true Light,” who gives illumination to all (John 1:9). Our enemy Satan, who masquerades as an angel of light, has blinded the eyes of many so they do not recognize the truth of the gospel message. As a result, they fail to believe (2 Cor. 4:4).

The word light has significance for believers too. At salvation, we were transferred from the domain of darkness into the kingdom of light (Col. 1:12-13 niv). Freed from slavery to sin, we were adopted by our heavenly Father and given a future home in heaven as well as a new family now—our brothers and sisters in Christ. We are no longer in darkness; instead, we walk in the illumination of the Holy Spirit.

Now we are “children of light” (Eph. 5:8), and our calling is to carry the truth about salvation and eternal life to an unbelieving world. Jesus has commissioned us to share the gospel message and to live it out in our daily life.

The apostle Paul understood what it meant to carry the light of the gospel to others. He dedicated himself to sharing the good news with those who did not believe and to nurturing the faith of other Christians. Like Paul, we are called to be light bearers to those around us.

March 4, 2011 – Begg

The Benefit of Trials

My grace is sufficient for you.

2 Corinthians 12:9

If none of God’s saints were poor and tried, we should not know half so well the consolations of divine grace. When we find the wanderer who has nowhere to lay his head who still can say, “I will trust in the Lord,” or when we see the pauper starving on bread and water who still glories in Jesus, when we see the bereaved widow overwhelmed in affliction and yet having faith in Christ–oh, what honor it reflects on the Gospel. God’s grace is illustrated and magnified in the poverty and trials of believers.

Saints bear up under every discouragement, believing that all things work together for their good, and that out of apparent evils a real blessing shall ultimately spring–that their God will either work a deliverance for them speedily or most assuredly support them in the trouble, as long as He is pleased to keep them in it. This patience of the saints proves the power of divine grace. There is a lighthouse out at sea: It is a calm night–I cannot tell whether the edifice is firm. The tempest must rage about it, and then I shall know whether it will stand. So with the Spirit’s work: If it were not on many occasions surrounded with tempestuous waters, we would not know that it was true and strong; if the winds did not blow upon it, we would not know how firm and secure it was. The masterworks of God are those men who stand in the midst of difficulties steadfast, unmovable–

Calm mid the bewildering cry,
Confident of victory.

The one who would glorify his God must be prepared to meet with many trials. No one can be illustrious before the Lord unless his conflicts are many. If, then, yours is a much-tried path, rejoice in it, because you will be better able to display the all-sufficient grace of God. As for His failing you, never dream of it–hate the thought. The God who has been sufficient until now should be trusted to the end.

March 3, 2011 – Stanley

Bring the Gospel to the World Matthew 28:19-20

When a teacher gives an assignment, good students take it seriously. They do what’s required, give their best effort, and complete the work in a timely manner.

Before ascending to heaven, Jesus gave us a commandment—an assignment, really—but too many Christians are half-hearted about completing the task. Christ told His followers to share the good news about salvation and make disciples of all nations. Some believers do dedicate themselves to this work. But many are either too busy or too timid to commit their lives in this way.

If we are to emulate Jesus (John 13:15), then our actions and words should touch people as His did. Recipients of the Savior’s love were forever changed. As His followers, we have the Holy Spirit residing within us, which means we have access to the same power that raised Christ from the dead (Rom. 8:11)! So by sharing the gospel, providing encouragement, and offering comfort, we, too, can impact others’ lives. Jesus commanded that the good news go out to all nations. Of course, not everyone can move to another country. Some believers hear God’s call and go. Others stay, but they’re still called to touch those around them. They can also assist overseas missions by financially and prayerfully supporting kingdom efforts on foreign soil.

Our Lord was serious about telling His followers to share the gospel. Consider how you spend your time and your money.  Does this indicate obedience to the most important assignment you have ever received? What changes must you make to give Jesus’ commandment top priority?

March 3, 2011 – Begg

Chosen for Affliction

I have tried you in the furnace of affliction.

Isaiah 48:10

Comfort yourself, tried believer, with this thought: God says, “I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction” [KJV]. Does not the Word come like a soft shower, assuaging the fury of the flame? Yea, is it not a protective shield, against which the heat has no power? Let affliction come–God has chosen me. Poverty, you may stride in at my door, but God is in the house already, and He has chosen me. Sickness, you may intrude, but I have balsam ready–God has chosen me. Whatever befalls me in this vale of tears, I know that He has “chosen” me.

If, believer, you require still greater comfort, remember that you have the Son of Man with you in the furnace. In that silent chamber of yours, there sits by your side One whom you have not seen, but whom you love; and often when you do not know it, He comforts you in your affliction and softens the place of rest. You are in poverty; but in your lovely house the Lord of life and glory is a frequent visitor. He loves to come into these desolate places, that He may visit you. Your friend sticks closely to you. You cannot see Him, but you may feel the pressure of His hands. Do you not hear His voice? Even in the valley of the shadow of death He says, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God.”1

Remember that noble speech of Caesar: “Fear not, you carry Caesar and all his fortune.” Fear not, Christian; Jesus is with you. In all your difficult trials, His presence is both your comfort and safety. He will never leave one whom He has chosen for His own. “Fear not, for I am with you” is His sure word of promise to His chosen ones in the “furnace of affliction.” Will you not, then, take hold of Christ and say–

Through floods and flames, if Jesus lead,
I’ll follow where He goes.

1Isaiah 41:10

March 2, 2011 – Stanley

A Commitment to Obey Daniel 1:9-21

Years ago I made a commitment to obey the Lord regardless of the cost. Like everyone else, I have made mistakes, but my determination to follow Christ has remained unchanged. When difficulties occur, such a pledge helps a person to stand firm.

We all will encounter times when there’s a direct conflict between God’s way and what is being asked of us. Perhaps the boss tells us to misrepresent the company’s product to customers. Or a friend may be pressuring us to join her in some risky behavior. Or family members may urge us to lie on their behalf. Saying no could bring loss, rejection, or even the end of a relationship. On the other hand, going along with the request could compromise our Christian witness or break God’s commands.

Daniel faced such a dilemma. He and his three friends had a clear choice—to eat food prohibited by Scripture, or to refuse and incur the king’s wrath, imprisonment, or even death. Daniel showed great courage when he proposed a different eating plan (Dan. 1:12). His words and actions demonstrated his allegiance to the Lord.

Daniel and his friends were rewarded by God for their faith and commitment (v. 17). Despite their adverse circumstances, all four young men confidently trusted in the Lord’s sovereign care for them.

Daniel’s choice resulted in royal favor. Jesus’ obedience led to the cross and glorification. Paul’s trust in Christ resulted in hardship. When we obey, the consequences may vary, but two things are always the same: obedience glorifies our Father and pleases Him. What could be better than that?

March 2, 2011 – Begg

Wisdom in War

But every one of the Israelites went down to the Philistines to sharpen his plowshare, his mattock, his axe, or his sickle.

1 Samuel 13:20

We are engaged in a great war with the Philistines of evil. Every weapon within our reach must be used. Preaching, teaching, praying, giving–all must be brought into action, and talents that have been thought too mean for service must now be employed. These various tools may all be useful in slaying Philistines; rough tools may deal hard blows, and killing need not be elegantly done, so long as it is done effectually. Each moment of time, in season or out of season; each fragment of ability, educated or untutored; each opportunity, favorable or unfavorable, must be used, for our foes are many and our force but slender.

Most of our tools need sharpening; we need quickness of perception, tact, energy, promptness–in a word, complete adaptation–for the Lord’s work. Practical common sense is a very scarce thing among the conductors of Christian enterprises. We might learn from our enemies if we would, and so make the Philistines sharpen our weapons.

This morning let us note enough to sharpen our zeal during this day by the aid of the Holy Spirit. Witness the energy of some, how they travel over sea and land to make one proselyte–are they to monopolize all the earnestness? Consider what tortures some endure in the ser-vice of their idols! Are they alone to exhibit patience and self-sacrifice? Observe the prince of darkness, how persevering in his endeavors, how unabashed in his attempts, how daring in his plans, how thoughtful in his plots, how energetic in all! The devils are united as one man in their infamous rebellion, while we believers in Jesus are divided in our service of God and scarcely ever work with unanimity. O that from Satan’s infernal industry we may learn to go about like good Samaritans, seeking whom we may bless!

March 1, 2011 – Stanley

Obeying God Daniel 1:1-8

The story of Daniel illustrates some key elements of obedience. We see the wise young man doing what the Lord com-manded, in the right manner and timing.

Daniel knew that God’s law prohibited eating food that had been offered to idols. But he was living in captivity in Babylon—a nation that worshiped false gods—and soon faced a hard decision. King Nebuchadnezzar
had ordered that the choicest of foods be sent for Daniel’s meals after first being presented to idols. Was it better to obey the Lord and risk angering the king—or to disobey God and please the ruler?

On the surface, the question for Daniel was about unacceptable food. But the underlying issue was allegiance to God. He could have rationalized breaking the divine command by telling himself he was a servant and had no choice. Instead, Daniel resolved not to eat the royal food and sought a way through the dilemma that would honor the Lord and keep His law.

Today, many things that our world finds acceptable are outside God’s protective boundaries for His children. Some are not good for us while others do not honor Him. Our desire as Christians is to obey the Lord, but our fleshly side wants to please ourselves and others. Yet denying self and obeying God is always the right choice.

To become like Daniel, we must make a wholehearted commitment to follow the Lord and consistently apply Scripture to our decision making. Then, when challenges come, we’ll have the courage to obey God’s commands. Our Father is pleased when we choose a lifestyle of obedience like Daniel’s.

March 1, 2011 – Begg

The Means of Sanctification

Awake, O north wind, and come, O south wind! Blow upon my garden, let its spices flow.

Song of Songs 4:16

Anything is better than the dead calm of indifference. Our souls may wisely desire the north wind of trouble if that is to become the means of our sanctification. So long as it cannot be said, “The Lord was not in the wind,” we will not shrink from the most wintry blast that ever blew upon plants of grace. Did not the spouse in this verse humbly submit herself to the reproofs of her Beloved, only entreating Him to send forth His grace in some form, and making no stipulation as to the peculiar manner in which it should come? Did she not, like ourselves, become so utterly weary of deadness and unholy calm that she sighed for any visitation that would brace her to action? Yet she desires the warm south wind of comfort too, the smiles of divine love, the joy of the Redeemer’s presence; these are often mightily effectual to arouse our sluggish life. She desires either one or the other, or both, so that she may but be able to delight her Beloved with the spices of her garden. She cannot endure to be unprofitable, nor can we.

How cheering a thought that Jesus can find comfort in our poor feeble graces. Can it be? It seems far too good to be true. We may even court trial or death itself if by doing so we gladden Immanuel’s heart. O that our heart were crushed to atoms if only by such bruising our Lord Jesus could be glorified. Graces unexercised are as sweet perfumes trapped in the bottle: The wisdom of God overrules diverse and opposite causes to produce the one desired result and makes both affliction and consolation produce the grateful aroma of faith, love, patience, hope, resignation, joy, and the other fair flowers of the garden. May we know by sweet experience what this means.

February 28, 2011 – Stanley

Hearing the Call Acts 6:4

God has issued some dramatic calls to service. Moses heard His voice from a burning bush (Ex. 3). Isaiah saw a vision of heaven’s throne room (Isa. 6). However, a spectacle is the exception rather than the rule. For most who follow the Lord to the mission field, His call is a persistent tug on the heart. It is a whisper in their spirit asking, “How will they know God unless someone tells them?” (Rom. 10:14).

It’s better if the Lord doesn’t have to use drama to get our attention. Consider stubborn Saul who needed a serious talking to and temporary blindness to get him on the mission field (Acts 26:13-18). I know I’d rather hear the Lord’s still small voice!

People can try to ignore the heart tug, block the ever-present question with activity, or satisfy it by giving money rather than themselves. Some outright say no. But the call persists. God’s will is set and His plan is steadfast. Though we may run, we can’t escape His call to obey (Jonah 1:1; 3:1).

The road of obedience will certainly be marked with challenges. But difficulty is part of any life—at home or abroad, in mission work or a traditional job. Thankfully, the rewards of serving are greater than any hardship. Remember that Jesus promised Peter a hundred-fold return on his investment in the kingdom (Mark 10:28-30).

Carrying the gospel is a great opportunity to serve God. What better way to thank Him for saving us and writing our name in the Book of Life than to share that experience with others. If the Lord’s still small voice is calling you, say yes and see what amazing, life-changing work He can do through you.

February 28, 2011 – Begg

Where is Your Hope?

My hope is from him.

Psalms 62:5

It is the believer’s privilege to use this language. If he is looking for anything from the world, it is a poor hope indeed. But if he looks to God for the supply of his needs, whether temporal or spiritual blessings, his hope will not be in vain. He may constantly draw from the bank of faith and get his need supplied out of the riches of God’s loving-kindness. I know this: I would rather have God for my banker than all the Rothschilds.

My Lord never fails to honor His promises; and when we bring them to His throne, He never sends them back unanswered. Therefore I will wait only at His door, for He always opens it with the hand of abundant grace. At this hour I will turn to Him afresh.

But we have “hope” beyond this life. We will die soon; and still our “hope is from him.” May we not expect that when we face illness He will send angels to carry us to His bosom? We believe that when the pulse is faint and the heart is weak, some angelic messenger shall stand and look with loving eyes upon us and whisper, “Come away!” As we approach the heavenly gate, we expect to hear the welcome invitation, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”1 We are expecting harps of gold and crowns of glory; we are hoping soon to be among the company of shining ones before the throne; we are looking forward and longing for the time when we shall be like our glorious Lord–for “We shall see him as he is.”2

Then if these are your hopes, O my soul, live for God; live with the desire and resolve to glorify Him from whose grace in your election, redemption, and calling you safely “hope” for the coming glory.
1Matthew 25:34 21 John 3:2

February 25, 2011 – Stanley

The Missionary Question Romans 10:11-15

At every missions conference hosted by my church, I give God the same message I’ve been repeating since my early 20s: “I’m available, Lord. I’ll go to foreign fields if you say so.” Until He tells me to pack my bags, I’m going to keep on sending others to work among unbelievers in distant and even remote lands.

Paul asked a series of rhetorical questions in Romans 10 that can be summed up like this: How will the world hear about Jesus if you do nothing? God uses Christians to spread the word that His salvation plan is available to all. He put us in families and communities and nations so we will mingle and share what we know. But some believers are called to carry the gospel farther than others. Those who stay behind are to offer prayer and resources for those who travel.

If you’re shaking your head and thinking, Mission work isn’t where my heart is, I have news for you: Every believer is called to missions as either a goer or a sender. That call comes in dramatic ways for some, but for most of us, it is simply a biblical principle to be followed (Matt. 28:19). What’s missing for those who don’t have a “heart” for such work is passion. Christians who share and go and send are often excited about God’s message for unbelievers—and it’s possible for you to become more enthusiastic too.

I challenge you to ask the Lord, “Am I open to going anywhere You send me?” Our roots in a community should be sunk only as deep as God wills. If you aren’t called to go, then choose to be a sender. Offer your prayers, your money, and anything else that will help to put others on the mission field.

February 25, 2011 – Begg

The Storm of God’s Wrath

. . . The wrath to come.     Matthew 3:7

It is pleasant to pass over a country after a storm has spent itself–to smell the freshness of the herbs after the rain has passed away, and to note the drops while they glisten like purest diamonds in the sunlight.

That is the position of a Christian. He is going through a land where the storm has spent itself upon His Savior’s head, and if there be a few drops of sorrow falling, they distill from clouds of mercy, and Jesus cheers him by the assurance that they are not for his destruction.

But how terrible it is to witness the approach of a tempest–to note the forewarnings of the storm; to mark the birds of heaven as they droop their wings; to see the cattle as they lay their heads low in terror; to discern the face of the sky as it grows black, and to find the sun obscured, and the heavens angry and frowning! How terrible to await the dread advance of a hurricane, to wait in terrible apprehension till the wind rushes forth in fury, tearing up trees from their roots, forcing rocks from their pedestals, and hurling down all the dwelling-places of man!

And yet, sinner, this is your present position. No hot drops have fallen as yet, but a shower of fire is coming. No terrible winds howl around you, but God’s tempest is gathering its dread artillery. So far the water-floods are dammed up by mercy, but the floodgates will soon be opened: The thunderbolts of God are still in His storehouse, the tempest is coming, and how awful will that moment be when God, robed in vengeance, shall march forth in fury!

Where, where, where, O sinner, will you hide your head, or where will you run to? May the hand of mercy lead you now to Christ! He is freely set before you in the Gospel: His pierced side is the place of shelter. You know your need of Him; believe in Him, cast yourself upon Him, and then the fury shall be past forever

February 24, 2011 – Stanley

Our Missionary Mission Acts 13:1-4

Paul and Barnabas set the standard for the church’s mission work when they obeyed God’s call to go forth. The local body of believers—those left behind to share Christ with neighbors and friends—equipped the men for their journey. They did so for the same reasons that apply today:

1. The spiritual condition of mankind. Romans 1:21-32 describes this sinful world. Unchecked sin leads people down a slippery slope toward a depraved conscience and, ultimately, a darkened mind that cannot perceive what is right. Every unbelieving person is sliding on that treacherous path.

2. God’s spiritual provision. The Father responded to mankind’s plight with grace: He sent His only Son Jesus Christ to save the world. On the cross, Christ bore the sin of every person—living, no longer alive, and yet to be born. The offer of salvation is for all; God’s grace is blind to race, creed, and color (Rom. 10:12). Those who believe in Jesus are forgiven their sin, and they will spend eternity with the Lord.

3. The commission from Jesus Christ. Acts 1:8 says we receive the Holy Spirit so we may bear effective witness to those who need salvation. Notice that we don’t simply begin at home and work steadily outward. People everywhere are waiting for the Good News. The word is to be carried far and fast.

The purpose of the church is to worship and witness. Some will go and some will send, but all are called to the work of spreading the gospel. This is not a suggestion; it is a command (Matt. 28:19). Believers living in God’s will are all to be involved in missionary work.

Scriptures, Lessons, News and Links to help you survive.