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I have been through the valley of weeping,
The valley of sorrow and pain;
But the “God of all comfort” was with me,
At hand to uphold and sustain.
As the earth needs the clouds and the sunshine,
Our souls need both sorrow and joy;
So He places us oft in the furnace,
The dross from the gold to destroy.
When He leads through some valley of trouble,
His powerful hand we can trace;
For the trials and sorrows He sends us
Are part of His lessons of grace.
Oft we shrink from the purging and pruning,
Forgetting the Husbandman knows
The deeper the cutting and paring,
The richer the cluster that grows.
Well He knows that affliction is needed;
He has a wise purpose in view,
And in the dark valley He whispers,
“Hereafter thou’lt know what to do.”
As we travel through life’s shadowed valley,
Fresh springs of His love ever rise;
And we learn that our sorrows and losses
Are blessings just sent in disguise.
So we’ll follow wherever He leadeth,
Though pathways be dreary or bright;
For we’ve proof that our God can give comfort,
Our God can give songs in the night.
Being Careful In Where We Place Our Hope
“Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8
The most devastating thing a person can experience, is to lose hope. Without hope, a person’s reason to go on living is diminished. When one loses hope, no matter what else they have, it will not fill the void of hopelessness.
Thus, it is imperative that one has a well placed hope, hoping in that which will not let them down or vanish away.
It is a grave mistake to assume that self confidence is the same as real hope. Even foresight, based on evidential supporting circumstances, may prove to be insufficient grounds for hope: “here today, gone tomorrow.”
If we settle for that which we deem to be hopeful by our self determination, we may just be setting ourselves up unto becoming ashamed of our hope.
What determines how good our hope actually is, is how good is that in which we are hoping. To have good hope in that which is no good, is the epitome of hopelessness.
The Bible gives examples of those who have started out with their hope all being in God. They sought no other refuge, and their hope in God proved to be a blessing. But as time progressed and their blessings accumulated, they shifted from hoping in God, unto having their hope in what they had been blessed with.
The difference? Placing one’s hope in God assures victory over failure. But blessings fade away, or can be taken from us, crushing the hope that has been based on them.
We must never allow the good God has given us to become bad for us. Unless our conviction of sin and faith in God affords us to “afflict ourselves” through self denial, humility, soul searching, and full surrender, the good things we have will wean us away from dependence upon God for our hope, unto the false hope of self dependence.SHARING
In the days of David, when the bottom had dropped out of everything, and David’s men even spake of stoning him, he encouraged himself in the Lord. (1 Samuel 30:6) When Job had lost everything, and was being attacked by his friends, he declared that even though God would slay him, he would still trust in Him (Job 13:15) When Paul rebuked the feared Alexander the coppersmith and all men forsook Paul, his testimony was that the Lord stood with him and strengthened him.
It’s nice to be in the company of those who support you. But in these last days, when everything is being turned upside down, and evil men are waxing worse and worse, the Devil is seeking to tear down anything and everyone that is right and good.
In this day of covenant breakers, lack of natural affection, and disobedience to parents, there will be more working against children honoring and obeying their parents in the Lord than there will be encouraging them to do so. Church member, there will be more working to turn you away from following a ministry that is sound in the Word, than there will be promoting you to stay with it. Unless people are really given over to watching and praying and proving what is acceptable unto the Lord, the offenses of these times will swallow them up. The voices against the way of God’s Word will far outnumber the “still small voice” calling people to God’s will and way.
Many things will lend themselves to discouraging true faith in this time when truth is being challenged rather than respected. Family ties, circumstantial involvements, peer pressure, popular opinion, will all seek to turn one aside. When sound doctrine is hard to endure, any small thing makes it seem unbearable, let alone some big trial or tribulation.
Will our allegiance to the truth stand the tests and trials that we will undergo? The need is to take root in sound doctrine and the understanding of the righteousness of God’s laws. Without a personal appreciation of God’s ways above all else, then the tests of our times will persuade one to abandon God’s way to just do what is convenient for self.SHARING
October Is Church Appreciation Month!
The month of October is traditionally observed as “Pastor Appreciation Month.”
This October, we want to make our focus “Church Appreciation Month.”
Show the Lord your appreciation for what He has done for you, and ask yourself the question, “What thoughts would God want me to have about the church in which He has privileged me to serve Him?”
Do You Respond To The Truth?
“How long halt ye between two opinions? if the Lord be God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.” 1 Kings 18:21
Baal can be simply defined as unscriptural religion; that which is according to human concept and opinion, rather than by the authority of God. It is very possible for man to know and benefit from the truth of God in every way. The problem being, however, man’s failure to respond to the truth of God made known, and/or available to him. It is a natural thing for light to dispel darkness, for knowledge to void ignorance. But spiritually, our human natures are at enmity with God. Therefore, when Christ, the Divine Son of God, was made flesh and dwelt among us, manifesting the grace and truth of God, man received him not, but despised and sought out Christ’s death.
Today, when man is shown the difference between religious truth and error, he responds not to the truth. Likewise, as he did toward Christ, rather than acknowledge the truth, his reaction is one of enmity. Just as this accounted for man crying out for the crucifixion of Christ in his day, it accounts for aggressiveness against the ministry of truth today.
No one is free from the depravity of our fleshly nature, until we put off the natural man, either in death or with the coming rapture, the resurrection and glorification of the saved. Thus, the element of enmity, that nature of spiritual insensitivity, is the essence of our fleshly being’s response, or shall we say, lack of response to the truth of God, but rather fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind. Thus, a world lost in sin. There is absolutely no hope apart from man repenting, which is God’s command to every person.
But Christian, do you respond to the truth? We cannot expect to lead the lost to do so, if we do not so ourselves. Christ warned of “having ears to hear and hearing not; eyes to see and seeing not.” We choose our state of mind, either to go with the wisdom and way of the fleshly mind, or to be cleansed and up righted by the Word of God. If one is not seeking to purify their mind before God, their mind remains estranged from spiritual vision and priority. The only time the truth gains access to their thinking is when someone else reproves, rebukes, and exhorts them concerning the truth. But being unfamiliar with taking hold of God’s Word, it just seems natural to let God’s Word pass out and through the mind, without changing either our way of thinking or doing. This faithless and spiritually bankrupt position makes way for our walking in unbelief and eventual rebellion.
Hearing, without doing, is personal consent to our being deceived, with us initiating the condition, James 1:22. When we elect to be deceived, rather than cleave to God’s Word, we seal ourselves to Satan’s processes. There is nothing any more important than to rightly respond to the truth.SHARING
When the bugle's call sinks into silence
And the long marching columns stand still
When the captain repeats his last orders,
And they've captured the last fort and hill,
And the flag has been hauled from the mast head,
And the wounded afield checked in,
And a world that rejected its Saviour,
Is asked for a reason--WHAT THEN?
When the great plants of our cities
Have turned out their last finished work;
When our merchants have sold their last yard of silk
And dismissed the last tired clerk,
When our banks have raked in their last dollar
And paid the last dividend;
When the Judge of the earth says, "Close for the night,"
And asks for a balance--WHAT THEN?
When the choir has sung its last anthem,
And the preacher has made his last prayer;
When the people have heard their last sermon
And the sound has died out on the air;
When the Bible lies closed on the altar
And the pews are all empty of men
And each one stands facing his record-
And the great Book is opened--WHAT THEN?
When the actors have played their last drama
And the mimic has made his last fun,
When the film has flashed its last picture
And the billboard has displayed its last run;
When the crowds seeking pleasure have vanished
And gone out in the darkness again-
When the trumpet of ages has sounded,
And we stand before Him--WHAT THEN?
“And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” Hebrews 9:27SHARING
Insight For Living
“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every good work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” Ecclesiastes 12:13-14
To know the conclusion, i.e., how it will end and work out, removes the mystery and doubt. This knowledge enables one to make good decisions so as to be on the good side of how things turn out.
In view of the fact God will bring all, with their every deed into judgment, the conclusion of the whole matter of life then is to: “Fear God, and keep his commandments.” To fail to do so, is to destine self to loss and penalties at the judgment.
Just as rewards for faithfulness lie beyond what the eye has seen, the ear heard, or ever has entered into the heart of man, likewise the eternal consequences for unbelief and disobedience are beyond human comprehension. We are told there shall be weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth. Isaiah 28:19 tells us it shall be a vexation only to understand the report.
In these last days, the trend of sinful decision is to strengthen oneself in the spirit of disobedience, rather than to yield to the convicting power of the Holy Spirit. It is to choose spiritual darkness rather than spiritual light. It is to believe any and every lie rather than receive the love of the truth. It is to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season, rather than respect the recompense of the reward for serving God. It is a determination bent on conforming to the world’s sensuality, rather than proving God’s will to be good, acceptable, and perfect. It is denying God, unto self serving.
The problem with this trend will be found out in the final conclusion. “And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12.
Be not weary in well doing! “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 15:58SHARING
The Power Of Human Sentiments
“Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the Lord? Therefore is wrath upon thee from before the Lord.” 2 Chronicles 19:2
“If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:26
God is the author of all good graces. Therefore, we must let Him tell us how to use them. To not do so, will result in our being confused about what it is to be on the Lord’s side.
The account of Absalom demonstrates this well. In Absalom’s thinking, he was justified in being a law unto himself.
For two years, he concealed his hatred of Amnon by saying nothing. (2 Samuel 13:22-23) Then Absalom ordered his servants to kill Amnon, v28; then Absalom fled, v34. He was gone three years, v38. Absalom never did repent of his wrong doing, nor even admit it.
After three years, David’s sentiments changed from mourning for his murdered son, unto “longing” to go forth unto Absalom, v39. Joab perceived this change of sentiments and arranged for the king to be persuaded that it was alright to bring Absalom home, even using references of how God restores His erring, 2 Samuel 14:14. So with David’s sentiments and the thoughts of God’s forgiveness, David ordered Absalom to be brought home, v21. Absalom, a murderer, was brought home without admitting any wrong doing.
Because of Absalom’s beauty, he garnered the sentiments of the people, v25. By now, Absalom has become acutely aware of the power that having the sentiments of others has afforded him. Without ever admitting wrong doing for having murdered Amnon, he gets by with boldly demanding to be fully restored to his princely status with the king, v32-33. “Either kill me, or restore me”, played directly to his father’s sentiments.
Absalom is now the favored prince in Israel (2 Samuel 15), openly making claims that he would be the people’s judge if put in power. His motives were never questioned, because he has favorable sentiments from both the king and the people, AND he knows how to take advantage of them.
With this power (in the hearts and minds of others favoring him), he conspires to overthrow, kill, and take the kingdom away from David. However, this led to his own destruction.
Absalom’s strategy: he was not about to repent or admit wrong doing, for he knew that the sentiments of others would favor him to the extent of accomplishing what he wanted. SAD, BUT TRUE!
David’s sentiments greatly confused him, even when Absalom was seeking to kill him, 2 Samuel 18:5 & 19:5-6.SHARING