“The Lord is righteous in her midst, He will do no unrighteousness. Every morning He brings His justice to light; He never fails, But the unjust knows no shame.” Zephaniah 3:5, NKJV
During Zephaniah’s times the corridors of power in Jerusalem were filled with self-seeking officials. Rather than speak for God, the prophets deceived the people. The priests were supposed to guard the Lord’s holiness; instead, they profaned the holy place and corrupted the Law. The princes should have defended the weak. In contrast, they used their authority to enrich themselves, covetously devouring whatever they could get. This behavior totally misrepresented the Lord. He affirms that He is righteous, and “…brings His justice to light…” Though men may act wickedly, the Lord’s righteousness remains unassailable.
No mortal can with Him compare among the sons of men,
Fairer is He than all the fair who fill the heavenly train. –Samuel Stennett
“And when He was come out of the ship, immediately there met Him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit… often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him.” Mark 5:2, 4.
The demoniac was uncontrollable. Concerned citizens had tried to bind him; thereby, protecting passersby and the lunatic himself. Nevertheless, the infernal powers within him empowered him to shatter whatever bonds were affixed to him. Only the power of Christ was sufficient to free this man from spiritual bondage. After meeting the Lord, He was emancipated from demonic forces, and thereafter sat at the Master’s feet, clothed and sane.
And though this world with devils filled should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear for God has willed, His truth to triumph through us. –Martin Luther
“So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places.” Philippians 1:13
Paul viewed his bonds as being “in Christ.” His incarceration was the result of the will of God, not a tragic byproduct of inflexible Roman jurisprudence. This is why during his imprisonment, he could write: “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice” (Phil. 4:4.) No matter what adverse circumstances believers face, they can rest in the knowledge that a sovereign God controls the world and is working history toward His desired end.
Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed,
For I am thy God, I will still give thee aid.
I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
Upheld by My gracious, omnipotent hand.
When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie,
My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply –George Keith
“The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain.” 2 Timothy 1:16
The Church needs more believers like the refreshing brother Onesiphorus. He ignored personal comfort, even to the point of endangering his own life, for the sake of encouraging an imprisoned fellow-Christian. The ignominy of Paul’s legal situation did not deter this faithful saint from visiting his brother in the Lord. Onesiphorus is one who merits the Lord’s description “I was in prison, and ye came unto me” (Mat. 25:36.) Today believers are faced with an array of difficult circumstances. Are we refreshing our suffering brothers and sisters?
Jesus, fill now with Thy Spirit hearts that full surrender know;
That the streams of living water from our inner man may flow. –Mary E. Maxwell
“For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; And to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus, Which delivered us from the wrath to come.” 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10
The genuineness of the gospel was seen in the transformation that happened to the Thessalonians, who turned to the living and true God. Before, they had served dead idols, which were false, and were powerless to aid their devotees. Now, however, they actively awaited their Deliverer from wrath, Who would one day take them to heaven.
And soon the happy day shall come
When we shall reach our destined home
And see Him face to face;
Then with our Savior, Master, Friend,
The glad eternity we’ll spend
And celebrate His grace.
“Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace, comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work.” 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17, NKJV
The text speaks both of what God has done for us, and what He will do for us. First, “He has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace”; this all stems from His
vicarious death and resurrection. Second, He will “comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work”; this assures us that the results of our service for God will abide for eternity!
Only in Thee, my heart will delight
Till in that land where cometh no night
Faith will be lost in heavenly sight
Only, dear Lord, in Thee.
“Laying aside therefore all malice and all guile and hypocrisies and envyings and all evil speakings, as newborn babes desire earnestly the pure mental milk of the word, that by it ye may grow up to salvation, if indeed ye have tasted that the Lord [is] good.” 1 Peter 2:1-3, JND
Coming to Christ was akin to a spiritual change in diet. They had subsisted on the bitter fruit of a dissolute life: malice, guile, hypocrisies, and so forth. Now the Lord called them to feast on Christ’s Word, approaching their new diet with the craving that newborns have for milk. Such pure nutrients enable believers to grow in the grace of Christ. Oh that we might feed on Him yet more and more through prayer and reverent study of God’s Word.
Let manna to our souls be given,
The bread of life sent down from heaven. –Anon.
“Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.” Joshua 1:9
The Almighty’s presence gives great courage and abiding strength to those who are called to undertake perilous missions for God. Joshua faced the daunting challenge of replacing a legendary leader, while embarking on a completely new task. For the first time the Israelites would be tested in battle on foreign terrain. Nonetheless, the Lord assured him of His never-failing presence, which gave the needed strength to the son of Nun and his forces. God has not changed. Whatever He calls believers to do, He promises never to leave or abandon us.
Since I must fight if I would reign,
Increase my courage Lord!
I’ll bear the toil, endure the pain,
Supported by Thy Word.
“This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24
This verse is often used by Christians to describe the current day in which they are living. In context, however, it refers to the day when the sacrifice was bound to the horns of the altar: the crucifixion of the Lamb of God. Our Lord Jesus enables us to rejoice through the suffering that He experienced at Calvary. He committed Himself to the will of God, and “… 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” (Heb. 12:2).
From heaven He came
He loved you, He died;
Such love as His never was known.
Behold on the cross,
Your King crucified
To make you an heir to His throne.
“To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the beloved.” Ephesians 1:6
Christians stand in an incomparable position of favor before God – “accepted in the Beloved.” The believer need not wonder whether or not he will be cast out of the Almighty’s sight, for His acceptance is dependant on Christ’s position. Since He is the One in whom is all the Father’s delight, there is no question as to His standing in glory; it is unassailable. His glorious grace has brought us into the most favored position possible.
So near, so very near to God, I cannot nearer be;
For in the Person of His Son, I am as near as He.
So dear, so very dear to God, More dear I cannot be
The love wherewith He loves the Son: Such is His love to me.
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