Fri, 22 September 2017
(1Tm.6:13-16; Ps.100:2-5; Lk.8:4-15)
“Keep God’s command without blame or reproach
until our Lord Jesus shall appear.”
The Lord’s “kindness endures forever, and His faithfulness, to all generations,” and we must endure with Him, ever showing forth His kindness and faithfulness to the world, until we come to dwell with Him eternally “in inapproachable light.”
When God brings His appearance “to pass at His chosen time” will we stand ready? Will we persevere in service of truth until that day of which we know not? Brothers and sisters, “Let everyone who has ears attend to what he has heard.” Let us not “fall away in time of temptation.” Let us not have our progress “stifled by the cares and riches and pleasures of life.” Let us mature. Let us remain faithful in all adversity. Let us always grow in His Word. Let us “hear the word in a spirit of openness, retain it, and bear fruit through perseverance.” Then we shall “yield grain a hundredfold”; then we shall know the “joyful song” that reverberates eternally in His “everlasting rule.”
Patience. We must have patience. And wisdom. We must know and remember that “the Lord is God; He made us, His we are, His people, the flock He tends.” Always we must take refuge in Him, living the “noble profession” to which He calls us as His blessed children to whom “the mysteries of the reign of God have been confided.” And knowing this, knowing Him, how can we turn to anything else? What can distract or destroy the heart set on God? It is not possible that anything can overcome us if we stand fast as seed planted by the hand of God and allow His Spirit to perpetually nourish our growth. We must be as plants which bend ever to His light; the cleansing water of His Word must be cherished and preserved by holy souls. And we shall grow.
“Enter His gates with thanksgiving, His courts with praise.” This is our destiny; and this is the blessing we find even now as we make continual progress in His Name and rejoice at the gifts and graces He bears us as we struggle ever to bear witness to His glory working in our lives. Stand fast, brothers and sisters, and persevere till the end. May His Word remain in you, His Bread nourish you daily, and you will be kept beyond reproach.
O LORD, let us keep well your Word
and grow in Jesus’ light,
until He returns and gathers us into His arms.
YHWH, you dwell in unapproachable light; no one has seen you or can see you. Yet you call us into your presence, you desire us to enter your gates singing praise. Let us not be deaf to your blessed call but cherish the Word your Son brings us, the Word and Bread He is for us, and so grow always unto your kingdom, until He appears and unites us with you forever.
How empty our hearts can be, O LORD, empty of you and distracted by the world. There are so many things which take our attention from the glory of your presence here among us this day. And so, how easily we die, how easily we wither for want of your Word. Why should we concern ourselves with the passing things of this vain world when your Son stands before us and calls us into your kingdom? Let us rather give thanks to Him for such kindness; let us rather bless your holy NAME, that we might endure until His coming and bear fruit worthy of Heaven.
Fri, 15 September 2017
(1Tm.1:15-17; Ps.113:1-7; Lk.6:43-49)
“Any man who desires to come to me
will hear my words and put them into practice.”
Our psalm today declares that God is “enthroned on high” – “High above all the nations is the Lord; above the heavens is His glory.” And why is the Lord so glorious, so worthy of our praise…? Because “He raises the lowly from the dust; from the dunghill He lifts up the poor.” And Paul tells us the same: he glorifies God as “King of the ages, the immortal, the invisible, the only God” – and why? Because though he is “the worst” of sinners, the Lord has dealt mercifully with him and made him an example of His great love.
The Lord indeed is great and worthy of all praise. Though seated far above us, He reaches down to lift us up to Him. In a word: “Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners.” Humbling Himself to walk and die among us, He calls us to eternal life. But we must answer that call, we must follow His way. We cannot simply call Him “Lord, Lord”; we must indeed “put into practice” His words. If we do not, we cannot find the fruit of His sacrifice for us. Mere words, simple verbal assent, is not sufficient to bring us to the blood of Christ and the redemption it holds. It is by our actions we are judged and not our words. Jesus makes this very clear: “Each tree is known by its yield.” If we do not produce good fruit, how can we claim to be a good tree? And doesn’t the Lord cut down every tree that fails to bear fruit in His name?
All shall hear His words, all shall know of the glory He offers forth. But shall all be as the apostle Paul and put His words into practice, suffering for the faith He proclaimed? Will all make real the teaching of Christ in their lives? Those who do will find themselves set on a firm foundation – His word will be in their flesh and blood. They will receive Him into their very beings and find Him at the center of all they think and do. Without His presence so firmly fixed within themselves by their living it in their actions, salvation will be far away, and their houses shall crumble. Brothers and sisters, let us not fail to realize the salvation He offers us sinners. In His goodness, let us produce good from our hearts.
O LORD, it is your mercy
that sets us on a solid foundation
from which we may praise you for your goodness.
YHWH, you are far above all nations, above the heavens and the earth, and yet in your Son you stoop down to us, and raise us from this dunghill. We are but dust in your sight – we could be no better in relation to you. And yet you show great patience with us poor creatures; you have mercy on our sinful souls.
Jesus you send to walk among us and show us the way we should walk. Help us to put into practice what He teaches, in His words and in all He does, and we shall be set solidly in your goodness, LORD, and bear fruit worthy of your NAME.
But if we should be so foolish as to ignore the great gift of the Christ in our midst, if we should fail to listen to Him and act according to His teaching – what hope will there be for us? For then the great work of saving sinners He has come to accomplish in your glorious NAME, we shall receive in vain, and in our sin ever remain. Save us from such an evil fate, O Most High God!