“For the LORD takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the humble with salvation.” ~ Psalm 149:4
What a splendid thought that the Lord takes pleasure in His people! God is not some mean ogre sitting in heaven with a scowl on His face merely seeking to consume us. No indeed! He takes great joy and satisfaction in the salvation of His people. And why not? It was the glorious work of His own Beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, that accomplished it. Such marvelous truth and amazing love adorns and beautifies those who truly humble themselves and earnestly come before Him.
“I, even I, am the Lord, and apart from Me there is no Savior.” ~ Isaiah 43:11
Advent is a wonderful occasion to be reminded of the exclusivity of Christ as our Savior. God the Father sent His only Son into this world, to be born of a virgin, to live a perfect life, to die a perfect death and to be raised from the dead as the sole means by which mankind could be redeemed from their sins and have the curse of their iniquity lifted. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. And He would go on to say no one comes to the Father but by Him (Jn. 14:6). So that what was foretold in Isaiah hundreds of years before the Messiah arrived is true… Jesus is Lord, and apart from Him there is no Savior.
“And He said to me, “Son of man, stand on your feet, and I will speak to you.” ~ Ezekiel 2:1
God’s call on Ezekiel’s life was for him to go up to Israel and speak only the words that God would give him. Ezekiel was God’s mouthpiece; sharing with the people only that which the Lord revealed to Ezekiel through His own Words. Ezekiel was a faithful minister and did as God said. When we share our faith, let us only share that which comes from God’s Word. Opinions and feelings may change, but the eternal truth of Scripture and the power of God’s Word never does. Therefore let us read, study and pray as God’s speaks to us, and we in turn, speak to others.
“What doth it profit thee to enter into deep discussion concerning the Holy Trinity, if thou lack humility, and be thus displeasing to the Trinity? For verily it is not deep words that make a man holy and upright; it is a good life which maketh a man dear to God. I had rather feel contrition than be skillful in the definition thereof. If thou knewest the whole Bible, and the sayings of all the philosophers, what should all this profit thee without the love and grace of God? Vanity of vanities, all is vanity, save to love God, and Him only to serve. That is the highest wisdom, to cast the world behind us, and to reach forward to the heavenly kingdom.”
~ Thomas a’ Kempis
“The LORD will not cast off His people” – Psalm 94:14
One of the most wonderful truths of sacred Scripture involves the beautiful doctrine of the Christian’s assurance. It is one thing to know you were once loved enough by God to save you through His Son Jesus Christ. But how sweet it is, that after many years, often filled with sin, trial and tribulation, that God loves you just the same and will never cast you away. His is abiding eternal love and His promise is as steadfast and secure as the God who made it. The Lord will not cast of His people. Are you one of those?
“Christ is to be answerable for all those that are given to Him, at the last day, and therefore we need not doubt but that He will certainly employ all the power of His Godhead to secure and save all those that He must be accountable for. Christ’s charge and care of these that are given to Him, extends even to the very day of their resurrection, that He may not so much as lose their dust, but gather it together again, and raise it up in glory to be a proof of His fidelity; for, saith He, “I shall lose nothing, but raise it up again at the last day.””
~ Thomas Brooks (1608-1680)
“What skill doth every part of our [the preacher’s] work require! – and of how much moment is every part! To preach a sermon, I think, is not the hardest part; and yet what skill is necessary to make the truth plain; to convince the hearers, to let irresistible light in to their consciences, and to keep it there, and drive all home; to screw the truth into their minds, and work Christ into their affections; to meet every objection, and clearly to resolve it; to drive sinners to a stand, and make them see that there is no hope, but that they must unavoidably either be converted or condemned – and to do all this, as regards language and manner, as beseems our work, and yet as is most suitable to the capacities of our hearers. This, and a great deal more that should be done in every sermon, must surely require a great deal of holy skill.”
~ Richard Baxter (1615-1691)