Search not God’s skies for special, personal signs
To know his will, as ancient man appealed
For knowledge in entrails and crooked lines.
The center: what God desires has been revealed —
He finds that way who goes to Scripture to read.
In the Bible’s words his perfect will is sealed;
There every soul shall find the pleasing deed.
As a long-term investment in our health and work, Vicki and I let few things interfere with our thrice-weekly workouts. But a few things are more important. Such as a baptism. Yesterday, I baptized a couple we had been studying with, and they chose the best time for the two of them, at 4:30 pm—on his day off, and right after she got off from work, still early enough in the day so that the water was bearable. (It’s wintertime here, and the baptism was done in an outdoor pool.) That caused us to miss our workout, and we were happy to miss it. To help someone move from a state of lostness to receive salvation in Christ is of all things the most important.
“So I am willing to endure anything if it will bring salvation and eternal glory in Christ Jesus to those God has chosen” 2 Tim 2.10 NLT.
No greater question to ask before the Lord:
“What must I do to be saved?” The written Word
Gives answer: Believe in Christ, obey his command,
Repent, be immersed, in grace and confidence stand.
Work ahead and do tomorrow’s
task today, not yesterday’s.
Avoid the lazy and late man’s sorrows—
While others pay, the planner plays.
What makes all doctrines plain and clear?
About two hundred pounds a year,
And that which was proved true before
Proved false again? Two hundred more.
—Samuel Butler (1600-1680), in Hudibras. Part 3. Canto 1.
—Treasury of David—Psalm 26
Spurgeon quoted this verse, and nothing else, in his comment on Psalm 26.10, about sinners “who are always ready to do wrong or offer a bribe.” Remember that the pound is the UK’s currency.
Money changes what many people will preach as the truth. The Greek orators took up any argument for pay. That idolatry is found in religion today and in some places even in the church of God.
While we pray that the Lord of the harvest may send more workers into his fields, we pray also that they may be people of integrity and righteousness, people of conviction and loyalty to “the grace of God in all its truth” Col 1.6 (as rendered by the Brazilian NVI version).
I’ve put this stanza by Whittier in an image, to preserve the spacing. It comes from his poem “The Reformer” and spoke powerfully to me this morning.
The Son of Man was heaped with shame,
Stripped of dignity, the strain of sin
Upon his shoulders, pain of many:
The suffering Servant paid the ransom,
Freed all those in fear of death.
We share the Savior’s shame, his work
Scorned by worldly sinners, rejected
By rebellious scoffers, hated
By those determined to change his will—
Our hands hold the holy key.
For crime or sin, let no Christian suffer;
Let life be pure, our light undimmed
By doubt or fear or disobedience—
Let Christ be all and the Cross our glory,
Let heaven feed our daily hope.
The soul, unseen, is born and seeks
It’s maker—moves body and mind in space
And time—distracted by temptations,
Sights, and sounds—direction lost,
The path beyond in pale outline,
The fading flower falls from the vine.
The cold of winter seeps into my bones,
My body aches, my limbs are hard to move,
The heavy air would lull my eyes to sleep;
The chill of sin, the chains of self remove:
The first and fiery love help me to keep,
Devotion, zeal, and faith may Jesus prove,
Let not decisions be unmoving stones.
The plan fulfilled, the promise kept,
The Christ has come, for man to accept;
Before time was, and space and matter,
The goal was set, by blood and water,
To save mankind in spiritual birth,
Good news to spread in all the earth;
No word of God’s has ever failed:
When to the cross the Lord was nailed,
He struck and crushed the serpent’s head,
In triumph raised from among the dead.
One glorious promise yet remains:
Christ comes to take us to heaven’s domains.