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Count Your Many Blessings

“Thou crownest the year with thy goodness; and thy paths drop fatness.” (Psalm 65:11)

At year’s end, a Christian should stop to count his blessings. If he does this fairly and fully, no matter what his problems may have been during the year, he will have to confess that God, as always, has crowned the year with goodness.

The coronation figure is frequently used in Scripture to speak of God’s blessings in the Christian life. For example: “Bless the LORD . . . Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies” (Psalm 103:2, 4). Even our testings and trials are always in the context of God’s grace and love. Christ Himself wore a crown of thorns so that we may be crowned with mercy and salvation.

Consider also Psalm 5:12: “For thou, LORD, wilt bless the righteous; with favor wilt thou compass him as with a shield.” The word “compass” is the same Hebrew word as “crown,” with the basic meaning “encircle.” Other jewels in the believer’s year-end crown are God’s grace and glory. “[Wisdom] shall give to thine head an ornament of grace: a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee” (Proverbs 4:9).

Then there is the wonderful testimony that “thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honor” (Psalm 8:5). Finally, the believer’s crown is none other than the Lord Himself: “In that day shall the LORD of hosts be for a crown of glory, and for a diadem of beauty, unto the residue of his people” (Isaiah 28:5).

Most Christians have an abundance of material blessings for which to thank the Lord. Even if they have none of these, however, God has crowned the year with goodness and favor, with lovingkindness and tender mercies, with grace and glory and honor and, best of all, with His own presence. “Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits” (Psalm 103:2). HMM

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The Jewels of the Lord

 

 

“And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.” (Malachi 3:17)

 

The jewels of the Lord are not rubies and diamonds, but rather are “they that feared the LORD” and who “spake often one to another.” Instead of being mounted in a crown or other adornment as precious stones would be, these jewels will be listed in a very special book. “A book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name” (v.16). What a blessing it would be if, when we get to heaven, we should find our names written in that special book of God’s memories! God does take note of our times of spiritual fellowship with other believers—especially, no doubt, when they occur during times of stress and worldly opposition.

 

This word (Hebrew cegullah) is not the usual word for “jewels,” more commonly being rendered “peculiar treasures.” For example, Psalm 135:4 says that “the LORD hath chosen Jacob unto himself, and Israel for his peculiar treasure.” The word suggests treasure carefully guarded in a safe place. The word is translated simply “special” in Deuteronomy 7:6, “a special people unto himself.”

 

Note in particular Exodus 19:5-6: “Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation.”

 

Peter uses the same language in writing to prepare Christians for imminent times of persecution. “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light” (1 Peter 2:9). HMM

http://www.icr.org/article/7518/

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Alistair Begg: My times are in Your hands (1) Biola University

Biola Chapel from April 22, 2013 – “One of the distinguishing marks of a Christian, of a Christian worldview is to be found in the way in which  he or she views the passing of time and the ordering of the events of life.”

Psalm 31: 

A Psalm of Complaint and of Praise.

1In You, O Lord, I have taken refuge;
Let me never be ashamed;
In Your righteousness deliver me.
2 Incline Your ear to me, rescue me quickly;
Be to me a rock of strength,
A stronghold to save me.
3 For You are my rock and my fortress;
For Your name’s sake You will lead me and guide me.
4 You will pull me out of the net which they have secretly laid for me,
For You are my strength.
Into Your hand I commit my spirit;
You have ransomed me, O Lord, God of truth.

I hate those who regard vain idols,
But I trust in the Lord.
7 I will rejoice and be glad in Your lovingkindness,
Because You have seen my affliction;
You have known the troubles of my soul,
8 And You have not given me over into the hand of the enemy;
You have set my feet in a large place.

9 Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am in distress;
My eye is wasted away from grief, my soul and my body also.
10 For my life is spent with sorrow
And my years with sighing;
My strength has failed because of my iniquity,
And my body has wasted away.
11 Because of all my adversaries, I have become a reproach,
Especially to my neighbors,
And an object of dread to my acquaintances;
Those who see me in the street flee from me.
12 I am forgotten as a dead man, out of mind;
I am like a broken vessel.
13 For I have heard the slander of many,
Terror is on every side;
While they took counsel together against me,
They schemed to take away my life.

14 But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord,
I say, “You are my God.”
15 My times are in Your hand;
Deliver me from the hand of my enemies and from those who persecute me.

Alistair Begg:

Gauguin, the post impressionist painter, painted large and very graphic pictures, particularly of women from the islands. He led a dissolute life, although brought up as a Roman Catholic and catechized, and he was not known for writing on his paintings, apart from signing them. But, on one of his most famous paintings, depicting the journey of man form birth to the grave, he wrote on the top corner, he wrote 3 questions: Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going? Unfortunately, he had no answer for those questions. He died in his fifties, as a result, really, of a life that was lived in excess, without finding answers to those questions.

In contrast, the catechism, the Heidelberg (corrupted a little), asks the question: What is our only hope in life and death? And it provides an answer: That we are not our own, but belong, body and soul, both in life and death to God and to our Savior, Jesus Christ. You see, one of the distinguishing marks of a Christian, of a Christian worldview is to be found in the way in which  he or she views the passing of time and the ordering of the events of life. To think Christianly is to have a radical shift in the way in which we view all of these issues and to be able to affirm, “My times, o God is in your hands,” is a Christian thing to do. And so, I want to say just 3 things on the strength of that this morning

Alistair Begg: Never Forgotten – Biola University Chapel

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=I39OdPpI2RU

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SCRIPTURE OF THE DAY
“Many, O LORD my God, are Your wonderful works Which You have done; And Your thoughts toward us Cannot be recounted to You in order; If I would declare and speak of them, They are more than can be numbered.” (Psalm 40:5)

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RĂMÂI ÎN PICIOARE CÂND TOTUL ÎN JUR SE NĂRUIE 

“Cine crede că stă în picioare, să ia seama să nu cadă”
(1 Corinteni 10:12)-
Satana a ieşit să te ispitească, să te prindă în cursă şi să te doboare. Una din minciunile lui preferate este că nu poti cădea. El apelează la eu-l tău: “Eşti suficient de spiritual; eşti prea puternic să te împiedici. Oamenii slabi nu ar putea să facă fată, dar tu poti”. Această minciună are menirea de a te face peste măsură de încrezător, de a te conduce spre “a te încrede în om, … a te sprijini pe un muritor şi a-ti abate inima de la Domnul” (Ieremia 17:5). Este făcută să te facă să laşi garda mai jos şi să te facă vulnerabil la uneltirile lui. Nu-I lăsa să te joace! Fii înţelept: “mândria merge înaintea pieirii, şi trufia merge înainte căderii” (Proverbe 16:18).

Trăieşte pe genunchi. întăreşte-te cu Cuvântul lui Dumnezeu.

O altă minciună preferată a lui Satana este că nu poţi sta în picioare. Aceasta face apel la simţul fundamental al lipsei de merit, al fricii şi al imperfecţiunii. El şopteşte: “Uită-te la trecutul tău. în comparaţie cu ceilalţi oameni de treabă din biserică, tu nu eşti demn să te numeşti creştin. Renunţă”.

Satana vrea să-ti abată privirea de la “Acela care poate să vă păzească de orice cădere, şi să vă facă să vă înfăţişaţi fără prihană şi plini de bucurie înaintea slavei Sale” (luda 24). El vrea să te concentrezi asupra laturilor tale negative, asupra prietenilor rebeli, asupra giganţilor credinţei care au căzut şi vrea să-ti spună că pentru că ei nu au reuşit, tu nu ai nici o şansă. El îti va reaminti lista de slăbiciuni pentru a te descuraja. Nu-I băga în seamă. El “este mincinos şi tatăl minciunii” (loan 8:44). Faptul că îl crezi te face victima lui. Refuză să laşi ca mândria sau imperfecţiunea să te înfrângă.

Adevărul e că rămânerea în picioare nu este inevitabilă, dar este posibilă! În clipa în care îti dedici viata lui Isus, îi declari război lui Satana. Şi dacă doreşti să i te împotriveşti, trebuie să te armezi. “îmbrăcati-vă cu toată armătura lui Dumnezeu, ca să puteţi ţinea piept împotriva uneltirilor diavolului… ca să vă puteţi împotrivi în ziua cea rea, şi să rămâneţi în picioare” (Efeseni 6:11, 13). Războiul este un dezastru – o treabă dificilă; trebuie să-l iei la fel de serios pe cât îl ia şi vrăjmaşul, fiindcă Biblia spune că el “caută pe cine să înghită” (1 Petru 5:8). Fii treaz, nu te alarma! “O mie să cadă alături de tine … dar de tine nu se va apropia” (Psalmul 91:7). într-un conflict, unii rămân în picioare, alţii cad. Diferenţa este că cei ce au rămas în picioare l-au făcut pe Domnul “locul lor de adăpost”, pe când cei ce cad “se sprijină pe un muritor” (Ieremia 17:5).
Un alt adevăr este şi faptul că nu poti împiedica întotdeauna căderea, dar o poti înfrânge! Nu numai cei slabi şi imaturi cad. Strategia lui Satana include doborârea celor neprihăniţi, celor păcătoşi, a celor mai vulnerabili şi a celor mai puţin vulnerabili – inclusiv a celor din top! “Cel neprihănit de şapte ori cade, şi se ridică…” (Proverbe 24:16). Dacă cei neprihăniţi cad atât de des, la ce ne putem aştepta de la toti ceilalţi? în război, nimănui nu i se garantează imunitate fată de un atac. Dar “Domnul întăreşte paşii omului, când îi place calea lui; dacă se întâmplă să cadă, nu este doborît de tot, căci Domnul îl apucă de mână” (Psalmul 37:23-24). Nu te concentra pe cei neputincioşi sau pe cei scoşi din luptă, ci pe Hristos Cel ce dă putere!

“Căci cel nenorocit nu va fi uitat pentru totdeauna…” Psalmul 9.18

Sărăcia este o grea moştenire; dar aceia care se încred în Domnul sunt bogaţi prin credinţă. Ei ştiu că nu sunt uitaţi de Dumnezeu; ci chiar dacă li se pare că uneori sunt neglijaţi, cu privire la bunurile pământeşti, sunt încredinţaţi că va veni timpul când toate lucrurile vor fi restabilite. Lazăr nu va rămâne totdeauna cu câinii, la poarta bogatului; ci îşi va găsi răsplata în sânul lui Avraam. Încă de acuma Domnul se gândeşte la copiii Lui săraci, dar scumpi. ”Eu sunt sărac şi lipsit, dar Domnul se gândeşte la mine” zicea unul în strâmtorarea sa (Psalmul 40.17).

Sfinţii în sărăcie au un privilegiu măreţ: acela de a-L vedea pe Domnul venindu-le în ajutor în toate nevoile vieţii lor, vremelnice şi duhovniceşti. Ei se simt tot mai bine fiind cu Acela care n-avea unde să-şi pună spre odihnă capul. Ei aşteaptă cu bucurie venirea Sa, ştiind că vor fi părtaşii slavei Sale. Pentru ei aceasta este o nădejde nepieritoare pentru că e întemeiată pe însuşi Domnul Isus, care e viu în veac; şi deoarece El trăieşte, şi ei vor trăi. Credinciosul sărac cântă multe cântări care rămân neînţelese pentru bogatul acestei lumi. Iată de ce, dacă partea noastră este modestă aici, este bine să ne gândim la prânzul regesc ce ne aşteaptă acolo sus.

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A Clean Heart

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Lyrics: Walter C. Smith
Music: Fred H. Byshe

One thing I of the Lord desire,
For all my path hath miry been,
Be it by water or by fire,
O make me clean, O make me clean.

Refrain:
Wash me, Thou, without, within,
Or purge with fire, if that must be,
No matter how, if only sin
Die out in me, die out, die out in me.

If clearer vision Thou impart,
Grateful and glad my soul shall be;
But yet to have a purer heart
Is more to me, is more to me.

Yea, only as this heart is clean
May larger vision yet be mine,
For mirrored in its depths are seen
The things divine, the things divine.

I watch to shun the miry way,
And stanch the springs of guilty thought,
But, watch and struggle as I may,
Pure I am not, pure I am not.

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IN EVERYTHING GIVE THANKS


Psalm 95:1-6
– O Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; Let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms. For the LORD is a great God, And a great King above all gods, In whose hand are the depths of the earth; The peaks of the mountains are His also. The sea is His, for it was He who made it; And His hands formed the dry land. Come, let us worship and bow down; Let us kneel before the LORD our Maker.

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