"Called to be saints."
We are very apt to regard the apostolic saints as if they were "saints" in a more especial manner than the other children of God. All are "saints" whom God has called by His grace, and sanctified by His Spirit; but we are apt to look upon the apostles as extraordinary beings, scarcely subject to the same weaknesses and temptations as ourselves. Yet in so doing we are forgetful of this truth, that the nearer a man lives to God the more intensely has he to mourn over his own evil heart; and the more his Master honours him in his service, the more also doth the evil of the flesh vex and tease him day by day. The fact is, if we had seen the apostle Paul, we should have thought him remarkably like the rest of the chosen family: and if we had talked with him, we should have said, "We find that his experience and ours are much the same. He is more faithful, more holy, and more deeply taught than we are, but he has the selfsame trials to endure. Nay, in some respects he is more sorely tried than ourselves." Do not, then, look upon the ancient saints as being exempt either from infirmities or sins; and do not regard them with that mystic reverence which will almost make us idolaters. Their holiness is attainable even by us. We are "called to be saints" by that same voice which constrained them to their high vocation. It is a Christian's duty to force his way into the inner circle of saintship; and if these saints were superior to us in their attainments, as they certainly were, let us follow them; let us emulate their ardour and holiness. We have the same light that they had, the same grace is accessible to us, and why should we rest satisfied until we have equalled them in heavenly character? They lived with Jesus, they lived for Jesus, therefore they grew like Jesus. Let us live by the same Spirit as they did, "looking unto Jesus," and our saintship will soon be apparent.
"Trust ye in the Lord forever: for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength."
Seeing that we have such a God to trust to, let us rest upon him with all our weight; let us resolutely drive out all unbelief, and endeavour to get rid of doubts and fears, which so much mar our comfort; since there is no excuse for fear where God is the foundation of our trust. A loving parent would be sorely grieved if his child could not trust him; and how ungenerous, how unkind is our conduct when we put so little confidence in our heavenly Father who has never failed us, and who never will. It were well if doubting were banished from the household of God; but it is to be feared that old Unbelief is as nimble nowadays as when the psalmist asked, "Is his mercy clean gone forever? Will he be favourable no more?" David had not made any very lengthy trial of the mighty sword of the giant Goliath, and yet he said, "There is none like it." He had tried it once in the hour of his youthful victory, and it had proved itself to be of the right metal, and therefore he praised it ever afterwards; even so should we speak well of our God, there is none like unto him in the heaven above or the earth beneath; "To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One." There is no rock like unto the rock of Jacob, our enemies themselves being judges. So far from suffering doubts to live in our hearts, we will take the whole detestable crew, as Elijah did the prophets of Baal, and slay them over the brook; and for a stream to kill them at, we will select the sacred torrent which wells forth from our Saviour's wounded side. We have been in many trials, but we have never yet been cast where we could not find in our God all that we needed. Let us then be encouraged to trust in the Lord forever, assured that his ever lasting strength will be, as it has been, our succour and stay.
[Ē'dom] - red earth. The elder son of Isaac, and so named in memory of the red color of the lentil pottage for which he sold his birthright to his twin brother Jacob (Gen. 25:30; 36:1, 8, 19). See ESAU. Name is also used to describe those descended from Esau, the Edomites (Gen. 36:9).
Today's reading: Job 30-31, Acts 13:26-52 (NIV)View today's reading on Bible Gateway
Today's Old Testament reading: Job 30-311 "But now they mock me,
men younger than I,
whose fathers I would have disdained
to put with my sheep dogs.
2 Of what use was the strength of their hands to me,
since their vigor had gone from them?
3 Haggard from want and hunger,
they roamed the parched land
in desolate wastelands at night.
4 In the brush they gathered salt herbs,
and their food was the root of the broom bush.
5 They were banished from human society,
shouted at as if they were thieves.
6 They were forced to live in the dry stream beds,
among the rocks and in holes in the ground.
7 They brayed among the bushes
and huddled in the undergrowth.
8 A base and nameless brood,
they were driven out of the land....
Today's New Testament reading: Acts 13:26-52 26 "Fellow children of Abraham and you God-fearing Gentiles, it is to us that this message of salvation has been sent. 27 The people of Jerusalem and their rulers did not recognize Jesus, yet in condemning him they fulfilled the words of the prophets that are read every Sabbath. 28 Though they found no proper ground for a death sentence, they asked Pilate to have him executed. 29 When they had carried out all that was written about him, they took him down from the cross and laid him in a tomb. 30 But God raised him from the dead, 31 and for many days he was seen by those who had traveled with him from Galilee to Jerusalem. They are now his witnesses to our people...."
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GOD PUTS THINGS TOGETHER
When we relate the pieces of life back to God as source, and believe that the pieces are there for him and his purposes, we can see the sense in it all.
Regarding the human race, broken into so many pieces, Colossians 1:18-20 says: “[Christ] is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.”
When one head coordinates and directs a small human community, all the pieces of a new society and a new family-real human beings-should come together. And they do come together because Christ’s reconciliation, peace, and blood are real. At the moment of Jesus’ crucifixion, when it seemed as if the whole world were falling apart, when he who is good and right was resolutely rejected, then humiliated, then murdered, the reconstruction began. The earth shook and rocks split, and in the temple the curtain was torn from top to bottom in two pieces, signifying that the division between God and humanity was coming down, that a new way was opening for heaven to rejoin earth.
Are you looking to make repairs in your life, or to start some foundational construction? God helps us with both: putting pieces together, and putting pieces back together. One person attempts to fit together a brand new marriage in the process of courtship; another attempts to fix a broken marriage. Fit and fix. Pieces put together or pieces put back together. Someone in the first week on a new job tries to navigate new territory; someone else has been twenty years on the job and that same week attempts to repair something to avoid getting fired. A new believer reads the gospel of John for the first time, fitting Jesus’ statements there with other passages about Jesus; a long-time believer shuffles through well-worn pages, scanning for a passage that may build up a discouraged friend. A college freshman is confronted for the first time in philosophy class with the problem of evil; a policeman stands at the scene of a sniper shooting, shaking his head in disbelief.
Is there any question that we need a God who can put our lives back together?
Excerpt from Putting the Pieces Back Together: How Real Life and Real Faith Connect. Free DVD available now.