"The voice of weeping shall be no more heard."
The glorified weep no more, for all outward causes of grief are gone. There are no broken friendships, nor blighted prospects in heaven. Poverty, famine, peril, persecution, and slander, are unknown there. No pain distresses, no thought of death or bereavement saddens. They weep no more, for they are perfectly sanctified. No "evil heart of unbelief" prompts them to depart from the living God; they are without fault before his throne, and are fully conformed to his image. Well may they cease to mourn who have ceased to sin. They weep no more, because all fear of change is past. They know that they are eternally secure. Sin is shut out, and they are shut in. They dwell within a city which shall never be stormed; they bask in a sun which shall never set; they drink of a river which shall never dry; they pluck fruit from a tree which shall never wither. Countless cycles may revolve, but eternity shall not be exhausted, and while eternity endures, their immortality and blessedness shall co-exist with it. They are forever with the Lord. They weep no more, because every desire is fulfilled. They cannot wish for anything which they have not in possession. Eye and ear, heart and hand, judgment, imagination, hope, desire, will, all the faculties, are completely satisfied; and imperfect as our present ideas are of the things which God hath prepared for them that love him, yet we know enough, by the revelation of the Spirit, that the saints above are supremely blessed. The joy of Christ, which is an infinite fulness of delight, is in them. They bathe themselves in the bottomless, shoreless sea of infinite beatitude. That same joyful rest remains for us. It may not be far distant. Ere long the weeping willow shall be exchanged for the palm-branch of victory, and sorrow's dewdrops will be transformed into the pearls of everlasting bliss. "Wherefore comfort one another with these words."
"That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith."
Beyond measure it is desirable that we, as believers, should have the person of Jesus constantly before us, to inflame our love towards him, and to increase our knowledge of him. I would to God that my readers were all entered as diligent scholars in Jesus' college, students of Corpus Christi, or the body of Christ, resolved to attain unto a good degree in the learning of the cross. But to have Jesus ever near, the heart must be full of him, welling up with his love, even to overrunning; hence the apostle prays "that Christ may dwell in your hearts." See how near he would have Jesus to be! You cannot get a subject closer to you than to have it in the heart itself. "That he may dwell;" not that he may call upon you sometimes, as a casual visitor enters into a house and tarries for a night, but that he may dwell; that Jesus may become the Lord and Tenant of your inmost being, never more to go out.
Observe the words--that he may dwell in your heart, that best room of the house of manhood; not in your thoughts alone, but in your affections; not merely in the mind's meditations, but in the heart's emotions. We should pant after love to Christ of a most abiding character, not a love that flames up and then dies out into the darkness of a few embers, but a constant flame, fed by sacred fuel, like the fire upon the altar which never went out. This cannot be accomplished except by faith. Faith must be strong, or love will not be fervent; the root of the flower must be healthy, or we cannot expect the bloom to be sweet. Faith is the lily's root, and love is the lily's bloom. Now, reader, Jesus cannot be in your heart's love except you have a firm hold of him by your heart's faith; and, therefore, pray that you may always trust Christ in order that you may always love him. If love be cold, be sure that faith is drooping.
Today's reading: Psalm 113-115, 1 Corinthians 6 (NIV)View today's reading on Bible Gateway
Today's Old Testament reading: Psalm 113-115
1 Praise the LORD.
Praise the LORD, you his servants;
praise the name of the LORD.
2 Let the name of the LORD be praised,
both now and forevermore.
3 From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets,
the name of the LORD is to be praised.
4 The LORD is exalted over all the nations,
his glory above the heavens.
5 Who is like the LORD our God,
the One who sits enthroned on high,
6 who stoops down to look
on the heavens and the earth?
Today's New Testament reading: 1 Corinthians 6
Lawsuits Among Believers
1 If any of you has a dispute with another, do you dare to take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the Lord's people? 2 Or do you not know that the Lord's people will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? 3 Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life! 4Therefore, if you have disputes about such matters, do you ask for a ruling from those whose way of life is scorned in the church? 5 I say this to shame you. Is it possible that there is nobody among you wise enough to judge a dispute between believers? 6 But instead, one brother takes another to court-and this in front of unbelievers!
7 The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? 8 Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers and sisters. 9 Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God....
[GaË•mā'lĭel] - god is recompenser orthe gift or reward of god.
- A chief of Manasseh chosen to aid in taking the census in the wilderness (Num. 1:10; 2:20; 7:54, 59; 10:23).
- The renowned Doctor of Jewish law (Acts 5:34), and instructor of the apostle Paul (Acts 22:3 ). It may be that Paul's instruction in the Law began when he was about the age of twelve (Luke 2:42). Like his Master, Paul, as Saul of Tarsus, sat in the midst of the doctors, hearing and asking questions. These learned men sat in a high chair, and the scholars on the floor and were thus literally at their masters'feet (see Deut. 33:3).
The Man Who Was Tolerant
Ellicott speaks of Gamaliel as one of the heroes of rabbinical history. His dramatic speech before the Council on Peter's behalf, and the part he played in the instruction of Paul mark him out a man worthy of note. Gamaliel was the son of Simeon, perhaps of Luke 2:25, and the grandson of the great Hillel, the representative of the best school of Pharisaism, the tolerant and largehearted rival of the narrow and fanatic Shammai. Through the weight of years and authority Gamaliel rose to eminence and counseled with moderation.
Being of the house and lineage of David, this cultured teacher had full sympathy with the claims of Christ, who was welcomed as the Son of David. Perhaps he was influenced to a decision for Christ through contact with a brother-teacher like Nicodemus (John 3:1, 2; 7:50, 51) and can therefore be included among the many chief rulers who secretly believed in Christ (John 12:42, 43).
Digging beneath Gamaliel's able and successful performance before the Council at Jerusalem, Alexander Whyte feels that he was only a "fluent and applauded opportunist" and warns young men against his presentation. "He was a politician, but he was not a true churchman or statesman. He was held in repute by the people; but the people were blind, and they loved to be led by blind leaders, and Gamaliel was one of them." With all his insight and lawyerlike ability, Gamaliel turned all things completely upsidedown when he sat in judgment, and gave his carefully balanced caution concerning the Son of God, comments Dr. Whyte.
Perhaps the renowned author of Bible Characters is right when he suggests that Gamaliel made the tremendous and irreparable mistake of approaching Jesus Christ and His cause on the side of policy, handling Him as a matter open to argument and debate. But Christ is an Ambassador of Reconciliation, and we are not permitted to sit in judgment on God, and on His message of mercy to us. Without apology Dr. Whyte pronounces Gamaliel as "a liberal long before his time. He was all for toleration, and for a free church in a free state, in an intolerant and persecuting day."
WITH EVERY BREATH
When I finished college I took a third-shift job working as a nursing assistant in a nursing home. My wife, who was training as a social worker, suggested that one of the best ways I could prepare to be a pastor was to take care of people at their most vulnerable time in life. And she was right. In the months that I spent from 11 pm to 7 am, through the dark and unquiet hours of the night watching over a ward of elderly patients, I learned so much about our physical frailty, the unexpected cry in the middle of the night, and the endurance of the soul.
One night the head nurse told me that a ninety-year-old lady who had bumped her head and whose vital signs were very unsteady would probably not make it through the night. There was no family nearby, and so would I be willing to sit with her during her final hours?
In the darkened room all I could focus on was the unevenness of her breaths. Short, panting, long, stopped. A couple of times she stopped breathing, and when I stood to my feet she started again. It was almost as if the sound of my shuffling feet stirred her back. But finally, when the last erratic breaths came and when there was one, long exhale, there was total silence and total peace. It was almost as if her breath was her living soul, and when it left the room, it was like a person walking right out the door.
When he breathed his last breath, Jesus said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” The Hebrew and the Greek words for “breath” can also be translated as “spirit” or “wind.” So breath is the most obvious symbol of life itself, and especially that inner animating principle the Bible calls soul. It all began in Genesis: God formed the man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul. Amazing. Incredible.
So, if you are reading this, it means your last breath has not come, and your spirit or soul is still animating your body. The pieces of personhood are still together, and you have an extraordinary opportunity to glorify God with what you do in heart, soul, strength, mind, and body in the days you still have. Every day should count. Every breath does count. But you have to believe that these pieces of your life–body and soul, thought and emotion and will, creativity and morality–all hold together, making you a member of the most complex and sophisticated race God ever made. The pieces of what makes you, you, may seem like a puzzle sometime, but they all come together into a picture that God has held in his mind long before you were ever born.
Excerpt from Putting the Pieces Back Together: How Real Life and Real Faith Connect. Complimentary DVDavailable now.