Monthly Archives: December 2016
Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it. Psalm 127:1.
Luther on these words says, ” Let the Lord build and manage the house; meddle not with this work; it is his part, and not thine own to take care of it; therefore leave the care to him that is the supreme Landlord and husbandman. Is there much wanted to furnish and provide for a house? The Lord is greater than a house. He that fills heaven and earth will Certainly be able to fill a house. No wonder that there is a great want in a house, if God is not the governor in it! Because thou dost not see him that is to fill the house, surely all the corners must seem to be empty; but looking upon him thou wouldst never observe one corner to be empty, every one would seem to be full, and is really full. If it is not, the fault is only in thy eye, as it is in a blind man who cannot see the sun. To him that sees rightly, the Lord changes the word, and says not, there goes much into a house, but there goes much out of it.”
O Lord, give only faith, love, and knowledge of thy will, that I may not only expect all things confidently from thy hand, since a labourer is worthy of his hire; but also manage every thing afterwards as a faithful steward to such purposes thou hast granted it for, be it for my own use, or for the use of others. That I may never be saving to thy dishonour, for my purse is thine, and consequently rich enough.
‘Tis all in vain, till God hath blest;
He can make rich, yet give us rest:
Children and friends are blessings too.
If God our sovereign makes them so.
– From “A Golden Treasury”
“Sing a little song of trust,
O my heart!
Sing it just because you must,
As leaves start;
As flowers push their way through dust;
Sing, my heart, because you must.
“Wait not for an eager throng
Bird on bird;
’tis the solitary song
That is heard.
Every voice at dawn will start,
Be a nightingale, my heart!
“Sing across the winter snow,
Pierce the cloud;
Sing when mists are drooping low
Clear and loud;
But sing sweetest in the dark;
He who slumbers not will hark.”
– From “Streams in the Desert” by Mrs. Cowman
Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. “ – Luke 2:10-11
Do not be afraid, for born to you is a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
Are you sinner? Is your guilty conscience haunting you? Do not be afraid, for born to you is a Savior, the Friend of sinners.
Are you afraid that your sins are so dark, and you are scared that you are lost forever? Do not be afraid, for born to you is a Savior, Who came to save the sinners – even the worst of them.
Are you afraid that you are like a lost sheep, gone astray from the paths of righteousness? Do not be afraid, for born to you is a Savior, the Great Shepherd Who seeks those sheep that are lost.
Are you afraid that your sins are so blatant that everyone knows and are condemning to the eternal fire that is the hell? Do not be afraid, for born to you is a Savior, the Compassionate Judge Who says, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on, sin no more.”
Are you afraid that you are unclean and unworthy of God’s kingdom? Do not be afraid, for born to you is a Savior, the Loving Lord, Who stretches His hand and touches you, saying, “I will; be clean.”
“There’s a song in the air!
There’s a star in the sky!
There’s a mother’s deep prayer,
And a baby’s low cry!
And the star rains its fire
While the beautiful sing,
For the manger of Bethlehem cradles a King.”
A few years ago a striking Christmas card was published, with the title, “If Christ had not come.” It was founded upon our Saviour’s words, “If I had not come.” The card represented a clergyman falling into a short sleep in his study on Christmas morning and dreaming of a world into which Jesus had never come.
In his dream he found himself looking through his home, but there were no little stockings in the chimney corner, no Christmas bells or wreaths of holly, and no Christ to comfort, gladden and save. He walked out on the public street, but there was no church with its spire pointing to Heaven. He came back and sat down in his library, but every book about the Saviour had disappeared.
A ring at the door-bell, and a messenger asked him to visit a poor dying mother. He hastened with, the weeping child and as he reached the home he sat down and said, “I have something here that will comfort you.” He opened his Bible to look for a familiar promise, but it ended at Malachi, and there was no gospel and no promise of hope and salvation, and he could only bow his head and weep with her in bitter despair.
Two days afterward he stood beside her coffin and conducted the funeral service, but there was no message of consolation, no word of a glorious resurrection, no open Heaven, but only “dust to dust, ashes to ashes,” and one long eternal farewell. He realized at length that “He had not come,” and burst into tears and bitter weeping in his sorrowful dream.
Suddenly he woke with a start, and a great shout of joy and praise burst from his lips as he heard his choir singing in his church close by:
“O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant,
O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem;
Come and behold Him, born the King of Angels,
O come let us adore Him, Christ, the Lord.”
Let us be glad and rejoice today, because “He has come.” And let us remember the annunciation of the angel, “Behold I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people, for unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:10-11).
“He comes to make His blessing flow,
Far as the curse is found.”
May our hearts go out to the people in heathen lands who have no blessed Christmas day. “Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to them for whom nothing is prepared.” (Nehemiah 8:10).
J.B. Phillips, in The Visited Planet, tells the Christmas story from the viewpoint of the angels. In one dramatic scene, a senior angel is showing a very young angel around the splendors of the universe. They view whirling galaxies and blazing suns, and then flit across the infinite distances of space until at last they enter one particular galaxy of 500 billion stars.
As the two of them drew near to the star which we call our sun and to its circling planets, the senior angel pointed to a small and rather insignificant sphere turning very slowly on its axis. It looked as dull as a dirty tennis-ball to the little angel, whose mind was filled with the size and glory of all he had already seen.
“I want you to watch that one particularly,” said the senior angel, pointing with his finger.
“Well, it looks very small and rather dirty to me,” said the little angel. “What’s so special about that one?”
The little then angel listened in stunned disbelief as the senior angel told him that this terrestrial ball was, in fact, the renowned Visited Planet.
“Do you mean that our great and glorious Prince…went down in Person to this fifth-rate little ball? Why should He do a thing like that?” the little angel asked, his face wrinkled in disgust. “Do you mean to tell me,” he said, “that He stooped so low as to become one of those creeping, crawling creatures of that floating ball?”
“I do,” said the senior angle. “And I don’t think He would like you to call them ‘creeping, crawling creatures’ in that tone of voice. For, strange as it may seem to us, He loves them. He went down to visit them to lift them up to become like Him.”
The little angel looked blank. Such a thought was almost beyond his comprehension. And then he whispered, “O Lord, make me more and more like You.”
As I was admitted to the ICU, the nurses there had a “big” problem – literally. Due to the severity of edema, I was really huge. So, it was very difficult for them to do their regular duties as far as I was concerned. Especially, they had a problem finding one of my veins to draw blood for the various tests the physicians had ordered.
On the very first day, for nearly two hours, two nurses exerted themselves to the point of exhaustion, just pressing down my arms to find a vein. Finally in my left arm, they were able to find something to draw blood from – but it was not a vein, it was an artery. Inserting a needle and drawing blood from an artery is a painful thing even in ordinary circumstances. To hold my arm in such a strong grip and then to draw blood from the artery – it really was painful. Anyway, I was just happy that the pain was over. But then I was so wrong.
Everyday they had to withdraw blood 5-6 times, especially twice in the early mornings. Once the other nurses found out that it was so difficult to find a vein in my arms, they all went with this artery that was “discovered”. So, the needle was stuck at the same place again and again. In the early morning, it would be cold and the pain was become a little too intense for me. By the fourth day, my left arm was so sore, when one of the believers who visited me, took hold of my arm to comfort me and I cried out in pain – it was really severe and intense.
By fifth day, the pain had become intolerable, and I was scared to go to sleep, because I knew that in the morning, I would wake up in pain. On sixth morning, it was a trainee who came to collect the blood and she had trouble finding the artery. So, she held my sore arm very tight and inserted the needle thrice to get the artery, and the pain was excruciating. I winced in severe pain, and was seeking the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. There was a Christian nurse there, who called me “Anna” which means “Elder brother” in our language. She saw that I was in real pain and told the trainee that she would take my blood. However, even she had trouble locating my artery and I had to close my mouth with my right arm, to avoid screaming in pain. So, she stopped trying to take the blood and went to ask the staff nurse, if she had any other suggestions to take blood in a less painful manner. The staff nurse bluntly told her that she had to do what she had to do, and should not be worried about the reactions of the patient.
On hearing this, I prayed a small prayer, seeking the strength of our Lord and as my wont, started to meditate on Calvary. After receiving the grace of our Lord, I asked the nurse to take blood from me. She was still skeptical, but realizing that I was ready, she came to take the blood. As I winced in pain yet again when she touched my arm, she offered a little prayer. She said, “God, may this be the last time, the blood has to be taken from my brother. In Jesus’s Name, Amen.” The staff nurse who overheard the prayer, laughed out, saying that they had scheduled to take my blood two more times in the next 6 hours, and hence the Christian nurse should not be wasting her prayer on things that God Himself won’t be changing. Of course, the staff nurse was not a believer. The Christian nurse said, “Sister, you have no idea what our God can do.” With that, she took blood from me.
Yes, the staff nurse was right as there was an order to withdraw my blood two more times before noon. But the Christian nurse was more right, as no one knows what a Living God, Who hears the prayers of His children can do. Within an hour, the staff nurse was given instructions that no more blood samples were needed from me, and that I be transferred to general ward from ICU. Praise the LORD! HE heard my voice and the Christian sister’s voice during my distress and He delivered me.
Yes, dear friend, when we call on Him in our distress, we will be surprised to find that He is never far away from us; but right there next to you, waiting to deliver you. May this Christmas season be filled with the joy of knowing that our Lord Jesus Christ is Emmanuel – God is with us. Amen.
Out of my distress I called on the LORD; the LORD answered me and set me free. – Psalm 118:5 (RSV)
I just read the following about Dr. William Moon of Brighton, who became totally blind at the age of 21 and his subsequent prayer. And it left me, to be honest, ashamed of all the times I have murmured against the LORD for all those things that I had lost – but nothing compared to the great loss this man of God had suffered. This is what I read:
When Dr. Moon, of Brighton, England, was stricken with blindness, he said “Lord, I accept this talent of blindness from Thee. Help me to use it for Thy glory that at Thy coming Thou mayest receive Thine own with usury.” Then God enabled him to invent the Moon Alphabet for the blind, by which thousands of blind people were enabled to read the Word of God, and many of them were gloriously saved.