This month, our meditation has been excerpted from the book entitled, Bound to Be Free compiled by Jan Pit. In the following short quotation from Horacio Herrera (from Cuba. Mr. Herrera writes using a pseudonym because of his leading role in the Cuban church), there is fodder for reflection and perhaps application:
That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow . . . and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. (Philippians 2:10-11)
When Paul wrote to the churches in Rome, he knew about their situation. They had no reason to comfortably celebrate their new life in Christ Jesus. On the contrary, they experienced painful separation from family members when they were discovered in their religious practices. They knew how real the lion's den was in their own city. But he had a message of hope for them (Romans 8:28-39). Death would not be able to separate them from Christ. Fallen angels or demons had no power over them. Worldly powers are under God's control.
The present - is passing by.
The future - is in Christ's hands.
The heights - are still under the King.
The depths - cannot keep those who die in Christ.
Anything else in all creation, can do no harm to those who belong to the family of believers.
We--and they--will one day bow down before the King of kings and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. They will have to confess, we will do so with all of our hearts: "You are the Christ, our Savior and our Lord."
A moment of introspection: As we Christians await the next judgment of God on our world for having turned its back on Him, we might become resigned to fear, disheartenment, discouragement, or dismay. God's Word tells us, though, not to fear. (Isaiah 41:10) A poet gave us a beautiful rendition of this verse, in the poem below:
Be not dismayed
For the Lord, your God
Is by your side.
"Fear not", God said;
For I am with you.
I'll strengthen and
Uphold you, too.
Though trouble beset you
And problems befall,
I'll be with you through it
So that you won't fall.
The present is passing by, and though we do not know the future, we know that it is indeed in Christ's hands. In the meantime, we run the race with the "blinders" of God's Word applied to our vision. Why blinders? They help us ignore distractions from our service to God, and focus our vision and our serving more clearly.
The old hymn "Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus" help us actually say with the Psalmist, "Mine eyes are ever toward the Lord..." (Psalm 25:15):
O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free.
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.
Through death into life everlasting
He passed, and we follow Him there;
O’er us sin no more hath dominion
For more than conqu’rors we are!
His Word shall not fail you, He promised;
Believe Him and all will be well;
Then go to a world that is dying,
His perfect salvation to tell! Source: http://www.hymnal.net/en/hymn/h/645
Adrian Rogers (mayishare.com) wrote a brief article entitled "The Devil's Most Prized Tool". In this article, she delves into why we as Christians may feel discouraged:
What do you think is the Devil's most prized tool?
There's a story about the devil auctioning off his tools. He had a high price on pride, laziness, arrogance, hate, envy, and jealousy.
But there was one tool that had a sign under it, "Not For Sale."
"What is that tool and why isn't it for sale?"
"Well," he said, "I can't afford to get rid of that one. It's my chief tool--discouragement.
With this tool, I can pry open a heart, and once I get in I can do most anything I want."
Do you want me to tell you why you get discouraged? I'll give it to you in a nutshell - you've taken your eyes off God!
ACTION POINT: Are you discouraged? If not, praise God! And find someone who is so that your can give them the encouragement they need in Jesus Christ.
Maybe it's your next-door neighbor, maybe it's a co-worker, maybe it's your spouse.
Dr. Duke Heller's comment: A dentist friend of mine, Dr. Harry Meyers, went through a bout of cancer and was certainly in a position to be discouraged...by Satan. Hundreds of people prayed for Harry and his wife Darlene. He is back working in his office after four months of treatment. Harry knows God healed him but he was an encouragement to me and others because he kept up the fight and fought hard against discouragement.
Discouragement can be contagious. It can spread easily from one person to another. That's why it might be called "the Devil's most prized tool." Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace. The things of earth...the cares, the allurements, the pains, disappointments, the challenges, the dreams, memories, etc., all will grow strangely dim. Blinders can be helpful. Whether we find ourselves beset with problems or not, remember, the heights are still under the King, and the depths cannot keep those whose final repose is in Christ. Anything else in all creation, can do no harm to those who belong to the family of believers. (Romans 8:1-2) We do well to remember that God wants all of each of us--our service, our faith in Him and His Son, our focus, our love, our dedication, our trust, our obedience--in short, our full surrender/commitment. When Jesus Christ comes again, then, we can bow down before our Lord and confess with all of our hearts, that "You are the Christ, our Savior and our Lord!"