Delight in the Lord

“If you turn back your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on My holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight and the holy day of the Lord honorable; if you honor it, not going your own ways, or seeking your own pleasure, or talking idly; then you shall take delight in the Lord, and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth; I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” —Isaiah 58:13-14

Reading: Psalm 42

Sunday is a day when many seek their own pleasure. All sorts of pleasure-giving events and activities are being scheduled on the day appointed by God for rest and worship. Many of these functions would be quite legitimate on other days of the week, but they have no place on the holy day of the Lord. Those who violate the Sabbath day by doing their own pleasure may think that they are having a good time; but how inferior their pleasure is to the delight and joy that God gives to those who obey the fourth commandment.

The fourth commandment is not to be considered merely as negative. It does not simply forbid our doing certain things. It would also have us actually delight in God’s holy day and take real pleasure in the opportunities for worship, devotion, and service that this best day of the week provides.

If we belong to the Lord our God, and if we seek our joy in the things that please Him, and if as the deer pants after water brooks our soul longs after God, then the Lord’s Day will be to us a delight, holy to the Lord, and honorable—a day when we will truly delight ourselves in the Lord.

Resurrection Hope

Tomorrow is Easter Sunday—a time of celebration and joy for Christians all around the world. But what if you’re struggling and not feeling that joy? What if you just lost a loved one and the pain of that loss is still raw?

Many of us involved with Skilton House Ministries might be feeling that way, with the passing of our beloved Pastor Henry Cooper. He served as president of SHM and was always involved with Operation Brotherhood. But while we mourn, we still have hope. And that hope is integrally tied to Easter Sunday.

In 1 Thessalonians, Paul writes “since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep [died]” (v.14). This is the reason that we do not “grieve as others do who have no hope” (v. 13). One of the benefits of Christ’s resurrection that we enjoy is the hope we have of our own resurrection (and of our loved ones who are in Christ). May you find the following passages of Scripture encouraging as we ponder Christ’s resurrection and just one of the aspects of what it means for us.

“I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in Me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die.” –John 11:25-26

“[Our faith] will be counted to us [as righteousness] who believe in Him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.” –Romans 4:24-25

“If the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.” –Romans 8:11

“And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by His power.” – 1Corinthians 6:14

“If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. …And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.… But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.” –1 Corinthians 15:13-22

“So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body.” –1 Corinthians 15:42-44

“…that you may know what is the hope to which He has called you, what are the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His great might that He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places.” –Ephesians 1:18-20

“…that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection…” –Philippians 3:10

“But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like His glorious body, by the power that enables Him even to subject all things to Himself.” –Philippians 3:20-21

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” –1 Peter 1:3

He is Faithful and Just to Forgive Us Our Sins

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”—1 John 1:9

Reading: 1 John 1:1-10

As we come to the end of another week, it is fitting for us to confess our sins. We have failed to render to God the perfect obedience which is His due, and we have not loved Him with perfect love in the days that have passed. We have not shown to our brothers in Christ the love that God’s law requires, and we have not given that testimony in word and in life to all men which our Lord desires of us. Perhaps we do not feel that we can say with Paul that we are pure from the blood of all men, for unlike him we have not borne faithful witness to all the counsel of God in the opportunities given us (Acts 20:26-27).

But if our sins accuse us and shake us and threaten to ruin our sleep tonight, we who have by grace trusted in Christ as our Savior from sin are not left without help. We have heard the joyful sound of the Gospel. We know that the blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, cleanses His people from all sin. We have been given the promise that if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. We fail, but our Lord never fails. We may be unfaithful, but He abides faithful. Our great God and Savior loves and saves to the uttermost poor and needy sinners like us.

 

Skilton, John H. Think on These Things: Bible Truths for Faith and Life. Philadelphia: Skilton House – Sowers, 1986.

 

Operation Brotherhood 2018

2018-OB 01

Operation Brotherhood 2018 saw 1,672 families fed with bags of Thanksgiving dinner (complete with a turkey) and the Word of God (donated by the Philadelphia Bible Society). Thank you to the donors who gave canned goods and contributed to the purchase of the turkeys, and to all the volunteers who filled the church to pack the bags.

Jordan Passed

“And the Lord said to him, ‘This is the land of which I swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, “I will give it to your offspring.” I have let you see it with your eyes, but you shall not go over there.’ So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the Lord.”—Deuteronomy 34:4-5

 

Reading: Deuteronomy 34:1-12

Moses was not permitted to cross Jordan and enter into the land of promise. He had sinned against God before the children of Israel at the waters of Meribah of Kadesh, in the wilderness of Zin; he had not sanctified God at that time in the midst of the children of Israel (Deuteronomy 32:51). As a consequence, God withheld from him an achievement that would have brought his life to rich fruition.

But God still loved Moses. He did not forsake him, but brought good to his soul through chastisement. He graciously permitted Moses before his death to ascend Mount Nebo and to behold the land that He had sworn to give to the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And in His goodness, God took Moses—when his eye was still not dim and his natural force not abated—over the Jordan to a better paradise than Canaan, where there would be no struggle for conquest, no sorrows, no agonizing labors, no tears.

As with Moses, God will cause all things to work together for good to all His people, and He will bless them despite their sins and failures. Although there may be frustrations and chastisements for them, there will also be for them as for Moses a day of “sorrow vanquished, labor ended, Jordan passed.”

 

Skilton, John H. Think on These Things: Bible Truths for Faith and Life. Philadelphia: Skilton House – Sowers, 1986.

 

Peace On Earth

I was thinking about the crazy world we live in, and pondered, how can we have a Merry Christmas with all the uncertainty and evil around us?  I’m reminded of one of my favorite carols.  It is based on a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

I heard the bells on Christmas day
Their old familiar carols play;
In music sweet the tones repeat,
“There’s peace on earth, good will to men.”

And in despair I bowed my head:
“There is no peace on earth,” I said,
“For hate is strong, and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor does He sleep,
For Christ is here; His Spirit near
Brings peace on earth, good will to men.”

There’s a reason why the Bible repeatedly tells us to fix our eyes on Christ—because it’s the only way we can find peace and comfort.  On one of my Frank Sinatra CDs, Sinatra quotes a child’s poem:

God is in His Heaven

All’s right with the world.

It sounds cute and trite, but I love it.  Because if you really think about what it’s saying, it’s quite profound.  God is in His Heaven—in control, watching over us, working all things for our good.  God is in His Heaven, and He sent His Son to earth, to break the power of sin and the devil, and to conquer death.  And that’s more than just for us and our salvation—Christ is Lord of all creation.  One day, the effects of sin will be no more, and creation won’t be broken anymore.  The church has a phrase that you hear now and then, “Already, but not yet.”  For example, we are saved, we already have our salvation, but we do not yet experience it fully, we’re not in God’s presence, free from sin.  In the same way, Christ has defeated the devil, but the devil still has some power here on earth.  We still suffer the effects of his power, but we know that he’s fighting a lost battle.  And so, yes, even right now, “All’s right with the world,” because the battle’s already been won and we’re just waiting for the day when Christ will come again and make it “now” instead of “not yet.”

As you look at the Christmas lights this year, take comfort in the promises of our faithful God in Heaven, who we can trust when He says, in Revelation 21, “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Rev. 21:4)

God will never leave you nor forsake you, and He sent His Son to Earth to prove it.

Merry Christmas!

–Rebecca Brown, SHM secretary

 

Giving Thanks Always

“Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”—Ephesians 5:20

Reading: Ephesians 5:1-21

Sometimes in the midst of trials it is difficult to give thanks. We may be inclined to postpone thanksgiving until some future time when we will have passed successfully through the trying experiences of the present. Today we may have some very difficult situations to meet. Perhaps we are longing for relief from them by the end of the day. We may feel that we can truly give thanks then!

When the Lord delivers us from our afflictions we should give fervent thanks. But Paul instructs us that we should give thanks always for all things. This means that before and during our trials, as well as after them, we should give thanks. This means, also, that we should give thanks to God not simply for deliverance from our trials, and not simply in spite of our trials, but also for the trials that He has appointed for us. Our God causes all things to work together for our good and His glory. In everything we are to give thanks. And whatever we do in word or deed, we are to do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him (Colossians 3:17).

 

Skilton, John H. Think on These Things: Bible Truths for Faith and Life. Philadelphia: Skilton House – Sowers, 1986.