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.

The Lord is My Shepherd

Today we take a moment to consider Psalm 23.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. David’s relationship to the Lord was as a sheep to his shepherd. Sheep are not smart, so they need to be led. So too, we need to trust the Lord to lead us in safety, to know where we should go because we do not know what’s best for us, and to care for us, supplying everything we need.

He makes me lie down in green pastures. When sheep are well fed, they lie down in grass, but then they wander off, so the shepherd has to lead them back. But we see here how the content sheep stay where they belong. When we wander off, how often does He have to bring us back.

He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. It’s during the quiet times that God speaks to us. When we are not quiet, we have a lot of chaos in our lives.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and your staff, they comfort me. When we walk through the shadow of death, doing dumb things, but knowing the Lord, we don’t have to fear evil because He is with us!

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever. He not only has prepared a table for us, but a mansion! Without His mercy and grace, we would not be blessed. By His grace He rescues us, and His mercies are new every day.

The Good News of Christ’s Death

“Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures.” –1 Corinthians 15:1-3

Reading: 1 Corinthians 15:1-11; Hebrews 4:14-5:10; 7:22-27; 9:11-14; 10:10

A professor in one of our large American universities once said that Jesus should be regarded as a genius, but not as a successful genius. The professor reasoned that Jesus was defeated in His death, that His teachings were rejected, His purposes frustrated.

But Paul does not regard the death of our Lord as defeat. He includes it in the good news, the Gospel, that he preaches. He even informs the Corinthians that he had determined not to know [preach] anything among them save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. Paul regards the death of Christ as providing good news, for he knows that the holy and undefiled Saviour died for the sins of His people, as the Old Testament had foretold and as God had determined before the foundation of the world. Our Lord had come to give His life as a ransom for many. He who knew no sin became sin for His own. He freely in their place, as their substitute, paid the penalty required by the law; He covered their guilt; He satisfied the justice of God for them; and He has propitiated God and reconciled Him to His people.

The death of the Saviour did not mean defeat for Him, but it meant triumph—yes, it meant good news! Indeed, apart from it there could be no good news or no Gospel or no salvation for men.

 

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

 

“Blessed Be My Rock”

Today, we’re taking a look at another psalm. Don’t forget the main focus of each psalm is Jesus who is the Son of God, one with the Father and the Spirit. In Psalm 18:1, 2, 3, 46, David, the servant of the Lord, says,

1. I love You, O Lord, my strength.”
2. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge;
My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
3. I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised,
And I am saved from my enemies.
46. The Lord lives, and blessed be my rock;
And exalted be the God of my salvation. (NASB)

Through life’s trials, let us remember that “Fearing God replaces fear of others and things” (author unknown). Nothing can sway God, nothing can change His plans, no one can change His mind. When we call on Him and trust in Him, we know that He is “my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,” because He says so. He loves His people, and nothing can get between Him and us (Romans 8:31-39). When life falls apart around us, it’s comforting to know that He won’t leave us or fail us, even if everything in this world does. He’s always with us, and like a rock, nothing will move Him. We can rely on Him. Everything He promises in the Bible, He’ll do. Always has, always will. “Blessed be my Rock, and exalted be the God of my salvation.”