Think On These Things

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.