Thursday, January 31, 2013

Strategy in the Storm

“They that go down to the sea in ships… are at their wits' end.  Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and He bringeth them out of their distresses… unto their desired haven.  Oh that men would praise the LORD for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!” (Psalm 107:23-31).  “Paul stood forth in the midst of them, and said… Be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of any man's life among you, but of the ship.  For there stood by me this night the angel of God… saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee.  Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me.  Howbeit we must be cast upon a certain island” (Acts 27:21-26).

Our God has a strategy in every storm
Exceeding the wit and the wisdom of man.
When we have forsaken the plans that we form,
We’re able to see God’s superior plan.

Sometimes we must come to our wits’ very end
To cry to the Lord at the point of despair.
There’s no one but God on whom we should depend,
And only on Him we may cast all our care. 

The Lord has delivered our soul from distresses,
For He is the Lord of the wind and the waves,
And so by the storm of His power He blesses
As we are thus taught that our Lord alone saves.

Consider the ship on which Paul had been sailing: 
He lived in God’s presence, and so did not fear.
When all of the shipmaster’s plans were then failing, 
Paul stood in their midst and said, “Be of good cheer!”

Wherever God sent him, there Paul was at home. 
The ship was his pulpit; the island was too,
And soon he would also be preaching at Rome. 
He knew the Lord’s promise and counted it true.

Step back for a glance at the Lord’s strategy: 
That island to which they would come was not planned,
But God was in charge of the storm in that sea,
And Paul had a mission from God on that land. 

O Lord, when we think of Your merciful ways
And wonderful works to the children of men,
We cannot contain our expression of praise:
We’ll sing it on earth and in heaven again!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Range of Responses

“Every word of God is pure: He is a shield unto them that put their trust in Him” (Proverbs 30:5).  “I continue unto this day… saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come… And as he thus spake for himself, Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad… Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian” (Acts 26:22-28). 

God’s offer is plain, and His Word is still pure: 
To those who will trust Him, the Lord is a Shield.
Responses are many, but there is ONE cure:
There’s no other way but through Christ to be healed.

As Paul was recounting the facts that were plain
Regarding the Scriptures Christ came to fulfill,
With shouting then Festus declared Paul insane,
And people today use this strategy still.

The range of responses today is the same: 
Some people are angry and others are jaded. 
Consider Agrippa: when hearing Paul’s claim, 
He simply confessed he was ALMOST persuaded.

But “almost persuaded” has never sufficed;
It’s really no better than anger and shouting. 
It’s only by trusting the Lord Jesus Christ
That we can be parted from those who are doubting.

O Lord, we give thanks for Your Gospel today
So gracious and pure, its rejection is strange!
Your way is still narrow, but broad is the way
That leads to destruction in such a wide range. 

Lord, help us today to be all the more steady,
Unmoved by the range of responses we’ve heard.
Equip us with wisdom to always be ready
To answer with reasons upheld by Your Word.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Quest for Quails

“The wicked…say unto God, Depart from us; for we desire not the knowledge of Thy ways… What is the Almighty, that we should serve Him?  And what profit should we have, if we pray unto Him?” (Job 21:7-15).  The people asked, and He brought quails, and SATISFIED them with the BREAD of heaven” (Psalm 105:40).   

We see this world’s vain desire
For God Almighty to depart.
Their lust is like a raging fire
That never satisfies their heart.

The wicked have burning quest  
For things this world will applaud.
They see no reason to invest
Their time on earth to pray to God.

We recognize this attitude
Recorded in the desert land
When Israel’s mixed multitude
Rebelled against God’s gracious hand.

God gave them manna from above;
They cried for earthly meat instead,  
Though God had fed them in His love
And satisfied them with His bread.

The Lord then gave them their request;
They soon were sickened by the quails.
God satisfies with heaven’s best,
But every earthly longing fails.

And shall we not receive instruction
By fleshly quails in that time,
And thus forsake this earth’s seduction
That robs our souls of bread sublime?

O Lord, we see the vain distraction
Of this world on display
That promises our satisfaction
With things that soon must pass away. 

Deliver, Lord, our hearts with grace
From every longing found within
Resembling quails we embrace
That subtly lead us into sin.

Lord, turn our hearts instead to You,
For You alone can satisfy!
We know Your promises are true,
So why should we embrace lie?

Monday, January 28, 2013

Clear Conscience

“Evil men understand not judgment: but they that seek the LORD understand all things” (Proverbs 28:5).  “So worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets:  and have hope toward God… that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.  And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a CONSCIENCE void of offence toward God, and toward men… When Felix came… he sent for Paul and heard him concerning the faith in Christ.  And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee” (Acts 24:14-25).

All those who truly seek the Lord
Observe and understand His way,
But evil men have still ignored
And mock His judgment to this day.

Now we who worship God with awe
Can see His judgment comes with reason.
The things thus written in the law
And in the prophets have their season.

We know there is a resurrection;
We do not doubt what Christ revealed.
The saved shall rise with His perfection,
For by His stripes we have been healed.

This resurrection scene ahead
Shows both the saved and lost as well,
When those who mock what Christ has said,
At last are turned away to hell.

And can we have a conscience clear
If we won’t reason with the lost?
With judgment daily drawing near,
Shall not we warn them of the cost?

When Felix summoned Paul to speak,
He reasoned then of Christ’s salvation,
Of righteousness that he must seek,
Of temperance, and of condemnation.

We do not read that Felix came,
But rather that he only trembled.
Unless he did, he’ll bear his shame
With all the lost who are assembled.

Yet we must clear our conscience thus!
The Lord is calling us to warn
The sinners that He sends to us
To turn to Christ, forsaking scorn.

O Lord, we know our days are few,
And so it surely now makes sense,
To have a conscience before You
And before men without offense.

So teach us, Lord, in all our ways
To have a conscience clear and wise,
Which by Your Holy Spirit stays
Accepted in Your holy eyes. 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Redeemer Remembered

“For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:  And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God:  whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another” (Job 19:25-27).  “Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits… Who redeemeth thy life from destruction” (Psalm 103:2-4). 

“I know that my Redeemer lives!”
These words of Job so brightly shined,  
And still today their comfort gives
Enduring hope and peace of mind.   

These words reflect the confidence
Of those who trust in Christ alone. 
He fought and died in our defense
And rose to make His triumph known.

Our ransom was so highly priced,
But God has paid that price in full!
Redemption came by Jesus Christ: 
He gave Himself to save our soul.

How strong our Savior is to save:
By Him the bars of death are broken!
We now behold His empty grave,
Which thus confirms His promise spoken.

The Lord redeemed our souls from hell:  
Upon the cross He paid our debt.
Because He lives, we live as well;
His blessings we should not forget!

For our Redeemer thus esteemed 
Our souls with an eternal worth,
Since by His life we are redeemed
From the destruction of this earth.

We know that Christ will come again
And reign on earth as King of kings.
That day is soon approaching when
We’ll stand with Him and those He brings.

O Lord, we thank You that You came,
And we remember what it cost.
We are redeemed from sin and shame
Because You died to save the lost!