From time to time over the centuries some Christians have taught, sometimes with tragic consequences, that a truly spiritual person never gets discouraged. To be cast down is, by definition, to be ‘unspiritual.’ Unless we are well-grounded in Scripture, it is very easy for us to be overwhelmed, confused, and even more discouraged by such teaching.
This teaching certainly seems logical: if the gospel saves us, it must save us from discouragement! It also appears to be wonderfully spiritual. After all, are we not ‘more than conquerors through him who loved us’ (Rom. 8:37)?
But this is not biblical logic, nor is it true spirituality. The gospel saves us from death, not by removing death, but by helping us to face it in the power of Christ’s victory and thus to overcome it. So, too, with sin. And similarly with discouragement. Faith in Christ does not remove all of the causes of discouragement; rather, it enables us to overcome them. We may experience discouragement; but we will not be defeated by it.
What does the church most need today? In answering this important but rather general question, Psalm 81 is uniquely important and helpful. This psalm obviously contains beautiful promises and clear directions to help the people of God. But careful study of this psalm will deepen our appreciation of it, increase its value for us, and show us how distinctive it is for helping the church.
As we study psalms, we soon learn that the central verse of a psalm is often significant as a key to its interpretation. The central line of Psalm 81 is the heart of that psalm, as the plaintive cry of God is heard: “O Israel, if you would but listen to me!” (v. 8b). The center of Psalm 81—indeed the whole psalm—is a reflection on the Shema.
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What kind of God does the prophet proclaim in Isaiah 42:18– 43:21? What must God be like if He promises to restore and renew despite the abject failure of His people?
What kind of God is our covenant Lord? The answer is that He is like no other!
I, I am the LORD, and besides me there is no savior. (Isa. 43:11)
In a series of statements that open chapter 43, a sixfold depiction of God’s glory emerges.
In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away. Hebrews 8:13
It has been said by some, “Since the new covenant has been instituted by Christ, the civil and ceremonial laws of the Mosaic covenant have been abolished.” Have they? That’s not what our text says. The apostle tells us the old covenant is obsolete. The English words “obsolete” and “old” are translated from the Greek root word παλαιοω (palaioo). This word means “worn out” or “declared to be obsolete.” It doesn’t mean it has been completely eliminated, abolished or replaced. To replace it altogether actually would be antinomianism, a false doctrine. If Jesus fulfilled the law by His perfect sacrifice (Heb 5:9) and by His perfect priesthood (Heb 7:28), the law is not eliminated it but elevated.
The church folks were giving testimonies of the good they had received from the recent revival. A dear lady member rose up to tell of the great blessings she had received. She testified thusly, “Before this revival meeting I hated my brother-in-law so much that I would not even go to his funeral. But since this revival I feel so different toward him— in fact, I would now be glad to go to his funeral any old day.”
Love for others is a proof of loving Jesus and obeying His Word! Jesus said in John 13:35, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” Some folks are easy to love but some are not! Jesus has the power to enable us to love the unlovely! One thing that helps us to love people is to remember how much God loves us! God loved us so much that He gave His Son to die on a cross so we could be saved and go to Heaven. All we have to do is believe in Christ and He will save us!
Pat Loftin has served as a Baptist minister for some 62 years and resides in Epps, LA where he has been the husband of Kathy for 59 years, the father of 3, grandfather of 6 and great-grandfather of 3 more. His hobbies include fishing but his passion is for preaching, teaching and writing. To contact Bro. Pat Loftin, you may email him through our contact page here
From the daily email devotional by Pastor Jon Cardwell:
Blessed Monday to you! Today is April 30, 2018.
Here’s my devotional thought pulled from one of today’s portions of R. M. M’Cheyne’s “Daily Bread” Bible Reading Calendar.
His mouth is most sweet, and he is altogether desirable. Song of Solomon 5:16
Isaiah describes the Lord Jesus’ physical appearance as plain and unimpressive: “he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him” (Isaiah 53:2). Yet, to His beloved bride, the church, Jesus is altogether lovely.
Jesus is pure in righteousness, red by His shed blood in sacrifice, and holy, separate and distinguishable from any other (Song 5:10). He leads His people while upon His throne in heaven and the beauty of His provision is found in the supply of God, just as Elijah was fed by the ravens at the brook (Song 5:11; 1 Ki 17:4-6). Jesus, the Prince of Peace, views His kingdom from heaven above and sends forth the Holy Spirit to minister to His people, with abounding promises, which are precisely crafted as a jeweler setting precious gems (Song 5:12). Christ’s presence is a sweet fragrance; moreover, His words are beautiful to behold and powerfully sweet when understood, especially as it pertains to His atoning death (Song 5:13). Every action of Christ is ordained in heaven, both precious and beautiful; and His humanity is pure and glorious (Song 5:14). The Lord’s walk and stance is unwavering and ordained in heaven; and His glorious presence hovers high above all men, providing shade and repose for His people and resources for His people to further the kingdom (Song 5:15). The words of Jesus are the most savory, moreover, the scriptures reveal His beauty and majesty (Song 5:16).
Christ is our beloved Savior,
Not beautiful by sight;
Yet, in Spirit, His beauty’s more
Lofty than highest height.
Jesus, very God, yet human;
Describ’d in heav’nly song,
Reveal’d in holy acumen
To those, in Him belong.
With love in Christ by God’s grace,