The Real Thing

Ephesians 4
11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

Here is an excellent excerpt from a longer talk by David Platt regarding the book “heaven is for real” and other such books about trips to heaven and back. Given that the movie based upon the book is about to come out, I thought this would be a good time to show this to you.

Measure everything – everything – by the Word of God. And get yourself taught by pastor/teachers who have been given a job by God to prepare you for works of service, to keep you from spiritual gullibility, to help you speak truth lovingly so that you can grow up into Christ and be a part of a unified and supportive church  that is growing in maturity and love for each other. It is easier to just swallow everything that comes at us dressed up as biblical Christianity. But it is not nearly as good.

Valentine and His Day

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Valentine

I like to dig in and find out some factual information regarding people of the past whose days or accomplishments are celebrated. Not a whole lot of information about Valentine, although there is one prominent story that pops up that cannot really be verified, but which would be great if it were really true.

Find it here . The Catholic Encyclopedia, which I generally find to be a great source of such things, says nothing about the folklore of Valentine secretly marrying people in violation of the law but they have their own theory of why February 14 is observed as a day to celebrate love. This, from another Roman Catholic site gives some interesting details as well.

Setting aside a day to celebrate the love you have for others near and dear to you is a great idea. God made us with a desire to celebrate important events whether they be happy or tragic. Passover, Tabernacles, First Fruits and other festivals were all commanded by God. Celebrating love is a great thing. Just let us be completely absent of any hypocrisy in its celebration. To express love but one day of the year is a testimony of great lovelessness. May your Valentine’s day be a real joyous thing for you because you know there are people who love you every day of the year, no matter what.

And dear Christian, let us show the world that we are truly disciples of Jesus Christ, by loving one another. And may that love have all the marks of what the Bible tells us and shows us, real love has.

I Corinthians 13:4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.8 Love never ends.

Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

Philippians 2:2 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

I John 3:16 By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. 17 But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? 18 Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

And may we always bask in the truth that any love we are able to express and demonstrate is a response to the unsurpassable love of God for us.

Romans 5:6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Romans 8:31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written,

“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Well, quoting a few verses hardly does justice to the love of God for us. Who can plumb such a thing? And if it truly grabs us the way it ought we will be a people who are grateful to God for His great love, obedient to God because of His love for us, and consciously demonstrating love to our fellow believers, non-believers and enemies. There is no greater thing that we can do than this – love God and love our neighbours. may this Valentine’s day be a real beginning for you to do better at these two greatest commandments than you have ever done before.

And now – because I am an old guys from the sixties, and actually can remember some of them, I leave you with this. Have a great weekend. Worship with some other believers this Sunday.

But we cannot end on a secular note can we? Let’s leave with this:

His Word is our Delight

This video has been hitting the blogosphere a lot lately. It should too. Some Chinese believers receiving a very precious commodity – Bibles. Simply watching their reactions as they open up the parcel of Bibles is a lesson to those of us who have so much. There is no reason why being able to own our own Bibles should not elicit the same response in us – except that we are over satiated with very good things. We have grown so accustomed to having so much, including God speaking to us through the Word of God, the Bible, that it has become common place. Opening a Bible and reading it and being able to understand it and having the privilege of sitting under teaching that explains it and having it in our homes to read it anytime we like, should make us gasp in wonder at the privilege. Enjoy this video. And pray in a sense of wonder that we have a message from God.

Worship God this Sunday with others, under the Word of God. What a glorious privilege it is. His Word is our delight

Psalm 119:16
I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word.

I Peter 1:22 Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, 23 since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; 24 for

“All flesh is like grass
and all its glory like the flower of grass.
The grass withers,
and the flower falls,
25 but the word of the Lord remains forever.”
And this word is the good news that was preached to you.

II Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

Psalm 1:1 Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
2 but his delight is in the law[b] of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night

Psalm 19:7 The law of the Lord is perfect,
reviving the soul;
the testimony of the Lord is sure,
making wise the simple;
8 the precepts of the Lord are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is pure,
enlightening the eyes;
9 the fear of the Lord is clean,
enduring forever;
the rules of the Lord are true,
and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold,
even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey
and drippings of the honeycomb.

No Hunger, No Thirst

John 6:35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.

Whatever this utterance by Jesus means it cannot mean that the true believer will never have spiritual wants or desires. It cannot mean that he will never doubt. It cannot mean that he will not experience times, perhaps even lengthy times of doubt and fear and feelings of an empty soul. Can it? No, it cannot. It means that once a person has truly come to Christ, they will not look elsewhere for their spiritual sustenance. It means, as Carson says in his commentary on this verse, that “there is no, longer that core emptiness that the initial encounter with Jesus has met”. There will be doubts. There will be times of great emptiness of heart. But they will not result in abandoning Christ for other things or other people. The feelings of emptiness of soul will cause one to flee to Jesus Christ, not abandon Him. God Himself uses such seasons of emptiness to bring us to a joy in Christ that makes it all worthwhile. Jesus will never be the reason for desiring other. Jesus Christ satisfies. And the child of God in his darkest days, struggles to get back to no one else but Christ himself.

This seems to be where so many of us miss it. While claiming to hang on to Christ we seek out other philosophies or techniques, or psychologies to help find contentment, inner peace, untroubled souls. We imbibe the values of the culture and wonder why the thirst that Jesus said would not come – comes.  It appears that we believe that Jesus can get us to heaven but we need more than Him before we get there; other than Him, better than Him, more than Him, to find a satisfying life.

No.

Jesus Christ is the only way to God. He is the only way to God after we die and enter into His presence. And He is the only way to God before we die and seek to live a life that has meaning and purpose and peace of soul and mind. It sometimes looks like we want to keep Jesus as our ace up our sleeve just in case He was right about how to have eternal life while at the same time not finding that He is sufficient for us in the hurly burly of everyday living. Of course, we will not, or cannot bear to, abandon Him completely. So we keep “believing” in Him for the big story at the end, while putting our faith in what Paul called “empty deceit”, “human tradition” and “elemental spirits of this world” (Colossians 2:8).

People who “believe” in Jesus and yet find that Jesus does not satisfy their thirst, will be very reluctant to admit that such is the case. Some will say that they have not abandoned Jesus, but only the traditional ways that a system has built around Him. They will say the church has destroyed the real Jesus. They will say that the system, the organization, the unbiblical traditions that the church has built up over two thousand years has masked, or hidden or even destroyed what true Christianity is all about. But for all the ways some of those accusations may be true, it does not explain why, in their quest for the real Jesus, they are still thirsty.

I have made no secret of the fact that I have suffered with depression for most of my life. My mother was seriously mentally ill and all of her progeny managed to inherit various aspects of her mental state. I thirst for mental and emotional well being. I have no time for those who believe that mental health is the one thing that all believers are guaranteed to have simply because they are believers. That is a lie. It hurts people and causes untold grief to real believers who think that their mental struggles are because of counterfeit or inadequate faith in Jesus Christ. Sometimes medication is necessary. Sometimes we will find help from people who do not know Christ. Sometimes medicine and psychiatry can do some good – sometimes. But none of that means that we should be looking to the religions, philosophies, and values of the world to find something that the sovereign Saviour of the whole created order cannot supply.

The Bible thoroughly equips us for every good work. We are born again by the living word of God and it is sharper than a two edged sword that cuts even with the ability to divide soul and spirit. The God who supplied that is not telling us that we can find true inner peace and contentment in philosophies that deny Him.

Jesus-satisfies-the-soul. “Well”, the response echos back, “He hasn’t satisfied mine”. And of course we are meant to believe that this is Jesus’ fault. The understanding is that if we keep up our end of the bargain, then He must keep up His. I believe, now why isn’t He coming through? But we do not come to faith in Christ with the understanding that He must now give me what I really want. Jesus is the goal, and for those who have Him as their goal He is very satisfying. But if our goal is peace of mind, or money, or health and wealth or a sense of purpose or any number of even good things, then Jesus just becomes an avenue for getting what really matters to us. That is not saving faith. That is God denying, self destroying, idolatry, disguising itself as faith. It is putting the sovereign Creator of all that is, the God Man, the Saviour of the world, the judge of all things, in the same category as a ticket to your favourite band or sports event. The goal is the band. The ticket is what gets us to the band. We will regard that ticket with great reverence but only because we need it to get to what really matters. Is Jesus our ticket? Yes, in a sense, Jesus is the ticket. He is also the fare that buys the ticket. But most of all, He is the event. And until we realize that and come to value Him above what He can do for us in terms of the temporal blessings of life, we will have great hunger and great thirst and when we encounter texts such as John 6:35, we will be perplexed. When Jesus is the prize at the end of the race and when,  in all of life’s struggles, we keep our sights set on Him as we run the race, we will find Him very satisfying. Set your sights on anything else and Jesus will be an obstacle that gets in the way of the real prize. And there will be great emptiness of soul. The souls of those who claim to have Jesus but do not, will be more empty than even those who reject Him altogether. It cannot be otherwise. At least those who reject Christ have their lives in order enough to chase after what they want without pretending that they want something else.

The Gospel is not just about getting to heaven later on. It is about having our sins forgiven and living a life of worship. That worship starts now even while we wrestle with sin and all kinds of troubles. It will continue in the eternal state without sin and troubles. And both here and now, and there and then, we will find Jesus very satisfying, never hungering or thirsting.

Why is that person in your life?

John 9:1 As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3 Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. 4 We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. 5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” 6 Having said these things, he spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man’s eyes with the mud 7 and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing.

You need to meditate on this verse a little more if it does not stun you what Jesus said. This grown man has been blind all his life – how old is he? Twenty? Thirty? Sixty? We do not know. He is a man. He has been blind all his life. He never saw his mother, a tree, clouds rolling in over the hills. He has been blind all his life. And why does Jesus say that it is the case?

This man was born poor – that the works of God might be displayed in his life – and we walk right by. This woman born disabled, this boy left to die, this child a botched abortion, this girl abandoned because she was a girl, this street beggar, this liar, this con artist – it doesn’t matter who – they enter our lives so that the glory of God might be displayed in us, for Him, and for the good of the one who is in the world for the purpose of displaying the glory of our great God. Do you see the people you encounter as being in the world so that the glory of God might be displayed? Do you understand that while you are not Jesus, able to make their misery end miraculously, you can still be the hands and feet and heart of Jesus to the people God allows you to encounter this week?

Is the man Jesus healed that day in heaven? I can hardly think that he did not become a follower of Jesus willing to give up his life, take up his cross for the glory of His Saviour. Does he today regret that he spent the first thirty years of his life as a blind little boy at the brunt end of jaunts and ridicule and cruel jokes, and then as a man begging on the street corners of Jerusalem? Does he now wish that God had brought him to Jesus in some other way instead of letting him spend his first thirty years like he did? Does this man grumble? Well such questions are silly. But could not God have done something to reduce this man’s sufferings until Jesus came and saved him? Could He not have brought glory to His name and gotten this man to heaven without a life of blindness? Of course He could. But He didn’t. He knows better than we do and He is not obligated to answer our questions.

Why are we told this story? To show who Jesus is – yes. That we might believe that Jesus is the Christ the Son of the living God and come to faith in Him – certainly – that is why John wrote everything he wrote in his Gospel account (John 20:31). But the point here is that God is doing something big in the ordinary events of our everyday lives. We do not know why this man must suffer for so long in order for God to be glorified through his healing. We do not know why God had this man blind all those years. But we also do not know how many people that day became genuine followers of Jesus and who have now been with the blind man in heaven for two thousand years. We do not know how it is that this little event in the history of the world is still accomplishing things planned out before the world began. We do not know anything. We know that God was glorified that day. We know He is still being glorified through it. We can be fairly ceratin that there are still people coming to faith because this account is in the Bible. And we know that such faith could not have been accomplished any better and for eternity if this man had not been born blind and caused to sit where Jesus was walking that day. The events of your life and the people you meet this week will not be recorded in Holy Scripture. But they can be used for God’s glory just as much.

Remember Jesus Christ

II Timothy 2:8 Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel

What an amazing directive from the Apostle Paul. Remember Jesus Christ. This is written to Pastor Timothy. Pastor Timothy is going to forget Jesus Christ? Apparently, Timothy needed to be reminded not to forget Jesus as He carried on the work that God had called Him to and that Paul had mentored him to do.

It is possible for Timothy to forget Jesus Christ risen from the dead as he mentors others in following Jesus Christ (verse 2). It is possible for him to forget Jesus Christ as He preaches, teaches, counsels, evangelizes. It is possible for pastors, missionaries, seminary professors, Sunday School teachers, deacons, elders, and the average Christian to forget the Gospel of Jesus Christ, even as they labour in it. They can become so focussed on the preaching that they forget who they are preaching. They can get lost in details and doctrines designed to exalt Christ and put Him to the margins. It is possible to teach and preach in order to be seen as a great teacher/preacher. It is possible to make a point for the point of being seen as a great point maker. It is possible to draw attention to oneself. It is possible to encourage a slap on the back, a good well done or a “good message pastor”. It is possible to try to win debates and prove the rightness of one’s own position. It is possible to become so people focussed in our good works for others that we forget that Jesus is the point of it all. It is more than possible. It is easy.

We need to remember that Satan does not care about us getting up to preach or witness. He does not care about all that we do as leaders or teachers or disciple makers. What he cares about is that Jesus be the focus of the attention. What he cares about is the Gospel being the reason for it all. Do not forget to focus on Jesus Christ risen from the dead. This means that we zero in on the life, death, resurrection, of the Son of God.

Never lose a Gospel centeredness. Massive minds have managed to do that very thing. Big intellects with big ministries have managed to leave the Gospel in the background. Churches that would never deny the Gospel do just that in their attempts to win the culture over to a “Judeo/Christian” focus. Churches who want people to come to faith manage to make the message so appealing that the Gospel is forsaken. The Gospel is not a popular message and if we over value comfort, pain free living, popularity, money, for ourselves, and even the temporal welfare of others, we will forget Jesus Christ, risen from the dead.

We cannot have cultural acceptance and the Gospel. We cannot have popularity and money and pain free living and be faithful to the Gospel at the same time. We can manage to help the poor, be friends to the friendless in some fashion, maintain churches and ministries and make the world a better place to live – and forget Jesus Christ risen from the dead. But we are commanded not to do that. We must always do those things without ever, in any manner, leaving Jesus Christ out of things. Jesus is more important than our ministries and messages that skip over His death and resurrection. He is more important than our popularity and wowing the world with our relief and compassion. Jesus is not opposed to relief and charity and compassion. But we cannot do those things while relegating Him and His work to the sidelines. We cannot do a work for Jesus by putting Jesus in the periphery of what we do and seek to call it a work done for Him. We cannot change the message of the cross and resurrection while seeking to get people to believe the biblical message of the cross and resurrection.

That is what we have become so masterful at doing. It was what Timothy was tempted to do. It is why God, in mercy and love for us and those we would seek to influence, had Paul pen these words and preserved them for us to read.

Remember Jesus Christ.

The Gospel: Answered Prayer

Psalm 74:20 Have regard for the covenant,
for the dark places of the land are full of the habitations of violence.
21 Let not the downtrodden turn back in shame;
let the poor and needy praise your name.

The Gospel is an answer to prayer. The Gospel is God’s idea before it is anything else so when I say that the Gospel is an answer to prayer I do not mean that a mere human came up with it and somehow, through prayer, convinced God that it was a good idea. But God brings to fruition, plans made from before the creation of the world, by answering prayer. He does it all the time. He does it every time a prayer is answered. God, in answer to prayer, brings about things that He had planned to bring about long before the one who prays had ancestors. It is how God works and it is a stunning thing that should make us bow.

The entrance of sin into the world wreaked havoc upon mankind, the planet earth and the whole created order. And they are all in dire need of rescue. God covenanted with a sinful and undeserving people to save them. For the glory of His own name He will, in the words of this Psalm, in the words of the prayer of the Psalmist Asaph, enter the dark places of the world and rescue His chosen ones from themselves. He will prevent them from becoming victims of the horrors that life in a sin twisted world has become by going to where they are and getting them out.

The writer of this Psalm would have made this plea for rescue regarding the people of Israel of course. He calls upon God to remember the Abrahamic covenant and the Mosaic covenant. It seemed then, as it seems now, that the darkness of the land was going to triumph over the covenant that God had made. But Asaph knows that when God makes a covenant, God can keep it; that He cannot but keep it. If God will remember the covenant He has made with Israel, and enter into the places where sin has darkened even the lives of the covenant people, there is hope. If He will come down and do what only God can do, then the people will come back to keep their side of the covenant promises of God. What must happen is that God must enter into the dark places, and Asaph knows that God is full of mercy and grace and love for His people and is willing to tread the moral sewers of humanity in order to rescue His covenant people from sins effects. And God answered Asaph’s prayer. He answered it in old covenant Israel when He came down and restored His people from Assyria and Babylon and Persia.

But there would be greater ways than that, whereby He would answer this inspired request. God Himself would do the unfathomably great work of actually becoming one of us. He would send His eternal divine Son to enter the darkness in ways far beyond what Asaph envisioned when he made the request in the first place. Asaph would never have dared to request that God become human and live life here in all its hardships, and actually endure the punishment of His heavenly Father reserved for those who had committed untold atrocities against Him, and remove forever the wrath that must abide upon a sinful people. But that is what the God to whom Asaph prayed did in answer to this prayer.

That is how God answered this prayer. It is how He answers it still. But it does not stop there. The God who heard Asaph’s prayer and answered it in the incarnation, crucifixion, resurrection, ascension, and intercession, is still entering the dark places of the world today to rescue His covenant people from the effects of their own sin and the sins of others upon them. The Son of God has all power in heaven and on earth and since He does we are commanded to go into the dark places of the planet as His ambassadors and give the news that people do not have to stay in the darkness. The Son of God came into the darkness because He is a covenant keeping God. He made a covenant to rescue chosen people from their sins and the effects of sin on them. He came because He is the God who cannot lie and He promised to make Abraham the father of a great nation so that all the nations of the world would be blessed through him. And every time a soul wakes up and sees the darkness it is in and sees the light of the Gospel of God in the face of Jesus Christ, He is keeping His covenant and answering Asaph’s prayer.

But they will not become aware of the darkness if no one tells them. And they will not come out of the darkness on their own. Someone has to go into the darkness and be there with the people who dwell there and help them and urge upon them and be one of them except in the practices of the darkness. And the only ones who will do that are those who have been rescued out of the darkness themselves. Asaph prayed a thousand years before Jesus was born that God would enter the darkness and rescue the people of the covenant. God heard him. He is hearing him still and believers today need not fear entering the darkness. God sends us nowhere He does not go Himself. He sends us nowhere He has not already been. He sends us nowhere without the power and authority of Jesus Christ.

II Corinthians 4:3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

Getting people out of the darkness is a creative act of God. We cannot do that. But we are called to give the Gospel in dark places and God chooses, through that proclamation of the Christ honouring Gospel, to create life. Because God has made a covenant. Because Asaph prayed.

What stops us from entering the dark places when we do not go there? Fear? Love of self? Contentment with our salvation while harbouring a callous disregard for the souls of those in the dark? A false gospel hidden in the heart that prevents some from knowing that they are in the darkness themselves? Would it help us to give the Gospel if we could see it in the light of God keeping an eternal covenant and bringing to pass a plan hatched before the world was made and being a part of the work that Jesus finished on the cross? Would it help to know that entering the dark places is what God Himself did and what others did for us? Would it help to know that when we give the Gospel in whatever dark places we are sent, that God is answering prayers offered thousands of years ago? All those things are true.

It is a stunning thing to remember that God is still answering prayers such as Asaph’s. It is even more stunning to consider that God uses us to bring those prayers to be answered. May such incredible truth help us to give this glorious Gospel to whomever God puts in our pathways.