COMFORT FOR THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH

Church.

Believers are the church.

The word church is also used when referring to the place where believers gather. In our day of apostasy, or for other reasons, believers may not have the opportunity to attend church and worship with other believers. This can be a source of great pain, but the Lord always brings comfort to His children! What a Mighty God we serve!

Psalm 84:1 How lovely are Your dwelling places, O LORD of hosts!

Psalm 84:2 My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the LORD: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God.

Psalm 84:3 The bird also has found a house, And the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, Even Your altars, O LORD of hosts, My King and my God.

Barnes:

Even thine altars … – The altars where thou art worshipped. The idea here is, that the sparrows and the swallows seemed to have a happy lot; to be in a condition to be envied. Even they might come freely to the place where God was worshipped – to the very altars – and make their home there undisturbed. How strongly in contrast with this was the condition of the wandering – the exiled – author of the psalm!

MacLaren:

He was shut out by some unknown circumstances from external participation in the Temple rites, and longs to be even as one of the swallows or sparrows that twitter and flit round the sacred courts.

No doubt to him faith was much more inseparably attached to form than it should be for us.

No doubt place and ritual were more to him than they can permissibly be to those who have heard and understood the great charter of spiritual worship spoken first to an outcast Samaritan of questionable character: ‘Neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem shall men worship the Father.’

But equally it is true that what he wanted was what the outward worship brought him, rather than the worship itself. And the psalm, which begins with ‘longing’ and ‘fainting’ for the courts of the Lord, and pronouncing benedictions on ‘those that dwell in Thy house,’ works itself clear, if I might so say, and ends with ‘O Lord of Hosts! Blessed is the man that trusteth in Thee’ – for he shall ‘dwell in Thy house,’ wherever he is

Do you remember who it was that said – and on what occasion He said it – ‘Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have roosting-places, but the Son of Man hath not where to lay His head’? (Matthew 8:20)

These words not only may hearten us with confidence that our desires will be satisfied if they are set upon Him, but they point us to the one way by which they are so. Say ‘My King and my God!’ in the deepest recesses of a spirit conscious of His presence, of a will submitting to His authority, of emptiness expectant of His fulness; say that, and you are in the house of the Lord.

For it is not a question of place, it is a question of disposition and desire. This Psalmist, though, when he began his song, he was far away from the Temple, and though he finished it sitting on the same hillside on which he began it, when he had ended it was within the curtains of the sanctuary and wrapt about with the presence of his God.

He had regained as he sang what for a moment he had lost the consciousness of when he began – viz. the presence of God with him on the lone, dreary expanse of alien soil as truly as amidst the sanctities of what was called His House.

So, brethren! if we want rest, let us clasp God as ours; if we desire a home warm, safe, sheltered from every wind that blows, and inaccessible to enemies, let us, like the swallows, nestle under the eaves of the Temple. Let us take God for our Hope.

They that hold communion with Him – and we can all do that wherever we are and whatever we may be doing – these, and only these, ‘dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of their lives.’

For everywhere, to the eye that sees the things that are, and not only the things that seem – and to the heart that feels the unseen presence of the One Reality, God Himself – all places are temples, and all work may be beholding His beauty and inquiring in His sanctuary;…

and everywhere,

though our heads rest upon a stone,

and there be night and solitude around us,

and doubt and darkness in front of us,

and danger and terror behind us,

and weakness within us, as was the case with Jacob,

there will be the ladder with its foot at our side and its top in the heavens; and above the top of it His face, which when we see it look down upon us, makes all places and circumstances good and sweet.

IN THE FACE OF All OPPOSITION… PROCLAIM HIM!

Jesus said…

Mark 8:38 Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.

Heart stirring words indeed!

Commentaries:

Matthew Poole:

There are two passions which prevail upon men to make them apostatize in a day of temptation, fear and shame.

Pulpit:

The cross of Christ appeared to the great body of mankind to be shameful and contemptible. To the Jews it was a stumbling-block, and to the Greek’s foolishness. Hence vast numbers, whether through shame or fear, did not dare to confess it, and still less to preach it. And therefore it is that Paul says (Romans 1:16), “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ.”

* * *

Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

Gill:

For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ,….

The reason why he was so ready and willing to preach it, even where he ran the greatest risk of his character and life, was, because it was “the Gospel of Christ” he preached, and he was not ashamed of it.

This supposes that some were, though the apostle was not, ashamed of the Gospel;

as all such are who hide and conceal it,…

who have abilities to preach it, and do not: or…

who preach, but not the Gospel; or…

who preach the Gospel only in part,…

who own that in private, they will not preach in public,…

and use ambiguous words, of doubtful signification, to cover themselves;

who blend the Gospel with their own inventions, seek to please men, and live upon popular applause, regard their own interest, and not Christ’s, and cannot bear the reproach of his Gospel.

It expresses, that the apostle was not ashamed of it; that is, to preach it, which he did fully and faithfully, plainly and consistently, openly and publicly, and boldly, in the face of all opposition:…

AS IT WAS IN THE DAYS OF NOAH, AS IT WAS IN THE DAYS OF LOT

Luke 17:26-30 And as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.

New Jersey law to require schools to teach LGBT history in class

LEAVE IT THERE

Leave It There

(1) If the world from you withhold of its silver and gold,
And you have to get along with meager fare,
Just remember, in his Word, how he feeds the little bird –
Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there.

Refrain:
Leave it there, leave it there, 
Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there;
If you trust and never doubt, he will surely bring you out.
Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there.

(2) If your body suffers pain and your health you can’t regain,
And your soul is almost sinking in despair,
Jesus knows the pain you feel, he can save and he can heal – 
Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there. [Refrain]

(3) When your enemies assail and your heart begins to fail,
Don’t forget that God in heaven answers prayer;
He will make a way for you and will lead you safely through –
Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there. [Refrain]

(4) When your youthful days are gone and old age is stealing on.
And your body bends beneath the weight of care,
He will never leave you then, he’ll go with you to the end –
Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there. [Refrain]

https://library.timelesstruths.org/music/Leave_It_There/

AND YET… DID NOT QUENCH HIS LOVE

Excerpt from… Streams In The Desert

The steep bits that take away our breath,

the stony bits that make our feet ache so,

the hot shadeless stretches that make us feel so exhausted,

the rushing rivers that we have to pass through —

Jesus has gone through it all before us.

“He was wearied with his journey.”

Not some, but all the many waters went over Him,

and yet…

did not quench His love.

He was made a perfect Leader by the things which He suffered.

—Frances Ridley Havergal

* * *

In “pastures green”? Not always; sometimes He

Who knowest best, in kindness leadeth me

In weary ways, where heavy shadows be.

So, whether on the hill-tops high and fair

I dwell, or in the sunless valleys, where

The shadows lie, what matter? He is there.

—Barry