Our last series on Portraits of Christ ended with the last verses of the Bible. "He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen." (Revelation 22:20-21) We are going to make a smooth transition from these verses to our new theme, "Come Unto Me". Our text is Matthew 11:28, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Most of us know what it is to labor and be heavy laden. Daily chores and expectations are enough to make us weary and weak, and that is when times are good. Challenges and storms often bring us to our knees, but praise the Lord, we have someone we can turn to. Jesus extends the invitation, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Please join us for the next week or so as we look at some of the scriptures bidding us to "Come."
2. The Lord's First Invitation To Come
As we begin our theme, "Come Unto Me", let's look at the very first invitation to "Come" from the Lord. We have to go all the way back to Genesis 7:1-5, to the very familiar story of Noah and the ark.
1 And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation.
2 Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female.
3 Of fowls also of the air by sevens, the male and the female; to keep seed alive upon the face of all the earth.
4 For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth.
5 And Noah did according unto all that the LORD commanded him." Genesis 7:1-5
God saw the wickedness of mankind and decided to send a flood and destroy the world. "But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD." (Genesis 6:8) Our focus from this account is that the Lord did not say, "Go into the ark", but He said "Come thou and all thy house into the ark..." The Lord was already there, waiting to go with Noah through the storm! Not only was the Lord protecting them from the flood, He was protecting them from the wicked that would destroy them. "And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him: and the LORD shut him in." (Genesis 7:16) If you come to the Lord now you can find grace in the eyes of the Lord just as Noah did. If you choose not to come to the Lord, be aware that one day it will be too late and the doors of God's heavenly eternity will be shut. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." (John 3:16-18)
3. The Lord Came To Deliver
Today we find our scripture in Exodus 3:7-10. "And the LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows; And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites. Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel is come unto me: and I have also seen the oppression wherewith the Egyptians oppress them. Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt." (Exodus 3:7-10) In these verses we see that the Lord told Moses, "I am come down to deliver them..." and that is just what He did, with amazing miracles and a mighty hand. Now, let's look forward about 1,500 years. When John was born to Zacharias the priest and Elisabeth in their old age the Holy Ghost filled Zacharias and he prophesied of the coming of Jesus. "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people, And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David;... That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us; To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant;... That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear, In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life" (Portions of Luke 1:68-75) God sent His Son to deliver the Israelites, but not only His chosen people. Jesus came to give His life to deliver all those who would come to Him. "Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father: To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen." (Galatians 1:3-5)
4. Come With Your Family To Worship
After several of the plagues on Egypt Pharaoh told Moses and Aaron that he would let the men go and worship. I really like Moses' answer in verse 9 and again in verse 26. He was very thorough with his response to Pharaoh. He includes all in verse 9 and in verse 26 he says, "there shall not an hoof be left behind..." We need to take the same approach with our families in worship. Include your children in your walk with the Lord. Pray with them. Read God's Word to them. Let them help you in your service to God. You can be sure the world is doing all it can to take our children. We must be deligent in leading them to the Lord. Say with Joshua, "And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. (Joshua 24:15)
Exodus 10:8 And Moses and Aaron were brought again unto Pharaoh: and he said unto them, Go, serve the LORD your God: but who are they that shall go?
9 And Moses said, We will go with our young and with our old, with our sons and with our daughters, with our flocks and with our herds will we go; for we must hold a feast unto the LORD.
10 And he said unto them, Let the LORD be so with you, as I will let you go, and your little ones: look to it; for evil is before you.
11 Not so: go now ye that are men, and serve the LORD; for that ye did desire. And they were driven out from Pharaoh's presence.
(Verses 12-23 tell of the plague of locusts and also the plague of darkness.)
24 And Pharaoh called unto Moses, and said, Go ye, serve the LORD; only let your flocks and your herds be stayed: let your little ones also go with you.
25 And Moses said, Thou must give us also sacrifices and burnt offerings, that we may sacrifice unto the LORD our God.
26 Our cattle also shall go with us; there shall not an hoof be left behind; for thereof must we take to serve the LORD our God; and we know not with what we must serve the LORD, until we come thither.
5. Come Up Into The Mount
Today we have another invitation from the Lord, as spoken to Moses in Exodus 24:12, 15-18. "And the LORD said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there: and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them...
And Moses went up into the mount, and a cloud covered the mount. And the glory of the LORD abode upon mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days: and the seventh day he called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud. And the sight of the glory of the LORD was like devouring fire on the top of the mount in the eyes of the children of Israel. And Moses went into the midst of the cloud, and gat him up into the mount: and Moses was in the mount forty days and forty nights." It is wonderful when the Lord meets with us on the mountaintop. Sometimes we feel His presence and His glory shines down on us. We may spend days and even nights high up on the mountain. As for Moses, there came a time when he had to go back down the mountain. "And the LORD said unto Moses, Go, get thee down; for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves: They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt." (Exodus 32:7-8) Moses had not done anything wrong, but the people had committed great sin. Sometimes we can be enjoying the good life, everything seems to be smooth sailing, we are on top of the world, but something happens to bring us down. It can be that we fall into temptation, or it may not be anything that we did. It can be something that we have no control over. We can go to church on Sunday and shout the victory, but the next day is Monday, and the devil will try to bring defeat. When Moses came down from the mount he was angry and threw down the commandments and broke them. But that was not the end. God called him back up the mountain and gave him another set of the written Word. If you are on the mountaintop, then rejoice! If you have fallen down the other side, then look to the Lord in prayer and through His Word. King David learned it well. "But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth." (Psalms 86:15)
6. "There Shall Come A Star!"
If the media reported that a great star was coming to your area I am sure that many people would get excited and there would be lots of fans to meet the person. Well, way back in the time of Moses, God told that a Star would come out of Jacob. "I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, ..." (Numbers 24:17) Now we fast-forward to the New Testament with this familiar account of our Christmas story.
"1 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,
2 Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.
3 When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.
4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born.
5 And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet,
6 And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.
7 Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared.
8 And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.
9 When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.
10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.
11 And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh." (Matthew 2:1-11)
It was prophesied that He would come. He came as promised and still lives with an invitation for whosoever will to come to Him. Won't you come to the great Star of David? He is the greatest Star you will ever have a chance to meet. "I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star. And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely." (Revelation 22:16-17)
7. When We Come To Appear Before The Lord
As we continue to work our way through some of the "Comes" of the Old Testament and see how we can apply them to our lives today, we come to Deuteronomy 31:11. "When all Israel is come to appear before the LORD thy God in the place which he shall choose, thou shalt read this law before all Israel in their hearing." As I read this verse I thought of how we all shall "come to appear before the Lord." We read in the Bible in three different places that every knee shall bow to the Lord Jesus Christ. First in Isaiah 45:22-23, "Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear." Then in Romans 14:11-12. "For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God." And finally in Philippians 2:5-11.
"5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."
It is very clear that we all will come before God and confess and give all praise to Jesus Christ the Lord! John tells more in the book of Revelation 5:11-13. "And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever." You can read more in Revelation 20 about God Almighty on the great white throne of judgment and how only those whose names are written in the book of life have peace with God. Is your name in God's book of life? Have you accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior? God is real and one day we will all come before Him. Are you ready?
8. All Of God's Promises Come To Pass
Today we see that everything God says will come to pass. Just before he died Joshua testified of the faithfulness of God. "There failed not ought of any good thing which the LORD had spoken unto the house of Israel; all came to pass." "And, behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth: and ye know in all your hearts and in all your souls, that not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the LORD your God spake concerning you; all are come to pass unto you, and not one thing hath failed thereof." (Joshua 21:45 and 23:14) We see this truth from Moses. "Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations;" (Deuteronomy 7:9) And also in the New Testament. "Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) (Hebrews 10:23) All these scriptures assure us that God is faithful to keep His Word. He is also faithful to forgive us of our sin when we confess to Him. "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (I John 1:9) Just as God is faithful to keep His promises for our good, He is also faithful to keep His Word when we turn away from Him. John 3:16 is a very familiar verse to many people. If we keep reading we see the truth about not turning to the Lord for salvation. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God... He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him." (John 3:16-18, 36) God is faithful! All that God says shall surely come to pass! This can be a comforting promise to those who believe, but will be a terrible tragedy to those who refuse to turn to the Lord.
9. Come To Trust The Lord
The book of Ruth tells how Elimelech and Naomi left their home in Bethlehemjudah and went to the country of Moab during the time of famine. While they were in Moab their two sons married. Elimelech and the two sons died and Naomi decided to go back home. She told her daughters-in-law to go back to their families but Ruth refused to leave Naomi. "And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:" (Ruth 1:16) Ruth went to work in the fields and God led her to the fields of Boaz, who was a kinsman redeemer. He had heard of how kind Ruth had been to Naomi and told her, "The LORD recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the LORD God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust." (Ruth 2:12) Ruth had come to trust the Lord to be her God. God blessed Ruth and Naomi and King David was born in their line a few generations down. David wrote Psalms about trusting in the shadow of the wings of God. "How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings." (Psalms 36:7) "Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice." (Psalms 63:7) Now let's turn to the New Testament. Before the Lord went to the cross He wept over Jerusalem. "And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it," (Luke 19:41) He also said, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!" (Matthew 23:37) Today things continue to get worse and worse in this old world. Jesus is waiting for you to come to Him and put your trust in Him as your Lord and Savior. He will put His arm around you and protect you just as a mother hen protects her chicks. I leave you with these verses from wise King Solomon. "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." (Proverbs 3:5-6)
10. What Comes Out Of Your Mouth?
Let's just jump right into our verse today... "Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let not arrogancy come out of your mouth: for the LORD is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed." (I Samuel 2:3) "A proud look" tops the list of seven things that the Lord hates in Proverbs 6:16-19. This verse reiterates this truth that we are not to talk proudly or let arrogancy come out of our mouths. Three of the seven things have to do with things we say, "...a lying tongue... a false witness that speaketh lies... and he that soweth discord among brethren." There are more verses that warn us to be careful in what we say. When the Pharisees complained that the disciples ate without washing their hands, the Lord explained it to the disciples like this. "Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught? But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man." (Matthew 15:17-20) There are many more verses that caution us to be careful of what comes out of our mouths but I don't think any are as straightforward as James.
"2 For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.
3 Behold, we put bits in the horses' mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body.
4 Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth.
5 Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!
6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.
7 For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind:
8 But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison." (James 3:2-8)
11. "Who Knoweth Whether Thou Art Come To The Kingdom For Such A Time As This?"
I enjoy reading the book of Esther and I think the turning point may be when Mordecai says to Esther, "For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father's house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?" (Esther 4:14) As we go through life there may come times of trouble and we don't know what to do, but it seems that God has put us in the right place at just the right time. There may be people that God puts in your life who need to be told of Him, and you are there "for such a time as this." You may have friends that are going through a really hard time and you have been in their shoes in the past, and God has put you in their lives "for such a time as this." Sometimes we read stories of "heros" who have saved someone from a fall, or a fire, or some disaster and when interviewed they say that they did not feel heroic, they were just at the right place at the right time. In the same way, we can help save the lost from having a disastrous end by witnessing to them at the right time. We need to pray that God will lead us to help those who need Him. Then, when we find ourselves in those special situations, pray that God will give us the right words to help them find the Lord. And if you find yourself in some unusual place and you don't quite know why you are there, ask yourself if God has put you there "for such a time as this".
12. I Shall Come Forth As Gold
Our title today comes from Job. He lost his wealth, his health, and his children. As he sat on an ash heap, scraping his sores with broken pottery, his wife (who also lost her children) told him, "Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die." (Job 2:9) His three friends came to comfort him, but after their scorn and condemnation Job said, "I have heard many such things: miserable comforters are ye all." (Job 16:2) I am sure Job felt as low as man can go, but he did not lose his faith in his God. "For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:" (Job 19:25) And for our title verse, "But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold." (Job 23:10) All of that was my introduction... now for our thoughts for today. Sometimes God leads us through the valleys of sorrow or sickness. We may have trials and tribulation. I am afriad that I often complain when the way gets hard. I don't always take time to consider that my life is in His hands. It takes a lot of courage and faith in the Lord to say as Job, "But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold." Paul had this living faith. "And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us." (Romans 5:3-5) Whatever you are going through, look up. We don't get anywhere looking down, but God can give us hope and peace when we look up to Him. And just as gold is refined by the fire, maybe one day we can say like Job, "...when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold."
13. When Day And Night Come To An End
Job is thought by many to be the oldest book of the Bible, one reason being that there is no mention of the law. Even way back then, so close to the beginning of time, Job realized that one day time would be no more. "He hath compassed the waters with bounds, until the day and night come to an end." (Job 26:10) The prophet Daniel has a lot to say about the "time of the end." (Daniel 8:17, 19; 11:27, 35, 40; and 12:4 & 9) The book of Revelation tells us that time will come to an end. "And sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer:" (Revelation 10:6) In the end of Revelation we find that there will not only be no more time, but several other things will end. I believe that we are nearing the end of time. Are you ready to meet the Lord?
"1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.
6 And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.
21 And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.
22 And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.
23 And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.
24 And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it.
25 And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there.
26 And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it.
27 And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life. (Revelation 21)
3 And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him:
4 And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads.
5 And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.
6 And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done.
7 Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book." (Revelation 22)
14. Come And Hear
Today I choose two verses from the book of Psalms. "Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he hath done for my soul." (Psalms 66:16) "Now also when I am old and grayheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to every one that is to come." (Psalms 71:18) My daughter found out today that she is going to have a baby girl. Since she and her husband have a two year old boy, they are excited that this one will be a girl. As a grandma, I am also excited to celebrate this new little life. I want to tell my friends, "Did you hear? Susanna is going to have a girl!" I should be just as excited to tell what God has done for me. When I trusted in Jesus Christ to be my Lord and Savior, He gave me new life. I can say with Paul, "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." (II Corinthians 5:17) I have a thankful heart when I get up each morning knowing that the Lord will be with me all the day, and I have peace when I lay down each night. He provides my needs and gives me many of my desires. He protects me and guides me through the storms of this life. He feeds me from His Word and helps me grow and shows me the right paths to take step by step, day by day. As the Spirit wrote to the seven churches in Revelation He told each one, "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches." (Revelation 2:7,11,17,29, and 3:6, 13, & 22) It is important that we hear what God has to say. It is also imperative that we tell others what great things Christ has done for us! Today I want to extend the same invitation as the Psalmist, "Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he hath done for my soul." He is my Lord and my God and He hears and answers my prayers. He so loved me that He gave His life and saved me through His marvelous mercy and grace. "For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name." (Luke 1:49)
15. Generations To Come
I found this quote by Ronald Reagan, the 40th President of the United States, online and thought we could apply it to our religious freedom as well as many other freedoms we have. "Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.” Moses warned the Children of Israel that they should teach their children of God at all times. "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up." (Deuteronomy 6:4-7) We are reminded of this again in Psalms 78:4-7. "We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done. For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children: That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children: That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments:" (Psalms 78:4-7) We can be thankful today that the generations of the past have handed down the precious truths of God's Word. We must also be diligent to teach them to our children and our children's children so that the generations to come may have the same opportunities to know the Lord as we have been awarded.
16. "O Come, Let Us Sing Unto The Lord"
We are still in the book of Psalms in our series on "Come" so this verse could not be more appropriate. "O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation." (Psalms 95:1) The world does their part in singing and making a loud noise. As Christians we have much more to sing about. These Psalms give us a few reasons to sing unto the Lord our God.
"1 Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.
2 Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.
3 Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
5 For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations."
Psalms 9:2 " I will be glad and rejoice in thee: I will sing praise to thy name, O thou most High."
Psalms 13:6 "I will sing unto the LORD, because he hath dealt bountifully with me."
Psalms 59:16 "But I will sing of thy power; yea, I will sing aloud of thy mercy in the morning: for thou hast been my defence and refuge in the day of my trouble."
Psalms 89:1 "I will sing of the mercies of the LORD for ever: with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations."
Psalms 101:1 "I will sing of mercy and judgment: unto thee, O LORD, will I sing."
Psalms 104:33 "I will sing unto the LORD as long as I live: I will sing praise to my God while I have my being."
And I say, "Amen, Glory to His name!"
17. "Come Before His Presence With Thanksgiving"
The cooler weather and turning leaves bring to remembrance all the things I like about autumn. The most important, being Thanksgiving. In just a few weeks many will be gathering with family and friends around the table taking time to give thanks to our Lord God Almighty. We don't need to wait until November to give thanks. In our devotions yesterday we saw that we can come before His presence with singing. Today we see that we should also come before His presence with thanksgiving. The two go hand in hand. "Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms." (Psalms 95:2) "Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations." (Psalms 100:4-5) "Sing unto the LORD with thanksgiving; sing praise upon the harp unto our God:" (Psalms 147:7) In fact, one of the sacrifices in the Old Testament was the sacrifice of thanksgiving. "And when ye will offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving unto the LORD, offer it at your own will." (Leviticus 22:29) "And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing." (Psalms 107:22) Paul warned young Timothy of the bad deeds of the world in the last days and among the proud, blasphemers, and unholy we find them to be unthankful. (II Timothy 3:2) In the book of Psalms a thought is repeated over and over. "O give thanks unto the LORD, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever." (Psalms 107:1) If you have no other reason to be thankful unto the Lord, then give Him thanks because He is good and His mercy endureth forever.
18. "O Come, Let Us Worship And Bow Down"
We come to the Lord with singing. We come to the Lord with thanksgiving. Now for maybe the most important thought, we come to the Lord in worship and bow down. "O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker." (Psalms 95:6) When the Lord appeared to Abraham we read that "Abram fell on his face..." (Genesis 17:3) Joshua fell on his face and worshipped when confronted with the "captain of the host of the Lord" in Joshua 5:14. Ezekiel was very descriptive in trying to tell his vision of the glory of the Lord. "And I saw as the colour of amber, as the appearance of fire round about within it, from the appearance of his loins even upward, and from the appearance of his loins even downward, I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and it had brightness round about. As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake." (Ezekiel 1:27-28) Daniel also said, "...I was afraid, and fell upon my face: but he said unto me, Understand, O son of man: for at the time of the end shall be the vision. Now as he was speaking with me, I was in a deep sleep on my face toward the ground: but he touched me, and set me upright." (Daniel 8:17-18) These were all great men of God and accomplished great things, and they all started at the same place... on their faces before the Lord. When we see how great God is, it will bring us to our knees in reverance to Him. Only then can we do great things for the Lord. "But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble... Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up." James 4:6 & 10)
19. "Bring An Offering, And Come Into His Courts"
Today we are looking at Psalms 96:8 for our next devotion on how we are to come to the Lord. "Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come into his courts." We are to come with an offering. One of my favorite verses about giving to the Lord is Malachi 3:10, "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it." We even have the Word of our Lord found in Luke 6:38. "Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again." So we see that the Word of God is very plain. The more we give to God, the more God returns back to us. We are not to give just so we will receive. But we should remember that all we have is from the Lord, and without Him we have nothing. "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." (James 1:17) Also, He gave us the ultimate gift, and we could never repay Him. "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." (John 15:13)
20. Let Your Cry Come Unto The Lord
For the last few days we have looked at ways we come to the Lord. We come to Him with song and thanksgiving, with humbleness of heart, and with an offering. All of these are ways that we come to Him in worship. Today we see that we can come to Him in need, letting our cry come unto the Lord. "(Prayer of the afflicted, when he is overwhelmed, and poureth out his complaint before the LORD.) Hear my prayer, O LORD, and let my cry come unto thee." (Psalms 102:1) "Let my cry come near before thee, O LORD: give me understanding according to thy word." (Psalms 119:169) When I am afflicted with sickness, I can cry unto the Lord. When I am overwhelmed by circumstances beyond my control, I know that He has ultimate control, and I can cry unto Him. When I need someone to talk to, I can come to the Lord in prayer, assured that He always hears. David knew how important our tears are to God, as we read in Psalms 56:8, "Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book?" Many times we have needs and we try as we can to work it out on our own. When we come to the end of our resources we turn to God in prayer. What a difference it would make if we turned to God first, and let our cry come unto Him!
21. Come With Rejoicing!
When I was just a young girl I remember going to bed weeping over the souls of the kids in our neighborhood. I prayed and cried over them, telling myself that I would be a better witness to them. There have been others that I wept over, but I found it so hard to sow the precious seed in just the right words. Psalms 126:6 has such a beautiful promise. "He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him." The precious seed is God's Word, as we find in the parable Jesus told of the sower. Are we sowing the seed? When we meet our blessed Savior, will we come with rejoicing?
"5 A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it.
6 And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture.
7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it.
8 And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold. And when he had said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
9 And his disciples asked him, saying, What might this parable be?
10 And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand.
11 Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.
12 Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.
13 They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.
14 And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.
15 But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience." (Luke 8:5-15)
22. "Remember Now Thy Creator In The Days Of Thy Youth, While The Evil Days Come Not"
My title today is taken from Ecclesiastes 12:1. The first seven verses of this chapter tell of the "evil days" of old age. Some examples are in verse 3, "In the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble..." refers to the shaking of the knees and unsteady walk of the elderly and "...the strong men shall bow themselves..." is the bent posture. "...The grinders cease because they are few..." are the teeth and "...those that look out of the windows be darkened" is the failing eye sight. There are many more examples of the "evil days" of growing old. I have included the verses below so you can find more metaphors. Today I want to make a plea to all who are putting off salvation because you want to live your life while you are young. You have heard the gospel message over and over again. You may be planning to accept the Lord as your Savior when you are old, but now you don't want restrictions on the way you live. You want to do what you want to do. Please, don't wait any longer. This chapter begins, "Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not..." (Ecclesiastes 12:1) Look around. Evil days have come! The world system continues on a downhill slide at a breakneck pace. Paul warned young Timothy, "This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away... But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived." (II Timothy 3:1-5 & 13) We are in the last days! What will you do if you put off salvation until tomorrow, and there is no tomorrow? Being saved is an simple as A, B, C. Admit Romans 3:23, "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;" and Romans 6:23, "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." Believe and Confess to God. "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.... For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." (Romans 10:9, 10 & 13)
"1 Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them;
2 While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain:
3 In the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble, and the strong men shall bow themselves, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those that look out of the windows be darkened,
4 And the doors shall be shut in the streets, when the sound of the grinding is low, and he shall rise up at the voice of the bird, and all the daughters of musick shall be brought low;
5 Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high, and fears shall be in the way, and the almond tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail: because man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets:
6 Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern.
7 Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it." (Ecclesiastes 12:1-7)
23. An Invitation From The Lord
For the past week we looked at how we are to come to the Lord. Today we see an inviation from the Lord. "Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool." (Isaiah 1:18) What a pleading message. The Lord has everything to give to us and we have nothing to offer to Him. We can't even clean ourselves up to come to Him. But He has promised, "though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow..." We can come to Him just as we are, but we will come away a new person. What are you waiting for?
24. "Suffer The Little Children To Come Unto Me"
"And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them. But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them." (Mark 10:13-16) We drove down south a little ways this weekend to spend some time with our family. It was so wonderful to see the grandchildren again. I love little children, and needless to say, my grandchildren have a very special place in my heart. Children had a special place in the Lord's heart also. The disciples thought Jesus was too busy or important to spend His time with children, but Jesus called the children to Him and took them up in His arms and blessed them. I am so glad that children are welcome in our worship services at Pine Grove Baptist Church in High Point, NC. And even though we may hear one cry out from time to time, I count it a blessing that their parents or grandparents love them enough to bring them to God's house. If you live in central North Carolina and are looking for a place to worship with your children, please visit with us. You will receive a blessing!
25. Come And See
When Jesus came, He did not come in darkness, but He came as the Light of the world. "I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness." (John 12:46) The most important thing about light is that it allows us to see. John opens his book telling about this Light. "In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not." (John 1:4-5) A little farther in the chapter we read, "And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, What seek ye? They said unto him, Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted, Master,) where dwellest thou? He saith unto them, Come and see. ... (John 1:37-39) A few more verses and we read, "Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see." (John 1:45-46) As we meet Jesus and receive His gift of light we should share that light with others, as Philip did and also as the Samaritan woman did after she met Jesus at the well. "Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?" (John 4:29) I am so thankful for the Light. I can say with the blind man, "..one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see." (John 9:25)
26. "If Any Man Thirst, Let Him Come Unto Me"
I mentioned the Samaritan woman yesterday, and today I want to back up in her story and talk about the Living Water.
"9 Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.
10 Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.
11 The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water?
12 Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle?
13 Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again:
14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
15 The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw." (John 4:9-15)
The prophet Isaiah called out, "Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come..." (Isaiah 55:1) Again in John 7:37-38 we find an invitation to all who thirst to come to the Living Water. "In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water." We also have this promise, "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled." (Matthew 5:6) Are you tired of seeking for something that will satisfy? Are you thirsting for the things of God? Jesus' invitation still stands. "And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst... All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out." (John 6:35 & 37)
27. Come Apart Before You Come Apart
I heard a message with this title years ago. The preacher was talking about coming apart from the stress and duties of the world, before coming apart at the seams. Many have closed out their summer vacation time periods and are now back to work without many days off until Thanksgiving and Christmas. God knows that our frail human bodies need rest. That is why He gave the Children of Israel the sabbath day. During His ministry on earth, Jesus knew that the disciples needed rest. He called the twelve disciples to Him and sent them out two by two to preach and heal the sick. We see their return in Mark 6:30-31. "And the apostles gathered themselves together unto Jesus, and told him all things, both what they had done, and what they had taught. And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat." They had worked hard and they needed to rest. Another time we see Jesus come apart is in Matthew 14:23. "And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone." Jesus knew the importance in coming apart to pray. We were reminded of this in our opening devotional for this theme. "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28) How much more do we need to get alone with God, putting aside the cares and interruptions of this world? Our final thought for today is found in John 14:1-3. "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." There is coming a day when the Lord will come to take us out of this cruel world to our heavenly home to live for evermore. I believe it will be very soon. Are you ready for His coming?
28. Come Boldly To The Throne Of Grace And Obtain Mercy
Grace and mercy. I once heard that grace is getting what you don't deserve, forgiveness and life everlasting. Along with that thought, mercy is not getting what you do deserve, as we all deserve death and punishment for our sin. This is well said in Romans 6:23, "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord'. Because of God's wonderful amazing grace and abundant mercy I can go to Him in prayer. "Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." (Hebrews 4:14-16) When I am tired and weary, He gives me rest for my soul. When I am afraid, He calms my fears. When I have a problem, I can put my trust in Him. When I have sinned, He gives me forgiveness. God supplies all my needs and lets His blessings overflow in my life. He gives me protection from the storms of this life. And along with the grace and mercy, He gives me peace. "Grace be with you, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love." (II John 1:3)
29. "Behold, I Come Quickly"
To end our devotions on "Come Unto Me" let's look at the end of the Bible. Four times in the book of Revelation the Lord says, "I come quickly." I have heard preachers say that once the last soul is saved, then the Lord will come for His bride. Once He comes it will be too late for those who never said, "Yes" to God's free gift of salvation. It will be too late for the church members who heard the Lord knocking at their heart's door and they never opened their heart to Him. It will be too late for people who served God in appearance only, with good intentions. Jesus said, "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." (Matthew 7:21-23) So, today I ask the question, "Do you know that you know the Lord as your personal Savior?" Maybe He has stood outside your door time and time again. Isn't it time you said, "Yes, Lord" and confess your sins, in full belief and acceptance of His wonder work of love? He said, "Behold, I come quickly." Are you ready?
"Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown...
Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." (Revelation 3:11 & 20)
"Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book...
And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be...
And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely...
He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus." (Revelation 22: 7, 12, 17, & 20)