“Samuel took a stone and…named it Ebenezer, saying ‘Thus far has the Lord helped us.’” 1 Samuel 7:12 The Lord has helped is the meaning of the name, Lazarus, the man who Jesus raised from the dead after he was in the grave four days and stunk. It is also the meaning of the name of the high priest, Eleazar of the Hebrews.
“And he shall cleanse the house with the blood of the bird, and with the running water, and with the living bird, and with the cedar wood, and with the hyssop, and with the scarlet. Who is he that overcomes the world, but he that believes that Jesus is the Son of God? This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that bears witness, because the Spirit is truth. For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one. 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.” Leviticus 14:52, 1 John 5:5-8, Hebrews 4:14-16
Although we had just experienced heavy thunderstorms, the Spring Creek was trickling very low even though the Susquehanna River was running quite high, muddy and fast moving. At the dam there was tremendous force. All the streams will flow as one river to the City of our God.
Righteousness exalts a nation but sin is a reproach to any people.
God is in the details as we each examine our own hearts and allow Him to work through us, all the streams are flowing together as One river to the City of our God!
All things work TOGETHER for good to those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose.
In my dream last night, I saw a long time client who was divorced for many years. In the dream, their son had remained close to both parents and was with the mother helping her and working to bring the family’s heart back together. He was sharing “moving pictures” of his mother and she was bathing in a white dress in a rushing pool of water and as she swam, she no longer looked her age.
Remembering the purple and silver bracelet that the LORD gave me as we began our prayer-tour of the City Gates, the film The Color Purple came to mind. I have never seen this movie but understand that in spite of some rather objectionable parts, it was basically about the main character’s faith being developed to see God as He reveals Himself to her in everything. In spite of the pain and suffering, God is here with us and He gives us all we need so we should always be thankful and praise Him. As we relate to God, He reveals Himself more fully to us and we grow into mature in Him. God frees us from the bondage of sin so that we might live for Him by faith. We do not live in fear of sin but in freedom by faith, knowing the TRUTH that God is in control. Truth is free for us to give as well in love.
Interestingly, as The Color Purple concludes, the main character notes that though she is now old, she has never in her life felt younger.
“The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholds him with his hand. I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread. He is ever merciful, and lends; and his seed is blessed.”
Ho, every one that thirsts, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.
Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labor for that which satisfies not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.
Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.
Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people.
Behold, thou shalt call a nation that thou knows not, and nations that knew not thee shall run unto thee because of the LORD thy God, and for the Holy One of Israel; for he hath glorified thee.
Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:
Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and returns not thither, but waters the earth, and makes it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:
So shall my word be that goes forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the LORD for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.
There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early. The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted. The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.”
All the streams will flow as ONE river to the City of our God.
“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 believes on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.”
Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it,
Mount of Thy redeeming love.
Sorrowing I shall be in spirit,
Till released from flesh and sin,
Yet from what I do inherit,
Here Thy praises I’ll begin;
Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Here by Thy great help I’ve come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood;
How His kindness yet pursues me
Mortal tongue can never tell,
Clothed in flesh, till death shall loose me
I cannot proclaim it well.
O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.
O that day when freed from sinning,
I shall see Thy lovely face;
Clothed then in blood washed linen
How I’ll sing Thy sovereign grace;
Come, my Lord, no longer tarry,
Take my ransomed soul away;
Send thine angels now to carry
Me to realms of endless day.
The author of this hymn, Robinson, his widowed mother sent him at age 14 to London, to learn the trade of barber and hair dresser. However, his master found he enjoyed reading more than work. Converted to Christ at age 17, Robinson became a Methodist minister. He later moved to the Baptist church and pastored in Cambridge, England. He wrote a number of hymns, as well as on the subject of theology. His later life was evidently not an easy one, judging from a well known story about his hymn “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing.” One day, he encountered a woman who was studying a hymnal, and she asked how he liked the hymn she was humming. In tears, he replied, “Madam, I am the poor unhappy man who wrote that hymn many years ago, and I would give a thousand worlds, if I had them, to enjoy the feelings I had then.”
Jeremiah 2:13, “For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.”
1 Corinthians 10:16-17, “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.”
Romans 10:8-13, “But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; 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 believes unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believes on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”