Meditation Moments 114:
WE READ FROM EXODUS WHERE GOD IS SENDING MOSES TO DELIVER THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL. And the Lord said, "I have surely seen the affliction of My people which are in Egypt, and I have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; and I know their sorrows; and I am came 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...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." Now He was speaking here to Moses; "I will send thee that thou mayest bring forth My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.
"MOSES SAID UNTO GOD, WHO AM I THAT I SHOULD GO UNTO PHARAOH AND THAT I SHOULD BRING FORTH THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL OUT OF EGYPT? And He said, Certainly I will be with thee; and this shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee: When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain. And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is His name? What shall I say unto them? And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and He said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, and that His name is "I AM" -- never "I was," but "I AM," the UNCHANGING LORD.
IT'S SO WONDERFUL HAVING TO THINK THAT OUR GOD NEVER, NEVER CHANGES. What surety! What assurance! What security! And then a verse that's very companion to this out of the 13th chapter of Hebrews: "For He hath said, I will never leave thee nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me." Then, "Jesus Christ, the same yesterday and today and forever." God says, "I AM," and God's Word says here, "Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today and forever."
SOME TIME AGO, I WAS READING ABOUT THOSE DAYS BACK THERE WHEN THE HARDY PORTUGUESE COLONISTS WERE FOUNDING THIS CITY DOWN ON THE COAST OF CHINA, a city called Mateo. Vasco da Gama was their leader, and when they built the town of Mateo, they built a great cathedral there, and on the top of that cathedral they reared a great, beautiful, very large, bronze cross.
BUT AS THE YEARS PASSED BY, TIME WITH ALL OF ITS DECAY WAS TO MUCH FOR THAT CATHEDRAL, AND THEN CAME THE CHINA SIEGE, and all of the walls except one were broken down. That was a wall, the facade on which tower was this great bronze cross. Now many tourists passing by that place on the great ocean liners, would look up and see that old broken wall. Through it's gaping windows they could see the China sea beyond, but all was just broken and decayed rocks and tile lying around there, but this one wall standing with the cross upon it.
ONE DAY ON ONE OF THOSE SHIPS THERE WAS A MAN, AND HE WAS THE GOVERNOR, THE BRITISH GOVERNOR FOR HONG KONG. His name was Sir John Bowring. When he saw that great cross gleaming there in the sunlight, towering over all the wreckage of that old city, it so inspired his heart that he went down into that ship and taking pen in hand, wrote the old song we love so much:
IN THE CROSS OF CHRIST I GLORY,
Towering o'er the wrecks of time
All the light of sacred story
Gathers 'round its head sublime
When the woes of life o'ertake me
Hopes deceive and fears annoy
Never shall the cross forsake me
No, it glows with peace and joy
When the Son of bliss is beaming
Light and love upon my way
From the cross the radiance beaming
Adds more luster to my day
O vain and blessing, pain and pleasure
By the cross is sanctified
Peace is there that knows no measure
Joy that through all time abides.
THE THING THAT BROUGHT ALL THIS TO MY THOUGHTS WAS WHEN I WAS READING AGAIN THAT WONDERFUL VERSE OF SCRIPTURE IN 2ND CORINTHIANS, THE FIRST CHAPTER. I remember when I was in Pittsburgh some time ago, being called to pray for a young woman who had been 8 long years in bed, a total invalid, so pitiful and hopeless. The doctors had come to the place where they said they could do nothing at all for her. My husband and I went there and spent 10 days there. There we prayed and spent many hours in prayer. I kept thinking, "Oh Lord, so many have prayed with her, some very noted people of God's healing, and I just felt like I was so desperate. I just felt like I was so little, and I think a little fear came into my heart.
I KNELT BY THE BED AND OPENING TO THIS PASSAGE, WHICH IS ONE OF MY FAVORITE VERSES, "WHO DELIVERED US FROM SO GREAT A DEATH, AND DOTH DELIVER: IN WHOM WE TRUST HE WILL YET DELIVER US." Also a companion verse, it fell on the verse just before it, which I had never seemed to notice, and these are the words:
WE SHOULD NOT TRUST IN OURSELVES, BUT IN GOD, WHICH RAISETH THE DEAD." Then it came to me, why, it was nothing to do with me. It isn't trust in ourselves. What have I to do with it except to be an instrument? It's God who can do this work, no confidence in the flesh. No matter how we feel about ourselves, it's God that raiseth the dead.
SO I CALLED MY HUSBAND AND WE READ FROM THE GOSPEL, AND THE MOTHER AND THE FATHER OF THE GIRL WENT IN THE ROOM AND PRAYED FOR HER. Then, with all sincerity and faith in God, after that 10 days of fasting and prayer and much reading the Word, we bade her in the name of Jesus to rise...and she did! She rose from that bed. Eight years she had never been out of that bed, could not walk at all. It was a very serious illness, and an infection was final. She is still walking and God has wonderfully used that life.
WE TRUST NOT IN OURSELVES, BUT IN GOD, WHO RAISETH THE DEAD; Who delivereth us from so great a death, and doth deliver; in whom we trust He will yet deliver. Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today and forever." Oh, the unchanging Lord, the unchanging Christ, our blessed Lord never changes. And God said, "I AM, I AM."
SO MANY THINGS CHANGE TODAY, SO MANY SPRINGS RUN DRY. There are two kinds of springs, some we call "weather springs" and some we call "dry weather springs." In the early part of Summer, when much rain is falling, these little basins are formed in the creeks' banks that hold the water. But when the hot weather comes and rain ceases, the water's source dries up. They're springs that dry up because they have their source in an upper fountain.
SO MANY SOURCES OF PLEASURE AND COMFORT CHANGE AS THE YEARS GO BY, BUT THE CHRISTIAN'S JOY AND PEACE DOESN'T DRY UP OR CHANGE BECAUSE IT HAS ITS COURSE IN AN UPPER, EVERLASTING, FOUNTAIN -- THE UNCHANGING LORD. As God's Word says, "There is a stream that makes glad the heart of man." -- Psa.46:4. I want you as you read this message, to believe that the God who said all of these things through His Word is "I AM," no matter what anyone says to you. Christ is not changed, He's just the same. What He did for others in the past, He can do for you today!
WE TURN TO ANOTHER ONE OF THOSE PRECIOUS OLD HYMNS WITH THIS MESSAGE OF THE ONE WHO WE CAN ABIDE IN, WHO CHANGES NOT:
ABIDE WITH ME, FAST FALLS THE EVENTIDE
The darkness deepens, Lord with me abide
When other helpers fail and comforts flee
O, Thou who changest not, abide with me.
Swift to its close ebbs out life's little day;
Earth's joys grow dim, its glories pass away
Change and decay all around I see
O, Thou who changest not, abide with me.
We need Thy presence every passing hour
What but thy grace can spoil the tempter's power?
To light Thyself, our Guide, and say to Thee
O, Thou who changest not, abide with me!
I was raised in the Hegewisch neighborhood on the southeast side of Chicago, Illinois, served in the USAF from 1970 to 1974, and became a full-time missionary for Christ living 40 years in Japan, 3.5 years in Russia, and a few months in other countries such as Finland, Poland, Estonia, Latvia, South Korea, Taiwan and mainland China where I also served the King of Kings, Jesus, as an Ambassador for His Kingdom.
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