Notre Dame fire

For the past 2 days many of us have followed updates on the tragic fire at the 850-year old Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.  I’ve had a fascination with France and the French language since 2004, while I was still in High School, and French was one of my main subjects for 3 years when I completed my degree.  Combined with my love for history and historic places, this tragedy has touched my heart, and I am saddened that I will never get to visit this amazing architectural wonder in its original form.

Yet, for the past 2 days I have been constantly reminded of Scriptures as I followed the news.  In sharing this, I don’t wish to belittle this tragedy in any way, or imply that it’s insignificant or that God doesn’t care about it.  I believe He cares.  These Bible verses have simply quite significantly come to my mind as I followed the progress of this event, and I hope it will encourage each one reading it.

Notre_Dame_Eiffel_Tower

For someone who has never visited France or the Notre Dame before, some of the photos that I saw online seemed unidentifiable, without enough context.  Until I saw this photo above.  As I saw the landmark Eiffel Tower in the background, smoke rolling up into the sky, I was reminded of the following Scripture:

“Yet the Most High does not dwell in houses made by hands, as the prophet says, ‘Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house will you build for me, says the Lord, or what is the place of my rest?  Did not my hand make all these things?’ ”
~ Acts 7:48-50 ~
“The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man…”
~ Act 17:24 ~

What a terrible state we would be in if our amazing Creator-God was limited to living in man-made buildings?  My mind keeps thinking that, if my God had been limited to houses made by human hands, this 850-year old cathedral might have been a quite significant house for Him.

But He doesn’t.

God is the Creator of each tree that had been used as beams in the Notre Dame, each stone and the iron from which the nails were made.  He created the humans who planned and built it, and gave each of them the inspiration and talents to do it.

But He is omnipresent – everywhere at every moment, intimately involved in everything and every person He created.  He lives in Heaven and everywhere on Earth, and everywhere in between.  (See Acts 7 above.)  He lives in us when we accept Him and He stays (“dwells”) with us when we open the doors of our lives to Him. (Revelation 3:20)  He gives us His Holy Spirit to help us wherever we go.

No, my God is not limited to buildings, how impressive they may be.

“Only what’s done for Christ will last…”

The_cross_will_stand.jpg

This picture started circulating shortly after the fire had been put out, with plenty of inspiration going with it.  It reminded me of a poem by C.T. Studd, by the name of Only One Life.  The final two lines of each stanza throughout the poem is:

Only one life,’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 3:9-17 that we are God’s temples.  See the picture above as a spiritual picture, and as you read the Scripture below, keep in mind that it’s not a reflection on the physical building of the Notre Dame, but that the above photo is a picture of God’s spiritual Truth:

“… ye are God’s building.  According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon.  But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.  For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.  Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.  If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.  If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss:  but he himself shall be saved;  yet so as by fire.  Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?  If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.”

It’s a hard Word to read this morning.  We each have the responsibility to take care of God’s Holy temple – ourselves:  body, soul and spirit – and to live a life that will withstand the test of time.  If our lives are not filled with acts of kindness, love, compassion and forgiveness – just like Jesus showed us through His Life – we might be saved and in heaven with Him one day, but leaving no legacy of the One Who saved us for future generations.

I do believe that the builders of the Notre Dame built something that withstood the test of time.  A building that stood for 850 years is very, very impressive, and no small feat!  But what is left in the ruins points us to God Who came down to die for His creation, suffering incredible damage to His Body so that, after the fire, we may live eternally in a city made of pure gold, with our very Creator.

As we see more of the Notre Dame fire in the news, may you be reminded of the Cross that withstood the test of all time, and the love of your Saviour that suffered death and hell to spend eternity with you.

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Looking for a city

Here among the shadows
(Living) in a lonely land (with strangers)
We’re a band of pilgrims on the move
(Through dangers) burdened down with sorrows
(And we’re) shunned on every hand
(But we are) looking for a city built above

(Oh yes, we’re looking here and there) Looking for a city (looking for a city)
(Yonder where we’ll never die) Where we’ll never die (never die, no never)
(And up there there with all the saints) There the sainted millions (yes with all the millions)
(We will never say goodbye) Never say goodbye (say goodbye, no never)
(Yes and when we gather there) Where we’ll meet our Saviour (we’ll meet Christ our Saviour)
(Glory and we know we’ll meet) And our loved ones, too (friends and all our loved ones)
(Now we pray thee quickly come) Come oh Holy Spirit (Sprit, come, oh Spirit)
(Come oh, come on thee we call) All our hopes renew (all our hopes renew)

In this land of dangers
(We are) going here and there
(We’re simply) trusting in the blessed Savior’s love (with mercy)
Though we may be stangers
(Living) in this world of care
(We’re always) looking for a city built above

~ Written by:  Unknown
Performed by:  Gaither Homecoming Friends ~

Hebrews 11
8  By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.  9  By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:  10  For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose Builder and Maker is God.
13  These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.  14  For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.  15  And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.  16  But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for He hath prepared for them a city.

See previous post:  Heavenly Perspective

I wait upon You, LORD

I wait upon You, LORD
I wait upon Your Spirit
I wait upon You, LORD,
for Your Spirit is renewing me

I wait upon You, LORD
I wait upon Your Spirit
to bring refreshing anointing oil,
for Your Spirit is renewing me!

Come now, Holy Spirit, do the work in me:
renew my mind, my heart, my soul – set me free to be
more like You in every way,
that I might glorify Your Name

and the world may see Jesus in me.

~ Unknown ~

Isaiah 40:31
“But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

Philippians 1:6
“Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ…”

Don’t Quit

Romans 5:3-6 
“… 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.  For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.”

Don’t quit

When things go wrong as they sometimes will,
and the road you’re trudging seems all uphill.
When funds are low and the debts are high,
and you want to smile but you have to sigh.

When things are pressing you down a bit,
rest if you must, but don’t you quit!
Life is strange with its twists and turns,
as every one of us sometimes learns.

And many a failure turns about,
when he might have won if he’d stuck it out.
Don’t give up, though the pace seems slow –
you might succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than
it seems, to a faint and faltering man.
Often the struggler has given up,
when he might have captured the victor’s cup.

And he learned too late, when the night slipped down,
how close he was to the golden crown.
Success is failure turned inside out –
the silver tint of the clouds of doubt.

You never can tell how close you are,
it may be near when it seems afar.
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit –
it’s when things seem worst that you mustn’t quit.

~ Author unknown ~

1 Corinthians 10:13 
“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”

Mark 13:13
“And ye shall be hated of all men for My Name’s sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.”

Jesus Christ’s ascension

John 14:1-6
“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.  And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.”  Thomas saith unto Him, “Lord, we know not whither Thou goest; and how can we know the way?”  Jesus saith unto Him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.”

John 16:5-16
“But now I go My way to Him that sent Me; and none of you asketh Me, ‘Whither goest Thou?’  But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart.  Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you.  And when He is come, He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:  …  I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.  Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will shew you things to come.  He shall glorify Me: for He shall receive of Mine, and shall shew it unto you.  All things that the Father hath are Mine: therefore said I, that He shall take of Mine, and shall shew it unto you.  A little while, and ye shall not see Me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see Me, because I go to the Father.”

Acts 1:1-11
… all that Jesus began both to do and teach,  Until the day in which He was taken up, after that He through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom He had chosen:  To whom also He shewed Himself alive after His passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:  And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but “wait for the promise of the Father, which,” saith He, “ye have heard of me.  For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.”  When they therefore were come together, they asked of Him, saying, “Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?  And He said unto them, “It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in His Own power.  But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”  And when He had spoken these things, while they beheld, He was taken up; and a cloud received Him out of their sight.  And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;  Which also said, “Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven.”

Colossians 3:1-4 
If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.  Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.  For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.  When Christ, Who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory.

2 Peter 3:3-4, 9, 13-15
Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,  And saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.” … The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. … Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.  Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of Him in peace, without spot, and blameless.  And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation…

I want to be like Jesus

I want to talk like Jesus:  words of Truth my mouth to speak.
I want to walk like Jesus:  carefully with holy feet.

I want to see like Jesus:  tenderly with a loving heart.
I want to be like Jesus:  Spirit-filled and set apart.

I want to live like Jesus:  faithful to my God above.
I want to give like Jesus:  not of duty, but of love.

I want to pray like Jesus:  “Father, not my will, but Thine…”
I want to stay like Jesus, in God’s presence all the time.

~ Author unknown ~

Have Thine Own way, Lord

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Thou art the Potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after Thy will,
While I am waiting, yielded and still.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Search me and try me, Master, today!
Whiter than snow, Lord, wash me just now,
As in Thy presence humbly I bow.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Wounded and weary, help me, I pray!
Power, all power, surely is Thine!
Touch me and heal me, Savior divine.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Hold o’er my being absolute sway!
Fill with Thy Spirit till all shall see
Christ only, always, living in me.

~ Lyrics:  Adelaide A. Pollard, 1907 ~

The LORD upholds us

(Job 4:4)
Thy words have upholden him that was falling, and thou hast strengthened the feeble knees.

H6965
קוּם
koom
A primitive root; to rise: – abide, accomplish, confirm, continue, endure, enjoin, get up, make good, help, hold, (help to) lift up, make, ordain, perform, pitch, raise (up), rear (up), remain, (a-) rise (up), rouse up, set (up), (e-) stablish, (make to) stand (up), stir up, strengthen, succeed, (as-, make) sure (-ly), (be) up (-hold, -rising).

 

(Psalm 37:17)
For the arms of the wicked shall be broken: but the LORD upholdeth the righteous.

(Psalm 37:24)
Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand.

(Psalm 51:12)
Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.

(Psalm 54:4)
Behold, God is mine helper: the Lord is with them that uphold my soul.

(Psalm 119:116)
Uphold me according unto thy word, that I may live: and let me not be ashamed of my hope.

(Psalm 145:14)
The LORD upholdeth all that fall, and raiseth up all those that be bowed down.

H5564
סמך
saw-mak’
A primitive root; to prop:  reflexively to lean upon or take hold of (in a favorable or unfavorable sense): – bear up, establish, (up-) hold, lay, lean, lie hard, put, rest self, set self, stand fast, stay (self), sustain.

 

(Psalm 41:12)
And as for me, thou upholdest me in mine integrity, and settest me before thy face for ever.

(Psalm 63:8)
My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me.

(Proverbs 29:23)
A man’s pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit.

(Isaiah 41:10)
Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

(Isaiah 42:1)
Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.

H8551
תּמך
taw-mak’
A primitive root; to sustain; by implication to obtain, keep fast; figuratively to help, follow close: – (take, up-) hold (up), maintain, retain, stay (up).

 

(Proverbs 20:28)
Mercy and truth preserve the king: and his throne is upholden by mercy.

H5582
סעד
saw-ad’
A primitive root; to support: – comfort, establish, hold up, refresh self, strengthen, be upholden.

 

(Hebrews 1:3)
Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;

G5342
φέρω
pherō̄
fer’-o
A primary verb;  to “bear” or carry: – be, bear, bring (forth), carry, come, be driven, endure, go on, lay, lead, move, reach, rushing, uphold.

Spirit wind

Ezekiel stared down into the valley
Filled with dry bones baking in the sun –
Remains that used to be a mighty army:
To him, it looked like their fighting days were done…

But, driven by a calling on his life
He spoke God’s words, the bones began to shake!
He stared wide-eyed as the flesh began to form,
And as he prophesied to the wind
The soldiers began to wake…

And the LORD sent His wind into the valley,
And breathed the breath of life into their souls,
And raised them again a mighty army –
For soon these arisen warriors will battle again
For they have been filled with the Spirit wind…

A pastor stands before his congregation:
Once a mighty army for the LORD…
But now he stares into the lifeless eyes –
Believers leading carnal lives –
He wonders what they’re fighting for?

But, driven by a calling on his life
He spoke God’s Word like he’d done a hundred times before;
But this time he comes broken and weeping,
With tears of a broken heart,
And he cries out to the LORD:

“Oh LORD, send Your wind into this valley,
And breathe the Breath of Life into their souls,
And raise them again a mighty army –
For soon these arisen warriors will battle again
For they have been filled with the Spirit wind…”

Holy Spirit, breathe on me
Breathe Your life in me

Oh LORD, send Your wind into this valley,
And breathe the Breath of Life into our souls,
And raise us again a mighty army –
For soon these arisen warriors will battle again
For we have been filled with the Spirit wind…

Oh LORD, we need You now,
Breathe Your life into us,
LORD, we need You now –
Our churches and our families,
Oh LORD, we need You now;
Breathe life into this dry and weary land…
Raise us up again!

~ Written by:  John Mark Hall ~

Ezekiel 37

1  The hand of the LORD was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones,
2  And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry.
3  And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord GOD, thou knowest.
4  Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LORD.
5  Thus saith the Lord GOD unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live:
6  And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the LORD.
7  So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone.
8  And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them.
9  Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.
10  So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army.
11  Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts.
12  Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel.
13  And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves,
14  And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD.

2 Corinthians 4

1  Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not;
2  But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.
3  But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:
4  In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
5  For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.
6  For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
7  But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.
8  We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;
9  Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;
10  Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.
11  For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.
12  So then death worketh in us, but life in you.
13  We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak;
14  Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you.
15  For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.
16  For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.
17  For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;
18  While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.