And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Matthew 10:28.
To many minds a deep mystery surrounds the fate of John the Baptist. They question why he should have been left to languish and die in prison. The mystery of this dark providence our human vision cannot penetrate; but it can never shake our confidence in God when we remember that John was but a sharer in the sufferings of Christ….
Jesus did not interpose to deliver His servant. He knew that John would bear the test. Gladly would the Saviour have come to John, to brighten the dungeon gloom with His own presence. But He was not to place Himself in the hands of enemies and imperil His own mission. Gladly would He have delivered His faithful servant. But for the sake of thousands who in after years must pass from prison to death, John was to drink the cup of martyrdom. As the followers of Jesus should languish in lonely cells, or perish by the sword, the rack, or the fagot, … what a stay to their hearts would be the thought that John the Baptist, to whose faithfulness Christ Himself had borne witness, had passed through a similar experience!
Satan was permitted to cut short the earthly life of God’s messenger; but that life which “is hid with Christ in God,” the destroyer could not reach. Colossians 3:3. He exulted that he had brought sorrow upon Christ, but he had failed of conquering John. Death itself only placed him forever beyond the power of temptation….
God never leads His children otherwise than they would choose to be led, if they could see the end from the beginning, and discern the glory of the purpose which they are fulfilling as coworkers with Him. Not Enoch, who was translated to heaven, not Elijah, who ascended in a chariot of fire, was greater or more honored than John the Baptist, who perished alone in the dungeon. “Unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake” (Philippians 1:29). And of all the gifts that Heaven can bestow upon men, fellowship with Christ in His sufferings is the most weighty trust and the highest honor.
Conflict and Courage p. 278
—–Please pray for Brenda and family whose mother died on Sunday. Rose
—–Please pray for Dennis. He has colon cancer. His wife BRENDA, is also very distressed. They are believers. Diana
—–I have a prayer request for my longtime friend Paul who had to deal with a lot of life threatening issues with his heart and kidneys and to top it off, his disability insurance and health coverage are being denied as well as he has been unable to get an attorney to take his case despite being told that he has one. He has been made to feel forsaken by family and friends and is feeling like Even God isn’t intervening. Please lift up my friend and his mother who is one of the few faithful in his corner. Also I’ve got one more requesting concerning my sister and her soon to be adopted son, there are some trying circumstances. Please pray for her and the boy and the husband, David
—–Please pray for my Bible study this morning. Nancy
The other day, Peter was walking barefoot across our needing to be painted deck when he began to cry. He had gotten a sliver in his foot. Thankfully it was able to be removed quite easily. When his mother was about 9 and got a sliver in her foot, she was not so lucky. She and a friend were playing on some old railroad ties that were being used for decoration along her friend’s driveway. As Esther turned a cartwheel on that old wooden tie, a large piece of wood went deep into her foot.
I have always been able to get slivers and thorns out, so when I looked at this large piece of wood, I thought this would be no problem. After having started digging it out, however, I realized this sliver was different. It crumbled when I touched it. The wood was too rotten. Finally, I had to take her to the doctor. Even he had a difficult time getting it out, but since he was able to deaden her foot so she could not feel the pain, he could free her of that offending piece of timber.
That crumbling wood is like the sin in our lives. We can try as hard as we possibly can to rid ourselves of sin, but we are helpless to do it. “Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.” Jer 13:23 We can, through determination, change outwardly, but we cannot change our hearts. “The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it, but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment.” Isa 1:5,6
How much we need Someone Who can change our vile hearts and make us pure and clean within. How much we need a Great Physician Who can truly rid us of those sins that so easily beset us. He says to us, “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.” Isa 1:18 “As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways, for why will ye die?” Eze 18:33 “And I will cleanse them from all their iniquity, whereby they have sinned against me, and I will pardon all their iniquities, whereby they have sinned, and whereby they have transgressed against me.” Jer 33:8 “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.” Isa 45:22
Our response must be, “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight….Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow….Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence, and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation, and uphold me with thy free spirit. Then will I teach transgressors thy ways, and sinners shall be converted unto thee.” Ps 139:23, 24,51
Let us come to our Dear Saviour now, that we may receive the pardon and cleansing we need. Let us allow Him to change us into His likeness. Let us daily walk with Him on the path to Heaven, guarding well the avenues of the soul and praying always for His help and strength.