October 31, 2014

My Strong Refuge

Jim Oesterwind

Psalm 71.3

“Be my strong refuge, to which I may resort continually” (Psalm 71.3).

Shame, escape, the plea for deliverance, refuge, rock, and fortress are all very clear indicators in this psalm. If we linger over these words, they help us to understand the background of this Psalm. All these definitive descriptors and we are still only three verses into the Psalm. It is quite obvious that the psalmist is experiencing great upheaval and persecution from “the hand of the wicked … unrighteous, and cruel man” (71.4).

However, the psalmist has experience in his relationship with God. He has trusted and hoped in God from his youth (71.5). Something has happened to him that has caused people to look upon him as a “wonder” or an astonishment (71.7). This same idea is expressed in Isaiah’s Suffering Servant passage. “Just as many were astonished at you, so His visage was marred more than any man…” (Isaiah 52.14). So, the psalmist pleads for the Lord to keep hold of him in his old age … to not forsake him when his strength fails (71.9).

The deepest hurt for him was the people saying that God had forsaken him (71.11). It is very difficult to live a truly altruistic life and have people say that God has left you. So he cries out to God to come near and help him (7.12) …to confound and consume his adversaries (71.13).

The psalmist clings in hope to God continually. He cannot do anything else (71.14). He will go in the strength of the Lord God (71.16). Old and gray-headed, the only thing he cannot endure is the thought of God forsaking him (71.18). He knows that even great and severe trouble shall give way to revival (71.20). He will praise the Lord for deliverance and talk of the Lord’s righteousness all the day long (71.24). But his adversaries who caused such deep hurt in his life will be confounded and brought to shame (71.25).

But I’d like to back up and linger upon verse 3: “Be my strong refuge, to which I may resort continually.”

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The Day of Golden Opportunity

R. A. Torrey

“The Holy Ghost saith, Today” (Hebrews 3:7).

The day of golden opportunity is today. Opportunities of priceless worth are open to everyone of us today. But “tomorrow” has no sure promise for any of us. The faith-for-the-familyHoly Ghost says, “Today,” and Conscience also cries, “Today,” and the voice of Reason and the voice of History and the voice of Experience unite in one loud chorus, “Today.” Men in their folly are forever saying, “Tomorrow.”

When the frightful plague of frogs came on Pharaoh and his people, Pharaoh, in his terror, sent for Moses and Aaron and said, “Entreat Jehovah, that he take away the frogs from me, and my people, and I will let the people go” (Exodus 8:8). Moses replied, “Against what time shall I entreat for thee, and for thy servants, and for thy people, that the frogs be destroyed from thee and thy houses and remain in the river only?” Pharaoh, like many another king, played the fool and answered, “Tomorrow.”

Men today show a similar and often greater folly. When urged to forsake sin with its misery, degradation, and peril, and turn to Christ with the joy and peace and ennobling of our character and security that He gives, they answer, “Tomorrow.” But “the Holy Ghost saith, Today.”

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Brenda Vaughn’s Testimony

John Vaughn

On a recent trip to Peniel Bible Camp to speak at a Men’s Retreat, the staff there handed me three tapes of sessions that Brenda had taught at a Ladies’ Retreat at Peniel back in 1993. We thought you’d be blessed by hearing Brenda give her own testimony.

In Defense of Marriage

Rick Cross

This article originally appeared in 2004, some references are thus dated, but the topic is important and, unfortunately, too relevant in today’s world.

Marriage is the molecular structure of our civilization: it cannot be changed without destroying itself. Yet Christians are faced with an urgency to defend the Biblical definition of marriage under which our country has operated since its inception. The majority of people in our country desire to retain the definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Recent pro-homosexual marriage advocates have sought to negate the will of the people and redefine marriage by use of the courts. “If we accept judicial supremacy on the marriage question, we will probably end up with a judicially created and approved national marriage definition that redefines the institution in unisex terms.”[1] [Read More...]

  1. “Saving Marriage,” Joshua Baker and Maggie Gallagher, July 12, 2004. []

Cultivating a Life of Faith (7): A Man of Daily Commitment

Jim Oesterwind

Genesis 17.1-27

Our failures and setbacks in the Christian life may be reduced to this one sentence: We forget who God is and what He is able to do when it comes to keeping His promises. Genesis 17 is yet another reaffirmation of the formal covenant cut in Genesis 15 and first introduced in Genesis 12. The theme of the chapter seems to point up the fact that those who cultivate faith must do so by daily committing themselves to Almighty God, His governing title in this passage. There are at least four godly motives for daily commitment in the chapter.

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