When you’re stuck, frustrated, and apathetic, remember these words: Jesus will hold you fast. You can’t do it on your own—none of us can. We weren’t designed to and God doesn’t pretend that we’re supposed to. Hold onto God! Don’t let go! The finish line to true freedom is closer each and every day.
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. (Hebrews 10:23 ESV)
Recently I was in my car and the Norton Hall version of “He Will Hold Me Fast” came through my speakers. Of course, I began listening to it, for it has to be a rare moment to pass that song up.
The lyrics, like usual, struck me. They just hit different. They hit different because I felt different. On this particular day, I felt rather lousy—physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Call it what you want, but my head and heart just weren’t there. So as a listened, I broke.
I could never keep my hold — when I sang those words I began to lose it. Though I felt lousy I knew I didn’t have a lousy Savior. Those words rang more true on that day than others. On a day when I could feel my lousiness and apathy, this song struck me in the heart. I could never keep my hold of Jesus, because unfortunately my love is often cold.
But He will hold me fast. Matter fact, according to His promises, He must hold me fast. And thank God for that.
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By Ryan Higginbottom — 1 year ago
The Israelites wondered whether God had rejected them. We may wonder the same. But in Jesus we have an emphatic, definitive answer. No. Because Jesus bore our sin, we are no longer subject to that same awful judgment that he suffered. Though we groan, we can look to Jesus, the Man of Sorrows. Because of him, our true, final restoration is secure.
Most Christians know that sin is bad. But, how bad is it, really?
Sin is a tornado, and the final chapter of Lamentations helps us see the extent of the damage. The consequences of breaking covenant with the Lord are dire. And yet, there is still hope for restoration.
See Our Disgrace
The first verse in this chapter frames much of what follows.
Remember, O Lord, what has befallen us;look, and see our disgrace! (Lamentations 5:1)
The author is asking God to remember, to bring to mind for the purpose of action. Asking God to see and remember is a key part of all lament; those who lament are pleading that God would not forget them in their circumstances.
However, this is an unnatural request, that God would see or notice our disgrace. We usually like to hide those qualities and circumstances that are shameful. But in this situation, those embarrassments are exactly the reason for the lament!
Verses 2–18 provide a list of many disgraces of the people still living in Jerusalem. These disgraces range from the horrifying (deaths of fathers in Lam 5:3, rape of women in Lam 5:11) to the seemingly mundane (the people now have to pay for water and wood, Lam 5:4). To be sure, far more disgraces fall in the first category than the second, but the mingling of the two makes a profound point: Sin has brought judgment which has overturned every aspect of life. Even the loss of music and dancing (Lam 5:14–15) can be considered a tragedy.
One other disgrace is worth mentioning. In Lam 5:16, we read: “The crown has fallen from our head; woe to us, for we have sinned!” This is both a confession of sin and a lament about Judah’s inability to rule themselves. They are now in the hands of Babylon. This confession about leadership also sets the stage for verse 19 (see below).
On the whole, this first portion of Lamentations 5 (verses 1–18) shows us that the consequences of sin are real and heartbreaking. There is a direct line between the rebellion of the people and the desolation of Zion, and the present grief and loss are a result of earlier decisions to turn away from God.
By Jon Coombs — 1 year ago
Everyone is always dealing with something. With this being the case Hebrews 11 provides for us a hope. A future hope. A hope that one day things will be better, that one day we will be with God and it all will be made perfect. One day the acute pain of living now will be made into sustained enjoyment with God.
In my last post I described walking through Hebrews 11 like entering a corridor at the museum. Paintings hanging on the walls, dim light from the ceilings and windows, and statues and busts of important people lining each side. Next to each of their depictions sits a plaque with the little description we find in Hebrews 11, all beginning with “By faith…”
They are highlighted by the writer because they are people who provide an example of what living by faith means for those who come after. For us.
All of these people mentioned in Hebrews 11 are commended for the faith they had. They didn’t receive what was promised to them in this life, but they continued to live by faith because God had revealed to them something greater. A future together as his people, living under his right rule, in his perfectly created place.
In v39-40 we read,
All these were approved through their faith, but they did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, so that they would not be made perfect without us. (CSB)
The writer reminds us that living by faith is for the long-haul. It’s no short, sharp, snap discipleship program. It’s a lifetime of living by faith. Throughout the chapter we read of those who in their lifetime suffered and did not acquire the fulfilment of the promises given to them by God. Yet, they endured in the faith, by faith, so that they would be made perfect at a later time. And that later time is when all of God’s people are gathered. When all of God’s people are together in the place he has set out for us.
All the saints, whether old or new, will be made perfect when all of God’s people are together. Whether that be the Old Testament saints, the Hebrews themselves, or whether that be us. There is a future hope of being together with God in perfection.
So as we walk this corridor of heroes of the faith we can be encouraged to live by faith ourselves. To be followers of Jesus for the marathon of life, not just the sprint of this season. With this in mind, here are six ways this passage encourages us to live by faith for the long-haul.
First, Hebrews 11 helps us when we are in times of doubt.
While doubt is not the opposite of faith, it certainly has an impact on our faith. Whether we are struggling to see God, doubting his goodness and faithfulness, or when we’re confused by what he is doing in our lives then we can lose sight of what he has promised.
By Simonetta Carr — 6 months ago
While not all Tamils share the same joy in the souls Ziegenbalg led to Christ, they are grateful for Ziegenbalg’s contribution to the development of their language and culture. In fact, even from a historical point of view, Ziegenbalg’s writings…are still one of the best sources for the study of South Indian history and traditions.
While William Carey’s role in the evangelization of India is undisputed, few remember a two-men team who preceded him by 88 years. In reality, the German Bartholomäus Ziegenbalg and Heinrich Plütschau, who landed in the Indian region of Tranquebar in 1706, can be considered the first Protestant missionaries to India. Their endeavor is known as the Tranquebar Mission or the Danish-Halle Mission (since it was sponsored by the Danish king and the students and faculty of Halle University – especially theologian, A. H. Francke).
A Tamil Bible
Born in 1682 and 1676 respectively, Ziegenbalg and Plütschau were both Halle graduates– both known for their piety, devotion to the Scriptures, sacrificial love, and interest in education. Of the two, Ziegelbalg was the most linguistically talented. Within six months of his arrival at Tranquebar, he was able to read, write, and speak Tamil, a local language that was particularly difficult for Europeans to master.
In 1708, being fluent, he began translating the New Testament, finishing his first draft in two and a half years – an impressive record, if we consider he also fulfilled his pastoral and evangelical duties while troubled by ill health. He also translated Luther’s Catechism and several hymns and prayers, and started the Old Testament, going as far as the book of Ruth.
Far from being content with a wooden translation, Ziegelbalg spent time studying the nuances of the Tamil language as they appeared in their cultural context. He did so through conversations and through the study of Tamil classical literature, both on his own and in local schools.
He later described his cultural discoveries in two long ethnological treatises which became popular in Europe. These volumes, together with a Tamil grammar book for future missionaries, helped to launch the study and appreciation of Oriental languages and cultures in Germany and have been influential in dispelling the negative conceptions many Europeans had fostered about India.
Although he had brought his own printing press, he had to request the presence of two Dutch blacksmiths to create Tamil character molds. There was also a scarcity of paper. Most Tamil classics were written on palm leaves. He solved this problem by setting up a paper manufactory.
To Bring Many to Salvation
As most missionaries, he had times of discouragement. “If we consider the success of this Mission from its first beginning; it hath not yet indeed been answerable to our desires: the iniquity of the times, fewness of the laborers, the perverse lives of some Christians among us, the rudeness of the pagans, the dignity of the employment itself and our own insufficiency for it, the want still of more necessary helps, together with other impediments, have been the cause why this work has hitherto made no greater advances,” he wrote, in Latin, in 1716 – at the end of a two-year visit to Europe, where he got married.