I hear a bell ringing -- an old-fashioned sound at this point in time that I rarely hear in the hurly-burly of the day This morning I can hear it perfectly, and I know it tolls for me, for this family, for this town and country, for this lost world. God, my heart discerns this ringing as Your call to us, for each of us, for as many as will come into Your Care and Keeping.
Times are as grievous as ever I have seen in my lifetime. Perhaps this is the time You have foretold -- or not. Whatever time it is, we who belong to Your Lamb are grateful beyond measure. Our eternal safety and well-being are guaranteed, not because of our own wisdom or wits but because You revealed to us the futility of following anyone other than You. Thank You for allowing us to wander into furnaces of affliction, for there was Mercy in those afflictions, LORD, and, through them, You awakened us to receive You.
Your incoming has transformed us into new creations in Christ! We are turned from enchantments and stargazers to You, Who sent redemption to us through Your Son, our Savior and LORD, Jesus, the Christ. We thank You with a voice of singing! We declare and proclaim this to the ends of the earth! You have imparted to us peace like a river, though there is no peace on earth.
We see men who are wise in their own eyes, and we know there is more hope for one fool than for all of these. Therefore we thank You, O God, for revealing that neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but that redemption through Christ is all-sufficient for us. Through Him we are new creations, crucified and raised by Him into Fullness of Life... Life in Him and by Your Holy Spirit!
Because Your grace, O LORD, is with us, we walk with Your peace and mercy; we sing Your praise; we declare; we proclaim! We utter it to the ends of the earth, singing: