VIDEO Soul Food – Blessed Are Those Who Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.  Matthew 5:6

When you’re in Las Vegas and feel like a burger, drop into the Burger Brasserie. You can get a Kobe beef and Maine lobster burger with pancetta, goat cheese, and arugula, drizzled with the 100-year balsamic. But be warned. The price of the burger is $777. Or you can stroll down to Fleur by Hubert Keller at the Mandalay Bay and have a burger made from Wagyu beef, fois gras, and truffles. The cost? A mere $5,000.

But think of this: Whenever you sit down at the kitchen table and open your Bible, you’re feasting on something that is “more… desired… than gold… sweeter… than honey” (Psalm 19:10). The prophet Jeremiah said, “Your words were found, and I ate them, and Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart” (Jeremiah 15:16).

When people lose their appetites, we worry about them. As Christians, we should have a hearty appetite for God’s Word and for the kind of righteous living it produces. Hungering for spiritual food leads to growth, growth leads to godliness—and that’s not expensive. It’s priceless.

When our body needs energy, we eat food. But when our soul needs hope, what do we feed it? Promises…. Our souls are designed to be nourished by God’s “precious and very great promises” (2 Peter 1:4).  Jon Bloom


John Piper Sermon: Blessed Are Those Who Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness

A Great Work

“I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and go down to you?” Nehemiah 6:3

 

The security guard found and removed a piece of tape that was keeping a door from clicking shut. Later, when he checked the door, he found it had been taped again. He called the police, who arrived and arrested five burglars.

Working at the Watergate building in Washington, DC, the headquarters of a major political party in the US, the young guard had just uncovered the biggest political scandal of his lifetime simply by taking his job seriously—and doing it well.

Nehemiah began rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem—a task he took very seriously. Toward the end of the project, neighboring rivals asked him to meet with them in a nearby village. Under the guise of a friendly invitation was an insidious trap (Nehemiah 6:1–2). Yet Nehemiah’s response shows the depth of his conviction: “I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and go down to you?” (v. 3).

Although he certainly possessed some authority, Nehemiah may not have rated very high on the hero scale. He wasn’t a great warrior, not a poet or a prophet, not a king or a sage. He was a cupbearer-turned-contractor. Yet he believed he was doing something vital for God. May we take seriously what He’s given us to do and do it well in His power and provision.

By:  Glenn Packiam

Reflect & Pray

What has God called you to do? Why is it important for you to take it seriously—seeing it as a great work?

Dear God, help me to believe that I’m doing a great work. I trust that You’ve called me to this in this season. Give me the focus to stay the course.

Whom Will You Serve?

1 Kings 18:17-40

During the days of King Ahab, Israel was pulled in two directions. Ahab had instituted Baal worship, but Elijah challenged Israel to follow God. When He pressed the people to make up their minds about whom to serve, they were speechless.

The Old Testament presents idolatry as a serious issue, but in this modern civilized world worship of idols seems archaic and irrelevant. However, we are sometimes just like the Israelites—we can’t make up our minds about whom to serve.

If something or someone has higher value and priority to us than Christ, we are trying to serve two masters, which Jesus says is impossible. We will end up loving one and hating the other (Matt. 6:24). God’s generous gifts of relationships, possessions, and meaningful work should never be cherished more than the Giver.

The way your time is used reveals your heart’s priorities. Is a part of each day devoted to God, or is every minute consumed by the demands of life? Or consider the area of dependence. Is there anyone or anything you rely on more than God? If so, it’s time to stop straddling the fence and give your life wholly to God.

The Return to the Upper Room

“And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room….These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication.” (Acts 1:13-14)

What a myriad of thoughts must have been swirling through the believers’ heads as they walked back to Jerusalem after Christ ascended into heaven. They had many enemies in Jerusalem, but they walked fearlessly because He who claimed “all power is given unto me in heaven and in earth” (Matthew 28:18) promised that “I am with you always, even unto the end of the world” (v. 20). They obediently assembled in “an upper room” (literally “the” upper room) to wait and pray.

Notice who is present. The list includes the 11 remaining disciples, reassembled after scattering. Peter, who had denied the Lord, had gained sweet forgiveness; doubting Thomas had his skepticisms answered; and John was there, the “disciple whom Jesus loved.” But even he had deserted his Lord in the garden as the soldiers came.

Mary, the mother of Jesus, was there. She had raised Him as a completely loving and obedient child, only to see Him ridiculed and opposed. She anguished as only a mother could, to see Him hanging on the tree, but her anguish had been quelled. At least two of her other sons were there, presumably New Testament authors James and Jude. Earlier, they had scoffed, but now they understood. Other women were also present, those who were the last ones at the cross and the first to see Him once the tomb had yielded up its dead. The entire group can be pictured as a trophy of His grace, mercy, and forgiveness.

They gathered together in perfect “accord,” a common bond of faith and purpose, praying and petitioning God for His will and power. Might we not see many examples for our lives and prayers in these verses? JDM

Man-Centered (so called) Christianity

Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and me majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all.

—1 Chronicles 29:11

 

Christianity today is man-centered, not God-centered. God is made to wait patiently, even respectfully, on the whims of men. The image of God currently popular is that of a distracted Father, struggling in heartbroken desperation to get people to accept a Savior of whom they feel no need and in whom they have very little interest. To persuade these self-sufficient souls to respond to His generous offers God will do almost anything, even using salesmanship methods and talking down to them in the chummiest way imaginable. This view of things is, of course, a kind of religious romanticism which, while it often uses flattering and sometimes embarrassing terms in praise of God, manages nevertheless to make man the star of the show.   MDP027

Lord, take me to my knees in worship. Then let me go to share You, our great and majestic God Who deserves our worship. Amen.

 

Dealing with the Root

Lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.

—Hebrews 12:15

 

Strange as it may seem, harmony within our own hearts depends mostly upon our getting into harmony with God. Morning comes not by our pushing out the darkness but by waiting for the coming of the sun.

Church difficulties are spiritual also and admit of a spiritual answer. Whatever may be wrong in the life of any church may be cleared up by recognizing the quality of the trouble and dealing with it at the root.

Prayer, humility and a generous application of the Spirit of Christ will cure just about any disease in the body of believers. Yet this is usually the last thing we think about when difficulties arise. We often attempt to cure spiritual ills with carnal medicines, and the results are more than disappointing. NCA083

What God wants today in His Church and in His work is not so much that the world shall see the power of the Church as the power of her Lord and the presence of Him who goes forth with His weakest servants and becomes their mighty Victor. CFD091

 

Prayer for the Church

Ephesians 4:15-16

 

Father, we thank You for Your Church on earth. We praise You because Your Son Jesus is the head of the Church, and because the Church is His body, and we are empowered by His Spirit and commissioned to do His work and spread His gospel.

We thank You that everyone who acknowledges Jesus as Savior and Lord is part of the Church, and that each one has been differently gifted by Your Holy Spirit in order that Jesus should be glorified, that the fellowship of believers should be strengthened, and that we should serve the world in the name of Jesus Christ.

We pray for the different denominations which make up the one true Church. We praise You that this means Your work is done in many different places and that You are worshipped in many different ways. We ask You to forgive us for the fact that far too often we have allowed our denominational differences to become barriers between us and hinder the preaching of the gospel.

As we seek to work ever more closely with fellow Christians in various parts of the Church, we ask You to give us spiritual insight so that we can distinguish clearly between those spiritual truths on which we must never compromise and those things which are merely part of our human tradition.

Father, pour out Your Holy Spirit upon the Church so that we might march forward as a mighty army. Give us a holy intolerance of all injustice and oppression. Give us the courage to speak and act for the homeless and the hungry. Give us the wisdom to understand the complex moral issues of our age, and the authority to speak to the world with a prophetic voice. Give us the compassion of Jesus Himself so that, with loving hearts and in the spirit of self-sacrifice, we might bring all mankind to know the forgiveness and love of God.

Colin Fairclough, My Father, Our Father

 

VIDEO The Deepest Secrets

But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. 1 Corinthians 2:10

The Bible is a human Book—every word written by someone—so we should study it with ordinary methods of interpretation, not turning everything into some kind of allegory but taking the literal portions of the Bible literally and correctly interpreting elements that are poetic or clearly symbolic. But the Bible is also a divine Book—every word given by God—so we must study it with the Holy Spirit as our tutor.

James M “Buck” Hatch, legendary professor at Columbia International University, taught that since the Bible is God’s Word, we must be His children to truly understand it, and we must be willing to trust it and obey it, praying in the spirit of Psalm 119:18: “Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law.”

In 1 Corinthians 2, the apostle Paul said that as we study the Bible, only the Holy Spirit can open our eyes to its deepest secrets (“the deep things of God,” verse 10). What a statement! Through Spirit-blessed daily Bible study, we can understand God’s deep and wonderful secrets. Approaching our study of God’s Word with meekness helps us learn and grow.

One must be continually submitted to the will of God to understand the Scriptures. James M. Hatch


God’s True and Complete Revelation (1 Corinthians 2:6-16)

Living on Purpose

Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31

 

“We’re going on vacation!” my wife enthusiastically told our three-year-old grandson Austin as we pulled out of the driveway on the first leg of our trip. Little Austin looked at her thoughtfully and responded, “I’m not going on vacation. I’m going on a mission!”

We’re not sure where our grandson picked up the concept of going “on a mission,” but his comment gave me something to ponder as we drove to the airport: As I leave on this vacation and take a break for a few days, am I keeping in mind that I’m still “on a mission” to live each moment with and for God? Am I remembering to serve Him in everything I do?

The apostle Paul encouraged the believers living in Rome, the capital city of the Roman Empire, to “never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord” (Romans 12:11). His point was that our life in Jesus is meant to be lived intentionally and with enthusiasm. Even the most mundane moments gain new meaning as we look expectantly to God and live for His purposes.

As we settled into our seats on the plane, I prayed, “Lord, I’m yours. Whatever you have for me to do on this trip, please help me not to miss it.”

Every day is a mission of eternal significance with Him!

By:  James Banks

Reflect & Pray

Have you ever been on a mission? How can you make life all about God?

Please give me grace to live for You, Jesus, so that I may one day hear You say, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” (Matthew 25:23)

We Need To Trust and Obey

1 Kings 18:1-16

Faith and obedience are traveling companions heading to the same destination of pleasing and glorifying the Lord. They grow together simultaneously as they are practiced but wither if neglected. Therefore, God sometimes brings new challenges into our lives to strengthen our trust and submission to Him.

Elijah was a prophet who had proven himself faithful to the Lord. Even when he was told to appear before King Ahab who was seeking to kill him, he obeyed. Obadiah was another faithful servant of God who had rescued other prophets, but when Elijah told him to report his presence to Ahab, Obadiah feared for his life.

Fear short-circuits faith when we begin to doubt that God’s way is really best. If we allow anxiety to gain a foothold in our mind, we’ll respond by refusing to do what the Lord says. The result is a change of traveling companions. Instead of faith and obedience, we start walking with doubt and rebellion.

Great faith begins with small steps. When you follow God’s Word, an ever-increasing cycle of faith and obedience begins. Don’t let fear rob you of the blessings God has planned for your life.