VIDEO Change

For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Hebrews 4:12

The most familiar example of metamorphosis in nature is the butterfly. An adult female lays an egg on a plant; the egg hatches and reveals a larva which feeds on the host plant, becoming a caterpillar; the caterpillar spins a cocoon around itself; the caterpillar changes into a butterfly in the cocoon and emerges.

Metamorphosis comes from Greek metamorphosis (transformation): meta means “after,” while morphe means “form.” Paul uses this word in Romans 12:2: “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed [metamorphoo] by the renewing of your mind.” It is God’s intent that His children be transformed, or changed, from carnal people to spiritual people. And that happens when we focus on the living Word of God and allow the Holy Spirit to apply it to our life. The Bible is the key to the transformation of the mind.

Are you changing into the image of Christ (Romans 8:29)? That change correlates directly with the amount of attention you give to the Word of God.

The end for which God instructs the mind is that he might transform the life. Albert N. Martin


8. Jesus’ Sharp Word, Hebrews 4:11-16

God’s Provision

Elisha replied to her, “How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?2 Kings 4:2

Three-year-old Buddy and his mom went to church each week to help unload groceries from the food ministry truck. When Buddy overheard his mom telling his grandmother that the delivery truck broke down, he said, “Oh, no. How will they do food ministry?” His mom explained that the church would have to raise money to buy a new truck. Buddy smiled. “I have money,” he said, leaving the room. He returned with a plastic jar decorated with colorful stickers and filled with coins, which amounted to a little over $38. Though Buddy didn’t have much, God combined his sacrificial offering with gifts from others to provide a new refrigerated truck, so that the church could continue serving their community.

A small amount offered generously is always more than enough when placed in God’s hands. In 2 Kings 4, a poor widow asked the prophet Elisha for financial assistance. He told her to take inventory of her own resources, reach out to her neighbors for help, then follow his instructions (vv. 1–4). In a miraculous display of provision, God used the widow’s small amount of oil to fill all the jars she collected from her neighbors (vv. 5–6). Elisha told her, “Sell the oil and pay your debts. You and your sons can live on what is left” (v. 7).

When we focus on what we don’t have, we risk missing out on watching God do great things with what we do have.

By:  Xochitl Dixon

Reflect & Pray

When has God multiplied your resources in a miraculous way? When has He used you to combine your resources with the gifts of others to meet a bigger need in your community?

Faithful Provider, please help me to be mindful and grateful as I faithfully manage and share all You’ve given me.

A Balanced Schedule

If we want the Lord to be number one in our life, we have to consider how we spend our time Proverbs 16:1-3

The Lord has plans for each of us and specific work that He has called us to do. This might be hopeful news to you, or it might be overwhelming if you’re already struggling to manage all that’s on your plate. Thankfully, balancing five areas of our schedule can help us live according to God’s purposes.

1. Our top priority should be spending time with the Lord each day. We can read and meditate on His Word, pray, listen for His directions, or simply be with Him.

2. Relationships are essential to God’s plans for us. We should allot time to family and friends, since Galatians 6:2 says bearing others’ burdens fulfills the law of Christ.

3. The area most likely to become imbalanced is our work. The Lord disapproves of laziness, but He doesn’t want us to be overly consumed with our careers, either.

4. It’s vital to take care of our body, allocating adequate time for rest, recreation, and exercise.

5. The Scriptures urge meeting together regularly with other believers for worship (Hebrews 10:24-25).

These general areas all need space in your life, but I can’t tell you how each day should look. Ask the Lord to direct your schedule. Seek His guidance, watch for His answers, and make the changes He brings to mind.

The Arm of the Lord

“The LORD hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.” (Isaiah 52:10)

The human arm is often used in the Bible to symbolize spiritual strength or power. The word is first used in Jacob’s dying prophecy concerning his beloved son Joseph: “But his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob” (Genesis 49:24).

The source of all true strength is in the mighty God, so it is not surprising to find at least 40 biblical references to the Lord’s powerful “arm” or “arms.” One of the most striking is our text, promising that when God “bares his arm” for His great work of delivering the lost world from its bondage to Satan and sin and death, then the whole world will see His salvation (literally His “Jesus”).

In a real sense, therefore, “the arm of the Lord” is none other than Jesus Christ. When He came into His world, however, the world refused Him. Just a few verses later, introducing the incomparable 53rd chapter of Isaiah, appears this tragic question: “Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?” (Isaiah 53:1).

Nevertheless, some believed, and the first was His own mother. In her “Magnificat,” spoken in faith before Jesus was born, Mary said, “God my Saviour…hath shewed strength with his arm” (Luke 1:47, 51). This confession of faith is the first use of “arm” in the New Testament and again refers to the saving arm of God, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Finally, His arm is not only mighty to save, but also secure to hold: “His arm shall rule for him….He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom” (Isaiah 40:10-11). HMM

Only One Revelation

According to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.Titus 3:5

I have always felt that when we read and study the Word of God we should have great expectations. We should ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the Person, the glory and the eternal ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ. Perhaps our problem is in our approach. Perhaps we have simply read our Bibles as we might read a piece of literature or a textbook.

In today’s society, great numbers of people seem unable to deal with God’s revelation in Christ. They run and hide, just as Adam and Eve did. Today, however, they do not hide behind trees but behind such things as philosophy and reason and even theology—believe it or not! This attitude is hard to understand.

In Jesus’ death for our sins, God is offering far more than escape from a much-deserved hell. God is promising us an amazing future, an eternal future….I often wonder if we are making it plain enough to our generation that there will be no other revelation from God except as He speaks it through our Lord Jesus Christ. JMI017-018

A real Christian is an odd number….He feels supreme love for One whom he has never seen…dies so he can live…sees the invisible, hears the inaudible, and knows that which passeth knowledge. ROR156

No Other Name

There is salvation in no one else.—Acts 4:12

We must continually watch out for statements that assert that all religions are the same, for when they are repeated over and over again, and by seemingly sincere people, we can be brainwashed into accepting them.

In 1966, when the first multi-faith service was held in an Anglican church in London, in which Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, and Christians took part on equal terms, some Christian newspapers described it as a “betrayal of the faith.” Nowadays there is hardly a mention of such services although they take place regularly in different parts of our nation and also in other countries. People seem to have given up the idea of syncretism—the idea that all religions can be fused into one—and are focusing more on pluralism—the recognition of each faith as being of equal value. I take my stand with Dr. Visser’t Hooft, who said: “It is high time that Christians should rediscover that Jesus Christ did not come to make a contribution to the religious storehouse of mankind, but that in Him God reconciled the world unto Himself.”

The words of our text for today were displayed outside a church in London until the minister was told by the local authority to take the poster down as it offended some local inhabitants who were adherents of other faiths. “It is not the best way to love one’s neighbor as oneself” was how one critic put it. But how can we love our neighbor as ourselves if we make no attempt to share with them the knowledge of salvation in Jesus Christ?

Prayer

O Father, in an age when the faith once delivered to the saints is being watered down, deepen my understanding of it so that I may contend for it without being contentious. In Christ’s name I pray. Amen.

Further Study

Jn 3:1-17; 6:35; 14:6

What Old Testament example shows there is only one way to salvation?

What did Jesus declare about Himself?

Pride Brings You Down

A person’s pride will humble him,

but a humble spirit will gain honor.—Proverbs 29:23

Pride is the great enemy of the Christian. Pride is an overly high opinion of yourself. It motivates you to do things that you know are not Christlike, and it hinders you from doing what brings glory to God. Pride influenced Adam and Eve to try to become like God (Gen. 3:5). Pride motivated Cain to murder his brother (Gen. 4:5). $>Pride provoked Joseph’s brothers to sell him into slavery (Gen. 37:8). Pride caused King Saul to resent David so deeply that he tried to murder him (1 Sam. 18:8). Pride led King Hezekiah to foolishly reveal his nation’s wealth to his enemies (Isa. 39:2). Pride was at the root of the Pharisees’ anger toward Jesus. Pride was the reason the disciples argued over rank in the kingdom (Luke 9:46).

Pride is your relentless enemy. If you succumb to its influence, there will be consequences. You may know that you have offended someone, but pride holds you back from asking forgiveness. You may realize you need to reconcile a broken relationship, but pride will lead you to deny that need. The Spirit may convict you that you are living a sinful lifestyle, but pride will discourage your admitting it. Pride will convince you that you deserve better treatment. Pride will impede your serving others. Instead, pride will have you striving for places of prominence. Pride will have you listen to flatterers and ignore honest counselors. Pride will lead you to isolate yourself so that you are not accountable to others.

Humility, on the other hand, is pleasing to God and places your life in a position where God will honor you. If pride has crept into some areas of your life, ask God to give you victory over it before it robs you of God’s will for you.

VIDEO Drawing on the Grace of God Now

We…plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain. —2 Corinthians 6:1

The grace you had yesterday will not be sufficient for today. Grace is the overflowing favor of God, and you can always count on it being available to draw upon as needed. “…in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses”— that is where our patience is tested (2 Corinthians 6:4). Are you failing to rely on the grace of God there? Are you saying to yourself, “Oh well, I won’t count this time”? It is not a question of praying and asking God to help you— it is taking the grace of God now. We tend to make prayer the preparation for our service, yet it is never that in the Bible. Prayer is the practice of drawing on the grace of God. Don’t say, “I will endure this until I can get away and pray.” Pray now — draw on the grace of God in your moment of need. Prayer is the most normal and useful thing; it is not simply a reflex action of your devotion to God. We are very slow to learn to draw on God’s grace through prayer.

“…in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors…” (2 Corinthians 6:5)— in all these things, display in your life a drawing on the grace of God, which will show evidence to yourself and to others that you are a miracle of His. Draw on His grace now, not later. The primary word in the spiritual vocabulary is now. Let circumstances take you where they will, but keep drawing on the grace of God in whatever condition you may find yourself. One of the greatest proofs that you are drawing on the grace of God is that you can be totally humiliated before others without displaying even the slightest trace of anything but His grace.

“…having nothing….” Never hold anything in reserve. Pour yourself out, giving the best that you have, and always be poor. Never be diplomatic and careful with the treasure God gives you. “…and yet possessing all things”— this is poverty triumphant (2 Corinthians 6:10).

WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS

It is impossible to read too much, but always keep before you why you read. Remember that “the need to receive, recognize, and rely on the Holy Spirit” is before all else. Approved Unto God, 11 L


2 Corinthians 6:1-18 sermon by Dr. Bob Utley

Walking with Others

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another. Romans 13:8

Billy, a loving and loyal dog, became an internet star in 2020. His owner, Russell, had broken his ankle and was using crutches to walk. Soon the dog also began to hobble when walking with his owner. Concerned, Russell took Billy to the vet, who said there was nothing wrong with him! He ran freely when he was by himself. It turned out that the dog faked a limp when he walked with his owner. That’s what you call trying to truly identify with someone’s pain!

Coming alongside others is forefront in the apostle Paul’s instructions to the church in Rome. He summed up the last five of the Ten Commandments in this way: “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Romans 13:9). We can see the importance of walking with others in verse 8 as well: “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another.”

Author Jenny Albers advises: “When someone is broken, don’t try to fix them. (You can’t.) When someone is hurting, don’t attempt to take away their pain. (You can’t.) Instead, love them by walking beside them in the hurt. (You can.) Because sometimes what people need is simply to know they aren’t alone.”

Because Jesus, our Savior, walks alongside us through all our hurt and pain, we know what it means to walk with others.

By:  Anne Cetas

Reflect & Pray

Who needs you to come alongside them this week? In what way might God want you to do that?

Open my eyes, God, to the needs of people around me. Help me to be a loving friend.

Sunday Reflection: The Promise of Love

No matter how many good deeds we’ve done or how many mistakes we’ve made, God’s love for us remains the same

To get the most out of this devotion, set aside time to read the scriptures referenced throughout.

God loves us.  It’s a wonderful reality, but one we hear about so often that the idea can actually become stale in our minds. And sadly, if this truth becomes simply information, it loses the power to transform lives. On the other hand, if we make a daily practice of receiving God’s unconditional love and letting it wash over us, our faith will change dramatically. Then the impact will spread, as we’ll also be positioned to love others well (John 15:51 John 4:19).

So today, let’s remember: God is love, and He is both everlasting and unchanging. His unconditional commitment to us comes from who He is; it has nothing to do with who we are or what we’ve done. No matter how many mistakes or good deeds we’ve tallied, they could never influence Him to change His mind about us. Our heavenly Father loves us just as we are, even before we receive His gift of eternal life (Romans 5:8-10). Meditate on His words today: “I will not forget you. Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands” (Isaiah 49:15-16).

Think about it

• If you’re having trouble sensing God’s love in your life, try picturing Him as a warm, nurturing, perfect Father who wants to hold and comfort you.