Grey Power – The Teaching of Disillusionment

woman ride bike
Grey Power

Just as my strength was then, so now is my strength. —Joshua 14:11

Dutch artist Yoni Lefevre created a project called “Grey Power” to show the vitality of the aging generation in the Netherlands. She asked local schoolchildren to sketch their grandparents. Lefevre wanted to show an “honest and pure view” of older people, and she believed children could help supply this. The youngsters’ drawings reflected a fresh and lively perspective of their elders—grandmas and grandpas were shown playing tennis, gardening, painting, and more!

Caleb, of ancient Israel, was vital into his senior years. As a young man, he infiltrated the Promised Land before the Israelites conquered it. Caleb believed God would help his nation defeat the Canaanites, but the other spies disagreed (Josh. 14:8). Because of Caleb’s faith, God miraculously sustained his life for 45 years so he might survive the wilderness wanderings and enter the Promised Land. When it was finally time to enter Canaan, 85-year-old Caleb said, “Just as my strength was then, so now is my strength” (v. 11). With God’s help, Caleb successfully claimed his share of the land (Num. 14:24).

God does not forget about us as we grow older. Although our bodies age and our health may fail, God’s Holy Spirit renews us inwardly each day (2 Cor. 4:16). He makes it possible for our lives to have significance at every stage and every age.

Heavenly Father, I know that my physical strength and health can fail. But I pray that You will continually renew me spiritually so I can serve You faithfully as long as I live.

With God’s strength behind you and His arms beneath you, you can face whatever lies ahead of you.

By Jennifer Benson Schuldt
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The Teaching of Disillusionment

Jesus did not commit Himself to them…, for He knew what was in man. —John 2:24-25

Disillusionment means having no more misconceptions, false impressions, and false judgments in life; it means being free from these deceptions. However, though no longer deceived, our experience of disillusionment may actually leave us cynical and overly critical in our judgment of others. But the disillusionment that comes from God brings us to the point where we see people as they really are, yet without any cynicism or any stinging and bitter criticism. Many of the things in life that inflict the greatest injury, grief, or pain, stem from the fact that we suffer from illusions. We are not true to one another as facts, seeing each other as we really are; we are only true to our misconceived ideas of one another. According to our thinking, everything is either delightful and good, or it is evil, malicious, and cowardly.

Refusing to be disillusioned is the cause of much of the suffering of human life. And this is how that suffering happens— if we love someone, but do not love God, we demand total perfection and righteousness from that person, and when we do not get it we become cruel and vindictive; yet we are demanding of a human being something which he or she cannot possibly give. There is only one Being who can completely satisfy to the absolute depth of the hurting human heart, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ. Our Lord is so obviously uncompromising with regard to every human relationship because He knows that every relationship that is not based on faithfulness to Himself will end in disaster. Our Lord trusted no one, and never placed His faith in people, yet He was never suspicious or bitter. Our Lord’s confidence in God, and in what God’s grace could do for anyone, was so perfect that He never despaired, never giving up hope for any person. If our trust is placed in human beings, we will end up despairing of everyone.

The great word of Jesus to His disciples is Abandon. When God has brought us into the relationship of disciples, we have to venture on His word; trust entirely to Him and watch that when He brings us to the venture, we take it. Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, 1459 R

Oswald Chambers

Rebuilding Passion

1 Timothy 4:15

Just as people are drawn by the warmth and appeal of a fire on the hearth, non-believers will be attracted to Christians who are passionate for Jesus Christ. The Lord wants His followers to be a “city set on a hill” and the “light of the world,” shining brightly in the darkness with His love and message of redemption (Matthew 5:14-15; Matthew 28:19).

Yet, as we saw yesterday, it is possible for our “fire” to cool, which affects our witness. If this should happen to you, take steps to rekindle the flame of passion for your relationship with the Savior.

First, be aware of where you are: Is your walk with God less dynamic than it used to be? Then, recall where you once were—think back to what it was like when you had zeal for the Lord. Next, acknowledge that you’ve drifted. Ask God to speak to you, and read His Word expectantly. Spend time daily in prayer; don’t just list things you want, but express a desire to really know your heavenly Father. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you refocus your attention. Think about what life can be like when Jesus is at the center, and you will no longer be content with anything less than God’s best.

The apostle Paul gave Timothy instruction on living a life pleasing to the Father. Then He added the reminder to be “absorbed” in these things. We, too, should saturate our minds with the principles of God. The Lord desires that your faith have excitement. He will use your fervor to draw others to Himself—and to bless you in the process.

Given to Us Eternal Life

“And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.” (1 John 5:11)

Our text for today contains truths which provide great power and comfort for Christians. Let us reflect on some of them.

The word “record” needs amplification. In noun form, it means “the evidence given,” and in verb form it means “testify,” or “witness.” The apostle John used it nine times in verses 7 through 11. Study of our text and its context shows that the record mentioned is none other than the great truth that Christ Jesus was God’s only Son, and that He died as a perfect and fully sufficient sacrifice to provide us life eternal.

In our text, we see that this work of bestowing eternal life is God’s work. It is “not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us” (Titus 3:5). This eternal life is our present possession, for He “hath given” it to us (i.e., in the past). This gift is to individuals—to “us”—not to a nation or even the church, but to those who have believed. Furthermore, this “eternal life” is eternal! It will last for eternity and cannot be taken away. It is inconceivable for an omnipotent God to give “eternal life” temporarily. We are alive in Him, having been born (again) into His family. This is a permanent situation.

The tense shifts to the present in the last phrase of the text. Our “life is in his Son.” We are “in him. . . . This is the true God, and eternal life” (1 John 5:20). Our life finds its vitality in living union with the Son. His death and resurrection made life possible, and now His present life is ours. His Spirit, resident within us, provides this vitality, and since the Spirit of God is eternal, our life is eternal. “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God” (v. 13). JDM

100 Pianos

That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. —John 17:21

Someone may fear that we are magnifying private religion out of all proportion, that the “us” of the New Testament is being displaced by a selfish “I.” Has it ever occurred to you that 100 pianos all tuned to the same fork are automatically tuned to each other? They are of one accord by being tuned, not to each other, but to another standard to which each one must individually bow. So 100 worshipers meeting together, each one looking away to Christ, are in heart nearer to each other than they could possibly be were they to become “unity” conscious and turn their eyes away from God to strive for closer fellowship. Social religion is perfected when private religion is purified. The body becomes stronger as its members become healthier. The whole church of God gains when the members that compose it begin to seek a better and a higher life.

Lord, let this start with me. Give me a closer walk with You today. Then as a leader enable me to encourage others as well, individually, so that all to whom I minister might be in harmony as we individually are close to You. Amen.

Our View of God’s Presence Is Not Pantheism

If I were hungry I would not tell thee: for the world is mine, and the fullness thereof. Psalm 50:12

The fact that God dwells in His creation and is everywhere indivisibly present in all His works is boldly taught by prophet and apostle and is accepted by Christian theology generally.

That is, it appears in the books, but for some reason it has not sunk into the average Christian’s heart so as to become a part of his believing self. Christian teachers shy away from its full implications, probably for fear of being charged with pantheism, but the doctrine of the divine Presence is definitely not pantheism.

Pantheism’s error is too palpable to deceive anyone. It is that God is the sum of all created things. Nature and God are one to the pantheist, so that whoever touches a leaf or a stone touches God. That is of course to degrade the glory of the incorruptible Deity and, in an effort to make all things divine, banish all divinity from the world entirely.

The truth is that while God dwells in His world He is separated from it by a gulf forever impassable. However closely He may be identified with the work of His hands they are and must eternally be other than He, and He is and must be antecedent to and independent of them.

He is transcendent above all His works even while He is immanent within them. He is here and the whole universe is alive with His life!

Our Love for God

Let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. 1 JOHN 3:18

The taking over of the romantic love ideal into our relation to God has been extremely injurious to our Christian lives. The idea that we should “fall in love” with God is ignoble, unscriptural, unworthy of us and certainly does no honor to the Most High God!

We do not come to love God by a sudden emotional visitation. Love for God results from repentance, amendment of life and a fixed determination to love Him. Then as God moves more perfectly into the focus of our hearts, our love for Him may indeed rise and swell within us till like a flood it sweeps everything before it.

But we should not wait for this intensity of feeling. We are not responsible to feel but we are responsible to love, and true spiritual love begins in the will.

We should set our hearts to love God supremely, however cold or hard they may seem to be and go on to confirm our love by happy and careful obedience to His Word.

Enjoyable emotions are sure to follow!

Heavenly Father, I confess that I have a hard time “loving” the unlovely people of this world. Teach me more about true spiritual love, Father.