VIDEO On Bended Knee

That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth. Philippians 2:10

Bowing out of respect, reverence, or worship has a long history. Throughout history, most nations were monarchies ruled by a king or queen and bowing before the monarch was commonplace. We still see it in modern monarchies like Great Britain where bowing to the current Queen is a sign of respect for her position. What we don’t see often is monarchs bowing to anyone. But a day is coming when everyone on earth—including monarchs—will bend the knee before the divine King of kings, Jesus Christ.

The bowing of humanity before God’s Messiah was foreseen by Isaiah, an image the apostle Paul then used in Romans 14:11 and Philippians 2:10. The prophet Zechariah foresaw the nations streaming to Jerusalem because they will have heard that God is with the Jews (Zechariah 8:23). Exactly how and when this bowing before Christ takes place remains to be seen. But it will happen.

Bowing in prayer and worship is a rightful posture for those who serve the King of kings and Lord of lords—today and in the future.

Jesus will not be a Savior to any man who refuses to bow to Him as Lord. Walter Chantry


Christ Jesus Our Lord – Philippians 2:5-11 – Skip Heitzig

Uncommon Courage

Take me to the king, and I will interpret his dream for him. Daniel 2:24

In 1478, Lorenzo de Medici, the ruler of Florence, Italy, escaped an attack on his life. His countrymen sparked a war when they tried to retaliate against the attack on their leader. As the situation worsened, the cruel King Ferrante I of Naples became Lorenzo’s enemy, but a courageous act by Lorenzo changed everything. He visited the king unarmed and alone. This bravery, paired with his charm and brilliance, won Ferrante’s admiration and ended the war. 

Daniel also helped a king experience a change of heart. No one in Babylon could describe or interpret King Nebuchadnezzar’s troubling dream. This made him so angry that he decided to execute all his advisors—including Daniel and his friends. But Daniel asked to visit the king who wanted him dead (Daniel 2:24).

Standing before Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel gave God all the credit for revealing the mystery of the dream (v. 28). When the prophet described and deciphered it, Nebuchadnezzar honored the “God of gods and the Lord of kings” (v. 47). Daniel’s uncommon courage, which was born of his faith in God, helped him, his friends, and the other advisors avoid death that day.

In our lives, there are times when bravery and boldness are needed to communicate important messages. May God guide our words and give us the wisdom to know what to say and the ability to say it well.

By:  Jennifer Benson Schuldt

Reflect & Pray

How has someone’s bravery made a difference in your life? How can you rest in God’s power to act courageously for Him?

Dear Jesus, thank You for the courage You showed during Your life on earth. Fill me with Your wisdom and power when I face tense situations.

A Strong Foundation

Circumstances cannot shake a strong foundation of faith

Psalm 62:1-12

In a tumultuous world, where can stability be found? We can’t count on political leaders, financial institutions, healthcare providers, or any other human institution to keep us safe and secure. There is only one sure foundation, and that is the Lord our God. 

David, who wrote today’s psalm, lived with many dangers and trials. But he knew that with God as his stronghold, he would not be deeply shaken by earthly events. And that is true for anyone who knows Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. He’s characterized by love, justice, and faithfulness in His interactions with us. We can have great confidence because our God is self-existent and unchangeable. He knows all things, has all power, and is present everywhere. 

Is your faith grounded on these truths about your Rock? Do you believe God is completely dependable in His dealings with you? Can you trust that He loves you during hard times when you’re still waiting for prayers to be answered? Do you accept that His guidance is based on His unlimited knowledge and love for you, even when you don’t understand or like His choices for your life? This is what constitutes a strong foundation of faith.

Careful for Nothing

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” (Philippians 4:6)

Many of us know those types of precious people who seem to thrive on making sure the details are right. They keep us careful, ensure our safety, and strengthen our plans, and yet that same strength can lead to anxiety, troubling our souls and dominating our lives. Our verse today warns us about this facet.

Our Lord gently admonished in Luke 10:41: “Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things.” Martha, Mary, and their brother Lazurus were longtime associates of the Lord Jesus. He had spent many hours in their home and had come to love them as close friends. No doubt Martha had often “given thought” to Christ’s visits and had been “in turmoil” over the details many times. But our gracious Lord saw the circumstances controlling Martha, and He softly insisted that she not lose the thing of greatest value by sacrificing the permanent on the altar of the immediate.

And that is the admonition in our text. Nothing should absorb us so much that we attempt to solve things on our own before submitting our requests to our Lord. Jesus made it pretty clear: “Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on” (Matthew 6:25). Look around, our Lord insisted. The birds and the flowers can’t be altered by our “thoughts.”

After all that Job’s friends did to “encourage” him, our great Creator reminded Job of the many wonders that he could see if he paid attention. Nothing is beyond the care of our Lord. Sometimes, we need reminding, too. HMM III

A Habitation of the Spirit

That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.—Romans 8:4

The true Christian fears God with a trembling reverence and yet he is not afraid of God at all. He draws nigh to God with full assurance of faith and victory and yet at the same time is trembling with holy awe and fear.

To fear and yet draw near—this is the attitude of faith and love and yet the holy contradiction classifies him as a fanatic, too!

Today, as in all the centuries, true Christians are an enigma to the world, a thorn in the flesh of Adam, a puzzle to angels, the delight of God and a habitation of the Holy Spirit.

Our fellowship ought to take in all of the true children of God, regardless of who and where and what, if they are washed in the blood, born of the Spirit, walking with God the Father, begotten unto a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ and rejoicing in the salvation to be revealed! ICH164-165

As we become occupied with Christ and abide in His fellowship, His glorious likeness is reproduced in us, and we stand before the world, not only living epistles but living likenesses, of our blessed Lord. HS432

The Birth of the Spirit

Unless someone is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.—John 3:5

Jesus prepared His disciples for the reception of the Holy Spirit. This course of training is best revealed in John’s Gospel.

It is through the ministry of the Holy Spirit that we are born again into the kingdom of God. John makes clear what the new birth is not: “[Children] born not of blood, or of the will of the flesh, or of the will of man, but of God” (1:13). The new birth is brought about by the Holy Spirit, and unless He is involved in it, then it is not a new birth at all.

Someone has described the new birth as “the change, gradual or sudden, by which we, who are the children of the first birth, through a physical birth into a physical world, become children of the second birth, through a spiritual birth into a spiritual world.” Just as you have to have brains to enter the kingdom of knowledge, an aesthetic nature to enter the kingdom of beauty, a musical sensitivity to enter the kingdom of music, an emotional nature to enter the kingdom of love, so you have to have a spiritual birth to enter the kingdom of God.

Jesus, in His first reference to the Holy Spirit in John’s Gospel, put His finger on the first step of the Spirit’s ministry in human life—the birth of the Spirit. Jesus said these words, not to a down-and-out, but to a member of the Jewish ruling council, a Pharisee. If Nicodemus, a morally upright religious leader, needed the Spirit, then we all need Him.

Prayer

O Father, I am grateful for this new life within—the new birth—and now I want more. This that I have experienced sets my heart on fire for life in all its fullness. Amen.

Further Study

Gl 5; Jn 1:13; Tit 3:5; 1Pt 1:23

What are the characteristics of those born of the Spirit?

What does it mean to “walk in the Spirit”?

Speaking with Authority

They were astonished at His teaching because, unlike the scribes, He was teaching them as one having authority.—Mark 1:22

Jesus was not the first person to teach the Scriptures to a group of disciples. The people in Jesus’ day had heard other teachers of the Scriptures. What set Jesus apart was that He taught with authority. To many of the scribes, the Scriptures were meaningless, dry collections of theological speculation, but Jesus taught them as the living words of God. John the Baptist claimed that a man could only receive that which had been given to him by God (John 3:27). When the religious leaders searched the Scriptures, they came away empty-handed. When Jesus read the same Scriptures, the Father gave Him a full measure of His wisdom and His authority.

There is a radical difference between practicing religion and sharing a word directly from the Lord. There is a significant difference between worldly reasoning and counsel that comes straight from the living word of God. Is it possible to teach a message from the Bible but not from the Lord? Yes! The scribes and Pharisees did this regularly and left their listeners spiritually destitute. Is it possible to counsel someone with advice that seems appropriate and reasonable and yet is contrary to God’s word? Of course!

Whenever you teach, counsel, or share a word of encouragement, be very careful that the words you share are indeed from the Lord and are not just your own thinking. Otherwise, you could become a false prophet (Deut. 18:20–22). God promises to stand by every word He has ever spoken (Isa. 55:10–11). When you share a word that has come from God, you can do so with utmost confidence!

VIDEO Utopia on Earth

Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this. Isaiah 9:7

In 1516, the English churchman, philosopher, and advisor to King Henry VIII, Sir Thomas More, coined the term utopia when he published a book by that name: Utopia. It described an imaginary island country named Utopia (“no place” in Greek) where life was lived in perfect order and balance.

Will there ever be a world where life is ordered and balanced? According to the Bible there will be. First, for a thousand years Christ will rule a kingdom on earth which is not totally problem-free, but which is ordered by His perfect rule. Then, for all eternity, the new heaven and new earth will usher in the New Jerusalem where life will be perfect—devoid of death, mourning, and pain.

Today, we see dystopia. But in the future we see the Kingdom of God—first on earth, then on the new earth. Perfection is coming for all who wait for it in Christ.

We reject as a proud, self-confident dream the notion that man can ever build a utopia on earth.
The Lausanne Covenant


His Kingdom Foretold – Isaiah 9:6-7 – Skip Heitzig

The Fierce Struggle

Our struggle is . . . against the powers of this dark world. Ephesians 6:12

In 1896, an explorer named Carl Akeley found himself in a remote section of Ethiopia, chased by an eighty-pound leopard. He remembered the leopard pouncing, trying “to sink her teeth into my throat.” She missed, snagging his right arm with her vicious jaws. The two rolled in the sand—a long, fierce struggle. Akeley weakened, and “it became a question of who would give up first.” Summoning his last bit of strength, Akeley was able to suffocate the big cat with his bare hands.

The apostle Paul explained how each of us who believe in Jesus will inevitably encounter our own fierce struggles, those places where we feel overwhelmed and are tempted to surrender. Instead, we must take our “stand against the devil’s schemes” and “stand firm” (Ephesians 6:11, 14). Rather than cower in fear or crumble as we recognize our weakness and vulnerability, Paul challenged us to step forward in faith, remembering that we don’t rely on our own courage and strength but on God. “Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power,” he wrote (v. 10). In the challenges we face, He’s only a prayer away (v. 18).

Yes, we have many struggles, and we’ll never escape them by our own power or ingenuity. But God is more powerful than any enemy or evil we’ll ever face.

By:  Winn Collier

Reflect & Pray

What fight are you (or someone you love) facing right now? How is God inviting you to stand firm in His strength and fight?

God, the fight is real. The evil is real. I don’t know what to do, but I’m trusting You and Your mighty power to be with me.

Standing Firm

If we want to withstand trials and evil temptations, we must plant ourselves on a foundation of faith

Ephesians 6:10-17

Did you know that you’re in a battle every day of your life? The enemy’s goal is to weaken, deceive, and lead believers astray. God protects all who belong to Him, so wicked forces can never touch our salvation (1 Peter 1:3-5). But they can lead us into sin, cause discouragement, ruin our witness for Christ, and bring about other damage.

The main charge in today’s passage is “Stand firm,” and it’s mentioned three times (Eph. 6:11; Eph. 6:13-14). Paul says the purpose of the armor of God is to enable us to stand our ground in the battle, and his list of armor would not be complete without the footwear mentioned in verse 15. The soles of a Roman soldier’s sandals were studded with iron hobnails, which enabled him to stand his ground against an enemy assault. 

Today our anchoring footwear is faith in the gospel, which not only grants us peace with the heavenly Father but also makes us Satan’s adversaries. So plant your feet and anchor yourself on a solid foundation of faith. When we don’t avail ourselves of the protection provided through Christ, we’re more likely to give way in the fight and yield to Satan’s temptations.