Changed to His Likeness

We Christians actually do have within us a portion of the very thoughts and mind of Christ. 1 CORINTHIANS 2:16 TLB

The distance between our hearts and [Jesus’ heart] seems so immense. How could we ever hope to have the heart of Jesus?

Ready for a surprise? You already do.… If you are in Christ, you already have the heart of Christ. One of the supreme yet unrealized promises of God is simply this: if you have given your life to Jesus, Jesus has given himself to you. He has made your heart his home. It would be hard to say it more succinctly than Paul does: “Christ lives in me” (Gal. 2:20 MSG).…

He has moved in and unpacked his bags and is ready to change you “into his likeness from one degree of glory to another” (2 Cor. 3:18 RSV).

Just Like Jesus

A TRUE FAMILY

“My true brother and sister and mother are those who do what God wants.” MARK 3:35

Does Jesus have anything to say about dealing with difficult relatives? Is there an example of Jesus bringing peace to a painful family? Yes there is. His own …

It may surprise you to know that Jesus had a family at all! You may not be aware that Jesus had brothers and sisters. He did. Quoting Jesus’ hometown critics, Mark wrote, “[Jesus] is just the carpenter, the son of Mary and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas, and Simon. And his sisters are here with us” (Mark 6:3).

And it may surprise you to know that his family was less than perfect. They were. If your family doesn’t appreciate you, take heart, neither did Jesus’ …

[Yet] he didn’t try to control his family’s behavior, nor did he let their behavior control his. He didn’t demand that they agree with him. He didn’t sulk when they insulted him. He didn’t make it his mission to try to please them.

from HE STILL MOVES STONES

Crowned With Glory

The Voyager 1 spacecraft, which was launched in 1977, is on the outer edge of our solar system more than 10 billion miles away. In February 1990, when Voyager 1 was almost 4 billion miles from us, scientists turned its camera toward Earth and took some pictures that revealed our planet as an almost imperceptible blue dot on a vast sea of empty space.

In the immense reaches of our universe, Earth is just a minuscule speck. On this seemingly insignificant pebble in the ocean of galactic objects live more than seven billion people.

If this makes you feel insignificant, God has some good news. Tucked into one of David’s psalms is a rhetorical question that can allow you to step out into the night air, look up at the sky, and rejoice. Psalm 8:3-5 tells us that we are superstars in God’s eyes: “When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, . . . what is man that You are mindful of him? . . . You have crowned him with glory and honor.” Soak that in! God—who spoke into existence a universe so vast that the Hubble telescope hasn’t found the end of it—created you, and He cares deeply for you. He cared enough to ask Jesus to leave heaven to die for you.

Look up in wonder at God’s creation and praise Him that He crowned you with glory through His Son Jesus.

We praise You, Father, for Your creation which reaches beyond our imagination, for the spellbinding night sky with its vast array of lights, and for loving each of us enough to send Jesus to be our personal Savior.

We see the power of God’s creation; we feel the power of His love.

Four Commands

“Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.” (1 Peter 2:17)

Our text today gives four commands for believers to obey, each of which is difficult but nonetheless “is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men” (v. 15). It comes in a lengthy passage (2:11-3:12) that discusses the matter of authority and a Christian’s proper response to it. Ponder each command:

Honor all men. This could be translated, “Give honor to all.” While the verb is the same as in the last command, its verb tense is not the same, here indicating a continued, conscious choice to do this, while honoring “the king” indicates the development of a lifestyle of showing respect to civil authority. Evidently our day-to-day encounters with sinful “men” require us to be continually choosing to regard them with honor and dignity. “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves” (Philippians 2:3).

Love the brotherhood. Our agape love–God’s kind of unselfish, undeserved love–should extend, on a habitual basis as seen in the verb tense, to all believers. “See that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently” (1 Peter 1:22).

Fear God. A lifestyle marked by a reverential fear of God is in mind here. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge” (Proverbs 1:7). “Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil” (Proverbs 3:7).

Honor the king. As mentioned above, this is to be a life’s commitment, continually recognizing the God-given authority of human government (1 Peter 2:1-14).

“Having your conversation |i.e., manner of life| honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation” (v. 12). JDM

Active and Passive Faith

“If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.” (Mark 9:23.)

SELDOM have we heard a better definition of faith than was given once in one of our meetings, by a dear old woman, as she answered the question of a young man how to take the Lord for needed help.

In her characteristic way, pointing her finger toward him, she said with great emphasis: “You’ve just got to believe that He’s done it and it’s done.” The great” danger with most of us is that, after we ask Him to do it, we do not believe that it is done, but we keep on helping Him, and getting others to help Him; and waiting to see how He is going to do it.

Faith adds its “Amen” to God’s “Yea,” and then takes its hands off, and leaves God to finish His work. Its language is, “Commit, thy way unto the Lord, trust also in him; and he worketh.” —Days of Heaven upon Earth.

“I simply take Him at His word,
I praise Him that my prayer is heard,
And claim my answer from the Lord;
I take, He undertakes.”

An active faith can give thanks for a promise, though it be not as yet performed; knowing that God’s bonds are as good as ready money.—Matthew Henry.

Passive faith accepts the word as true—
But never moves.
Active faith begins the work to do,
And thereby proves,

Passive faith says, “I believe it! every word of God is true.
Well I know He hath not spoken what He cannot, will not, do.
He hath bidden me, ‘Go forward!’ but a closed-up way I see,
When the waters are divided, soon in Canaan’s land I’ll be.
Lo! I hear His voice commanding, ‘Rise and walk: take up thy bed’;
And, ‘Stretch forth thy withered member!’ which for so long has been dead.
When I am a little stronger, then, I know I’ll surely stand:
When there comes a thrill of healing, I will use with ease my other hand.
Yes, I know that ‘God is able’ and full willing all to do:
I believe that every promise, sometime, will to me come true.”

Active faith says, “I believe it! and the promise now I take,
Knowing well, as I receive it, God, each promise, real will make.
So I step into the waters, finding there an open way;
Onward press, the land possessing; nothing can my progress stay.
Yea, I rise at His commanding, walk straightway, and joyfully:
This, my hand, so sadly shrivelled, as I reach, restored shall be.
What beyond His faithful promise, would I wish or do I need?
Looking not for ‘signs or wonders,’ I’ll no contradiction heed.
Well I know that ‘God is able,’ and full willing all to do:
I believe that every promise, at this moment can come true.”

Passive faith but praises in the light,
When sun doth shine.
Active faith will praise in darkest night—
Which faith is thine?

—Selected.