A Cut Above

Be still, and know that I am God. PSALM 46:10 NIV

The word holy means “to separate.” The ancestry of the term can be traced back to an ancient word which means “to cut.” To be holy, then, is to be a cut above the norm, superior, extraordinary.… The Holy One dwells on a different level from the rest of us. What frightens us does not frighten him. What troubles us does not trouble him.

I’m more a landlubber than a sailor, but I’ve puttered around in a bass boat enough to know the secret for finding land in a storm … You don’t aim at another boat. You certainly don’t stare at the waves. You set your sights on an object unaffected by the wind—a light on the shore—and go straight toward it.…

When you set your sights on our God, you focus on one “a cut above” any storm life may bring.… You find peace.

The Great House of God

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A NEXT DOOR SAVIOR

“Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” MARK 4:41

He was, at once, man and God. There he was, the single most significant person who ever lived. Forget MVP; he is the entire league. The head of the parade? Hardly. No one else shares the street. Who comes close? Humanity’s best and brightest fade like dime-store rubies next to him.

Dismiss him? We can’t.

Resist him? Equally difficult. Don’t we need a God-man Savior? A just-God Jesus could make us but not understand us. A just-man Jesus could love us but never save us. But a God-man Jesus? Near enough to touch. Strong enough to trust. A next door Savior.

A Savior found by millions to be irresistible.

from NEXT DOOR SAVIOR

God’s Lighthouse

The Mission Point Lighthouse was built in 1870 on a peninsula in Northern Michigan to warn ships of sand bars and rocky shores along Lake Michigan. That lighthouse got its name from another kind of lighthouse, a mission church, which was built 31 years earlier.

In 1839, Rev. Peter Dougherty answered the call to become pastor of a church in Old Mission that was made up of Native Americans who lived farther south on the same peninsula. Under his leadership, a thriving community of farmers, teachers, and craftsmen worked side by side to build a better life for the community.

When believers in Christ work together in unity, their fellowship of faith provides spiritual light in the world’s darkness (Phil. 2:15-16). Jesus said, “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. . . . Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matt. 5:14-16).

The Mission Point Lighthouse warned ships of danger, but the original Old Mission Church provided spiritual direction to all who would listen. Believers do the same individually and through our churches. We are God’s lighthouse because Jesus lives in us. by Dennis Fisher

You are called with a holy calling
The light of the world to be;
To lift up the lamp of the Savior
That others His light may see. —Anon.

Believers help the lost to find their way home when their life shines brightly.

By His Doing

“But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” (1 Corinthians 1:30)

In this one verse we find described four aspects of Christ’s work on our behalf. As we look at each one, let us first note that it is “of him,” literally “by his doing,” that we are in Christ Jesus, who “is made” or “who became” these things to us and for us.

Wisdom of God: This is the preferred rendering. Paul was writing to the church at Corinth (a Greek city). The Greeks were infatuated with wisdom, but Paul declared Christ Jesus to be the “wisdom of God.” Such wisdom is likewise imparted to believers (v. 24), while “the foolishness of God is wiser than men” (v. 25).

Righteousness: Christ, being “made” righteousness, becomes an all-sufficient righteousness to us. This imputed rightness before God gives us a new standing before Him, permitting us access to Him, peace with Him, and ultimate glory with Him.

Sanctification: In Christ, we not only have this righteous standing, we are assured of a holy state as well. Through the work of the indwelling Holy Spirit, we know that our lives will be constantly molded into Christ-likeness.

Redemption: Christ is made redemption for us, and in its fullest definition, this is His final
goal. Through His redemptive work, we have been completely delivered from the power of sin, and will one day be delivered from the presence of sin.

The introductory phrase “of him” or “by his doing” is emphatic in the Greek text. When we see what He has done, we realize just how helpless we were, and how strongly He has acted on our behalf. “He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord” (v. 31). JDM

Discontented with yourself?

“John did no miracle: but all things that John spake of this man were true.” (John 10:41.)

YOU may be very discontented with yourself. You are no genius, have no brilliant gifts, and are inconspicuous for any special faculty. Mediocrity is the law of your existence. Your days are remarkable for nothing but sameness and insipidity. Yet you may live a great life.

John did no miracle, but Jesus said that among those born of women there had not appeared a greater than he.

John’s main business was to bear witness to the Light, and this may be yours and mine. John was content to be only a voice, if men would think of Christ.

Be willing to be only a voice, heard but not seen; a mirror whose surface is lost to view, because it reflects the dazzling glory of the sun; a breeze that springs up just before daylight, and says, “The dawn! the dawn!” and then dies away.

Do the commonest and smallest things as beneath His eye. If you must live with uncongenial people, set to their conquest by love. If you have made a great mistake in your life, do not let it becloud all of it; but, locking the secret in your breast, compel it to yield strength and sweetness.

We are doing more good than we know, sowing seeds, starting streamlets, giving men true thoughts of Christ, to which they will refer one day as the first things that started them thinking of Him; and, of my part, I shall be satisfied if no great mausoleum is raised over my grave, but that simple souls shall gather there when I am gone, and say, “He was a good man; he wrought no miracles, but he spake words about Christ, which led me to know Him for myself.” —George Matheson.

“THY HIDDEN ONES” (Psa. 83:3.)

“Thick green leaves from the soft brown earth,
Happy springtime hath called them forth;
First faint promise of summer bloom
Breathes from the fragrant, sweet perfume,
Under the leaves.

“Lift them! what marvelous beauty lies
Hidden beneath, from our thoughtless eyes!
Mayflowers, rosy or purest white,
Lift their cups to the sudden light,
Under the leaves.

“Are there no lives whose holy deeds—
Seen by no eye save His who reads
Motive and action—in silence grow
Into rare beauty, and bud and blow
Under the leaves?

“Fair white flowers of faith and trust,
Springing from spirits bruised and crushed;
Blossoms of love, rose-tinted and bright,
Touched and painted with Heaven’s own light
Under the leaves.

“Full fresh clusters of duty borne,
Fairest of all in that shadow grown;
Wondrous the fragrance that sweet and rare
Comes from the flower-cups hidden there
Under the leaves.

“Though unseen by our vision dim,
Bud and blossom are known to Him;
Wait we content for His heavenly ray—
Wait till our Master Himself one day
Lifteth the leaves.”

“God calls many of His most valued workers from the unknown multitude.” (Luke 14:23.)

Showers of Blessings

“I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers of blessing.” Ezekiel 34:26

Here is sovereign mercy—”I will give them the shower in its season.” Is it not sovereign, divine mercy?—for who can say, “I will give them showers,” except God? There is only one voice which can speak to the clouds, and bid them beget the rain.

Who sendeth down the rain upon the earth? Who scattereth the showers upon the green herb? Do not I, the Lord? So grace is the gift of God, and is not to be created by man. It is also needed grace. What would the ground do without showers? You may break the clods, you may sow your seeds, but what can you do without the rain? As absolutely needful is the divine blessing.

In vain you labour, until God the plenteous shower bestows, and sends salvation down. Then, it is plenteous grace. “I will send them showers.” It does not say, “I will send them drops,” but “showers.” So it is with grace. If God gives a blessing, He usually gives it in such a measure that there is not room enough to receive it. Plenteous grace! Ah! we want plenteous grace to keep us humble, to make us prayerful, to make us holy; plenteous grace to make us zealous, to preserve us through this life, and at last to land us in heaven. We cannot do without saturating showers of grace. Again, it is seasonable grace. “I will cause the shower to come down in his season.”

What is thy season this morning? Is it the season of drought? Then that is the season for showers. Is it a season of great heaviness and black clouds? Then that is the season for showers. “As thy days so shall thy strength be.” And here is a varied blessing. “I will give thee showers of blessing.” The word is in the plural. All kinds of blessings God will send. All God’s blessings go together, like links in a golden chain. If He gives converting grace, He will also give comforting grace. He will send “showers of blessing.” Look up today, O parched plant, and open thy leaves and flowers for a heavenly watering.

Conformity – good or bad?

“For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” (Romans 8:29)

One of the greatest dangers facing Christians is the temptation to become conformed to the things of the world around them, thus destroying their testimony for the Lord. We are specifically commanded, in fact, “Be not conformed to this world” (Romans 12:2). One cannot serve two masters, and the great privilege of the believer is the privilege of becoming conformed, not to a dying world, but to the living Christ.

But first we must be conformed to His death, dying to the world and its standards. The greatest desire of the apostle Paul was to “win Christ. . . . That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death” (Philippians 3:8, 10).

Death is far from the end, however. When Christ returns, He “shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body” (Philippians 3:21). In this verse, the Greek for “fashioned like” is the same as “conformed to.” These corruptible, dying bodies we now live in will one day be changed. As Christ rose from the dead, we also shall rise, and our bodies, like His, will be alive forevermore.

Even that wonderful prospect is not the best of it, however. Not only will our bodies be incorruptible like His, but we shall be like Him–like Him in holiness, like Him in love, like Him in wisdom. “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him” (1 John 3:2). In the words of our text, we are actually predestined to be conformed to the very image of the Son of God! HMM