A PERSONAL QUERY

Then Jesus asked, “But who do you say I am?” MARK 8:29

Jesus turns [to his disciples] and asks them the question. The question. “But who do you say I am?” He doesn’t ask, “What do you think about what I’ve done?” He asks, “Who do you say that I am?” …

He doesn’t ask, “Who do your friends think I am? … Who do your parents think I am? … Who do your peers think I am?” He poses instead a starkly personal query, “Who do you think I am?” …

You have been asked some important questions in your life:

Will you marry me?

Would you be interested in a transfer?

What would you think if I told you I was pregnant?

You’ve been asked some important questions. But the grandest of them is an anthill compared to the Everest found in the eighth chapter of Mark.

Who do you say that I am?

from THE INSPIRATIONAL STUDY BIBLE

Grace, Mercy, and Peace

“Paul . . . To Timothy, my dearly beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.” (2 Timothy 1:1-2)

Of the thirteen letters written by the apostle Paul, only the three to Timothy and Titus use this three-fold greeting: “Grace, mercy, and peace.” The other ten letters use the more common “grace and mercy.” Why the distinction? The Holy Spirit is never whimsical nor capricious. Perhaps, since these three letters were the only ones addressed to pastors that Paul had trained, there was a more poignant emphasis intended.

Grace (charis) is the foundational core of God’s gift of salvation to those who trust Him (Ephesians 2:8). It is also the essence of the “gifts” that we received from the Holy Spirit to minister to each other (1 Corinthians 15:10). The charis is the basis for charisma that we receive. Those who have been entrusted with leadership responsibilities are reminded that the measure of those gifts is still God’s charis (Romans 12:3, 6).

Mercy is often understood through God’s forgiveness both in justice delayed and sentence nullified through Christ. It is also what the Sovereign Godhead responds with when we ask for His help. “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).

Peace is much more than mere lack of anxiety. It is “not as the world giveth” (John 14:27), but rather a supernatural, non-circumstantial contentment that is only given to the Lord’s Twice-Born. This peace is “the peace of God, which passeth all understanding” and is specifically designed to “keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7).

May this grace, mercy, and peace be a regular portion of your walk in the kingdom as you serve the Lord Jesus. HMM III

Faith and patience inherit the promises

“Followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.” (Heb. 6:12.)

THEY (heroes of faith) are calling to us from the heights that they have won, and telling us that what man once did man can do again. Not only do they remind us of the necessity of faith, but also of that patience by which faith has its perfect work. Let us fear to take ourselves out of the hands of our heavenly Guide or to miss a single lesson of His loving discipline by discouragement or doubt.

“There is only one thing,” said a village blacksmith, “that I fear, and that is to be thrown on the scrap heap.

“When I am tempering a piece of steel, I first heat it, hammer it, and then suddenly plunge it into this bucket of cold water. I very soon find whether it will take temper or go to pieces in the process. When I discover after one or two tests that it is not going to allow itself to be tempered, I throw it on the scrap heap and sell it for a cent a pound when the junk man comes around.

“So I find the Lord tests me, too, by fire and water and heavy blows of His heavy hammer, and if I am not willing to stand the test, or am not going to prove a fit subject for His tempering process, I am afraid He may throw me on the scrap heap.” When the fire is hottest, hold still, for there will be a blessed afterward”; and with Job we may be able to say, “When he hath tried me I shall come forth as gold.”—Selected.

Sainthood springs out of suffering. It takes eleven tons of pressure on a piano to tune it. God will tune you to harmonize with Heaven’s keynote if you can stand the strain.

“Things that hurt and things that mar
Shape the man for perfect praise;
Shock and strain and ruin are
Friendlier than the smiling days.”

Knowing God’s Grace

“My grace is sufficient for thee.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

If none of God’s saints were poor and tried, we should not know half so well the consolations of divine grace. When we find the wanderer who has not where to lay his head, who yet can say, “Still will I trust in the or, when we see the pauper starving on bread and water, who still glories in Jesus; when we see the bereaved widow overwhelmed in affliction, and yet having faith in Christ, oh! what honour it reflects on the gospel. God’s grace is illustrated and magnified in the poverty and trials of believers.

Saints bear up under every discouragement, believing that all things work together for their good, and that out of apparent evils a real blessing shall ultimately spring—that their God will either work a deliverance for them speedily, or most assuredly support them in the trouble, as long as He is pleased to keep them in it. This patience of the saints proves the power of divine grace.

There is a lighthouse out at sea: it is a calm night—I cannot tell whether the edifice is firm; the tempest must rage about it, and then I shall know whether it will stand.

So with the Spirit’s work: if it were not on many occasions surrounded with tempestuous waters, we should not know that it was true and strong; if the winds did not blow upon it, we should not know how firm and secure it was. The master-works of God are those men who stand in the midst of difficulties, stedfast, unmoveable,—

“Calm mid the bewildering cry,
Confident of victory.”

He who would glorify his God must set his account upon meeting with many trials. No man can be illustrious before the Lord unless his conflicts be many. If then, yours be a much-tried path, rejoice in it, because you will the better show forth the all-sufficient grace of God. As for His failing you, never dream of it—hate the thought. The God who has been sufficient until now, should be trusted to the end.