By Rene Yoshi
Have you ever questioned yourself or wondered about your worth because of how someone responds to you? You may have heard the quote by Charles Spurgeon that says, “The same sun that melts wax hardens clay.” I’m not sure why it has taken me so long to realize that how a person responds says more about them than it does about me— or you— unless, of course, everyone is responding to us the same way. If that is the case, we have to ask ourselves what we’re doing to cause the same effect and then seek to change. Maybe we’re like acid and burning everyone; or prickly like a cactus, and causing people to keep their distance. But if different people are responding differently, just as the same sun that melts wax and hardens clay and also bleaches clothes and causes plants to grow and produce vibrant colors, how a person responds says more about them and what they’re made of, than about you or me and what we’re worth. Have you ever smiled at one person and had them smile back, but then have another person frown? Same smile, different response.
While a negative or positive response may reveal what a person is made of, it may also simply reveal their state of being at the time. Are they tired, hungry, depressed, overwhelmed, lonely, aging or hormonal? Or do they consistently respond a certain way? And is their response a result of the condition of their heart or of how they were molded and how they feel about themselves? What a person thinks about themselves will play a part in what they do and how they respond, but their response to us still doesn’t determine our worth. Their response reveals something about them.
An elderly friend once lamented with tears in her eyes that her son rarely acknowledges her birthday. But her daughters do. So does that mean she’s worth less because her son fails to remember her on her birthday? Absolutely not. It says more about him than it does about her. Once she realized that, although she is still sad because both are missing out on a blessing, she doesn’t feel as worthless.
The Son of God loves you and me and thinks we were worth dying for, even when we were indifferent to Him or even hated Him. Just as my elderly friend’s loving response reveals something about her as well as how much she values her son despite his indifference, God’s loving kindness to us reveals something about Him and how much we are worth in His eyes.
God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” JOHN 4:24
Don’t think you are separated from God, he at the top end of a great ladder, you at the other. Dismiss any thought that God is on Venus while you are on earth. Since God is Spirit (John 4:24), he is next to you: God himself is our roof. God himself is our wall. And God himself is our foundation.
Moses knew this. “Lord,” he prayed, “you have been our home since the beginning” (Psalm 90:1). What a powerful thought: God as your home. Your home is the place where you can kick off your shoes and eat pickles and crackers and not worry about what people think when they see you in your bathrobe.
Your home is familiar to you. No one has to tell you how to locate your bedroom … God can be equally familiar to you. With time you can learn where to go for nourishment, where to hide for protection, where to turn for guidance. Just as your earthly house is a place of refuge, so God’s house is a place of peace. God’s house has never been plundered, his walls have never been breached.
from THE GREAT HOUSE OF GOD
The just shall live by faith. ROMANS 1:16
At the moment I don’t feel too smart. I just got off the wrong plane that took me to the wrong city and left me at the wrong airport. I went east instead of west and ended up in Houston instead of Denver.
It didn’t look like the wrong plane, but it was. I walked through the wrong gate, dozed off on the wrong flight, and ended up in the wrong place.
Paul says we’ve all done the same thing. Not with airplanes and airports, but with our lives and God. He tells the Roman readers,
There is none righteous, no, not one (Rom. 3:10).
All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23).
We are all on the wrong plane, he says. All of us. Gentile and Jew. Every person has taken the wrong turn. And we need help.… The wrong solutions are pleasure and pride (Rom. 1 and 2); the correct solution is Christ Jesus (Rom. 3:21–26)
The Inspirational Study Bible
“And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine.” (Matthew 7:28)
This is the first mention of “doctrine” (Greek didache) in the New Testament, and as such it is significant that it refers to the doctrines taught by Christ in the so-called Sermon on the Mount. It is also significant that there are four other verses telling us that His hearers were “astonished at his doctrine” (Matthew 22:33; Mark 1:22; 11:18; Luke 4:32) in addition to the statement in Acts 13:12 that a certain new convert had been “astonished at the doctrine of the Lord” when he heard Paul preach.
The astonishing aspect of the doctrine of Christ is indicated by Mark. “They were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes” (Mark 1:22). No wonder He could speak with authority! “My doctrine is not mine,” He said, “but his that sent me” (John 7:16). Paul could also teach this astonishing doctrine because he was careful to teach only the word of God. And so can we if we likewise believe and teach only in the context of the inerrant, doctrinal authority of God’s word.
It has become fashionable today, even in many evangelical churches, to avoid “indoctrination” in favor of “discussion” and “personal Christianity.” This is a great mistake and largely accounts for the increasing secularization of our society and the weak testimony of the Christian church. In the Bible, teaching and doctrine are the same, so that true teaching is indoctrination, and teaching “all things whatsoever I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:20) is an integral part of Christ’s great commission. It is imperative that we, like Paul, teach “all the counsel of God” (Acts 20:27), for “whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God” (2 John 9). HMM
“Men see not the bright light which is in the clouds.” (Job 37:21.)
THE world owes much of its beauty to cloudland. The unchanging blue of the Italian sky hardly compensates for the changefulness and glory of the clouds. Earth would become a wilderness apart from their ministry. There are clouds in human life, shadowing, refreshing, and sometimes draping it in blackness of night; but there is never a cloud without its bright light. “I do set my bow in the cloud!”
If we could see the clouds from the other side where they lie in billowy glory, bathed in the light they intercept, like heaped ranges of Alps, we should be amazed at their splendid magnificence.
We look at their under side; but who shall describe the bright light that bathes their summits and searches their valleys and is reflected from every pinnacle of their expanse? Is not every drop drinking in health-giving qualities, which it will carry to the earth?
O child of God! If you could see your sorrows and troubles from the other side; if instead of looking up at them from earth, you would look down on them from the heavenly places where you sit with Christ; if you knew how they are reflecting in prismatic beauty before the gaze of Heaven, the bright light of Christ’s face, you would be content that they should cast their deep shadows over the mountain slopes of existence. Only remember that clouds are always moving and passing before God’s cleansing wind.—Selected.
“I cannot know why suddenly the storm
Should rage so fiercely round me in its wrath;
But this I know—God watches all my path,
And I can trust.
“I may not draw aside the mystic veil
That hides the unknown future from my sight,
Nor know if for me waits the dark or light;
But I can trust.
“I have no power to look across the tide,
To see while here the land beyond the river;
But this I know—I shall be God’s forever;
So I can trust.”
“Made perfect.” Hebrews 12:23
Recollect that there are two kinds of perfection which the Christian needs—the perfection of justification in the person of Jesus, and the perfection of sanctification wrought in him by the Holy Spirit. At present, corruption yet remains even in the breasts of the regenerate—experience soon teaches us this. Within us are still lusts and evil imaginations.
But I rejoice to know that the day is coming when God shall finish the work which He has begun; and He shall present my soul, not only perfect in Christ, but perfect through the Spirit, without spot or blemish, or any such thing. Can it be true that this poor sinful heart of mine is to become holy even as God is holy? Can it be that this spirit, which often cries, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this sin and death?” shall get rid of sin and death—that I shall have no evil things to vex my ears, and no unholy thoughts to disturb my peace? Oh, happy hour! may it be hastened!
When I cross the Jordan, the work of sanctification will be finished; but not till that moment shall I even claim perfection in myself. Then my spirit shall have its last baptism in the Holy Spirit’s fire. Methinks I long to die to receive that last and final purification which shall usher me into heaven. Not an angel more pure than I shall be, for I shall be able to say, in a double sense, “I am clean,” through Jesus’ blood, and through the Spirit’s work. Oh, how should we extol the power of the Holy Ghost in thus making us fit to stand before our Father in heaven! Yet let not the hope of perfection hereafter make us content with imperfection now. If it does this, our hope cannot be genuine; for a good hope is a purifying thing, even now.
The work of grace must be abiding in us now or it cannot be perfected then. Let us pray to “be filled with the Spirit,” that we may bring forth increasingly the fruits of righteousness.
“All that believe are justified.” Acts 13:39
The believer in Christ receives a present justification. Faith does not produce this fruit by-and by, but now. So far as justification is the result of faith, it is given to the soul in the moment when it closes with Christ, and accepts Him as its all in all. Are they who stand before the throne of God justified now?—so are we, as truly and as clearly justified as they who walk in white and sing melodious praises to celestial harps.
The thief upon the cross was justified the moment that he turned the eye of faith to Jesus; and Paul, the aged, after years of service, was not more justified than was the thief with no service at all. We are today accepted in the Beloved, today absolved from sin, today acquitted at the bar of God. Oh! soul-transporting thought! There are some clusters of Eshcol’s vine which we shall not be able to gather till we enter heaven; but this is a bough which runneth over the wall.
This is not as the corn of the land, which we can never eat till we cross the Jordan; but this is part of the manna in the wilderness, a portion of our daily nutriment with which God supplies us in our journeying to and fro. We are now—even now pardoned; even now are our sins put away; even now we stand in the sight of God accepted, as though we had never been guilty. “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.”
There is not a sin in the Book of God, even now, against one of His people. Who dareth to lay anything to their charge? There is neither speck, nor spot, nor wrinkle, nor any such thing remaining upon any one believer in the matter of justification in the sight of the Judge of all the earth. Let present privilege awaken us to present duty, and now, while life lasts, let us spend and be spent for our sweet Lord Jesus.