Take Jesus at His Word

In all these things we have full victory through God who showed his love for us. ROMANS 8:37

When it comes to healing our spiritual condition, we don’t have a chance. We might as well be told to pole vault the moon. We don’t have what it takes to be healed. Our only hope is that God will do for us what he did for the man at Bethesda—that he will step out of the temple and step into our ward of hurt and helplessness.

Which is exactly what he has done.…

I wish we would take Jesus at his word.…

When he says we’re forgiven, let’s unload the guilt.

When he says we’re valuable, let’s believe him.…

When he says we’re provided for, let’s stop worrying.

God’s efforts are strongest when our efforts are useless.

He Still Moves Stones

What Keeps Grace from Flowing?

James 4:1-6

We know from the Bible that God continually showers His children with blessings. However, most believers don’t always feel as though He’s pouring His favor upon them. What could be blocking the free flow of divine grace?

Proverbs 6:16-19 provides a list of seven things that God hates. Certain attitudes and behaviors are categorized as detestable to Him, and the first thing mentioned is pride.

Nothing will interfere with spiritual growth as much as a proud spirit. That is why God considers it an abomination. Pride misaligns priorities in such a way that we—and not the Lord—become our own priority.

We can find many examples of pride throughout Scripture. For instance, the serpent convinced the first woman that if she ate of the forbidden fruit, she would “be like God” (Gen. 3:5). That sounded good to Eve, who apparently thought she deserved this high honor. So she and Adam ate the fruit, thereby bringing all manner of destruction and pain into the world.

If you have been struggling to feel God’s hand of blessing in your life, a wise first step is to humbly pray and ask the Lord to reveal any hidden areas of pride in your life. His arms are full of blessings that He desires to give you. As the preacher D. L. Moody once observed, “God sends no one away empty except those who are full of themselves.” Will you choose instead to be full of God? You can start by laying your pride at the foot of the cross. Then your life can overflow with blessings.

The Just Shall Live by Faith

“Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.” (Habakkuk 2:4)

This great principle—“the just shall live by faith”—was the Scripture that so inflamed the soul of Martin Luther that it became the watchword of the Reformation. It occurs first here in the small prophecy of Habakkuk, but is then quoted three times in the New Testament. The term “just,” of course, means “justified” or “righteous.” God says a person is enabled to live righteously by his faith.

The nature of this faith is clarified by three quotations. The first is Romans 1:17: “For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.” The phrase “from faith to faith” means “from the beginning of faith to the end of faith,” and the context indicates that the foundational item of faith is faith in “his eternal power and Godhead,” which “from the creation of the world are clearly seen” (Romans 1:20).

Similarly, in the last occurrence: “Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him” (Hebrews 10:38). Then the writer notes that the basic item of faith is special creation: “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear” (Hebrews 11:3).

The middle occurrence is Galatians 3:11: “But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.” Paul’s lengthy explanation to the Galatian legalists begins with Galatians 2:16: “Even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ.” Thus, justifying, saving, living faith begins and centers in Jesus Christ, first as Creator of all things, then as the Savior who “hath redeemed us from the curse of the law” (Galatians 3:13). HMM

When the cloud tarried… then the children of Israel… journeyed not

“When the cloud tarried… then the children of Israel… journeyed not.” (Num. 9:19.)

THIS was the supreme test of obedience. It was comparatively easy to strike tents, when the fleecy folds of the cloud were slowly gathering from off the Tabernacle, and it floated majestically before the host. Change is always delightful; and there was excitement and interest in the route, the scenery, and the locality of the next halting-place. But, ah, the tarrying.

Then, however uninviting and sultry the location, however trying to flesh and blood, however irksome to the impatient disposition, however perilously exposed to danger—there was no option but to remain encamped.

The Psalmist says, “I waited patiently for the Lord; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.” And what He did for the Old Testament saints He will do for believers throughout all ages. Still God often keeps us waiting. Face to face with threatening foes, in the midst of alarms, encircled by perils, beneath the impending rock. May we not go? Is it not time to strike our tents? Have we not suffered to the point of utter collapse? May we not exchange the glare and heat for green pastures and still waters?

There is no answer. The cloud tarries, and we must remain, though sure of manna, rock-water, shelter, and defense. God never keeps us at post without assuring us of His presence, and sending us daily supplies.

Wait, young man, do not be in a hurry to make a change! Minister, remain at your post! Until the cloud clearly moves, you must tarry. Wait, then, thy Lord’s good pleasure! He will be in plenty of time!—Daily Devotional Commentary.

An hour of waiting!
Yet there seems such need
To reach that spot sublime!
I long to reach them—but I long far more
To trust HIS time!

“Sit still, my daughter”—
Yet the heathen die,
They perish while I stay!
I long to reach them—but I long far more
To trust HIS way!

‘Tis good to get,
‘Tis good indeed to give!
Yet is it better still—
O’er breadth, thro’ length, down length, up height,
To trust HIS will!
—F. M. N.

So shall also the coming of the Son of man be

“And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away: so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” Matthew 24:39

Universal was the doom, neither rich nor poor escaped: the learned and the illiterate, the admired and the abhorred, the religious and the profane, the old and the young, all sank in one common ruin. Some had doubtless ridiculed the patriarch—where now their merry jests? Others had threatened him for his zeal which they counted madness—where now their boastings and hard speeches? The critic who judged the old man’s work is drowned in the same sea which covers his sneering companions.

Those who spoke patronizingly of the good man’s fidelity to his convictions, but shared not in them, have sunk to rise no more, and the workers who for pay helped to build the wondrous ark, are all lost also. The flood swept them all away, and made no single exception. Even so, out of Christ, final destruction is sure to every man of woman born; no rank, possession, or character, shall suffice to save a single soul who has not believed in the Lord Jesus. My soul, behold this wide-spread judgment and tremble at it. How marvellous the general apathy! they were all eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, till the awful morning dawned. There was not one wise man upon earth out of the ark.

Folly duped the whole race, folly as to self-preservation—the most foolish of all follies. Folly in doubting the most true God—the most malignant of fooleries. Strange, my soul, is it not? All men are negligent of their souls till grace gives them reason, then they leave their madness and act like rational beings, but not till then. All, blessed be God, were safe in the ark, no ruin entered there. From the huge elephant down to the tiny mouse all were safe. The timid hare was equally secure with the courageous lion, the helpless cony as safe as the laborious ox. All are safe in Jesus. My soul, art thou in Him?

The Church in thy house

“The Church in thy house.” Philemon 1:2

Is there a Church in this house? Are parents, children, friends, servants, all members of it? or are some still unconverted? Let us pause here and let the question go round—Am I a member of the Church in this house? How would father’s heart leap for joy, and mother’s eyes fill with holy tears if from the eldest to the youngest all were saved! Let us pray for this great mercy until the Lord shall grant it to us.

Probably it had been the dearest object of Philemon’s desires to have all his household saved; but it was not at first granted him in its fulness. He had a wicked servant, Onesimus, who, having wronged him, ran away from his service. His master’s prayers followed him, and at last, as God would have it, Onesimus was led to hear Paul preach; his heart was touched, and he returned to Philemon, not only to be a faithful servant, but a brother beloved, adding another member to the Church in Philemon’s house. Is there an unconverted servant or child absent this morning? Make special supplication that such may, on their return to their home, gladden all hearts with good news of what grace has done! Is there one present?

Let him partake in the same earnest entreaty.

If there be such a Church in our house, let us order it well, and let all act as in the sight of God. Let us move in the common affairs of life with studied holiness, diligence, kindness, and integrity. More is expected of a Church than of an ordinary household; family worship must, in such a case, be more devout and hearty; internal love must be more warm and unbroken, and external conduct must be more sanctified and Christlike. We need not fear that the smallness of our number will put us out of the list of Churches, for the Holy Spirit has here enrolled a family-church in the inspired book of remembrance. As a Church let us now draw nigh to the great head of the one Church universal, and let us beseech Him to give us grace to shine before men to the glory of His name.