Fix Your Eyes on Jesus

May he enlighten the eyes of your mind so that you can see what hope his call holds for you. EPHESIANS 1:18 NIV

What [does] it mean to be just like Jesus? The world has never known a heart so pure, a character so flawless. His spiritual hearing was so keen he never missed a heavenly whisper. His mercy so abundant he never missed a chance to forgive. No lie left his lips, no distraction marred his vision. He touched when others recoiled. He endured when others quit. Jesus is the ultimate model for every person.… God urges you to fix your eyes upon Jesus. Heaven invites you to set the lens of your heart on the heart of the Savior and make him the object of your life.

Just Like Jesus

Understanding Guilty Feelings

James 2:10

Think about how you feel when doing something you know you shouldn’t. Most likely a stinging conscience makes you realize that you feel guilty.

What is guilt? Perhaps you think of it as a nagging sense that the Lord is out to get you. Or you might feel isolated from God or others because of some dark cloud of regret. Obviously, there are different ways to interpret guilt; identifying exactly what it is will allow us to move ahead on the road to spiritual maturity.

When our behavior is in conflict with guidance from the Spirit of God residing in us, we will experience an emotional response. That’s all guilt is: emotional pain caused by something we have done. Put another way, guilt describes our taking responsibility for doing wrong, whether it be a thought, action, careless word, or something else.

While it is good to have this inner alarm, we have to guard against the inclination to wallow in shame. At times we behave so badly that we’re completely overcome with remorse, and we refuse to let the waves of regret pass by. We might punish ourselves by wading in those troubled waters for a while.

When these times come, we must remember that Jesus Christ has paid the debt for all our sin. This means that He has already paid the price of our wrongdoing, and we have been found “not guilty.” As our sin lies dead at the cross, so does our guilt. While we must always take responsibility for our actions, we have the freedom in Christ to do so without the burden of unhealthy regret.

The Remarkable Psalms

“And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers, God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.” (Acts 13:32-33)

Here is a clear instance in which the gospel (“glad tidings”) was preached in the Old Testament. The Holy Spirit, through the psalmist David, promised that one day the Son of God would rise from the dead—the “first born from the dead” (Colossians 1:18). The Lord Jesus actually used certain psalms to prove His own deity, quoting Psalm 110:1 (Matthew 22:43-45) and Psalm 82:6 (John 10:34-36) in support of His claims.

This unique passage in the book of Acts offers another fascinating item of information that is often overlooked. By identifying the second psalm as such, the writer (guided by the Spirit) tells us in effect that the chapter divisions of the book of Psalms were there by divine ordination right from the first. Furthermore, since each of the psalms is a poem, with clear-cut verse divisions, this longest book in the Word of God was evidently subdivided into chapters and verses by divine inspiration. Similar divisions were later added to the other books by biblical scholars in the Middle Ages, but they were in the psalms from the beginning. It is not surprising, then, that we can find many remarkable examples of design in the very structure of the book of Psalms (e.g., the 22 stanzas of eight verses each in Psalm 119).

This second psalm is the first of the so-called Messianic psalms, but actually, the Lord Jesus Christ and His glorious gospel of salvation are clearly present in every one of the 150 psalms. “Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him” (Psalm 2:12). HMM

Pressed out of measure that the power of Christ may rest upon me

“Pressed out of measure.” (2 Cor. 1:8.)
“That the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Cor. 12:9.)

GOD allowed the crisis to close around Jacob on the night when he bowed at Peniel in supplication, to bring him to the place where he could take hold of God as he never would have done; and from that narrow pass of peril, Jacob became enlarged in his faith and knowledge of God, and in the power of a new and victorious life.

God had to compel David, by a long and painful discipline of years, to learn the almighty power and faithfulness of his God, and grow up into the established principles of faith and godliness, which were indispensable for his glorious career as the king of Israel.

Nothing but the extremities in which Paul was constantly placed could ever have taught him, and taught the Church through him, the full meaning of the great promise he so learned to claim, “My grace is sufficient for thee.”

And nothing but our trials and perils would ever have led some of us to know Him as we do, to trust Him as we have, and to draw from Him the measures of grace which our very extremities made indispensable.

Difficulties and obstacles are God’s challenges to faith. When hindrances confront us in the path of duty, we are to recognize them as vessels for faith to fill with the fullness and all-sufficiency of Jesus; and as we go forward, simply and fully trusting Him, we may be tested, we may have to wait and let patience have her perfect work; but we shall surely find at last the stone rolled away, and the Lord waiting to render unto us double for our time of testing.—A. B. Simpson.

Strengthen, O God, that which thou hast wrought for us

“Strengthen, O God, that which thou hast wrought for us.” Psalm 68:28

It is our wisdom, as well as our necessity, to beseech God continually to strengthen that which He has wrought in us. It is because of their neglect in this, that many Christians may blame themselves for those trials and afflictions of spirit which arise from unbelief. It is true that Satan seeks to flood the fair garden of the heart and make it a scene of desolation, but it is also true that many Christians leave open the sluice-gates themselves, and let in the dreadful deluge through carelessness and want of prayer to their strong Helper. We often forget that the Author of our faith must be the Preserver of it also.

The lamp which was burning in the temple was never allowed to go out, but it had to be daily replenished with fresh oil; in like manner, our faith can only live by being sustained with the oil of grace, and we can only obtain this from God Himself. Foolish virgins we shall prove, if we do not secure the needed sustenance for our lamps. He who built the world upholds it, or it would fall in one tremendous crash; He who made us Christians must maintain us by His Spirit, or our ruin will be speedy and final. Let us, then, evening by evening, go to our Lord for the grace and strength we need.

We have a strong argument to plead, for it is His own work of grace which we ask Him to strengthen—”that which Thou hast wrought for us.” Think you He will fail to protect and sustain that? Only let your faith take hold of His strength, and all the powers of darkness, led on by the master fiend of hell, cannot cast a cloud or shadow over your joy and peace. Why faint when you may be strong? Why suffer defeat when you may conquer? Oh! take your wavering faith and drooping graces to Him who can revive and replenish them, and earnestly pray, “Strengthen, O God, that which thou hast wrought for us.”

The Lord’s portion is His people

“The Lord’s portion is His people.” Deuteronomy 32:9

How are they His? By His own sovereign choice. He chose them, and set His love upon them. This He did altogether apart from any goodness in them at the time, or any goodness which He foresaw in them. He had mercy on whom He would have mercy, and ordained a chosen company unto eternal life; thus, therefore, are they His by His unconstrained election.

They are not only His by choice, but by purchase. He has bought and paid for them to the utmost farthing, hence about His title there can be no dispute. Not with corruptible things, as with silver and gold, but with the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord’s portion has been fully redeemed. There is no mortgage on His estate; no suits can be raised by opposing claimants, the price was paid in open court, and the Church is the Lord’s freehold for ever. See the bloodmark upon all the chosen, invisible to human eye, but known to Christ, for “the Lord knoweth them that are His”; He forgetteth none of those whom He has redeemed from among men; He counts the sheep for whom He laid down His life, and remembers well the Church for which He gave Himself.

They are also His by conquest. What a battle He had in us before we would be won! How long He laid siege to our hearts! How often He sent us terms of capitulation! but we barred our gates, and fenced our walls against Him. Do we not remember that glorious hour when He carried our hearts by storm? When He placed His cross against the wall, and scaled our ramparts, planting on our strongholds the blood-red flag of His omnipotent mercy? Yes, we are, indeed, the conquered captives of His omnipotent love. Thus chosen, purchased, and subdued, the rights of our divine possessor are inalienable: we rejoice that we never can be our own; and we desire, day by day, to do His will, and to show forth His glory.