We Are Secure In His Grasp

I have leaned on you since the day I was born; you have been my God since my mother gave me birth.PSALM 22:10

“God is strong and can help you not to fall” (Jude 24). You and I are on a great climb. The wall is high, and the stakes are higher. You took your first step the day you confessed Christ as the Son of God. He gave you his harness—the Holy Spirit. In your hands he placed a rope—his Word.

Your first steps were confident and strong, but with the journey came weariness, and with the height came fear. You lost your footing. You lost your focus. You lost your grip, and you fell. For a moment, which seemed like forever, you tumbled wildly. Out of control. Out of self-control. Disoriented. Dislodged. Falling.

But then the rope tightened, and the tumble ceased. You hung in the harness and found it to be strong.

You grasped the rope and found it to be true. And though you can’t see your guide, you know him. You know he is strong. You know he is able to keep you from falling.

from A GENTLE THUNDER

Created to Love Others

Mark 12:28-34

Loving our neighbor is a biblical mandate and the foundation for the Golden Rule, but the phrase is not complete without the last two words: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31, emphasis added). If we are to be vessels used for pouring out the Father’s love on others, we must always be unselfish in our concern for them.

Regardless of how we act or feel, our Father loves us perfectly. The proof is in John 3:16, which says God loved mankind so much that He gave His Son to die for their sins. And He did this while all human beings were still His enemies (Rom. 5:8-10)! No one is worthy of the sacrifice Christ made, and yet the Father’s perspective is that we are worth it. If He considers each of us that valuable, then we ought to look at others the same way.

Experiencing God’s love should inspire us to love our neighbors—this includes everyone in our sphere of influence, although some are easier to love than others. Throughout the gospels, Jesus repeated the command to His disciples, probably because He knew how often His followers, both then and now, would run into people who are difficult to love. But we are most like God when we ask, How can I serve this person? What is in his or her best interest?

Though we’ll encounter people who seem unlovable, the commandment stands: We are to love them as ourselves. This is a powerful evangelism tool. Few can resist the attraction of a loving friend acting on behalf of the perfectly loving Friend. Who among your neighbors needs to feel loved today?

The Importance of Reading

“Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.” (1 Timothy 4:13)

In this video age, Christians are in grave danger of forgetting the importance of reading. The word translated “reading” in this verse is the Greek anagnosis, a compound word meaning essentially “renewed knowledge.” A sermon or lecture is knowledge heard; an educational film or video is knowledge seen; but reading is knowledge that can be read, rehearsed, reviewed, and renewed again and again, until fully and securely learned. In fact, it is necessary for students to take notes, even when hearing a sermon or seeing a film, if they expect to retain any knowledge received by such means.

The importance of reading is also pointed out by the verb used in the verse. “Give attendance” means, literally, “continue steadfastly.” It is so translated in Acts 2:42: “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine.”

Reading and studying the Scriptures are especially necessary for a fruitful Christian ministry, but even this is not really enough. The Bible also commands us always to be ready to give an “answer” (Greek apologia, a systematic defense) to everyone who asks a “reason” (Greek logos, a logical explanation) for our Christian hope (1 Peter 3:15). To do this requires steadfast continuance in the study, not only of the Bible, but also of other sound literature as well. A truly effective and influential Christian is an informed Christian, armed with facts and sound counsel, prepared and capable both in his own professional field of practice and in his spiritual service as a Christian witness.

It is significant that Paul, just before his martyrdom and while imprisoned in a damp, cold, Roman dungeon, still desired his books to read (2 Timothy 4:13). The conscientious Christian must never cease to study and to grow in grace and knowledge (2 Peter 3:18). HMM

Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit

Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit.—1 Peter 1:22.

THY wonderful grand will, my God!
Triumphantly I make it mine;
And faith shall breathe her glad “Amen”
To every dear command of Thine.
JEAN SOPHIA PIGOTT.

YOU little think how much the life of all your graces depends upon your ready and cordial obedience to the Spirit. When the Spirit urgeth thee to secret prayer, and thou refusest obedience; when He forbids thee a known transgression, and yet thou wilt go on; when He telleth thee which is the way, and which not, and thou wilt not regard,—no wonder if heaven and thy soul be strange.
RICHARD BAXTER.

Whatever the particular call is, the particular sacrifice God asks you to make, the particular cross He wishes you to embrace, whatever the particular path He wants you to tread, will you rise up, and say in your heart, “Yes, Lord, I accept it; I submit, I yield, I pledge myself to walk in that path, and to follow that Voice, and to trust Thee with the consequences”? Oh! but you say, “I don’t know what He will want next.” No, we none of us know that, but we know we shall be safe in His hands.
CATHERINE BOOTH.

Thy word hath quickened me

Thy word hath quickened me. Psalm 119:50

The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.

As the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself. — I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.

In him was life; and the life was the light of men … As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. — The word of God is quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

1 Corinthians 15:45. John 5:26. John 11:25,26. John 1:4,12,13. John 6:63. Hebrews 4:12.

Christ Jesus — Made in the likeness of men

Upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it. Ezekiel 1:26

The man Christ Jesus. — Made in the likeness of men … found in fashion as a man. — Forasmuch … as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death.

I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore. — Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. — What and if ye shall see the Son of Man ascend up where he was before? — He raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places. — In him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.

Though he was crucified through weakness, yet he liveth by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but we shall live with him by the power of God.

1 Timothy 2:5. Philippians 2:7,8. Hebrews 2:14. Revelation 1:18. Romans 6:9. John 6:62. Ephesians 1:20. Colossians 2:9. 2 Corinthians 13:4.