Are You Changed to His Likeness?

We Christians actually do have within us a portion of the very thoughts and mind of Christ. 1 CORINTHIANS 2:16 TLB

The distance between our hearts and [Jesus’ heart] seems so immense. How could we ever hope to have the heart of Jesus?

Ready for a surprise? You already do.… If you are in Christ, you already have the heart of Christ. One of the supreme yet unrealized promises of God is simply this: if you have given your life to Jesus, Jesus has given himself to you. He has made your heart his home. It would be hard to say it more succinctly than Paul does: “Christ lives in me” (Gal. 2:20 MSG).…

He has moved in and unpacked his bags and is ready to change you “into his likeness from one degree of glory to another” (2 Cor. 3:18 RSV).

Just Like Jesus

Prayer-Based Planning

Luke 14:28-30

In today’s passage, Jesus’ example of building a tower shows the importance of planning and using resources wisely. Otherwise, money may run out too soon.

Any financial plan should be covered with prayer. First, ask God for the wisdom to understand His teachings about money and how they apply to your situation. Next, pray for clarity about all details—including both the amount that is earned and what is spent.

One final step is to seek the Lord’s guidance in determining whether spending habits are in line with His priorities. In evaluating this, it is helpful to divide expenses into categories, including:

1. Giving to the local church, missionaries, and other organizations
2. Basic needs—food, clothes, and housing
3. Insurance, retirement plan, savings
4. Debt, such as excessive mortgages, loans, and credit cards
5. Personal spending on entertainment and extras—cell phones, Internet, cable TV, eating out, vacations, etc.

Some of us will discover that our finances are not in sync with scriptural principles, and that may be discouraging. If this is true of you, turn to the Lord, confess what has happened, and pray for the strength to handle your God-given resources His way.

Financial discipline is a learned skill. It requires a commitment to live according to Scripture, persistent effort to change bad habits, concentration to develop new ones, and faith that we can learn to live according to God’s priorities. We are blessed when we practice prayer-based planning.

When the Lord Comes

“After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.” (Genesis 15:1)

This is the first of the great “I am’s” of Scripture, and it was given to Father Abraham at a time of both great victory and great despondence. The Lord had enabled Abraham’s little army to vanquish a much larger Amorite host, but then, still childless, he was suddenly overwhelmed by his loneliness and vulnerability in an alien land.

Then Jesus came! When Christ much later affirmed His eternal self-existence to the Pharisees (“I am,” He had said), He claimed that Abraham had seen His day and rejoiced (John 8:56). This experience, recorded early in Genesis, was, no doubt, that great occasion. As the living Word (John 1:1) by whom all things were made (v. 3), He assured Abram that He, Himself, would provide all needed protection (“thy shield”) and all needed blessing (“exceeding great reward”). And then it was that “he believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness” (Genesis 15:6). The Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal existing Creator and Redeemer of all things, is no less able today than then to be our protection—and our provision, as well.

Note also that it was the Word of the Lord which came to Abram in a vision. This is the first use of the Hebrew word dabar in Scripture to mean “word,” and here it is the Word of God personified. This still further identifies the vision with the pre-incarnate Christ, who would eventually become God’s incarnate Word (John 1:1, 14).

Thus, as to Abram, God says, “Fear not!” Adam, indeed, was justifiably afraid when he heard the voice of the Lord (Genesis 3:10), for he had only a fig leaf for a covering. But, like Abram, we have a strong shield, which is none other than the Lord Himself. HMM

Glory ye in His holy name

Glory ye in His holy name; let the heart of them rejoice that seek the Lord.— Psalm 105:3.

Fear not, little flock; for it is your Fathers good pleasure to give you the kingdom.—Luke 12:32.

I KNOW not what it is to doubt, My heart is ever gay; I run no risk, for come what will, Thou always hast Thy way. FREDERICK WM. FABER.

THIS way of seeing our Father in everything makes life one long thanksgiving, and gives a rest of heart, and, more than that, a gayety of spirit, that is unspeakable. Some one says, “God’s will on earth is always joy, always tranquillity.” And since He must have His own way concerning His children, into what wonderful green pastures of inward rest, and beside what blessedly still waters of inward refreshment is the soul led that learns this secret. If the will of God is our will, and if He always has His way, then we always have our way also, and we reign in a perpetual kingdom. He who sides with God cannot fail to win in every encounter; and, whether the result shall be joy or sorrow, failure or success, death or life, we may, under all circumstances, join in the Apostle’s shout of victory, “Thanks be unto God which always causeth us to triumph in Christ!”
HANNAH WHITALL SMITH.

When thou liest down, thou shall not be afraid

When thou liest down, thou shall not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet. Proverbs 3:24

There arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow.

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety. — He giveth his beloved sleep.

They stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep. — Absent from the body, … present with the Lord.

Mark. 4:37,38. Philippians 4:6,7. Psalm 4:8. Psalm 127:2. Acts 7:59,60. 2 Corinthians 5:8.

What man is he that feareth the Lord?

What man is he that feareth the Lord? him shall he teach in the way that he shall choose. Psalm 25:12

The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single thy whole body shall be full of light.

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. — Thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn turn to the left. — I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye. Be ye not as the horse or as the mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee. Many sorrows shall be to the wicked: but he that trusteth in the LORD, mercy shall compass him about. Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart.

O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.

Matthew 6:22. Psalm 119:105. Isaiah 30:21. Psalm 32:8-11. Jeremiah 10:23.