Because Of His Gift To Us

The Son of Man will be handed over to people, and they will kill him. After three days, he will rise from the dead.” MARK 9:31

Trace the path of this Savior, the God who swapped heavenly royalty for earthly poverty. His bed became, at best, a borrowed pallet—and usually the hard earth. He was dependent on handouts for his income. He was sometimes so hungry he would eat raw grain or pick fruit off a tree. He knew what it meant to have no home.

He was ridiculed. His neighbors tried to lynch him. Some called him a lunatic. His family tried to confine him to their house. His friends weren’t always faithful to him.

He was accused of a crime he never committed. Witnesses were hired to lie. The jury was rigged. A judge swayed by politics handed down the death penalty.

They killed him.

And why? Because of the gift that only he could give.

from THE APPLAUSE OF HEAVEN

The Struggle with Temptation

James 1:12-15

If there’s one thing every adult and child has experienced, it’s temptation. We’ve all seen something new, attractive, or unusual, or simply an item someone else has that we don’t—and we just want it.

What is “it”? The object of temptation could fall into a number of categories. Perhaps it’s a tangible item, like a new house or car. Or it might be something of a physical or emotional nature, such as the excitement of a new relationship, consumption of an unhealthy substance, or recognition for a job well done.

Regardless of the category, temptation wants it—now! And if we do consider pros and cons, the conversation in our head may sound like this: Is it good for me? That doesn’t matter. Will it benefit me or my family? That’s not the issue. Could this hurt someone I love? Who cares? You see, temptation knows no loyalty. It’s a raging beast that, if left uncontrolled, can bring utter destruction into your life.

Simply put, temptation entices us to follow our God-given desires beyond the limits He has set. For example, human sexuality is a precious gift from the Lord, but too often it is taken far beyond the boundaries our Creator originally established. Does this mean sexual desire is inherently wrong? Not at all. When left unchecked, however, it can be the starting point for all manner of trouble.

Are you allowing a single desire to control your life? Are you continually going beyond the limits of what you know the Lord approves? Break the hold of temptation. Thank God for the desires He has placed on your heart, and ask Him to govern where those yearnings lead you.

Peter and the Name of Jesus

“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

This is the climactic declaration ending Peter’s three great messages in the early chapters of Acts (2:14-36; 3:12-26; 4:8-12). On the previous day, he and John had seen the crippled man healed at the temple gate, saying: “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk” (Acts 3:6). Testifying to the crowd that had assembled following the miracle, Peter said: “His name through faith in his name hath made this man strong” (Acts 3:16).

But what exactly is meant by “His name”? In biblical usage, one’s name stands for his character and all that he is and does. In his three messages, Peter actually used many different names and titles to refer to Christ. Note the following partial list: the Lord, Jesus of Nazareth, Thine Holy One, Christ, Jesus Christ, a Prophet, the Stone, the Head of the Corner.

To the multitude on the day of Pentecost, he had exhorted: “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38). To the Sanhedrin, he said: “Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole” (Acts 4:10).

Perhaps the most definitive form of “the name” was prescribed by Peter in the concluding statement of his great sermon on the Day of Pentecost: “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36). Thus He is the “Lord Jesus Christ.” HMM

According to your faith be it unto you

According to your faith be it unto you.—Matthew 9:29.
Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?—John 11:40.

I FIND that while faith is steady nothing can disquiet me, and when faith totters nothing can establish me. If I ramble out among means and creatures, I am presently lost, and can come to no end, but if I stay myself on God, and leave Him to work in His own way and time, I am at rest, and can lie down and sleep in a promise, though a thousand rise up against me. Therefore my way is not to cast beforehand, but to walk with God by the day. Keep close to God, and then you need fear nothing, Maintain secret and intimate acquaintance with Him, and then a little of the creature will go a great way, Crowd not religion into a corner of the day, Would men spend those hours they wear out in plots and devices in communion with God, and leave all on Him by venturesome believing, they would have more peace and comfort. JOSEPH ELIOT, 1664.

Faith is the better of the free air, and of the sharp winter storm in its face. SAMUEL RUTHERFORD.

My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Matthew 27:46

He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; … the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all … For the transgression of my people was he stricken … It pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief.

Jesus our LORD … was delivered for our offences. — Christ hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God. — Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.

He hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us.

Isaiah 53:5,6,8,10. Romans 4:24,25. 1 Peter 3:18. 1 Peter 2:24. 2 Corinthians 5:21. Galatians 3:13.

He preserveth the way of his saints

He preserveth the way of his saints. Proverbs 2:8

The LORD your God … went in the way before you, to search you out a place to pitch your tents in, in fire by night, to shew you by what way ye should go, and in a cloud by day. — As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings: so the LORD alone did lead him. — The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.

Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand. — Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all. — For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous; but the way of the ungodly shall perish. — We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his
purpose. — With us is the LORD our God to help us, and to fight our battles.

The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy.

Deuteronomy 1:32,33. Deuteronomy 32:11,12. Psalm 37:23,24. Psalm 34:19. Psalm 1:6. Romans 8:28. 2 Chronicles 32:8. Zephaniah 3:17.