The Link To Life

According to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit. —Titus 3:5

By the time he was 16, Morris Frank (1908–1980) had lost his sight in both eyes. Several years later, he traveled to Switzerland where he met Buddy, the canine who would help to inspire Frank’s involvement with the Seeing Eye guide-dog school.

With Buddy leading the way, Frank learned to navigate busy sidewalks and intersections. Describing the freedom his guide provided, Frank said, “It was glorious: just [Buddy] and a leather strap, linking me to life.” Buddy gave Morris Frank a new kind of access to the world around him.

God’s Holy Spirit gives us access to abundant spiritual life in Christ. When we accept Christ as Lord, God washes our sins away and renews us “by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior” (Titus 3:5-6 niv). Once we know Christ, the Holy Spirit helps us experience God’s love (Rom. 5:5), understand God’s Word (John 14:26), pray (Rom. 8:26), and abound in hope (Rom. 15:13).

Today, as you think about your relationship with God, remember that the Spirit is your guide to life in Christ (Rom. 8:14).by Jennifer Benson Schuldt

Holy Spirit, Light divine,
Shine upon this heart of mine.
Chase the shades of night away;
Turn my darkness into day. —Reed

The Holy Spirit guides us into knowledge and spiritual growth.

Dealing with Feelings of Guilt

Ephesians 2:1-10

Guilt can be like a poison working insidiously on the inside to create havoc in our thoughts and emotions. The antidote is to understand why we feel guilty and to know how to apply scriptural teachings on the subject.

Misunderstanding grace results in guilty feelings, which make us think that in order to be a “good” Christian, we must clean up our act ourselves. In contrast, the message of grace is this: At the cross, Jesus paid our sin debt in full and declared us righteous in His sight. We do not have to measure up; through Christ, we have been made acceptable exactly as we are.

Another thing that can make us feel guilty is confusion about confession and forgiveness. Some believers are concerned about hidden sins that they haven’t yet identified; others worry about whether they’ve confessed enough to be forgiven. It is true that 1 John 1:9 tells us to confess our wrongdoing, but doing so is not what makes us forgiven. It is what Jesus did at Calvary that provides forgiveness of all our sins.

Refusing to let go of the past can also produce guilty emotions, because some of us feel undeserving of forgiveness—knowing what sins we have committed can lead to an ongoing sense of shame. Jesus Christ died on the cross so that all our sins—past, present, and future—could be forgiven. This is part of the miracle of grace.

The truth of God’s Word frees us from the prison of false guilt and allows us to live life His way. Are you walking in freedom?

Learning to Trust

“Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt revive me: thou shalt stretch forth thine hand against the wrath of mine enemies, and thy right hand shall save me.” (Psalm 138:7)

David makes three simple points in his final admonition to those who struggle with trusting in God’s lovingkindness and truth.

First, God loves His saints, but those with a pride problem are not going to gain His attention (Psalm 138:6). This is somewhat basic to Christian doctrine. Pride is one of the seven things that God hates (Proverbs 6:16-19). God responds to the desire of the humble person (Psalm 10:17), and He stays near to those who have a broken heart or a contrite spirit (Psalm 34:17).

Second, God will revive us when we are in trouble (our text). The promise is about the reviving and the saving. That is, we may gain God’s sufficient grace to endure (as in the case of Paul’s “thorn in the flesh,” 2 Corinthians 12:7) rather than a physical cure. We may receive the ability to be victorious in the face of opposition (as during Paul’s ministry to Ephesus, 1 Corinthians 16:8-9) rather than relief from the circumstances. We may, indeed, be delivered from the pressure of the enemies or have God’s miracle performed in our lives, but whatever the circumstantial occasion, God will respond for our good.

Third, God will bring about our perfection (Psalm 138:8). That term, both in the Old and the New Testaments, relates to completing God’s work or purpose. Here, it is specifically related to that which concerns the saints of God. The sovereign Lord will see to it that His chosen will make it (1 Peter 2:9). There is no question about this. God’s mercy is always refreshed. There is no limit to His forgiveness. Nothing about who we are will defeat God’s plan for us (Philippians 2:13). HMM III

Ye should do as I have done to you

I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.—John 13:15.

THERE are often bound to us, in the closest intimacy of social or family ties, natures hard and ungenial, with whom sympathy is impossible, and whose daily presence necessitates a constant conflict with an adverse influence. There are, too, enemies,—open or secret,—whose enmity we may feel yet cannot define. Our Lord, going before us in this hard way, showed us how we should walk. It will be appropriate to the solemn self-examination of the period of Lent to ask ourselves,

Is there any false friend or covert enemy whom we must learn to tolerate, to forbear with, to pity and forgive? Can we in silent offices of love wash their feet as our Master washed the feet of Judas? And, if we have no real enemies, are there any bound to us in the relations of life whose habits and ways are annoying and distasteful to us? Can we bear with them in love? Can we avoid harsh judgments, and harsh speech, and the making known to others our annoyance? The examination will probably teach us to feel the infinite distance between us and our divine Ideal, and change censorious-ness of others into prayer for ourselves. HARRIET BEECHER STOWE.

Distributing to the necessity of saints

Distributing to the necessity of saints. Romans 12:13

David said, Is there yet any that is left … of the house of Saul, that I may shew him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?

Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. — Whosoever shall give to drink one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.

To do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sactifices God is well pleased. — God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.

2 Samuel 9:1. Matthew 25:34-36, 40. Matthew 10:42. Hebrews 13:16. Hebrews 6:10.

The kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country

The kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods … to every man according to his several ability. Matthew 23:14,13

Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey?

All these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will. The manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. — As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. — It is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful. —Unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have commited much, of him they will ask the more.

Who is sufficient for these things? — I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

Romans 6:16. 1 Corinthians 12:11,7. 1 Peter 4:10. 1 Corinthians 4:2. Luke 12:48. 2 Corinthians 2:16. Philippians 4:13.