The Bedrock

Mark 9:38-50

Our recent move to the country has been an adventure in many ways. The stars are amazing in the open sky, bugs and spiders exist in abundance, and well water tastes pretty good. Recently, my son’s friend was visiting from the suburbs and we explained to him how our well works. My husband and I both paused as we considered how it symbolized a spiritual truth. The work crew had drilled down deep into the ground through the bedrock and didn’t stop until they reached water.

Exodus 17:1-7 reveals that God’s provision isn’t tied to natural circumstances. He’s the God of the supernatural (Exodus 17:6). As Moses struck the rock, following God’s instructions, life-sustaining water came gushing forth. But this miraculous story is not only a testimony of God’s faithfulness to His people in the wilderness, it’s a foreshadowing of the power of the cross. As Paul wrote, the water from the rock was symbolic of the living water that flows from Christ: “All of them ate the same spiritual food, and all of them drank the same spiritual water. For they drank from the spiritual rock that traveled with them, and that rock was Christ” (1 Corinthians 10:3-4).

The psalms speak continually of God as our Rock (Psalm 61:2, Psalm 95:1). Truly He is the source of our strength and our sure foundation. But He’s also the provider of our salvation, based in Jesus, made possible by His death on the cross. He brought the living water of new spiritual life to us, replacing the dryness of our spiritual death.

Moses struck the rock and the people were “able to drink” (Exodus 17:6). Jesus was struck down so that you and I might be able to drink deep of His grace.

by Regina Franklin

A God of Love

Ephesians 3:17-19

The Lord does not base His love for us upon our character or achievements. We know this because of God’s promise in John 3:16 and His action in sending Jesus to die in our place (1 John 4:10).

The Savior’s dealings with people show us the depth of God’s love. Judas Iscariot, one of Jesus’ 12 disciples, ministered closely with the Lord for three years but in the end chose to betray Him. Even though He knew what Judas would do, Jesus never rejected him. In love, the one betrayed forgave the betrayer.

In another example, a woman caught in adultery was about to be stoned for her transgression. She was condemned by the religious leaders, but Jesus stepped in to protect her. Then, in love, He commanded her to sin no more (John 8:11).

Next, consider Peter, who loved Jesus and desired to follow Him always. In a moment of weakness, however, he denied even knowing Christ. Though Jesus knew in advance the disciple would do this, His love for the man didn’t waver—a fact He proved by appearing to Peter after the resurrection and giving him a prominent place in the developing church.

Two final examples are Zaccheus, the greedy tax collector who took advantage of his fellow citizens, and the Samaritan woman who, after a string of broken relationships, was involved in an immoral lifestyle. None of this stopped Jesus from approaching both of them and offering His forgiving love.

Through faith in Jesus, everyone—even the worst of sinners—can become a child of God and experience the richness of His love. No one is beyond its reach.

Blind Guides

“Woe unto you, ye blind guides, which say, Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor!” (Matthew 23:16)

The 23rd chapter of Matthew contains some harsh denunciations as Jesus delivers the eight “woes.” Even the Greek word is a bit eerie; it is pronounced “oo-ah-ee!” Can you imagine this series of stern admonitions delivered to the faces of these self-righteous manipulators of truth? “Oo-ah-ee you scribes and Pharisees and Sadducees, hypocrites!” It must have given chills to everyone there.

The blindness that Jesus was condemning has both a practical and spiritual impact. Obviously, if one does not understand simple truth, the result is going to be either embarrassing or painful. “They be blind leaders of the blind,” Jesus said. “And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch” (Matthew 15:14).

The great Creator of the universe knows best how to guide His creation. If we, the stewards (Genesis 1:28), do not know or understand the Creator’s instructions, we are bound to get into trouble. That “truth blindness” often results in “blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel” (Matthew 23:24).

But the greater blindness is spiritual. Peter listed attributes on how to grow in faith and gain assurance. Then he advised, “But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins” (2 Peter 1:9).

In His messages to the seven churches, Jesus warned Laodicea, “Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked” (Revelation 3:17). His counsel: “Buy of me gold . . . and white raiment . . . and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see” (Revelation 3:18). HMM III

But God, who is rich in mercy for His great love wherewith He loved us

But God, who is rich in mercy for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us
together with Christ
.—Ephesians 2:4, 5.

LORD, to Thy call of me I bow,
Obey like Abraham,
Thou lov’st me because Thou art Thou,
And I am what I am.
Doubt whispers, “thou art such a blot
He cannot love poor thee.”
If what I am He loveth not,
He loves what I shall be.
GEORGE MACDONALD.

WE may hate ourselves when we come to realize failings we have not recognized before, and feel that there are probably others which we do not yet see as clearly as other people see them, but this kind of impatience for our perfection is not felt by those who love us, I am sure. It is one’s greatest comfort to believe that it is not even felt by God. Just as a would not love her child the better for its being turned into a model of perfection at once, but does love it the more dearly every time it tries to be good, so I do hope and believe our Great Father does not wait for us to be good and wise to love us, but loves us, and loves to help us in the very thick of our struggles with folly and sin. JULIANA H. EWING.

Thou wilt shew me the path of life

Thou wilt shew me the path of life. Psalm 16:11

Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I set before you the way of life and the way of death. —I will teach you the good and the right way.— I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. — Follow me.

There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the ends thereof are the ways of death. — Wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, that leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

An highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein. —Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord.

In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

Jeremiah 21:8. 1 Samuel 12:23. John 14:6. Matthew 14:19. Proverbs 4:12. Matthew 7:13,14. Isaiah 35:8. Hosea 6:3. John 14:2.

Know that we have passed from death unto life

We know that we have passed from death unto life. 1 John 3:14

He that heareth my word and believeth on him that sent me hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. — He that hath the Son hath life, and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.

He which stablisheth us with you in Christ and hath anointed us, is God; who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts. — Hereby we know that we are of the truth and shall assure our hearts before him. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. — We know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.

You hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sin. — Quickened … together with Christ. — Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom his dear Son.

John 5:24. 1 John 5:12. 2 Corinthians 1:21,22. 1 John 3:19,21. 1 John 5:19. Ephesians 2:1. Ephesians 2:5. Colossians 1:13.