Aug 13, 2014
This man figures that if everyone on Facebook is doing a challenge, he should do one, too.
In the video, ordinary dude Kendell J. Smith says he doesn’t usually do Facebook videos, but this one has garnered over 50,000 shares in under two weeks, so maybe he should start.
Smith’s challenge for “real men” involves something a little warmer than a bucket of ice water. He picks up his child, cradles him in his arms and states life’s biggest challenge yet:
You must be born again —John 3:7
The answer to Nicodemus’ question, “How can a man be born when he is old?” is: Only when he is willing to die to everything in his life, including his rights, his virtues, and his religion, and becomes willing to receive into himself a new life that he has never before experienced (John 3:4). This new life exhibits itself in our conscious repentance and through our unconscious holiness.
“But as many as received Him. . .” (John 1:12). Is my knowledge of Jesus the result of my own internal spiritual perception, or is it only what I have learned through listening to others? Is there something in my life that unites me with the Lord Jesus as my personal Savior? My spiritual history must have as its underlying foundation a personal knowledge of Jesus Christ. To be born again means that I see Jesus.
“. . . unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God ” (John 3:3). Am I seeking only for the evidence of God’s kingdom, or am I actually recognizing His absolute sovereign control? The new birth gives me a new power of vision by which I begin to discern God’s control. His sovereignty was there all the time, but with God being true to His nature, I could not see it until I received His very nature myself.
“Whoever has been born of God does not sin. . .” (1 John 3:9). Am I seeking to stop sinning or have I actually stopped? To be born of God means that I have His supernatural power to stop sinning. The Bible never asks, “Should a Christian sin?” The Bible emphatically states that a Christian must not sin. The work of the new birth is being effective in us when we do not commit sin. It is not merely that we have the power not to sin, but that we have actually stopped sinning. Yet 1 John 3:9 does not mean that we cannot sin— it simply means that if we will obey the life of God in us, that we do not have to sin.
Yesterday, we came to think of bitterness as a poison—a concoction that we create for someone else but then end up drinking ourselves. Today, let’s consider another useful illustration that will help us understand the negative effects of resentment.
Hebrews 12:15 describes bitterness as a “root.” Think about that. Where do you find roots? That’s right—they grow underground, sitting beneath the surface and siphoning off nutrients from the ground around them. Whenever you see a plant, flower, or tree, you can be sure that just below the peaceful façade is a root that is sucking life from the soil and pushing it up through the plant’s foundation. Without the root, the vegetation would collapse and die.
Can you see how this image parallels your spiritual life? Perhaps you have a root of bitterness that is sitting just under the surface, practically invisible to anyone who walks by. Does the fact that the bitter root is barely noticeable mean that it is inert and harmless? Absolutely not! Instead, you can be sure that the root is doing its job—sucking the life from you and using it to nourish a weed of hatred, impatience, or discontentment.
A root of bitterness will never produce healthy fruit. When the root is harmful, it is senseless to expect anything other than bad fruit and a tangle of weeds.
The good news is, there’s a remedy to the problem. All it takes to kill a weed is to unearth and dispose of the root. Pull the source of your resentment out of its hiding place. Expose it and give it to God, who knows how to cultivate the heart.
“The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.” (Psalm 110:4)
The importance of this intriguing verse is indicated both by the fact that it is the central verse of a great Messianic psalm (quoted at least 12 times in the New Testament) and also because this one verse constitutes one of the main themes of chapters 5–7 of Hebrews, where it is quoted no fewer than five times (Hebrews 5:6, 10; 6:20; 7:17, 21), and where Melchizedek himself is mentioned nine times. It refers to the fascinating personage glimpsed briefly in Genesis 14:18-20. Melchizedek (meaning “King of Righteousness”) is said to have been “King of Salem” (or “Peace”), but there is no record, either in secular history or elsewhere in the Bible, that there ever was such a city or earthly king. He was also called the “priest of the most high God” (Hebrews 7:1), and he suddenly appeared, then disappeared as suddenly as he had come.
Commentators mostly have assumed that Melchizedek was the chieftain of a small settlement of which we have no record, but this hardly does justice to the exalted descriptions of him in Scripture. He was obviously greater than Abraham (Hebrews 7:4), as well as Aaron, the founder of the Levitical priesthood. Furthermore, he was “without father, without mother, . . . having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually” (Hebrews 7:3). Such language is hardly appropriate merely because no genealogy is recorded.
If one takes the Bible literally, such statements could be true only of God Himself, appearing briefly in the preincarnate state of the Second Person, as King of all peace and righteousness. Now this same divine Person, “because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him” (Hebrews 7:24-25). HMM
The children of Ephraim, being armed and carrying bows, turned back in the day of battle.—Psalm 78:9.
Be thou strong and very courageous.—Joshua 1:7.
Go forward, Christian soldier,
Beneath His banner true!
The Lord Himself, thy Leader,
Shall all thy foes subdue.
His love foretells thy trials,
He knows thine hourly need,
He can with bread of heaven
Thy fainting spirit feed.
WHILE there is left in you a trace of ill-temper, or of vanity, of pride, or of selfishness, while there is left, in you a single sin, or germ of sin, you must not rest from the battle. God does not require from you to be sinless when you come before Him, but He does require you to be unceasing in your perseverance. He does not require that you shall never have fallen; but He does require unwearied efforts. He does not require you to win, but He does require you to fight. FREDERICK TEMPLE.
Still fight resolutely on, knowing that, in this spiritual combat, none is overcome but he who ceases to struggle and to trust in God. LORENZO SCUPOLI.
I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her. Hosea 2:14
Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. — Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
Jesus, … that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered with-out the gate. Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.
[Jesus] said, … Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while. —
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
2 Corinthians 6:17. 2 Corinthians 7:1. Hebrews 13:12,13. Mark 6:31. Psalm 23:1-3.
The God of peace make you perfect in every good work to do his will. Hebrews 13:20,21
Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.
By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God; not of works, lest any man should boast. — Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness neither shadow of turning.
Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. — Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. —Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.
Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God.
2 Corinthians 13:11. Ephesians 2:8,9. James 1:17. Philippians 2:12,13. Romans 12:2. Philippians 1:11. 2 Corinthians 3:5.