VIDEO Following Jesus in a Land In Conflict

September 2011

Take a journey to the land of the Bible, modern Israel, with host Mart De Haan for conversations with guests Nizar Touma and Avner Boskey. Join them as they discuss the impact Middle East conflict has on their Arab and Jewish communities and as they address tough questions that arise about the role of followers of Christ in this controversy.

When we Love Man more than God

Have you ever wondered what will happen when not even a single person cares enough to seek after God’s heart?

What will happen when everyone on the face of this earth stops putting in effort into loving one another with the kind of love described in 1 Corinthians 13? What will happen when one stops learning to love and seeks only his or her own personal interest?

I am certain that nobody would like to live in such a world. I would rather not be alive than stay in a world without a hint of love. Because God is love, to live in a world without love, is to live in a world without God. There would be absolutely no meaning to life.

But I guess the problem we face is not so much the absence of love but misplaced love. It took a failed relationship for me to realize how Jesus felt when I choose to love the things of this world more than Him.

Not long ago, I broke up with my boyfriend. He was very sweet and caring at the start of the relationship. (Yes, I am a hopeless romantic). I always thought that we would eventually get married. I was so caught up with my new relationship that I didn’t give God the love and worship He deserved. (Did I mention that my ex-boyfriend wasn’t a believer when we first dated?) I sacrificed many things just to spend time with him. I compromised my relationship with God by choosing not to go for youth services on Saturdays, justifying my absence with the excuse that I can always go on Sundays.

What happens when we step into a relationship with God?

When we receive Christ, we enter into a relationship with God. The knowledge of having something new always excites us. Our new relationship with God will therefore be at its honeymoon period. When we delight ourselves in God, we experience His pleasure through the blessings He gives us.

What happens when our passion for God subsides and we choose something else over God?

But soon, we start to get bored by the seemingly endless routine of prayers and singing songs. We begin to find something else to entertain ourselves. The new thing will then be our muse. Remember, God is a jealous God. The Bible states that we cannot serve two masters, and God would not delight in double-mindedness. In my case, my second master was my relationship with my boyfriend. I knew God wouldn’t be pleased, but I still submitted to the spirit of rebellion in me and chose to disobey God.

After a few months, the honeymoon period of my relationship ended. My boyfriend stopped pursuing me like how he did at the start of the relationship. He began to spend lesser time with me, using excuses like “babe we need to study”. I found it funny how he had no time to study but he still could go out with his “brudders”. It was obvious that his priorities had changed. He chose to do other things rather than to spend time with me. I was no longer his joy and his comfort. I was no longer part of his plans. When I realized the change not long after, I began to cry and become emotional. His reply was “I think you need to stop thinking too much.” So much for neglecting Jesus because of him.

As tears flowed down my face, thoughts went through my mind. God showed me this is what He would feel when we decide to put other things before Him as priorities, when we do not consider Him in our plans, and when we do not delight in Him. He would feel disappointed, sad, and hurt. (As if the pain of the cross was not enough). Those who love God would want to take up the cross and follow Him. Jesus says, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15 ESV).

God will not force His way on us. That would be a total contrary to who He is. We are not designed to be robots; He wants us to love Him willingly.

What happens if we repent and turn back to God?

After seeing that getting emotional did not have much of an effect on my boyfriend, I decided it was of no use to weep over someone who does not love or care for me. I ran back to Jesus and hid in Him. If my experience were a parable, I would be the prodigal son who squandered all his father’s inheritance, but eventually realize that home is still better and shamefully return home (Luke 15:11-32).

God loves us so much that He sacrificed Himself. It cost Him excruciating sorrow. It was a sacrifice. It would be ungrateful of us to give Him only our leftovers (be it time, money or talent) when He has given His best.

Be glad that God is a God of many chances, as long as we’re genuine about going back to Him. However, those who continuously neglect God and disobey Him in deliberate defiance will not escape from His wrath. So repent today, and let’s persist in focusing on loving God—the one who has shown us what real and sacrificial love is.

Written By Vernana

The Path of Brokenness

Psalm 51:17

John 12:24 gives a beautiful illustration of brokenness: “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” That is, only by falling and breaking can a single grain produce a rich crop. If it remains isolated and protected, it will never produce anything.

That’s how the Lord works to mature His children. He breaks us in order to bring spiritual growth and supernatural ministry into our lives. And the process is always the same:

1. God targets the areas in which we are not submissive to Him.

2. He arranges circumstances and selects the tools with which to break our self-sufficiency.

3. He controls the pressure and timing of those circumstances to bring us back into His will.

If we refuse to be re-formed through brokenness and instead cling to the things God wants us to release, He will put us on the shelf. Just like an unbroken grain of wheat, we’ll be fruitless and alone.

Yet we resist brokenness at every turn. We want to hang on to the things we think bring joy. We want to persist in relationships that stunt our spiritual growth. We want to take the path of least resistance and hope that God will bless our laziness. My friend, that isn’t the road to maturity. Our Father has a better way.

Brokenness hurts. The Word, however, proclaims that it hurts far more not to be broken. Don’t be distracted by short-term happiness. Look where your Father is leading you, and let Him do whatever it takes to get you there.

Ready and Able

“That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” (2 Timothy 3:17)

The word “perfect” in this verse is artios, and it is used only this one time in the Bible. Its basic meaning seems to be “fitted,” or “fresh.” Then, the words “thoroughly furnished” are one word, exartizo, in the original, which—interestingly enough—is essentially this same rare word (artios) with the prefix ex (meaning “out of”) added. It is only used one other time, where it is translated “accomplished” (Acts 21:5).

Putting these concepts together, Paul seems to be saying that the “man of God” is not necessarily a man who is sinlessly perfect but one who is both fresh (ready to meet present needs) and fully equipped (able to meet present needs).

And, of course, it is significant that this splendid testimony to what a man of God can be—and should be—follows immediately upon Paul’s grand testimony to the inspiration and power of the Holy Scriptures. The Scriptures, first of all, “are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15). Then, they are “profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (v. 16).

“Doctrine,” more specifically, is teaching. “Reproof” is evidence or conviction. “Correction” is a word used only this one time, and it means setting straight. “Instruction” is chastening. Then, the end result of the perfect teachings, the convicting evidences, the correcting influences, and the chastening cleansing of the Holy Scriptures is to produce men and women of God who are both ready and able to meet the critical needs of the times in which they live.

By the same token, the large numbers of nominal Christians who do not diligently study, obey, and apply the Holy Scriptures in their lives are not either ready or able to face the awful challenges (vv. 1-14) of these last days. HMM

Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you, but rejoice

Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: but rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings.—1 Peter 4:12,13.

NOT more than I can bear I know
Thou, dearest Lord, wilt on me lay,
And I can learn of Thee to go
Unfearing on my way.

IT is a tremendous moment when first one is called upon to join the great army of those who suffer. That vast world of love and pain opens suddenly to admit us one by one within its fortress. We are afraid to enter into the land, yet you will, I know, feel how high is the call. It is as a trumpet speaking to us, that cries aloud, “It is your turn—endure.” Play your part, As they endured before you, so now, close up the ranks—be patient and strong as they were, Since Christ, this world of pain is no accident untoward or sinister, but a lawful department of life, with experiences, interests, adventures, hopes, delights, secrets of its own. These are all thrown open to us as we pass within the gates—things that we could never learn or know or see, so long as we were well. God help you to walk through this world now opened to you, as through a kingdom, royal, and wide and glorious. HENRY SCOTT HOLLAND.

O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt

O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.
Matthew 26:39

Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour.

I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. — He … became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. —In the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered.

Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? — Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

John 12:27. John 6:38. Philippians 2:8. Hebrews 5:7,8. Matthew 26:53. Luke 24:46,47.

My meditation of him shall be sweet: I will be glad in the Lord

My meditation of him shall be sweet: I will be glad in the Lord. Psalm 104:34

As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among the sons. I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste. — For who in the heaven can be compared unto the LORD? who among the sons of the mighty can be likened unto the LORD?

My beloved is white and ruddy, the chiefest among ten thousand. — One pearl of great price. — The prince of the kings of the earth.

His head is as the most fine gold, his locks are bushy, and black as a raven. — The head over all things. — He is the head of the body, the church.

His cheeks are as a bed of spices, as sweet flowers. — He could not be hid.

His lips like lilies, dropping sweet smelling myrrh. —Never man spake like this man.

His countenance is as Lebanon, excellent as the cedars. — Make thy face to shine upon thy servant. — LORD, lift thou up the light thy countenance upon us.

Song of Songs 2:3. Psalm 89:6. Song of Songs 5:10. Matthew 13:46. Revelation 1:5. Song of Songs 5:11. Ephesians 1:22. Colossians 1:18. Song of Songs 5:13. Mark 7:24. Song of Songs 5:13. John 7:46. Song of Songs 5:15. Psalm 31:16. Psalm 4:6.