Why Help the Pig? – Living Simply, Yet Focused

Why Help the Pig?

Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.
Philippians 2:3

Two men were riding their horses down a country road, discussing the question of motivation. One believed we’re capable of pure motives, even without Christ. The other disagreed. They came to a ditch where a pig had gotten tangled up in fencing and was struggling to extricate himself. The latter gentlemen got down in the mud and managed to free the animal, though he ruined his clothing. Resuming their trip, the first man said, “There! That was a selfless act of kindness.” But his friend replied, “No, it was pure selfishness. The only reason I helped that pig was to save myself from the guilt and torment of worrying about him all day.”

Without Christ, it’s impossible to operate from true love and godly motivations. But as we grow in Him, our motives gradually improve and we’re increasingly compelled by His love, which is “poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us” (Romans 5:5, NIV).

Not in ourselves but only in Christ can we exhibit lowliness of mind and be motivated by biblical love.

Love is a command that we’re to obey, and love is at the core of all the works that we may ever do. David Jeremiah

Recommended Reading: Philippians 2:1-11


Living Simply, Yet Focused

Look at the birds of the air….Consider the lilies of the field… —Matthew 6:26, 28

“Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin”— they simply are! Think of the sea, the air, the sun, the stars, and the moon— all of these simply are as well— yet what a ministry and service they render on our behalf! So often we impair God’s designed influence, which He desires to exhibit through us, because of our own conscious efforts to be consistent and useful. Jesus said there is only one way to develop and grow spiritually, and that is through focusing and concentrating on God. In essence, Jesus was saying, “Do not worry about being of use to others; simply believe on Me.”

In other words, pay attention to the Source, and out of you “will flow rivers of living water” (John 7:38). We cannot discover the source of our natural life through common sense and reasoning, and Jesus is teaching here that growth in our spiritual life comes not from focusing directly on it, but from concentrating on our Father in heaven. Our heavenly Father knows our circumstances, and if we will stay focused on Him, instead of our circumstances, we will grow spiritually— just as “the lilies of the field.”

The people who influence us the most are not those who detain us with their continual talk, but those who live their lives like the stars in the sky and “the lilies of the field”— simply and unaffectedly. Those are the lives that mold and shape us.

If you want to be of use to God, maintain the proper relationship with Jesus Christ by staying focused on Him, and He will make use of you every minute you live— yet you will be unaware, on the conscious level of your life, that you are being used of Him.

by Oswald Chambers

How to Increase Your Faith

2 Thessalonians 1:3-4

What are some practical steps you can take to increase your level of faith today?

1. READ THE BIBLE. Romans 10:17 explains, “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.” That is, you must feed your faith a steady diet of God’s Word.

2. EXERCISE YOUR FAITH. A bodybuilder doesn’t begin by lifting 500 pounds the first day. Rather, he exercises daily, gradually increasing his strength. Regularly exercising faith can bring about similar growth spiritually.

3. EMBRACE TRIALS. First Peter 1:3-9 reveals the difficult truth that adversity, when addressed in God’s power, creates greater faith. Just as a fire purifies precious metals, hardship strips away all but the pure core of faith.

4. EXAMINE THE TESTIMONIES OF OTHERS. A testimony is an individual’s own account of the Lord’s activity in his life. No one can ever deny, refute, or downplay someone else’s testimony. When you hear of God’s mighty deeds in another person’s life, your own faith grows.

5. PRAY. You get to know someone by talking to him. That’s what prayer is: your personal communication with God. But don’t just talk; be sure to spend time listening. God wants to speak to you.

6. PRACTICE OBEDIENCE. You will never grow in your faith if you consistently disobey what God tells you to do. Perfect faith is a by-product of obedience. Put yourself in a position to see God’s best for your life, and your faith will soar.

Faith does not increase by accident. Growth takes time, dedication, and intentionality. Ask the Lord to help you exercise your faith today.

A Righteous Heart

“And the LORD was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the LORD God of Israel.” (1 Kings 11:9)

The Scriptures have an interesting commentary on Solomon’s life: “When Solomon was old…his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God” (1 Kings 11:4). How is it possible to start well and end sadly?

We Must Guard Our Heart: “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life,” Solomon admonished in Proverbs 4:23. The Hebrew word for “keep” is natsar and the main verb for “guard” or “set a watch.” Psalm 119 uses natsar 10 times to demand our careful “watch” on our obedience and use of the Word of God. The promise is: “Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart” (Psalm 119:2).

Store the Good Treasure: In one of his many confrontations with the Pharisees, Jesus gave several illustrations about the impact of the “heart” part of our nature. Jesus spoke of binding the “strong man,” noting that a tree produces the fruit it was grown for, and that snakes are always snakes. Then Jesus makes this observation: “A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things” (Matthew 12:35).

Others Will Try to Turn Your Heart: Jereboam (1 Kings 11–12) led Israel in rebellion against Judah and against God. He “devised of his own heart” (1 Kings 12:33) liturgical practices that “made Israel to sin” (1 Kings 15:34). Peter warns: “Beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness” (2 Peter 3:17).

We must guard our hearts, “for out of it are the issues of life” (Proverbs 4:23). HMM III

Truth Divorced from Life

But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. —James 1:22

There is scarcely anything so dull and meaningless as Bible doctrine taught for its own sake. Truth divorced from life is not truth in its biblical sense, but something else and something less….

No man is better for knowing that God in the beginning created the heaven and the earth. The devil knows that, and so did Ahab and Judas Iscariot. No man is better for knowing that God so loved the world of men that He gave His only begotten Son to die for their redemption. In hell there are millions who know that. Theological truth is useless until it is obeyed. The purpose behind all doctrine is to secure moral action….

Any man with fair pulpit gifts can get on with the average congregation if he just “feeds” them and lets them alone. Give them plenty of objective truth and never hint that they are wrong and should be set right, and they will be content.

On the other hand, the man who preaches truth and applies it to the lives of his hearers will feel the nails and the thorns. He will lead a hard life, but a glorious one. May God raise up many such prophets. The church needs them badly.

Lord, I want to be one of those bold prophets, faithfully declaring Your word, no matter the consequences. Enable me by Your Spirit, I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

God Does Not Have Power: God Is Power

God hath spoken once: twice have I heard this; that power belongeth unto God. Psalm 62:11

It is hard for us sons of the machine age to remember that there is no power apart from God! Whether physical, intellectual, moral or spiritual, power is contained in God, flows out from Him and returns to Him again. The power that works throughout His creation remains in Him even while it operates in an atom or a galaxy!

The notion that power is something God separates from Himself and tosses out to work apart from Him is erroneous. The power of nature is the Presence of God in the universe. This idea is woven into the Book of Job, the Psalms and the Prophets.

The writings of John and Paul in the New Testament harmonize with this Old Testament doctrine, and in the Book of Hebrews it is said that Christ upholds all things by the word of His power.

We must not think of the power of God as wild, irrational energy coursing haphazardly through the world like a lightning stroke or a tornado. This is the impression sometimes created by Bible teachers who keep reminding us that dunamis, the Greek word for power, is the root from which comes our word “dynamite.” Little wonder that sensitive Christians shrink from contact with such a destructive and unpredictable force.

The power of God is not something God has: it is something God is! Power is something that is true of God as wisdom and love are true of Him. It is, if we might so state it, a fact of His being, one with and indivisible from everything else that He is. The power of God is one with God’s will and works only as He wills that it should. It is His holy Being in action!

Responding to the Spirit

Quench not the Spirit. Holdfast that which is good. 1 THESSALONIANS 5:19, 21

Are we raising a whole generation of young men and women without any sensitivity to the voice of God’s Holy Spirit?

I am on record, and I will be as long as I live, that I would rather lose a leg and hobble along throughout the rest of my life than to lose my sensitivity to God and to His voice and to spiritual things!

Oh, how I want to keep that sensitivity within me—within my soul!

I am thinking about a great throng of men and women raised in Christian homes. They have been brought up in Sunday school. They probably cut their first baby tooth on the edge of a hymnbook when the mother was not watching.

Still, to this day, they are not right with God. Some have made a kind of profession but have never been able to delight themselves in the Lord.

The reason? They have lost sensitivity to the message and the voice of God. If the Holy Spirit cannot move something within their beings every day, they are not going to be effective Christians—if they are Christians at all!

Lord, today my heart goes out to mediocre Christians who “know” the truth of the gospel but who have not experienced a personal relationship with You. Lord, will You give them a divine nudge so that they will find delight in truly knowing You?