May 1, 2010
But God will ransom my life; he will snatch me from the grasp of death. -Psalm 49:15
May 1, 2010
But God will ransom my life; he will snatch me from the grasp of death. -Psalm 49:15
The doctors I know are smart, hard-working, and compassionate. They have relieved my suffering on many occasions, and I am grateful for their expertise in diagnosing illnesses, prescribing medication, setting broken bones, and stitching up wounds. But this does not mean that I place my faith in physicians rather than in God.
For reasons known only to God, He appointed humans to be His partners in the work of caring for creation (Gen. 2:15), and doctors are among them. Doctors study medical science and learn how God designed the body. They use this knowledge to help restore us to a healthy condition. But the only reason doctors can do anything to make us better is that God created us with the ability to heal. Surgeons would be useless if incisions didn’t heal.
Scientists can learn how God created our bodies to function, and they devise therapies to help restore or cure us, but they are not healers; God is (Ex. 15:26). Doctors simply cooperate with God’s original intent and design.
So I am grateful for science and doctors, but my praise and thanksgiving go to God, who designed an orderly universe and who created us with minds that can discover how it works. I believe, therefore, that all healing is divine because no healing takes place apart from God.
Father God, You are the Great Physician, and I ask for healing, whether mind, body, spirit, or in all of these. I believe You will give what is best. Thank You for Your goodness, kindness, and love in all things.
When you think of all that’s good, give thanks to God.
By Julie Ackerman Link
God does not keep His child immune from trouble; He promises, “I will be with him in trouble…” (Psalm 91:15). It doesn’t matter how real or intense the adversities may be; nothing can ever separate him from his relationship to God. “In all these things we are more than conquerors…” (Romans 8:37). Paul was not referring here to imaginary things, but to things that are dangerously real. And he said we are “super-victors” in the midst of them, not because of our own ingenuity, nor because of our courage, but because none of them affects our essential relationship with God in Jesus Christ. I feel sorry for the Christian who doesn’t have something in the circumstances of his life that he wishes were not there.
“Shall tribulation…?” Tribulation is never a grand, highly welcomed event; but whatever it may be— whether exhausting, irritating, or simply causing some weakness— it is not able to “separate us from the love of Christ.” Never allow tribulations or the “cares of this world” to separate you from remembering that God loves you (Matthew 13:22).
“Shall…distress…?” Can God’s love continue to hold fast, even when everyone and everything around us seems to be saying that His love is a lie, and that there is no such thing as justice?
“Shall…famine…?” Can we not only believe in the love of God but also be “more than conquerors,” even while we are being starved?
Either Jesus Christ is a deceiver, having deceived even Paul, or else some extraordinary thing happens to someone who holds on to the love of God when the odds are totally against him. Logic is silenced in the face of each of these things which come against him. Only one thing can account for it— the love of God in Christ Jesus. “Out of the wreck I rise” every time.
by Oswald Chambers
Now or Later
For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted. Luke 14:11
A popular brand of automobile oil filters became famous for its marketing slogan, “You can pay me now or pay me later.” That is, you can pay a small amount now for an oil change or a large amount later to repair or rebuild the engine whose oil was not changed. Either way, you’re going to have to pay to own and operate your car.
The Bible takes a similar view on the subject of humility: You can humble yourself now or have God humble you later. Either way, if you want to follow Christ, you will be humble. Jesus told His disciples that truth during His last supper with them. He took on the role of a servant by washing their feet—a shocking thing for Him to have done. And when He was finished, He said they should do the same for each other—play the role of servant: “For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you” (John 13:15). Followers of Christ must be reconciled to the truth that we are called to be humble servants of one another.
Ask God today to give you a servant’s humble heart. Look for an opportunity today to humble yourself and serve another person. Better to humble ourselves now than to be humbled by God later.
The surest mark of true conversion is humility. J. C. Ryle
Recommended Reading: John 13:2-17
1 John 5:10-13
In terms of salvation, all of us fall into one of four categories: We are saved and we know it; we think we’re saved, but we’re not; we don’t claim to be saved; or we’re not saved but would like to be. In which category do you find yourself?
Salvation is God’s deliverance of the believer—through Jesus Christ—from all the effects of sin. It is God’s work in the human heart and is accompanied by all the benefits He bestows on us now and forever.
We need to know beyond a shadow of a doubt where we are going to spend eternity. And God has made sure that through His word, such certainty is available to every one of us (1 John 5:13). Do you have that kind of assurance? If you are not confident that you have eternal salvation, I urge you to settle this most important decision of your life right now.
First, realize that God desires to save everyone (1 Timothy 2:4). Not only that, but He also provided the way to salvation through His Son (John 3:16)—He has told us we must believe in Jesus Christ (Acts 16:31) and confess Him before men. As Scripture explains, it is “with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation (Romans 10:10).
Our heavenly Father is faithful to keep every one of His promises. If you trust in Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, God will save you from your sin and welcome you into His family (John 1:12)—without regard to merit or worth on your part. Eternal life will be yours. And He offers this gift freely to all who believe in His Son. Will you receive it?
“For he taught his disciples, and said unto them, The Son of man is delivered into the hands of men, and they shall kill him; and after that he is killed, he shall rise the third day. But they understood not that saying, and were afraid to ask him.” (Mark 9:31-32)
When the Lord Jesus told His disciples about His coming death and resurrection, He could hardly have spoken more plainly, yet they “understood not.” Not willing to believe that He meant what He said (with all its uncomfortable implications for their own futures), they were “afraid to ask Him” what He meant, lest He confirm that His words should be taken literally.
This was not the only time. Again and again He told them that He would be crucified and then rise again, but they could not (or would not) understand. On one such occasion, Peter even rebuked Him, and said: “Lord: this shall not be unto thee.” But the Lord answered, “Get thee behind me, Satan” (Matthew 16:22-23). A refusal to take God’s Word literally, at least in this case, was said by Christ to be inspired by Satan!
Modern evangelical Christians no longer doubt the reality of His sacrificial death and bodily resurrection, for the evidence has become overwhelming, and these truths have become the glory and power of the gospel. Nevertheless, fearful reluctance to take God’s Word literally is still a great problem among some “Bible believers.” Whenever such a stand might become costly, many Christians eagerly accept non-literal ways of “interpreting” Scripture to fit their own preferences. This approach, of course, is especially widespread in modern accommodations of the creation/Flood record of Genesis to the philosophies of modern evolutionary humanism. We should remember always that, just as in Christ’s predictions of His death and resurrection, God always means exactly what He says in His Word. HMM
Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee but the putting on of my hands. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. —2 Timothy 1:6-7
It is doubtful whether we can be Christian in anything unless we are Christian in everything. To obey Christ in one or two or ten instances and then in fear of consequences to back away and refuse to obey in another is to cloud our life with the suspicion that we are only fair-weather followers and not true believers at all. To obey when it costs us nothing and refuse when the results are costly is to convict ourselves of moral trifling and gross insincerity….
Again, the pastor when facing his congregation on Sunday morning, dare not think of the effect his sermon may have on his job, his salary or his future relation to the church. Let him but worry about tomorrow and he becomes a hireling and no true shepherd of the sheep. No man is a good preacher who is not willing to lay his future on the line every time he expounds the Word. He must let his job and his reputation ride on each and every sermon or he has no right to think that he stands in the prophetic tradition.
Give me grace to follow, Lord—especially when it really does cost me something. Amen.
Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. John 14:1
At the root of the Christian life lies belief in the invisible. The object of the Christian’s faith is unseen reality.
In the world of sense around us, the visible becomes the enemy of the invisible; the temporal, of the eternal. That is the curse inherited by every member of Adam’s race.
Our uncorrected thinking, influenced by the blindness of our natural hearts and the intrusive ubiquity of visible things, tends to draw a contrast between the spiritual and the real; but actually no such contrast exists. The antithesis lies elsewhere: between the real and the imaginary, between the spiritual and the material, between the temporal and the eternal; but between the spiritual and the real, never! The spiritual is real.
If we would rise into that region of light and power plainly beckoning us through the Scriptures of truth we must break the evil habit of ignoring the spiritual. We must shift our interest from the seen to the unseen.
For the great unseen Reality is God! “He that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” This is basic in the life of faith. From there we can rise to unlimited heights.
“Ye believe in God,” said our Lord Jesus Christ, “believe also in me.” Without the first, there can be no second.
God and the spiritual world are real. We can reckon upon them with as much assurance as we reckon upon the familiar world around us!
But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses. ACTS 1:8
As we read the New Testament, we find a very simple and very plain and very forceful truth—the Holy Spirit makes a difference!
Consider the early disciples—Jesus Himself had taught them for more than three years—the greatest Bible school! But still He had to caution them and encourage them not to depend on their own wisdom and strength: “Tarry ye… until ye be endued with power from on high” (Luke 24:49). He promised that they would receive the Person of the Holy Spirit to carry out His plan of world evangelization.
After Pentecost, the Spirit brought them a new and vivid consciousness of the actual presence of God. He gave them the gifts of divine joy and peace. He gave them great and continuing delight in prayer and communion with God!
Finally, we recall that before Pentecost the disciples could only ask questions. After Pentecost, throughout the record in the book of Acts, they stood in the authority of the Spirit and answered all of the questions of the people concerning God’s plan of salvation through the crucified and risen Christ!
Lord, I pray that Your Spirit will “visit” our local churches and anoint them with a renewed sense of urgency to become involved in Your plan of world evangelization.