VIDEO Gentle Shepherd

Apr 1, 2010

Sung by the Gaithers

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Failure Is Not Fatal – Keep Recognizing Jesus

Failure Is Not Fatal
man wood stair way landing
You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. —John 6:69

Prime Minister Winston Churchill knew how to bolster the spirits of the British people during World War II. On June 18, 1940, he told a frightened populace, “Hitler knows that he will have to break us . . . or lose the war. . . . Let us therefore brace . . . and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire [lasts] for a thousand years, men will still say, ‘This was their finest hour!’ ”

We would all like to be remembered for our “finest hour.” Perhaps the apostle Peter’s finest hour was when he proclaimed, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (John 6:69). Sometimes, however, we let our failures define us. After Peter repeatedly denied that he knew Jesus, he went out and wept bitterly (Matt. 26:75; John 18).

Like Peter, we all fall short—in our relationships, in our struggle with sin, in our faithfulness to God. But “failure is not fatal,” as Churchill also said. Thankfully, this is true in our spiritual life. Jesus forgave the repentant Peter for his failure (John 21) and used him to preach and lead many to the Savior.

Failure is not fatal. God lovingly restores those who turn back to Him.

Dear Father, thank You for Your forgiveness. Thank You that Your mercy and grace are given freely through the shed blood of Your Son, Jesus.

When God forgives, He removes the sin and restores the soul.

By Cindy Hess Kasper

Keep Recognizing Jesus

…Peter…walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid… —Matthew 14:29-30

The wind really was boisterous and the waves really were high, but Peter didn’t see them at first. He didn’t consider them at all; he simply recognized his Lord, stepped out in recognition of Him, and “walked on the water.” Then he began to take those things around him into account, and instantly, down he went. Why couldn’t our Lord have enabled him to walk at the bottom of the waves, as well as on top of them? He could have, yet neither could be done without Peter’s continuing recognition of the Lord Jesus.

We step right out with recognition of God in some things, then self-consideration enters our lives and down we go. If you are truly recognizing your Lord, you have no business being concerned about how and where He engineers your circumstances. The things surrounding you are real, but when you look at them you are immediately overwhelmed, and even unable to recognize Jesus. Then comes His rebuke, “…why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:31). Let your actual circumstances be what they may, but keep recognizing Jesus, maintaining complete reliance upon Him.

If you debate for even one second when God has spoken, it is all over for you. Never start to say, “Well, I wonder if He really did speak to me?” Be reckless immediately— totally unrestrained and willing to risk everything— by casting your all upon Him. You do not know when His voice will come to you, but whenever the realization of God comes, even in the faintest way imaginable, be determined to recklessly abandon yourself, surrendering everything to Him. It is only through abandonment of yourself and your circumstances that you will recognize Him. You will only recognize His voice more clearly through recklessness— being willing to risk your all.

by Oswald Chambers

Know What You Believe

1 Peter 3:13-16

Yesterday, we learned about Jesus’ divinity and those who recognized it while He walked the earth. Though sharing our faith with others is important, doing so isn’t always easy. Some people claim that it doesn’t make a bit of difference what they believe. In fact, some go so far as to deny the existence of truth. Yet our belief system actually matters tremendously, because it is the foundation for our character, conduct, and decisions.

For instance, a person who concludes that there is no God and no eternity will live for the moment. On the other hand, someone who trusts in the Lord and His promise of heaven will have a completely different lifestyle and purpose. Obedience, faith, and responsibility will characterize him as he lives to please his heavenly Father.

Knowing what we believe is critical—first of all, because our salvation depends on it. In John 8:24, Jesus made a powerful and unequivocal statement about this subject: “Unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.” The Bible is very clear that all people have sinned and in their natural state are separated from God (Romans 3:23). The punishment for sin is death, which is eternal separation from the Lord. But the Father, in His love and mercy, sent His own Son to die in our place. As a result, everyone who believes in Jesus is forgiven and receives His free gift of salvation.

Believers are to share the good news of salvation, but the world’s hostility can make us afraid. Today’s passage encourages us not to fear. Telling others about Jesus doesn’t require lofty words or long quotations of memorized Scripture. Simply be ready with an answer if you’re asked about “the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15).

Love of the Father for the Son

“The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand.” (John 3:35)

The gospel of John, in a special sense, emphasizes the love in the divine Trinity of the heavenly Father for the Son. The words “love” and “Father” and “Son” occur more in this book than in any other book of the Bible, and there are at least eight references to this love in John’s gospel.

The first is in our text above, revealing that the Father has entrusted the care of the whole creation to the Son whom He loves. He has also shown Him everything in creation: “For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth” (John 5:20).

The Father also loved the Son because of His willingness to die for lost sinners. “Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again” (John 10:17).

Then in the upper room, as Christ prayed to His Father, it was revealed that this divine love had existed in eternity, and therefore must be both the root and the measure of all forms of true love ever since. “Father . . . thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world” (John 17:24). Parental love, marital love, filial love, love of country—all types of genuine love—are derived ultimately from this eternal love of the Father for the Son.

And it is this love that can also be in us, if we will have it. “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you. . . . If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love” (John 15:9-10).

It was thus He prayed (and still prays) for us: “That the world may know that thou . . . hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. . . . And . . . that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them” (John 17:23, 26). HMM

God’s Presence on Monday

Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. —1 Corinthians 10:31

On Monday, as we go about our different duties and tasks, are we aware of the Presence of God? The Lord desires still to be in His holy temple, wherever we are. He wants the continuing love and delight and worship of His children, wherever we work.

Is it not a beautiful thing for a businessman to enter his office on Monday morning with an inner call to worship: “The Lord is in my office—let all the world be silent before Him.”

If you cannot worship the Lord in the midst of your responsibilities on Monday, it is not very likely that you were worshiping on Sunday!…

I guess many people have an idea that they have God in a box. He is just in the church sanctuary, and when we leave and drive toward home, we have a rather faint, homesick feeling that we are leaving God in the big box.

You know that is not true, but what are you doing about it?

Lord, I expect my whole demeanor, my response to frustrating circumstances, my decisions, my relationships with people—all would be transformed and more pleasing to You if I really grasped this concept and took it with me today. Teach me and change me this morning. Amen.

My and Mine: Symptoms of Our Deep Disease

But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 1 Timothy 6:6, 7

There is within the human heart a tough fibrous root of fallen life whose nature is to possess, always to possess!

The pronouns “my” and “mine” look innocent enough in print, but express the real nature of the old Adamic man better than a thousand volumes of theology could do. They are verbal symptoms of our deep disease.

The roots of our hearts have grown down into things, and we dare not pull up one rootlet lest we die. Things have become necessary to us, a development never originally intended. God’s gifts now take the place of God, and the whole course of nature is upset by the monstrous substitution!

There can be no doubt that this possessive clinging to things is one of the most harmful habits in the life. Because it is so natural it is rarely recognized for the evil that it is; but its outworkings are tragic.

We are often hindered from giving up our treasures to the Lord out of fear for their safety; this is especially true when those treasures are loved relatives and friends. But we need have no such fears. Our Lord came not to destroy but to save. Everything is safe which we commit to Him, and nothing is really safe which is not so committed.

Our gifts and talents should also be turned over to Him. They should be recognized for what they are, God’s loan to us, and should never be considered in any sense our own, for we have no more right to claim credit for special abilities than for blue eyes or strong muscles!

Truth Has a Soul

Neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him. MATTHEW 11:27

I believe there is a positive warning in the Gospels that a person’s faith may stand in the revealed Bible text—and still be as dead as the proverbial doornail!

Consider the prayer of our Lord in Matthew 11:27: “All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.”

There is more than a body of truth—and if we do not get through to the soul of truth, we have only a dead body on our hands.

When the power of God moves in on the text and sets the sacrifice on fire, then you have genuine Christianity! We try to call that revival, but it is not revival at all. It is simply New Testament Christianity.

People who thought they were saved get saved! People who have only believed in a code now have placed their faith and trust in Christ’s person. It is not any deluxe edition of Christianity—it is simply New Testament Christianity having its place!

Lord, I am grateful for the day that You called me to Yourself. I invite You to do Your cleansing work in my soul so that I may be a more useful servant.