VIDEO Barbara Pillar, Stories of God at Work

“Life suddenly changed dramatically for me.”

March 14, 1965―the day Barbara’s life took a very difficult turn. She and her husband were missionaries in Burundi, Africa, and had only been married 11 months. Barbara had just come home from the hospital with their 2-week-old baby. That evening, four masked gunmen burst into their home, brutally shot her husband, and left her a widow with a newborn. But amidst the grief, God was always there prompting Barbara to confidently say, “He is the most faithful friend that we could ever know.

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Walking on Water – Reconciling Yourself to the Fact of Sin

boats dock
Walking on Water

Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid. —Matthew 14:27

When I learned to sail, I had to walk along a very unsteady floating platform to reach the little boats in which we had our lessons. I hated it. I don’t have a good sense of balance and was terrified of falling between the platform and the boat as I attempted to get in. I nearly gave up. “Fix your eyes on me,” said the instructor. “I’m here, and I’ll catch you if you slip.” I did what he said, and I am now the proud possessor of a basic sailing proficiency certificate!

Do you avoid taking risks at all costs? Many of us are reluctant to step out of our comfort zones in case we fail, get hurt, or look stupid. But if we allow that fear to bind us, we’ll end up afraid to do anything.

The story of Peter’s water-walking adventure and why it supposedly failed is a popular choice for preachers (Matt. 14:22-33). But I don’t think I’ve ever heard any of them discuss the behavior of the rest of the disciples. In my opinion, Peter was a success. He felt the fear but responded to the call of Jesus anyway. Maybe it was those who never tried at all who failed.

Jesus risked everything for us. What are we prepared to risk for Him?

Father, thank You for stretching out Your hand and saying, “Come.” Help me to get out of the boat, knowing that it is totally safe to walk on water with You.

“Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.” Helen Keller

By Marion Stroud


Reconciling Yourself to the Fact of Sin

This is your hour, and the power of darkness.
—Luke 22:53

Not being reconciled to the fact of sin— not recognizing it and refusing to deal with it— produces all the disasters in life. You may talk about the lofty virtues of human nature, but there is something in human nature that will mockingly laugh in the face of every principle you have. If you refuse to agree with the fact that there is wickedness and selfishness, something downright hateful and wrong, in human beings, when it attacks your life, instead of reconciling yourself to it, you will compromise with it and say that it is of no use to battle against it. Have you taken this “hour, and the power of darkness” into account, or do you have a view of yourself which includes no recognition of sin whatsoever?

In your human relationships and friendships, have you reconciled yourself to the fact of sin? If not, just around the next corner you will find yourself trapped and you will compromise with it. But if you will reconcile yourself to the fact of sin, you will realize the danger immediately and say, “Yes, I see what this sin would mean.” The recognition of sin does not destroy the basis of friendship— it simply establishes a mutual respect for the fact that the basis of sinful life is disastrous. Always beware of any assessment of life which does not recognize the fact that there is sin.

Jesus Christ never trusted human nature, yet He was never cynical nor suspicious, because He had absolute trust in what He could do for human nature. The pure man or woman is the one who is shielded from harm, not the innocent person. The so-called innocent man or woman is never safe. Men and women have no business trying to be innocent; God demands that they be pure and virtuous. Innocence is the characteristic of a child. Any person is deserving of blame if he is unwilling to reconcile himself to the fact of sin.

by Oswald Chambers

Expect Conflict

2 Corinthians 4:5-10

Contrary to popular but poor theological teaching, salvation does not guarantee an easy life. It is tempting to present Christianity as a safe haven from which to watch the world swirl past—then one could open the door to allow in joy and blessing, but hardship could not squeeze through. That brand of religion might sell well in the world marketplace, but it isn’t real.

The truth is, Christians cannot escape conflict or ridicule. The biblical principles we hold dear often seem like foolishness to nonbelievers. What’s more, defending our faith and sharing the gospel will frequently draw criticism or anger from listeners. But Scripture counsels against keeping quiet and blending in (Matthew 5:14-15). In fact, we are to welcome disagreement as a way to grow our faith.

Consider this: Our belief system is named for a man who so thoroughly challenged the status quo that religious leaders called for His death. Jesus Christ was at the center of controversy during His ministry and very likely all through life. That’s why the biblical record so often shows Him slipping away for time alone with God—He was seeking direction and receiving strength. While Jesus was fully God, He was also fully human. He knew the sting of rejection and the taste of fear, just as we do (Hebrews 4:15).

As believers, we are called to be peacemakers, but that doesn’t mean isolating ourselves from all who oppose the church. Accept conflict as inevitable and reach out anyway. You can have a powerful impact simply by being the person God called you to be—His child.

Created

“Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.” (Isaiah 43:7)

There are three main verbs used to describe God’s work of creation in Genesis. These are “create” (Hebrew, bara), “make” (asah), and “form” (yatsar). The three words are similar in meaning but each with a slightly different emphasis. None of them, of course, can mean anything at all like “evolve,” or “change,” on their own accord.

All three are used in Genesis with reference to man. “And God said, Let us make man in our image. . . . So God created man in his own image. . . . And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground” (Genesis 1:26-27; 2:7).

Although the subject of creation is commonly associated with Genesis, it is mentioned even more frequently by the great prophet Isaiah. The words bara and yatsar are used twice as often in Isaiah as in any other Old Testament book and are applied uniquely to works of God. All three verbs are used together in Isaiah 45:18 in order to describe, adequately, God’s purposeful work in preparing the earth for man: “For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else.”

God created, formed, made, and established the earth, that it might be the home of men and women. But what was God’s purpose for the people who would inhabit it? Our text answers this most fundamental of questions, and once again, all three key verbs are used: “I have created him . . . I have formed him, . . . I have made him . . . for my glory.”

This biblical perspective alone provides the greatest of all possible incentives to live a godly and useful life. The reason we were created is to glorify God! HMM

The Art of True Worship

And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb, for ever and ever. —Revelation 5:13

It remains only to be said that worship as we have described it here is almost (though, thank God, not quite) a forgotten art in our day. For whatever we can say of modern Bible-believing Christians, it can hardly be denied that we are not remarkable for our spirit of worship. The gospel as preached by good men in our times may save souls, but it does not create worshipers….

How few, how pitifully few are the enraptured souls who languish for love of Christ….

If Bible Christianity is to survive the present world upheaval, we shall need to recapture the spirit of worship. We shall need to have a fresh revelation of the greatness of God and the beauty of Jesus. We shall need to put away our phobias and our prejudices against the deeper life and seek again to be filled with the Holy Spirit. He alone can raise our cold hearts to rapture and restore again the art of true worship.

Lord, help us to “raise our cold hearts to rapture and restore again the art of true worship.” May it no longer be said that true worship is “a forgotten art.” Amen.

Do Not Laugh at Something God Takes Seriously

… Their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another. Romans 2:15

One way the devil has of getting rid of things is to make jokes about them— and one of the sick jokes you hear is that the conscience is that part of you which makes you sorry when you get caught!

There are some things that are not the proper objects of humor, and one of them is conscience.

That power of conscience that God has set in the human breast can suddenly isolate a soul, and hang it between heaven and hell, as lonely as if God had never created but one soul—that’s not a joking matter.

Remember the conscience is always on God’s side—always on God’s side! It judges conduct in the light of the moral law, and as the Scripture says, excuses or accuses.

The Light that lighted every man that comes into the world is not a joking matter. The eternal, universal Presence of the luminous Christ is not a joking matter.

Joke about politics if you must joke—they are usually funny, anyway. But don’t joke about God and don’t joke about conscience, nor death, nor life, nor love, nor the cross, nor prayer.

There is legitimate humor in our lives, and I think it is in us by the gift of God. Your sense of humor does not have to dry up and die. There’s plenty to laugh at in the world—but be sure you don’t laugh at something that God takes seriously. Conscience is one of those things!

The Spirit’s Gifts

But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. 1 CORINTHIANS 12:7

In our Christian fellowship, we must recognize that the blessed Holy Spirit of God desires to take men and women and control them, and use them as instruments through which He can express Himself in the Body of Christ.

Someone may try to give me credit for something they think I have done for God—but in actuality, God is doing it through His Holy Spirit—and using me as an instrument. There is no real sense in which we are able to do spiritual work of any kind without the Holy Spirit.

We do know that the Apostle Paul said: “If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his” (Romans 8:9). But he also exhorted those early believers not to ignore the Spirit’s gifts and to “covet earnestly the best gifts” (1 Corinthians 12:31). It is still important for us to fulfill the Spirit-given functions and capabilities which are the spiritual birthright of every regenerated believer.

We should not be looking around for some other way. God has given us in His Holy Spirit every gift and power and help that we need to serve Him!

Lord, I pray that I will be a clean vessel, fit for use in Your kingdom work today.