Jan 26, 2012
Resistance to Tyrants is Obedience to God
Jan 26, 2012
Resistance to Tyrants is Obedience to God
Most of what goes on in the universe we never see. Many things are too small or move too fast or even too slow for us to see. Using modern technology, however, filmmaker Louis Schwartzberg is able to show stunning video images of some of those things—a caterpillar’s mouth, the eye of a fruit fly, the growth of a mushroom.
Our limited ability to see the awesome and intricate detail of things in the physical world reminds us that our ability to see and understand what’s happening in the spiritual realm is equally limited. God is at work all around us doing things more wonderful than we can imagine. But our spiritual vision is limited and we cannot see them. The prophet Elisha, however, actually got to see the supernatural work that God was doing. God also opened the eyes of his fearful colleague so he too could see the heavenly army sent to fight on their behalf (2 Kings 6:17).
Fear makes us feel weak and helpless and causes us to think we are alone in the world. But God has assured us that His Spirit in us is greater than any worldly power (1 John 4:4).
Whenever we become discouraged by the evil we can see, we need to think instead about the good work God is doing that we cannot see.
Lord, I’m tempted to fear what I cannot understand or control. But my security rests in You and not in what happens to me or around me. Help me to rest in Your unfailing love.
Eyes of faith see God at work in everything.
By Julie Ackerman Link
Drawing on the Grace of God, Now
We…plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain. —2 Corinthians 6:1
The grace you had yesterday will not be sufficient for today. Grace is the overflowing favor of God, and you can always count on it being available to draw upon as needed. “…in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses”— that is where our patience is tested (2 Corinthians 6:4). Are you failing to rely on the grace of God there? Are you saying to yourself, “Oh well, I won’t count this time”? It is not a question of praying and asking God to help you— it is taking the grace of God now.
We tend to make prayer the preparation for our service, yet it is never that in the Bible. Prayer is the practice of drawing on the grace of God. Don’t say, “I will endure this until I can get away and pray.” Pray now — draw on the grace of God in your moment of need. Prayer is the most normal and useful thing; it is not simply a reflex action of your devotion to God. We are very slow to learn to draw on God’s grace through prayer.
“…in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors…” (2 Corinthians 6:5)— in all these things, display in your life a drawing on the grace of God, which will show evidence to yourself and to others that you are a miracle of His. Draw on His grace now, not later. The primary word in the spiritual vocabulary is now. Let circumstances take you where they will, but keep drawing on the grace of God in whatever condition you may find yourself. One of the greatest proofs that you are drawing on the grace of God is that you can be totally humiliated before others without displaying even the slightest trace of anything but His grace.
“…having nothing….” Never hold anything in reserve. Pour yourself out, giving the best that you have, and always be poor. Never be diplomatic and careful with the treasure God gives you. “…and yet possessing all things”— this is poverty triumphant (2 Corinthians 6:10).
by Oswald Chambers
What most people know about Jonah is that he was swallowed by a big fish while trying to run from God. In the creature’s belly, he committed to following the Lord’s will. So when Jonah was called a second time to preach repentance in Nineveh, he obeyed.
After the prophet obeyed, there was an unexpected turn of events. He crossed the city, warning the people of divine wrath—and they responded by turning away from wickedness. The Ninevites’ response should have made Jonah ecstatic. Instead, he grieved over their repentance and God’s mercy on them, as Nineveh and Israel were longtime enemies. In fact, he angrily told the Lord he had fled to Tarshish to avoid this very scenario of penitence and forgiveness.
Jonah was displeased because his heart was as hard as when he had run to Tarshish. Trapped inside the fish, he changed his mind about following the Lord’s command. He expressed willingness to do whatever God wanted him to do, but in his heart, he still desired the Ninevites’ destruction. Jonah’s bitterness and reluctance showed through in spite of his righteous actions.
God is not fooled by good behavior that springs from a hard heart. Obeying Him with an unwilling spirit may achieve His purpose, but we lose the joy of our reward. Perhaps the Lord has called you to serve Him in a way that is personally challenging. As you commit to following His will, pray also for a soft heart. You will find peace and blessing in doing the work if you follow Him without hesitation.
“But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel.” (Philippians 1:17)
Many Christians today decry the use of apologetics or evidences in Christian witnessing, feeling it is somehow dishonoring to the Lord or to the Scriptures to try to defend them.
But as our text indicates, the apostle Paul did not agree with this. The gospel does need defending, and he was set for its defense against the attacks of its adversaries. He also told his disciples that “in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace” (Philippians 1:7).
The Greek word translated “defense” is apologia, from which we derive our English word “apologetics.” It is a legal term, meaning the case made by a defense attorney on behalf of a defendant under attack by a prosecutor. Thus, the apostle is saying: “I am set to give an apologetic for the gospel—a logical, systematic [scientific, if necessary] defense of the gospel against all the attacks of its adversaries.”
Since we are “partakers” with him in this defense, we also need to be set for its defense. We must “be ready always to give an answer [same word, apologia] to every man that asketh [us] a reason of the hope that is in [us]” (1 Peter 3:15). Any Christian who shares his faith with the unsaved has encountered many who cannot believe the simple plan of salvation until his questions are answered. We must be familiar with the “many infallible proofs” (Acts 1:3) of the deity of Christ and His power to save, both as omnipotent Creator and sin-bearing Savior. We must “search the scriptures daily” and also study the “witness” He has given in the creation (Acts 17:11; 14:17) if we are to do this effectively, bringing forth fruit that will “remain” (John 15:16) instead of fruit that has withered away, “because it had no root” (Mark 4:6). The gospel is under vicious attack today, so may God help us to be among its victorious defenders. HMM
But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word. —Acts 6:4
Well, we have great churches and we have beautiful sanctuaries and we join in the chorus, “We have need of nothing.” But there is every indication that we are in need of worshipers.
We have a lot of men willing to sit on our church boards who have no desire for spiritual joy and radiance and who never show up for the church prayer meeting….
They are the fellows who run the church, but you cannot get them to the prayer meeting because they are not worshipers….
It seems to me that it has always been a frightful incongruity that men who do not pray and do not worship are nevertheless actually running many of the churches and ultimately determining the direction they will take.
It hits very close to our own situations, perhaps, but we should confess that in many “good” churches, we let the women do the praying and let the men do the voting.
Because we are not truly worshipers, we spend a lot of time in the churches just spinning our wheels, burning the gasoline, making a noise but not getting anywhere.
Lord, make the men in our church, especially the leaders, men of prayer and worship. Please don’t allow us to try to lead others where we have not been; don’t let us spin our wheels because we are not worshipers. Amen.
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Matthew 5:6
The problem of the spiritual life is not to persuade God to fill us, but to want God sufficiently to permit Him to do so!
Jesus Himself spoke of our hungering and thirsting after righteousness. Hunger and thirst are physical sensations which in their acute stages may become real pain. It has been the experience of countless seekers after God that when their desires became a pain they were suddenly and wonderfully filled.
Occasionally there appears on the religious scene a person whose unsatisfied spiritual longings become so big and important in the life that they crowd out every other interest. Such a man or woman refuses to be content with the safe and conventional prayers of the frost-bound brethren called upon to “lead in prayer” week after week in the local assemblies. His yearnings carry him away and often make something of a nuisance out of him. His puzzled fellow Christians shake their heads and look knowingly at each other, but like the blind man who cried out after his sight and was rebuked by the disciples, he “cries the more a great deal.”
And if he has not yet met the conditions or there is something hindering the answer to his prayer, he may pray on into the late hours. Not the hour of night but the state of his heart decides the time of his visitation!
It is easy to learn the doctrine of personal revival and victorious living; it is uite another thing to take our cross and plod on to the dark and bitter hill of self-renunciation.
Here many are called and few are chosen!
Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. 1 THESSALONIANS 5:10
I have studied the New Testament enough to know that our Lord Jesus Christ never made the sharp distinctions between “secular” and “sacred” that we do!
I think it is wrong to place our physical necessities on one side, and put praying and singing and giving and Bible reading and testifying on the other.
When we are living for the Lord and living to please and honor Him, eating our breakfast can be just as spiritual as having our family prayers. There is no reason for a committed Christian to apologize: “Lord, I am awfully sorry but you know I have to eat now. I will be with you again just as soon as I am through.”
Well, we have a better way than that in our living for God, and we see as we consider His feeding of the 5,000 the meaning of His lordship. Jesus Christ is Lord—Lord of our bread and Lord of our eating and Lord of our sleeping and Lord of our working!
Brethren, our Lord is with us, sanctifying everything we do, provided it is honest and good.
Lord, today I want to be especially aware that You are the Lord of whatever I am doing. Thank You for Your all-encompassing presence in my life.