VIDEO Seek The LORD While He May Be Found

May 10, 2013

Isaiah 55:6-9 (NKJV)

6 Seek the LORD while He may be found,
Call upon Him while He is near.
7 Let the wicked forsake his way,
And the unrighteous man his thoughts;
Let him return to the LORD,
And He will have mercy on him;
And to our God,
For He will abundantly pardon.
8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD.
9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts.

Music Copyrighted 2013 by Esther Mui. Additional Vocals by Samuel Mui.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission.

The Slow Walk – All Efforts of Worth and Excellence Are Difficult

walk in water
The Slow Walk

I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever. —John 14:16

Caleb was sick. Really sick! Diagnosed with a nervous system disease, the 5-year-old suffered from temporary paralysis. His anxious parents prayed. And waited. Slowly, Caleb began to recover. Months later, when doctors cleared him to attend school, all Caleb could manage was a slow, unsteady walk.

One day his dad visited him at school. He watched his son haltingly descend the steps to the playground. And then he saw Caleb’s young friend Tyler come alongside him. For the entire recess, as the other kids raced and romped and played, Tyler slowly walked the playground with his frail friend.

Job must have ached for a friend like Tyler. Instead, he had three friends who were certain he was guilty. “Who ever perished, being innocent?” asked Eliphaz (Job 4:7). Such accusations prompted Job to bitterly declare, “Miserable comforters are you all!” (16:2).

How unlike Jesus. On the eve of His crucifixion He took time to comfort His disciples. He promised them the Holy Spirit, who would be with them forever (John 14:16), and assured them, “I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you” (v. 18). Then, just before He returned to His Father, He said, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:20).

The One who died for us also walks with us, step by painstaking step.

Father, we tend to say too much to our hurting friends. Help us choose our words wisely. Teach us to walk slowly with those in pain, as You walk patiently with us.

Sometimes the best way to be like Jesus is to sit quietly with a hurting friend.

By Tim Gustafson

All Efforts of Worth and Excellence Are Difficult

Enter by the narrow gate….Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life…. —Matthew 7:13-14

If we are going to live as disciples of Jesus, we have to remember that all efforts of worth and excellence are difficult. The Christian life is gloriously difficult, but its difficulty does not make us faint and cave in— it stirs us up to overcome. Do we appreciate the miraculous salvation of Jesus Christ enough to be our utmost for His highest— our best for His glory?

God saves people by His sovereign grace through the atonement of Jesus, and “it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13). But we have to “work out” that salvation in our everyday, practical living (Philippians 2:12). If we will only start on the basis of His redemption to do what He commands, then we will find that we can do it. If we fail, it is because we have not yet put into practice what God has placed within us. But a crisis will reveal whether or not we have been putting it into practice. If we will obey the Spirit of God and practice in our physical life what God has placed within us by His Spirit, then when a crisis does come we will find that our own nature, as well as the grace of God, will stand by us.

Thank God that He does give us difficult things to do! His salvation is a joyous thing, but it is also something that requires bravery, courage, and holiness. It tests us for all we are worth. Jesus is “bringing many sons to glory” (Hebrews 2:10), and God will not shield us from the requirements of sonship. God’s grace produces men and women with a strong family likeness to Jesus Christ, not pampered, spoiled weaklings. It takes a tremendous amount of discipline to live the worthy and excellent life of a disciple of Jesus in the realities of life. And it is always necessary for us to make an effort to live a life of worth and excellence.

by Oswald Chambers

The Need for Salvation

Ephesians 2:1-3

Followers of Christ know the importance of being saved, but the world sees no need for rescue. Let’s think about some key truths regarding man’s need for salvation.

Those who don’t have a personal relationship with God through His Son Jesus are:

Spiritually dead. Many people don’t realize that there are three kinds of death—physical, eternal, and spiritual. Eternal death comes at the end of the age, when all those who have refused Jesus as Savior are cast away from God permanently (Matthew 25:41). Spiritual death occurred in the Garden of Eden. Disobedience severed Adam and Eve’s intimate connection to God and caused all of their descendants to be spiritually detached from Him (Romans 5:12). We’re born as “dead” people in need of new life.

Living a life of sin. Our nature is to rebel against God, and that’s called sin. Over and over, we choose what pleases us, not Him. We’re enslaved to sin (John 8:34), and any effort to free ourselves from its power is in vain. We need someone to rescue us.

Under divine wrath. Because of our disobedience, we are under God’s judgment, awaiting punishment. All efforts to earn His approval and escape our sentence are insufficient. Sinful man has nothing acceptable to offer holy God. Our only hope of escape is for someone else to take our penalty.

The good news is that the Lord has provided a way for all to pass from spiritual death to life, from the bondage of sin into freedom, and from condemnation to intimacy with Him. Jesus Christ alone is the way (John 14:6), and He meets our every need.

Truth

“And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” (2 Timothy 4:4)

This is the last of eleven occurrences of “the truth” in Paul’s two letters to Timothy. He was not writing about the importance of being truthful in general, but about a specific body of factual information concerning Jesus Christ and its vital importance. Thus, “the truth” was a very important theme in both of Paul’s letters to this young pastor—and, by implication, to all God-called pastors.

Paul first speaks of “the knowledge of the truth” as required for salvation (1 Timothy 2:4), then of his own teaching as “the truth in Christ” (1 Timothy 2:7), then of “the church of the living God” as “the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:15), and of Christians as those who “believe and know the truth” (1 Timothy 4:3). He stresses the importance of studying the Bible as “the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15), and also that true repentance requires “the acknowledging of the truth” (2 Timothy 2:25).

Paul also warns of false and covetous teachers who are “destitute of the truth” (1 Timothy 6:5) and who therefore “concerning the truth have erred” (2 Timothy 2:18). There will even be false prophets who “resist the truth” and are “reprobate concerning the faith” (2 Timothy 3:8).

As a result of the teachings of these false teachers, there will be many so-called seekers of truth who are “ever learning” yet who seem “never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 3:7). The reason they never find the truth is because they “turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (2 Timothy 4:4).

The fact is that Jesus said: “I am . . . the truth” and also that “thy word is truth” (John 14:6; 17:17). For any who would say with Pilate, “What is truth?” (John 18:38), there is the definitive answer! HMM

Commotion, Not Devotion

And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. —1 Kings 19:12

The accent in the Church today,” says Leonard Ravenhill, the English evangelist, “is not on devotion, but on commotion.” Religious extroversion has been carried to such an extreme in evangelical circles that hardly anyone has the desire, to say nothing of the courage, to question the soundness of it. Externalism has taken over. God now speaks by the wind and the earthquake only; the still small voice can be heard no more. The whole religious machine has become a noisemaker. The adolescent taste which loves the loud horn and the thundering exhaust has gotten into the activities of modern Christians. The old question, “What is the chief end of man?” is now answered, “To dash about the world and add to the din thereof.”…

We must begin the needed reform by challenging the spiritual validity of externalism. What a man is must be shown to be more important than what he does. While the moral quality of any act is imparted by the condition of the heart, there may be a world of religious activity which arises not from within but from without and which would seem to have little or no moral content. Such religious conduct is imitative or reflex. It stems from the current cult of commotion and possesses no sound inner life.

Lord quiet my heart today in the midst of the rush and din of church busyness, that I might be able to hear the “still small voice.” Amen.

The Cross We Bear Must Be Assumed Voluntarily

For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake. Philippians 1:29

In the Christian faith there is a real sense in which the cross of Christ embraces all crosses and the death of Christ encompasses all deaths: “If one died for all, then were all dead….”

This is in the judicial working of God in redemption. The Christian as a member of the body of Christ is crucified along with his divine Head. Before God every true believer is reckoned to have died when Christ died. All subsequent experience of personal crucifixion is based upon this identification with Christ on the cross.

But in the practical, everyday outworking of the believer’s crucifixion his own cross is brought into play. “Let him… take up his cross.” That is obviously not the cross of Christ. Rather, it is the believer’s own personal cross by means of which the cross of Christ is made effective in slaying his evil nature and setting him free from its power.

The believer’s own cross is one he has assumed voluntarily. Therein lies the difference between his cross and the cross on which Roman convicts died. They went to the cross against their will; he, because he chooses to do so. No Roman officer ever pointed to a cross and said, “If any man will, let him!” Only Christ said that, and by so saying He placed the whole matter in the hands of the Christian believer. Each of us, then, should count himself dead indeed with Christ and accept willingly whatever of self-denial, repentance, humility and humble sacrifice that may be found in the path of obedient daily living.

Discipline Is Dismissed

Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed him. MATTHEW 4:19-20

We live in a land noted and favored for its freedom; a country where Protestant Christianity is popular and well accepted.

I noted this to speak of one of the great spiritual dangers inherent in Protestantism, the fact that there is no discipline involved. Anyone in our churches is pretty much free to do anything he wants to do. If he does not like one church, he has only to cross the street and go to another. If he does not like the preacher, he can leave and soon be attending a church where he is quite pleased with the preacher and with the music and with the atmosphere.

You see, he is demanding Christianity without discipline. He is refusing to acknowledge that the Christian faith makes its own demands of obedience to God and humility of spirit.

When his personal desires take the upper hand, the voice of the Spirit of God is stifled and silenced. There can be only one result—the human soul will become starved and deformed!

Lord, forgive me for putting my personal desires above Your Spirit’s rule in my life. Sometimes this happens so subtly, but it always ends in frustration. Speak to me, Lord. I’m listening with a renewed attentiveness.