VIDEO A Life That Needed Rescuing

May 26, 2015

Life was not easy for Eric Christopherson growing up, but he found respite playing sports. And he was good at it. So good that he was a former first-round pick for the San Francisco Giants. But life got messy with selfish living, drinking, and gambling—and he knew something was missing. He called out to Jesus to fill in the empty spaces, and he encourages others to do the same.

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The Likes of Us – Suffering Afflictions and Going the Second Mile – Be Alert

never out of God's sight
The Likes of Us

Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. —Matthew 9:38 niv

In the late 19th century, William Carey felt a call to travel to India as a missionary to share the good news of Jesus. Pastors around him scoffed: “Young man, if God wants to save [anyone] in India, He will do it without your help or mine!” They missed the point of partnership. God does very little on earth without the likes of us.

As partners in God’s work on earth, we insist that God’s will be done while at the same time committing ourselves to whatever that may require of us. “Your kingdom come. Your will be done,” Jesus taught us to pray (Matt. 6:10). These words are not calm requests but holy demands. Give us justice! Set the world aright!

When we extend mercy to the broken, we reach out with the hands of Christ Himself.

We have different roles to play, we and God. It is our role to follow in Jesus’ steps by doing the work of the kingdom both by our deeds and by our prayers.

We are Christ’s body on earth, to borrow Paul’s metaphor in Colossians 1:24. Those we serve, Christ serves. When we extend mercy to the broken, we reach out with the hands of Christ Himself.

Lord, You have called us Your friends. In some small way, help us to show Your love to this hurting world so they will know You.

Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God. William Carey

By Philip Yancey

Suffering Afflictions and Going the Second Mile

I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. —Matthew 5:39

This verse reveals the humiliation of being a Christian. In the natural realm, if a person does not hit back, it is because he is a coward. But in the spiritual realm, it is the very evidence of the Son of God in him if he does not hit back. When you are insulted, you must not only not resent it, but you must make it an opportunity to exhibit the Son of God in your life. And you cannot imitate the nature of Jesus— it is either in you or it is not. A personal insult becomes an opportunity for a saint to reveal the incredible sweetness of the Lord Jesus.

The teaching of the Sermon on the Mount is not, “Do your duty,” but is, in effect, “Do what is not your duty.” It is not your duty to go the second mile, or to turn the other cheek, but Jesus said that if we are His disciples, we will always do these things. We will not say, “Oh well, I just can’t do any more, and I’ve been so misrepresented and misunderstood.” Every time I insist on having my own rights, I hurt the Son of God, while in fact I can prevent Jesus from being hurt if I will take the blow myself. That is the real meaning of filling “up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ…” (Colossians 1:24). A disciple realizes that it is his Lord’s honor that is at stake in his life, not his own honor.

Never look for righteousness in the other person, but never cease to be righteous yourself. We are always looking for justice, yet the essence of the teaching of the Sermon on the Mount is— Never look for justice, but never cease to give it.

By Oswald Chambers

Be Alert

Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour. 1 John 2:18

The word “antichrist” is not found in classical Greek prior to the coming of Christ. It may be a word coined by the apostle John since he is the only one who uses it in the New Testament (1 John 2:18, 22; 4:3; 2 John 7). To describe someone who was against Christ or drawing attention to himself instead of Christ, one would attach anti (“against, opposite, instead of”) to Christos to create “antiChrist.”

John used the word two ways: to refer to the Antichrist (1 John 2:18, 4:3) and those who operate like the Antichrist (1 John 2:18, 22; 2 John 7). Like Satan and his demons, a satanically inspired individual who appears at the end of the age has satanically inspired emissaries who are doing his work at present. In truth, the antichrists that John warned against—anyone who is against the true person and work of Jesus Christ—are everywhere in the world. And like those to whom John wrote, we must be aware of their presence and deception (2 Corinthians 11:13-15).

Be alert and on your spiritual guard today for antichrists who deny and deceive.

When Scripture speaks of Antichrist it includes the whole duration of his reign. John Calvin

Recommended Reading: Revelation 13:1-8

Jesus, Our Rock

Malachi 3:6

People will sometimes say, “The only constant is change.” Fortunately, this is not true. There is One who never changes: Jesus Christ always remains the same. What a comforting truth! But it’s hard to find refuge in someone we don’t know well. So let’s explore the Lord’s actions to learn more about His nature.

• Jesus forgave others. He showed mercy, not judgment, to those who recognized their sin. For example, Jesus had compassion on the woman caught in adultery and stopped her death penalty with a few wise words. Then, instead of pronouncing condemnation, He said that her sins were forgiven (John 8:1-11).

• Jesus comforted the hurting. He visited Mary and Martha, who were mourning the loss of their brother Lazarus (John 11:1-45).

• Jesus provided for needs.
After spending three days healing all kinds of disabilities, He was concerned that the large crowd hadn’t eaten. He could have sent all 4,000 away to find their own food, but He provided more than enough to satisfy their hunger (Mark 8:1-9).

• Jesus interceded for His disciples. Just before He was crucified, He asked the Father to protect and sanctify His followers, which includes you and me (John 17:15, 17, 19-20).

• Jesus strengthened believers and gave them power to do God’s work. In Acts 1:8, the Lord sent His disciples out to share the gospel, assuring them, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you.”

Jesus still forgives, still comforts, still provides, still intercedes, and still empowers. What a blessing that we can find refuge in our amazing Lord!

The Good Seed

“Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.” (Luke 8:11)

The Word of God is pictured by many beautiful symbols in the Scriptures, and perhaps one of the most meaningful is that of the seed, sown in the field of the world by the great sower, the Lord Jesus Christ. The first reference to seed sowing in the Bible is in the story of Isaac, who “sowed in that land, and received in the same year an hundredfold: and the LORD blessed him” (Genesis 26:12).

Now Isaac himself was the “seed” of God’s promise to Abraham, and he was a precursive fulfillment of the ultimate promised “seed, which is Christ” (Galatians 3:16). Isaac’s sowing of literal seed in the land of the Philistines is thus a type of Christ’s sowing of spiritual seed throughout the world. As Isaac’s sowing brought forth a hundredfold, so the beautiful parable of the sower indicates that at least some of the seed “fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold” (Luke 8:8).

Although not all seed will come to fruition, it must be sown throughout the world. Some of the seed will bear fruit, for God has said “that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be . . . it shall not return unto me void” (Isaiah 55:10-11). “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever” (1 Peter 1:23).

The first of Christ’s parables is this parable of the sower. The second, complementing the first, indicates that the seed is not only God’s Word, but also God’s children—those regenerated through the Word. “He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom” (Matthew 13:37-38). Thus we also become sowers of the Word, witnessing to the world and bearing good fruit in His name. HMM

The Power of Church Finances

But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors. —James 2:9

It is an ominous thing in any church when the treasurer begins to exercise power. Since he may be presumed to be a man of God he should have a place equal to that of any other member, and if he is a man of gifts and virtues he will naturally have certain influences among the brethren. This is right and normal as long as he exercises his influences as a man of God and not as a treasurer. The moment he becomes important because he is treasurer, the Spirit will be grieved and His manifestations will begin to diminish….

Again, it is a sign and a portent when a member is cultivated for his generosity and given a place of eminence in the church out of proportion to his spiritual gifts and graces. To court a Christian for his financial contributions is as evil a thing as to marry a man for his money. To flatter a man for any reason whatever is to degrade ourselves and imperil his soul. To flatter a man because he is a heavy giver is to offer him a concealed affront as well, for back of the purring and the smirking is the hidden opinion that the man’s money is more important than the man and more to be esteemed.

Deliver us from the dominance of the dollar. You meet our needs, Lord, and then help us to minister faithfully, with no thought of how the finances might be affected. Amen.

The Praying Man: Purity and Honesty Are Essential

Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. James 4:3

Prayer is usually recommended as the panacea for all ills and the key to open every prison door—and it would indeed be difficult to overstate the advantages and privilege of Spirit-inspired prayer.

But we must not forget that unless we are wise and watchful, prayer itself may become a source of self-deception.

There are as many kinds of prayer as there are problems and some kinds are not acceptable to God. The prophets of the Old Testament denounced Israel for trying to hide their iniquities behind their prayers. Christ flatly rejected the prayers of hypocrites and James declared that some religious persons ask and receive not because they ask amiss!

To escape self-deception, the praying man must come out clean and honest. He cannot hide in the cross while concealing in his bosom the golden wedge and the goodly Babylonish garment. Grace will save a man but it will not save him and his idol! The blood of Christ will shield the penitent sinner alone, but never the sinner and his idol! Faith will justify the sinner, but it will never justify the sinner and his sin!

No amount of pleading will make evil good or wrong right. A man may engage in a great deal of humble talk before God and get no response because unknown to himself he is using prayer to disguise disobedience!

Selfish Personal Interest

Chiefly them that walk after the flesh… and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled. 2 PETER 2:10

Throughout history, the philosophers have pretty well agreed on the conclusion that selfish personal interest is the motive behind all human conduct.

The philosopher Epictetus illustrated his understanding with the fact that two dogs may romp on the lawn with every appearance of friendship until someone tosses a piece of raw meat between them. Instantly, their play turns into savage fight as each struggles to get the meat for himself. Let us not condemn the old thinker for comparing the conduct of men to animals. The Bible frequently does, and humbling as it may be to us, we humans often look bad by comparison.

If we would be wise in the wisdom of God, we must face up to the truth that men and women are not basically good: They are basically evil, and the essence of sin lies in their selfishness! Putting our own interests before the glory of God is sin in its Godward aspects, and the putting of our own interests before those of our fellow man is sin as it relates to society. By the cross, Jesus Christ demonstrated pure, selfless love in its fullest perfection. When He died, He set a crown of beauty upon a God-centered and an others-centered life!

Lord, as I begin this day, I pray that in every situation I will put the interests of others before my own.