Jan 4, 2013
Music video by Chris Tomlin performing Awake My Soul
Jan 4, 2013
Music video by Chris Tomlin performing Awake My Soul
The whole body . . . grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. Ephesians 4:16
A man was boarding a train in Perth, Australia, when he slipped and his leg got caught in the gap between the train carriage and the station platform. Dozens of passengers quickly came to his rescue. They used their sheer might to tilt the train away from the platform, and the trapped man was freed! The train service’s spokesman, David Hynes, said in an interview, “Everyone sort of pitched in. It was people power that saved someone from possibly quite serious injury.”
In Ephesians 4, we read that people power is God’s plan for building up His family. He has given each of us a special gift of His grace (v. 7) for the specific purpose that “the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work” (v. 16).
Every person has a job to do in God’s family; there are no spectators. In God’s family we weep and laugh together. We bear each other’s burdens. We pray for and encourage one another. We challenge and help each other to turn from sin. Show us, Father, our part in helping Your family today.
Are you a spectator or a participant? What gifts do you have? In what ways can God use you to help others grow closer to Him?
We need each other to get to where God wants us to go.
They were Yours, You gave them to Me… —John 17:6
A missionary is someone in whom the Holy Spirit has brought about this realization: “You are not your own” (1 Corinthians 6:19). To say, “I am not my own,” is to have reached a high point in my spiritual stature. The true nature of that life in actual everyday confusion is evidenced by the deliberate giving up of myself to another Person through a sovereign decision, and that Person is Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit interprets and explains the nature of Jesus to me to make me one with my Lord, not that I might simply become a trophy for His showcase. Our Lord never sent any of His disciples out on the basis of what He had done for them. It was not until after the resurrection, when the disciples had perceived through the power of the Holy Spirit who Jesus really was, that He said, “Go” (Matthew 28:19; also see Luke 24:49 and Acts 1:8).
“If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:26). He was not saying that this person cannot be good and upright, but that he cannot be someone over whom Jesus can write the word Mine. Any one of the relationships our Lord mentions in this verse can compete with our relationship with Him. I may prefer to belong to my mother, or to my wife, or to myself, but if that is the case, then, Jesus said, “[You] cannot be My disciple.” This does not mean that I will not be saved, but it does mean that I cannot be entirely His.
Our Lord makes His disciple His very own possession, becoming responsible for him. “…you shall be witnesses to Me…” (Acts 1:8). The desire that comes into a disciple is not one of doing anything for Jesus, but of being a perfect delight to Him. The missionary’s secret is truly being able to say, “I am His, and He is accomplishing His work and His purposes through me.”
Be entirely His!
No one could have had a more sensitive love in human relationship than Jesus; and yet He says there are times when love to father and mother must be hatred in comparison to our love for Him. So Send I You, 1301 L
The word delight means “to gain great pleasure, satisfaction, and happiness.” Wouldn’t you like those to be the words that describe your relationship with God—one where both you and He enjoy time spent in each other’s presence? If that sounds good to you, then I have great news. God also wants that kind of delightful friendship, which develops through commitment, trust, and patience.
• First, a believer must commit his or her ways to God. This means that we invite the Lord to examine our desires and intentions—and change whatever does not fit His purpose or advance His plan for our life.
• Second, a believer must trust God. Who is more worthy of our faith than the Father, who gave Jesus Christ to save wicked sinners? The One who would not spare His only Son will certainly provide all that His children need (Rom. 8:32).
• Third, a believer must rest in God. When we fret about an issue or something that we consider necessary, we are neither committing ourselves to the Lord nor trusting in Him. Because our human viewpoint is extremely limited, waiting patiently rarely proves easy. God, however, has infinite wisdom and knows when circumstances and timing are perfectly aligned for His will to be done.
A growing relationship with the Lord is not drudgery, though it can be hard work. But the effort is a labor of love, because humans are designed to derive joy and fulfillment from being in God’s presence. The greatest pleasure we can experience in life is walking hand in hand with a Father who adores us.
“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:6)
As Christ hung on the cross, the Jewish leaders felt that He was guilty of blasphemy—a mere man, claiming to be God. In short, they felt that He was dying for His own sins. Their tragic misconceptions were predicted centuries before, as recorded in the treasured 53rd chapter of Isaiah: “We hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. . . . we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted” (vv. 3-4).
But not so! God did not punish Him for His sins, but for ours. “He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities” (v. 5). “For the transgression of my people was he stricken” (v. 8).
The penalty for sin has always been death, and even though “he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him” (vv. 9-10). He was the perfect “offering for sin” (v. 10) and “he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors” (v. 12). Justice has been served! “He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many” (v. 11).
Furthermore, through His death, even our griefs have been borne and our sorrows carried (v. 4). In addition to all this, our peace has been gained through His chastisement and our healing has been accomplished with His stripes (v. 5).
Such considerations can drive us only to the most complete prostration of wonder and amazement. Necessitated because “all we like sheep have gone astray,” God’s justice has been satisfied, because Christ, in love, has taken upon Himself “the iniquity of us all.” As in the hymn: “Love so amazing, so divine, demands my life, my soul, my all.” JDM
And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men. —Colossians 3:23
We live at a fever pitch, and whether we are erecting buildings, laying highways, promoting athletic events, celebrating special days or welcoming returning heroes, we always do it with an exaggerated flourish. Our building will be taller, our highway broader, our athletic contest more colorful, our celebration more elaborate and more expensive than would be true anywhere else on earth.
We walk faster, drive faster, earn more, spend more and run higher blood pressure than any other people in the world.
In only one field of human interest are we slow and apathetic: that is the field of personal religion. There for some strange reason our enthusiasm lags. Church people habitually approach the matter of their personal relation to God in a dull, half-hearted way which is altogether out of keeping with their general temperament and wholly inconsistent with the importance of the subject.
Lord, revive my zeal for things of God. I get caught up in the fever pitch of so many things. Help me to set my priorities right and give myself more completely to enhancing my relationship with You. Amen.
And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved. Matthew 10:22
There is a plain and evident fact in genuine Christianity that is often overlooked by eager evangelists bent on getting results: that to accept Christ it is necessary that we reject whatever is contrary to Him!
Let us not be shocked by the suggestion that there are disadvantages to the life in Christ. Everyone who has lived for Christ in a Christless world has suffered some losses and endured some pains that he could have avoided by the simple expedient of laying down his cross.
The contemporary moral climate does not favor a faith as tough and fibrous as that taught by our Lord and His apostles. The delicate, brittle saints being produced in our religious hothouses today are hardly to be compared with the committed, expendable believers who once gave their witness among men. And the fault lies with our leaders. They are too timid to tell the people all the truth. They are now asking men to give to God that which costs them nothing!
When will Christians learn that to love righteousness it is necessary to hate sin? that to accept Christ it is necessary to reject self? that to follow the good way we must flee from evil? that a friend of the world is an enemy of God? that God allows no twilight zone between two altogethers where the fearful and the doubting may take refuge at once from hell to come and the rigors of present discipline?
Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens; let thy glory be above all the earth. PSALM 57:5
Essentially, God’s gracious plan of salvation was wrought to bring about the restoration of a right relationship between men and women and their Creator.
The disobedience and fall of Adam and Eve destroyed the proper Creatorcreature relation, in which, unknown to them, their true happiness lay.
Many of us are interested in walking with God and pleasing God and resting in the promises of God. We have discovered that such a life on this earth begins with a complete change in relationship between God and the sinner—a conscious and experienced change affecting the sinner’s whole nature.
The atonement in Jesus’ blood makes such a change judicially possible, and the working of the Holy Spirit makes it emotionally satisfying.
We must begin with God—and God must be the center of all we are and all we do. “Be thou exalted” is plainly the language of victorious spiritual experience and central to the life of God in the soul!
Heavenly Father, throughout this day my praise for You will continually be on my lips. I am so grateful that You did not turn Your back on the human race when Adam and Eve disobeyed You. Instead, You already had a plan for redemption in mind! Bless Your name!