VIDEO Imitators

Sep 10, 2015

Kids love to imitate. That’s how they learn. And just as we pass down our wisdom, skills, or hobbies to our children, God asks us to follow His example. There’s no better way to learn how to love life and live life than from the One who created us.

Lessons in Suffering – Are You Going on With Jesus?

Lessons in Suffering
crown of thorns

If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness. 2 Corinthians 11:30

The close-up image on the giant screen was big and sharp, so we could see the deep cuts on the man’s body. A soldier beat him while an angry crowd laughed at the man whose face was now covered with blood. The scenes appeared so real that, in the silence of the open-air theater, I cringed and grimaced as if I could feel the pain myself. But this was only a film reenactment of Jesus’ suffering for us.

Reminding us of Jesus’ suffering, Peter wrote, “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps” (1 Peter 2:21). While suffering comes in different forms and intensity, it is to be expected. Ours may not be as intense as that experienced by Paul, who for the sake of Christ was beaten with rods, stoned, and shipwrecked. He was attacked by bandits, and he endured hunger and thirst (2 Cor. 11:24-27). Likewise, we may not suffer like those who endure severe persecution in cultures where Christianity is not welcomed.

In some form or another, however, suffering will come our way as we deny ourselves, endure harassment, bear insults, or refuse to engage in activities that do not honor the Lord. Even exercising patience, avoiding revenge, and forgiving others in order to foster good relationships are forms of following in His steps.

Whenever we encounter suffering, may we remember what Jesus endured for us.

What have you learned about God through your trials?

The school of suffering teaches us lessons that we could learn in no other classroom.

By Lawrence Darmani

Are You Going on With Jesus?
carry cross

You are those who have continued with Me in My trials. —Luke 22:28

It is true that Jesus Christ is with us through our temptations, but are we going on with Him through His temptations? Many of us turn back from going on with Jesus from the very moment we have an experience of what He can do. Watch when God changes your circumstances to see whether you are going on with Jesus, or siding with the world, the flesh, and the devil. We wear His name, but are we going on with Him? “From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more” (John 6:66).

The temptations of Jesus continued throughout His earthly life, and they will continue throughout the life of the Son of God in us. Are we going on with Jesus in the life we are living right now?

We have the idea that we ought to shield ourselves from some of the things God brings around us. May it never be! It is God who engineers our circumstances, and whatever they may be we must see that we face them while continually abiding with Him in His temptations. They are His temptations, not temptations to us, but temptations to the life of the Son of God in us. Jesus Christ’s honor is at stake in our bodily lives. Are we remaining faithful to the Son of God in everything that attacks His life in us?

Are you going on with Jesus? The way goes through Gethsemane, through the city gate, and on “outside the camp” (Hebrews 13:13). The way is lonely and goes on until there is no longer even a trace of a footprint to follow— but only the voice saying, “Follow Me” (Matthew 4:19).

It is impossible to read too much, but always keep before you why you read. Remember that “the need to receive, recognize, and rely on the Holy Spirit” is before all else. Approved Unto God, 11 L

Oswald Chambers

The Godly Quality of Generosity

Proverbs 11:24-25

When I was a child, I lived with my mother in a single-room home. She made just enough money for food, clothing, and rent. Most Saturdays, this one boy would come to the door and ask, “Do y’all have anything to eat?” I’d look in the icebox and see perhaps a piece of fruit or a few eggs and a little bacon, and not much else.

But my mother always found some food for that boy.

Generosity is an attitude of sharing gladly whatever we might have, regardless of wealth. Scripture reveals liberality is an attribute of God (see Deut. 28:12 and Eph. 3:20). And as part of His transformative plan for believers, the Father desires that we develop a generous spirit.

A bighearted approach to our time and material goods starts by giving ourselves to God. When we accept that He owns everything, we can hold our small share with an open hand. But the choice to nurture generosity is based on our trust. Instead of adding figures to see what little amount might safely be set aside for charity, Christians should give sacrificially by faith. Hebrews 13:16 (NIV) tells us, “Do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” The Lord responds by supplying enough to cover the gift and our own need (Luke 6:38). Only through giving do we learn that we can never outgive God.

Some believers choose selfishness and rebellion, but God promised a form of poverty—whether financial, emotional, or spiritual—to those who do. Instead, make a decision today to cultivate a generous spirit for the Lord.

Taught by the Word

“Teach me, O LORD, the way of thy statutes; and I shall keep it unto the end.” (Psalm 119:33)

This eight-verse section (vv. 33-40) closely parallels a similar passage in Proverbs 2:1-5. Both focus on being taught, gaining understanding, and keeping “the way” of God’s Word.

Certainly worth noting is the manner in which the psalmist asked to “go in the path of thy commandments” (v. 35). In every case, the request is for God’s hand to control the process. There is no indication that the psalmist assumed the capability of finding these truths on his own.

– “Teach me, O LORD” (v. 33).
– “Give me understanding” (v. 34).
– “Make me to go” (v. 35).
– “Incline my heart” (v. 36).
– “Turn away my eyes from beholding vanity” (v. 37).
– “Stablish thy word” (v. 38).
– “Turn away my reproach” (v. 39).
– “Quicken me in thy righteousness” (v. 40).

However, having prayed for God’s intervention and oversight in his life, the psalmist promised to act on the given insight and order his life around “the way” so illumined by God’s instructions. He acknowledged his “delight” and his “longing” in the holy life and character revealed in the Scriptures and, like the Proverbs 2 passage, showed a willingness of the spiritual consciousness of his heart and mind to “understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God” (Proverbs 2:5).

May our prayer always be like this: “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24). HMM III

Poured Out Devotion

Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness; and hold such in reputation: because for the work of Christ he was nigh unto death, not regarding his life, to supply your lack of service toward me. —Philippians 2:29-30

That many Christians in our day are lukewarm and somnolent will not be denied by anyone with an anointed eye, but the cure is not to stir them up to a frenzy of activity. That would be but to take them out of one error and into another. What we need is a zealous hunger for God, an avid thirst after righteousness, a pain-filled longing to be Christlike and holy. We need a zeal that is loving, self-effacing and lowly. No other kind will do.

That pure love for God and men which expresses itself in a burning desire to advance God’s glory and leads to poured-out devotion to the temporal and eternal welfare of our fellowmen is certainly approved of God; but the nervous, squirrelcage activity of self-centered and ambitious religious leaders is just as certainly offensive to Him and will prove at last to have been injurious to the souls of countless millions of human beings.

Lord, give me that “zealous hunger for God,” that “avid thirst after righteousness,” that “painfilled longing to be Christlike and holy.” I want to give myself in “poured-out devotion” for Your glory. Use me as Your servant, for Jesus’ sake, Amen.

Religious Teaching Gives Light: That Is Not Enough

Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. Ephesians 5:14

To find the way, we need more than light; we need also sight!

The Holy Scriptures are the source of moral and spiritual light. Yet I consider that I cast no aspersion upon the hallowed page when I say that its radiance is not by itself enough. Light alone is not sufficient.

The coming of knowledge is like the rising of the sun. But sunrise means nothing to the unseeing eye. Only the sighted benefit from the light of the sun.

Between light and sight there is a wide difference. One man may have light without sight; he is blind. Another may have sight without light; he is temporarily blind, but the coming of the light quickly enables him to see.

We have said this much to point out that religious instruction, however sound, is not enough by itself. It brings light, but it cannot impart sight. The text without the Spirit’s enlightenment cannot save the sinner. Salvation follows a work of the Spirit in the heart. There can be no salvation apart from the truth but there can be, and often is, truth without salvation.

How many multiplied thousands have learned the catechism by heart and still wander in moral darkness because there has been no inward illumination! The Pharisees looked straight at the Light of the World for three years, but not one ray of light reached their inner beings. Light is not enough!

He Is Our Victory

Therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. 1 CORINTHIANS 6:20

We will never be delivered from the pride of our own selfish condition until we allow the Holy Spirit of God to demonstrate God’s own victory within us.

I have had disobedient believers assure me: “But, Sir, I already know that I am bad. I am a believer in total depravity!” My reply: It is possible to be a confirmed believer in total depravity and still be as proud as Lucifer; to still trust in yourself in such a way that the face of God is hidden and you are kept from spiritual victory.

Our concern here is not with theological depravity. There is no argument with the fact that as soon as we are big enough to sin, we go directly into the business of sinning! But God is trying to reveal by His Holy Spirit the utter weakness of the child of God who is still putting his trust in himself.

Why does it take us so long to put our complete trust in God? He has made it so simple, so rewarding to yield what we are to Him!

Lord, enable me to yield my self fully to You so that I will experience spiritual victory. Excise any remnant of pride and self-reliance in my life.