VIDEO My Way or His Way?

Jul 31, 2015

How often do we insist on doing things our own way? It may appear that everything is going all right, but before we know it, life can easily fall apart. Thankfully, life comes with an instruction manual—the Bible. Why not give it a try?

We Have Fruit! – The Place of Humiliation

We Have Fruit!
apples basket
I gave you a land on which you did not toil and cities you did not build. Joshua 24:13

The young mother sighed as she scraped together lunch for her 3-year-old daughter. Spying the empty fruit basket on the table in their tiny kitchen, she sighed and said aloud, “If we just had a basket of fruit, I would feel rich!” Her little girl overheard her.

Weeks passed. God sustained the small family. Still, the struggling mom worried. Then one day her little girl bounded into the kitchen. “Look, Mommy, we’re rich!” she exclaimed, pointing at the full fruit basket on the table. Nothing had changed except that the family had purchased a bag of apples.

When Joshua, the leader of the Israelites, was about to die, he shared a message from the Lord that recounted all God had done for them. And he noted, “You lived in the wilderness for a long time” (Josh. 24:7). Then he said, “[God] gave you a land on which you did not toil and cities you did not build; and you live in them and eat from vineyards and olive groves that you did not plant” (v. 13). Joshua set up a large stone to remind Israel of God’s provision (v. 26).

Like the Israelites, after a time of challenge and scarcity, that family now lives in a different place and enjoys fruit trees in a spacious yard, planted years earlier by a previous owner. If you visit them, you’ll find a bowl of fruit in their kitchen. It reminds them of God’s goodness and how a 3-year-old infused her family with faith, joy, and perspective.

Thank God for how He has provided in the past. Thank Him for what He will do. Ask Him what He wants you to do. Then trust Him.

Remembering God’s provision for yesterday gives hope and strength for today.

By Tim Gustafson
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The Place of Humiliation
stream trees mountain clouds

If You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us. —Mark 9:22

After every time of exaltation, we are brought down with a sudden rush into things as they really are, where it is neither beautiful, poetic, nor thrilling. The height of the mountaintop is measured by the dismal drudgery of the valley, but it is in the valley that we have to live for the glory of God. We see His glory on the mountain, but we never live for His glory there. It is in the place of humiliation that we find our true worth to God— that is where our faithfulness is revealed. Most of us can do things if we are always at some heroic level of intensity, simply because of the natural selfishness of our own hearts. But God wants us to be at the drab everyday level, where we live in the valley according to our personal relationship with Him. Peter thought it would be a wonderful thing for them to remain on the mountain, but Jesus Christ took the disciples down from the mountain and into the valley, where the true meaning of the vision was explained (see Mark 9:5-6, Mark 9:14-23).

“If you can do anything….” It takes the valley of humiliation to remove the skepticism from us. Look back at your own experience and you will find that until you learned who Jesus really was, you were a skillful skeptic about His power. When you were on the mountaintop you could believe anything, but what about when you were faced with the facts of the valley? You may be able to give a testimony regarding your sanctification, but what about the thing that is a humiliation to you right now? The last time you were on the mountain with God, you saw that all the power in heaven and on earth belonged to Jesus— will you be skeptical now, simply because you are in the valley of humiliation?

Christianity is not consistency to conscience or to convictions; Christianity is being true to Jesus Christ. Biblical Ethics, 111 L

OSWALD CHAMBERS

Building Lasting Friendships

Romans 12:10

How many true friends do you have? At first, a lot of names may come to mind, but the longer you consider the question, the more likely it is that the number will start to dwindle. The reality is, we do not have many genuine friends—the ones who will remain loyal no matter what circumstances arise.

This dependable, intimate closeness is what the Lord wants for us, but it’s a rare treasure. The biblical account of David and Jonathan can help us learn how to foster such a relationship (1 Sam. 18-20). Their story demonstrates that genuine friendships are built upon a foundation of mutual respect, love, and authentic commitment. Today, let’s explore the first component.

For true companionship, each party must appreciate the other’s godly qualities. This starts with an attitude of valuing all people. After all, if Jesus chose to die in their place even before they acknowledged Him as Savior, they must certainly have great worth. But at the same time, the high regard that David and Jonathan had toward one another was greater than mere respect; it revealed admiration for qualities that Scripture commends. These included loyalty to the nation of Israel, courage in battle, and strong faith in God.

Consider the question asked earlier about the people you deem “true friends.” Do these individuals exhibit godly attributes that you respect? And do they, in turn, have admiration for the biblical characteristics they see in you? This mutual, scriptural respect is a necessary foundation for genuine and lasting friendship.

Longing for the Word

“My soul fainteth for thy salvation: but I hope in thy word. Mine eyes fail for thy word, saying, When wilt thou comfort me?” (Psalm 119:81-82)

Those who “love the LORD” with all their heart, soul, and might (Deuteronomy 6:5) and those who seek the kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33) deeply long to “understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God” (Proverbs 2:5).

Yet in spite of such longing, the saints of God are often perplexed by the apparent success of the wicked. This psalmist is no exception:

-“When wilt thou comfort me?” (Psalm 119:82).
-“I am become like a bottle in the smoke” (v. 83).
-“When wilt thou execute judgment on them that persecute me?” (v. 84).
-“The proud have digged pits for me” (v. 85).
-“They persecute me wrongfully” (v. 86).
-“They had almost consumed me upon the earth” (v. 87).

Among all the heartfelt complaints, however, is the continual reliance on the promises and principles of God’s Word. He promised not to forget the statutes, though he felt invisible to God (v. 83). And though he knew that his days are not guaranteed, he expected God to judge the wicked (v. 84). He knew the “commandments are faithful,” and he promised the Lord that he would not forsake the precepts (vv. 86-87).

The final request should be ours as well: “Quicken me [enliven, revive] after thy lovingkindness” (v. 88). Even though God “hast shewed me great and sore troubles,” the confidence is that God “shalt quicken me again” (Psalm 71:20). On the basis of that assurance, our response should be like this godly man’s: “So shall I keep the testimony of thy mouth” (Psalm 119:88). HMM III

If a Man Falls

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. —1 John 1:9

Are you allowing Satan to magnify the memories of your spiritual failures? He will always keep them before you unless you take your stand and move up in faith.

The devil will whisper, “You didn’t get very far along toward the deeper life, did you?” He will say, “You made a big ‘to-do’ about wanting to be filled with the Spirit and you really flopped, didn’t you?”

He will taunt you with the fact that you may have stumbled in the faith—and perhaps more than once! The devil wants you to live in a state of discouraged chagrin and remorse.

Remember, the Bible does not teach that if a man falls down, he can never rise again.

The fact that he falls is not the most important thing—but rather that he is forgiven and allows God to lift him up! ITB007 Father, I worship You this morning and thank You for the wonderful truth of First John 1:9. Amen.

Encouragement: The Eternal Nature of Our Father

The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms…. Deuteronomy 33:27

The eternal nature of our heavenly Father should humble us and encourage us, too. It should humble us when we remember how frail we are, how utterly dependent upon God, and it should encourage us to know that when everything else has passed we may still have God no less surely than before!

The remembrance of this could save nations from many tragic and bloody decisions. Were notes written by statesmen against the background of such knowledge they might be less inflammatory; and were kings and dictators to think soberly on this truth, they would walk softly and speak less like gods. After all, they are not really important and the sphere of their freedom is constricted more than they dream.

Shelley wrote of the traveler who saw in the desert two vast and trunkless legs of stone and nearby a shattered face half-buried in the sand. On the pedestal where once the proud image had stood were engraven these words: “My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair.”

And, says the poet, “Nothing else remains. Round the decay of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare the lone and level sands stretch far away.”

Shelly was right except for one thing: Something else did remain! It was God. He had been there first to look in gentle pity upon the mad king who could boast so shamelessly in the shadow of the tomb. He was there when the swirling sands covered with a mantle of pity the evidence of human decay. God was there last!

Unwilling to Yield

Yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead. ROMANS 6:13

I know there are people who hear me preach regularly who will never consider changing their way of living. They will go “underground” before they will do that!

Our situation is not an isolated case. There are millions of men and women with an understanding of the revelation of God in Jesus Christ, who are still not willing to receive and commit themselves to Him whom the very angels and stars and rivers receive. They hesitate and they delay because they know God is asking the abdication of their own selfish little kingdom and interests.

This is the tragedy of mankind, my brethren! We have rejected Him from our lives because we must have our own way. But until Jesus Christ is sincerely received, there can be no knowledge of salvation, nor any understanding of the things of God.

The little, selfish, sinful man rejects the Son of God. While he is still enumerating the things he deserves, the Son of God stands outside.

My brethren, I repeat: This is the great tragedy of mankind!

Dear Lord, we all know of some people in our lives who are aware of the truth of the gospel but who choose to live apart from God. I pray that Your Spirit will cause each of these people to feel an overwhelming sense of dread concerning their future destiny.