VIDEO Vic’s Story, Reclaimed

Oct 5, 2015

A rough childhood which included repeated abuse at the hands of religious leaders made Vic Mitchell a very confused and angry person. When he went into the service after high school and they asked him what he wanted to be, he replied, “I want to become the meanest man possible.” He hung out with the wrong crowd and took pleasure in beating people up. But one Sunday everything changed. His girlfriend’s mother dragged him to church, and for the first time he experienced the grace and mercy only God can give.

Waiting for an Answer – The Unheeded Secret

Waiting for an Answer
girl praying
Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you. Psalm 9:10

When our daughter was 15, she ran away. She was gone more than 3 weeks. Those were the longest 3 weeks of our lives. We looked everywhere for her and sought help from law enforcement and friends. During those desperate days, my wife and I learned the importance of waiting on God in prayer. We had come to the end of our strength and resources. We had to rely on God.

It was on a Father’s Day that we found her. We were in a restaurant parking lot, on our way to dinner, when the phone rang. A waitress at another restaurant had spotted her. Our daughter was only three blocks away. We soon had her home, safe and sound.

Waiting on God is never easy, but no matter the end result, it is always worth it.

We have to wait on God when we pray. We may not know how or when He will answer, but we can put our hearts constantly before Him in prayer. Sometimes the answers to our prayers don’t come when we would hope. Things may even go from bad to worse. But we have to persevere, keep believing, and keep asking.

Waiting is never easy, but the end result, whatever it is, will be worth it. David put it this way: “Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you” (Ps. 9:10). Keep seeking. Keep trusting. Keep asking. Keep praying.

What’s on your heart that you need to talk to God about today? Will you trust Him and keep praying?

James Banks is an author who has written several books, including Prayers for Prodigals.

Time spent in prayer is always time well spent.

By James Banks
The Unheeded Secret

Northern Coast of Spain

Northern Coast of Spain

Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world.” —John 18:36

The great enemy of the Lord Jesus Christ today is the idea of practical work that has no basis in the New Testament but comes from the systems of the world. This work insists upon endless energy and activities, but no private life with God. The emphasis is put on the wrong thing. Jesus said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation….For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:20-21). It is a hidden, obscure thing. An active Christian worker too often lives to be seen by others, while it is the innermost, personal area that reveals the power of a person’s life.

We must get rid of the plague of the spirit of this religious age in which we live. In our Lord’s life there was none of the pressure and the rushing of tremendous activity that we regard so highly today, and a disciple is to be like His Master. The central point of the kingdom of Jesus Christ is a personal relationship with Him, not public usefulness to others.

It is not the practical activities that are the strength of this Bible Training College— its entire strength lies in the fact that here you are immersed in the truths of God to soak in them before Him. You have no idea of where or how God is going to engineer your future circumstances, and no knowledge of what stress and strain is going to be placed on you either at home or abroad. And if you waste your time in overactivity, instead of being immersed in the great fundamental truths of God’s redemption, then you will snap when the stress and strain do come. But if this time of soaking before God is being spent in getting rooted and grounded in Him, which may appear to be impractical, then you will remain true to Him whatever happens.

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


Our Financial Security

2 Corinthians 8:1-7

Sharing is a learned quality; it simply is not a natural characteristic. Observe what young children do. They squabble over who goes first, whose piece of cookie is bigger, and who plays with their toys. As adults, we struggle as well, especially when it comes to our finances. We demand to have our “rightful share” and keep what is ours. The choices we make with our finances—how much we hold, how much and how often we give—reveal where we place our trust.

God calls Christians to a lifestyle of generous giving, not of accumulating and hoarding. He tells us to find security in our relationship with Him rather than in our assets. Why? Because for most of us, no matter how much we have, it never feels like enough. Also, when we focus on money, we open the door to uncertainty and anxiety. What if we lose our job, miss the promotion, get a long-term illness, or witness a stock market decline? When our finances suffer, our sense of security decreases.

But if our security is in our relationship with God through Christ, then we’ll be thankful for what we have and will trust Him for the future. We’ll keep finances in their proper perspective: They are given to us by God to be used for His purposes, not ours.

One of God’s purposes is that we support the local church. How generously do you contribute to your congregation? Do you look for additional opportunities to give? Do you have a positive attitude when you hear financial appeals? Let your giving pattern reveal that you’ve placed your security in God rather than money.

Christ in You

“To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Colossians 1:27)

The New Covenant includes a mystery Paul had the privilege of revealing to the Gentiles (Colossians 1:24-29). The history and prophecies of the Old Covenant contained a few hints of God’s plan for the last days, but the focus was centered on the “fulness of time” when the Messiah would come (Galatians 4:4).

Paul seemed thrilled to “preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ” (Ephesians 3:8) and to have the responsibility of unveiling “the grace of God which is given me to you-ward” (Ephesians 3:2). More than the obligation, Paul felt a dread judgment if he failed (1 Corinthians 9:16). It follows that we should be clear in our own declaration of this mystery.

Simply put, the mystery is “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Obviously, that is the result of salvation. The new message is the completed work and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. The promises of the prophets and the long history of Israel tend to obscure the eternal plan of God (Ephesians 3:11)—thus the detailed effort of the New Testament writers to amplify the “whosoever will” aspect of the gospel message.

“Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven” (1 Peter 1:10-12).

Now it is possible for the whole world to have a personal and eternal relationship with Jesus Christ. HMM III

Faith Dares to Fail

Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God. —1 Corinthians 4:5

God may allow His servant to succeed when He has disciplined him to a point where he does not need to succeed to be happy. The man who is elated by success and cast down by failure is still a carnal man. At best his fruit will have a worm in it.

God will allow His servant to succeed when he has learned that success does not make him dearer to God nor more valuable in the total scheme of things. We cannot buy God’s favor with crowds or converts or new missionaries sent out or Bibles distributed. All these things can be accomplished without the help of the Holy Spirit. A good personality and a shrewd knowledge of human nature is all that any man needs to be a success in religious circles today….

We can afford to follow Him to failure. Faith dares to fail. The resurrection and the judgment will demonstrate before all worlds who won and who lost. We can wait.

Father, keep me faithful today. I don’t need to succeed in the world’s eyes; I’ll wait. Amen.

Men Are Lost, But They Are Not Abandoned

And unto Adam he said… cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life. Genesis 3:17

There is sound Bible reason to believe that nature itself, the brute creation, the earth and even the astronomical universe, have all felt the shock of man’s sin and have been adversely affected by it.

When the Lord God drove out the man from the eastward garden and placed there cherubim and a flaming sword to prevent his return, the disaster was beginning to mount, and human history is little more than a record of its development.

It is not quite accurate to say that when our first parents fled from before the face of God they became fugitives and vagabonds in the earth; and it is certainly not true to say that they passed from the love and care of the One who had created them and against whom they had so deeply revolted. God never abandoned the creatures made in His image. Had they not sinned He would have cared for them by His presence; now He cares for them by His providence until a ransomed and regenerated people can look once more on His face (Rev. 21:3; 22:2-4).

Men are lost but not abandoned: that is what the Scriptures teach and that is what the Church is commissioned to declare.

In times of extraordinary crisis ordinary measures will not suffice. The world lives in such a time of crisis. Christians alone are in a position to rescue the perishing. We dare not settle down to try to live as if things were “normal.”

Nothing is normal while sin and lust and death roam the world!

A Libel Against God

He that believeth not God hath made him a liar. 1 JOHN 5:10

Human sin began with loss of faith in God! When our mother Eve listened to Satan’s sly innuendos against the character of God, she began to entertain a doubt of His integrity—and right there the doors were opened to the incoming of every possible evil, and darkness settled upon the world.

Relationship between moral beings is by confidence, and confidence rests upon character, which is a guarantee of conduct. God is a being of supreme moral excellence, possessing in infinite perfection all the qualities that constitute holy character. He deserves and invites the unreserved confidence of every moral creature, including man. Any proper relation to Him must be by confidence—that is, faith.

Idolatry is the supreme sin, and unbelief is the child of idolatry. Both are libels on the Most High and Most Holy. John wrote: “He that believeth not God hath made him a liar” (1 John 5:10). A God who would lie is a God without character.

Repentance is a man’s sincere apology for distrusting God for so long, and faith is throwing oneself upon Christ in complete confidence. Thus by faith reconciliation is achieved between God and man!

Heavenly Father, I have complete trust and confidence in Your ability to always make the best choices for my life.