VIDEO Children of God

Aug 26, 2015

The color of your skin, where you come from, and other people’s misconceptions about you don’t matter. Jesus died for you; and when you believe this truth, God welcomes you with open arms into His family. You are accepted by God, and you are His child.

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Whining and Trusting

worship at sunset
Because you trusted me, I will give you your life as a reward. I will rescue you and keep you safe (Jeremiah 39:18).

Imagine having such a reputation as a whiner that your name becomes a synonym for complaining! That was the case with the prophet Jeremiah. His name provides the basis for the English word jeremiad, which means “lament” or “complaint.”

Jeremiah was no whiner, but it seemed that way to Jerusalem. God had called the prophet to take His complaints to the people. His message pretty much went like this: “Your sins are awful. The Babylonians will slaughter you and take the survivors into captivity. Repent!”

The officials of Jerusalem felt the message was nothing short of traitorous. They thought, Jeremiah is aiding and abetting the enemy by discouraging the people! So three of them went to King Zedekiah and demanded that Jeremiah be killed. “Do as you like,” said the king. “I can’t stop you” (Jeremiah 38:5). So they threw the prophet into a muddy cistern. None of the Judeans dared come to Jeremiah’s rescue. But an Ethiopian did.

We don’t know much about Ebed-melech. The Bible simply calls him “an important court official” (Jeremiah 38:7), but he alone defended God’s prophet. “ ‘My lord the king,’ he said, ‘these men have done a very evil thing in putting Jeremiah the prophet into the cistern. He will soon die of hunger’ ” (Jeremiah 38:9). So Zedekiah permitted Ebed-melech to rescue him.

Ebed-melech feared the invading hordes (see Jeremiah 39:16-17), but he feared God more. When Nebuchadnezzar conquered Jerusalem he “slaughtered all the nobles of Judah” (Jeremiah 39:6), which likely included the three who conspired against Jeremiah. But God told Ebed-melech, “Because you trusted me, I will give you your life as a reward. I will rescue you and keep you safe” (Jeremiah 39:18). May we also trust God and do what honors Him.

By Tim Gustafson

Staying The Course

Proverbs 3:7-12

There are many blessings for staying on the path of righteousness. Divine truth frees us from ungodliness, and life becomes richer as we experience the Lord’s favor and receive His help. He will go before us and clear out obstacles on the road. Let’s check our compass readings one more time to be sure we are traveling due north.

Following the path toward holiness requires our obedience. From Genesis to Revelation, we are commanded to obey the Lord, let go of human thinking, and embrace godly wisdom. The Bible tells us that fearing God is the beginning of wisdom (Ps. 111:10). Obedience and submission to His lordship bring healing and refreshment. Our Creator did not design these physical bodies of ours to live with anger, bitterness, or resentment. And oftentimes, accumulating those emotions even causes us physical harm. But as we bring these attitudes to Him, He will restore us.

Our compass also directs us to show reverence for God. For instance, when we honor Him with our finances, it can be difficult because it means releasing control. But God promises that it will result in blessing: When He is in charge, He will not only supply our needs but will also give us enough to share with others. In addition, when we accept God’s reproof, He will keep us walking in righteousness. The heavenly Father takes steps to correct our mistakes. It is a sign of our family connection and a demonstration of His love.

If you are confused or lost, follow the directions above. You will find your way every time.

Christian Metaphors

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” (John 10:27)

The Christian believer and his characteristics are described in terms of many colorful metaphors in the Bible. In our text, Christ calls us “my sheep,” and has also said: “I am the good shepherd, . . . and I lay down my life for the sheep” (John 10:14-15). If we are truly His sheep, then we will surely follow Him, receiving safety, peace, and nourishment.

He has also said: “Ye are the salt of the earth: . . . Ye are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:13-14). We are therefore expected to bring the salt of preservation and joy to a bland, tasteless, and otherwise decaying world, and the light of salvation to a dark, sinful world.

In another beautiful metaphor, the Lord Jesus has likened us to fruitful branches: “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit” (John 15:5).

The apostle Paul compares us variously to soldiers, to athletes, and to farmers: “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. . . . if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully. The husbandman that laboreth must be first partaker of the fruits” (2 Timothy 2:3, 5-6).

With regard to our Christian life and witness, Christ said we must be “wise as serpents, and harmless as doves” (Matthew 10:16). The apostle Paul compares us to individual members in a great body (1 Corinthians 12:27). Peter says we, “as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house,” and also are like “a royal priesthood” (1 Peter 2:5, 9) to offer up spiritual sacrifices.

There are many other beautiful and meaningful figures of speech in the New Testament, all of which help us to appreciate the richness and fruitfulness of the Christian life. HMM

The Great Goddess Numbers

Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. —1 Corinthians 3:12-13

The emphasis today in Christian circles appears to be on quantity, with a corresponding lack of emphasis on quality. Numbers, size and amount seem to be very nearly all that matters even among evangelicals…. The church that can show an impressive quantitative growth is frankly envied and imitated by other ambitious churches.

This is the age of the Laodiceans. The great goddess Numbers is worshiped with fervent devotion and all things religious are brought before her for examination. Her Old Testament is the financial report and her New Testament is the membership roll. To these she appeals as arbiters of all questions, the test of spiritual growth and the proof of success or failure in every Christian endeavor.

A little acquaintance with the Bible should show this up for the heresy it is. To judge anything spiritual by statistics is to judge by other than scriptural judgment. It is to admit the validity of externalism and to deny the value our Lord places upon the soul as over against the body…. Yet it is being done every day by ministers, church boards and denominational leaders. And hardly anyone notices the deep and dangerous error.

Oh Lord, convict us! Forgive us! Deliver us! Amen.

Religion Should Be a Fount Not a Front

Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee. 1 Timothy 4:16

As students of God’s Word, we should bear in mind that the burden of the Old Testament was the disparity between the external and the internal life of Israel and that much of the preaching of Christ was directed against the Jews for their failure to be inwardly what their outward profession proclaimed them to be.

Paul, too, warned of those who had but a form of godliness without the corresponding substance, and the history of the church provides all the proof we need that the temptation to make a “front” of religion is very real and very strong.

Probably the tendency to make a mere front of religion is strongest among persons engaged in professional Christian service, but the condition must not be accepted as inevitable. Our first responsibility is not to the public but to God and to our own souls!

Briefly, the way to es#ape religion as a front is to make it a fount! See to it that we pray more than we preach. Stay with God in the secret place longer than we are with men in the public place. Keep our hearts open to the inflowing Spirit. Cultivate the acquaintance of God more than the friendship of men and we will always have abundance of bread to give to the hungry!

Humans Judge the Lord?

But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. MATTHEW 15:9

It is a fact that God made us to worship Him, and if we had not fallen with Adam and Eve, worship would have been the most natural thing for us.

Sinning was not the natural thing for Adam and Eve, but they disobeyed and fell, losing their privilege of perfect fellowship with God, the Creator. Sin is the unnatural thing; it was never intended by God to be our nature.

Men and women who are out of fellowship with God, the Creator, still have an instinct towards some practice of worship. In most of our “civilized” circles, the practice of picking out what we like to worship and rejecting what we do not like is widespread.

This has opened up an entire new field for applied psychology and humanism under a variety of religious disguises. Thus, men and women set themselves as judges of what the Lord has said—and so they stand with pride and judge the Lord.

In the Bible, God takes the matter of worship out of the hands of men and puts it in the hands of the Holy Spirit. It is impossible to worship God without the impartation of the Holy Spirit!

I worship You this morning, Lord, for Your uncontainable power and love. Let my life be a constant song of praise dedicated to You today and always.