Sept 2, 2014
Music video by The Cathedrals performing Somebody Touched Me.
(C) 2014 Innovative Management And Consulting, LLC
Sept 2, 2014
Music video by The Cathedrals performing Somebody Touched Me.
(C) 2014 Innovative Management And Consulting, LLC
C. S. Lewis and his older brother, Warren (Warnie), endured several terms at Wynyard, an English boarding school for boys. The headmaster was a cruel man who made life unbearable for everyone there. Decades later, Warnie wrote in his understated dry wit, “I am now sixty-four and a bit, and have never yet been in a situation in which I have not had the consolation of reflecting that at any rate I was better off than I was at Wynyard.” Most of us can recall a similar dark and difficult time in our lives and be grateful that we’re better off now than we were then.
Psalm 40:1-5 records a low point of David’s life when he cried out to the Lord who rescued him. God brought him up from “the slimy pit” and “the mud and mire” and set his feet on a rock (v. 2). “He put a new song in my mouth,” David says, “a hymn of praise to our God” (v. 3).
God’s mercy, loving-kindness, and truth delivers us from sin.
But deliverance from depression and despair are seldom one-time events. Psalm 40 continues with David’s renewed plea for God’s mercy, lovingkindness, and truth to deliver him from his own sin and the threats of his enemies (vv. 11-14).
Along with David, we can say at every low point, “I am poor and needy; may the Lord think of me. You are my help and my deliverer” (v. 17).
How does recalling a low point in your life encourage you to trust God for His help today?
The One who holds the universe will never let you down.
The holiness movements of today have none of the rugged reality of the New Testament about them. There is nothing about them that needs the death of Jesus Christ. All that is required is a pious atmosphere, prayer, and devotion. This type of experience is not supernatural nor miraculous. It did not cost the sufferings of God, nor is it stained with “the blood of the Lamb” (Revelation 12:11). It is not marked or sealed by the Holy Spirit as being genuine, and it has no visual sign that causes people to exclaim with awe and wonder, “That is the work of God Almighty!” Yet the New Testament is about the work of God and nothing else.
The New Testament example of the Christian experience is that of a personal, passionate devotion to the Person of Jesus Christ. Every other kind of so-called Christian experience is detached from the Person of Jesus. There is no regeneration— no being born again into the kingdom in which Christ lives and reigns supreme. There is only the idea that He is our pattern. In the New Testament Jesus Christ is the Savior long before He is the pattern. Today He is being portrayed as the figurehead of a religion— a mere example. He is that, but He is infinitely more. He is salvation itself; He is the gospel of God!
Jesus said, “…when He, the Spirit of truth, has come,…He will glorify Me…” (John 16:13-14). When I commit myself to the revealed truth of the New Testament, I receive from God the gift of the Holy Spirit, who then begins interpreting to me what Jesus did. The Spirit of God does in me internally all that Jesus Christ did for me externally.
The Bible is a relation of facts, the truth of which must be tested. Life may go on all right for a while, when suddenly a bereavement comes, or some crisis; unrequited love or a new love, a disaster, a business collapse, or a shocking sin, and we turn up our Bibles again and God’s word comes straight home, and we say, “Why, I never saw that there before.” Shade of His Hand, 1223 L
As this season of Advent begins, it is wise to reexamine our hearts with regards to prayer. Do you hurry through your quiet time so you can get to other things? If so, consider the values Jesus modeled for us in His practice of setting apart time to spend with His Father.
Solitude. Though the Lord was constantly surrounded by people as He tended to their needs, He also understood His own need for seclusion. Often, after an intense period of ministry, He would retreat from the crowds—and even His disciples—to pray in private.
Safeguarded time. No matter what else was going on, Jesus made it a point to protect periods of time so He could rest in the Spirit, focus on His relationship with the Father, and build up His physical and emotional strength. Even when people were clamoring for Him, Jesus made it a priority to safeguard this time, knowing that His ministry would flow from it.
Stillness. What does it means to be still? Psalms 46:10 calls us to stillness with these words: “Cease striving and know that I am God.” To learn this perpetual inner peace, periodically stop everything you’re doing, and simply let your soul become aware of the Holy Spirit’s presence. In today’s reading, David described it as the state of a “weaned child” who is at perfect rest and happy just to be in his mother’s arms.
If you make these a priority, you will reap tremendous benefits. Doing so may seem challenging. But when you quiet your heart before the Lord, you’ll discover how much you need the peace of His presence. It is a priceless gift.
“Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.” (Luke 21:33)
The doctrine of plenary verbal inspiration, wrongly considered antiquated by many modern neo-evangelicals, is actually essential to the Christian faith. “All scripture [that is every word written down or inscribed] is given by inspiration [literally ‘breathed in’] of God,” not man (2 Timothy 3:16)!
We acknowledge, of course, that problems of transmission and translation exist, but these are relatively trivial in the entire context. We also acknowledge that the process of inspiration may have varied, but the end result is as if the entire Bible had been dictated and transcribed word by word.
This is the way Jesus Christ—the Creator, the Living Word, the Author of Scripture—viewed the Scriptures. “The scripture cannot be broken,” He said (John 10:35). “Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled” (Matthew 5:18). “Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: . . . And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself” (Luke 24:25, 27). The Bible, therefore, every word of it, is divinely inspired, verbally without error, infallibly true, and of absolute authority in every area of our lives. The words of Christ who taught these truths are forever “settled in heaven” (Psalm 119:89) and “shall not pass away.”
It is mortally dangerous, therefore, “unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book” to “add unto these things” as the cultists do, or to “take away from the words of the book of this prophecy” as the liberals do (Revelation 22:18-19). Would it not be much better to say with the psalmist, “Thy testimonies also are my delight and my counsellors” (Psalm 119:24)? HMM
I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins. —Isaiah 43:25
One of the old German devotional philosophers took the position that God loves to forgive big sins more than He does little sins because the bigger the sin, the more glory accrues to Him for His forgiveness. I remember the writer went on to say that not only does God forgive sins and enjoy doing it, but as soon as He has forgiven them, He forgets them and trusts the person just as if he or she had never sinned. I share his view that God not only forgives great sins as readily as little ones, but once He has forgiven them He starts anew right there and never brings up the old sins again….
When a person makes a mistake and has to be forgiven, the shadow may hang over him or her because it is hard for other people to forget. But when God forgives, He begins the new page right there, and then the devil runs up and says, “What about this person’s past?” God replies: “What past? There is no past. We started out fresh when he came to Me and I forgave him!”
Lord, this concept is so foreign to our human understanding and our human way of doing things. Your grace in forgiving—and forgetting—is beyond our comprehension. But I worship You for it today. Amen.
…For the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony…. Revelation 12:10, 11
The clergyman is considered one of the best actuarial risks any insurance company can handle—from the standpoint of physical hazard.
Yet, the ministry is one of the most perilous of professions!
The devil hates the Spirit-filled minister with an intensity second only to that which he feels for Christ Himself. The source of this hatred is not difficult to discover. An effective, Christlike minister is a constant embarrassment to the devil, a threat to his dominion, a rebuttal of his best arguments and a dogged reminder of his coming overthrow. No wonder he hates him!
Satan knows that the downfall of a prophet of God is a strategic victory for him, so he rests not day or night devising hidden snares and deadfalls for the ministry. Perhaps a better figure would be the poison dart that only paralyzes its victim, for I think that Satan has little interest in killing the preacher outright.
An ineffective, half-alive minister is a better advertisement for hell than a good man dead!
So, the preacher’s dangers are likely to be spiritual rather than physical, though sometimes the enemy works through bodily weakness to get to the preacher’s soul!
It was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter. REVELATION 10:10
Let me caution you about the attitudes of some of the bubbly “happy! happy!” people in our congregations who will insist that the Word of God can never be anything but honey sweet!
Fellow believers, when we digest, absorb and soak up the Word of the Lord, it becomes part and parcel of our daily lives. It is our delight. It is indeed honey and sweetness. But as we share that same Word in our witness to lost men and women, we will know something of bitterness and hostility, even enmity.
It will follow then in experience that Christian believers who are intent upon being faithful witnesses for Jesus Christ may not always find sweetness and light in their contacts with evil, rebellious people.
We need to pray for men and women in our churches who have determined to set their own agendas—to live their lives as they please! They have determined to manage the influences of the Word of God in their lives.
Dear Lord, I pray for people in other religions and cults who have never read a portion of the Bible because of indifference or fear. I pray that You will send upon each of them a spirit of curiosity, prompting them to read from Your living Word!
May 13, 2013
The title says it all
Everyone ought to examine themselves. 1 Corinthians 11:28
Long ago, before the invention of mirrors or polished surfaces, people rarely saw themselves. Puddles of water, streams, and rivers were one of the few ways they could see their own reflection. But mirrors changed that. And the invention of cameras took fascination with our looks to a whole new level. We now have lasting images of ourselves from any given time throughout our entire life. This is good for making scrapbooks and keeping family histories, but it can be detrimental to our spiritual well-being. The fun of seeing ourselves on camera can keep us focused on outward appearance and leave us with little interest in examining our inner selves.
Self-examination is crucial for a healthy spiritual life. God wants us to see ourselves so that we can be spared the consequences of sinful choices. This is so important that Scripture says we are not to participate in the Lord’s Supper without first examining ourselves (1 Cor. 11:28). The point of this self-examination is not only to make things right with God but also to make sure we are right with one another. The Lord’s Supper is a remembrance of Christ’s body, and we can’t celebrate it properly if we’re not living in harmony with other believers.
Confessing our sin promotes unity with others & a healthy relationship with God.
Seeing and confessing our sin promotes unity with others and a healthy relationship with God.
Dear Lord, help me to be more concerned with the reflection of my heart than with my physical reflection. Change me through the power of Your Spirit.
When we look into the mirror of God’s Word, we see ourselves more clearly.
…being justified freely by His grace… —Romans 3:24
The gospel of the grace of God awakens an intense longing in human souls and an equally intense resentment, because the truth that it reveals is not palatable or easy to swallow. There is a certain pride in people that causes them to give and give, but to come and accept a gift is another thing. I will give my life to martyrdom; I will dedicate my life to service— I will do anything. But do not humiliate me to the level of the most hell-deserving sinner and tell me that all I have to do is accept the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ.
We have to realize that we cannot earn or win anything from God through our own efforts. We must either receive it as a gift or do without it. The greatest spiritual blessing we receive is when we come to the knowledge that we are destitute. Until we get there, our Lord is powerless. He can do nothing for us as long as we think we are sufficient in and of ourselves. We must enter into His kingdom through the door of destitution. As long as we are “rich,” particularly in the area of pride or independence, God can do nothing for us. It is only when we get hungry spiritually that we receive the Holy Spirit. The gift of the essential nature of God is placed and made effective in us by the Holy Spirit. He imparts to us the quickening life of Jesus, making us truly alive. He takes that which was “beyond” us and places it “within” us. And immediately, once “the beyond” has come “within,” it rises up to “the above,” and we are lifted into the kingdom where Jesus lives and reigns (see John 3:5).
It is perilously possible to make our conceptions of God like molten lead poured into a specially designed mould, and when it is cold and hard we fling it at the heads of the religious people who don’t agree with us. Disciples Indeed, 388 R
2 Peter 1:1-4
When we place our trust in God, we can be assured that He provides for all of our needs. Here are a few of our blessings we receive from the Lord:
Forgiveness. When you place your trust in Jesus Christ, your sin is washed away. This refers not only to all previous sin but also to the sin you have not yet committed (Eph. 1:7).
Freedom. Christianity is the only religion in the world that offers freedom from a works-based righteousness. This means that we do not have to earn the Lord’s favor. He loves us perfectly and has made provision for our complete salvation through His Son. All we have to do is accept this loving gift of grace (John 8:36).
Union with God. We don’t worship a distant deity; we praise a loving Father who knows every detail of our lives. Ephesians 1:13 reveals that we are “sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit.” This means we are forever joined to the Father. Read Ephesians 1:1-14 closely and count all the times that the apostle Paul uses the phrase “in Him”—you will see the great emphasis he placed on his relationship with Christ.
Eternal Life. If you have been sealed in God, then you are forever bound with Him. He has you in His grip, and nothing can pull you away (John 10:28-29).
Money is fleeting, yet it is the god to which many people bow. The Lord has riches of greater worth for you. Whether you are wealthy or not, do not let your material possessions keep you from accepting your riches in Christ. There is surely more value in what God has to offer.