VIDEO Through It All. He is there

Feb 19, 2016

God not only created us and knows us, but He is in tune to our every thought and emotion. He is there when we are anxious, excited, nervous, delighted, and heartbroken. He is there, and He understands.

Satan Versus the Church – Being an Example of His Message

New life in Christ - devil past
Satan Versus the Church

And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. Matthew 16:18

Life after death was not clearly defined in the ancient Near East. Mesopotamian worldviews have the dead passing into the netherworld through a series of seven gates. Even in the Old Testament, “gates of death [or Hades or Sheol]” are mentioned often (Job 17:16; 38:17; Psalm 9:13; 107:18; Isaiah 38:10). The most well-known instance is when Jesus says “the gates of Hades shall not prevail against [the Church].”

What did He mean? “Gates of Hades” could mean the realm of the dead. In Scripture, gates also refer to the place where elders gathered (Deuteronomy 21:18-20), where kings passed judgment (2 Samuel 19:8), and where people gathered to hear announcements (2 Chronicles 32:6). Therefore, the “gates of Hades” could refer to the power or authority of hell or of Satan himself. Regardless, Jesus declared that Satan and hell shall not prevail against the Church.

It also means the Church must be strong and vigilant against Satan who seeks to overcome it (1 Peter 5:8). The strength of the Church is her Lord—His life in every faithful member (Galatians 2:20).

Neglect of private prayer is the locust which devours the strength of the church. Charles H. Spurgeon

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Being an Example of His Message

Preach the word! —2 Timothy 4:2

We are not saved only to be instruments for God, but to be His sons and daughters. He does not turn us into spiritual agents but into spiritual messengers, and the message must be a part of us. The Son of God was His own message— “The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63). As His disciples, our lives must be a holy example of the reality of our message. Even the natural heart of the unsaved will serve if called upon to do so, but it takes a heart broken by conviction of sin, baptized by the Holy Spirit, and crushed into submission to God’s purpose to make a person’s life a holy example of God’s message.

There is a difference between giving a testimony and preaching. A preacher is someone who has received the call of God and is determined to use all his energy to proclaim God’s truth. God takes us beyond our own aspirations and ideas for our lives, and molds and shapes us for His purpose, just as He worked in the disciples’ lives after Pentecost. The purpose of Pentecost was not to teach the disciples something, but to make them the incarnation of what they preached so that they would literally become God’s message in the flesh. “…you shall be witnesses to Me…” (Acts 1:8).

Allow God to have complete liberty in your life when you speak. Before God’s message can liberate other people, His liberation must first be real in you. Gather your material carefully, and then allow God to “set your words on fire” for His glory.

We all have the trick of saying—If only I were not where I am!—If only I had not got the kind of people I have to live with! If our faith or our religion does not help us in the conditions we are in, we have either a further struggle to go through, or we had better abandon that faith and religion. The Shadow of an Agony, 1178 L

OSWALD CHAMBERS

Daniel: The Impact Of A Godly Influence

Daniel 6:1-28

Daniel had the rare opportunity to influence four kings and their kingdoms with godly principles. Remaining true to God often meant putting himself in danger, but he never once wavered in his convictions. The record of his life shows us what is required of someone who wants to have a godly impact on those around him.

Complete confidence in the Lord’s ability to protect and provide empowered Daniel to make bold decisions. He delivered bad news to kings, even though such an act could have gotten him killed (Dan. 2:26-44; Dan. 5:17-28). What’s more, he challenged a law requiring him to violate God’s command to worship only Him (Dan. 6:7-11).

Daniel wasn’t intent on being popular; he was committed to doing what was right in the eyes of the Lord. And when he had to face consequences for choosing the unpopular course of action, he did so with a calm and Christ-like spirit. Offering no complaint, Daniel accepted the punishment of being thrown into a den of lions—he had, in fact, broken the law.

It is so tempting to think that if we do what is right, we should be rewarded or at least protected. But we live in a broken world, and sometimes doing what is right will get us punished. How we respond to the consequences of our obedience is actually as important as carrying out God’s will. Our reaction is being watched and evaluated by those in our sphere of influence, who want to see if we really believe our claim that the Lord is in control. God is using our experience and our witness to reach others for the kingdom.

Redeeming Love

“In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.” (Ephesians 1:7)

Verse four of “There Is a Fountain” fills Christians with thankfulness for the great and lasting work accomplished on the cross. A never-ending stream of redeeming love has gushed forth from Calvary to supply our never-ending need for forgiveness and provision and love. We respond in love to Him for His abundant love framed in undeserved grace. “We love him, because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19). And how can we do so? “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10).

E’er since, by faith, I saw the stream
Thy flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme,
And shall be till I die.

Through propitiation, God was satisfied with the full payment for our sin. “The wages for sin is death” (Romans 6:23), but “Christ died for our sins” (1 Corinthians 15:3), and God, the holy Judge, is satisfied. “But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared . . . which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:4, 6-7). Little wonder we respond as we do.

Not only do we receive forgiveness from the Father, He looks at us as though we had fully obeyed Him as His Son had done. “Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past . . . . Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him” (Romans 3:25; 5:9). JDM

I See the Glory of God

But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with me glory of the LORD. —Numbers 14:21

Let us learn to admire God in all things, great and small—in the soft play of a kitten on the rug as well as in the vast and breathtaking sweep of some galaxy around a point so remote as to stun the imagination and make language dumb….

Two men stood on the shore watching the sun come up out of the sea. One was a merchant from London, the other was the poet, William Blake. As the bright yellow disk of the sun emerged into view, gilding the water and painting the sky with a thousand colors, the poet turned to the merchant and asked, “What do you see?” “Ah! I see gold,” replied the merchant. “The sun looks like a great gold piece. What do you see?” “I see the glory of God,” Blake answered, “and I hear a multitude of the heavenly host crying ‘Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty. The whole earth is full of His glory'” (see Isaiah 6:5). O

Lord, as I go about my day may I not just see nature for what it is, but as a majestic expression of Your holiness. Amen.

Are You Normal or Nominal?

Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. (Luke 12:34)

Is the Lord Jesus Christ your most precious treasure in the whole world? If so, count yourself among “normal” Christians, rather than among “nominal” Christians!

My old dictionary gives this definition as the meaning of nominal:

Existing in name only, not real or actual; hence so small, slight, as to be hardly worth the name.

With that as a definition, those who know they are Christians “in name only” should never make the pretense of being normal Christians. Thankfully those who are “normal” are constantly being drawn to praise and worship, charmed by the moral beauty which is found only in Jesus.

I cannot understand how anyone can profess to be a follower and a disciple of our Lord Jesus Christ and not be overwhelmed by His attributes. Those divine attributes faithfully attest that He is indeed Lord of all, completely worthy of our worship and praise!

You see yonder ship

You see yonder ship. After a long voyage, it has neared the haven, but is much injured; the sails are rent to ribbons. That is like the righteous being “scarcely saved.” But do you see that other ship? It has made a prosperous voyage; and now, laden to the water’s edge, with the sails all up and with the white canvas filled with the wind, it rides into the harbor joyously and nobly. That is an “abundant entrance;” and if you and I are helped by God’s Spirit to add to our faith, virtue, and so on, we shall have at the last an “abundant entrance into the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ”