May 26, 2008
A music video put together for the choir to sing at church.
May 26, 2008
A music video put together for the choir to sing at church.
Joab withstood the greatest test of his life, remaining absolutely loyal to David by not turning to follow after the fascinating and ambitious Absalom. Yet toward the end of his life he turned to follow after the weak and cowardly Adonijah. Always remain alert to the fact that where one person has turned back is exactly where anyone may be tempted to turn back (see 1 Corinthians 10:11-13). You may have just victoriously gone through a great crisis, but now be alert about the things that may appear to be the least likely to tempt you. Beware of thinking that the areas of your life where you have experienced victory in the past are now the least likely to cause you to stumble and fall.
We are apt to say, “It is not at all likely that having been through the greatest crisis of my life I would now turn back to the things of the world.” Do not try to predict where the temptation will come; it is the least likely thing that is the real danger. It is in the aftermath of a great spiritual event that the least likely things begin to have an effect. They may not be forceful and dominant, but they are there. And if you are not careful to be forewarned, they will trip you. You have remained true to God under great and intense trials— now beware of the undercurrent. Do not be abnormally examining your inner self, looking forward with dread, but stay alert; keep your memory sharp before God. Unguarded strength is actually a double weakness, because that is where the least likely temptations will be effective in sapping strength. The Bible characters stumbled over their strong points, never their weak ones.
“…kept by the power of God…”— that is the only safety. (1 Peter 1:5).
To read the Bible according to God’s providential order in your circumstances is the only way to read it, viz., in the blood and passion of personal life. Disciples Indeed, 387 R
Are you living thoughtfully and intentionally—or are you living automatically? It’s so easy to get up each morning, do our work, enjoy some relaxation or entertainment, and fall into bed each night without giving any thought to God’s involvement in our everyday life. But to be ignorant of how He has blessed, guided, protected, and warned us is a foolish way to live. Just consider the benefits of keeping our spiritual eyes and ears open throughout the day.
We who are aware of God’s presence during daily activities enjoy the peace of knowing He’s always in control and working to achieve His good purposes. Day-to-day experiences with Him teach us to know and love Him more.
When we learn to see God’s footprints throughout each week, we will become aware of the scope of His involvement in His children’s lives. Maybe He strengthened us for a task or opened a door of opportunity. Perhaps He guided our decisions or helped us respond in a godly way to a difficult person or a challenging situation.
If our ears are open to the Lord’s warnings and instructions, we won’t repeat the same mistakes again and again. But if we remain deaf to His voice, we run the risk of continuing in unhealthy thought patterns, negative emotions, and foolish responses.
Each night before you go to sleep, take some time to reflect on the day’s activities. The heavenly Father is constantly with you, guarding and guiding your way. He wants you to see Him in everything and understand life from His perspective as you rely on His wisdom and power to face any challenge.
“God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:24)
Mankind has always struggled with this aspect of God. The Second Commandment prohibited any attempt to represent God by any physical shape (Exodus 20:4-5). The triune God cannot be contained by finite attributes.
– “Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (1 Timothy 1:17)
– “Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.” (1 Timothy 6:16)
Were it not for the Second Person of the Godhead, He whom the apostle John identifies as “the Word,” we would have no possibility of knowing God (John 1:1-14). Philip asked to see the Father, and the Lord Jesus replied: “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father” (John 14:9).
But how can this be? Paul explained to the Philippian church that Jesus Christ emptied Himself, took on the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men (Philippians 2:7). Our Lord Jesus, our Redeemer and Savior, the same Creator who spoke the worlds into existence, “was made flesh” (John 1:14) in order to provide all that was necessary for the thrice-holy God to “be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus” (Romans 3:26).
Jesus insisted “no man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him” (John 6:44). Salvation is not possible unless “he that cometh to God [believes] that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:6). Jesus Himself told the Samaritan woman, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” HMM III
But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. —James 1:6
When entering the prayer chamber, we must come filled with faith and armed with courage. Nowhere else in the whole field of religious thought and activity is courage so necessary as in prayer. The successful prayer must be one without condition. We must believe that God is love and that, being love, He cannot harm us but must ever do us good. Then we must throw ourselves before Him and pray with boldness for whatever we know our good and His glory require, and the cost is no object! Whatever He in His love and wisdom would assess against us, we will accept with delight because it pleased Him. Prayers like that cannot go unanswered. The character and reputation of God guarantee their fulfillment.
We should always keep in mind the infinite loving-kindness of God. No one need fear to put his life in His hands. His yoke is easy; His burden is light.
Increase my faith; increase my courage. Amen
Being justified by his grace… heirs according to the hope of eternal life. (Titus 3:7)
Let me say this to any of you who are still trying to add up your human merits—look away in faith to the Lord of abundant mercy!
Fixing yourself over and trying to straighten yourself out will never be sufficient—you must come to Jesus as you are!
Our Lord told about two men who went up into the temple to pray. One said, “God, here I am—all fixed up. Every hair is in place!”
The other said, “Oh God, I just crawled in off Skid Row. Have mercy on me!”
God forgave the Skid Row bum, but sent the other man away, hardened and unrepentant and unforgiven.
We come to Him just as we are but in humble repentance. When the human spirit comes to God knowing that anything it receives will be out of God’s mercy, then repentance has done its proper work!
God promises to forgive and forget and to take that man into His heart and teach him that all of God’s kindnesses are due to His mercy. What more can a sinner ask?
When Jesus Christ came to build his temple, he found no mountain on which to build it; he had no mountain in our nature, he had to find a mountain in his own, and the mountain upon which he has built his Church is the mountain of his own unchangeable affection, his own strong love, his own omnipotent grace and infallible truthfulness. It is this that constitutes the mountain upon which the Church is built, and on this the foundation hath been digged, and the great stones laid in the trenches with oaths and promises and blood to make them stand secure, even though earth should rock and all creation suffer decay.