VIDEO God’s Grace in Action


19 The believers who were scattered from Judea because of the persecution following Stephen’s stoning kept moving out, reaching Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch. Until this time, they had only shared their message with Jews.

20 Then some men from Cyprus and Cyrene who had become believers came to Antioch, and they began sharing the message of the Lord Jesus with some Greek converts to Judaism.

21 The Lord was at work through them, and a large number of these Greeks became believers and turned to the Lord Jesus.

22 Word of this new development came to the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch to investigate.

23 He arrived and saw God’s grace in action there, so he rejoiced and urged them to remain faithful to the Lord, to maintain an enduring, unshakable devotion.

24 This Barnabas truly was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit, full of faith. A very large number of people were brought to the Lord.

The Voice (VOICE)

The Voice Bible Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc. The Voice™ translation © 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society All rights reserved.

Strength Through Service

Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another. Romans 12:10

Consider the apostle Paul’s analogy: The body of Christ is like the human body—many parts all contributing to the health of the whole (1 Corinthians 12:12-31). If the body has a broken arm, does the body ignore the wounded limb? No, all the organs “want” that arm to be healed quickly because they, as part of the body, will be healthier as well. Serving other parts of the body almost has a selfish element since serving others means becoming healthier ourselves.

Now apply that analogy and principle to marriage; think of marriage as a “two-part body”—God’s one-flesh design for the marriage union (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:4-6). To the degree spouses resist serving one another out of anger, disappointment, or selfishness, they negate God’s principle of one flesh and Paul’s analogy of the health of the body. When spouses serve one another, they are strengthening their union. The spouse being served gets stronger, but so does the spouse who is serving. As the parts are strengthened through service, so the whole is strengthened.

Look for opportunities to serve others. You will be stronger and healthier for it!

A Single Thought: We value what we freely serve. Douglas Groothuis

Dealing With Loneliness

Psalm 102:1-7

Loneliness can be a lifelong challenge or a short-term event. The length of the experience is often determined by how we deal with it. Turning to the Lord can help us find our way through the dark cloud of isolation.

Admit lonely feelings. Being a Christian doesn’t disqualify us from sometimes having a sense of seclusion. In fact, many of David’s psalms speak of his longing for companionship. When we express our feelings to the Father and cry out for His touch, He will answer (Ps. 91:15). I often tell God that I need Him to wrap His arms around me. His response is just as real as if a human being walked in and hugged me.

Develop godly relationships. We should pray for friends who will point us toward the Lord whether we are in good times or bad. These are the loved ones who see our faults and like us anyway. For example, one of my dear friends oftentimes jokes about me, “He was never meant to be understood—just loved.”

Be anchored in Scripture. When we cling to the Word during a lonely time, we will end up with a richer understanding of the Lord. Before I preached my first sermon, my mother gave me Joshua 1:9 as an anchor verse. She knew it would help me remember to be strong and courageous because God is with me always. That is still the verse I turn to when I need comfort.

Occasionally we all will walk through the fog of loneliness. But God is the Light guiding us out again. If you are struggling with feelings of isolation, cry out to Him for help.

The Indwelling Holy Spirit

“But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” (Romans 8:9)

Note that in this one verse the Holy Spirit is called both “the Spirit of God” and “the Spirit of Christ.” Thus, the two terms are synonymous, which means that Christ is God, and so is the Holy Spirit.

Note also that we “have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father” (Romans 8:15). In fact, our text assures each of us that we are actually living “in the Spirit,” because He has come to “dwell in you.” All of this has come about “not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy, . . . by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost” (Titus 3:5). This glorious new birth, with sins forgiven and eternal life, is accomplished by the Holy Spirit in response to our faith in Christ as Savior and Lord.

But also note that “if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” It is absolutely vital that we have the Holy Spirit, “for as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (Romans 8:14). The question is, just how do we know that we have the Holy Spirit?

The answer is, because His Word says so! “He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me,” said Jesus, “hath everlasting life” (John 5:24). Furthermore, we have the testimony of internal peace and assurance. “The Spirit [Himself] beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God” (Romans 8:16).

Finally, the indwelling Spirit will increasingly be growing His eternal fruit in our lives—the ninefold fruit of “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance” (Galatians 5:22-23), and this will testify to others also that we do indeed have the Holy Spirit. HMM

An Uneasiness about the Uncreated

Who is the blessed and only Po tentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; 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 6:15-16

The human mind, being created, has an understandable uneasiness about the Uncreated…. We tend to be disquieted by the thought of One who does not account to us for His being, who is responsible to no one, who is self-existent, self-dependent and selfsufficient.

Philosophy and science have not always been friendly toward the idea of God, the reason being that they are dedicated to the task of accounting for things and are impatient with anything that refuses to give an account of itself The philosopher and the scientist will admit that there is much that they do no know; but that is quite another thing from admitting that there is something which they can never know…. To admit that there is One who lies beyond us, who exists outside of all our categories, who will not be dismissed with a name, who will not appear before the bar of our reason… this requires a great deal of humility, more than most of us possess, so we save face by thinking God down to our level, or at least down to where we can manage Him.

Lord, forgive my flimsy attempts to comprehend You. I bow humbly before the great Uncreated, the King of kings and Lord of lords. Amen.

Do We Listen?

I will hear what God the Lord will speak… peace unto his people (Psalm 85:8)

The living God has spoken to lost mankind in a variety of ways. The general response among us has been, “We did not hear His voice. We did not hear anything.”

John recorded in his gospel the reactions of an audience of people who heard God speak audibly. When Jesus talked of His coming death, asking God to glorify His name through it, “a voice came from heaven, ‘I have glorified it, and will glorify it again’:” (John 12:28).

And what were the reactions of the bystanders? “The crowd that was there heard it and said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him” (John 12:29).

People prefer their own logic, their own powers of reason, even when God speaks, they refuse to recognize His voice. They will not confess that God has spoken through Jesus Christ, the eternal Son. When He confronts them with their sin, they consult a psychiatrist and hope they can get their personalities “properly adjusted.”

But in a coming day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord of all!

We love Jesus when we are advanced in the divine life

We love Jesus when we are advanced in the divine life, from a participation with him in the great work of his incarnation. We long to see our fellowmen turned from darkness to light, and we love him as the sun of righteousness, who can alone illuminate them. We hate sin, and therefore we rejoice in him as manifested to take away sin. We pant for holier and happier times, and therefore we adore him as the coming Ruler of all lands, who will bring a millennium with him in the day of his appearing. Love the soul of every man with all the intensity of thy being