VIDEO What’s Done Is Done

If we were all honest, we would admit that we struggle with letting things go. We struggle most with forgiving ourselves for mistakes we’ve made whether it be poor financial choices, relationship blunders, saying the wrong thing to someone, etc. Some of us are quicker to forgive others than we are ourselves.

If you are in that boat, you don’t have to sink in it. You can toss the baggage overboard and know that if Jesus can forgive you, you can definitely forgive yourself.

Here are some great truths:

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:9).

“As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:12).

So when you have confessed your sin, you are forgiven. You don’t need to question it. The one who keeps throwing your mistakes in your face is the devil, who is called “the accuser of the brethren” in Revelation 12.

While you can’t undo the past and the consequences of your actions, you can rest in the forgiveness of Jesus Christ.

To reiterate this truth, I pray this song by Damaris Carbaugh will bless you:

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Changed Perspective

sun set city
Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him when he saw that the city was given over to idols. —Acts 17:16

As an early riser, my wife enjoys the quiet moments before the house wakes up and uses it to read the Bible and pray. Recently she settled into her favorite chair, only to be confronted by a rather messy couch left there by “someone” watching a football game the night before. The mess distracted her at first, and her frustration with me interrupted the warmth of the moment.

Then a thought hit her, and she moved to the couch. From there, she could look out our front windows to the sun rising over the Atlantic Ocean. The beauty of the scene God painted that morning changed her perspective.

As she told me the story, we both recognized the lesson of the morning. While we can’t always control the things of life that impact our day, we do have a choice. We can continue to brood over the “mess,” or we can change our perspective. When Paul was in Athens, “he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols” (Acts 17:16 niv). But when he changed his perspective, he used their interest in religion as an opportunity to proclaim the true God, Jesus Christ (vv.22-23).

As my wife left for work, it was time for someone else to change his perspective—for me to let the Lord help me to see my messes through her eyes and His. By Randy Kilgore

The Areopagus (vv.19,22) was like an ancient philosophical think tank. There the wisest thinkers and philosophers of the day would assemble to wrestle with important ideas and teachings. This made it the ideal place for Paul to present the good news and teachings of Jesus.

Dear Lord, grant us the wisdom to change
our perspective rather than linger over messes.
Help us to see—and fix—the “messes”
we make for others.

Wisdom is seeing things from God’s perspective.

A Gift Of Hope

baby USAF cargo
He shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines. —Judges 13:5

When a powerful typhoon swept through the city of Tacloban, Philippines, in 2013, an estimated 10,000 people died, and many who survived found themselves homeless and jobless. Necessities became scarce. Three months later, while the town was still struggling to dig itself out from the destruction, a baby was born on a roadside near Tacloban amid torrents of rain and strong wind. Although the weather brought back painful memories, residents worked together to find a midwife and transport the mother and newborn to a clinic. The baby survived, thrived, and became a symbol of hope during a time of despair.

Forty years of Philistine oppression marked a grim period in Israel’s national history. During this time, an angel informed an Israelite woman that she would give birth to a special son (Judg. 13:3). According to the angel, the baby would be a Nazirite—a man set apart to God—and would “begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines” (v.5). The infant, Samson, was a gift of hope born in a troubled time.

Trouble is unavoidable, yet Jesus has the power to rescue us from despair. Christ was born “to give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet in the way of peace” (Luke 1:76-79). By Jennifer Benson Schuldt

Samson was set apart as “a Nazirite to God” even before he was born (vv. 5,7). Nazirite means “dedicated” or “consecrated.” Numbers 6:1-21 sets out the requirements for those who were Nazirites. Besides Samson, other well-known Nazirites in the Bible are Samuel (1 Sam. 1:11) and John the Baptist (Luke 1:15).

Lord, help me to see beyond my circumstances and put my hope in You. All authority and power are Yours. Remind me of Your goodness, and let me rest in Your love.

Jesus is the hope that calms life’s storms.

Identified or Simply Interested?

I Raise My Hands in Worship
I have been crucified with Christ… —Galatians 2:20

The inescapable spiritual need each of us has is the need to sign the death certificate of our sin nature. I must take my emotional opinions and intellectual beliefs and be willing to turn them into a moral verdict against the nature of sin; that is, against any claim I have to my right to myself. Paul said, “I have been crucified with Christ….” He did not say, “I have made a determination to imitate Jesus Christ,” or, “I will really make an effort to follow Him” —but— “I have been identified with Him in His death.” Once I reach this moral decision and act on it, all that Christ accomplished for me on the Cross is accomplished in me. My unrestrained commitment of myself to God gives the Holy Spirit the opportunity to grant to me the holiness of Jesus Christ.

“…it is no longer I who live….” My individuality remains, but my primary motivation for living and the nature that rules me are radically changed. I have the same human body, but the old satanic right to myself has been destroyed.

“…and the life which I now live in the flesh,” not the life which I long to live or even pray that I live, but the life I now live in my mortal flesh— the life which others can see, “I live by faith in the Son of God….” This faith was not Paul’s own faith in Jesus Christ, but the faith the Son God had given to him (see Ephesians 2:8). It is no longer a faith in faith, but a faith that transcends all imaginable limits— a faith that comes only from the Son of God.

by Oswald Chambers

Man’s Need For God

One of the most fundamental admissions a man must make is his need for God! Man is incomplete, and cannot be whole, without God in his heart life. We have been made to glorify our Maker (Isaiah 43:7).

The very foundation of our existence is to “Fear God, and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all” (NKJV, Ecclesiastes 12:13). Jesus taught that loving God with one’s whole being is the first and great commandment (Matthew 22:37-38). That commandment embraces drawing near to sincerely from the heart in the doing of every directive God has delivered to man.

God does not need man. He is the eternal “I AM” (Exodus 3:14). His existence is not dependent on man, nor can man supply God with anything, since He possesses no insufficiency. Paul wrote of God, “Neither is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and oil things” (Acts 17:25). God declared, “If I were hungry, I would not tell you; For the world is Mine, and all its fullness” (Psalms 50:12). God’s unlimited power can instantaneously provide His every holy desire, even what God of man (his worship, and material gifts) are not to supply God’s need, but to help develop gratitude and love in man.

Man needs God. Man owes His very existence to God (Genesis 2:7). His life is drawn from the power of His Creator, not the other way around. Only because God willed our existence is any being on earth alive today, and only through His power are we daily sustained: “for in Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). We are taught to acknowledge; ”if the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that” (James 4:15). Jesus taught His disciples to recognize our daily dependence on God for our “daily bread” and for the rain and the sunshine (Matthew 6:11, 5:45). Man cannot, apart from God, supply any of these daily needs. Thus, we should worship and adore the “Giver of every good and perfect gift” (James 1:17).

Much more than daily material needs, however, man is destitute spiritually speaking. When he reaches the age of accountability, he willingly transgresses God’s holy law, and becomes a sinner alienated from His God (1 John 3:4; Ezekiel 18:4; Romans 3:23, 6:23). Man can do nothing, apart from God’s grace and mercy, to save himself. All he might to supply on his own, by his own devising, would be nothing more than “filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6). He is totally dependent on His loving God to supply the gift of His Son to redeem Him from sin (John 3:16; 1 John 2:1). Only when fallen man recognizes His need for God will he respond in faith in Christ, penitence, and baptism to receive God’s pardon (Acts 2:38), and be reconciled through the “blood of His cross” (Colossians 1:20-23). MAN NEEDS GOD! May we never forget that salient fact.

by Darwin Hunter

Authentic Text

Many powerful men over the centuries have tried to discredit or destroy the Bible. All have failed. There is more evidence for the authenticity and accuracy of the Scriptures than for any other ancient book. No one who has studied these issues doubts the genuineness of the Bible. Many, however, reject its message.

The Manuscripts

There is more evidence for the Bible’s authenticity than for any literature of antiquity. Textual analysis begins with historical investigation, beginning with the latest documents and working backward. As evidence develops, the data is evaluated against other sources. The record is then checked for consistency of information, and the claims are analyzed as if it were a legal case, looking for credible testimony with cross-examination. There is an enormous amount of evidence for authenticity of the biblical manuscripts.

The New Testament was written in first century A.D. There are some 20,000 manuscripts in existence. The earliest textual evidence we have was copied 100 years after the original. In contrast:

-Caesar’s Gallic Wars was written in the first century B.C. There are only 10 manuscripts in existence. The earliest textual evidence we have was copied 1,000 years after the original.

-Aristotle’s Poetics was written in the fourth century B.C. There are only 5 manuscripts in existence. The earliest textual evidence we have was copied 1,400 years after the original.

There are many more writings of the Church Fathers quoting sections of Scripture; we could reconstruct the entire New Testament from their writings alone. There were millions of man-hours spent in cross-checking the manuscripts. There remains only 1 percent of all New Testament words about which questions still exist; no questionable passage contradicts any Bible teaching.

The Old Testament has been more accurately transmitted to us than any other ancient writing of comparable age. The textual evidence is greater for both the Old and New Testaments than any other historically reliable ancient document. The ancient scribes were very meticulous. There were only 1,200 variant readings in A.D. 500.

The Masorites produced an official text in A.D. 500. There are other versions that confirm the accuracy of the Masoritic Text.

-Samaritan Pentateuch: 400 B.C.
-Septuagint Greek: 280 B.C.
-Dead Sea Scrolls: 0 A.D.
-Latin Vulgate: 400 A.D.

The quotations from pre-Christian writing confirm the text. The New Testament accepts the Old Testament as authentic, confirming the traditional authors, quoting from at least 320 different passages, and confirming the supernatural events cited in the Old Testament.

Steps Of Faith

Deuteronomy 10:12-13

The Bible portrays the Christian life as a walk. It speaks of walking in the Spirit, in God’s ways, in love, and in truth. Our lives, then, shouldn’t be stagnant; they ought to move and develop to be increasingly like the life of Jesus. Scripture calls this sanctification. (See 1 Thess. 4:1-8.)

But what if you feel you’re going backward instead of forward? Turning around can happen only by faith in Christ. Here’s how to correct your course:

    First

, have assurance that God keeps every promise. The Bible contains an amazing number of guarantees for believers, including wisdom for the asking, God’s constant presence, and peace when we focus on Him.

    Second,

anticipate the Father’s response. In other words, joyfully expect that your confidence in His promises will lead to blessing.

    Third,

be aware daily of His involvement in your life. By spending time in the Word and prayer, you will become sensitive to what He is doing.

    Fourth,

pray boldly because you are God’s child (Heb. 4:16; Gal. 3:26). Approaching the Father in such a manner isn’t a prideful confidence, but an overflow of your assurance in Him.

    Finally,

obey the leading of the Holy Spirit. This is the true test of your belief. As James 2:17 says, faith without action is dead.

Can you sense that your life is progressing and you are maturing into Christ’s likeness? Or do circumstances and character traits seem to hold you back? God promises to continue making His children beautiful throughout their lives. You can resist Him or cooperate with His gracious work in you.