May 2, 2016
May 2, 2016
If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:36
Olaudah Equiano (c. 1745–1796) was only 11 years old when he was kidnapped and sold into slavery. He made the harrowing journey from West Africa to the West Indies, then to the colony of Virginia, and then to England. By the age of 20 he purchased his own freedom, still bearing the emotional and physical scars of the inhumane treatment he had experienced.
Unable to enjoy his own freedom while others were still enslaved, Equiano became active in the movement to abolish slavery in England. He wrote his autobiography (an unheard of achievement for a former slave in that era) in which he described the horrific treatment of the enslaved.
The price of our freedom from sin was paid by Jesus’s blood.
When Jesus came, He fought a battle for all of us who are enslaved and unable to fight for ourselves. Our slavery is not one of outward chains. We are held by our own brokenness and sin. Jesus said, “Everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:34–36).
Wherever such a freedom seems unheard of, His words need to be declared. We can be liberated from our guilt, shame, and hopelessness. By trusting Jesus, we can be free indeed!
Thank You, Lord Jesus, for making the sacrifice that has secured my freedom and eternal life. May I learn to love You in a way that honors the love You have shown me.
The price of our freedom from sin was paid by Jesus’s blood.
By Bill Crowder
A vinedresser plants and tends his vines for the purpose of seeing them produce grapes. God, as our vinedresser, encourages us to bear spiritual fruit. He wants us to have a character like that of Christ—marked by love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23). Our Father wants to ensure that believers will be fruitful; for this reason, they are removed from the dead tree of humanity and grafted onto the living vine, Jesus Christ.
After His baptism, Jesus was “full of the Holy Spirit,” who led Him to the next step (Luke 4:1). Christ’s life and ministry were the result of the Spirit’s empowerment, and when we become believers, God sends the very same Helper to indwell us. In the language of vineyards, the sap from the vine flows into a grafted branch, giving it life and the capacity to grow the kind of fruit typical of that plant. The branch and the vine become one life. The Living Bible translation says, “Let your roots grow down into him and draw up nourishment from him” (Col. 2:7).
Some people run away from the Christian life because they think they cannot do it. And they’re right: They cannot, but the Holy Spirit can. When we are one with Jesus Christ, the Spirit of God lives His life through us. That doesn’t mean we are free from responsibility—the Spirit can do His work only as we wisely choose to yield to Him. When we are obediently following the Lord, our joy and peace are not dependent upon circumstances; the One in whom we are rooted is our joy and peace.
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments.” (Psalm 111:10)
The Bible insists that the God of the Bible is the only true God (Isaiah 44:6; 45:5-6) and that Jesus Christ is the only way to God (John 14:6). All other religions, while stressing their “paths,” would allow for some other contingency. The biblical record is very precise: Adam’s sin introduced death into the world (Romans 5:12) and a curse pronounced on all creation (Genesis 3:14-19).
Actually, it’s pretty simple. Adam and Eve refused to believe that God was telling them the truth and died because of their rebellion. God still loved them and all the people who would come into the world through them, so He provided the only solution possible: He gave Himself to solve the problem.
The Lord Jesus took our own form and nature, lived our life, was subject to every kind of temptation and problem humans could ever face (Hebrews 4:15), willingly accepted unjust condemnation and death for our sakes (1 Peter 2:24)—and then, to prove that He was really God in the flesh (Acts 17:31), came back again from death (after paying our “wages,” Romans 6:23) as the resurrected Lord.
Now He sits in heaven as the Advocate (defending lawyer) on our behalf, acting as the eternal High Priest interceding for us, all the time preparing a place for us to live with Him forever. One day He—that same Jesus who died for us and rose again from the grave—will come to Earth again as King of kings and Lord of lords to end the rule of the Enemy and make a “new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness ” (2 Peter 3:13)! HMM III
Adapted from Unlocking the Mysteries of Genesis by Dr. Henry Morris III.
Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. —John 15:15
The idea of the divine-human friendship originated with God. Had not God said first, “Ye are my friends” (John 15:14), it would be inexcusably brash for any man to say, “I am a friend of God.” But since He claims us for His friends it is an act of unbelief to ignore or deny the relationship…. The more perfect our friendship with God becomes, the simpler will our lives be. Those formalities that are so necessary to keep a casual friendship alive may be dispensed with when true friends sit in each other’s presence. True friends trust each other.
There is a great difference between having “company” and having a friend in the house. The friend we can treat as a member of the family, but company must be entertained.
God is not satisfied until there exists between Him and His people a relaxed informality that requires no artificial stimulation. The true friend of God may sit in His presence for long periods in silence. Complete trust needs no words of assurance. Such words have long ago been spoken and the adoring heart can safely be still before God.
I am honored, Father, to be called Your friend. May I never treat our friendship lightly. Amen.
Well do I know, Thou God of the prophets and the apostles, that as long as I honor Thee, Thou wilt honor me. Help me therefore to take this solemn vow to honor Thee in all my future life and labors, whether by gain or by loss, by life or by death, and then to keep that vow unbroken while I live.
I beseech Thee, give me sharp eyes to detect the presence of the enemy; give me understanding to see—and the courage to report what I see faithfully.
Make my voice so like Thine own that even the sick sheep will recognize it and follow Thee.
O Lord, I am Thy servant to do Thy will, and that will is sweeter to me than position or riches
or fame, and I choose it above all things on earth or in heaven.
I pray Thee, my Lord and Redeemer, fill me with Thy power by the Holy Spirit, and I will go
daily in His strength. Then, when I am old and weary, have a place ready for me above and make
me to be numbered with Thy saints in everlasting glory. Amen.
Wisdom is man’s true strength; and, under its guidance, he best accomplishes the ends of his being. Wisely handling the matter of life, gives to man the richest enjoyment, and presents the noblest occupation for his powers; hence by it he finds good in the fullest sense. Without wisdom, man is as the wild ass’s colt, running hither and thither, wasting strength which might be profitably employed. Wisdom is the compass by which man is to steer across the trackless waste of life; without it he is a derelict vessel, the sport of winds and waves. A man must be prudent in such a world as this, or he will find no good, but be betrayed into unnumbered ills.