A little more than one billion minutes have passed since the time Jesus walked the earth. That’s a lot of time! But does it make sense to say that the earth isn’t just one, but over four, billion years old?
Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious. 1 Peter 2:7
The word “precious” crops up in unusual places, like in investment portfolios containing precious metals or jewelry stores dealing in precious stones. Or in the Bible—particularly in the writings of Peter, who used this word repeatedly while writing to “those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:1).
According to Peter, our faith is “more precious than gold” (1 Peter 1:7), for we’ve been redeemed by “the precious blood of Christ” (1 Peter 1:19). Jesus was “chosen by God and precious” (1 Peter 2:4), and He is our precious cornerstone (1 Peter 2:6). To us who believe He is precious (1 Peter 2:7), and when we display a gentle and quiet spirit, it’s “very precious in the sight of God” (1 Peter 3:4). On top of it all, the Lord has given us His “exceedingly great and precious promises” through which we may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust (2 Peter 1:4).
How blessed we are! How precious our faith!
Precious Jesus, that is the name which calms my fears, and bids my sorrows cease. Charles H. Spurgeon, in his sermon “Christ Precious to Believers”
What do you think goes through the mind of runners during a marathon? It’s not unusual for them to think about crossing the finish line. If they let themselves dwell on how long, painful, or difficult the race will be, they could easily fail.
With regard to our aspirations, we would be wise to follow a similar thought pattern. If we permit ourselves to think about obstacles in our path, we are less likely to succeed.
God’s vision is for us to share His message of hope with all of the world (Luke 24:47). Like a marathon, it’s a huge task, and many Christians feel “all the nations” is too big of an assignment. Other believers stop because of a language barrier or a safety concern. And some just don’t know how to start, so they let insecurity deter them. But Jesus’ mandate must translate into our obedience, which means we must overcome any hindrances.
First, it’s important to identify limitations that exist in our minds. Second, God’s transformation of our own life should be a significant motivation. Third, we need to rely on Jesus’ promise of His presence and the Holy Spirit’s empowerment. Remember that the Lord said what would be impossible with man is possible with God (Luke 18:27). Once we break down our objections and obey in the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit, we’ll be amazed at what God will do through us.
What mental limitations have you put on sharing the good news of the gospel with the world? Ask for forgiveness, refocus on the goal, and tell the Lord that you are available to share and to serve.
“Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.” (Luke 22:20)
The Greek word diatheke, translated as both “testament” and “covenant,” occurs 33 times in the New Testament, 17 of which are in the book of Hebrews. The Hebrew word for “covenant” (berith) comes from a word meaning to “cut, or divide,” referring to the fact that blood had to be shed to bind the parties involved to the covenant. (See Genesis 15:10; Jeremiah 34:18-19.) God had made covenants with Abraham and Moses on the part of the people of Israel. He had kept His part of the agreement; but in each case the others involved “continued not in my covenant” (Hebrews 8:9). But God, in His grace, has issued a new covenant.
This covenant or testament is not unlike a human “last will and testament,” but there are some differences. He did not merely die, thereby enabling His children to inherit His fortune, but He is now “the mediator of a better covenant” (Hebrews 8:6). He is the sacrifice whose death was necessary to make the covenant binding, and yet He is the “surety of a better testament” (Hebrews 7:22).
He cannot fail, and hence the new covenant cannot be done away with. Through His death, He not only has removed the penalty for our previous failures, but qualified us to receive the inheritance. “For this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator” (Hebrews 9:15-16). “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25). JDM
The whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen; saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest. —Luke 19:37-38
This does not mean, and I am not saying, that we must all worship alike. The Holy Spirit does not operate by anyone’s preconceived idea or formula. But this I know: When the Holy Spirit of God comes among us with His anointing, we become a worshiping people. This may be hard for some to admit, but when we are truly worshiping and adoring the God of all grace and of all love and of all mercy and of all truth, we may not be quiet enough to please everyone….
First, I do not believe it is necessarily true that we are worshiping God when we are making a lot of racket. But not infrequently worship is audible….
Second, I would warn those who are cultured, quiet, self-possessed, poised and sophisticated that if they are embarrassed in church when some happy Christian says “Amen!” they may actually be in need of some spiritual enlightenment. The worshiping saints of God in the Body of Christ have often been a little bit noisy.
Lord, may my worship be genuine and heartfelt, whether it be in quiet meditation or in loud exaltation! Amen.
For what hath man of all his labour… wherein he hath laboured under the sun? (Ecclesiastes 2:22)
It is all but impossible these days to get people to pay any attention to things that really matter.
The broad cynic in our modern civilization is likely to ask: “What really matters, after all?” It is our personal relationship to God that really matters!
That takes priority over everything else; for no man can afford to live or die under the frowning displeasure of God. Yet, name one modern device that can save him from it. Where can a man find security? Can philosophy help him? or psychology? or science? or atoms or wonder drugs or vitamins?
Only Christ can help him, and His aid is as old as man’s sin and man’s need.
A few other things matter to be sure. We must trust Christ completely. We must carry our cross daily. We must love God and our fellow men. We must fulfill our commission as ambassadors of Christ among men. We must grow in grace and in the knowledge of God and come at last to our end like a ripe shock of corn at harvest time.
These are the things that really matter!
The bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant.” Oh, it is not my remembering God, it is God’s remembering me, which is the ground of my safety; it is not my laying hold of his covenant, but his covenant’s laying hold on me. Glory be to God! the whole of the bulwarks of salvation are secured by divine power, and even the minor towers, which we may imagine might have been left to man, are guarded by almighty strength. Even the remembrance of the covenant is not left to our memories, for we might forget; but our Lord cannot forget the saints whom he has graven on the palms of his hands.