VIDEO Reunited by God

Sept 26, 2016

Nate and Rose were married as 18 year olds, but Nate’s involvement with drugs, alcohol, and crime turned them against each other. When he was sentenced to prison, Rose didn’t care. But God became real to them, and He reunited their hearts and lives through what seemed like impossible circumstances.

Full of God

Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” Luke 1:38a

The word enthusiasm has an interesting pedigree. It made its way to English from a Greek word, entheos—“the state of being inspired or possessed by a god” (en = in; theos = god). In fact, the early Puritans looked down on enthusiasm, equating it with “excessive religious emotion.” Eventually, eagerness and enjoyment supplanted the derogatory sense of divine possession.

But being inspired or filled by the one true God is a good thing! In that sense, we should approach God’s calling on our life with His enthusiasm. Joshua and Caleb were enthusiastic about invading the Promised Land (Numbers 13). The apostle Paul was enthusiastic about his commission to take the Gospel to the Gentiles (Acts 22:21). The teenager Mary enthusiastically embraced her calling to be the mother of Jesus (Luke 1:38). And Paul says everything we do should be done as if we are doing it for Christ Himself (Colossians 3:23).

Who knows what God may call you to do this year—or today? Why not commit yourself today to living a life full of the Spirit of God so you will live enthusiastically for Him.

God wants not slaves but intelligent, grown-up children who show enthusiasm for the family business.  Cornelius Plantinga

How We Walk With God

Genesis 5:21-24

Enoch had such a close walk with the Lord that Scripture says, “and he was not, for God took him” (Gen. 5:24). This means that Enoch did not die, but was taken directly into the presence of the Lord. What a wonderful testimony!

As we seek to follow God with passion like Enoch’s, let’s learn some specific steps that will help us grow in our walk with the Lord.

Reconciliation. This term essentially means “God moving toward us.” The joy of this step is that we bear no responsibility; it’s all up to Him. Through the cross of Jesus Christ, God has already made His move in our direction. (See 2 Cor. 5:18.) When we place faith in the Savior, we immediately take part in that reconciliation.

Trusting God. Our heavenly Father wants us to know He is concerned with our spiritual growth. He also wants us to trust that He has, through Christ, provided the means by which we can walk intimately with Him.

Agreement. To appreciate the closeness God wants to have with us, we must agree with what His Word teaches about His Son, the church, and our problem with sin.

Fellowship. Just as our human relationships fall apart without regular contact, our intimacy with the Father weakens when we do not spend time with Him.

Walking with God is not an impossible mission, but it does require careful attention to the details of our Christian life. When we set our course for God, He will always be there to direct our path (Prov. 16:9).

The Chief Fathers

“Abraham begat Isaac, and circumcised him the eighth day; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat the twelve patriarchs.” (Acts 7:8)

Without these patriarchs’ faithful contribution and commitment to a future they could hardly understand, you and I would be without the historical evidence of the biblical foundation upon which our faith rests.

Abraham, who was used by God to be the “father of many nations,” was given a covenant (Genesis 12:1-3) that applies to all who are saved by faith in the work of God accomplished through Jesus Christ on the cross, who rose from the grave and is now sitting at the right hand of the Father. Abraham became the example of salvation by faith (Romans 4:1-16; Galatians 3:9-24).

Isaac was the Promised Seed from whom the nation Israel came. He is the Old Testament example of the willing sacrifice of the Messiah yet to come (Hebrews 11:17-19), and he became the genetic head of Israel (Romans 9:7).

Jacob is an example of God’s sovereign right to choose those whom He wills to serve Him (Romans 9:10-13). He is often misjudged for his “deception” of Isaac, yet Isaac had chosen the wicked Esau to inherit the blessing even though Jacob was chosen prior to his birth to be the heir (Genesis 25:23). Jacob fathered 12 sons through four wives, and God Himself changed his name to Israel (Genesis 32:28; 35:22).

Joseph became the prime minister of Egypt and was responsible for preserving the budding nation of Israel. He is an example of the steadfast, trusting, and faithful servant who simply expects God to accomplish the good God intended (Genesis 50:20; Acts 7:9-18).

Perhaps the struggles, sacrifices, and successes of their lives need to be a fresh memory for each of us. HMM III

“Lord, save me.”

Romans 3:9-26

Having by our last reading been taught our own connection with Adam’s fall, we will now attentively consider a passage of Scripture which shows the consequent corruption of human nature in all times and places. Let us read

In this portion Paul quotes the words of several Old Testament authors, puts them all together, and presents them to us as a terrible, but truthful, description of fallen man. Of the boastful Jews the apostle asks the question—

Romans 3:9

As an old divine puts it, “whole evil is in man, and whole man in evil.”

Romans 3:10

What the prophet said of one is here applied to the whole race, for the nature of man is in all cases the same. Note how strong are the three negatives here, how they quench all hope of finding a natural righteousness in man.

Romans 3:11-18

See how in character and nature, without and within, in every faculty, in mouth, feet, heart, and eyes, the disease of sin has affected us. We may not actually have committed all the evils here mentioned, but they are all in our nature. Circumstances and education prevent our being so bad in practice as we are in heart, but as the poison is in the viper even when it stings not, so is sin always within us.

What crimson sins are these which defile us! How divinely powerful must that medicine be which can purge us from such deadly diseases. After this indictment of human nature there follows a declaration that by the works of the law none can be saved, since all are already guilty, and the book of the law itself contains the evidence of their guilt and condemnation.

Romans 3:20

We use the law rightly when it convinces us of sin and drives us to the Saviour, but we altogether abuse and pervert it if we look to be saved by obedience to it.

Romans 3:21-22

There is no difference in the fact of guilt, in the impossibility of salvation by merit, and in the plain and open way of justification by faith.

Romans 3:23-26

What a precious gospel verse. May every member of this family understand it, and be a partaker in the substitution of the Lord Jesus. We are all fallen; may every one of us be justified freely by God’s grace through faith in the blood of the Lord Jesus. Let us earnestly pray to be cleansed by the atoning death of him who bore for his people all the curse of the law.

 

To the dear fountain of thy blood,

Incarnate God, I fly;

Here let me wash my spotted soul

From crimes of deepest dye.

 

A guilty, weak, and helpless worm,

On thy kind arms I fall;

Be thou my strength and righteousness,

My Jesus, and my all.

 

Have You Said ‘Thank You’ Today?

Ephesians 1:16

When was the last time you gave thanks from your heart for the loved ones God has placed in your life? The phrase “give thanks” in Ephesians 1:16 comes from the Greek word eucharisteo, a compound of the words eu and charis. The word eu means good or well. It denotes a general good disposition or an overwhelmingly good feeling about something. The word charis is the Greek word for grace or freely granted favor.

When these two words are compounded into one, they form the word eucharisteo. This compound word describes an outpouring of grace and of wonderful feelings that freely flow from the heart in response to someone or something. This is the word Paul used when he “gave thanks” for the Ephesian church. In fact, in nearly all his epistles, Paul used eucharisteo when he “gave thanks” for people he loved.

For instance, Paul used this word in Ephesians 1:16 when he said, “[I] cease not to give thanks for you….” This means that when Paul thought of the Ephesian church, wonderful feelings of thankfulness would well up in his heart for them.

 

The Greek carries this idea in Ephesians 1:16:

“Thanking God for you is so easy—it just flows out of my heart every time I think of you. In fact, I never take a break from letting God know how I feel about you.”

In Colossians 1:3, Paul uses the same Greek word when he says, “We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you.” In First Thessalonians 1:2, he again uses the same Greek word when he prays similarly for the Thessalonian believers: “We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers.” In Second Thessalonians 1:3, he uses this word again when he writes, “We are bound to thank God always for you….”

The fact that Paul used the word eucharisteo when he prayed for his dearest friends reminds us that we must be thankful for the relationships God has put in our lives. Whenever we think of our closest circle of friends, a deep sense of gratefulness, thankfulness, and appreciation should well up within us!

So when you’re praying for others, stop for a moment and reflect on all God has done in your life through those who are closest to you. When you realize how valuable those relationships have been to you, you’ll be able to freely, joyfully, and unreservedly thank God for such precious friends!

MY PRAYER FOR TODAY

Lord, You have blessed me with the most wonderful friends—and today I want to thank You for putting such great people in my life. Long-term, real friends are such a treasure, so I want to start this day by thanking You for these gifts of precious relationships. Help me never lose sight of how much I need these people. Help me also to never fail to show them how much I love and appreciate them!

I pray this in Jesus’ name!

MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY

I am thankful for the relationships God has placed in my life. They are a blessing to me, and I am a blessing to them. God brought us together, and Satan will not tear us apart. I will learn to love them more dearly, forgive them more quickly, and show them the same patience I want them to show me. I am richly blessed with some of the best fiends I could ever ask for!

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!

QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER

  1. How long has it been since you stopped to thank God for the people He has placed in your life?
  2. When you pray, do you focus only on the “problem people” who bother you and steal your peace, or do you always make certain to take the time to thank God for the faithful ones?
  3. Write down a list of all the people God has specially used to help you in life. Then stop to tell the Lord how grateful you are that He sent each one of them into your life.

 

Want To Impact The Lost For Christ?

Then stop complaining about life.

Did you know that a prerequisite to reflecting Christ and effectively sharing the Word of God is to stop the griping? Consider:

Do all things without grumbling or disputing, (so) that you may prove yourselves to be blameless and innocentabove reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation among whom you appear as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life… ” (Philippians 2:14-16)

The fact that the people around you fornicate, steal your money and ideas, ogle your wife, rip off the company, smoke pot, and cheat on their income tax IS NOT UNUSUAL BEHAVIOR. That’s how people in a DYSFUNCTIONAL SOCIETY live. The technical term used in the Bible for such demeanor is sin.

Why then are we so surprised? And so angry? The “Rose Garden” ended the day the “First Couple” chose to eat the wrong fruit. We need to settle the fact that tough times for followers of Christ is now the norm — A training ground in preparing us for eternity:

Through many tribulations we (believers) must enter the kingdom of God.” (Acts 14:21)

Israel failed in this regard. As they trekked across the desert from Egypt to the Promised Land they bellyached about almost everything. Of them Paul writes:

With most of them God was not well-pleasedfor theygrumbled: ‘… Why have you (Moses) brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this miserable food.‘” (1 Corinthians 10:5, 10; Numbers 21:5)

Once we accept the reason as to why we are here, we may find it easier to respond to Paul’s challenge in 1 Thessalonians 5:18:

In everything give thanks; for this is Gods will concerning you… ”

Hopefully folks outside of Christ will notice when a thankful spirit prevails over an angry attitude, thereby opening the door to minister the word of Christ to them.