VIDEO Understanding God’s Law, Part 1

May 2, 2011

Torah and the 10 Commandments purpose explained! Why does religion manipulate God’s Law? What is God’s Law? What is its true purpose? Are we supposed to follow God’s Law? Has the Law been nailed to the cross? See the truth of God’s Law clearly presented. Know what God’s will is for you.

Painting a Portrait

Painting a Portrait

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus. Philippians 2:5

The National Portrait Gallery in London, England, houses a treasure of paintings from across the centuries, including 166 images of Winston Churchill, 94 of William Shakespeare, and 20 of George Washington. With the older portraits, we may wonder: Is that what these individuals really looked like?

For instance, there are eight paintings of Scottish patriot William Wallace (c. 1270–1305), but we obviously don’t have photographs to compare them to. How do we know if the artists accurately represented Wallace?

Christ’s sacrifice of Himself for us motivates us to sacrifice ourselves for others.

Something similar might be happening with the likeness of Jesus. Without realizing it, those who believe in Him are leaving an impression of Him on others. Not with brushes and oils, but with attitudes, actions, and relationships.

Are we painting a portrait that represents the likeness of His heart? This was the concern of the apostle Paul. “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus,” he wrote (Phil. 2:5). With a desire to accurately represent our Lord, he urged His followers to reflect the humility, self-sacrifice, and compassion of Jesus for others.

It has been said, “We are the only Jesus some people will ever see.” As we “in humility value others above [ourselves]” (v. 3), we will show the world the heart and attitude of Jesus Himself.

Father, please build the heart of Christ into my heart that those around me will see Him clearly and desire to know Him too.

How can you show Christ in your life to others in your community? Share

Christ’s sacrifice of Himself motivates us to sacrifice ourselves for others.

INSIGHT:The church at Philippi, established by Paul during his second missionary journey, was a growing and faithful community that had actively supported Paul’s ministry (Phil. 1:5; 4:15–18). In this thank-you letter, Paul encouraged the Philippians to continue to grow and mature in their faith, even in the midst of persecution. He exhorted them, “Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ” (1:27), so that they would “shine . . . like stars in the sky” (2:15). He urged them to imitate Christ in sacrificial love, unity, humility, and service.

 

Living by Faith

Genesis 15:6

Abraham is one of the people in the Old Testament who have had a great impact on my spiritual walk. In his life, I see the necessity of living by faith.

Separation is oftentimes a part of our development as Christians. Before we can take on something new, the Lord may ask us to let go of something we already have. In Genesis 12:1-3, God told Abraham he was going on a journey that would require leaving his country, his people, and his father’s household. Obedience meant saying goodbye to relationships and things dear to him. The only family members who traveled with him were his wife and nephew; the life he knew in his homeland was left behind. But this godly man did not hesitate. His strong faith enabled him to say yes to what the Lord commanded.

Moving ahead in the midst of uncertainty can be another aspect of following the Lord. Abraham was told to travel without knowing his destination. Try to imagine explaining to friends that you’re moving away but have no idea where you are going. This lack of detail did not stop Abraham. Unwavering trust in his heavenly Father enabled him to answer the divine call wholeheartedly—even though specific details were lacking. Abraham was spiritually ready to answer affirmatively when God called.

Following God requires living by faith. That means: trusting the Holy Spirit to guide us when we don’t see how all the pieces fit together (John 16:13); believing that God always works for our good and His glory (Rom. 8:28); and desiring to please our Father. Will you be ready when He calls?

Sifted

“And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” (Luke 22:31-32)

In the evening before His betrayal, capture, torture, and trial, Christ turned to Simon with these final words, encouraging him to remain strong. Of course, Peter boldly proclaimed that he would never deny Christ, but Christ knew better (vv. 33-34).

Actually, our text is quite forceful. Christ claimed that Satan has “begged earnestly” (literal translation of “desired”), not just for Peter, but for all the disciples, as seen in the plural pronoun “you,” to “sift you as wheat.” Satan knew (as he still knows) that the fall of Christian leaders causes many others to fall, and if all of the disciples could be made to abandon the faith, the gospel could not be spread.

Christ turned specifically to Peter as the generally recognized spokesman for the disciples, and even though He knew Peter would fall, Christ informed him that he had been prayed for, that his “faith fail not.” Indeed, Peter did turn around once he saw the risen Lord and became a leader in the fledgling church in Jerusalem, as well as a missionary. Through the witness of Peter and those he strengthened, the gospel has come to us.

Satan’s desire to sift those who would spread the gospel and lead others has not abated. He knows the destruction it causes in the lives of those influenced by the one who falls. The “ripple effect” may last for years, and many weaker brothers and sisters may never recover. But take heart! The One who prayed for Peter “ever liveth to make intercession for [us]” (Hebrews 7:25; see also John 17:6-26). Just as God answered Christ’s intercessory prayer for Peter, so He will answer Christ’s intercessory prayer for us. JDM

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”

Job 28

Let us read Job’s famous passage upon the search after wisdom, and in order that we may see its beauties we will read it in an accurate translation; arranged as it should be in parallel lines.

Job 28:3-4

The following verses describe the operations of mining, and the hazards of the miner.

Job 28:3-4

That is to say, having no use for their feet in descending the shaft, they swing in mid air.

Job 28:5-9

The solid rock is broken, and the kills are undermined by those who search for precious metals. Their tunnels pierce the centre of the Alps, and tear out the bowels of the hills.

Job 28:10-11

Miners take great care to prevent the water from breaking in upon them so as to flood the mines, and by such care they are able to penetrate into earth’s deep places, and reveal her secrets.

Job 28:12-17

Glass in ancient times was a costly article, used only for splendour and luxury, but however precious it might be, wisdom far excels it.

Job 28:28

Job comes to the same conclusion as Solomon, who said, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” True religion is priceless beyond all the treasures of earth. Seek it first, ye children and young men; for then shall you be truly rich. Jesus is the Captain of the mine of wisdom, and he will show you the lodes of precious knowledge.

 

In vain we search; in vain we try;

Till Jesus brings his gospel nigh;

‘Tis there such power and glory dwell

As save rebellious souls from hell.

 

Let men or angels dig the mines,

Where nature’s golden treasure shines;

Brought near the doctrine of the cross,

All nature’s gold appears but dross.

 

Relax From the Stresses of Life!

2 Thessalonians 1:7

If you have been under a lot of stress, pressure, and anxiety lately, I think Paul’s words in Second Thessalonians 1:7 are meant just for you! Read carefully, because you’re going to find real encouragement and instruction today that will help you find peace in the midst of trouble.

When Paul wrote the book of Second Thessalonians, the believers in the city of Thessalonica were undergoing horrifying persecution. The persecution in this city was worse than it was in other places because Christians were being hunted both by pagan idol worshipers and by unbelieving Jews who detested the Gospel message. As a result of these threatening conditions, members of the Thessalonian church were suffering, and some even paid the price of dying for the Gospel. However, in spite of these afflictions and pressures from outside forces, this congregation refused to surrender to defeat.

When Paul addressed these believers in Second Thessalonians, they had already been under this stress and pressure for a long period of time. The assaults against them had been like a stream of unrelenting poundings from which they had no pause. Naturally, they were exhaustedextremely tired, worn out, and fatigued. It had been a very long time since they had put up their feet and taken a break! The idea of unwinding or lightening up almost seemed like a fantasy. But everyone needs to rest at some point!

If you’ve been going through a prolonged period of hardship due to persecution, your business, your family, your relationships, your finances, or your children, you still must learn how to rest in the Lord, even in the middle of that difficult situation you are facing. If you don’t, the battle will wear you out!

That’s why Paul told the Thessalonians, “And to you who are troubled rest with us….” The word “troubled” tells us the extent of their hardships. It is the Greek word thlipsis, a word Paul often employs when he describes difficult events that he and his team have encountered. This word is so strong that it is impossible to misunderstand the intensity of these persecutions. It conveys the idea of a heavy-pressure situation. In fact, one scholar commented that the word thlipsis was first used to describe the specific act of tying a victim with a rope, laying him on his back, and then placing a huge boulder on top of him until his body was crushed. As time progressed, this word came to describe any situation that was crushing or debilitating.

One example of this can be found in Second Corinthians 1:8, where Paul writes, “For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia….” The word “trouble” in this verse is also from the word thlipsis. It could be translated, “We would not, brethren, have you ignorant of the horribly tight, life-threatening squeeze that came to us in Asia….” By using this word, Paul lets us know that his time in Asia was one of the most grueling nightmares he had ever undergone. In fact, when he was in the midst of the situation, he didn’t even know if he would survive it!

Now this is exactly the word Paul uses when he writes to the Thessalonian believers and says, “To those of you who are troubled….” The word “troubled” alerts us to the fact that they were not just mildly suffering; they were horrifically suffering—and as noted earlier, this suffering had gone on for a very long time. But because Paul had been in these types of adverse circumstances himself on different occasions and had victoriously survived, he knew that for the Thessalonians to outlast these difficulties, they needed to take a break from the pressure! That is why he told them, “… Rest with us.”

The word “rest” come from the Greek word anesis, which means to let up, to relax, to stop being stressed, or to find relief. One scholar comments that the word anesis was used in the secular Greek world to denote the release of a bowstring that has been under great pressure. It was also used figuratively to mean relaxation from the stresses of life and freedom to have a little recreation. By using this word, Paul urges the believers in the city of Thessalonica to find relief from the constant stress they are undergoing as a result of opposition to their faith. Paul exhorts them to let it go, shake it off, and learn how to relax, even in the midst of difficult circumstances.

 

An interpretive translation of this verse could be:

“To you who are still going through difficulties right now, it’s time for you to let up, take a breather, and relax. We know what it’s like to be under pressure, but no one can stay under that kind of stress continuously. So join us in learning how to loosen up a bit. Shake off your troubles, and allow yourself a little relaxation and time for recreation….”

I realize that when you’re dealing with problems, a vacation is the last thing on your mind! You just want to survive the challenge and make a transition into the next phase of your life—and to do it as soon as possible! You may even feel that it’s irresponsible for you to put up your feet and relax for a while. But even God rested on the seventh day!

Take Paul’s counsel to heart, and allow yourself a little relaxation and time for recreation—time away from your problems. When it’s time to come back and face those problems again, you’ll be refreshed and recharged with renewed vision. You’ll see that challenge with new eyes, and you’ll face it with new strength. Yes, I know it’s hard to allow yourself the time to do what I’m suggesting. But, friend, your survival depends on it. If you don’t take a break from that constant stress, it will keep wearing you down until you become easy prey for the devil.

So say goodbye to your problems today. Take a break, and allow yourself a little time to rest, relax, and recuperate!

MY PRAYER FOR TODAY

Lord, I admit that I’ve been carrying the worries, stresses, and pressures of life for too long. Before I do anything else, I want to cast these burdens over onto You today. I am tempted to worry that the problems I’m facing won’t work out, but taking them into my own hands and worrying about them isn’t going to make the situation any better. So I repent for letting myself become consumed with worry about things I cannot change, and I turn them all over to You today. Please help me stay free of anxiety as I learn to relax and enjoy life a little more than I’ve been enjoying it lately!

I pray this in Jesus’ name!

MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY

I confess that I need to set aside time for relaxation and recreation. Starting today, I’m going to take a break from my problems. I am casting my burdens on the Lord; as a result, I know I will be refreshed, recharged, and given a renewed vision. After a little rest, I will see my challenge with new eyes, and I’ll face it with new strength. I know my survival depends on this, so today I choose to take a break from the constant stress I’ve been dealing with before I get worn down and become easy prey for the devil. God will give me the strength and energy I need to get up and get going so I can complete the work He has entrusted into my hands.

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!

QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER

  1. When was the last time you took some time to rest and relax from the pressures in your life?
  2. What are some signs in your life that you need to take time to rest and gain a fresh perspective about the situations you’re facing right now?
  3. What are some of the best ways you’ve discovered that help you rest and recuperate during a stressful time in your life?

 

Want To Win Your Friend To Christ?

Here’s a simple but effective approach:

 

Christ called us to be “Fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19). In order to fish, we need a “N-E-T.”

 

N = Nerve ending: Identify the area of pain in their life – the “nerve ending”.

 

E = Empathize, as well as you can, with their pain.

 

T = Teach them how Christ can heal their pain.

 

And what are the “nerve endings” in people’s lives these days? Well, according to The Barna Research Group:

 

Financial – 39%

 

Work-related – 16%

 

Personal health – 12%

 

Time and stress – 8%

 

Parenting – 7%

 

Educational attainment – 6%

 

Fear of crime – 3%

 

Personal relationships – 3%

 

Key Scriptures on:

 

Finances: Deuteronomy 8; Matthew 6:19-33; Philippians 4:12, 13, 19; 1 Timothy 6:6-10, 17-19; Hebrews 13:5

 

Work: Proverbs 10:4; 12:11, 24, 27; 13:4, 11, 23; Ecclesiastes 5:18-20; Ephesians 4:28; 1 Thessalonians 4:11, 12; 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15

 

Happy fishing!

 

 

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