VIDEO The Cross and the switchblade

Dec 24, 2013

David Wilkerson’s courageous mission. Nicky Cruz’s dramatic conversion to Christ. This story has some of the most pressing problems afflicting youth.

The Remedy for Jealousy

So from that time on Saul kept a jealous eye on David.  1 Samuel 18:9 nlt

I gladly agreed to babysit my grandkids while their parents went out for the evening. After hugs, I asked the boys what they did over the weekend. (Both had separate adventures.) Bridger, age three, recounted breathlessly how he got to stay overnight with his aunt and uncle—and he had ice cream and rode a carousel and watched a movie! Next it was five-year-old Samuel’s turn. When asked what he did, he said, “Camping.” “Did you have fun?” I asked. “Not so much,” he answered forlornly.

Samuel experienced the age-old feeling of jealousy. He forgot how much fun he had camping with his dad when he heard his brother excitedly tell about his weekend.

Depend on His help and focus on Him in thankfulness.

All of us can fall prey to jealousy. King Saul gave in to the green-eyed monster of jealousy when the praise David received exceeded his: “Saul has killed his thousands, and David his ten thousands!” (1 Sam. 18:7 nlt). Saul was outraged and “from that time on . . . kept a jealous eye on David” (v. 9 nlt). He was so incensed he tried to kill David!

The comparison game is foolish and self-destructive. Someone will always have something we don’t or enjoy experiences different from ours. But God has already given us many blessings, including both life on this earth and the promise of eternal life to all who believe. Depending on His help and focusing on Him in thankfulness can help us to overcome jealousy.

Lord, You have given us life and the promise of life eternal if we trust in You as our Savior. For that—and so many other blessings—we give You praise!

The remedy for jealousy is thankfulness to God.

INSIGHT:Why is it hard to see someone—even a friend—getting more attention than us? It happened to Saul. He loved David, but he became insanely jealous when he saw his faithful servant getting more honor than himself. Centuries earlier Cain enviously killed his younger brother Abel. And when Christ lived on earth the religious leaders of Israel became so jealous of Jesus that they demanded His death. But Jesus demonstrated a love that doesn’t envy. This love finds its source in God.

Our God of Comfort

2 Corinthians 1:3-4

God’s care for us extends even to the details of our lives. He knows when His children hurt, and He longs to offer comfort (Isa. 49:13).

The Lord’s compassion is personal, continuous, and always available. We receive His comfort through the Holy Spirit, who lives within us. There is no situation or time when He is inaccessible to the believer—we can be consoled and reassured at any moment, day or night.

Consider how the compassion of God was demonstrated through Jesus’ life. He interacted even with the “untouchables”—people whose bodies were infected with a contagious disease (Luke 17:11-14). And no sickness of ours will prevent Him from caring for us.

When Jesus saw people with medical conditions, in compassion He not only healed them physically but also gave an even greater comfort—new life through the forgiveness of sins. And while our infirmities may remain, the Lord lovingly strengthens us to persevere (2 Corinthians 12:7-9).

As for the messes we get into, notice how Peter’s betrayal of Christ was met with forgiveness and reinstatement (John 21:15-17), and Thomas’s doubts were answered by Jesus Himself (John 20:27). Our mistakes won’t stop Him from loving us. Even to His enemies, Jesus left the way open for repentance.

God’s comfort and care are adequate for anything we face, whether it’s poor health, insufficient finances, or family trouble. Then, once we’ve experienced His consolation, we’re to become bearers of comfort to others (2 Corinthians 1:4). Remember, people everywhere are in great need of His compassion.

God’s Complete Supply

“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)

The key to this promise in today’s verse is the need that must be met by the riches of the great King as we render our service in His Kingdom. But how vast those needs can be and how different the supply is!

Millions of Israelites needed food in the wilderness, and the manna came fresh from heaven each day for 40 years (Exodus 16:35). Gideon needed victory over the innumerable Midianites, and God caused confusion to fall on his enemies (Judges 7:22). Elijah needed a powerful demonstration of God’s authority, and fire came down from heaven (1 Kings 18:38).

In the New Testament, a crippled man needed a new hand (Mark 3:5), a blind man needed new eyes (John 9:5-6), and a dead man needed life (John 11:43-44). Jesus made the best wine anyone had ever had when the party needed supply (John 2:10-22). He calmed the sea when the disciples needed freedom from their fear (Mark 4:38-39). And He pulled Peter up from the sea when he needed rescue (Matthew 14:30-31). No matter the size of the need, the resources are more than sufficient.

More often than not, however, the need is spiritual. We all need God’s forgiveness from the “sickness” of sin (Mark 2:17). When we first come into His Kingdom, we need the “milk” of the Word (Hebrews 5:12). We all need the wisdom to “walk honestly toward them that are without” (1 Thessalonians 4:12).

And our great God has the resources to supply all our needs. HMM III

“Unto you that believe He is precious.”

1 Peter 2:1-10

1 Peter 2:2, 3

desire the sincere or unadulterated

1 Peter 2:2, 3

That is to say, if we be indeed believers, God has bestowed upon us a spiritual and incorruptible life; therefore, let us have done with the evil fruits of the old nature. We are born into a new world, let us cast aside the defiled and leprous garments of our former condition. Anger, deceit, and slander, are as unbecoming in a Christian as the cerements of the grave would be unfit for a living man. It is ours, henceforth, to live upon the truth and to practise it, to rejoice in a gracious God, and act graciously ourselves. We desire to know the word of God, that by its sustaining power the life within us may be nurtured and made to advance to perfection.

1 Peter 2:4, 5

We desire to be holy because we are so near akin to our Lord Jesus. He is the foundation, and we are the stones of the spiritual building. Men may rail at us, as they did at him, but God has chosen us, and we are precious in his sight, even as Jesus is; hence we desire to live as consecrated persons, in whom God dwells, whose whole business is to present sacrifices unto the Lord. As is the foundation, such should all the building be: upon the living, chosen, precious foundation, there ought to be built up a church of lively, choice, and holy spirits.

1 Peter 2:6

This is good cheer for us who believe in him: let us be bold because of it, and never for a moment hesitate to confess Christ before men.

1 Peter 2:7, 8

But he does not say how precious. This is more than tongue or pen could tell. Verily, the Lord Jesus is all in all, and more than all to his people

1 Peter 2:7, 8

It is clear that none can be neutral, we must either feel Jesus to be precious or else we shall stumble at him: and, if we are so disobedient as to be offended at the Lord, our unbelief will not injure him, for God has ordained him to be the headstone of the corner; nor will it disarrange the purposes of God, for in them there is a dark place for the rebel as well as a bright spot for the believer.

1 Peter 2:9

As a family, let us remember how the Lord has favoured us in his grace, and let each saved one among us remember whereunto he is called. Chosen, royal, priestly, peculiar, and beloved of heaven,—what manner of persons ought we to be? We ought to be far better than others, for the Lord has dealt so much better with us. May rich grace rest upon us, and cause us to show forth the praises of our God.

1 Peter 2:10

We were outcast Gentiles, who were counted as little better than dogs: how grateful ought we to be that we now enjoy the same portion as the favoured people of old. Lord, cleanse us from all sin, and make us a family separated to thy service.

 

Oh might this worthless heart of mine,

The Saviour’s temple be!

Emptied of every love but thine,

And shut to all but thee!

 

I long to find thy presence there,

I long to see thy face;

Almighty Lord, my heart prepare

The Saviour to embrace.

 

It’s Wearisome To Work With the Dead!

1 Timothy 3:1

One of the greatest frustrations I’ve experienced through the years is working with people who have great potential but are apathetic about life. It’s even more frustrating when these people grew up in Christian homes and should therefore have been taught to pursue a higher standard for life.

But many people weren’t raised according to a high standard of excellence as my parents raised me. Therefore, they don’t possess a deep desire to be excellent in everything they do. They grew up in an environment where low-level thinking was viewed as normal, so that’s the standard they’ve accepted for their own lives. However, a person who comes from a low-level background hurts only himself when he uses that as an excuse for staying mediocre.

It’s so frustrating when you give people the opportunity to learn, to adapt, and to better themselves, but they don’t take advantage of these opportunities and therefore never experience needed change. You can send them to school, educate them, and even pay for them to fly halfway around the world in order to learn new and better techniques. But if they don’t possess the inner drive to become better and more professional, it doesn’t matter how much time or money you throw at them. It’s all a waste unless they have desire.

This is the reason the apostle Paul put “desire” at the top of the list when he wrote to Timothy and instructed him on how to choose leaders for his church in Ephesus. In First Timothy 3:1, Paul said, “This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.” According to this verse, desire is not only an important quality to possess, it is a requirement for any believer who wants to fulfill God’s plan for his or her life!

The word “desire” comes from the Greek word orego, which means to stretch forward or to reach toward. It denotes the longing, cravings, urge, burning desire, or yearning ambition to achieve something or to become something. It portrays a person so fixed on the object of his desire that his whole being is stretched forward to take hold of that goal or object.

In other words, this word doesn’t portray a person who just “thinks” about becoming something; this is a person who is determined to become something! He has put his whole heart, soul, and body into his dream, and he won’t take no for an answer! He will do whatever is required; he will change anything in his character that needs to be changed and do anything he must do to achieve his goal.

It takes only a few personal experiences with desireless people to make it perfectly clear why Paul put this quality at the top of the list of character requirements for leaders. There is nothing more dreadful or irritating than to work with someone who is gifted and talented but who doesn’t even possess enough initiative to get up and do his job!

As I said, one of my greatest frustrations—and this is true of every leader—is in trying to help, nurture, and develop people who have great potential but are apathetic about life. Desireless people stroll through life at their own pace, accepting standards and practices that would never be accepted in the business or secular world. They are like dead people!

You push, shove, beg, plead, and pray for people that fit this description to get involved. Finally, they respond to your constant requests to do something at work or in the church. They even do it for a while—at least until they feel a little opposition or are just too tired! At that point, they give up. These people don’t have enough desire to make it through the obstacles they face along the way. This is another reason a potential leader must demonstrate this quality of strong inward desire.

Obstacles will come as you grow in the Lord. From time to time, hindrances will try to knock you out of your spiritual race. If you don’t have a strong desire to be used by God and to become someone important in the work of His Kingdom, it won’t take too many of these obstacles and hindrances to make you give up and back out of your commitments. That’s why it’s essential to develop an inner desire strong enough to overcome the forces that come against you along the way.

You need to know that even though every person has a dream for success, that doesn’t mean every person will attain it. It takes great effort and hard work to achieve success in any realm of life. Many people who dream of success will never experience it because they don’t desire it enough; therefore, they aren’t willing to put forth the effort to make it happen.

As a result, a large portion of the lost world looks at the Church as a pathetic entity made up of a bunch of nincompoops who aren’t serious about what they do or say. This lack of desire is the reason why so much of what is done in the Christian world is of such inferior quality. A person who is satisfied with little will never achieve much. On the other hand, a person who is full of desire for excellence will never be satisfied with a low-level performance in his or her life.

But how about you? Do you have enough desire to get up and do something with your life? Do your actions demonstrate that you are fixed on a goal God has given you? How much time do you waste watching television when you could be reading, studying, working, and developing yourself into someone better? You’ll never become someone great or achieve anything special by doing what everyone else does. If you want to stand above the rest of the crowd, you’ll have to do more than what others do. If you don’t have desire, you’ll never make it!

So ask the Holy Spirit to stir up strong desire in your heart to become all that God has called you to be and fulfill all that He has told you to do. Keep developing your desire until it’s strong enough to overcome the forces that come against you along the way. Stretch forward with your whole being and take hold of your goal!

MY PRAYER FOR TODAY

Lord, thank You for speaking to me so strongly today about my personal level of desire. For me to be what You have called me to be, I know that I have to develop a stronger inner desire than I am demonstrating in my life at this moment. Holy Spirit, please stir my heart so fiercely that I won’t be satisfied with my current level of life. Please give me a godly discontentment with the level I’ve already achieved so I’ll be motivated to keep reaching for higher levels in my personal life!

I pray this in Jesus’ name!

MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY

I confess that I am filled with desire! I am fixed on the goal God has given me to achieve, and my actions demonstrate that I am committed to achieving God’s plan for my life. I read, study, work, and develop myself regularly so I can become better and achieve higher results. Because I will never become someone great or achieve anything special by doing what everyone else does, I do more than what others do. Because I have desire, I will make it!

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!

QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER

  1. What are you doing to develop yourself so you can reach the goal God has given you? Are you studying, reading, or serving and learning at the side of someone who is already doing what you want to do?
  2. What will be required of you in order for you to see your dream come to pass?
  3. If you keep doing exactly what you’re doing right now, what will be your status in life two years from now?

 

Two Men Of Passion

King Solomon and the Apostle Paul.

 

The difference between them lay in the focus of their passion:

 

Solomon’s passion was directed away from God by his affection for unbelieving foreign women:

 

His wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God.” (1 Kings 11:4)

 

Paul’s passion, by contrast, was redirected from self-righteous legalism toward knowing Christ:

 

I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ.” (Philippians 3:7, 8)

 

Solomon expended his life on pleasure:

 

I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure.” (Ecclesiastes 2:10)

 

Paul, by comparison, invested his life in making Christ known:

 

We proclaim Him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom. To this end I labor, struggling with all His energy… ” (Colossians 1:28, 29)

 

HOW DID THESE TWO MEN OF PASSION END UP?

 

Solomon became bitter and disappointed in his old age:

 

I hated life[and] I hated all the things I had toiled for under the sun… ” (Ecclesiastes 2:17a, 18a)

 

Paul, however completed his life with a profound sense of accomplishment and anticipation:

 

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day… ” (2 Timothy 4:8)

 

TWO QUESTIONS:

 

(1) Where is the focus of your passion? On yourself, or on the Glory of God?

 

(2) How will you end up? Like Solomon, or like Paul?

 

 

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