VIDEO Resting in God’s Presence

 

Image result for psalm 23

Resting in God’s presence…
is what I want to do today…
getting renewed and restored…
and listening to what He has to say.
For there is nothing better…
that we can do for ourselves…
than to tap into Him…
and be where He dwells.

© Secret Angel and The Abuse Expose’ with Secret Angel, 2017.

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Could I Say That?

It was not you who sent me here, but God. Genesis 45:8

“The perception of favoritism is one of the biggest factors in sibling rivalry,” said Dr. Barbara Howard, a developmental behavioral pediatrician (“When Parents Have a Favorite Child” nytimes.com). An example would be the Old Testament character Joseph, who was his father’s favorite son, which made his older brothers furious (Gen. 37:3–4). So they sold Joseph to merchants traveling to Egypt and made it appear that a wild animal had killed him (37:12–36). His dreams had been shattered and his future appeared hopeless.

Yet, along Joseph’s journey of life, he chose to be true to his God and rely on Him even when it seemed to make his situation worse. After being falsely accused by his employer’s wife and imprisoned for something he didn’t do, Joseph struggled with the injustice of his situation but kept trusting the Lord.

In the darkest hours of life, only through the eyes of faith can we see the loving hand of God.

Years later his brothers came to Egypt to buy grain during a famine and were terrified to discover that their despised younger brother was now the Prime Minister. But Joseph told them, “Do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you . . . . It was not you who sent me here, but God” (45:5, 8).

Joseph’s kind words cause me to wonder if I would be ready for revenge. Or would I be gracious because my heart had confidence in the Lord?

Dear Father, give us the faith to trust You today and the ability to see Your hand of good along our road of life.

In the darkest hours of life, only through the eyes of faith can we see the loving hand of God.

By David C. McCasland 

INSIGHT:We struggle with the pain others cause us. Why is it so hard to let go of these wounds? How can the example of Jesus, who was wounded for us, help us to find a healthier way to deal with our hurts?

Seek Spiritual Discernment

Proverbs 2:1-7

At one time or another, everyone feels confused, uncertain, or misled. When that happens, we can live victoriously and confidently only by possessing spiritual discernment—the ability to see life from God’s perspective. We need His help to distinguish between right and wrong, good and best, truth and error.

Each day we make many decisions—some trivial, others critical. The Lord doesn’t want us to form judgments based on mere appearance or human reasoning. But the world is so full of deceptive information that we, on our own, couldn’t know what to believe. And so God has given us the Holy Spirit to help us see the reality of each situation as He does.

We can fully trust the Lord with our relationships as well. Since He knows every person’s heart, the only way we can wisely interact with others is to be sensitive to the leading of God’s Spirit within us.

Although the Father gives each of His children the capacity for spiritual discernment, many Christians are unaware of it. They stumble through life, doing the best they can, but fail to use this wonderful provision. Others may not think they need it. They make choices according to their own knowledge and reasoning, never giving the Lord a second thought. Unless we cooperate with God in the development of His gift of discernment, it will lie dormant within us.

A discerning spirit begins with a humble, teachable attitude. If you’ve been handling decisions, situations, and relationships through your own wisdom, confess this to God. Then ask for His perspective and search His Word for direction. Your wisdom will grow, and discernment will protect you.

The King of Glory

“Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory. Selah.” (Psalm 24:10)

In the upper room just before His betrayal, the Lord Jesus prayed to His Father, remembering “the glory which I had with thee before the world was” (John 17:5). He had left heaven, however, when “the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth” (1:14). Then, when He miraculously turned water into wine at the wedding in Galilee, He “manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him” (John 2:11).

In the days of His flesh, His glory was veiled, however, except in His life, words of grace and truth, and mighty works. He “made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:7-8).

Finally, His glory seemed to be gone forever as He lay in a borrowed tomb. But then “God . . . raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God” (1 Peter 1:21).

He is now “the Lord of glory” (James 2:1), who, being the very “brightness of [God’s] glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Hebrews 1:3).

As He ascended back to heaven, all His hosts of angels welcomed their Lord of hosts with a mighty anthem of praise: “Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory” (Psalm 24:9-10). HMM

“Arise, O God! Plead thine own cause.”

Psalm 83

In after years, when Israel came into sore trouble, her holy men remembered the Lord’s overthrow of Jabin and Sisera, and made it a plea in prayer. We must never doubt that what the Lord did in the olden times for his people he can and will do again. He may alter his mode of action, but he will achieve the same result.

Psalm 83:1, 2

O Lord, thine enemies are raging, do not be deaf and dumb to them, but hear thou their furious threats, and rebuke them by thy word. They are very proud, but do thou, O Lord, abase them.

Psalm 83:3

God’s people are hidden as his choice treasure, hidden for protection, hidden in their secret nature, and hidden in the sense of being obscure and unvalued. Against such the wicked plot with cunning and cruelty. Though believers sometimes act without consideration, their enemies seldom do so. In this matter the children of this world are wiser than the children of light.

Psalm 83:4

Only extermination will serve their turn. The powers of evil would not leave a believer on earth if they could help it. Remember the massacre of St. Bartholomew, and be assured that the spirit of Antichrist is unchanged.

Psalm 83:5-8

Thus relatives and near neighbours, old enemies and new foes, were of one mind against the favoured nation. The wicked often put divided Christians to shame by their unanimity.

Psalm 83:11, 12

They meant to take the tabernacle itself as a prey, and to attack the shrine of God himself. Their total destruction was a fit reward for such ferocious sacrilege.

Psalm 83:13

Let them have no rest, let them have no power to resist thee.

Psalm 83:14, 15

We must love our own enemies, but when we view men as the enemies of God and his glorious cause, we cannot love them nor ought we to do so. May all those who fight against God, truth, love, and holiness, be utterly defeated.

Psalm 83:16

A sweet prayer, fit for Christian lips, since it asks for the salvation of those who are now the Lord’s enemies.

Psalm 83:17

If wicked men will not bend, then let them break, for it cannot be that all the rights of men and all the laws of God should be set aside to give liberty to unholy minds. If truth and holiness cannot live except bad men be put down, then down let them go.

Psalm 83:18

This is the grand design of providence, and the end to which all events must tend. Let us as a household and as individuals, be ever found upon the Lord’s side.

 

O Jesu Christ, thy Church sustain;

Our hearts are wavering, cold and vain;

Then let thy word be strong and clear,

To silence doubt and banish fear.

 

O guard us all from Satan’s wiles,

From worldly threats and worldly smiles,

And let thy saints in unity

Know thee in God and God in thee.

 

Going Into All the World In Order To Preach the Gospel!

Matthew 28:19

Mark 16:15

Today I want to talk to you about the commission Jesus gave to the Church to go into all the world to preach the Gospel. In the two verses listed above, Jesus explicitly gave the directive for believers to traverse the globe to “teach all nations” the Gospel (Matthew 28:19) and to take the saving message of Jesus Christ “into all the world” (Mark 16:15). But did Jesus really expect every believer to uproot his family, leave his nation, and move to the other side of the world to fulfill this command?

By studying Matthew 28:19 and Mark 16:15, we discover that different Greek words are used in these two texts to accentuate the different parts of the world we are to reach with the Gospel. Let’s look at the two words “nations” and “world” today, for in these two words we find that we needn’t go far from home to fulfill the Great Commission!

First, let’s look at Jesus’ words in Matthew 28:19: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations….”

The word “nations” is the Greek word ethnos. It is where we get the word ethnic. In Greek, this word always describes Gentile nations. However, it doesn’t just refer to nations that are geographically located distant from us; it also expresses the idea of different customs, cultures, and civilizations. This unquestionably means the Gospel is to be taken to people from every culture, custom, civilization, race, color, or ethnicity in the world.

The Gospel is meant for all the ethnosin other words, for all the various races and colors of human flesh, all the cultures of the world, all the civilizations that exist worldwide. One man has translated Matthew 28:19 to read, “Go ye therefore and teach all ethnic groups, invading every race, every skin color, and every nation with its different customs and culture—ultimately taking this Gospel into every civilization that exists in the world.” I personally like this translation because it tells us the Gospel is for the entire human race!

Here is the good news for you today! Because the mixture of nations has so dramatically changed in the past fifty years, you don’t have to go too far from home to find different ethnic groups, skin colors, cultures, or customs. The nations are now a mixture of different cultures and customs. Just leave your house and drive down the street to a different neighborhood. You’ll soon find a culture very different from your own!

Rather than shun the people from these other cultures because they are different, you need to be brave enough to go to them. Build a relationship with them so you can bring them the message of the Lordship of Jesus Christ. They are a part of your mission field!

But in Mark 16:15, Jesus used a different word to tell us who we are to “target” with the Gospel message. He said, “… Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” The word “world” in this verse is from the Greek word kosmos. This is very significant, for the word kosmos describes anything that is ordered. In Greek it is often used to denote a particular political system; a system of fashion; a system found in any part of society such as a circle of friends; or any sphere where you live and have influence.

The apostle Paul used the word kosmos when he wrote that Satan was the “god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4). Paul wasn’t speaking of the physical earth in that verse; he was telling us that Satan operates in world systems, including (but not exclusive to) some of the areas mentioned above. These world systems (kosmos) are the spheres Satan has invaded and where he exerts his greatest influence.

Now Jesus tells us that we are to go into all the kosmos. Just as Satan attempts to manipulate, dominate, and control the world through such systems, we are ordered by Jesus to go “into all the world,” or into all the kosmoswhich happens to be the very same systems through which Satan tries to control the human race. The people who live in those systems are lost, blinded by the god of this world. They need the Gospel message!

An example of these world systems may be the place where you work. “Going into all the world” may mean going to the fellow workers you see and talk to every day. The system Jesus is sending you to may be the school you attend and the circle of friends you have there. Perhaps Jesus is telling you to take the Gospel into the special clubs or societies to which you belong. Or maybe He is calling you to invade your circle of friends whom you cherish and enjoy with the saving message of the Cross. Any of these examples could be your personal kosmosthe place where you live, function, and have influence in other people’s lives.

What does all this mean for you? It means you don’t have to move to the other side of the world to preach the Gospel. Jesus never expected all believers to uproot their families and to move to foreign nations. But He does expect you to take the Gospel to the different ethnic groups, cultures, and civilizations that are in your city. He does expect you to invade every sphere where you have influence and to use your influence to declare the Gospel to people who live, work, and function in those places.

So where is your closest mission field? Your mission field is right down your street or on the other side of your city in a neighborhood where the culture and customs are different than your own. Your mission field is to every person whose skin color is different than yours. You are to take the Gospel to every culture, civilization, and ethnic group in the community where you live.

Whom are you called to reach? Your specific assignment is to reach every person in every group where you have influence. This means you needn’t buy a plane ticket and fly to the other side of the world to do this job. Mission trips are great experiences, but you have a mission field right where you work, where you attend school, where you purchase your groceries every day—in every place where you have some level of personal influence.

Open your eyes and look around you! Jesus told the disciples that the fields of people all around them were “white already to harvest” (John 4:35). If you’ll look around you, you will see that the fields around you are white unto harvest as well. People near you are struggling through life, just wishing someone would help them. They are waiting for you to come to them with the saving message of Jesus Christ, and you are the missionary God wants to send them.

Why does God want to use you to reach these people in your life? Because you already have a relationship with them. You have influence with them. They will listen to you when you tell them the Good News! So open your heart and mind today to the Holy Spirit, and let Him use you to bring eternal change to the lost people who literally encompass your life!

MY PRAYER FOR TODAY

Lord, I ask You to use me to reach my city and the people who are in my sphere of influence. I’ve made the mistake of thinking that missions work only happens on the other side of the world and have therefore missed the vast mission field that surrounds my life every day. Now that I know You are calling me to invade every culture and ethnic group, give me the power and courage to start reaching them with the Good News. And now that I know I am to invade every sphere where I have influence, help me see myself as Your missionary, sent to these people whom I know so well. I surrender to the call—and today I acknowledge that I am Your missionary to my world.

I pray this in Jesus’ name!

MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY

I confess that I am God’s missionary to my city and to the people I interact with in every area of life. Jesus expects me to take the Gospel to the different ethnic groups, cultures, and civilizations that are in my city and neighborhood. He expects me to invade every sphere where I have influence and to use that influence to share the Gospel with the people who live, work, and function in those places. My mission field is right down my street, and my assignment is to reach every person in every group where I have influence. So I choose this day to invest my time and energy into fulfilling that divine assignment to the glory of God!

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!

QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER

  1. How long has it been since you moved out of your comfortable life to reach people who are outside your culture, custom, skin color, or ethnic group? Have you been limited in your thinking to reach only people who look, think, and live like you?
  2. Can you think of someone you know who doesn’t know Jesus? It could be your hairdresser, your neighbor, the ladies at the local daycare, the men at the bowling alley, the people you work with every day, or the other students with whom you attend school. Since these are the types of places where you have influence, don’t you think you ought to use that influential connection to bring people to Jesus?
  3. Why don’t you write down a list of five different people or groups to whom you can reach out with the saving message of Jesus Christ? Remember, God is expecting you to be His missionary, so think this through. After writing down your answer, pray over it and then formulate a plan you can begin to execute.

Whom are you called to reach? Your specific assignment is to reach every person in every group where you have influence.

 

The Solitary Life Of A Disciple

The path of the serious disciple is a lonely one indeed. In the past couple of weeks, three professed believers have indicated to me that for various reasons they are choosing not to pursue a thoughtful commitment to follow Jesus Christ:

  • For one it has to do with the crushing pressure of getting a new business up and running.
  • Another, it seems, is seduced by the pleasure his newly acquired affluence now affords him.
  • And a third honestly admitted to me that applying Biblical ethics to the operation of his business would prove his financial undoing.

Why should I be surprised or chagrined, as the life of the serious disciple has always been a lonely one:

  • Jesus faced the prospect of the cross alone.

Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, Sit here while I go over there and pray. He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubledHe fell with his face to the ground and prayedThen he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour? he asked?” (Matthew 26:36-39)

  • Paul faced the trial for his life alone.

At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them.” (2 Timothy 4:16)

 

Over a period of time, as the Holy Spirit puts His finger on various issues in our lives, we are faced with the choice of obedience, or of going our own stubborn way.

 

The more we obey, the greater will be the sense of alienation from the vast bulk of fellow-believers who have long since chosen the easier path of compromise.

 

During one of Jesus’ critical interactions with His followers, “many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. You do not want to leave too, do you? Jesus asked the Twelve. Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.‘” (John 6:66-68)

 

QUESTION: Are you prepared to walk the passage of obedience alone with Jesus – at whatever the cost – while most fellow-believers are surrendering to the world’s seductive forces? I am sure you are!

 

 

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