God shows Himself even in the field that longs to separate itself from Him
God shows Himself even in the field that longs to separate itself from Him
Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God. Revelation 3:2
During the years when I traveled frequently and stayed in a different city every night, I always scheduled a wake-up call when I checked into a hotel. Along with a personal alarm, I needed a jangling telephone to help get me out of bed and moving in the morning.
The book of Revelation contains a spiritual wake-up call in the apostle John’s letters to the seven churches in the province of Asia. To the church in Sardis he wrote this message from Jesus Himself: “I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God” (Rev. 3:1–2).
In the midst of spiritual fatigue, we may fail to notice the lethargy that creeps into our relationship with God. But the Lord tells us to “remember . . . what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent” (v. 3).
Many people find that scheduling some extra time each morning to read the Bible and talk to the Lord in prayer helps them stay spiritually alert. It’s not a job but a joy to spend time with Jesus and know that He prepares us for whatever lies ahead that day.
Lord, enable us to hear and respond to Your wake-up call today.
Read In His Presence from Discovery Series.
Spending time with Jesus is a joy!
The call for the Christ-follower to be spiritually alert rings loud throughout the New Testament. To the sleepy disciples, Jesus bemoaned, “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation” (Matt. 26:41). Peter, writing from his own failure (see Luke 22:31–34), cautioned: “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him” (1 Peter 5:8–9). We are reminded to “put on the full armor of God” (Eph. 6:11, 13) and to stand firm with the truth of the gospel (v. 14; see 2 Tim. 3:14–17) and with “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Eph. 6:17). Those who have the law of God “in their hearts . . . do not slip” (Ps. 37:31). The spiritually alert “[delights] in the law of the Lord, and . . . meditates on his law day and night” (1:2).
How has “delighting” in God’s Word helped you remain spiritually alert?
One of the disciples saw Jesus praying and made the request, “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1). If Christ’s close associates needed instruction, then surely we, too, must learn about prayer. Thankfully, there are many examples in Scripture for us to follow, such as the passage we looked at yesterday.
Paul’s first-century requests for the people of Colossae are not only still applicable; they’re also instructive in terms of types of petitions to make on behalf of others. For instance, Paul prayed that these people would know God (Col. 1:10). In other words, he wanted them to grow in the Lord and not stagnate in their faith. This transformation takes place by studying the Word, applying biblical principles, and heeding the consequences of obedience.
Another plea was for the Colossians to experience God’s power (v. 11). The apostle wanted them to have the Lord’s supernatural energy and the strength they’d need to carry out His will. What is impossible by man’s effort becomes possible when believers rely on God. Then the glory rightly goes to Him.
Finally, Paul asked that they would give thanks joyously (vv. 11-12). This indicates the apostle’s hope that they would exhibit the proper attitude, expressing gratefulness even during difficult situations.
In church, we often hear people asking for prayer. And many believers make a prayer list so they don’t forget to intercede for certain individuals during the week. Using Paul’s example, we can be confident that we are praying for those on our list in a manner that pleases the Lord and aligns with His will.
“I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel.” (Galatians 1:6)
There is only one true gospel (meaning “good news”) in Christianity, but there are many false gospels. Various cults have proposed such concepts as the social gospel, the prosperity gospel, the full gospel, and others, but it is dangerous to attach adjectives or other modifiers to the gospel unless these are specifically attached to it in the Scriptures. There are enough of these, however, to emphasize that the true gospel does have many facets. God’s “good news” is always about Christ—His person and work—but His work is from eternity to eternity, and He is both the mighty God and perfect Man. Therefore, with Paul we can say, “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation” (Romans 1:16).
The gospel is the “everlasting gospel,” focusing on Him as the one “that made heaven, and earth” (Revelation 14:6-7). It is also the “gospel of the kingdom” (Matthew 4:23), focusing on Him as the coming “King of kings” (Revelation 17:14).
It is the wonderful “gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24) and “the gospel of your salvation” (Ephesians 1:13). Thus, it also is the true “gospel of peace” (Ephesians 6:15), reconciling man to God.
Because Christ is God, this “gospel of Jesus Christ” (Mark 1:1) is surely the one true “gospel of God” (Romans 1:1). This is the gospel that we have been commissioned by Christ to preach “to every creature” (Mark 16:15), so we need no other. And since it is, indeed, “the glorious gospel of the blessed God” (1 Timothy 1:11), we should never desire another. It meets every spiritual need for time and eternity. HMM
We will now read David’s Psalm for Solomon, which still more fully refers to our Lord Jesus Christ.
David’s heart was glad at the foresight of the glories of his son Solomon, but far more did he rejoice as his prophetic eye foresaw the greater splendours of the throne of the Messiah. At the second coming of the Lord Jesus, this Psalm will have a grand fulfilment, and meanwhile it is for us by prayer and effort to extend his kingdom. If anything can warm the heart of the Christian, it is the prospect of the Redeemer’s universal reign, and reign he will despite all his foes. The Lord Jehovah’s power and faithfulness are pledged to give our Lord Jesus the heathen for his inheritance, and, therefore, we may rest fully assured that it will be done. Jesus has fought the fight and won the victory, therefore will the Lord divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong. There is no room for despondency or trembling; with a covenanted God on our side, sworn to give the victory, all danger of defeat is removed far away. David ended his prayers when he had prayed for the filling of the whole earth with Messiah’s glory; he felt that he had reached the summit of his wishes, and had nothing more to ask. With this prayer upon his lip he is content to die. He strips himself of his royalty, and becomes only “the son of Jesse,” thrice happy to subside into nothing before the crowned Messiah. Before his believing eye the reign of Jesus, like the sun, filled all around with light, and exulting therein with all his heart, the holy man felt like Simeon, when he said, “Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation.” May the glory of Jesus in like manner be the one great wish of our souls.
Jesus shall reign where’er the sun
Does his successive journeys run;
His kingdom stretch from shore to shore,
Till moons shall wax and wane no more.
For him shall endless prayer be made,
And praises throng to crown his head;
His name like sweet perfume shall rise
With every morning sacrifice.
1 Peter 3:7
Husband, it is simply a fact that you married a woman who loves you and needs you. Your wife is your partner, and she wants to be treated like she is a partner.
That is exactly the way God designed marriage in the first place. God intended for your wife to be more than your housekeeper, your bookkeeper, your personal slave, or the babysitter for the children you bore together. God desires that she be your partner in life. Literally, she is to be a co-ruler in the partnership of life.
This is why Peter told husbands in First Peter 3:7 to view their wives as “… being heirs together of the grace of life….” I want you to especially notice the phrase “heirs together.” This phrase is taken from the Greek word sunekleronomos, a compound of the words sun and kleros. As noted earlier (see October 8), the word sun always carries the idea of partnership and cooperation. When the word sun is used in the New Testament, it always connects two or more people into a very vital union.
The second part of the word, kleros, describes a portion, an allotment, or apart of something that belongs to a person or to a specific thing for which the person is responsible. As time passed, the word kleros later came to denote a parcel or portion of land that was inherited and thus became one’s possession and responsibility.
When the words sun and kleros are compounded as in First Peter 3:7, it carries the idea of two people, a husband and wife, who are joined together in vital union to share life together. They are literally joined to become co-inheritors. The word sunkleromenos means they are partners, not only in marriage but in all the affairs of life. This is a joint venture, a joint partnership, a co-joining of two people into a shared adventure of life.
You see, God intended for marriage to be a joint venture. Whenever a spouse is treated as less than an equal partner, that spouse can become deeply discouraged regarding the marriage relationship. This discouragement, if not corrected, leads to bitterness, hurt, and hardness of heart. This is why it is so essential that a husband learn to esteem his wife as his partner in life, which is precisely who God called her to be. If the husband’s perception of her is anything other than this, he must renew his mind to the truth of God’s Word and learn to value and appreciate her. He also needs to find ways to show his wife that he counts her as his most valued partner and friend.
When a husband and wife treat each other as equal and valued partners in life, they become a powerful team. On the other hand, if a marital relationship is out of order and one or both of the spouses do not value or appreciate each other, First Peter 3:7 says that this out-of-sync condition will “hinder” them when they pray together.
The word “hinder” is the word egkopto, a word used in Greek times to portray the moment when a runner comes alongside another runner and literally elbows him out of the race. Although the runner was previously running a good race, the aggression of a competitor literally breaks in on his race and destroys his effectiveness.
This categorically means that when disruption comes between a husband and wife or when spouses don’t hold each other in esteem, the enemy is able to elbow into their relationship and invalidate the power of their prayers. That is why it is so important that husbands and wives view and receive each other as co-partners and co-inheritors in life. When a married couple see themselves as a unified team, their prayer life becomes powerful and effective. But if they allow their relationship to remain disjointed and disrupted, their prayers will be powerless and ineffective.
Therefore, husband, adjust your thinking to see your wife as your co-partner, co-inheritor, and co-ruler in life. If you are married, you are no longer just one; you have now become inseparably joined to your wife. Isn’t it time for you to start treating her like she is your princess?
Before you got married, you treated her with respect, and that’s the way God expects you to treat her after the wedding as well. So if you have become insensitive or have failed to treat your wife like the equal partner God intends for her to be, don’t you think it’s time for you to ask her forgiveness and then start treating her with the same courtesy and respect you expect her to show toward you?
Never forget—God intended for your marriage to be a powerful partnership. So make the decision today to treat your wife as though she is just as important and significant as yourself.
Lord, help me treat my wife like the partner You intended for her to be in my life. You gave her to me to be a co-ruler and co-inheritor of the grace of life. You placed her at my side to be my helper, my companion, and my partner. You called us together to achieve Your will for our family. I am sorry for the times I have ignored her or unintentionally forgotten to treat her like the partner she is in my life. Starting today, please help me reverse any of my behavior patterns that my wife perceives to be unkind or insensitive. Show me ways to demonstrate to her that she is truly my partner and my co-ruler in this life!
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
I confess that my wife is my co-ruler in life. She is my helper, my companion, and my partner. God called us together to make an impact in this world. Without her, I am incomplete, lacking all that is necessary to do this job. I acknowledge that I need my wife. I treat her as my equal partner whom God has joined to my life. She and I together make a powerful team, and together we are achieving great things!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
“Then He got into the boat and His disciples followed Him. Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke Him, saying, “Lord, save us! We‘re going to drown!“ He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?“ Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey Him!” (Matthew 8:23-27)
At 2:30 p.m. I was on the phone with an attorney discussing a legal issue. At 6:30 p.m. his 12-year-old daughter was dead. Icy roads. An auto accident.
Life’s storms, like the disciples who were caught in a vicious gale are often:
Jesus led the Twelve into the boat, and proceeded to fall asleep. An overpowering storm then arose. Surrounded as we are by life’s furious and unexpected storms, we often find ourselves crying out:
How we answer these questions will depend upon the object of our focus:
Why does God allow furious, overwhelming storms “without warning“? I don’t know. But I do know that “if God were small enough to be understood He would not be big enough to be worshipped.” After Jesus calmed the storm, the disciples exclaimed, “What kind of man is this?” And God’s answer? “The Sovereign God of our every circumstance.”
QUESTION: Have you discovered “what kind of man Jesus is?” If you have, then your life will be distinguished by an inner peace… whatever your state of affairs.