VIDEO Today Is The Day Of Salvation….

Hebrews 3.8Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says,

“Today, if you hear His voice,
do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion,
    on the day of testing in the wilderness,
where your fathers put me to the test
    and saw my works for forty years.
10 Therefore I was provoked with that generation,
and said, ‘They always go astray in their heart;
    they have not known My ways.’
11 As I swore in My wrath,
    ‘They shall not enter My rest.’”

On yesterday, the Lord established that when we read the Holy Bible that it is God Himself who is speaking and that every man must make a choice to believe this truth or not. Now, He speaks to tell us when that choice should be made- TODAY!

It was a Word in due season when Hebrews was written and it is a Word in due season today. As we look around our country and world we realize that  this is another “don’t rush by it Word. TODAY is the day of grace and salvation.

The Lord draws man unto Himself, His Word speaks:

Seek the Lord while He may be found;
    call on Him while he is near.
Let the wicked forsake their ways
    and the unrighteous their thoughts.
Let them turn to the Lord, and He will have mercy on them,
    and to our God, for He will freely pardon. Isaiah 55:6-7

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:10

I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” Luke 5:32

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28

For He says, “In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” I tell you, NOW is the time of God’s favor, NOW is the day of salvation. 2 Corinthians 6:2

For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:13

13 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. James 4:13-14

16 And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. 17 He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ 18 “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. 19 And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’ 20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ 21 “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.” Luke 12:16-21

“Come NOW, let us settle the matter,” says the Lord“Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.
Isaiah 1:18

The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price. 
Revelation 22:17

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

Salvation

O Heavenly Father, Hallow be Your Name! May Your Spirit fall fresh, usher in repentance, remove blinders, loose shackles, tear down strongholds, set the captive free, bring increase. Glory to Your Name! In the Name of the One Who gave His life that it would be so, Jesus the Christ! Amen!

To Know Jesus as Lord and Savior

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Today

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When Beauty Never Ends

Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. Psalm 63:3

I love looking at the Grand Canyon. Whenever I stand at the canyon rim I see new brushstrokes of God’s handiwork that take my breath away.

Even though it’s just a (very large) “hole” in the ground, the Grand Canyon causes me to reflect on heaven. A very honest twelve-year-old asked me once, “Won’t heaven be boring? Don’t you think we’ll get tired of praising God all the time?” But if a “hole in the ground” can be so overwhelmingly beautiful we can’t stop looking at it, we can only imagine the joy of one day seeing the very Source of beauty—our loving Creator—in all of the pristine wonder of the new creation.

We were created to enjoy God forever.

David expressed this longing when he wrote, “One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord” (Ps. 27:4). There’s nothing more beautiful than the presence of God, which draws near to us on this earth as we seek Him by faith, looking forward to seeing Him face to face.

On that day we’ll never tire of praising our amazing Lord, because we will never come to an end of fresh, new discoveries of His exquisite goodness and the wonders of the works of His hands. Every moment in His presence will bring a breathtaking revelation of His beauty and His love.

Beautiful Savior, please help me to seek You every day and to live even now in Your presence and Your love.

We were created to enjoy God forever.

By James Banks 

INSIGHT

God is worthy of our faith, hope, and confidence; His power and presence are the foundation of many of the Old Testament stories. But sometimes life makes us question what we know. It’s hard to see these truths about God when life is hard. That’s when we need to view our experience through the lens of Scripture.

David does just that in Psalm 27. Despite having been anointed king by Samuel, he is living as a vagrant and fugitive. Even though he is on the run and enemy armies are pursuing him (vv. 2–3), he is confident in the Lord (v. 3). It is just then—when David’s immediate experience suggests hopelessness—that he rests in the power and protection of the Lord. Turning his eyes away from his circumstances and toward the Lord bolstered David’s confidence. His one desire was not to be vindicated in front of his enemies, but to be in the presence of the Lord (v. 4). Turning to the Lord is what gave him confidence in the day of trouble (v. 5).

Where does your experience need to be understood through the lens of Scripture? What truth about God do you need to be reminded of today?

J.R. Hudberg

From Failure to Restoration

Philemon 1:1-21

Sometimes a difficult situation can make us wish we could run away. Unless we keep our eyes fixed firmly on Christ and our trust anchored to God’s Word, desperation to find relief may tempt us to take matters into our own hands. That’s what Onesimus did. He was one of the millions of slaves in the Roman Empire, and the day came when he decided he’d had enough. Not only did he run away, but he also stole from his master.

Although Onesimus thought he was charting his own course by fleeing to Rome, God directed his path to the apostle Paul, who led him to Christ. In his attempt to become free, Onesimus discovered the joy of becoming a devoted slave of Christ. Now Jesus was his Master and Lord, and that meant he had to correct his wrongdoing and return to his earthly master. Since runaway slaves faced the death penalty, Paul interceded on his behalf with a letter to his master Philemon, a fellow believer whom Paul had apparently led to faith.

Until a certain point in his life, Onesimus had not lived up to his name, which means “useful” or “profitable.” (See Philem. 1:11.) But Christ changed his life, and he became a “beloved brother” who ministered to Paul during the apostle’s imprisonment (Philem. 1:16).

Onesimus’s story demonstrates how God’s sovereign hand works in our life even when we’re determined to be our own master. Once we repent and surrender to the Lord, He redeems our failures and uses them for His glory. The things we remember with shame now become examples of God’s grace and power to transform lives.

Scarlet Hope

“Behold, when we come into the land, thou shalt bind this line of scarlet thread in the window which thou didst let us down by: and thou shalt bring thy father, and thy mother, and thy brethren, and all thy father’s household, home unto thee.” (Joshua 2:18)

These words were spoken to Rahab by Joshua’s spies after she had protected them from discovery by the officials of Jericho. She had testified to the spies that “the LORD your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath” (Joshua 2:11). Therefore, “by faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace” (Hebrews 11:31).

Rahab’s spiritual salvation came because of her faith in the true God; she soon entered into the covenant family of Israel and eventually even became a member of the family line leading to Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:5). Her physical deliverance, on the other hand, and that of her family depended on a “line of scarlet thread” suspended from her window, identifying her home as “under the blood,” so to speak, when Jericho fell and all its other inhabitants perished.

This thin, blood-red line constituted a very slender hope for Rahab in the midst of such a scene of judgment and total destruction, but it sufficed. It is fascinating to note that the Hebrew word for “line” (occurring here for the first time in the Bible) is everywhere else translated by the key word “hope.” Perhaps “line” soon came to mean “hope” because of this very experience, when a “scarlet hope” extended all the way from a repentant sinner to the very God of heaven! Note the same thought with the same word: “For thou art my hope, O Lord GOD” (Psalm 71:5).

“And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure” (1 John 3:3). HMM

Blessed are they that dwell in Thy house

Psalm 84

The consecration of Solomon’s temple brings to our mind his father’s delightful Psalm, in which he expressed his love to the worship of the Lord his God.

Psalm 84:1

More delightful than tongue can tell are the assemblies for divine worship. They are lovely in prospect, lovely at the time, and lovely to the memory afterwards. Under heaven, no place is so heavenly as the church of the living God.

Psalm 84:2

Do we feel the same burning desire after God? If so, we shall not need urging to attend his worship. Some need to be whipped to worship, but David is here crying for it; he needed no clatter of bells to ring him in to the service, he carried his bell in his own bosom.

Psalm 84:3

He envied the little birds which lodged about the tabernacle. When far away from the Lord’s altars he wished he had wings to fly to them, as the sparrows did, or build near them after the manner of the swallows.

Psalm 84:4

He wished he could be always employed about the sacred tent, for he thought that even the menial servants of such a Lord would be always praising him. Dwelling so near him, their joy would never cease, their praises would sound forth both day and night.

Psalm 84:5

Or, “in whose heart are thy ways.” None find joy in worship but those who throw their hearts into it. Neither prayer, nor praise, nor the hearing of the word will be profitable to persons who have left their hearts behind them.

Psalm 84:6

The pilgrims who went up to the temple found refreshment in the dreariest part of the road, even the gloomy vale of tears became delightful to them. They made desolate valleys to be as cheerful as the wells where men and women were accustomed to meet for social intercourse. What will not holy fellowship and hearty praises do?

Psalm 84:7

God’s people hold on their way, grow stronger, and at last reach their journey’s end, for they have an almighty Convoy who will not suffer them to fail.

Psalm 84:10

The doorkeeper is first in and last out, and he has less comfort than anyone, yet David would sooner have the lowest place in God’s house, than the highest in the tents of sin. Quaint old Seeker says, “Happy are those persons whom God will use as besoms to sweep out the dust from his temple, or who are allowed to tug at an oar of the boat wherein Christ and his people are embarked.”

Psalm 84:11

What a great promise, or set of promises! Here we have all we need for all time, yea, and for eternity. What an encouragement to pray! If all things are freely given to us of God, let us open our mouths wide in our petitions. What more can God himself say than he has said in this most precious verse?

 

How pleasant, how divinely fair,

O Lord of hosts, thy dwellings are!

With long desire my spirit faints

To meet the assemblies of thy saints.

 

My flesh would rest in thine abode,

My panting heart cries out for God;

My God! my King! why should I be

So far from all my joys and thee?

 

Jesus Has Overcome Everything!

2 Corinthians 11:23, 24

Once when I was teaching from Paul’s words in Second Corinthians 11:23-25, I especially emphasized the afflictions Paul overcame by the power of the Spirit. Later a young man came up to me and said, “It’s obvious to me that the apostle Paul had no faith!”

Shocked by his words, I asked him, “What do you mean when you say the apostle Paul had no faith?”

He answered, “If Paul had walked in faith, he wouldn’t have gone through any of those ordeals.”

The young man’s words made me think about the great number of people who have the wrong impression about faith. They think that if a person walks in faith, that somehow means he will escape all adversities in life.

But when you read the New Testament, you find that the early believers and the apostles faced many adversities. Certainly it wasn’t God who planned those hardships. The devil was the one who shrewdly planned those attacks in order to stop the preaching of the Gospel. And Satan is still working nonstop to prevent people from stepping into the glorious plan God has designed for their lives.

There is something very encouraging about studying the strategies the devil arrayed against the early believers. You see, regardless of what the enemy tried to do, he was unsuccessful in stopping them! Because they did have faith, they were unconquerable.

So I told the young man who talked to me that night, “Young man, the fact that Paul survived all those ordeals and continued his ministry to the end of his life is proof that he did possess faith. A man with no faith wouldn’t have survived those attacks.”

Don’t get the impression that walking in faith removes you from all challenges. Faith just gives you the ability to overcome the challenges that will attempt to assail you. Even Jesus said, “… In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

The word “tribulation” is the Greek word thlipsis, which describes a situation so difficult that it causes one to feel stressed, squeezed, pressured, or crushed. It can be translated as distress, affliction, or trouble, always indicating a level of intensity that is almost unbearable in the natural.

But Jesus tells us to be of “good cheer.” These two words are from the single Greek word tharseo, which literally means to be courageous. It is consistently translated, “Fear not,” but a better rendering would be “Take heart!” It is a word that would be spoken to strengthen someone who is facing some kind of hardship or difficult ordeal. Jesus was literally saying, “In this world you will go through some distressing times, but take heart and be courageous….”

Then Jesus tells us, “I have overcome the world.” The word “overcome” is the Greek word nikos, which is also the word for victory. But the grammar used in this statement does not imply a single victory in the past, but a continuous and abiding victory. Therefore, the idea that this Greek word presents is this: “I have overcome the world; I am still overcoming the world; and I will always be in an overcoming position over the world!”

The word “world” in Greek is kosmos, the Greek word that is always used to depict the arena where Satan attempts to wield his influence and describes all the human systems of the world. It is the very word Paul uses in Second Corinthians 4:4 when he refers to Satan as the “god of the world.” Satan is not god of the earth, but he operates through the human systems in the world—and these systems are what the enemy usually uses to attack the Church and God’s people.

When we consider all the things that assailed the apostle Paul, we realize that most of the attacks came through the world systems of government or religion. These were the primary instruments Satan used in his efforts to curb Paul’s activities. But Paul learned to take heart in such situations. He never gave up! Paul had obviously grabbed hold of Jesus’ words in John 16:33, because he overcame everything Satan ever tried to use against him. The devil simply was unable to stop this man who was determined to finish the assignment Heaven had given him!

Five Times Received I Forty Stripes Save One

In Second Corinthians 11:24, Paul goes on to say, “Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.” This was a Jewish method of punishment, applied to Paul on five different occasions. Deuteronomy 25:2, 3 refers to this method when it specifies how the wicked man should be punished: “And it shall be, if the wicked man be worthy to be beaten, that the judge shall cause him to lie down, and to be beaten before his face, according to his fault, by a certain number. Forty stripes he may give him, and not exceed….”

This was one of the most vicious treatments of the ancient world. The tortured person’s clothing was completely removed so he appeared before his persecutors naked. His arms were tied so he could not defend himself. Then the torturer would begin to lash the prisoner’s bare body with a whip made of three long cords, one from calf hide and the other two from donkey hide.

Pieces of glass, bone, and metal were often attached to the end of the cords to make the lashing more memorable. The torturer would hit so hard that the pieces of glass, bone, and metal would lodge into the victim’s skin. Then as the cords were jerked backward for the next lash of the whip, those pieces of glass, bone, and metal would rip out significant amounts of flesh. This left horrid scars on the victim’s body—permanently.

The first third of these lashes were given across the prisoner’s upper chest and face, while the remaining two-thirds of lashes were applied to his back, buttocks, and legs; meanwhile, the victim was forced to bend over to make it easier for the torturer to hit his body. Blood flew everywhere as the cords whipped wildly through the air, making snapping noises as they struck the victim again and again.

But let’s think a little deeper. If the whip was made of three cords and Paul received thirty-nine lashes each time, this means he received 117 lashes at each beating! And he went through this grueling exercise on five different occasions, which means 585 lashes were laid across Paul’s upper chest, face, back, buttocks, and legs. There wasn’t a place on his body that hadn’t been beaten or had pieces of flesh ripped out of it!

Paul was so committed to fulfilling his God-given call that he wouldn’t let anything stop him! After being repeatedly beaten in this terrible manner, he’d get up, put his clothes back on, and go right back to what he was doing before he was beaten. He had already made up his mind. He would not stop until his mission was complete!

Being beaten was an unpleasant experience. It was definitely a part of the journey that no one would relish. But Paul refused to let this experience become a permanent roadblock to his ministry. He pushed the opposition out of the way, got up, and went on. He overcame in the power of Jesus’ name and in the power of the Holy Spirit!

What are you facing today? I’m sure it isn’t a beating of thirty-nine lashes, yet it may still seem overpowering and overwhelming to you. How are you going to respond to these things? If you’ve been knocked down, are you going to stay there? Or are you going to get up, brush off the dirt, grab hold of the power of God, and start moving forward again?

Never forget that Jesus said, “In this world you will go through some distressing times. But take heart and be courageous, for I have overcome the world; I am still overcoming the world; and I will always be in an overcoming position over the world!”

If you’ll make the choice today to get up, brush off the dirt, tell your mind and emotions to be silent, and submit yourself to these words of Jesus, the Holy Spirit will begin to fill you with new strength so you can come through the difficult situations you are facing victoriously. And as you rely on God’s power to bring you to the place of victory you desire, you will learn how to overcome every challenge you will ever face in life!

MY PRAYER FOR TODAY

Lord, I am so thankful that You have overcome the world and given me the power to overcome it! I am so sorry for the times I’ve allowed my flesh to whine and complain when I should have been digging in my heels and latching on to the power of the Holy Spirit. I know that even though victory is mine, I must take it and make it my own. Please help me take charge of my whining, complaining flesh so I can reach out by faith to seize the power of the Holy Spirit—the very thing I need to make me a winner in my situation today. I thank You in advance for this inflow of power!

I pray this in Jesus’ name!

MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY

I confess that Jesus Christ has given me the power to be an overcomer in every situation in life! I am not a victim who has fallen to defeat. I don’t have to take what the devil tries to send my way. In the power of the Spirit and in Jesus’ name, I am well able to stand against each attack, to resist every devilish scheme that comes against me, and to maintain the victory of Jesus Christ in every part of my life. Jesus purchased victory for me, and I will not budge from my decision to have, to hold, to possess, and to enjoy His victory in my life!

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!

QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER

  1. Are you doing your best to walk in the victory of Jesus Christ? Or have you allowed your flesh to moan and groan and drag you down into the language of defeat?
  2. What scriptures can you meditate on and confess daily that will take you to a higher place of victory? Why don’t you write those verses down and put them in a visible place where you’ll see them every day and be reminded to declare them over your life?
  3. Can you think of any people in your life who are currently struggling with the temptation to give up in the midst of difficult circumstances? What are some things you could do to encourage these individuals to keep believing and to stand fast in faith for the victory they desire?

If you’ve been knocked down, are you going to stay there? Or are you going to get up, brush off the dirt, grab hold of the power of God, and start moving forward again?

 

Leadership Or Servanthood?

LEADERSHIP! Isn’t that the hot word today? Have you ever heard of a “Servanthood Conference“? I haven’t. Who would come? But put out the word on a “Leadership Conference” and the turnstiles start spinning. The term “leadership” kind of titillates your ego, doesn’t it? Interesting, is it not, that Christ had little to say about leadership, but spoke profusely on servanthood. For example,

 

Whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:44b, 45) (John 12:26; 13:2-17)

 

Dr. R. Edmund understood the Biblical perspective on leadership and servanthood in stating that as Christian educators and disciplers “our job is to train servants. It is Gods responsibility to raise up leaders.

 

We often find the idea of “servanthood” similar to a chicken bone wedged in our throat because:

  • We don’t like to be treated like a servant. Yet, we like to be known as one: “Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh.” (1 Peter 2:18)
  • We don’t like to serve when the visible results are meager or nonexistent: “Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:58) (1 Thessalonians 3:5)
  • We don’t like to be taken for granted: “So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.‘” (Luke 17:10)
  • We don’t like to be maligned, misunderstood, or judged for our efforts: “As servants of God…: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger.” (2 Corinthians 6:4, 5) (1 Corinthians 4:13)
  • We don’t like what it costs us in terms of time, resources, comfort or safety: “Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtainsalvation… ” (2 Timothy 2:10a, c) (1 Corinthians 9:19-24; 2 Corinthians 6:4, 5; 11:23-29)

Christ’s true ungrudging toilers anticipate the day when He will utter to them,

 

Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your masters happiness!‘” (Matthew 25:21b) (2 Corinthians 5:9)

 

 

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