VIDEO Offering, Paul Baloche

brotherearl1944
Feb 20, 2011

Sovereign Lord, we thank You for the blessing of Jesus and for His sacrifice that wrought for us salvation. We praise You for ruling us with a loving and patient heart. We adore You for offering us the opportunity of eternal life. In the holy name of Jesus our Saviour, we pray. Amen.

The Cure for Anxiety

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6

We were excited about moving for my husband’s job. But the unknowns and challenges left me feeling anxious. Thoughts of sorting and packing up belongings. Looking for a place to live. My finding a new job too. Making my way around a new city, and getting settled. It was all . . . unsettling. As I thought about my “to-do” list, words written by the apostle Paul echoed in my mind: Don’t worry, but pray(Phil. 4:6–7).

If anyone could have been anxious about unknowns and challenges, it would have been Paul. He was shipwrecked. He was beaten. He was jailed. In his letter to the Philippian church, he encouraged his friends who also were facing unknowns, telling them, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (v. 6).

Paul’s words encourage me. Life is not without uncertainties—whether they come in the form of a major life transition, family issues, health scares, or financial trouble. What I continue to learn is that God cares. He invites us to let go of our fears of the unknown by giving them to Him. When we do, He, who knows all things, promises that His peace, “which transcends all understanding, will guard” our heart and mind in Christ Jesus (v. 7).

Dear God, what a blessing to know we do not have to be anxious about anything! Remind us that we can come to You and tell You about everything. Thank You for who You are and what You are doing in our lives.

God’s care for me eases my mind.

By Karen Wolfe 

INSIGHT

Today’s reading from Philippians 4 speaks of the wonderful resource of prayer and how through prayer we can take our anxieties to the Lord and find His comfort and peace. But in the verses directly preceding Paul’s prayer reminders, he gives us additional reasons to replace anxiety with trust. He says, “Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near” (v. 5). We have the promise of God’s nearness to calm our fears. In every situation, our God calls us to face life in His presence and provision.

Bill Crowder

Requirements of Walking by Faith

Genesis 12:1-9

We all know people who live according to their own desires and natural abilities. Sometimes we do it too. But as children of God, believers are called to walk by faith (2 Corinthians 5:7). That means we are to live based on a confident assurance that the Lord is true to His character and keeps every promise.

In the school of faith-walking, the first skill to master is listening. Because God’s Word is essential to our hearing from Him, we must cultivate the habit of biblical meditation. Through it, we will hear God’s Spirit speak to ours, illuminating the meaning of Scripture and showing us how to apply its truths to our circumstances. But recognizing the inner voice of the Holy Spirit does not come automatically; it takes practice.

A second skill to acquire is obedience—carrying out what the Lord commands and then doing it His way, in His time. Abraham left his homeland just as God commanded, but he “adjusted” the divine plan by bringing Lot along (Gen. 12:4). The life of faith is one of submission to God’s requests, methods, and time frames. As our listening skills improve, our faith in the Father will deepen, our commitment to Him will grow, and complete obedience will become easier.

Faith-walking also involves remembering what happened when we obeyed God in the past—He communicates with us not only for today but also to teach us for the future. Can you recall what He said to you last week? Have you put it into practice? Commit to being a better listener and a more obedient follower in the coming year.

Your New Name

“He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.” (Revelation 2:17)

This intriguing promise is one of seven promises in Christ’s letters to seven representative churches—promises made “to him that overcometh.” Although there are various opinions as to who constitute these overcomers, 1 John 5:4 would indicate that “whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.”

On this assumption, all who have been truly born again through faith in Christ will someday be given a new name by their Lord. No one will know what his new name will be until he receives it, and even then it may remain unknown to everyone else.

It would be reasonable to assume, however, that each new name will reflect the Lord’s evaluation of the character and service of the one who receives it. We have the primitive examples of Abram, Sarai, and Jacob being given new names by God, perhaps to serve as types of this coming investiture. Abram became “Abraham” (meaning “Father of Multitudes”), Sarai became “Sarah” (meaning “Princess”), and Jacob became “Israel” (meaning “Prevailing Prince with God”). See Genesis 17:5, 15; 32:28.

Whatever each of our new names will turn out to be, our Savior will also know them, of course, and this will perhaps be how we will be addressed by Him from then on in the new earth. This should be a great incentive to godly living and faithful service here on this present earth, for we surely desire to receive a good name there from our Lord on the future earth. HMM

Whither shall I flee from Thy presence

Jonah 1:1-7

About this time occurred the visit of the prophet Jonah to Nineveh, of which we will now read, and, as we do so, we may note the honest way in which the prophet describes himself, and reveals his own infirmities and faults.

Jonah 1:2

The city is said to have measured sixty miles round the walls, and to have contained a million of inhabitants. It was full of idols, and its wealth was obtained by plundering other nations. It was very gracious on the Lord’s part to send a prophet to warn such a city; but it was no slight task for one man to venture on so unwelcome an errand.

Jonah 1:3

Who would have thought that a prophet would act so wickedly? Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. We are much weaker than a prophet, and more likely to fall; let us therefore cry to the Lord to keep us.

Jonah 1:3

Jonah went down to Joppa;

Jonah 1:1

The finding of the ship was one of those providences which some think it right to follow in the teeth of God’s express commands. Old Thomas Adams says, “If thou wilt fly from God, the devil will lend thee both spurs and a horse; yea, a post-horse that will carry thee swiftly.” It is our duty to follow God’s orders, and not the apparent leading of circumstances.

Jonah 1:3

Sin is expensive; the fare thereof must be paid, and men care not how much they pay to gratify their wrong desires, though they will grumble at any little which the cause of God asks from them. What a mad errand was Jonah upon when he hoped to fly from the Lord, who is alike present in all places, as much present in Tarshish as in Nineveh!

Jonah 1:4

If we run from God he will send rough messengers after us: we may flee away in a calm, but a storm will soon be sent as an officer from heaven to arrest us.

Jonah 1:5

On this, Adams remarks: “Mariners living in the sea almost as fishes in their element, are commonly men devoid of fear, venturous, and contemners of danger. Yet now seeing the tempest so vehement on a sudden that their goodly and tall ship was tossed like a cockboat, and cracked so that it was like to be torn all to pieces, they were persuaded that it was no ordinary storm, but a revenging tempest, sent out by some great power which had been provoked: now they tremble for fear, like little children when they are frightened, lest their ship break, or leak, and so sink, and they lose their ship, lives and all. These fearless fellows were brought down by danger, and quaked like a young soldier who starteth at the sound of a gun. They did well to pray, but they prayed not well, for they turned to idol gods which could not even help themselves.”

Jonah 1:5

He for whom the storm was sent was the last to hear its message. When good men fall into sin they are generally in such a slumbering state of heart that it is hard to bring them to repentance.

Jonah 1:6

How well these words may be applied to those who are careless hearers of the gospel; they are asleep, and asleep in awful danger. Even a heathen might rebuke them as this shipmaster chided Jonah. O that they would awake and call upon God for their own sakes, and the sake of their families who are perishing with them.

Jonah 1:7

What men call chances are all in the hands of God. How sad that the best man on board the vessel should be convicted as being, for the time, the worst of all! When good men sin their offence is very great. Let us pray God to preserve us, lest we also be put to shame before the ungodly.

 

Love Without Hypocrisy

Romans 12:9

Have you ever heard the words “I love you” from someone you really believed to be your friend, only to find out later that this same person talked behind your back, gossiped about you, and didn’t treat you the way a real friend would? If you confronted that person about his actions, did he admit what he did and apologize for it? Or did he lie and try to cover up his deeds, even though you already knew the facts? Did it deeply disturb you to see him put on a fake face and pretend that he was your best friend and that none of the allegations were true, even though you knew he was lying?

If you have ever experienced a situation like this, you know how very hurtful it is when a “so-called” friend behaves this way. It shows a level of hypocrisy that is deeply disturbing. This type of behavior should never occur among believers, but unfortunately it does from time to time. To make sure you never fall into this kind of hypocrisy, the apostle Paul wrote and told you, “Let love be without dissimulation….”

Before we get to the word “dissimulation,” which is our primary theme today, we must first look at the word “love.” It is the Greek word agape, a word that describes the highest, finest, and most noble kind of love. In the New Testament, it is the single word that is used to describe the love of God. As noted earlier (see July 23), the word agape is so filled with deep emotion and meaning that it is one of the most difficult words to translate in the New Testament.

Agape occurs when an individual sees, recognizes, understands, or appreciates the value of an object or a person, causing the viewer to behold this object or person in great esteem, awe, admiration, wonder, and sincere appreciation. Such great respect is awakened in the heart of the observer for the object or person he is beholding that he is compelled to love it. In fact, his love for that person or object is so strong that it is irresistible.

In the New Testament, perhaps the best example of agape is found in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” In the phrase, “For God so loved the world,” the word “love” is the word agape.

The human race was so precious to God and He loved man so deeply that His heart was stirred to reach out and do something to save him. In other words, God’s love drove Him to action. You see, agape loves so profoundly that it knows no limits or boundaries in how far, wide, high, and deep it will go to show that love to its recipient. If necessary, agape love will even sacrifice itself for the sake of that object or person it so deeply cherishes. You can see from this description why agape is the highest, finest, and most noble form of love.

This is precisely the kind of love that should exist between believers. For instance, the apostle John wrote, “My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:18). The word “love” in this verse is the word agape. The apostle John makes it very clear that real agape love is not merely a matter of speaking easy and empty words; rather, agape is accompanied by actions that are truthful. It is simply hypocritical to claim to possess such love while at the same time engaging in unfaithful behavior such as backbiting and gossiping. Agape would never behave in such a manner; rather, it is forgiving and helpful, willing even to sacrifice itself for the sake of someone else.

This is why Paul wrote, “Let love be without dissimulation….” The King James Version uses the old word “dissimulation,” but the Greek word is anupokritos, and it describes something that is pretended, simulated, faked, feigned, or phony. It pictures a person who deliberately gives a certain impression, even though he knows the impression he is giving is untrue. In other words, this person is a phony.

 

So when the apostle Paul tells us to walk in love that is without dissimulation, he means this:

“If you are going to say you love someone, then make sure you really love them. Don’t give an impression that isn’t true. Don’t say one thing and then do another. Your love should be without hypocrisy, so don’t be phony when it comes to the subject of love.”

Now let me ask you this question: Have you ever been two-faced with people who thought you were their friend? Did you say one thing to them but later talk behind their backs? Did you do exactly the same thing that someone else is doing to you right now? Is it possible that you are reaping what you have sown?

Instead of getting bitter and hardhearted toward someone who has acted hypocritically in his friendship with you, learn from this experience. Make a decision that you will not be phony or hypocritical in your relationships the way this person was to you.

Meanwhile, make sure you forgive those who have wronged you. Let it go, and do your best to overlook their inconsistencies. The Lord will probably deal with them about their actions, so if they come to you in repentance, let them know they are forgiven. But most importantly, let this be a time when you decide that you will not be guilty of giving a false impression to a friend. Let your love be real. Don’t be a phony.

MY PRAYER FOR TODAY

Lord, I ask You to please forgive me for the times I’ve been an unfaithful friend. I know there have been times in my life when I gossiped and talked about people who were supposed to be my close friends. And I didn’t stop there. Rather than confess what I did and ask for forgiveness, I tried to cover it up by acting like I hadn’t done anything wrong. I am so sorry for what I have done. Please forgive me for lying. Please forgive me for being a phony in my relationships. I don’t ever want to do this again, so I ask You to help me walk in truthfulness, integrity, and in genuine agape love.

I pray this in Jesus’ name!

MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY

I confess that I walk in the agape love of God. I am a sincere, truthful, and dedicated friend. When I say that I love, I genuinely love. I don’t talk behind people’s backs. I don’t gossip. I don’t betray the friends God has brought into my life. If I do accidentally say something that is out of order, I quickly go to my friend to confess it and to ask for forgiveness. This truthfulness causes my friends to trust me and to know that I am truly a friend indeed.

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!

QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER

  1. Can you recall a time in your life when a friend was dishonest with you? How did it affect you when you discovered that this person had been two-faced?
  2. Have you ever violated a relationship by being untruthful or by talking behind the back of another person? Who is that person? What do you think the Lord would have you to do to make things right in that relationship?
  3. What has Jesus taught you through that past experience of violating a friendship? Why don’t you get a notepad and write down the things you have learned from this experience that might later help a friend who is facing the same situation?

 

Three Sins That Often Accompany The Blessing Of God

1. A LACKADAISICAL APPROACH TO OBEYING GOD’S WORD

 

Many of us surrendered ourselves to God in our youthful years – a time when we were “running scared.” Scared because we were unsure of our capabilities, and untested in the crucible of life. I suspect that few of us had any idea at that time as to the implications — or demands — of that commitment. However, as we gained the confidence that often accompanies “success,” we found our dependence upon God and His Word slowly (almost imperceptibly) waning.

 

Moses addressed a similar issue with the Israelites: “Be careful to follow every command I am giving you today, so that you may live and increase and may enter and possess the land that the Lord promised on oath to your forefathersHe humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.” (Deuteronomy 8:1, 3) (See Deuteronomy 4:1; 5:32; 6:1-3; 32:46, 47; Psalm 119:4-6; 1 Thessalonians 4:1, 12)

 

2. FORGETFUL INGRATITUDE FOR GOD’S BLESSING

 

“Success” we discovered, tended to dull our memory of God’s blessings. Thus, it was not uncommon for us to lapse into benign ingratitude: “Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commandsBe careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this dayBut remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your forefathers, as it is today.” (Deuteronomy 8:2, 11, 18) (See Deuteronomy 7:18; 32:18; Psalm 77:11; 106:7; 2 Peter 1:12; 3:1, 2)

 

3. TAKING CREDIT UNTO OURSELVES FOR GOD’S PROVISION:

 

Few among us, it seems, survive the dizzying effects of “success” and still retain childlike humility. (Matthew 18:2-4) “When you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slaveryYou may say to yourself, My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.‘” (Deuteronomy 8:12-14, 17) (See Deuteronomy 9:4; Isaiah 10:12-14; Daniel 4:28-33; 2 Corinthians 4:7; Galatians 6:14)

 

PRAYER: “O Lord, if I have wandered in my passion for you and your word, would you purify me, and rekindle the hunger I once held so dear. I ask for your forgiveness where I have failed to express my gratitude for your blessings. I ask your cleansing for taking personal credit for your bounty. In Jesus Name. Amen.

 

 

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