VIDEO His Birth and Our New Birth

His Birth in History. “…that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God (Luke 1:35). Jesus Christ was born into this world, not from it. He did not emerge out of history; He came into history from the outside. Jesus Christ is not the best human being the human race can boast of— He is a Being for whom the human race can take no credit at all. He is not man becoming God, but God Incarnate— God coming into human flesh from outside it. His life is the highest and the holiest entering through the most humble of doors. Our Lord’s birth was an advent— the appearance of God in human form.

His Birth in Me. “My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you…” (Galatians 4:19). Just as our Lord came into human history from outside it, He must also come into me from outside. Have I allowed my personal human life to become a “Bethlehem” for the Son of God? I cannot enter the realm of the kingdom of God unless I am born again from above by a birth totally unlike physical birth. “You must be born again” (John 3:7). This is not a command, but a fact based on the authority of God. The evidence of the new birth is that I yield myself so completely to God that “Christ is formed” in me. And once “Christ is formed” in me, His nature immediately begins to work through me.

God Evident in the Flesh. This is what is made so profoundly possible for you and for me through the redemption of man by Jesus Christ

 

WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS

It is perilously possible to make our conceptions of God like molten lead poured into a specially designed mould, and when it is cold and hard we fling it at the heads of the religious people who don’t agree with us. Disciples Indeed, 388 R


The Birth of Christ and the New Birth – Charles Lawson

Retelling the Story of the Birth of Christ and Repeating Our World’s Desperate Need to be Born Again–Evidence by Chastening from The Lord.


 

Everyday Moments

A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit. Proverbs 15:13

I piled groceries in my car and carefully exited my parking spot. Suddenly a man darted across the pavement just in front of me, not noticing my approach. I slammed on my brakes, just missing him. Startled, he looked up and met my gaze. In that moment, I knew I had a choice: respond with rolled-eye frustration or offer a smiling forgiveness. I smiled.

Relief flickered across his face, raising the edges of his own lips in gratefulness.

In everyday moments, a smile can offer relief, hope, and the grace needed to continue.

Proverbs 15:13 says, “A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.” Is the writer directing us to cheery grins in the face of every interruption, disappointment, and inconvenience life brings? Surely not! There are times for genuine mourning, despair, and even anger at injustice. But in our everyday moments, a smile can offer relief, hope, and the grace needed to continue.

Perhaps the point of the proverb is that a smile naturally results from the condition of our inner beings. A “happy heart” is at peace, content, and yielded to God’s best. With such a heart, happy from the inside out, we can respond to surprising circumstances with a genuine smile, inviting others to embrace the hope and peace they too can experience with God.

Dear Father, today as I cross paths with others around me, make my heart happy that I may share with them the hope only You can offer.

Encourage one another and build each other up. 1 Thessalonians 5:11

By Elisa Morgan 

INSIGHT

In today’s reading we see the dynamic impact of a happy heart. It is interesting to note that our attitude toward our circumstances—not our situation—is the key issue. A wise person seeks out knowledge, which builds positive character rather than feeding (literally “grazing like cattle”) on those things that lead to foolishness. The oppressed are those who are bowed down or in great need, which can cause emotional turmoil. But we also see in verse 15 how those who are cheerful have a continual feast. The one who focuses on the God of compassion finds hope in difficult situations and also helps others to have hope.

Are you struggling today? Ask God to help you focus on Him with a joyful attitude.

Dennis Fisher

More Essentials of Meditation

Psalm 19:14

We have already explored three fundamentals of effective meditation. Today, let’s round out the list by adding three additional ones. Picking up where we left off yesterday, we will now consider:

4. Silence. What a struggle this one can be! How often do you sit down to pray and then end up doing all the talking yourself? The prophet Isaiah reminds us that “in quietness and trust is your strength” (Isa. 30:15). However, we’re not often quiet in prayer, are we? Sometimes we go on and on with our petitions but never actually give the Father an opportunity to respond. How can we ever truly know His heart unless we stop and listen to Him in silence?

5. Self-Control. This simply means admitting to yourself that you need to deal with some things in your life. God is continually refining us and shaping us into the men and women He wants us to be. As we surrender more and more to His will, we need to acknowledge these areas are no longer ours to control.

6. Submission. Finally, believers must submit to God. All of the prayer and meditation in the world will not make a difference in your life if you have a rebellious spirit. He desires to know you, use you, and mold you according to His best plan for you personally. This cannot happen if you do not intentionally submit to His work in your life.

Meditation can be hard work, but as with exercise, the rewards are well worth the effort. Ask for the Holy Spirit’s help, and make a commitment to start meditating today.

The Name of the Lord Jesus

“And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21)

This is the first of 144 references to the name of Christ in the New Testament. The word “name” (Greek noma) occurs only about 95 times when referring to any or all other names. This fact is itself a sort of commentary on Philippians 2:9: “God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name.”

In biblical times, a person’s name expressed the character or attributes desired for a child by his or her parents. The reason for the name “JESUS,” which means “Jehovah saves” or simply “salvation,” was given by the angel: “He shall save his people from their sins.”

There is only one Savior, “for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12); but His name does save! “As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name” (John 1:12).

Those who do receive Christ are thenceforth associated with His name—and therefore with His person and work. First, they are to be baptized “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” (Matthew 28:19). They are then to order their lives in a way that honors His name. “Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity” (2 Timothy 2:19).

He has given many gracious promises of answered prayer if we pray in His name, “that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you” (John 15:16). The final use of “name” in the Bible stresses our eternal identification with His name, for “his name shall be in their foreheads” (Revelation 22:4) as we are united with Him in the age to come. HMM

Thou has destroyed thyself, but in Me is thine help

Hosea 13:1-14

Hosea 13:1

Humble walking before God brings honour, but proud and wilful sin is deadly. O for grace to maintain a lowly spirit before the Lord.

Hosea 13:2, 3

If men will have transitory trusts they must have transitory joys. If we love gold our joy will melt; if we live for fame, which is only the breath of man, it will dissolve and be gone as a vapour. God alone provides us an enduring portion, yet how few confide in him!

Hosea 13:4

Vainly do we look to our own works, or to false priests, Jesus alone can save.

Hosea 13:5

The Lord has not failed us in distress. We have tried and proved his faithfulness in times of great need; let us, then, be faithful to him in return.

Hosea 13:6

Oh, shameful ingratitude, the more mercies they enjoyed the more wickedly they behaved! Because God remembered them in his goodness they forgot him and grew proud.

Hosea 13:8

Our God is just, and terrible in vengeance. Sin provokes him, and though he is slow to anger, he is mighty to punish when the time of retribution is fully come.

Hosea 13:9

This is the sum of the whole matter. Man ruins himself; God alone saves him. Damnation is all of sin; salvation is all of grace.

Hosea 13:10, 11

Saul was such a king: men often covet useless things.

Hosea 13:12

It is not forgotten, but laid away for future judgment, as men bind up their title deeds and place them in a secure place. All our sins will be remembered at the last great day, unless they are blotted out by the blood of Jesus.

Hosea 13:13

He is slow to be born again, he puts off conversion. This charge can be brought against many awakened sinners. Why halt ye between two opinions? Death and judgment do not tarry. Hasten, O sinner, to be wise.

Hosea 13:14

Though first to be applied to the national resurrection of Israel, this passage has a grand outlook towards the resurrection of the dead. Believing in this promise, we hate our sins, and knowing that they are pardoned, we meet death with joy, expecting to rise from the grave in the glorious image of the Redeemer.

 

I knew thee when the world was waste,

And thou alone wast fair,

On thee my heart its fondness placed,

My soul reposed its care.

 

Can I forget the cloudy days

Of grief in which we met,

When in life’s lone and friendless ways

Thou didst not me forget.

 

Can I forget those words of love,

So tender and so true,

With which, when thou must needs reprove,

Thou didst so comfort too?

 

O never, never let me choose

Freedom from thy control;

O never, never let me lose

Thy sunshine from my soul.

 

It’s Time for You To Speak to Yourself!

Luke 17:6

When Jesus taught His disciples about the evil effects of bitterness, unforgiveness, and offense, He also told them how to uproot and remove offenses and unforgiveness from the heart. Praise God that Jesus didn’t just identify the problem and then leave us to figure out our deliverance by ourselves! He took it one step further and gave us the secret weapon for jerking those roots clear out of the ground and sending them to a place where they will never again produce their wicked fruit in us.

Jesus said, “… If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you” (Luke 17:6). Notice Jesus said, “… Ye might say unto this sycamine tree….” In order to get rid of these destructive devices, you have to rise up and take authority over them!

Jesus specifically said that you must literally speak to the sycamine tree. The word “say” used in Luke 17:6 is the Greek word lego, which means to speak, but the tense that is used depicts a strong, stern, serious, deeply felt kind of speaking. In other words, this isn’t a person who mutters thoughtless nonsense; this is a person who has made an inward resolution and now speaks authoritatively and with great conviction.

Your voice represents your authority; therefore, when you raise your voice, you release your authority. That is why you must speak to these attitudes and not just think about them. You can think all you want about removing those poisonous roots in your life, but your thoughts will not remove them. But when you get so tired of living under the stress and strain of bitterness, unforgiveness, and offense that you lift your voice and command these foul forces to go, they will finally begin to obey you!

I promise you, friend—if you wait until you feel like speaking to those ugly attitudes, you’ll never do it! If you depend on your feelings and emotions to motivate you, you’ll never be free of offense and unforgiveness. Your feelings and emotions will tell you that you have a right and a reason to feel the way you do. Your flesh will talk you into hanging on to those unprofitable, harmful attitudes. So make the choice not to listen to your negative emotions anymore; then start exercising your God-given authority by speaking to yourself!

It is time for you to accept personal responsibility for your inward condition. Stop blaming everyone else for all your bad attitudes, and acknowledge that there is something inside you that needs to be removed! Jesus said you must speak to that “sycamine tree” and tell it to go!

  • If you don’t speak to your emotions, they will speak to you.
  • If you don’t take authority over your emotions, they will take authority over you.
  • If you don’t rise up and conquer your flesh, it will rise up and conquer you!
  • So quit letting your emotions tell you what to think, what to do, and how to react.
  • It’s time for YOU to do the talking and to take command of your own thought life!

You have to treat bitterness, resentment, and unforgiveness like they are enemies that have come to corrupt your soul. You must see them as bandits that have come to steal your joy, your peace, and your relationships. Would you throw open the door and allow a bandit to ravage your home? Of course not! In addition to using all the power available to you for removing that bandit, you’d probably command him to get out of your house! And I seriously doubt that you would whisper at him; most likely you would yell and scream as you ordered him out!

Likewise, you must decide not to tolerate this spiritual pestilence any longer, not even for a second. It’s time for you to raise your voice of authority and declare to these attitudes that they will no longer dominate you. And if you must, speak to these attitudes and command them to go again and again and again and again and again—until they are finally uprooted and removed forever!

You have to go for the roots! If you want to be free, it’s going to take an attitude that says, “I’m going to get to the roots of this beast and yank them clear out of my soul, and I’m not going to stop until I’m totally free!”

MY PRAYER FOR TODAY

Lord, I intend to exercise my God-given authority and to raise my voice to tell these attitudes that they will no longer hound and dominate me! Bitterness, I command you to leave me in Jesus’ name! Unforgiveness, I refuse to be bound by you any longer, and I tell you to leave me right now! Offense, I will not be held hostage by you any longer, and I am telling you to flee from me in the name of Jesus! The Lord has redeemed me, and I refuse to allow you to operate in me any longer. I command you to go RIGHT NOW in Jesus’ powerful name!

I pray this in Jesus’ name!

MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY

I confess that I will not tolerate attitudes of bitterness and unforgiveness in my life anymore. I’m not going to just think about how bad these attitudes are and how I need to change. I’m going to lift my voice and speak to them like enemies of my soul that have come to destroy my life and ruin my relationships. I simply will not allow myself to be subjected to these hounding thoughts any longer. I proclaim that I am free of the memories of those who did wrong to me. I forgive them. I choose to let it all go. I am walking completely free from these attitudes and will not be controlled by them from this day forward!

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!

QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER

  1. Don’t you agree that it’s time for you to stop only thinking about changing and to start doing something about it? Don’t you agree that you need to lift your voice and use your God-given authority to command bitterness and unforgiveness to release your mind and emotions?
  2. How would you react if you knew a bandit was coming to ravage your house? Would you throw open the door, let him in, and watch him freely move about your house? Or would you summon all the power available to you to get rid of him?
  3. Isn’t it time that you start using your own authority to speak to the spiritual bandits that have been robbing you in so many areas of your life?

 

Conditions For Answered Prayer

As a teen, I assumed God was deaf and disinterested in our concerns. That was because many believers seemed to shout when they prayed. Their prayers frequently appeared to be agonizingly long, often fraught with a whimpering, begging quality.

 

I later learned that both impressions of God were woefully inaccurate. The sample prayer Jesus gave the disciples to utter, for instance, is profound, yet simple, taking about 20 seconds to repeat. (See Matthew 6:9-13). Its contents testify of God’s intense interest in our requests, if we will but come to Him as a little child. (See Matthew 18:2-4)

 

George Muller of Bristol, England (1805-1898) has offered five conditions for answered prayer:

 

1. Entire dependence upon the merits and mediation of the Lord Jesus Christ, as the only basis for His blessing: “And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do itYou did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.” (John 14:13, 14; 15:16) (See Matthew 7:7; 11:24; John 15:7; Ephesians 3:20; 1 John 3:22)

 

2. Separation from all known sin:

 

If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.” (Psalm 66:18) (See Proverbs 15:8, 29)

 

3. Faith in God’s Word of promise as confirmed by His oath. Not to believe Him is to make Him both a liar and a perjurer:

 

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) (See Hebrews 3:18; 4:2; 6:13-20)

 

4. Ask in accordance with His will: Our motives must be godly: we must not seek any gift of God to consume upon our own lusts:

 

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” (1 John 5:14, 15; James 4:3) (See Job 35:12; Proverbs 1:20-28; Malachi 3:4)

 

5. Ask aggressively: There must be waiting on God and waiting for God, as the farmer develops patience in waiting for the harvest:

 

Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lords coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains.” (James 5:7) (See Luke 18:1-10)

 

 

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