VIDEO Taking the Next Step

Taking the Next Step

…in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses. —2 Corinthians 6:4

When you have no vision from God, no enthusiasm left in your life, and no one watching and encouraging you, it requires the grace of Almighty God to take the next step in your devotion to Him, in the reading and studying of His Word, in your family life, or in your duty to Him. It takes much more of the grace of God, and a much greater awareness of drawing upon Him, to take that next step, than it does to preach the gospel.

Every Christian must experience the essence of the incarnation by bringing the next step down into flesh-and-blood reality and by working it out with his hands. We lose interest and give up when we have no vision, no encouragement, and no improvement, but only experience our everyday life with its trivial tasks. The thing that really testifies for God and for the people of God in the long run is steady perseverance, even when the work cannot be seen by others. And the only way to live an undefeated life is to live looking to God. Ask God to keep the eyes of your spirit open to the risen Christ, and it will be impossible for drudgery to discourage you. Never allow yourself to think that some tasks are beneath your dignity or too insignificant for you to do, and remind yourself of the example of Christ in John 13:1-17.

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


Take the Next Step

Faulty Wiring

Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart. Luke 18:1

Bryan Chapell received a call from a family asking him to pray about a house they wanted. It was perfect for them, and Chapell prayed with them over the phone. But the realtor called with bad news. Someone else had offered a higher price. The couple lost heart and wondered why God hadn’t answered their prayers. But later the building inspector found the house full of dangerous mold and faulty wiring. Another house became available that provided for the family, and a lesson was learned. As Chapell put it: “Persistent prayer in the face of initial disappointment can become the instrument of divine nurture.”

Problems present opportunities that demand decision. Where do we turn for counsel to make good decisions? Turn to God! When we pray about the situations that concern us, we’re opening them to His providence, and He will guide those who pray and don’t lose heart.

We grow to trust God more by seeing that often he prepares something better than our initial prayers did (or could) request. In fact God’s greatest gifts may come through prayers that seem to be unanswered. Bryan Chapell

Our Intimacy With God

Isaiah 6:1-4

The length of a relationship is not always an accurate gauge of intimacy. You can spend a lifetime with someone yet never really know him or her. What’s required for an intimate relationship is mutual willingness to open up and reveal ourselves.

This same truth applies to our relationship with God. For His part, the Lord already knows everything about us: our thoughts, desires, ways, values, and priorities. He has also provided everything necessary for us to truly know Him—through His Son. But are we responding to His self-revelation, or have we settled for superficial knowledge of Him?

The prophet Isaiah had his understanding of the Lord dramatically deepened when God suddenly revealed Himself “sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple” (Isa. 6:1). Isaiah’s mind was awestruck with the knowledge that He was in the presence of the majestic King. His ears resounded with cries of the seraphim calling out, “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of hosts” (Isa. 6:3). Nothing was ever the same for Isaiah after that. He was willing to do anything God said to do—no matter where he had to go, no matter what the task involved. (See Isa. 6:8.)

Although it’s unlikely that we will ever have such a vivid vision of the Lord, we hold in our hands something no less authentic—the Word of God. If we’ll submerge ourselves in His Word, spending time focused solely on Him and absorbing the truths He reveals about Himself, our intimacy with Him will increase. The result will be a mind and spirit attuned to God’s voice, sensitivity to His continual presence, and unrestrained obedience.

The Living Truths

“He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living: ye therefore do greatly err.” (Mark 12:27)

Sin and death are grim realities in the world, but these are only temporary intruders, as it were. The God of creation is the living God; and “Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16) is our living Savior, alive forevermore. It is appropriate, therefore, that the term “living” is applied over and over again to great truths of the Christian faith.

For example, the Holy Scriptures are called “the lively oracles” (Acts 7:38). “Lively” and “living” represent the same Greek word, zao; thus, the Bible is God’s “living word.” Jesus Christ called Himself “the living bread which came down from heaven,” sent down by “the living Father” (John 6:51, 57). He also promised that all who believe on Him would find “living water” flowing through their lives (John 7:38).

He has opened for us through His substitutionary death and justifying resurrection “a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh” (Hebrews 10:20). Furthermore, He has thereby “begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3).

The Lord Jesus is the foundation of the great house of the Lord into which we come through Him. “To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:4-5). In this holy temple, we are therefore urged to “present [our] bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is [our] reasonable service” (Romans 12:1). Our God is, indeed, the God of the living! HMM

The Lord shall fight for you

Zechariah the prophet was a fellow-worker with Haggai, and aided him in bringing about the completion of the temple. His prophecy is full of visions, and worthy of our careful study.

Zechariah 1:1-13, 18-21

Zechariah 1:7, 8

He saw the Lord of providence, attended by his ministering spirits, surveying the kingdoms. The red horses probably represented distress and war; the speckled, mingled events; and the white, times of prosperity.

Zechariah 1:10, 11

He who guards his church, which he calls his myrtle, summons his servants to give in their account of what is going on upon the face of the earth, and they report a general peace.

Zechariah 1:12

Would not poor Israel share in the wide-spread peace? Her intercessor does not forget to plead for her.

Zechariah 1:13

Yes, better times were in store, and the Lord declared their coming.

but these are come to fray or fright

Zechariah 1:13

God will always find men to do his work; there were horns to be cut off, and here are the carpenters or artificers. God will always find the right sort of men: they were smiths, not fishermen: and he will always find enough men, for as there were four horns, so are there four smiths to beat them to pieces. Empires which have opposed the Lord have been crushed to powder, and so will it always be: no power can stand against the Lord of Hosts. Are we upon his side? Have we believed in his Son Jesus? If so, none can harm us; but if not, his wrath will overthrow us.

To be sung or read

 

Through all thy works thy wisdom shines,

And baffles Satan’s deep designs;

Thy power is sovereign to fulfil

The noblest counsels of thy will.

 

Gospel Warning

As he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled. (Acts 24:25)

We who rejoice in the blessings that have come to us through the Savior, need to bear in mind that the gospel is not good news only!

The message of the Cross is good news indeed for the penitent, but to those who obey not the gospel it carries an overtone of warning.

The Spirit’s ministry to the impenitent world is to tell of sin and righteousness and judgment. For sinners who want to cease being willful sinners and become obedient children of God, the gospel message is one of unqualified peace, but it is by its very nature also an arbiter of the future destinies of man.

Actually, the message of the gospel may be received in either of two ways: in word only without power, or in word with power.

The truth received in power shifts the bases of life from Adam to Christ—a new and different Spirit enters the personality and makes the believing man new in every department of his being!

 

Guardian of the Fatherless

“In thee the fatherless findeth mercy.” Hos. 14:3

This is an excellent reason for casting away all other confidences and relying upon the Lord alone. When a child is left without its natural protector, our God steps in and becomes his guardian: so also when a man has lost every object of dependence, he may cast himself upon the living God and find in Him all that he needs. Orphans are cast upon the fatherhood of God, and He provides for them. The writer of these pages knows what it is to hang on the bare arm of God, and he bears his willing witness that no trust is so well warranted by facts, or so sure to be rewarded by results, as trust in the invisible but ever living God.

Some children who have fathers are not much the better off because of them, but the fatherless with God are rich. Better have God and no other friend than all the patrons on the earth and no God. To be bereaved of the creature is painful, but so long as the Lord remains the fountain of mercy to us, we are not truly orphaned. Let fatherless children plead the gracious word for this morning, and let all who have been bereaved of visible support do the same. Lord, let me find mercy in thee! The more needy and helpless I am, the more confidently do I appeal to thy loving heart.

 

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