The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. John 10:10
Restaurants and chefs often guard their best recipes. They work hard to create the perfect entrée and don’t want others taking advantage of their labor to create something unique and precious. Thankfully, God is not stingy with His best. He freely gave His Son, Jesus. Throughout the Gospels, Jesus encountered sickness, death, and confusion, and brought light and healing.
From the miracle at the Cana wedding to His ascension to the sky, Jesus entered situations and made them better. Because Jesus is deeply connected to God, unaffected by pride and self-absorption, He sees below the surface and knows how to bring the missing insight, healing, and hope to those who feel hopeless and lost.
We can invite God into each area of our lives. He has promised His Spirit and strength. Regardless of how or when our prayers are answered, Jesus is life. As we grow in our trust of Him, we realize that nothing is beyond His reach. We can invite Him into the darkest seasons and spaces of our lives and trust that He will bring light.
Without Christ there is no hope. Charles Spurgeon
The Secret Ingredient
Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch. Luke 5:4
On Friday, October 10, 1884, a group of Christians gathered in London to commission a handful of women missionaries heading to India. Reverend E. A. Stuart preached from Luke 5 and urged the workers to “launch out into the deep.” His points were: (1) launch into the depths of God’s love, realizing His love is a bottomless ocean; (2) launch into the depths of God’s rest, trusting Him to care for you; (3) launch into the depths of God’s providence, depending on His guidance for every footstep. If you do those things, said Stuart, you’ll be able to launch into the depths of India’s neediest people and bring forth a catch of souls.
What situation is facing you? What project is before you? Launch into the depths of God’s love, His rest, and His providence. Trust God to bless you and give you a catch of souls for the cause of His kingdom.
If we launch into the deep and let down the nets, we’ll enjoy the blessings of being fishers of men, and He will equip us for every good work.
You shall catch men. And… you shall catch them for life, and not for death, as the natural fisherman does. E. A. Stuart
1 John 4:7-10
Christianity is unique among world religions—the others all require certain behaviors for people to become acceptable to their god. Therefore, they must perform intense labor, undergo self-denial, or observe specific rituals. But none of us can earn a place in heaven, because we can never reach the Lord’s standard of utter perfection and holiness.
God has provided an entirely different way of salvation. In His wisdom, He reached down to us by sending His Son. Jesus came to live a perfect life and then, by dying on the cross, paid the penalty our sin deserved. Why did God choose to rescue us? The reason was not that we deserved it but because of His great love and mercy. Instead of punishing us for our sin, God poured out His wrath on His Son, thereby satisfying divine justice. Now all who believe in Jesus Christ and His work on the cross are forgiven and accepted as children of God.
Becoming a Christian doesn’t require working or pleading for the heavenly Father’s acceptance. Our salvation comes through repentance of sin and faith in Jesus Christ—God’s only begotten Son, who went to the cross to die in our place, thereby paying our sin debt in full.
What do you believe about Jesus Christ? Choosing to trust in Him is the most important decision you’ll ever make. After this life is over, all people will have to give account to God for their life. (See Rom. 14:12.) There will be no condemnation for those who have received the Savior, but for anyone who has rejected Him, the outcome will be eternal separation from God.
“And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.” (Matthew 24:11)
In the apostolic period, two main gifts of the Spirit were those of the apostle and prophet. In fact, the church itself was “built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets” (Ephesians 2:20). One function of these men was to receive and transmit God’s revelation to His people—first verbally, then eventually written in permanent form in the New Testament. “Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit” (Ephesians 3:5).
The apostle Paul revealed also that such prophecies would cease once they were no longer needed. “When that which is perfect [or ‘complete’] is come, then that which is in part shall be done away” (1 Corinthians 13:9-10). Clearly in the context, this refers to the complete revelation of God. When the last book of the Bible was transmitted to the church by the last living apostle, the Lord warned us neither to “add unto” nor to “take away from the words of the book of this prophecy” (Revelation 22:18-19).
But many false prophets have indeed “gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1), just as Jesus warned, and they have “deceived many.” One of them, a self-asserted seventh-century “prophet” from Arabia, received certain “revelations” from a “god” that were vastly different from those of the God of the Bible, and his followers now number over a billion.
There have been others, before and since, and the Lord Jesus warned us always to “beware of false prophets” (Matthew 7:15). The basic criterion by which to test any alleged prophecy, ancient or modern, is whether or not it fully conforms to the written Word of God, the Bible. “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isaiah 8:20). HMM
Many Jews preferred to live in Persia and forget their fathers’ land. These fell into a low state of grace, but were nevertheless the subjects of very remarkable providential deliverances, which are recorded in the Book of Esther. King Ahasuerus, or Xerxes, commanded Vashti, his queen, to show herself at a drinking bout. This immodest act she refused to do, and therefore the king divorced her. Beautiful women were gathered from every land that he might choose a new queen, and among others Esther was presented by her uncle Mordecai. Very far had Mordecai turned aside from the purity which becomes a child of God when he did this, but the Lord overruled it for his people’s good, for Esther became the queen of Ahasuerus, and was thus able to interpose to save the Jews.
The Persians ascribed religious honours to their rulers, and these the godly Jew would not render.
What a mean and cruel spirit dwelt in this great lord! He might very well have allowed the Jew to act as he pleased, for how could so great a man be injured by missing the nod of a poor Jew? But no, he plots a horrible revenge—a whole nation must die to atone for the brusque manners of one man.
He superstitiously waited for a lucky day in which to wreak vengeance on Mordecai’s nation, and happily the lot fell twelve months forward, which gave time to reverse the king’s decree.
Unhappy were the people who were subject to such a hasty, thoughtless king. Well was it for the world that Xerxes did not conquer the Greeks at Salamis!
Esther 3:12, 13
To gratify a favourites malice an ancient race must be massacred. God be thanked that under a constitutional government our lives are not at the mercy of one man as the poor Israelites were.
Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest (2 Corinthians 4:10)
Not everyone agrees with me that full qualification for eternity is not instant or automatic or painless.
I can only hope that you are wise enough, desirous enough and spiritual enough to face up to the truth that every day is another day of spiritual preparation, another day of testing and discipline with our heavenly destination in mind.
I hope, too, that you may begin to understand why many evangelical churches are in such a mess. It has become popular to preach a painless Christianity and automatic saintliness. It has become a part of our “instant” culture—”just pour a little water on it, stir mildly, pick up a gospel tract, and you are on your Christian way!”
“Lo,” we are told, “this is Bible Christianity!”
“It is nothing of the sort!”
To depend upon that kind of a formula is to experience only the outer fringe, the edge of what Christianity really is. For when the new birth is real and the wonder of regeneration has taken place, then comes the lifetime of preparation with the guidance of the Holy Spirit!
“And seek the peace of the city whither I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray unto the Lord for it: for in the peace thereof shall ye have peace Jer. 29:7
The principle involved in this text would suggest to all of us who are the Lord’s strangers and foreigners that we should be desirous to promote the peace and prosperity of the people among whom we dwell. Specially should our nation and our city be blest by our constant intercession. An earnest prayer for your country and other countries is well becoming in the mouth of every believer.
Eagerly let us pray for the great boon of peace, both at home and abroad. If strife should cause bloodshed in our streets, or if foreign battle should slay our brave soldiers, we should all bewail the calamity; let us therefore pray for peace, and diligently promote those principles by which the classes at home and the races abroad may be bound together in bonds of amity.
We ourselves are promised quiet in connection with the peace of the nation, and this most desirable; for thus we can bring up our families in the fear of the Lord, and also preach the gospel without let or hindrance. Today let us be much in prayer for our country, confessing national sins, and asking for national pardon and blessing, for Jesus’ sake.