VIDEO Living Word

For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Hebrews 4:12

In the epic movie The Ten Commandments, whenever Pharaoh made a decree he sealed it: “So let it be written; so let it be done.” In short, the word of Pharaoh was alive in its nation-changing power. His word was spoken, recorded, and put into action.

God’s words are the same—only infinitely more so. His Word is eternal (John 1:1), made incarnate in Christ (John 1:14), and life-changing as the Holy Spirit applies it to the lives of human beings (Hebrews 4:12). God’s Word is living, powerful, and sharp enough to penetrate to the deepest part of man, revealing the thoughts and intents of the human heart. The very act of reading, studying, and meditating upon the Word of God gives the Spirit opportunity to illuminate the reader’s heart. The Word shows us who we are and who Christ is. Seeing the difference, the humble reader is willing to repent and be transformed into Christ’s image (Romans 8:29).

Read the Word today with the expectation of being changed.

How great and glorious a thing it is to have… the Word of God!  Martin Luther


Jesus O Living Word of God

 

Jesus, O living Word of God,
Wash me and cleanse me with Your blood
So You can speak to me.

Just let me hear Your words of grace,
Just let me see Your radiant face,
Beholding constantly.

Jesus, living Word,
My heart thirsts for Thee;
Of Thee I’d eat and drink,
Enjoy Thee thoroughly.
2
Jesus, most precious One to me,
I want to seek You constantly
So you can spread through me.

I would just call upon Your name,
Open to you; I have no shame
Loving You, Jesus Lord.

Jesus, precious One,
Be so real to me.
You are all I want;
I open wide to Thee.
3
Jesus, Oh living One in me,
Open my eyes that I might see
All that You are to me.

Just let me enter in Your heart,
Never from You would I depart,
Loving You constantly.

Jesus, living One,
Flood me thoroughly;
Take my willing heart
And overcome in me.
4
Lord I want You to have Your way,
Save me from being Satan’s prey,
I am believing You.

All I can give to You, my Lord,
Is my whole being, love outpoured;
Lord, I belong to You.

Jesus, faithful God,
Gain us through and through;
Use us thoroughly
To see Your purpose through.

 

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The Land of Far Distances

Your eyes will see the king in his beauty and view a land that stretches afar. Isaiah 33:17

Amy Carmichael (1867–1951) is known for her work of rescuing orphaned girls in India and giving them a new life. In the midst of this exhausting work there were times she called “moments of vision.” In her book Gold by Moonlight, she wrote, “In the midst of a crowded day we are given almost a glimpse of ‘the land of far distances,’ and we stand still, arrested on the road.”

The prophet Isaiah spoke of a time when God’s rebellious people would turn back to Him. “Your eyes will see the king in his beauty and view a land that stretches afar” (Isaiah 33:17). To view this “land of far distances” is to be lifted above the circumstances of the immediate present and to gain an eternal perspective. During difficult times, the Lord enables us to see our lives from His viewpoint and regain hope. “For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king; it is he who will save us” (v. 22).

The Lord is our king; it is he who will save us. Isaiah 33:22

Each day, we can choose to look down in discouragement or lift our eyes to “the land of far distances,” to the Lord who is “our Mighty One” (v. 21).

Amy Carmichael spent more than fifty years in India helping young women in great need. How did she do it? Each day she fixed her eyes on Jesus and placed her life in His care. And so can we.

Lord, today we lift our eyes from the circumstances that discourage us to see You in Your splendor, and find peace.

Fix your eyes on Jesus.

By David C. McCasland 

INSIGHT

In today’s reading (Isaiah 33), King Hezekiah mourns the Assyrian oppression of Judah. Yet the promise Isaiah the prophet gives is that those who trust in God can see past their present reality to a time of triumph in which the promised Messiah will be victorious over all enemies. Jerusalem is where God’s kingdom will be realized (Jeremiah 3:17; Revelation 21:1–2, 10).

Today we may not be oppressed by a foreign power, but each of us can think of someone who has treated us unjustly. It’s comforting to know that our ultimate destiny is a place of peace and joy.

In what ways does recognizing you have a future heavenly home give you grace to face the challenges of life?

For further study see OT Survey: Ecclesiastes–Isaiah at christianuniversity.org/OT224.

Dennis Fisher

Discipline Determines Destiny

1 Corinthians 9:23-27

The apostle Paul compares our life to a race and points out that self-discipline—or the lack of it—determines the outcome. What he’s speaking about is not simply our place in heaven, which is secured by our faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. He also has in mind our obedience and service for the Lord here on earth.

In order to fulfill the Father’s purposes for our life, we need to “exercise self-control in all things” (1 Corinthians 9:25). Though we long to obey the Lord, we have flesh tendencies, which are bent toward sin. Therefore, we need to control our sinful thoughts, impulses, and actions by making our body our slave instead of letting fleshly desires rule us (1 Corinthians 9:27).

Paul says to live with a goal in mind rather than float aimlessly through life (1 Corinthians 9:26). God has prepared good works for us to accomplish during our lifetime (Eph. 2:10). As we live in obedience to the Lord, He guides our path and empowers us through the Holy Spirit to accomplish His will.

Next, we must work toward God’s goal for us. Wishing and hoping never accomplish anything if there is no action. And effort that’s not directed at the right goal is like “beating the air” (1 Cor. 9:26). We may be working hard for our own purposes, but if they’re not God’s goals, it’s all wasted effort.

Paul tells us to run to win (1 Corinthians 9:24), but what is the prize? As we fulfill God’s purpose, He does His sanctifying work in us and accomplishes His will through us. Then one day, when we finish our course and stand before Christ in heaven, we’ll receive eternal rewards that never perish.

Father’s Love for the Son

“And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:17)

In this remarkable verse, God the Father, speaking from heaven itself, introduces His beloved Son to the world. This is the first New Testament reference to “love,” just as the Father’s love for the Son was the first love that ever existed. As Christ prayed in the upper room, “For thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world” (John 17:24).

There are many other references to the Father’s love for the Son, including two to the voice at His baptism (Mark 1:11; Luke 3:22) and two more in the upper room prayer (John 17:23, 26). One great reason for that love is the following: “Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life” (John 10:17).

The extent of the Father’s love for His blessed Son was all-encompassing. “The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand” (John 3:35). Furthermore, “the Father loveth the Son, and showeth him all things that himself doeth” (John 5:20).

God also spoke of His “beloved Son” on the Mount of Transfiguration, as cited four times (Matthew 17:5; Mark 9:7; Luke 9:35; 2 Peter 1:17). Thus, there are seven references in the New Testament to the Father’s heavenly testimony to His beloved Son. Similarly, there are seven passages where the Son Himself testifies of that Fatherly love. In addition to the six cited above, Christ said, “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you” (John 15:9).

Seven testimonies from the Father and seven from the Son! Surely the Father loved the Son with a perfect love. And yet—“Herein is love . . . that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10). Such love for unworthy sinners merits nothing less than total thanksgiving from us. HMM

Lord, evermore give us this bread

Those who followed Jesus with a wrong motive soon found that he did not care for their company, and was gone from them, they knew not how. If we attend places of worship with worldly motives, we shall one day find out as these people did, that “Jesus was not there.”

John 6:22-34

John 6:22, 23

John is particular in noticing our Lord’s thanksgiving; spiritual minds remark and remember most the spiritual parts of any action. The Jews noticed the bread and the fish, but the beloved disciple was most pleased with the giving of thanks. Oh for a spiritual eye!

John 6:25

Here was much zeal and outward respect, but it was blind and selfish, and therefore the Lord set no store by it.

John 6:26

With an unerring glance he read their hearts. They fancied that they were fond of him and his kingdom; he knew that far grosser affections ruled them; this he told them plainly to their faces, and bade them seek more noble objects.

John 6:29

The most godlike work, the greatest, and most acceptable, is that we believe in Jesus. Faith is, after all, the noblest of works, and none have it but those in whom God himself has placed it.

John 6:31

They wanted feeding again, and thought that by such talk they would induce the Lord to make them another banquet. They spoke of bread from heaven, little caring where it came from, so long as they might but be filled with it. It is wonderful that Jesus had patience to listen to their greedy and crafty insinuations.

John 6:34

Some thus prayed in honest ignorance, expecting to have food for nothing from his hand every day; but others merely said this in taunt, deridingly setting it before the Lord as the test of his Messiahship that he should give them bread all their lives. Yet they have, unwittingly, furnished us with a petition which we may hourly use; it is full of meaning, and exactly expresses our need and our desire. Let us carry it with us all this day as our heart’s wish and prayer—”Lord, evermore give us this bread.”

 

Oh! labour ye not for perishing meat;

For Jesus hath brought his body to eat;

Himself the true leaven, the life-giving bread,

He came down from heaven to quicken the dead.

 

To hearts unrenew’d ’tis hard to believe

His body for food how Jesus can give;

But he who partaketh doth inwardly feed,

And knows that it maketh a banquet indeed!

 

Beyond The Empty Profession

Examine yourself, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. (2 Corinthians 13:5)

Preaching from the pulpit about the Christian “deeper life” does not automatically produce a deeper life church and congregation. The profession of men and women that they believe in “the deeper Christian life” is no assurance that their fellowship is actually a deeper life church.

The deeper spiritual life many people say they want is not a message; it is not a sermon; it is not a profession.

I am a pastor and I think I major in telling the truth. It is true that it is about time we stop coddling and apologizing for congregations that have reputations for being deeper life churches.

The deeper spiritual life is not something just to be talked about—it is a quiet enjoyment of daily blessing and peace and victory that is lived day by day; beyond empty profession and without any two-faced circumstances!

 

Fear Only God

“So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.” Heb. 13:6

Because God will never leave nor forsake us, we may well be content with such things as we have. Since the Lord is ours, we cannot be left without a friend, a treasure, and a dwelling-place. This assurance may make us feel quite independent of men. Under such high patronage we do not feel tempted to cringe before our fellowmen, and ask of them permission to call our lives our own; but what we say we boldly say, and defy contradiction.

He who fears God has nothing else to fear. We should stand in such awe of the living Lord that all the threats that can be used by the proudest persecutor should have no more effect upon us than the whistling of the wind. Man in these days cannot do so much against us as he could when the apostle wrote the verse at the head of this page. Racks and stakes are out of fashion. Giant Pope cannot burn the pilgrims now. If the followers of false teachers try cruel mockery and scorn, we do not wonder at it, for the men of this world cannot love the heavenly seed. What then? We must bear the world’s scorn. It breaks no bones. God helping us, let us be bold, and when the world rages let it rage, but let us not fear it.

 

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