VIDEO The Spiritually Self-Seeking Church – Pray and Be Alone With God

The Spiritually Self-Seeking Church

…till we all come…to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ… —Ephesians 4:13

Reconciliation means the restoring of the relationship between the entire human race and God, putting it back to what God designed it to be. This is what Jesus Christ did in redemption. The church ceases to be spiritual when it becomes self-seeking, only interested in the development of its own organization. The reconciliation of the human race according to His plan means realizing Him not only in our lives individually, but also in our lives collectively. Jesus Christ sent apostles and teachers for this very purpose— that the corporate Person of Christ and His church, made up of many members, might be brought into being and made known. We are not here to develop a spiritual life of our own, or to enjoy a quiet spiritual retreat. We are here to have the full realization of Jesus Christ, for the purpose of building His body.

Am I building up the body of Christ, or am I only concerned about my own personal development? The essential thing is my personal relationship with Jesus Christ— “…that I may know Him…” (Philippians 3:10). To fulfill God’s perfect design for me requires my total surrender— complete abandonment of myself to Him. Whenever I only want things for myself, the relationship is distorted. And I will suffer great humiliation once I come to acknowledge and understand that I have not really been concerned about realizing Jesus Christ Himself, but only concerned with knowing what He has done for me.

My goal is God Himself, not joy nor peace,
Nor even blessing, but Himself, my God.

Am I measuring my life by this standard or by something less?

WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS

Jesus Christ can afford to be misunderstood; we cannot. Our weakness lies in always wanting to vindicate ourselves.  The Place of Help, 1051 L


Pray and Be Alone With God

 

An Anchor When We’re Afraid

I, even I, am he who comforts you. Isaiah 51:12

Are you a worrier? I am. I wrestle with anxiety almost daily. I worry about big things. I worry about small things. Sometimes, it seems like I worry about everything. Once in my teens, I called the police when my parents were four hours late getting home.

Scripture repeatedly tells us not to be afraid. Because of God’s goodness and power, and because He sent Jesus to die for us and His Holy Spirit to guide us, our fears don’t have to rule our lives. We may well face hard things, but God has promised to be with us through it all.

One passage that has helped me profoundly in fearful moments is Isaiah 51:12–16. Here, God reminded His people, who had endured tremendous suffering, that He was still with them, and that His comforting presence is the ultimate reality. No matter how bad things may seem: “I, even I, am he who comforts you,” He told them through the prophet Isaiah (v. 12).

love that promise. Those eight words have been an emotion-steadying anchor for my soul. I’ve clung to this promise repeatedly when life has felt overwhelming, when my own “constant terror” (v. 13) has felt oppressive. Through this passage, God reminds me to lift my eyes from my fears and in faith and dependence to look to the One who “stretches out the heavens” (v. 13)—the One who promises to comfort us.

Lord, sometimes the struggles we face in life seem so big. But You are bigger. Help us to cling to Your promise of comfort in fearful moments and to experience Your loving provision as we trust You.

God’s comforting presence is more powerful than our fears.

 

By Adam Holz 

INSIGHT

Isaiah is fond of using imagery to display distinct ideas that are sometimes complementary and sometimes contrasting. Today’s passage presents contrasting ideas. In offering comfort to the people of Israel, Isaiah paints a portrait that gives the reader a beautiful vision of who God is in comparison to those who were trying to harm them. Notice the contrasts in verses 12–15: Mortals are like grass, while God stretches out the heavens and lays the foundations of the earth; the oppressor who stirs up wrath is nothing compared to the God who stirs the sea. While these words are comforting—after all, God is the one who covers us with the shadow of His hand—it’s important to understand that they don’t simply bypass the struggles we face. Isaiah acknowledges there is in fact an oppressor, and that oppressor is full of wrath. But he encourages us to see our difficulties in light of who God is and what He can do.

What difficult situation do you need to view in comparison with God’s power?

J.R. Hudberg

The Shed Blood of Jesus

John 1:29-34

When John the Baptist saw Jesus approaching, he declared Christ to be the Lamb of God.

This concept was familiar to the Israelites, since their law required blood offerings as atonement for sin (Lev. 17:11). Jesus became our sacrificial Lamb, paying once for all the sin debt owed by mankind (1 Peter 3:18). His death secured forgiveness and eternal life for everyone who trusts Him as Savior. With regard to salvation, nothing else is required or acceptable to God.

Jesus was the one who set things right between the Father and man. He died to bring us …

Redemption. This was a word that was used to describe a marketplace transaction—one that buys back something of value. All humanity was in bondage to sin and unable to pay the penalty (Rom. 6:23). As our sacrificial lamb, Jesus willingly died in our place and with His blood, redeemed us for His Father (1 Peter 1:18-19).

Forgiveness. As God’s adopted children, we have been saved by the blood of Christ and pardoned for our transgressions. The penalty for our actions has been fully paid. So at the moment of salvation, guilt for all of our sins—past, present, and future—is wiped away.

Meditate on what the Savior did at Calvary. As the sacrificial Lamb, Jesus exchanged His life for ours and gave it up to pay what we owed. His death redeemed us, secured our forgiveness, and gave us a permanent place in God’s family. Thank You, Jesus, for bringing redemption!

Resist the Devil

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.” (1 Peter 5:8-9)

The devil is far more powerful and intelligent (as well as subtle and seductive in his malignant purposes) than any combination of human enemies we could ever face, and we would be utterly unable to defeat him with our own human resources. Yet, God’s Word makes it plain that we are neither to yield to him nor flee from him. Instead, the admonition is: “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).

But how can we resist such a mighty foe? As in our text, we must constantly maintain sobriety and vigilance against his enticements, and be careful to remain “steadfast in the faith.” Otherwise, the pseudo-intellectualism and social peer pressure to which we are subjected daily could quickly persuade us to compromise the faith, or even to depart from the faith.

We are commanded not to yield and not to compromise. Instead, we must “put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” We have “the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the [wicked one],” and also “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:11, 16-17).

This mighty sword with which we can make Satan flee from us is literally “the saying of God”—that is, an appropriate individual word from the complete Word of God. This was the instrument with which the Lord Jesus Himself resisted the devil, parrying each temptation with an incisive thrust of Scripture. The result then—as it will be now with us also—was that the devil “departed from him for a season” (Luke 4:13). HMM

Lord, is it I?

John 13:21-30

John 13:21

He could not but be troubled as he quoted the words of David, “He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me.” He who has been deserted by his friend and betrayed by a beloved companion will best be able to sympathise with the Lord. How different from us was he when he found himself betrayed. He did not turn in anger on the traitor, and upbraid him to his face; but he spoke indefinitely of one then present; as if he would give the offender an opportunity to repent, by gently hinting to him that his evil covenant was known to his innocent victim. Hard was the heart which could be hardened under that tender and delicate appeal.

John 13:22

We read that they each one said, “Lord, is it I?” No one suspected his fellow, none thought of Judas. It is well when we take warnings home to ourselves:—”If a traitor was found ‘midst the privileged few, If in Jesus’ own presence a Judas was nigh; Let my poor startled conscience this moment renew, The anxious enquiry of ‘Lord, is it I?'”

John 13:23

With true modesty John conceals his name, but with fond remembrance of his Master’s favour, he uses a title dearer to him than the name his father gave him. To be “that disciple whom Jesus loved” was greater honour than to be an emperor.

John 13:24

If any man may expect to know the secret of the Lord it is the disciple who lives in fellowship with his Lord. He may ask questions when others dare not.

John 13:26

And yet the hardened sinner was not moved to repentance. Son of perdition, indeed, he was. Yet Jesus gave him a sop from his own dish. Outward gifts from the Lord’s hand are not always proofs of love. There was but one traitor at the table, and he alone had a sop given him from Christ’s own hand; let us not envy those ungodly ones to whom the dainty morsels fall, they are only eating to their own condemnation.

John 13:27

His irritation was great at being discovered, and as he was already a devil in covetousness, so Satan came to him and filled him with malice.

John 13:27

Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly.

He did not bid him do it, but since he would do it, he charged him to waste no time. Oh, the admirable meekness of the Lamb of God! Not one angry word fell from his lips. Why are we so full of wrath when we are ill-used?

John 13:29

This shows that the Redeemer showed no resentment, he spoke so calmly that the disciples thought that he referred to some ordinary business.

 

Leave thee! no, my dearest Saviour,

Thee whose blood my pardon bought;

Slight thy mercy, scorn thy favour!

Perish such an impious thought:

 

Leave thee—never!

Where for peace could I resort?

But, O Lord, thou know’st my weakness,

Know’st how prone I am to stray;

 

God of love, of truth, of meekness,

Guide and keep me in thy way;

Blest Redeemer!

Let me never from thee stray.

 

My God, my God, was ever love,

Was ever lowliness like thine?

Amazed I beg thee to explain

Thine own mysterious love’s design.

 

Wondering I ask how can it be

That God should wait on man below?

That God’s own Son should stoop to me,

And wash a sinner white as snow?

 

We Can Get Too Comfortable

And others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection. (Hebrews 11:35)

Is the fact that millions of Americans refuse to attend our church services only another symptom of original sin and love of moral darkness?

No, I believe that explanation is too “pat” to be wholly true.

Churches cannot deny they are too comfortable, too rich, too contented! We hold the faith of our fathers, but it does not hold us. God is trying to interest us in a glorious tomorrow and we are settling for an inglorious today. God has set eternity in our hearts and we have chosen time instead. We are bogged down in local interests and have lost sight of eternal purposes.

It was the knowledge that they were part of God’s eternal plan that imparted unquenchable enthusiasm to the early Christians. They burned with holy zeal for Christ, and felt they were part of an army which the Lord was leading to ultimate conquest over all the powers of darkness!

 

Whom, When, How to Deliver

“The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished.” 2Peter 2:9

The godly are tempted and tried. That is not true faith which is never put to the test. But the godly are delivered out of their trials, and that not by chance, nor by secondary agencies, but by the Lord himself. He personally undertakes the office of delivering those who trust Him. God loves the godly or godlike, and He makes a point of knowing where they are, and how they fare.

Sometimes their way seems to be a labyrinth, and they cannot imagine how they are to escape from threatening danger. What they do not know their Lord knows. He knows whom to deliver, and when to deliver, and how to deliver. He delivers in the way which is most beneficial to the godly, most crushing to the tempter, and most glorifying to Himself. We may leave the “how” with the Lord, and be content to rejoice in the fact that He will, in some way or other, bring His own people through all the dangers, trials, and temptations of this mortal life, to His own right hand in glory.

This day it is not for me to pry into my Lord’s secrets, but patiently to wait his time, knowing this, that though I know nothing, my heavenly Father knows.

 

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