VIDEO The Great Outdoors, Fields – Isaac went out to Meditate

The Great Outdoors—Fields

Isaac went out to meditate in the field in the evening. Genesis 24:63

Isaac found solitude and serenity in the fields of Genesis 24. His day’s work finished, he went out to think and pray—to meditate. He was heir of God’s promises, the boy nearly slain on Mount Moriah, the son of a dead mother and aged father. Isaac found his strength walking in the fields with God. And at the end of his walk he also found a wife!

This summer, get outdoors. Take time to meditate on Scripture and pray to the Lord. Grab some solitude and serenity. It’s the best way to be outstanding in your field.

[Isaac] went out to take the advantage of a silent evening, and a solitary place, for meditation and prayer; those divine exercises by which we converse with God and our own hearts. Matthew Henry


Isaac went out to Meditate

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Radical Love

When you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind. Luke 14:13

Just one week before her scheduled wedding date, Sarah’s engagement ended. Despite her sadness and disappointment, she decided not to waste the food she had purchased for her wedding reception. She did, however, decide to change the celebration plans. She took down the gift table and revamped the guest list, inviting the residents of local homeless shelters to the feast.

Jesus upheld this sort of no-strings-attached kindness when speaking to the Pharisees, saying, “When you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed” (Luke 14:13–14). He noted that the blessing would come from God because these guests would not be able to repay the host. Jesus approved of helping people who couldn’t supply charity donations, sparkling conversation, or social connections.

When we consider that Jesus spoke these words as He sat at a meal given by a Pharisee, His message seems provocative and radical. But real love is radical. I’ve heard it said that love is giving to meet the needs of others without expecting anything in return. This is how Jesus has loved each of us. He saw our inner poverty and responded by giving His life for us.

Knowing Christ personally is a journey into His infinite love. All of us are invited to explore “how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ” (Ephesians 3:18).

Dear God, help me to explore the depths of Your love. I want to give to others what You have given to me.

How deep is the Father’s love for us!

By Jennifer Benson Schuldt

INSIGHT

As Jesus attends a dinner party hosted by a “prominent Pharisee” (Luke 14:1), He turns our human desire for social recognition into an opportunity to teach His kingdom values: Don’t seek out positions of prominence but exalt others instead (vv. 7–11). Then He turns that lesson into one tailored for His host: Don’t give a party simply to enhance your own economic prospects or to build your reputation in the community. Instead, give lavishly to those who have a genuine need and cannot repay you (vv. 12–14). This aligns with the Lord’s teaching in the Sermon on the Mount: “When you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets” (Matthew 6:2).

What motivates my giving and my social interactions? Do I serve God’s kingdom values of unconditional love and mercy?

Tim Gustafson

Proven Faith

1 Peter 1:3-9

Faith is a central element in the Christian life because it is the means by which we enter into salvation. But that’s only the beginning. From then onward, our faith­—or lack of it—shapes our lives and determines what happens to us when the winds of adversity blow. Some Christians learn to hold their footing even in hurricane-force gales, but others are toppled by the slightest gust. To understand why this is true, we need to examine the source of our faith.

Inherited faith. If you grew up in a Christian home, you probably adopted some of your parents’ beliefs. This kind of godly foundation is a wonderful gift from the Lord, but eventually, each person must assume responsibility for his or her own beliefs.

Textbook faith. The Bible is the ultimate guide for establishing our beliefs. But that’s not the only source of influence. Books, preachers, teachers, and friends all impact our convictions. Our theology may in fact be sound, but faith is only mental acceptance until it’s put to the test.

Proven faith. Only when we trust in the Lord through the fires of adversity will we have faith that can stand. Then it’s no longer based on what others have told us or what we’ve accepted as true but is built on our firsthand experience of His faithfulness.

To evaluate your faith, consider how you react to difficulties. Do you cling to the Lord or get angry at Him? Is your attitude one of thanksgiving because He’s making you more like His Son, or are you frustrated? No one can escape hardship, but those with proven faith will benefit from it.

Name of the Lord

“And God said unto Moses, I Am That I Am: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I Am hath sent me unto you.” (Exodus 3:14)

This unique name of God was given to stress the truth that He is timeless. The name “LORD” (Hebrew YHWH = Yahweh, or Jehovah) is essentially the same, conveying the truth that He is the eternal, self-existing One.

The Lord Jesus Christ appropriated this divine name to Himself when He told the Jews: “Before Abraham was [i.e., ‘was born’], I am” (John 8:58). Correctly assuming that this statement was nothing less than a direct claim to identity with God, the Jews immediately (but unsuccessfully) attempted to stone Him to death as a blasphemer.

As the I Am, the Lord Jesus Christ is, indeed, everything, and He has revealed Himself to us under many beautiful symbols. It is well known that there are seven great “I am’s” in the gospel of John, each of which is rich with spiritual depth of meaning. They can be listed as follows:

“I am the bread of life . . . the living bread” (John 6:35, 51).
“I am the light of the world . . . the light of life” (John 8:12).
“I am the door of the sheep” (John 10:7).
“I am the good shepherd . . . [who] giveth his life for the sheep” (John 10:11).
“I am the resurrection, and the life” (John 11:25).
“I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).
“I am the true vine” (John 15:1).

It is well known that this magnificent self-assertion of the Lord permeates the whole Bible, from its first use in Genesis 15:1, “I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward,” to its final occurrence in Revelation 22:16, “I am . . . the bright and morning star.” And all these beautiful figures help us to pray more fervently “that God may be all in all” (1 Corinthians 15:28). HMM

Lovest thou Me?

John 21:1-6, 9-13, 15-19

Luke 21:2

It was well to keep together and enjoy the communion of saints. Good society makes good men better.

Luke 21:3

As they had as yet no directions to go upon their spiritual business, they acted commendably in following their daily callings, for nothing is more dangerous than indolence.

Luke 21:9

Everything tended to remind them of their old times with their Lord. Fishing in the old place, the old failures, the old miracles, and the old repast, would all help them to identify their Master. But what a new light was over all!

Luke 21:11

“Be of use! Forward! To Christ!” These were the watchwords of Peter, and should be ours.

Luke 21:13

Jesus here showed himself to be what he still is. the Provider, the Host, the Husband of his Church.

Luke 21:17

The Greek word means in this third question more than before, and might be rendered, “Lovest thou me dearly?”

Luke 21:17

He had three times denied, and he must three times avow his Lord.

Luke 21:18, 19

This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God namely, by crucifixion

Luke 21:18, 19

Thus was erring Peter fully restored. How mightily would that word “follow me” ring in his ears and influence his whole future. Follow me in doctrine, follow me in practice, follow me in sufferings, follow me in death, follow me to glory. May the Lord say to each one of us with power, Follow Me.

 

Do not I love thee, O my Lord?

Then let me nothing love:

Dead be my heart to every joy,

When Jesus cannot move.

 

Hast thou a lamb m all thy flock

I would disdain to feed?

Hast thou a foe, before whose face

I fear thy cause to plead?

 

Thou know’st I love thee, dearest Lord;

But oh, I long to soar

Far from the sphere of mortal joys,

And learn to love thee more.

 

Are You Enjoying God Forever?

My sheep hear my voice… and they shall never perish. (John 10:27)

It should be illuminating to us that the difference between unbelief and faith, between man’s point of view and God’s often comes to light as the believer faces death.

We are told that when John Wesley was dying, he tried to sing but his voice was nearly gone. Although his own theology was Arminian, he was trying to sing the words of an old Calvinist hymn:

 

I will praise my Maker while I’ve breath,

And when my soul is lost in death,

Praise shall employ my nobler powers.

 

That is at least one reason why I cannot get all heated up about contending for one theological position over another.

If Isaac Watts, a Calvinist, could write such praise to God and John Wesley, an Arminian, could sing it with yearning in his last moments, why should I allow anyone to force me to confess, “I don’t know which I am!”

I was created and redeemed that I should worship Him and enjoy Him forever. That is the primary issue in our Christian walk!

 

He Blesses And Keeps

“The Lord bless thee, and keep thee.” Num. 6:24

This first clause of the high-priest’s benediction is substantially a promise. That blessing which our great High Priest pronounces upon us is sure to come, for He speaks the mind of God.

What a joy to abide under the divine blessing! This puts a gracious flavor into all things. If we are blessed, then all our possessions and enjoyments are blessed; yea, our losses and crosses, and even our disappointments are blessed. God’s blessing is deep, emphatic, effectual. A man’s blessing may begin and end in words; but the blessing of the Lord makes rich and sanctifies. The best wish we can have for our dearest friend is not “May prosperity attend thee,” but “The Lord bless thee.”

It is equally a delightful thing to be kept of God; kept by Him, kept near Him, kept in Him. They are kept indeed whom God keeps; they are preserved from evil, they are reserved unto boundless happiness. God’s keeping goes with His blessing, to establish it and cause it to endure.

The author of this little book desires that the rich blessing and sure keeping here pronounced may come upon every reader who may at this moment be looking at these lines. Please breathe the text to God as a prayer for His servants.

 

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