VIDEO One Solitary Man

One Solitary Man

Jehoiachin was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months and ten days. 2 Chronicles 36:9

James Baker’s influence in Washington was legendary. He could walk in and out of the Oval Office at will. One day while serving as Presidential Chief of Staff, Baker was traveling home in his limousine. He noticed a man walking alone. No reporters were around him. No security. Just a man on an empty street. Baker recognized him as the Chief of Staff of a prior administration.

“There he was, alone,” Baker said. “No reporters, no security, no adoring public, no trappings of power—just one solitary man alone with his thoughts.” That image became a constant reminder to Baker of the fleeting nature of power. “That man had it all,” said Baker, “but only for a time.”1

History is littered with the names of people who rose and fell, who lived and died. But we serve a God whose power will never diminish and whose rule and reign will never end. Our God doesn’t rule for three months and ten days. His kingdom is forever.

Having a position of power does not bring inner security and fulfillment. That comes only by developing a personal relationship with God, which for me is personified in Jesus Christ. James A. Baker

  1. From James Baker’s Address at the 1990 National Prayer Breakfast.

2 Chronicles 36 (with text – press on more info.)

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In Progress or Completed?

For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy. Hebrews 10:14

It’s satisfying to finish a job. Each month, for instance, one of my job responsibilities gets moved from one category to another, from “In Progress” to “Completed.” I love clicking that “Completed” button. But last month when I clicked it, I thought, If only I could overcome rough spots in my faith so easily! It can seem like the Christian life is always in progress, never completed.

Then I remembered Hebrews 10:14. It describes how Christ’s sacrifice redeems us totally. So in one important sense, that “completed button” has been pressed for us. Jesus’s death did for us what we couldn’t do for ourselves: He made us acceptable in God’s eyes when we place our faith in Him. It is finished, as Jesus Himself said (John 19:30). Paradoxically, even though His sacrifice is complete and total, we spend the rest of our lives living into that spiritual reality—“being made holy,” as Hebrews’ author writes.

The fact that Jesus has finished something that’s still being worked out in our lives is hard to understand. When I’m struggling spiritually, it’s encouraging to remember that Jesus’s sacrifice for me—and for you—is complete . . . even if our living it out in this life is still a work in progress. Nothing can stop His intended end from being achieved eventually: being transformed into His likeness (see 2 Corinthians 3:18).

Jesus, thank You for giving Your life for us. Help us trust You as we grow into followers whose lives look more and more like Yours, knowing that You are the one who makes us complete.

God is at work to make us who He intends us to be.

By Adam Holz 

INSIGHT

The words “It’s finished!” can mean different things to different people. For the student, they might mean, “I’m finally graduating!” For the Jewish leaders at the time of Jesus, these words could mean they had succeeded in killing Jesus (John 11:53). For the Roman soldiers, it could describe the death penalty they had successfully carried out (19:16–18). For the disciples, these words could mean that their hopes of the Messiah delivering them from Roman bondage were dashed (Luke 24:19–21). But when Jesus uttered, “It is finished” (John 19:30), He was declaring He had completed the work the Father gave Him to do (17:4)—to be “an atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 4:10).

For more about the death and resurrection of Jesus, check out our free online course at christianuniversity.org/CA206.

K. T. Sim

Hope Amidst Suffering

2 Corinthians 12:7-10

We all go through distressing times in life. These seasons of suffering may be brought about by relational difficulties, financial hardships, or other trials. But as God’s children, we can take heart in knowing that our pain is not wasted.

Sometimes our pain is for the eternal benefit of others—God uses it to reveal the genuineness of our faith so that others might see it and be drawn to His Son (1 Peter 1:7). By the way we respond to adversity, our belief in Jesus becomes visible to those around us. Believers will be encouraged, and seekers will ask us questions about our faith.

At other times, God uses trials to teach us to obey—Hebrews 5:8 tells us that even our Savior learned obedience from the things He suffered. Another purpose of hardship is to broaden our ministry. The apostle Paul’s imprisonment let him minister among the guards, resulting in the salvation of many.

Difficulties can also be the Lord’s tool in preventing a problem from happening—such as the unidentified ailment that kept Paul from becoming prideful. When disobedience threatens our walk with God, He will take whatever steps are needed to draw us back to Him. He may allow a need to remain unmet or something cherished to be removed. His purpose is that we confess our sin and return to Him.

We may not know the reasons for our heartaches, but the wisest choice we can make is to trust the heavenly Father. After all, He who saved us through the sacrifice of His Son has promised to use our suffering to bring about good (Rom. 8:28).

Truth in Us

“For the truth’s sake, which dwelleth in us, and shall be with us for ever.” (2 John 1:2)

The word “truth” occurs more in the gospel of John than in any other book of the New Testament, and it occurs in the first epistle of John more than in any other book except John’s gospel. Then, it occurs more in John’s two one-chapter epistles (2 and 3 John) than in any other New Testament book save John and 1 John. Surely one of the great themes in John’s writings is truth!

God is, indeed, the God of truth, and His written Word is “the scripture of truth” (Daniel 10:21). “For the word of the LORD is right; and all his works are done in truth” (Psalm 33:4). The Lord Jesus Christ is, in fact, the very incarnation of truth. “I am the way, the truth, and the life,” He asserted (John 14:6).

Surely truth dwells forever in Christ, for He is Himself the Creator and is thereby the very definition of truth. But how can it be that truth dwells in us and shall be with us forever? This is certainly not the case with the natural man.

It can only be by the Holy Spirit, of course, and this is what Christ—who is the truth—has promised. “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you” (John 14:16-17).

That being so, with the Holy Spirit of truth indwelling us forever, our words, and deeds, and our very lives should be characterized by truth and complete consistency. “Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor” (Ephesians 4:25). “If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth” (John 1:6). HMM

God hath given him a name which is above every name

Acts 3:1-21

Acts 3:1-3

They were interrupted on their way to their devotions, but it was a blessed interruption, for in the end they themselves were able to worship all the more fervently, and another was added to the number of those who praised the Lord. May we have grace to turn every incident we meet with to good account for promoting the glory of God. A beggar’s cry would not annoy us if we were looking out for opportunities of doing good.

Acts 3:6

Oh, the power of that name! If we did but believe in it as Peter did, we also should bless poor sinners, and be enriched ourselves with something better than silver and gold.

Acts 3:8

His joy was too great for him to go at an ordinary pace. When souls are healed by grace they overflow with enthusiasm. If we remembered our obligations to the Lord Jesus for making us whole, we also should often tread his courts with rapture, and feel as if we must dance for joy.

Acts 3:13

He points them away from himself and John to the Lord Jesus. This is very different from those  priests who bid us look to saints, and even urge us to seek blessings from their poor sinful selves.

Acts 3:14, 15

He charges them with their sin. As the sharp needle makes way for the silken thread, so does conviction of sin prepare men for the glorious gospel.

Acts 3:16-18

See how he woos them, as a mother does her child, and interprets their wicked conduct as kindly as he can.

Acts 3:21

Jesus will come again to restore this fallen earth; till then he reigns above.

 

Involved With Christian “Shrinkage”?

Be ye followers of God, as dear children; and walk in love as Christ also hath loved us. (Ephesians 5:1-2)

Why should we have to accept the idea held in some Christian circles that new converts will soon lose their first zeal and settle down to a life of dull religious routine? I believe that I carry the welfare of the saints in my heart and it disturbs me that some Christians are satisfied to accept the title of “dead average.”

What happens? Can it be that the person who has held a joyful conversion becomes enamored of his experience, failing to keep his eyes fixed on the Lord?

Only engrossment with God can maintain perpetual spiritual enthusiasm because only God can supply everlasting novelty. In God every moment is new and nothing ever gets old. Of things religious we may become tired, even prayer may weary us; but God never!

Brothers and sisters, nothing can preserve the sweet savor of our first experience except to be preoccupied with God Himself! Let the new convert know that if he would grow instead of shrink, he must spend his nights and his days in communion with the triune God!

 

Deliverance Not Limited

He shall deliver thee in six troubles: yea, in seven there shall no evil touch thee.” Job 5:19

Eliphaz in this spoke the truth of God. We may have as many troubles as the workdays of the week, but the God who worked on those six days will work for us till our deliverance is complete. We shall rest with Him, and in Him on our Sabbath. The rapid succession of trials is one of the sorest tests of faith. Before we have recovered from one blow, it is followed by another and another till we are staggered. Still, the equally quick succession of deliverances is exceedingly cheering. New songs are rung out upon the anvil by the hammer of affliction, till we see in the spiritual world the anti-type of “the Harmonious Blacksmith.” Our confidence is, that when the Lord makes our trials six, six they will be, and no more.

It may be that we have no rest day, for seven troubles come upon us. What then? “In seven there shall be no evil touch thee.” Evil may roar at us, but it shall be kept at more than arm’s length, and shall not even touch us. Its hot breath may distress us, but its little finger cannot be laid upon us.

With our loins girt about us we will meet the six or the seven troubles, and leave fear to those who have no Father, no Saviour, and no Sanctifier.

 

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