VIDEO Clothes That Make the Person: Joseph – Groanings Too Deep for Words

Clothes That Make the Person: Joseph

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
Romans 8:28

Today, parents are hesitant to declare one of their children their favorite. But in the ancient world, this was not the case. Jacob (Israel), for example, loved Joseph more than his eleven other sons since Joseph had been born in Jacob’s old age to Rachel, Jacob’s favorite wife (Genesis 37:3). As a sign of his favoritism, Jacob gave Joseph a beautiful robe “of many colors.” All this favoritism provoked jealousy among Joseph’s brothers and they sold him into slavery in Egypt. When the brothers were united many years later, Joseph blessed God for how He had worked in all their lives.

Our lives are multicolored, a tapestry held together on the backside by knots and stitches. Yet out of that which appears random and tenuous on one side, God creates a life of beauty on the other side through redemption in Christ.

No one’s life is perfect, but God causes all the hard parts to be woven together for His glory. Give God thanks today for the “life of many colors” He is making for you as His beloved child.

When God closes a door, He always opens a window. Woodrow Kroll


Groanings Too Deep for Words (Romans 8:26-28)

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Twinkle

Shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. Philippians 2:15–16

“Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” is an English lullaby. Its lyrics, originally a poem by Jane Taylor, capture the wonder of God’s universe where stars hang “up above the world so high.” In the rarely published later stanzas, the star acts as a guide: “As your bright and tiny spark lights the traveler in the dark.”

In Philippians, Paul challenges believers in Philippi to be blameless and pure as they “shine . . . like stars in the sky” while offering the good news of the gospel to all around them (2:15–16). We wonder how we can shine like stars. We often feel inadequate and struggle to think our “light” is bright enough to make a difference. But stars don’t try to be stars. They just are. Light changes our world. And it changes us. God brought physical light into our world (Genesis 1:3); and through Jesus, God brings spiritual light into our lives (John 1:1–4).

We who have God’s light in us are to shine in such a way that those around us see light and are drawn to its source. As effortlessly as a star hanging in the night sky, our light makes a difference because of what it is: Light! When we simply shine, we follow Paul’s directive to “hold firmly to the word of life” in a world in deep darkness, and we draw others to the source of our hope: Jesus.

Dear God, may Your light shine out of the very cracks of our beings as we hold out the Word of life to others.

Jesus brings light into our life.

By Elisa Morgan 

INSIGHT

Paul’s words here—“Do everything without grumbling or arguing” (Philippians 2:14)—remind us of the Israelites during the Exodus. Soon after the people had experienced their miraculous deliverance from slavery, they “grumbled against Moses and Aaron” (Exodus 16:2). They even said, “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt!” (v. 3). God hated their murmuring. In Paul’s letter to the Corinthians he alludes to that generation of Israelites: “Do not grumble, as some of them did—and were killed by the destroying angel” (1 Corinthians 10:10).

We’re all prone to complain; it’s the norm in this world. That’s why doing things “without grumbling or arguing” (Philippians 2:14) will set us apart in this world. When we live our lives in grateful obedience to God, we will shine “like stars in the sky” (v. 15). Our quiet and humble service will stand in stark contrast to the dissatisfied world around us. Living a quiet and peaceable life of gratitude is the real countercultural movement.

Do people avoid us because we’re always complaining? Or are they drawn to Christ because they sense His Spirit working in us to give us a grateful heart?

Tim Gustafson

Preserving Our Assurance

Ephesians 6:10-20

Satan is an enemy of every believer, and his lies gnaw away at our faith. The apostle Paul calls his schemes “flaming arrows” and assures us that our shield of faith is able to extinguish all of them (Eph. 6:16). But the devil still tries to put doubts about our salvation into our minds, hoping that we’ll drop our shield of faith and believe him. However, if we understand his methods, we can be vigilant and avoid his traps.

Unconfessed sin. Satan tempts us to sin, and if we yield, he whispers, “You can’t be saved. Look at what you just did.” This harassment cycle continues until we finally confess the sin and claim God’s promise that those who receive Christ are saved (1 John 5:10-12).

Ignorance of God’s Word. If a believer isn’t well grounded scripturally, he can be fooled by false teaching. For example, it’s not uncommon to hear that we can’t be certain of redemption or that salvation can be lost. But we have the sword of the Spirit to silence the lies, because false doctrines simply do not withstand biblical scrutiny. That’s why it’s essential to study the Word.

Reliance on emotion. When we rely on feelings and experiences rather than the truth of God’s Word, the ordinary ups and downs in our spiritual life may cause us to “feel” unsaved. However, genuine assurance is built on faith in the Lord and the promises in His Word—not on emotions.

Hold up your shield of faith, take the sword of God’s Word, and trust Him to fight for you in battles against the enemy. The Lord is your defense and protection.

You Abiding?

“And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.” (1 John 2:28) 

There is nothing sophisticated or subtle about this Greek word, meno, used many times in the New Testament. The various shades of “remaining” or “staying” are easily understood from the context and always focus on a consistent and even permanent situation.

So it is in our text. The Christian is expected to “stay” in a relationship with the Lord Jesus—implying both a permanent relationship and a “normal” relationship. We are to abide in Christ so completely that we would be like a branch growing out of the vine—thus making “fruit” possible (John 15:4-5). We are to continue in His Word so thoroughly that our prayers will be in synchronization with His will (John 15:7) and our behavior will be in synchronization with His commandments (1 John 3:24).

The steadfast “dwelling” in Christ promises to produce a confidence in our eternal relationship—the word choice especially emphasizes freedom in speaking, an unreservedness in speech. As Peter freely spoke at Pentecost (Acts 2:29) and the disciples received boldness to speak the Word of God (Acts 4:31), so our “plainness of speech” (2 Corinthians 3:12) in witnessing sets the stage for our “boldness in the day of judgment” (1 John 4:17).

Ultimately, of course, the lifestyle of abiding in Christ while on this earth builds the sanctified relationship with Christ that we are to enjoy for eternity.

“Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise” (Hebrews 10:35-36). HMM III

Receive ye one another, as Christ also received us

Romans 15:1-16

Romans 15:1

If any course of action which would be safe to us would be dangerous to weaker brethren, we must consider their infirmity and deny ourselves for their sakes.

Romans 15:2-4

Jerome says, “Love the scriptures, and wisdom will love thee.” Chrysostom says, “Is it not absurd, that in money matters men will not trust to others, but the counters are produced and the sum cast up; yet, in their soul’s affairs, men are led and drawn away by the opinions of others, and this when they have an exact scale and an exact rule, viz., the declaration of the divine laws? Therefore, I entreat and beseech you all, that, not minding what this or that man may say about these things, you would consult the Holy Scriptures concerning them.”

Romans 15:6

Among Christians there must be unity, and especially in Christian families, so that all our powers may be undividedly employed in praising God. If we are jealous one of another, or use angry language, and quarrelsome words, we cannot glorify God as we ought.

Romans 15:7

If the Lord Jesus has indeed received us, and bears with our weaknesses and follies, well may we have patience with one another, and show pity to each other’s infirmities.

Romans 15:8

Jesus, our Lord, became the servant of the Jews, and preached among them in fulfilment of prophecy; shall we not become the servants of others for their good? Nor did his ministry end with Israel; but we, who are Gentiles, share the blessing; therefore, like our Lord, we should seek the good of all mankind and live to bless them.

Romans 15:15, 16

As Paul was peculiarly the apostle of the Gentiles, he was the more anxious that in the Gentiles the gospel should produce the acceptable fruit of mutual love. Every man should give most attention to that part of the work with which the Lord has entrusted him, with the one pure motive that God may be glorified thereby. Paul was insatiable for the glory of God and the prosperity of the church; let us be filled with the same zeal.

 

Lord, if thou hast made us strong,

Let us learn to help the weak;

Bearing with each other long,

While the good of all we seek.

 

May we with one heart and mind

Seek the glory of thy name;

In one sacred league combined,

All our aims and hopes the same.

 

The Failure of Religion

Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof (2 Timothy 3:5)

Millions of men and women refuse to face up to the fact that religion, in and of itself, is not enough for the sinner’s need.

It is amazing how many things religious people want to do to you. They can start with infant baptism and end up with the last rites when you are 108 years old—and all of that time they will manipulate you, maul you and sweet-message your soul. When it is all done you are just what you were. You are just a decorated and massaged sinner—a sinner who did not eat meat, or on the other hand, a sinner who did eat fish!

When religion has done all it can, you are still a sinner who either went to church or did not go to church. Religion can put us on the roll and educate us and train us and instruct us. But after all that, there is still something within our beings that cries, “Eternity is in my heart and I have not found anything to satisfy it!”

Only our Lord Jesus Christ is enough to satisfy the eternal longing in our souls.

 

The Leadership of Our Guide

“Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth.” John 16:13

Truth is like a vast cavern into which we desire to enter, but we are not able to traverse it alone. At the entrance it is clear and bright; but if we would go further and explore its innermost recesses, we must have a guide, or we shall lose ourselves. The Holy Spirit, who knows all truth perfectly, is the appointed guide of all true believers, and He conducts them as they are able to bear it, from one inner chamber to another, so that they behold the deep things of God, and His secret is made plain to them.

What a promise is this for the humbly inquiring mind! We desire to know the truth, and to enter into it. We are conscious of our own aptness to err, and we feel the urgent need of a guide. We rejoice that the Holy Spirit is come and abides among us. He condescends to act as a guide to us, and we gladly accept His leadership. “All truth” we wish to learn, that we may not be one-sided and out of balance. We would not be willingly ignorant of any part of revelation lest thereby we should miss blessing, or incur sin. The Spirit of God has come that He may guide us into all truth: let us with obedient hearts hearken to His words and follow His lead.

 

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