VIDEO Headwinds – The Glory of God in the Midst of Affliction

Headwinds

He causes His wind to blow. Psalm 147:18

In 1942, a group of volunteers from the Army Air Corps signed onto a dangerous secret mission to conduct bombing raids under the command of Lieutenant Colonel James Doolittle. One of the men, Sergeant Joe Manske, was a mechanic and gunner on the fifth B-25 to take off from the USS Hornet. The men completed their mission and were making their way to a landing strip in China when they were confronted by tremendous headwinds that slowed their progress and depleted their fuel. Manske knew there was only one hope. In the back of the Mitchell B-25 bomber, he got down on his knees and earnestly prayed. And as he prayed, the winds began to shift direction, and what had been a headwind slowly turned into a tailwind of about 25 miles per hour and began pushing the plane toward their landing site. According to Navy meteorologists, that kind of wind never occurred in that region. The crew made it to China where all five crewmembers bailed out and were rescued.

When we pray, God gradually transforms headwinds into tailwinds. He turns curses into blessings. When peace seems illusive, we have the power of prayer to assure us God is in control on His throne.

I have held many things in my hands, and I have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God’s hands, that I still possess. Martin Luther


John Piper: The Glory of God in the Midst of Affliction

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Stories of Jesus

Jesus did many other things as well. John 21:25

As a girl I loved to visit my small local library. One day, looking at the bookshelves holding the young adult section, I reasoned I could probably read every book. In my enthusiasm I forgot one important fact—new books were regularly added to the shelves. Although I gave it a valiant effort, there were simply too many books.

New books continue to fill more and more bookshelves. The apostle John likely would be amazed with the availability of books today since his five New Testament books, the gospel of John; 1, 2, and 3 John; and Revelation, were handwritten on parchment scrolls.

John wrote those books because he felt compelled by the Holy Spirit to give Christians an eyewitness account of Jesus’s life and ministry (1 John 1:1–4). But John’s writings contained only a small fraction of all that Jesus did and taught during His ministry. In fact, John said if everything Jesus did were written down “the whole world could not contain the books that would be written” (John 21:25 nlt).

John’s claim remains true today. Despite all the books that have been written about Jesus, the libraries of the world still cannot contain every story of His love and grace. We can also celebrate that we have our own personal stories to share and rejoice that we will be proclaiming them forever! (Psalm 89:1).

To write the love of God above would drain the ocean dry. Nor could the scroll contain the whole, though stretched from sky to sky. F.M. Lehman

Let your life tell the story of Christ’s love and grace.

By Lisa Samra 

INSIGHT

Although the Scriptures don’t contain every story about Jesus (in fact John twice admits that he has only recorded a portion of Jesus’s life and ministry—see John 20:30 and 21:25), we have the significant parts. Through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, we have the whole story of Jesus that is necessary for our salvation.

But what about those things that aren’t written down in John’s gospel? There have been attempts to fill the holes. Should John’s admission that “Jesus performed many other miraculous signs” (20:30) make us insecure? Should we try to “fill in the blanks”? Not at all. When John first tells us that what he recorded is only a part of Jesus’s story, he gives us full confidence that what we have is enough: “These are written that you might believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (20:31).

How can you thank God today that His story is even bigger than we know?

For more on who Jesus is, see Life of Christ at christianuniversity.org/NT111.

J.R. Hudberg

The Danger of Suppressing Truth

Romans 1:18-23

Have you ever wondered why some very intelligent people live successfully by the world’s standards yet are unable to comprehend the most important truths about God? Although mankind was created to acknowledge the Lord and share a relationship with Him, many people deny His existence.

God has made knowledge about Himself evident to every person and has revealed His attributes and divine nature through His creation. However, many people choose to suppress this reality because it interferes with their preferred lifestyle. Instead, they chase false philosophies that are usually mixed with just enough truth to seem believable. Yet any “truth” crafted by man is foolishness, and those who have willfully rejected divine revelation won’t be able to see their error no matter how much evidence has been provided.

All the denial and atheistic arguments in the world will not change what is reality—namely, that God is the Creator, and He made mankind to love, obey, and honor Him. To resist is to choose a life of darkness and deception, which begins a downward slide ending in a hardened heart and eternal separation from a loving Father.

But God continues to invite people to believe the truth and come to Him. This is the only way to receive the gospel, which is able to save souls. In Psalm 34:8, David calls out, “O taste and see that the Lord is good.” And for those who have accepted His revelations, the Lord is indeed better than all this world has to offer.

Seven Outgrowths of Your Faith

“And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.” (2 Peter 1:5-7) 

“Having escaped the corruption that is in the world” (v. 4) through our “faith” in Jesus Christ as our Savior, we must now grow spiritually, conforming our nature and practice to His. We must put to use the divine nature we now possess, recognizing that He has provided all the resources we need.

In this passage, Peter assumes we already have “faith,” thus here our spiritual lives must begin. Peter instructs us to “add to” that faith seven character traits: virtue, knowledge, temperance (self-control), patience (perseverance), godliness, brotherly kindness, and charity (agape love).

There seems to be, both in the text (i.e., “add to”) and in practice, a progression here. New Christians should strive for virtue, eliminating sinful actions and thoughts from our lives, as the Holy Spirit brings conviction. A commitment to growth in knowledge, first the basics of the faith and then deeper doctrines, enables us to exercise wisdom in life’s choices. A self-controlled, disciplined lifestyle exercises perseverance, even strength in the face of adversity, which in turn produces godliness—an attitude of reverence toward God that strives to please Him by developing His attitudes and priorities. Our relations with others will thus be marked by brotherly kindness toward believers and agape love (self-sacrificing, undeserved love) for all.

Such spiritual growth does not come without effort. He has provided all we need, but we must “give all diligence” to the process, much more than simply allowing the Holy Spirit to reside in our hearts to work on our character and habits. Any lack of spiritual growth is our fault, not His. JDM

Let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall

1 Corinthians 10:12-33

In this tenth chapter of his epistle Paul mentions the sins and chastisement of ancient Israel, and then adds—1 Corinthians 10:12-33.

1 Corinthians 10:13

If our temptations were such as none else had ever endured, and there were no way out of them, we might give up in despair; but it is not so. The Lord will not try us too much, too long, or too often. Grace will bear us through.

1 Corinthians 10:14, 15

Idolatry in every form is to be avoided by us, and in these days especially we must avoid all participation in  ritualistic idolatry which is becoming so common. All bowing before the cross or the wafer, and all attendance upon such idolatrous worship must be abhorred by the faithful.

1 Corinthians 10:19, 20

As both among Christians and Jews the partaking of holy feasts involved fellowship, so if we join with idolaters we have fellowship with them and shall be sharers in their sin.

1 Corinthians 10:22

Communion with the unholy is a challenge to Christ, an open defiance to his kingship.

1 Corinthians 10:27

There could be no harm in the meat itself, and the believer was free to eat what was set before him so far as he himself was concerned, but there were times when it would be better not to eat it, lest in the judgment of others the Christian should seem to have communed in an idolatrous sacrifice.

1 Corinthians 10:28-31

This is the rule at the table; let us always observe it. Much evil may come out of eating and drinking: it was by eating that man first fell from innocence, The table must be watched lest it become a snare unto us.

1 Corinthians 10:32, 33

What we may do lawfully it will frequently be better not to do lest we injure others: for their sakes we must deny ourselves, for selfishness in a Christian is a grievous vice.

 

Gracious Lord, implant in me

Pure celestial charity;

Let my every word and deed

From a loving heart proceed.

 

Let the touch of love divine

Make my meanest actions shine;

That in all things I may be

Full of love, and like to Thee.

 

A Game of Pious Words

If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body. (James 3:2)

Do you realize that most men play at religion as they play at games? Religion itself being of all games the one most universally played.

The Church has its “fields” and its “rules” and its equipment for playing the game of pious words. It has its devotees, both laymen and professionals, who support the game with their money and encourage it with their presence, but who are no different in life or character from many who take no interest in religion at all.

As an athlete uses a ball so do many of us use words: words spoken and words sung, words written and words uttered in prayer. We throw them swiftly across the field; we learn to handle them with dexterity and grace—and gain as our reward the applause of those who have enjoyed the game. In the games men play there are no moral roots. It is a pleasant activity which changes nothing and settles nothing, at last.

Sadly, in the religious game of pious words, after the pleasant meeting no one is basically any different from what he had been before!

 

Free to Travel

“And I will strengthen them in the Lord: and they shall walk up and down in his name, saith the Lord.” Zech. 10:12

A solace for sick saints. They have grown faint, and they fear that they shall never rise from the bed of doubt and fear; but the great Physician can both remove the disease, and take away the weakness which has come of it. He will strengthen the feeble. This He will do in the best possible way, for it shall be “in Jehovah.” Our strength is far better in God than in self. In the Lord it causes fellowship, in ourselves it would create pride. In ourselves it would be sadly limited, but in God it knows no bound.

When strength is given, the believer uses it. He walks up and down in the name of the Lord. What an enjoyment it is to walk abroad after illness, and what a delight to be strong in the Lord after a season of prostration! The Lord gives His people liberty to walk up and down, and an inward leisure to exercise that liberty. He makes gentlemen of us: we are not slaves who know no rest, and see no sights, but we are free to travel at our ease throughout Immanuel’s land.

Come, my heart, be thou no more sick and sorry, Jesus bids thee be strong, and walk with God in holy contemplation. Obey His word of love.

 

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