VIDEO The Undetected Sacredness of Circumstances

The Undetected Sacredness of Circumstances

The circumstances of a saint’s life are ordained of God. In the life of a saint there is no such thing as chance. God by His providence brings you into circumstances that you can’t understand at all, but the Spirit of God understands. God brings you to places, among people, and into certain conditions to accomplish a definite purpose through the intercession of the Spirit in you. Never put yourself in front of your circumstances and say, “I’m going to be my own providence here; I will watch this closely, or protect myself from that.” All your circumstances are in the hand of God, and therefore you don’t ever have to think they are unnatural or unique. Your part in intercessory prayer is not to agonize over how to intercede, but to use the everyday circumstances and people God puts around you by His providence to bring them before His throne, and to allow the Spirit in you the opportunity to intercede for them. In this way God is going to touch the whole world with His saints.

Am I making the Holy Spirit’s work difficult by being vague and unsure, or by trying to do His work for Him? I must do the human side of intercession— utilizing the circumstances in which I find myself and the people who surround me. I must keep my conscious life as a sacred place for the Holy Spirit. Then as I lift different ones to God through prayer, the Holy Spirit intercedes for them.

Your intercessions can never be mine, and my intercessions can never be yours, “…but the Spirit Himself makes intercession” in each of our lives (Romans 8:26). And without that intercession, the lives of others would be left in poverty and in ruin.

WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS

To those who have had no agony Jesus says, “I have nothing for you; stand on your own feet, square your own shoulders. I have come for the man who knows he has a bigger handful than he can cope with, who knows there are forces he cannot touch; I will do everything for him if he will let Me. Only let a man grant he needs it, and I will do it for him.” The Shadow of an Agony, 1166 R


The true meaning of Romans 8:28

Bound to Encourage

Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Hebrews 10:24

The Steven Thompson Memorial Centipede is a cross-country meet unlike any other. Each seven-member team runs as a unit, holding a rope for the first two miles of a three-mile course. At the two-mile mark, the team drops the rope and finishes the race individually. Each person’s time is, therefore, a combination of the pace the team kept and his or her own speed.

This year, my daughter’s team opted for a strategy I had not previously seen: They put the fastest runner at the front and the slowest right behind her. She explained that their goal was for the strongest runner to be near enough to speak words of encouragement to the slowest runner.

Their plans depicted for me a passage from the book of Hebrews. The writer urges us to “hold unswervingly to the hope we profess” (Hebrews 10:23) as we “spur one another on toward love and good deeds” (v. 24). There are certainly many ways of accomplishing this, but the author highlighted one: “not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another” (v. 25). Gathering together with other believers as we’re able is a vital aspect of the life of faith.

The race of life can feel like more than we can handle at times, and we may be tempted to drop the rope in hopelessness. As we run together, let’s offer one another the encouragement to run strong!

Jesus, thank You for the hope You offer. Thank You for never discouraging us. Help us imitate You by encouraging each other today.

Encouragement is water to the soul.

By Kirsten Holmberg 

INSIGHT

By the blood of Jesus our high priest (Hebrews 10:19–22) we can enter the Most Holy Place, that is, we can come directly into God’s presence. However, the author is using these two ideas—Jesus’s sacrifice and our access to God—in tandem. The point in this passage is not because Jesus sacrificed for us we can enter God’s presence, but rather because we have a path to God, we are now to act. We are to draw near to Him (v. 22), hold to our hope (v. 23), encourage each other (v. 24), and meet together (v. 25).

A significant aspect of this passage is the author’s repeated use of the first-person plural. Seven times the author uses this construction and three times it’s in the exhortation “let us” (vv. 22, 23, 24). The implication is that our salvation has a community impact. Together we are part of the body of Christ (see 1 Corinthians 12). The Christian life is to be lived in relationship with others, encouraging each other to be more like Christ.

J.R. Hudberg

What It Means to Follow Jesus

Matthew 4:18-22

We often refer to ourselves as followers of Christ, but what does that really mean? When Jesus called Peter, Andrew, James, and John to follow Him, they physically left what they were doing to be with Him. The disciples had tangible evidence: They could see His direction with their eyes and hear His words with their ears. But how do we follow Jesus today? As we examine today’s passage, we’ll see four essential elements that show us how to be followers of Christ.

1. The disciples heard Jesus’ voice. Today Christ speaks to us through His Word, giving instruction and guidance through direct commands and prohibitions, spiritual principles, and biblical examples. And within us, we have the Holy Spirit, who directs our path and corrects us when we go astray.

2. They obeyed without delay. Once the disciples heard the Lord’s command, they immediately complied. Following Jesus requires that we not only do what He says, but also when and how He says to do it.

3. They left something behind. To follow Jesus, the disciples abandoned the comforts of home and the security of a regular salary. Other believers might be called to give up something completely different.

4. They pursued the higher purpose Christ offered them. Instead of simply making a living, Christ promised them a life with eternal purpose—becoming fishers of men for the kingdom of God.

Being a Christ follower is not merely an identification with Him; it’s a commitment of obedience that demands leaving behind anything that gets in the way of living fully for Him.

Need Total Abstinence

“Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.” (1 Peter 2:11) 

The command to abstain occurs only a few times in the New Testament, but there are three occurrences that are especially relevant for Christians today. One of these is 1 Thessalonians 4:3: “For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication.” The Greek word here actually applies to any type of sexual relationship outside of marriage, and the command is not merely for temperance or for “love” in one’s non-marital sexual relationships, but for total abstinence. This exhortation is perhaps needed more today than at any time since the days of pagan Rome, even for Christians and, unfortunately, Christian leaders. But that is not all. In the words of our text, we are also urgently exhorted to “abstain from fleshly lusts” since these carnal desires are in mortal combat with our very souls. One must avoid situations that might initiate or encourage fornication or its kindred activities.

But even that is not sufficient for the serious Christian man or woman. “Now we exhort you, brethren, . . . Abstain from all appearance of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:14, 22). The word here means anything that in outward form might appear to be evil, regardless of whether it is really wrong in itself or not. The Lord desires that we “adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things” (Titus 2:10) and that we “give none offense” (1 Corinthians 10:32).

A believer cannot afford to be careless in this warfare against his soul. “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). HMM

Hold fast the form of sound words

2 Timothy 1

The second epistle to Timothy is remarkable as being probably the last which the apostle wrote; it contains dying advice, written in the immediate prospect of martyrdom. Looking forward calmly to the grave, and with the executioner’s axe in the foreground, Paul pens this letter to his favourite disciple, and solemnly charges him to abide faithful unto death.

2 Timothy 1:1-5

We see here the inmost heart of Paul. Deserted by many of his friends, and in the feebleness of old age, expecting a cruel death, he cherishes the memory of his beloved young disciple, and longs to look once more upon his face. With joy he remembers the holy mother and grandmother of his friend, and the unfeigned piety of Timothy himself. How natural and how touching!

2 Timothy 1:8-10

Do not hesitate to come to Rome and bear with me the reproaches and dangers which belong to the ministers of Christ,

2 Timothy 1:8-10

“The old man eloquent” feels his soul kindling as he describes the glories of the gospel, eternal in its purpose, matchless in its achievements. He sits on the brink of the grave, and sings of one who hath abolished death. Faith in the resurrection could alone suggest such a triumphant exclamation.

2 Timothy 1:13

This is the main burden of the apostle’s pleading with Timothy, “Hold fast.” We have equal need of the same exhortation, for this is an evil day, and thousands hold everything or nothing as the winds of opinion may change.

2 Timothy 1:14-18

This good man is here immortalised. When he risked his life to find out and succour a poor despised prisoner, he little knew that he would live for ever on the page of the church’s history. His cup of cold water given to an apostle has received an apostle’s reward. Are there any yet alive like Paul to whom we might minister in love after the manner of Onesiphorus?

 

Stripp’d of my earthly friends,

I find them all in One;

And peace, and joy that never ends,

And heav’n, in Christ alone!

The Interpreter: Or, Scripture for Family Worship.

Is It Too Much “At Home”

These all died in faith… and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. (Hebrews 11:13)

One of the most telling indictments against many of us who comprise our Christian churches is the almost complete acceptance of the contemporary scene as our permanent home!

We have been working and earning, getting and spending, and now we are enjoying the creature comforts known to human beings in this land. You may bristle a bit and ask: “Is there anything wrong with being comfortable?”

Let me answer in this way: if you are a Christian and you are comfortably “at home” in Chicago or Toronto, in Iowa or Alberta—or any other address on planet earth, the signs are evident that you are in spiritual trouble.

The spiritual equation reads like this: the greater your contentment with your daily circumstances in this world, the greater your defection from the ranks of God’s pilgrims enroute to a city whose architect and builder is God Himself!

If we can feel that we have put down our roots in this present world, then our Lord still has much to teach us about faith and attachment to our Savior!

 

The Name to Use

“If ye shall ask anything in my name, I will do it.” John 14:14

What a wide promise! Anything! Whether large or small, all my needs are covered by that word “anything.” Come, my soul, be free at the mercy seat, and hear thy Lord saying to thee, “Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it.”

What a wise promise! We are always to ask in the name of Jesus. While this encourages us, it also honors Him. This is a constant plea. Occasionally every other plea is darkened, especially such as we could draw from our own relation to God, or our experience of His grace; but at such times the name of Jesus is as mighty at the throne as ever, and we may plead it with full assurance.

What an instructive prayer! I may not ask for anything to which I cannot put Christ’s hand and seal. I dare not use my Lord’s name to a selfish or willful petition. I may only use my Lord’s name to prayers which He would Himself pray if He were in my case. It is a high privilege to be authorized to ask in the name of Jesus as if Jesus Himself asked; but our love to Him will never allow us to set that name where He would not have set it.

Am I asking for that which Jesus approves? Dare I put His seal to my prayer? Then I have that which I seek of the Father.

 

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