VIDEO Excellent Spirits

Excellent Spirits

Despite their fear of the peoples around them, they built the altar on its foundation and sacrificed burnt offerings on it to the Lord, both the morning and evening sacrifices. Ezra 3:3, NIV

Chaplain Kenneth Best served in World War I. One day he held a communion service at 6 a.m., hoping to minister to the men before the firing started; but the enemy started their attack early. Though Best didn’t expect anyone to show up at the service, he felt responsible to be there if they did, despite the danger.

“To my surprise, regardless of shrapnel, about 100 men were present. Never shall I forget my first service under fire. We all felt God’s good providence watched over us, for not one was hit. We are all in excellent spirits.”1

Some days are frightening, and we’re surrounded by circumstances that could make us anxious. But as we go about the work God has assigned us, He is among us. He is able to keep us in excellent spirits today.

How sweet the name of Jesus sounds in a believer’s ear! It soothes his sorrows, heals his wounds, and drives away his fear. John Newton

  1. From A Prayer for Gallipoli: The Great War Diaries of Chaplain Kenneth Best

Ezra 3-4: “Laying the Foundations”

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Finding Treasure

The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. Matthew 13:44

John and Mary were walking their dog on their property when they stumbled on a rusty can partially unearthed by recent rains. They took the can home and opened it, discovering a cache of gold coins over a century old! The couple returned to the spot and located seven more cans containing 1,427 coins in all. Then they protected their treasure by reburying it elsewhere.

The cache of coins (valued at $10 million) is called the Saddle Ridge Hoard, the largest find of its kind in US history. The story is strikingly reminiscent of a parable Jesus told: “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field” (Matthew 13:44).

Tales of buried treasure have captured imaginations for centuries, though such discoveries rarely happen. But Jesus tells of a treasure accessible to all who confess their sins and receive and follow Him (John 1:12).

We’ll never come to an end of that treasure. As we leave our old lives and pursue God and His purposes, we encounter His worth. Through “the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:7), God offers us treasure beyond imagination—new life as His sons and daughters, new purpose on earth, and the incomprehensible joy of eternity with Him.

By James Banks

Reflect & Pray

How are you treasuring your relationship with God? How can you share that treasure with others?

You are my greatest treasure, Jesus. I praise You for giving Your life for me on the cross, so that I could find forgiveness and new life in You.

God’s Provisions for Your Success

Joshua 1:1-9

Whenever our goals align with the Lord’s, we can count on His help in achieving them. This truth is vividly confirmed in the story of Joshua. Since God the Father gave him the huge responsibility of leading the Israelites into the Promised Land, He also provided everything Joshua would need for success. He will do the same for us every time we believe Him and step up to fulfill the goals He has set for us.

His Promises: God assured Joshua that He would give him the land and no one would be able to stand against him. In the same way, the Lord will enable you to achieve whatever He’s called you to do, and neither man nor the devil will be able to thwart His purposes. You just need to stand firm in faith.

His Power: Be strong and courageous, because you will encounter obstacles that challenge your obedience. Such boldness isn’t something we muster within ourselves. It’s developed through reliance upon the Lord. Courage comes when our faith is stronger than our fear.

His Word: Joshua’s success depended upon his obedience to God’s Word. The same is true for us. If God’s truth isn’t shaping our thoughts, words, and actions, we will naturally go our own way and miss the path He has planned for us.

Everything you need to succeed in life is provided for you by God. But these provisions are available only when you choose to follow His plans. If you ignore the Lord and set your own goals without His direction, you may get what you want, but it won’t be true success.

Paul is Our Example

“Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.” (Philippians 4:9)

The apostle Paul many times urged his readers to follow his example in living the Christian life. To the Philippians, Paul said: “Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample” (Philippians 3:17).

The initial reaction to such exhortations is to think of Paul as arrogant. To the believers in the Corinthian church, he said: “Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me” (1 Corinthians 4:16). To those at Thessalonica, he said: “For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you. . . . Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us” (2 Thessalonians 3:7-9).

At the same time, Paul considered himself to be “the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle” (1 Corinthians 15:9). Later he called himself “less than the least of all saints” (Ephesians 3:8), and finally he said that he was even the chief of sinners (1 Timothy 1:15).

In no way was the apostle Paul an egotist. Nevertheless, he knew that his converts needed an example to see, as well as precepts to learn. The Lord Jesus Christ, of course, is our real example (1 Peter 2:21). But by living a life patterned after Christ, however, Paul could say: “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1).

People need to see Christ in the lives of their Christian leaders. By the grace of God, we also need to live as Christ did, so that when people follow us, they also will be following Christ. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). HMM

Have Astonished Reverence

O LORD, our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens.

—Psalm 8:1

Then there is admiration, that is, appreciation of the excellency of God. Man is better qualified to appreciate God than any other creature because he was made in His image and is the only creature who was. This admiration for God grows and grows until it fills the heart with wonder and delight. “In our astonished reverence we confess Thine uncreated loveliness,” said the hymn writer. “In our astonished reverence.” The God of the modern evangelical rarely astonishes anybody. He manages to stay pretty much within the constitution. Never breaks over our bylaws. He’s a very well-behaved God and very denominational and very much one of us, and we ask Him to help us when we’re in trouble and look to Him to watch over us when we’re asleep. The God of the modern evangelical isn’t a God I could have much respect for. But when the Holy Ghost shows us God as He is we admire Him to the point of wonder and delight.   WMJ022-023

Lord, give me just a taste of “astonished reverence.” Let me see You today as You really are and experience that “wonder and delight” of which Tozer speaks. Amen.

 

I exhort you to be of good cheer

And now I exhort you to be of good cheer.—Acts 27:22.

I will be glad and rejoice in Thee; I will sing praise to Thy name, O Thou most High.—Psalm 9:2.

 

If you have a murmuring spirit, you cannot have true cheerfulness; it will generally show in your countenance and your voice. Some little fretfulness or restlessness of tone will betray it. Your cheerfulness is forced, it does not spring up freely and healthily out of your heart, which it can only do when that is truly at rest in God, when you are satisfied with His ways, and wishing no change in them. When this is truly your case, then your heart and mind are free, and you can rejoice in spirit.

Priscilla Maurice.

 

Let us seek the grace of a cheerful heart, an even temper, sweetness, gentleness, and brightness of mind, as walking in His light, and by His grace. Let us pray to Him to give us the spirit of ever-abundant, ever-springing love, which overpowers and sweeps away the vexations of life by its own richness and strength, and which, above all things, unites us to Him who is the fountain and the centre of all mercy, loving-kindness, and joy.

John Henry Newman.

 

Is There A Real Difference?

“But against any of the children of Israel shall not a dog move his tongue, against man or beast: that ye may know how that the Lord doth put a difference between the Egyptians and Israel.” Exod. 11:7

What! has God power over the tongues of dogs? Can he keep curs from barking? Yes, it is even so. He can even prevent an Egyptian dog from worrying one of the lambs of Israel’s flock. Doth God silence dogs, and doggish ones among men, and the great dog at hell’s gate? Then let us move on our way without fear.

If He lets dogs move their tongues, yet He can stop their teeth. They may make a dreadful noise, and still do us no real harm. Yet, how sweet is quiet! How delightful to move about among enemies, and perceive that God maketh them to be at peace with us! Like Daniel in the den of lions, we are unhurt amid destroyers.

Oh, that today, this word of the Lord to Israel might be true to me! Does the dog worry me? I will tell my Lord about him. Lord, he does not care for my pleadings; do thou speak the word of power, and he must lie down. Give me peace, O my God, and let me see thy hand so distinctly in it that I may most clearly perceive the difference which thy grace has made between me and the ungodly!