VIDEO Special Delivery Balloons – Men and Women in the Church

I suffer trouble as an evildoer, even to the point of chains; but the word of God is not chained. 2 Timothy 2:9

 

2 Timothy 2:1-10 (nkjv)

BE STRONG IN GRACE

You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier. And also if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. The hardworking farmer must be first to partake of the crops. Consider what I say, and may the Lord give you understanding in all things.

Remember that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead according to my gospel, for which I suffer trouble as an evildoer, even to the point of chains; but the word of God is not chained. 10 Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.

North Korea is widely considered the most difficult nation on earth for missions. Christians are executed there, and any effort to even whisper the message of Christ could mean torture and death. But the Gospel is not chained, and several missions agencies are sending the Gospel into North Korea using helium-filled balloons. This effort has been going on for many years, and everything depends on the direction of the wind. One children’s missions group has the Gospel printed on the balloons, accompanied by pictures and explanations. Another group launches balloons with small radios attached, tuned to a Korean-language Gospel station. Another organization attaches Bible-filled flash drives to their balloons.

Recently, however, the summit meetings between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un complicated the balloon launches because the South Korean government doesn’t want anything to upset the talks. Still, the Word of God is not chained.

Who knows what God is doing inside the darkest land on earth? North Korean missiles are no match for Gospel balloons, for the Gospel is not chained. Pray for North Korea!

Just as a dandelion needs the wind to spread its seeds, we need the wind to spread the message.  A South Korean evangelist


1 Timothy 2:8-15 – Men and Women in the Church

 

Starting Now

Love each other deeply. 1 Peter 4:8

When my oldest sister’s biopsy revealed cancer in late February 2017, I remarked to friends, “I need to spend as much time with Carolyn as possible—starting now.” Some told me my feelings were an overreaction to the news. But she died within ten months. And even though I had spent hours with her, when we love someone there’s never enough time for our hearts to love enough.

The apostle Peter called Jesus’s followers in the early church to “love each other deeply” (1 Peter 4:8). They were suffering under persecution and needed the love of their brothers and sisters in their Christian community more than ever. Because God had poured His own love into their hearts, they would then want to love others in return. Their love would be expressed through praying, offering gracious hospitality, and gentle and truthful conversation—all in the strength God provided (vv. 9–11). Through His grace, God had gifted them to sacrificially serve each other for His good purposes. So that “in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ” (v. 11). This is God’s powerful plan that accomplishes His will through us.

We need others and they need us. Let’s use whatever time or resources we have received from God to love—starting now.

By Anne Cetas

Reflect & Pray

How have others loved you well? What have you received from God that you might use to serve someone today?

There is nothing small in the service of God. Francis de Sales

Reconciling Love and War

Luke 6:27-31

One area of confusion about war is the apparent discrepancy between Jesus’ words and God’s approval of battle in the Old Testament. Can such dissimilar teachings be reconciled? How can the God who told Israel to destroy the Canaanites (Deut. 20:17) be the same one who said, “Love your enemies” (Luke 6:27)?

To correctly interpret biblical passages like these, it’s important to understand their context. In Luke 6, Jesus was speaking about personal conflicts, not national wars. As children of God, we are to emulate Him by being “kind to ungrateful and evil men” (Luke 6:35).

In order to clarify this issue, we must distinguish between commands issued to nations and instructions given to individuals. The Lord has bestowed certain responsibilities upon governments. He calls them ministers of God for good and entrusts them with avenging evil (Rom. 13:4). But to individuals, He says, “Never take your own revenge” (Rom. 12:19).

God allows governments to engage in warfare for the protection of those being harmed. On the battlefield, a soldier with a humble mindset carries out his duties because he is obedient to the authority of his government (Rom. 13:1-2). That’s very different from individuals seeking their own revenge—murder is a man or woman’s vengeful response to anger or jealousy; it is motivated by a desire to destroy another person and often also results in self-destruction.

There have been times when war has led to peace between nations. But we’ll never experience inner peace if we battle individuals who wrong us.

A Kingdom of Priests

“And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.” (Exodus 19:6)

These were the words of God to Israel, even before they received the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai. As a priest serves as an intermediary between God and men, so this “kingdom of priests” had been called by God to bring God’s Word to man. As a holy nation with such a high calling, its people also should have been holy (that is, consecrated to God) in life and witness. But instead, after almost 2,000 years, God had to lament: “All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people” (Romans 10:21).

A day will come when “all Israel shall be saved” (Romans 11:26), but God has, in the meantime, chosen a new people, in whom “there is neither Jew nor Greek . . . for ye are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28). We are now “one body in Christ, and every one members one of another” (Romans 12:5).

We now have been given the same high privileges long ago given to Israel. We who belong to Christ have been “born again” into the “kingdom of God” (John 3:3), and this is nothing less than a kingdom of priests, a holy nation. Peter said: “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:5).

Not only are we a holy priesthood, we are a royal priesthood, a kingdom of priest-kings. “Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light” (v. 9). We, indeed, have a high calling, and should devote our lives to showing forth His praises, for He “hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; unto him be glory and dominion for ever and ever” (Revelation 1:6). HMM

Beware of Wilderness Encroachment

Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.

—Revelation 3:17

The wilderness encroaches on the fruitful field, and unless there is constant fighting off of this encroachment, there will be little or no harvest.

I think it is exactly the same with the church, for as one of the old saints said, “Never think for a minute that there will be a time when you will not be tempted. He is tempted the most effectively who thinks that he isn’t being tempted at all.”

Just when we think we are not being tempted, that is the time of danger, and so it is with the Church. We lean back on our own laurels and say, “That may be true of some churches, but it is not true of us. We are increased with goods and have need of nothing!” (see Revelation 3:17).

This is to remind us that we must fight for what we have. Our little field of God’s planting must have the necessary weapons and plenty of watchmen out there to drive off the crows and all sorts of creatures, to say nothing of the little insects that destroy the crops. We have to keep after them. We must keep our field healthy, and there is only one way to do that, and that is to keep true to the Word of God. We must constantly go back to the grass roots and get the Word into the Church.   COU006

Lord, don’t ever let us become complacent in Your blessing. Keep us vigilant that our field might stay healthy and the little weeds might never be allowed to take root. Amen.

 

Beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord

But we all, with open face, beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory.—2 Corinthians 3:18.

 

Thy life in me be shown! Lord!

I would henceforth seek

To think and speak Thy thoughts,

Thy words alone;

No more my own.

Frances R. Havergal.

Nothing short of the Life of the Eternal Son of God—the Holiness, the Purity of God, is the standard at which we are to aim; that is to be reproduced in our circumstances; the Divine Perfections are to be translated, reproduced in our life, our home, our trials, our difficulties, our age of the world. Let us ask ourselves, what is the special likeness of Christ that He would reproduce in me? What are the features of His Life that He calls me to imitate? What pattern would He set before me in my work, my circumstances, my difficulties? What are the inspirations of grace that He would urge me to cultivate and cherish?

Arthur C.A. Hall.

 

The Christian life must be in its own degree something like the Master’s own life, luminous with His hope, and surrounded by a bracing atmosphere which uplifts all who even touch its outer fringe.

Hugh Black.

 

His Love; His Gift and His Son

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

Of all the stars in the sky the polestar is the most useful to the mariner. This text is a polestar, for it has guided more souls to salvation than any other Scripture. It is among promises what the Great Bear is among constellations.

Several words in it shine with peculiar brilliance. Here we have God’s love, with a “so” to it, which marks its measureless greatness. Then we have God’s gift in all its freeness and greatness. This also is God’s Son, that unique and priceless gift of a love which could never fully show itself till Heaven’s Only-begotten had been sent to live and die for men. These three points are full of light.

Then there is the simple requirement of believing, which graciously points to a way of salvation suitable for guilty men. This is backed by a wide description — “whosoever believeth in him.” Many have found room in “whosoever” who would have felt themselves shut out by a narrower word. Then comes the great promise, that believers in Jesus shall not perish, but have everlasting life. This is cheering to every man who feels that he is ready to perish, and that he cannot save himself. We believe in the Lord Jesus, and we have eternal life.