VIDEO Precious – Homeless Man Walked Into Church

You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.  Psalm 16:2

“My precious . . .” First portrayed in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, the image of the emaciated creature Gollum in his maniacal obsession with the “precious ring of power” has become an iconic one today—for greed, obsession, even insanity.

It’s also a troublingly relatable image. In his tormented love-hate relationship with both the ring and with himself, Gollum’s voice echoes the hunger in our own hearts. Whether it’s directed at one thing in particular, or just a vague longing for “more,” we’re sure that once we finally get our own “precious,” we’ll be satisfied. But instead, what we thought would make us whole leaves us feeling even emptier than before.

There’s a better way to live. As David expresses in Psalm 16, when the longings in our hearts threaten to send us on a desperate, futile quest for satisfaction (v. 4), we can remember to turn to God for refuge (v. 1), reminding ourselves that apart from Him we have nothing (v. 2).

And as our eyes stop looking for satisfaction “out there” to gaze instead on God’s beauty (v. 8), we find ourselves finally tasting true contentment—a life of basking in the “joy [of God’s] presence,” walking with Him each moment in “the way of life”—now and forever (v. 11 nlt).

By Monica Brands

Reflect & Pray

What’s the thing you often turn to for satisfaction when you lose sight of God? Who can be a source of support and love for you when you feel trapped in your addiction to “more”?

God, forgive me for thinking I can find what I need apart from You. Thank You for always being there even when I forget to look for You. Draw me to Your side to live in the joy of walking with You.


A Homeless Man Walks Into a Church What He Did Next Shocked Everyone

Be on Guard

Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Ephesians 4:3

Everyone guards what is valuable. We guard our time, our money, our health, our relationships—the more valuable something is, the greater the effort we exert to preserve it. Another insight: We can’t keep or preserve something we don’t already possess.

Paul exhorted the Ephesian church to keep—the word means to “keep, preserve, or guard”—the unity of their life in Christ. He doesn’t tell them to create unity; that’s something God has already done (Ephesians 2:13-18). God brought together Jews and Gentiles (all people—Galatians 3:28) into one spiritual Body through the cross of Christ. God has given us spiritual unity as a gift; it is up to us to manifest it. And is that easy? No—the word for endeavoring in Ephesians 4:3 means “to hurry, to be diligent, or to make every effort.” When cracks or splits appear in the unity of the Church it’s because someone didn’t make every effort to guard and preserve it.

Are you making every effort to keep the unity in your home, your friendships, your workplace, your church? The unity of our life in Christ is too precious not to guard.

Unity in Christ is not something to be achieved; it is something to be recognized. A. W. Tozer

The Value of Our Conscience

1 Timothy 1:18-19

The conscience is God’s early warning system for alerting us to potential danger. It monitors our emotions, thoughts, and conduct.

Think of the conscience as a radar system that notifies us of possible trouble, usually without specifically identifying the problem. The principles and standards that we hold determine the sensitivity of our conscience. For example, if we believe lying is wrong, an alarm will sound when we start to shade the truth. But if we think lies are justifiable, it will be silent.

When programmed with the truth of God’s Word, the conscience has great value for a Christian. It detects deviations from the Lord’s standards and sends out a warning. The Holy Spirit uses that signal to get our attention. Then He will reveal what the problem is, give us understanding about it, and show us the right choices to make. He may guide us to friends, relevant Scripture verses, or other resources that can shed light on our situation and point out the implications of a wrong choice.

Failure to heed our inner alarm can bring serious consequences. Adam and Eve knew what God expected (Gen. 2:15-17). When tempted, however, they ignored their conscience and sinned against Him.

When your conscience sounds the alarm, do you stop and take notice or continue on the same course? Repeatedly ignoring your internal warning system can decrease its effectiveness at keeping you out of trouble. Ask God to help you program your inner alarm with His truth and sharpen your ability to hear it.

Oh no, Judgment

“For, lo, he that formeth the mountains, and createth the wind, and declareth unto man what is his thought, that maketh the morning darkness, and treadeth upon the high places of the earth, The LORD, The God of hosts, is his name.” (Amos 4:13)

This awesome ascription of judgmental power to God is in the midst of a dire prophecy by Amos to the 10-tribe northern kingdom of Israel. He had reminded them of earlier judgments, including even that of Sodom and Gomorrah, concluding with the fearsome warning: “Prepare to meet thy God, O Israel” (Amos 4:12).

Then, in our text verse, he seems to carry them still further back in time to remind them of an even greater destruction. The great winds of the earth, like its rains, first blew over its surfaces at the time of the mighty Deluge (Genesis 8:1), and the present mountains of the earth likewise rose out of the churning waters of the Flood (Psalm 104:6-9). It was at the time of the Flood that dark clouds first obscured the sunlight that before had perpetually shown through the pre-Flood “waters which were above the firmament” (Genesis 1:7), which had then condensed and fallen to the earth in great torrents from “the windows of heaven” (Genesis 7:11).

This awful judgment had come because the antediluvians, like the Israelites, had rejected their Creator and gone after other gods (Genesis 6:5). As if to confirm that he was, indeed, referring to the great Deluge, Amos, a few verses later, exhorted the Israelites to “seek him . . . that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth” (Amos 5:8).

It is dangerous and foolish for any nation or any person to question the true God of creation. He made all things, He knows all things, and He judges all things. “The LORD, The God of hosts, is his name.” HMM

Joyful People

But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

—John 4:14

We do have many professing Christians in our day who are not joyful, but they spend time trying to work it up. Now, brethren, I say that when we give God His place in the Church, when we recognize Christ as Lord high and lifted up, when we give the Holy Spirit His place, there will be joy that doesn’t have to be worked up. It will be a joy that springs like a fountain. Jesus said that it should be a fountain, an artesian well, that springs up from within. That’s one characteristic of a Spirit-filled congregation. They will be a joyful people, and it will be easy to distinguish them from the children of the world.

I wonder what the apostle Paul would say if he came down right now and looked us over in our congregations. What if he walked up and down the aisles of our churches, then went to a theater and looked them over, then on to a hockey game, on to the crowds at the shopping center and into the crowded streets? Then when he came back and looked us over again, I wonder if he would see very much difference?   COU008

Father, I need that artesian well of joy today. The burdens and busyness of leader ship sometimes really sap my strength and kill the joy. Help me and our whole congregationto demonstrate that real Spirit-inspired joy this week. Amen.

 

Art Thou not from everlasting O Lord my God?

Art Thou not from everlasting O Lord my God, mine Holy One? We shall not die.—Habakkuk 1:12.

My meditation of Him shall be sweet; I will be glad in the Lord.—Psalm 104:34.

 

The more our ideas about God are multiplied, the more various our thoughts, and images, and recollections of things which have to do with Him, of course the more our minds and hearts are engrossed with Him, and so it becomes easier to live all day in His sensible presence. And is not the practice of the presence of God one half of holiness? And so, weary with work or foiled with disappointment, when the dark night is closing in, bringing with it to our sick spirits a sense of imprisonment, and when the dismal rain curtains us round, and we fret to be at liberty and at large, there is the very freedom of a sovereign to a soul traversing this boundless empire of God and Jesus, angels, saints, men, and the blameless creatures, and rejoicing in that never-teasing sacrifice of praise which is rising up from every nook and corner of creation to the dear Majesty of our most loving God and Father!

Frederick Wm. Faber.

 

Delight in the happiness of God.

Lorenzo Scupoli.

 

A Word to Him Who Halts

“I will save her that halteth.” Zeph. 3:19

There are plenty of these lame ones, both male and female. You may meet “her that halteth” twenty times in an hour. They are in the right road, and exceedingly anxious to run in it with diligence, but they are lame, and make a sorry walk of it. On the heavenly road there are many cripples. It may be that they say in their hearts — What will become of us? Sin will overtake us, Satan will throw us down. Ready-to-halt is our name and our nature; the Lord can never make good soldiers of us, nor even nimble messengers to go on His errands. Well, well! He will save us, and that is no small thing. He says, “I will save her that halteth.” In saving us He will greatly glorify Himself. Everybody will ask — How came this lame woman to run the race and win the crown? And then the praise will all be given to almighty grace.

Lord, though I halt in faith, in prayer, in praise, in service, and in patience, save me, I beseech thee! Only thou canst save such a cripple as I am. Lord, let me not perish because I am among the hindmost, but gather up by thy grace the slowest of thy pilgrims — even me. Behold He hath said it shall be so, and therefore, like Jacob, prevailing in prayer, I go forward though my sinew be shrunk.