Bow Down; Be Lifted Up

“Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time.” 1Peter 5:6

This is tantamount to a promise: if we will bow down, the Lord will lift us up. Humility leads to honor: submission is the way to exaltation. That same hand of God which presses us down is waiting to raise us up when we are prepared to bear the blessing. We stoop to conquer. Many cringe before men, and yet miss the patronage they crave; but he that humbles himself under the hand of God shall not fail to be enriched, uplifted, sustained, and comforted by the ever-gracious One. It is a habit of Jehovah to cast down the proud, and lift up the lowly.

Yet there is a time for the Lord’s working. We ought now to humble ourselves, even at this present moment; and we are bound to keep on doing so whether the Lord lays His afflicting hand upon us or not. When the Lord smites, it is our special duty to accept the chastisement with profound submission. But as for the Lord’s exaltation of us, that can only come “in due time,” and God is the best judge of that day and hour. Do we cry out impatiently for the blessing? Would we wish for untimely honor? What are we at? Surely we are not truly humbled, or we should wait with quiet submission. So let us do.

 

VIDEO Special Delivery Broadcasting, Broken Covenant

Then the Lord said, “Broadcast this message in the streets of Jerusalem. Go from town to town throughout the land and say, ‘Remember the ancient covenant.’” Jeremiah 11:6, NLT

In 1922, Pastor William Ward Ayer of Valparaiso, Indiana, was visiting the home of one of the members of his church when he was introduced to a new apparatus—a crystal radio. After a lot of squeals and screeches, Ayer, to his utter amazement, heard a man speaking from Chicago, fifty miles away. Years later as the pastor of a New York church, Ayer preached to a quarter-million listeners every week.

Nearly a hundred years later, Turning Point and many other Bible-based ministries reach millions of people every day with the Gospel. And there are many opportunities for us all to be involved. For example, a woman in Virginia works for a national rental car agency, prepping the cars for the next customer. She always makes sure to tune the radio to a nearby Christian station so the renter will have the opportunity to hear the Gospel, if only for a moment.

Whenever we find a way to share the Truth, however small the effort may seem, it’s a special delivery because our message is so special and it’s our privilege to deliver it.

God wants to use you to bring other people to Himself. Greg Laurie


24 Jeremiah 11-15 – Pastor Chuck Smith – C2000 Series

In-Service Training

On this rock I will build my church.    Matthew 16:18

A manager at a company in Brazil requested a written report from the custodians in her building. Each day she wanted to know who cleaned each room, which rooms were left untouched, and how much time employees spent in each room. The first “daily” report arrived a week later, partially completed.

When the manager looked into the matter, she discovered most of the cleaning employees couldn’t read. She could have fired them, but instead she arranged for them to have literacy lessons. Within five months, everyone was reading at a basic level and continued in their jobs.

God often uses our struggles as opportunities to equip us to continue working for Him. Peter’s life was marked by inexperience and mistakes. His faith faltered as he tried to walk on water. He wasn’t sure if Jesus should pay the temple tax (Matthew 17:24–27). He even rejected Christ’s prophecy about the crucifixion and resurrection (16:21–23). Through each issue Jesus taught Peter more about who He was—the promised Messiah (v. 16). Peter listened and learned what he needed to know to help found the early church (v. 18).

If you’re discouraged by some failure today, remember that Jesus may use it to teach you and lead you forward in your service for Him. He continued to work with Peter despite his shortcomings, and He can use us to continue to build His kingdom until He returns.

By Jennifer Benson Schuldt

Reflect & Pray

How has God used challenges in your life to lead and equip you to serve Him? What past failure do you need to release to Him today?

Lord, I believe You can use any experience to teach me more about who You are. Take my failures and use them for Your glory.

What Hardens a Heart?

Hebrews 3:7-19

The warning in Hebrews 3 is a serious one. Anytime we ignore what God has said, it may be evidence of a hardened heart. Although we usually think this condition applies only to those who reject Christ, the reality is that believers can “be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin” (Heb. 3:13).

When the Lord begins to convict us, we could rationalize our disobedience, thinking it’s not that big a deal. Or we might be tempted to preoccupy ourselves with other things to avoid facing the issue at all. Perhaps we’re unwilling to deal with that sin because we’re afraid of the changes God is challenging us to make. Therefore, we distract ourselves with other thoughts and activities, pushing Him further and further from our mind in hopes of silencing His conviction.

We may think ignoring the Spirit in this way is not a serious issue, but it is rebellion against God, which is the very core of sin. And rebellion often begins with a refusal to relinquish control and trust the Lord. When we start catering to our own preferences, it’s not long before we redefine what God has said in an attempt to make ourselves feel better and quash the nagging sense of guilt.

The danger in such behavior is that we lose sight of our “first love”—our actions testify that we love our sin more than Christ (Revelation 2:4). The result is a heart that is desensitized to the sin. By ignoring the Spirit’s warnings, we can become acclimated to unrighteousness and adopt a sinful lifestyle. This is why we must carefully guard and examine our hearts.

Be Keen On Spiritual Cleanliness

“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.” (Matthew 23:25)

Three of the eight “woes” in Matthew 23 deal with a particular aspect of spiritual cleanliness. This one seems to emphasize personal cleanliness. The next verse amplifies the thought: “Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also” (Matthew 23:26).

The emphasis is on the internal heart. The biblical principle is very clear. If our hearts are not right, our lives will not be righteous. If what is “inside” is not clean, the “outside” will never be clean. Perhaps a list of the more obvious Bible references will help refocus our commitment.

  • “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life” (Proverbs 4:23).
  • “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things” (Matthew 12:34-35).
  • “Circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God” (Romans 2:29).
  • “Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart” (2 Corinthians 3:3).

May our “cup and platter” be as clean as God’s holiness is able to make it and “let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price” (1 Peter 3:4). HMM III

Good but Just Not Great

Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.

—1 Corinthians 4:2

Then there are the men who are good but not great, and we may thank God that there are so many of them, being grateful not that they failed to achieve greatness but that by the grace of God they managed to acquire plain goodness….

Every pastor knows this kind—the plain people who have nothing to recommend them but their deep devotion to their Lord and the fruit of the Spirit which they all unconsciously display. Without these the churches as we know them in city, town and country could not carry on. These are the first to come forward when there is work to be done and the last to go home when there is prayer to be made. They are not known beyond the borders of their own parish because there is nothing dramatic in faithfulness or newsworthy in goodness, but their presence is a benediction wherever they go. They have no greatness to draw to them the admiring eyes of carnal men but are content to be good men and full of the Holy Ghost, waiting in faith for the day that their true worth shall be known. When they die they leave behind them a fragrance of Christ that lingers long after the cheap celebrities of the day are forgotten.   GTM099

Thank You, Lord, for the host of good people in our church! May each one be richly blessed of You today. Direct me to some today who I could thank for their faithfulness. Amen.

 

Blessed are all they who wait for Him

Blessed are all they that wait for Him.—Isaiah 30:18.

 

I will trust again His love,

His power, Though I cannot feel His hand today,

To His help anew I will betake me,

Though His countenance seems turned away!

Though without one smile, one gracious token,

Through the flames and floods my path must go,

When the fires subside, the waves pass over,

My Deliverer I again shall know.

Joachim Lange.

 

In the night of distress, feel after somewhat which may quiet and stay thy heart till the next springing of the day. The sun will arise, which will scatter the clouds. And in the day of.His power thou wilt find strength to walk with Him; yea, in the day of thy weakness His grace will be sufficient for thee.

Isaac Penington.

 

My times are in Thy hand, O Lord! And, surely, that is the best. Were I to choose, they should be in no other hands, neither mine own, nor any others. When He withholds mercies or comforts for a season, it is but till the due season. Therefore it is our wisdom and our peace to resign all things into His hands, to have no will nor desires, but only this, that we may still wait for Him. Never was any one who waited for Him miserable with disappointment.

Robert Leighton.

 

More Than Just Mere Words

“I will give you the sure mercies of David.” Acts 13:34

Nothing of man is sure; but everything of God is so. Especially are covenant mercies sure mercies, even as David said “an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and sure.

We are sure that the Lord meant His mercy. He did not speak mere words: there is substance and truth in every one of His promises. His mercies are mercies indeed. Even if a promise seems as if it must drop through by reason of death, yet it never shall, for the good Lord will make good His word.

We are sure that the Lord will bestow promised mercies on all His covenanted ones. They shall come in due course to all the chosen of the Lord. They are sure to all the seed, from the least of them unto the greatest of them.

We are sure that the Lord will continue His mercies to His own people. He does not give and take. What He has granted us is the token of much more. That which we have not yet received is as sure as that which has already come; therefore, let us wait before the Lord and be still. There is no justifiable reason for the least doubt. God’s love, and word, and faithfulness are sure. Many things are questionable, but of the Lord we sing- “For his mercies shall endure ever faithful, ever sure

 

VIDEO A Sign of Maturity – Show Me Your Passport

For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.  Philippians 3:20

Many Christians rarely hear a sermon concerning biblical prophecy. Some pastors and teachers consider prophecy to be a controversial topic, with the potential to cause disagreement and division. But the return of Christ is mentioned, directly or indirectly, in all but four books of the New Testament (Galatians, 2 and 3 John, and Philemon).

The apostle Paul connects an understanding of the return of Christ to spiritual maturity. In Philippians 3, he describes his own desire to press on to his reunion with Christ as the culmination of his life of service on earth (verses 12-14). Then he says that all who are spiritually mature should think the same way (verse 15); we should understand that our citizenship is in heaven, not on earth, and live in expectation of meeting the Savior we followed on earth. So, contrary to what many believe, pursuing Christ now in anticipation of meeting Him then, is a sign of spiritual maturity according to the apostle Paul.

If you aren’t already, begin today “looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13).

A continual looking forward to the eternal world is not a form of escapism or wishful thinking, but one of the things a Christian is meant to do. C. S. Lewis


Show Me Your Passport, Please! – Philippians 3:17-21 – Skip Heitzig

Diligence, Are We Overdoing It?

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

When R. was in Primary One, she scored 9 out of 10 marks on a spelling test. Her mother responded by caning her, saying: “If you had prepared for the spelling test diligently, you’d have gotten full marks.”

Diligence—the mindset of focusing on something, and giving it constant, careful attention—is a virtue found in the Bible. In the book of Proverbs, we see many reminders to work hard, and warnings about laziness (for example, 12:24).

Diligence is also very much a part of Singapore culture. A recent news report on parenting observed that many parents here push their children hard to achieve top grades, believing that it will set their kids up for future success.

But, perhaps we can ask ourselves: Might we as Christian parents be emphasising diligence too much? Might we be giving our children the idea that their value in life is tied to their results, and this is something they can earn through hard work?

In an effort to build up the virtue of diligence in our children, we may give them the impression that diligence is the ultimate thing to trust and hope in. “You just need to work more so that you’ll succeed more and achieve more, then you’ll be happy,” we nag our kids.

But the Bible tells that God values us differently. Our value is in Christ alone, and not in how good we are, how well we perform, or how hard we have worked. It lies in us being saved—by grace.

When it comes to salvation, the Bible makes it clear that diligence makes no difference. The truth is, salvation—which is all that we need to be truly happy, secure and at peace—cannot be earned. It is given, not gotten. We can’t diligently remove sin from our hearts, nor can we diligently earn our way into heaven by doing good works. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Diligence may be a prized virtue, but it is not what God wants us to ultimately prize. Depending on diligence leads to a driven mindset, constantly chasing after fulfilment through effort. It places our value in what we do and how well we do it. But depending on God leads to a grace mindset, constantly doing our best while resting in God who has given us all spiritual blessings in Christ, and who sees our value in His Son alone.

Which mindset do we want to pass on to our children? —Ruth Wan

 

Lord, thank You that we are saved through grace,
and not through diligence or our own works.
Teach me to continue relying fully on You,
and to nurture in my children
a mindset of grace.

 

What other pitfalls in parenting might we face as we try to raise our children to fear the Lord? For more articles on biblical parenting, visit our new website, Biblical Wisdom for Parents.