VIDEO Double Crossed

I will not take my love from him, nor will I ever betray my faithfulness.  Psalm 89:33, NIV

Some people become famous, or infamous, for stunning acts of betrayal. Think of Brutus, who betrayed Julius Caesar; Benedict Arnold, who betrayed the American Revolutionaries; Joseph’s brothers, who betrayed him; and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus.

The word betray means “to violate a trust and to willfully expose a friend to the enemy.” Betrayal is an act of treason, and it’s among the most difficult injustices to handle. Millions of people today are wounded by a sense of being betrayed by a husband, wife, parent, or loved one.

Jesus predicted that the Last Days would be full of people who “will betray one another, and will hate one another” (Matthew 24:10).

But God will never betray His faithfulness to you. The twentieth-century evangelist, Wilbur J. Chapman, wrote a hymn that said: “Jesus! What a friend for sinners! Jesus! Lover of my soul; / Friends may fail me, foes assail me; He, my Savior, makes me whole.”

Jesus promised to be with us to the end of the age, and He will never let you down. Even when you feel overwhelmed, remember—you’re actually undergirded. He is faithful!

Saving, helping, keeping, loving, He is with me to the end. Wilbur J. Chapman


Psalm 89-91

The Illusion of Control

You do not even know what will happen tomorrow.  James 4:14

Ellen Langer’s 1975 study titled The Illusion of Control examined the level of influence we exert over life’s events. She found that we overestimate our degree of control in most situations. The study also demonstrated how reality nearly always shatters our illusion.

Langer’s conclusions are supported by experiments carried out by others since the study was published. However, James identified the phenomenon long before she named it. In James 4, he wrote, “Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes” (vv. 13–14).

Then James provides a cure for the delusion, pointing to the One who’s in absolute control: “Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that’” (v. 15). In these few verses, James summarized both a key failing of the human condition and its antidote.

May we understand that our fate doesn’t rest in our own hands. Because God holds all things in His capable hands, we can trust His plans!

By:  Remi Oyedele

Reflect & Pray

In what ways have you given in to the illusion that you’re in control of your fate? How can you turn over your plans to God and leave your future in His hands?

Heavenly Father, I place all of my life in Your loving hands. Thank You for Your good plans for me.

External Causes of Discouragement

Colossians 3:23-24

Whether in the workplace or elsewhere, discouragement can hit from many angles, depleting energy and productivity. To lessen its paralyzing effect, wise believers learn to detect its sources and symptoms. Let’s examine some external causes.

Unresolved disappointments. This could be letdowns caused by our own failed expectations or someone else’s.

Constant criticism. Frequent put-downs can make us think, What’s wrong with me?Yet unless God reveals truth in such comments, learn to let them go.

The feeling that no one’s listening. This can leave us with a sense of rejection.

A sense we aren’t appreciated after doing our best. We at times get so tied to our work that someone’s failure to acknowledge our efforts can feel like a personal rebuff.

Bad working conditions. Many believers enjoy what they do but pick up on coworkers’ cruelty, bitterness, or refusal to recognize their investment of time, energy, or creativity. This can make it extremely difficult to get motivated about going to work each day.

Lacking opportunities to shine. A job that doesn’t make the best use of one’s gifts and abilities can wear a person down. So can tight-fisted management that limits freedom to make innovations.

Oftentimes, it’s the people we see every day who seem to have the most power for causing discouragement in our lives. Read through the list again. Do any of the above scenarios sound familiar? If so, pray for the strength to face these external discouragers with renewed confidence and grace.

To God Be the Glory, Always

“Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth’s sake.” (Psalm 115:1)

 

One of the great words of the Bible is the word “glory,” and it should be evident that glory belongs to God, not man. Indeed, the very “heavens declare the glory of God” (Psalm 19:1). Not only do the heavens declare His glory, but “his glory [is] above the heavens” (113:4), and “the glory of the LORD shall endure for ever” (104:31). In heaven the mighty hosts of angels “give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name” (29:2).

It is thus singularly inappropriate for God’s servants on Earth to seek glory for themselves. “Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD” (Jeremiah 9:23-24).

This Old Testament exhortation is echoed in the New. “God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; . . . That no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:27, 29-31).

As our text reminds us, God manifests His glory to us today in both mercy and truth, mercifully saving us in Christ, who is Himself God’s truth (John 14:6). Thus, in Christ “mercy and truth are met together” (Psalm 85:10), and we shall “praise thy name for thy lovingkindness [same word as ‘mercy’] and for thy truth” (Psalm 138:2). HMM

Still Trying to Decide?

(For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)

—2 Corinthians 6:2

This is so desperately a matter of importance for every human being who comes into the world that I first become indignant, and then I become sad, when I try to give spiritual counsel to a person who looks me in the eye and tells me: “Well, I am trying to make up my mind if I should accept Christ or not.”

Such a person gives absolutely no indication that he realizes he is talking about the most important decision he can make in his lifetime—a decision to get right with God, to believe in the eternal Son, the Savior, to become a disciple, an obedient witness to Jesus Christ as Lord.

How can any man or woman, lost and undone, sinful and wretched, alienated from God, stand there and intimate that the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and God’s revealed plan of salvation do not take priority over some of life’s other decisions?   CES156

Lord, give us boldness to share this vital message with anyone with whom we come in contact who may be facing a Christless eternity. Amen.

 

If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts

There is a spirit in man; and the inspiration, of the Almighty giveth them understanding.—Job 32:8.

If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him?—Luke 11:13.  

 

Is it supposable that God has permitted personal intercourse between man and man to be such a potent instrument in the building up of character, and yet has made all intercourse with Himself impossible? If the spirit of man can, through the power of influence and sympathy, bless and uplift the spirit of his fellow-man, much more, a thousand-fold more, shall God who, be it remembered, is a Spirit also, aid by intercourse and influence the creature spirit whom He permits to call himself His child.

William Reed Huntington.  

 

In the fellowship which is established in prayer between man and God we are brought into personal union with Him in whom all things have their being. In this lies the possibility of boundless power; for when the connection is once formed, who can lay down the limits of what man can do in virtue of the communion of his spirit with the Infinite Spirit?

Brooke Foss Westcott.  

Child Chastisement Is Not Forever

“And I will for this afflict the seed of David, but not for ever.” 1Kings 11:39 

In the family of grace there is discipline, and that discipline is severe enough to make it an evil and a bitter thing to sin. Solomon, turned aside by his foreign wives, had set up other gods, and grievously provoked the God of his father; therefore, ten parts out of twelve of the kingdom were rent away, and set up as a rival state. This was a sore affliction to the house of David, and it came upon that dynasty distinctly from the hand of God, as the result of unholy conduct. The Lord will chasten His best beloved servants if they cease from full obedience to His laws: perhaps at this very hour such chastening is upon us. Let us humbly cry “O Lord, show me wherefore thou contendest with me.”

What a sweet saving clause is that — “but not for ever”! The punishment of sin is everlasting, but the fatherly chastisement of it in a child of God is but for a season. The sickness, the poverty, the depression of spirit, will pass away when they have had their intended effect. Remember, we are not under law, but under grace. The rod may make us smart, but the sword shall not make us die. Our present grief is meant to bring us to repentance, that we may not be destroyed with the wicked.