VIDEO A Virtuous Life, Scripture Is Sufficient

2-timothy-3-16 scripture

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.  Psalm 19:14

Virtue is defined as moral excellence; a virtue (or virtues) is behavior that evidences the pursuit of moral excellence. Since the fifth century A.D., the Christian Church has identified seven cardinal virtues: temperance, prudence, courage, and justice, plus the three virtues of faith, hope, and love from 1 Corinthians 13:13.

While the Bible does not contain a list of Christian virtues, Paul’s list of the fruit of the Spirit is a good place to begin: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). Virtues—and their opposite, vices—are not passive manifestations. They are the result of the choices we make to pursue godliness (moral excellence; Christlikeness) or not. For example, the fruit of the Spirit appear in the lives of those who choose to be cleansed of their sin and be filled with the Holy Spirit (1 John 1:9; Ephesians 5:18). The psalmist put it well—praying for thoughts, words, and resulting actions that will please God.

Ask God today for the filling of His Spirit that the life of Christ may be manifest through you, leading to a virtuous life.

So let our works and virtues shine, to prove the doctrine all divine.Isaac Watts


Scripture Is Sufficient (Psalm 19)

 

He Calms the Storms

God lighhouse storm

But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”  Matthew 14:27

Jim was frantically sharing about problems he was encountering with his work team: division, judgmental attitudes, and misunderstandings. After an hour of patiently listening to his concerns, I suggested, “Let’s ask Jesus what He would have us do in this situation.” We sat quietly for five minutes. Then something amazing happened. We both felt God’s peace cover us like a blanket. We were more relaxed as we experienced His presence and guidance, and we felt confident to wade back into the difficulties.

Peter, one of Jesus’s disciples, needed God’s comforting presence. One night he and the other disciples were sailing across the Sea of Galilee when a strong storm arose. All of a sudden, Jesus showed up walking on water! Naturally, this took the disciples by surprise. He reassured them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid” (Matthew 14:27). Peter impulsively asked Jesus if he could join Him. He stepped out of the boat and walked toward Jesus. But he soon lost focus, became aware of the dangerous and humanly impossible circumstance he was in, and started sinking. He cried out, “Lord, save me!” and Jesus lovingly rescued him (vv. 30–31).

Like Peter, we can learn that Jesus, the Son of God, is with us even in the storms of life!

By:  Estera Pirosca Escobar

Reflect & Pray

What storm of life are you going through today? What can you do to shift your focus from the storm to the One who can calm it?

Jesus, thank You that You have the power and authority to calm the storms in our lives. Help us to trust You.

 

Standing Tall Through Prayer

Nehemiah 1:1-11

Nehemiah spent time praying on his knees. When he needed guidance, strength, provision, or protection, he responded with prayer. Because of this attitude of dependence, God was able to use Nehemiah to achieve His divine purposes.

This is also true for believers today. God will use us if we seek Him and make ourselves available. He wants His children to be a part of His work and has a purpose for each of us.

If you want to follow Nehemiah’s example of dependent prayer, first recognize God as the sovereign Ruler of the universe (Neh. 1:5). Although He’s our loving Father and loyal Friend, we must never forget that He is also our high and exalted Creator, whose holiness is beyond our comprehension. We don’t want to casually think of Him as “the man upstairs” or come into His presence in a frivolous manner.

As one who respected God’s holiness, Nehemiah approached Him with confession, admitting not only his own sin, but his father’s and Israel’s as well (Neh. 1:6-7). We cannot hide, deny, or cherish sin and expect the Lord to hear and answer our prayers. Purity of heart and the power of God are linked. We need the Holy Spirit to help us remain sensitive to sin and be willing to deal with it immediately.

The reason Nehemiah stood so tall had nothing to do with his natural abilities; rather, it was because he had developed a relationship of dependency on the Lord through prayer. The same can be true for you. Rely on the Lord, and let Him be your strength.

Blessings We Already Have in Christ

“For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” (2 Corinthians 5:1)

The blessings we have in Christ are far too many to number, but it is a blessing even to note just a few of those indicated by the words we have or ye have. First of all, in Christ “we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace” (Ephesians 1:7). As a result, “being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1).

Thus, through such promises, His Word assures us of salvation. “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life” (1 John 5:13). Further assurance is given by the witness of the Spirit who indwells our bodies when we believe on Christ. “Ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father” (Romans 8:15).

There are many other blessings that are ours in Christ. In Him, for example, “we have obtained an inheritance” (Ephesians 1:11), for we are joint-heirs with Him. God has even confirmed His promises, the writer of Hebrews says, by taking an oath in His own name that “we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast” (Hebrews 6:18-19). Indeed, “we have a great high priest” (Hebrews 4:14) ever living to intercede for us at the throne of God.

Finally, in the words of our text, when God calls us home, “we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens,” and then we are “to be present with the Lord” throughout the ages to come (2 Corinthians 5:8). These are a few of the blessings we have in Christ. HMM

Tuning the Strings

Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all  1 Timothy 4:14-15

I have been forced to admit that one of the things hardest for me to understand and try to reconcile is the complete aimlessness of so many Christians’ lives….

Probably the worst part of this situation among us is the fact that so many of our Christian brothers and sisters have unusual gifts and talents and capacities—yet they have not exercised this discipline of girding up the mind and spiritual potential in order to make the necessary progress in the Christian life.

Why should a pastor have to confess total failure from year to year? Why should he have to go from one church to another, starting something, trying something—only to admit failure again?

I don’t think he has ever really girded himself. He has abilities but they are not disciplined. He has a fine mind but it is not girded up. He is like a man with a treasured Stradivarius violin that has never been put in tune. He has never taken time to sit down and tune that priceless instrument, therefore he gets no melody and harmony from it.   ICH142-143

Lord, help me today to gird myself in the Holy Spirit’s power; to discipline myself to faithful service; to gird my mind to excellence. Amen.

 

Bless the Lord, all His works

Bless the Lord, all His works in all places of His dominion: bless the Lord, O my soul. Psalm 103:22.

 

O Most high, almighty, good Lord God, to Thee belong praise, glory, honor, and all blessing. Praised be my Lord God with all His creatures, and specially our brother the sun, who brings us the day; fair is he and shines with a very great splendor; O Lord, he signifies to, us Thee. Praised be my Lord for our sister the moon, and for the stars, the which He has set clear and lovely in heaven. Praised be my Lord for our sister water, who is very serviceable unto us, and humble and precious and clean. Praised be Thou, my Lord, for our brother fire; he is bright and pleasant and very mighty and strong. Praised be my Lord for our the earth, who doth sustain us and keep us, and bringeth forth divers fruits and flowers of many colors, and grass. Praised be my Lord for all those who pardon one another for His love’s sake, and who endure weakness and tribulation. Praised be Thou, my Lord, for our sister, the death of the body, from which no man escapeth. Praise ye and bless ye the Lord, and give thanks unto Him and serve Him with great humility.

St. Francis of Assisi.

 

The Mightiest Magnet

“And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” John 12:32

Come, ye workers, be encouraged. You fear that you cannot draw a congregation. Try the preaching of a crucified, risen, and ascended Saviour; for this is the greatest “draw” that was ever yet manifested among men. What drew you to Christ but Christ? What draws you to Him now but His own blessed self? If you have been drawn to religion by anything else, you will soon be drawn away from it; but Jesus has held you, and will hold you even to the end. Why, then, doubt His power to draw others? Go with the name of Jesus to those who have hitherto been stubborn, and see if it does not draw them.

No sort of man is beyond this drawing power. Old and young, rich and poor, ignorant and learned, depraved or amiable — all men shall feel the attractive force. Jesus is the one magnet. Let us not think of any other. Music will not draw to Jesus, neither will eloquence, logic, ceremonial, or noise. Jesus Himself must draw men to Himself; and Jesus is quite equal to the work in every case. Be not tempted by the quackeries of the day; but as workers for the Lord work in His own way, and draw with the Lord’s own cords. Draw to Christ, and draw by Christ, for then Christ will draw by you.