Put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Colossians 3:10, NIV
Rafael Badziag, who studies the psychology of entrepreneurship, interviewed 21 billionaires and found they all had the same six core habits: (1) They wake up early; (2) they keep healthy and exercise regularly; (3) they are avid readers; (4) they take time to contemplate and think; (5) they develop routines and rituals; (6) they practice discipline and self-control.1
Being a billionaire is overrated, but building a biblical personality is vastly underrated. There’s no value we can put on a godly lifestyle, yet we must strive to establish good habits that keep us focused on the Lord. What habits do you need to strengthen in your life? Improved stewardship of your time? Regular periods of rest? Healthier communication with those you love? Less screen time? Exercise? Nutrition?
All these are habits, and habits are like spaceships. It takes a lot of energy to launch them, but once they’re in orbit their momentum becomes natural. Don’t be discouraged. Work on a new habit today.
Complacency is a deadly foe of all spiritual growth. Acute desire must be present or there will be no manifestation of Christ to His people. A. W. Tozer
Taking Control of Our Thoughts– Dr. Charles Stanley
He was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. Acts 1:9
My niece, her four-year-old daughter Kailyn, and I had a wonderful Saturday afternoon together. We enjoyed blowing bubbles outside, coloring in a princess coloring book, and eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. When they got in the car to leave, Kailyn sweetly called out the opened window, “Don’t forget me, Auntie Anne.” I quickly walked toward the car and whispered, “I could never forget you. I promise I will see you soon.”
In Acts 1, the disciples watched as Jesus was “taken up before their very eyes” into the sky (v. 9). I wonder if they thought they might be forgotten by their Master. But He’d just promised to send His Spirit to live in them and empower them to handle the persecution that was to come (v. 8). And He’d taught them He was going away to prepare a place for them and would come back and take them to be with Him (John 14:3). Yet they must have wondered how long they would have to wait. Perhaps they wanted to say, “Don’t forget us, Jesus!”
For those of us who have put our faith in Jesus, He lives in us through the Holy Spirit. We still may wonder when He will come again and restore us and His creation fully. But it will happen—He won’t forget us. “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up” (1 Thessalonians 5:11).
Reflect & Pray
How do you sense God’s presence in your life? What are you looking forward to the most in eternity?
We enjoy walking with You now, but we look forward to the day when all things will be fully restored. Come soon, Lord Jesus.
1 Peter 1:6-9
Nobody likes adversity. But if you’re a believer, difficulties and suffering are valuable because they can strengthen your faith and prove it is genuine. Unfortunately, many churchgoers today continually wonder whether they ever actually received salvation. Even scriptural assurances of eternal security may bring no comfort to people who aren’t sure they are saved.
Using an illustration of seed sown on different kinds of soil (Matt. 13:18-23), Jesus told a parable about various responses to the gospel. He described one of the soils as rocky, likening it to someone who initially receives the good news with joy. But on encountering trials, the person falls away because superficial trust in Christ often fades when tested by hardship.
In contrast, Peter says that when professing believers are beset by trials yet remain steadfast in the Lord Jesus, their faith is proved genuine. The result is confidence in their salvation, and with each new trial, assurance and trust in Christ grows. Their continued perseverance is the fruit of salvation that demonstrates they are abiding in Him (John 15:5).
That’s why we can rejoice even in our sufferings—because through them, God is assuring us of our salvation and conforming us to His image. Knowing this should give us hope and encouragement to continue the process of sanctification, because we have confidence that our salvation will be completed with the resurrection of our bodies.
The next time you face trouble, remember God wants you to know that your salvation is genuine. So hold tightly to Christ and keep trusting Him.
“And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.” (Revelation 12:5)
This remarkable scene was part of a great vision given to the apostle John as the Lord was revealing to him “the things which shall be hereafter” (Revelation 1:19). He had seen an amazing “sign” in heaven—a woman “clothed with the sun . . . travailing in birth,” with “a great red dragon” awaiting the delivery and ready “to devour her child as soon as it was born” (Revelation 12:1-4).
Although the whole vision is richly symbolic, the figure of the man child clearly refers to Jesus Christ, because it is He alone who must eventually rule all nations “with a rod of iron” (Revelation 19:15). Thus, the symbolic “woman” must suggest His human mother, Mary, but also Eve, the “mother of all living” (Genesis 3:20), for in His human birth, the Son of God became also “the Son of man” (Acts 7:56; Revelation 1:13). The vision, in fact, dramatizes the long warfare between the great dragon (i.e., Satan—Revelation 12:9) and the seed of the woman (Genesis 3:15).
In the vision, the “man child” will have been “caught up” (i.e., “raptured”) to heaven, and the dragon and his angels “cast out” to earth (Revelation 12:5-9). But when Christ returns from heaven, all believers, living and dead, will also be “caught up” to meet Him in the air, and thus may well be included in the man child of the great “sign.”
There has been continuous warfare between the seed of the Serpent and the spiritual seed of the woman. The Dragon is forever “wroth with the woman” and with “the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Revelation 12:17). But Christ will finally prevail and cast Satan into the eternal lake of fire (Revelation 20:10). HMM
Blessed are ye, when men shall re—vile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
Popular Judaism slew the prophets and crucified Christ. Popular Christianity killed the Reformers, jailed the Quakers and drove John Wesley into the streets. When it comes to religion, the crowds are always wrong. At any time there are a few who see, and the rest are blinded. To stand by the truth of God against the current religious vogue is always unpopular and may be downright dangerous….
Christianity’s scramble for popularity today is an unconscious acknowledgment of spiritual decline. Her eager fawning at the feet of the world’s great is a grief to the Holy Spirit and an embarrassment to the sons of God….
Lot was a popular believer…. But when trouble struck, he had to send quick for Abraham to get him out of the jam. And where did they find Abraham? Out on the hillside, far away from the fashionable crowds. It has always been so…. For every Noah there is always a vast multitude who will not believe it is going to rain.
We are sent to bless the world, but never are we told to compromise with it. NCA020-021
Deliver me from the scramble for popularity and strengthen me to serve alone, oblivious to the roar of the crowds. Amen.
Our heart shall rejoice in Him, because we have trusted In His holy name.—Psalm 33:21.
Take anxious care for naught,
To God your wants make known,
And soar on wings of heavenly thought
Toward His eternal throne;
So, though our path is steep,
And many a tempest lowers,
Shall His own peace our spirits keep,
And Christ’s dear love be ours.
Cherish thankfulness with prayer. St. Paul gives us in two words this secret of peace. “In everything,” (he excepts nothing, so do not you) “by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God which passeth all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” He does not say it as a benediction only: he tells us; it “shall keep your hearts and minds.” Do the one and God will do the other. Ask what you will, be thankful; and not peace only, but peace which passeth all which our poor minds can think, shall keep these poor breaking, restless hearts—these ever wearying, worrying minds of ours—in Christ Jesus.
Edward B. Pusey.
“I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it.” Rev. 3:8
Saints who remain faithful to the truth of God have an open door before them. My soul, thou hast resolved to live and die by that which the Lord has revealed in His Word, and therefore before thee stands this open door.
I will enter in by the open door of communion with God. Who shall say me nay? Jesus has removed my sin, and given me His righteousness, therefore I may freely enter. Lord, I do so by thy grace.
I have also before me an open door into the mysteries of the Word. I may enter into the deep things of God. Election, Union to Christ, the Second Advent — all these are before me, and I may enjoy them. No promise and no doctrine are now locked up against me.
An open door of access is before me in private, and an open door of usefulness in public. God will hear me; God will use me. A door is opened for my onward march to the church above, and for my daily fellowship with saints below. Some may try to shut me up or shut me out, but all in vain.
Soon shall I see an open door into Heaven: the pearl gate will be my way of entrance, and then I shall go in unto my Lord and King, and be with God eternally shut in.