VIDEO Unexpected Blessings and Freedom

The Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.  1 Peter 2:25

When we can’t control the outcome, we can trust the Overseer. The word overseer was used in the New Testament for church leaders, but here the word is used of Christ. He’s the One who oversees and watches over us—caring, guarding, superintending, and overruling. When He oversees your life, He sees everything from His perspective. He knows every detail and is able to arrange and rearrange them for His purposes.

That’s why we bring impossible situations to Him. Think of the many biblical heroes who faced impossible moments. The sheer impossibility drove them to say, “Lord, what is Your will? I can do nothing. I commit this to your oversight.”

When you have an impossible circumstance, it’ll weigh you down until you give it to the Overseer of your soul. Then you’ll find an unexpected blessing—freedom. It’s no longer your problem to solve—it’s His. It’s no longer your burden to bear—it’s His. Thank God we have a good Shepherd and sovereign Overseer who can manage the impossible!

Today, take your problems and the potentials—your worship and your worries—and give them all to the Overseer of your soul. Robert J. Morgan, He Shall Be Called: 150 Names of Jesus


You Remind Me of Someone! – 1 Peter 2:21-25 – Skip Heitzig

Then The Older Brother

[They] muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” Luke 15:2

 

Author Henri Nouwen recalls his visit to a museum in St. Petersburg, Russia, where he spent hours reflecting on Rembrandt’s portrayal of the prodigal son. As the day wore on, changes in the natural lighting from a nearby window left Nouwen with the impression that he was seeing as many different paintings as there were changes of light. Each seemed to reveal something else about a father’s love for his broken son.

Nouwen describes how, at about four o’clock, three figures in the painting appeared to “step forward.” One was the older son who resented his father’s willingness to roll out the red carpet for the homecoming of his younger brother, the prodigal. After all, hadn’t he squandered so much of the family fortune, causing them pain and embarrassment in the process? (Luke 15:28–30).

The other two figures reminded Nouwen of the religious leaders who were present as Jesus told His parable. They were the ones who muttered in the background about the sinners Jesus was attracting (vv. 1–2).

Nouwen saw himself in all of them—in the wasted life of his youngest son, in the condemning older brother and religious leaders, and in a Father’s heart that’s big enough for anyone and everyone.

What about us? Can we see ourselves anywhere in Rembrandt’s painting? In some way, every story Jesus told is about us.

By: Mart DeHaan

Reflect & Pray

How might you reflect again on the story Jesus told and on the Rembrandt painting? As the light changes, where do you find yourself?

Father, help me to see myself for how much You love me.

Relying Upon the Holy Spirit

John 16:5-15

When the Lord told His disciples he was going away, Peter didn’t take it well—he rebuked Jesus! (See Matt. 16:21-23.) The impulsive disciple had a tough enough time following when the Lord was standing ten feet away; how much more difficult would obedience and loyalty be if Christ wasn’t physically present? We can certainly understand the disciples’ fear and frustration. But Jesus promises to leave them—and us—with a Helper.

For many years I had the idea that though my salvation was by faith, God’s approval had to be earned. So I did my best but never felt it was good enough. I struggled, failed, tried again, and failed some more. I am grateful the Lord directed me to His better way.

Because God wants His children to experience victory, He equips us with the Holy Spirit. When we yield to Him, He empowers us, guides us, and expresses the ways of Jesus Christ through our character, conversation, and conduct. On paper, this looks like a passive sort of existence, but in fact, we are constantly confronted with the responsibility to make a choice: We can either follow the Spirit’s promptings or act in our own strength. The latter frequently ends in despair, disaster, or both.

Think about those days when you are “too busy to pray”—or the times you think, Why bother God when there isn’t much going on? The truth is, you’re then relying on yourself. But even when life is routine and boring, the Father wants us depending upon His Spirit to guide us on paths of righteousness.

We Must Teach and Preach Continually

“And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.” (Acts 5:42)

The Great Commission was given to every Christian and implied a daily ministry of witness by life and word. The early Christians took it seriously, as our text implies. Even when they began to be persecuted for it, this merely led to a wider proclamation of the gospel. “Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word” (Acts 8:4).

The command of Christ was to “preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15), and this required every Christian to be involved every day. The “gospel” includes the entire scope of the person and work and teachings of Jesus Christ, so both preaching and teaching are involved. Furthermore, Christ did not say “send” but “go!” Although it is vital that missionaries be sent and supported as they go to “the regions beyond,” each believer must go to those he can reach as ability and opportunity allow. “Jerusalem . . . Judaea . . . Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8) were all to be reached not consecutively but simultaneously, and this would require both personal and financial participation by every Christian.

The message was to “teach and preach Jesus Christ” in all His fullness. Their witnessing was to be “unto me” (Acts 1:8). It was to be both in public and in private—“in the temple, and in every house.” They were to pray to “the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest” (Luke 10:2) and also to train “faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:2).

And the result of this intense first-century dedication to the Great Commission was that “the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly” (Acts 6:7). However, the work has never been completed and the command is still in effect. HMM

Mere Mediocre Christianity

Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.

—Romans 6:12-13

It is disheartening to those who care, and surely a great grief to the Spirit, to see how many Christians are content to settle for less than the best. Personally I have for years carried a burden of sorrow as I have moved among evangelical Christians who somewhere in their past have managed to strike a base compromise with their heart’s holier longings and have settled down to a lukewarm, mediocre kind of Christianity utterly unworthy of themselves and of the Lord they claim to serve. And such are found everywhere….

Every man is as close to God as he wants to be; he is as holy and as full of the Spirit as he wills to be….

Yet we must distinguish wanting from wishing. By “want” I mean wholehearted desire. Certainly there are many who wish they were holy or victorious or joyful but are not willing to meet God’s conditions to obtain.   TIC064

Oh Lord, give me that “wholehearted desire” that keeps me from being satisfied with mediocre Christianity. Amen.

 

God may bless thee in all the work of thine band

That the Lord thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine band which thou doest.—Deuteronomy 14:29.

 

Firm against every doubt of Thee

For all my future way—

To walk in heaven’s eternal light

Throughout the changing day.

Ah! such a day as Thou shall own

When suns have ceased to shine!

A day of burdens borne by Thee,

And work that all was Thine.

Anna L. Waring.

 

Let us give ourselves to God without any reserve, and let us fear nothing. He will love us, and we shall love Him. His love, increasing every day, will take the place of everything else to us. He will fill our whole hearts; He will deprive us only of those things that make us unhappy. He will cause us to do in general, what we have been doing already, but which we have done in an unsatisfactory manner, whereas, hereafter, we shall do them well, because they will be done for His sake. Even the smallest actions of a simple and common life will be turned to consolation and recompense. We shall meet the approach of death in peace; it will be changed for us into the beginning of the immortal life.

Francois De La Mothe Fénelon.

 

Acquire Perseverance

“The Lord thy God will put out those nations before thee by little and little.” Deut. 7:22

We are not to expect to win victories for the Lord Jesus by a single blow. Evil principles and practices die hard. In some places it takes years of labor to drive out even one of the many vices which defile the inhabitants. We must carry on the war with all our might, even when favored with little manifest success.

Our business in this world is to conquer it for Jesus. We are not to make compromises, but to exterminate evils. We are not to seek popularity, but to wage unceasing war with iniquity. Infidelity, Popery, drink, impurity, oppression, worldliness, error; these are all to be “put out.”

The Lord our God can alone accomplish this. He works by His faithful servants; and, blessed be His name, He promises that He will so work. “Jehovah thy God will put out those nations before thee.” This He will do by degrees, that we may learn perseverance, may increase in faith, may earnestly watch, and may avoid carnal security. Let us thank God for a little success, and pray for more. Let us never sheathe the sword till the whole land is won for Jesus.

Courage, my heart! Go on little by little, for many littles will make a great whole.