VIDEO Lifted Up

The Lord lifts up the humble. Psalm 147:6

Jupiter is the largest planet in our solar system, and its massive size gives it a powerful gravitational force—2.5 times that of earth. That means if you weigh 100 pounds on earth, you would weigh 250 pounds on Jupiter. Think of how hard it would be to get out of bed every morning on Jupiter!

Some days we do feel like there are unusual gravitational forces pulling us down. Sometimes we feel a heavy downward pull on our personalities, emotionally, morally, and spiritually. But the One who rose from the Mount of Olives and ascended into the clouds can keep us uplifted and buoyant. When we walk humbly with Him, He lifts our countenance. When we lift Him up in praise, He lifts our spirits. He lifts us high enough to get a good breath of heaven.

Make the upcoming year an uplifting year by having the humility to cast your burdens on the Lord’s shoulders and to treat others with kindness, gentleness, and concern. Put the Lord first and others second. When Jupiter-life forces weigh you down, let the force of Jesus lift you up. When we lift Him up in our hearts, He lifts us up by His power.

God knows the cure for a heart weighed down by concerns and irritations—praise! Charles Stanley


Psalm 147 – Rabbi Greg Hershberg Jun 9, 2019

 

Psalm 147 – “Halleluyah! How good it is to sing praises to our God!
How sweet, how fitting to praise him…

It’s Good for You

Wisdom is like honey for you: If you find it, there is a future hope. Proverbs 24:14

People the world over spent an estimated $98.2 billion on chocolate in 2016. The number is staggering, yet at the same time not all that surprising. Chocolate, after all, tastes delicious and we enjoy consuming it. So the world rejoiced collectively when the sweet treat was found to have significant health benefits as well. Chocolate contains flavonoids that help safeguard the body against aging and heart disease. Never has a prescription for health been so well received or heeded (in moderation, of course!).

Solomon suggested there’s another “sweet” worthy of our investment: wisdom. He recommended his son eat honey “for it is good” (Proverbs 24:13) and compared its sweetness to wisdom. The person who feeds on God’s wisdom in Scripture finds it not only sweet to the soul but beneficial for teaching and training, equipping us for “every good work” we’ll need to accomplish in life (2 Timothy 3:16–17).

Wisdom is what allows us to make smart choices and understand the world around us. And it’s worth investing in and sharing with those we love—as Solomon wished to do for his son. We can feel good about feasting on God’s wisdom in the Bible. It’s a sweet treat that we can enjoy without limit—in fact, we’re encouraged to! God, thank You for the sweetness of Your Scriptures!

By: Kirsten Holmberg

Reflect & Pray

What wisdom do you need to consume today? How has God’s wisdom been sweet to you?

God, please nourish us with Your wisdom.

Religious but Lost

John 3:1-6

Nicodemus would probably be welcome at any church today. He seems an ideal member—principled, knowledgeable, and courteous. And as a Pharisee, he followed strict Jewish rules, which certainly made him religious. However, Nicodemus had serious drawbacks: He was blind to the truth and spiritually lost. In other words, he didn’t have a relationship with Jesus.

When Nicodemus came to see the Lord in John 3, Jesus explained to him that no amount of goodness could erase or change a person’s nature. Instead, everyone who desires to serve God must be born again. Jesus promised that if Nicodemus trusted Him as Savior, then he would enter into a brand-new life. His old flesh nature would be replaced so that he could have a real relationship with God—instead of appearing to be a religious man, Nicodemus would be a true believer.

No one gets into heaven because of good works and kind behavior. At the end of our earthly life when we stand before God, only our relationship with Him will matter. We will want to show Him that in place of our old sinful nature, we now have the living Spirit we received when Jesus Christ came into our life.

Hardness of the Heart

“Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen.” (Mark 16:14)

Apparently many people—even Christians—are afflicted with “spiritual cardiosclerosis” (hardening of the heart), for there are some 40 references in the Bible to this malady. The first was in reference to Egypt’s unbelieving Pharaoh. Concerning him, God told Moses: “I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go” (Exodus 4:21).

But when the children of Israel did escape Pharaoh’s persecutions, they also contracted this debilitating attitude: “Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness: When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my work” (Psalm 95:8-9).

Even the very disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ were rebuked by Him for their hardness of heart. In spite of the Old Testament prophecies, and in spite of His own repeated promise that He would rise from the dead, the disciples forsook Him and fled into hiding when He was arrested. Some were even skeptical about the first reports of His resurrection until they saw Him for themselves. His rebuke (see our text) essentially equated their unbelief with “hardness of heart” (Greek sklerokardia).

If this heart of hardness and unbelief could attack the 11 disciples, it could surely happen to us, if we allow it. “Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief. . . . But exhort one another daily . . . lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. . . . To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts” (Hebrews 3:12-13, 15). Instead, we should heed Christ’s first great commandment: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart” (Matthew 22:37). HMM

Could You Use a Little Extra Strength To Make It Through Today?

Philippians 1:19

At times everyone gets physically tired and mentally exhausted. However, some believers, regardless of how long or how hard they work, seem to have the knack, fortitude, determination, and will to keep going strong, even when everyone else can barely take one more step.

Have you ever met someone like this? Have you wondered, How in the world can that person keep going the way he does?

Could it be that this person has learned how to tap into a supernatural Source of power? Well, the same inexhaustible supply of power is available to you! In Philippians 1:19, Paul talked about this kind of power: “For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.”

I especially want you to notice the word “supply” in this verse. It is the Greek word epichoregeo. To those who read Greek, this word seems like a strange choice for Paul. However, after reflecting on the original usage of this word, it makes this verse very exciting! The word epichoregeo is an old word that literally means on behalf of the choir. I know this sounds peculiar, so let me explain where this word came from and why Paul uses it here.

Thousands of years ago in classical Greece, a huge choral and dramatic company practiced endlessly for a huge, important theatrical performance. After they put in a great amount of time, effort, energy, and practice, it was finally time for the show to go on the road. But there was one major problem—they ran out of money!

These people had given their lives to this production. They had committed all their resources to making sure the performance succeeded. But because they ran out of financing, it meant the show was over—finished! They were washed up before the show ever officially got started. From all appearances, it was the end of the road for them and their dream.

At that exact moment, a wealthy man heard of their crisis, stepped into the middle of their situation, and made a huge financial contribution on behalf of the choir. This contribution “supplied” all they needed to get back in business again! In fact, the gift the man gave was so enormous that it was more than they needed or knew how to spend! This man’s contribution was excessively large, abundant, overflowing, and overwhelming.

This is where we get the word “supply” in Philippians 1:19 that now describes the enormous contribution of the Spirit that Jesus Christ wants to give to you and me!

 

In light of this, Philippians 1:19 could be taken to mean:

“I am certain that this situation will ultimately turn around and result in my deliverance. I’m sure of itfirst, because you are praying for me; and second, because of the special contribution of the Spirit that Jesus Christ is donating for my present cause.”

This means when you’ve run out of steam; when you’ve given your best effort and you don’t feel like you have another ounce of energy left to give; when it looks like your resources are drained and you are unable to take one more step unless someone steps in to help you—that is exactly the moment when Jesus Christ becomes your personal Benefactor! Like the wealthy man in the story above, Jesus steps into your life at that moment to donate a massive, overwhelming, generous contribution of the Spirit’s grace and power for your cause!

Jesus is your wealthy Benefactor. He has more strength and power to give you than you’ll ever be able to use! If you are weak, He has precisely what you need to get up, get recharged, and get going again! If you’ll open your heart to Him right now, Jesus will give you a brand-new contribution of the Spirit’s power—and it will be more than enough to get you on your feet and back on the road again!

So when your natural human will is too tired to keep going and you’ve exhausted all your resources, let Jesus reinforce you with a new “supply of the Spirit” that will give you all the strength you will ever need. Just open your heart to the Holy Spirit’s help today. Allow Him to fill you with a supply of power so large, you could never even begin to use it all!

 

Truth Made Practical

As Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

—Romans 6:4

We who pride ourselves on our orthodoxy…have in recent years committed a costly blunder….Our blunder (or shall we frankly say our sin?) has been to neglect the doctrine of the Spirit to a point where we virtually deny Him His place in the Godhead.

This denial has not been by open doctrinal statement, for we have clung closely enough to the biblical position wherever our creedal pronouncements are concerned. Our formal creed is sound; the breakdown is in our working creed.

This is not a trifling distinction. A doctrine has practical value only as far as it is prominent in our thoughts and makes a difference in our lives. POM060

Truth consists not in correct doctrine, but in correct doctrine plus the inward enlightenment of the Holy Spirit…Deity indwelling men!…. No man has experienced rightly the power of Christian belief until he has known this for himself as a living reality. POM084, 100

 

On the Windward Side of Grace

2 Corinthians 9:8

I have always been grateful for the phrase “turning over a new leaf when thinking about new year’s resolutions. There’s not a new leaf to be found in January. Thankfully, they’re all buried under a blanket of snow, and we’ll not have to worry about turning over any new vegetation until at least March or April!

Like most people, I must confess to a certain reticence when it comes to change. Old routines and habits are comfortable, predictable. The unknown is unnerving, however bright a prospect might seem.

I suppose it’s not so much change that bothers us as the certain dread that comes with something unfamiliar entering our lives. It’s interesting to note the frequency of the phrase “fear not” in the Bible. From Genesis to Revelation, every time you turn over a new leaf of Scripture, it is “Fear not!”

How do we survive the unpredictability of life? The poet lamented, “O God, Thy sea is so great, and my boat is so small!” Perhaps our first step to victory is to recognize the finiteness of our present situation and to place our trust in the reliable and changeless—in God.

When we recognize that it is God who underlies the thoughts and movements and melodies of life, we learn to look at change in a new way. New possibilities, challenges, dreams. Some fresh wind or bright flower, some strain of music before unheard.

If ever there was someone pressed and oppressed by the exigencies of life, it was the Apostle Paul. He not only coped, he triumphed, for he had set his course on a fixed, immovable point—the glory of God whose very nature is victory. Witnessing to that fact, he advised: “God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work” (2 Cor. 9:8).

No matter what comes into our lives, we don’t need to wonder about our destination. “O God, Thy sea is so great, and my boat is so small.” Perhaps the writer was not aware that God is in the boat with us. And there lies our victory.

If we’ve set our sails on the windward side of His grace, it is precisely His great sea that will bring us to safety—to a harbor where under each new leaf is some new treasure He has prepared for those who follow Him.

Marlene Chase, The War Cry