VIDEO How Would Jesus Look?

Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ. 1 Corinthians 11:1

In your mind’s eye, how do you visualize the person of Christ? As an artist, how would you paint Him? Probably with a beard and a robe and sandals. We don’t know the Lord’s weight or height or facial features, but we do know something about the clothing styles of His day. But now, imagine Him in a business suit. Or—this isn’t disrespectful—in casual clothing. Can you imagine Him in jeans and an untucked shirt? In other words, if Jesus had come bodily to live in our day, what would He look like?

The truth is, He would look very much like us.

The purpose of this mental exercise is to imagine how we should look to the world around us. Whether in business or casual clothing, we should be imitating Christ. He is our model for how we should act and speak today. Our attitudes should reflect His personality. We are His likenesses to our modern world.

When you glance in the mirror each morning, ask yourself: “Am I ready to let others see Jesus in me today—all day long?”

Whoever wishes to understand fully the words of Christ must try to pattern his whole life on that of Christ. Thomas à Kempis, The Imitation of Christ


1 Corinthians 11 – Pastor Chuck Smith – C2000 Series

God Waited

When Denise Levertov was just twelve, long before she became a renowned poet, she had the gumption to mail a package of poetry to the great poet T. S. Eliot. She then waited for a reply. Surprisingly, Eliot sent two pages of handwritten encouragement. In the preface to her collection The Stream and the Sapphire, she explained how the poems “trace [her] own movement from agnosticism to Christian faith.” It’s powerful, then, to recognize how one of the later poems (“Annunciation”) narrates Mary’s surrender to God. Noting the Holy Spirit’s refusal to overwhelm Mary and His desire for Mary to freely receive the Christ child, these two words blaze at the poem’s center: “God waited.”

In Mary’s story, Levertov recognized her own. God waited, eager to love her. He would not force anything upon her. He waited. Isaiah described this same reality, how God stood ready, eager with anticipation, to shower Israel with tender love. “The Lord longs to be gracious to you . . . to show you compassion” (30:18). He was ready to flood His people with kindness, and yet God waited for them to willingly receive what He offered (v. 19).

It’s a wonder that our Creator, the Savior of the world, chooses to wait for us to welcome Him. The God who could so easily overpower us practices humble patience. The Holy One waits for us.

By: Winn Collier

Reflect & Pray

In what areas of your life has God been waiting for you? How might you surrender to Him?

God, it boggles my mind that You wait for me. Wait? For me? This makes me trust You, desire You. Please come. Give me Your full self.

Look to Jesus and Live

John 3:7-15

In John 3, the nighttime conversation Jesus had with Nicodemus is packed with symbolism. The Lord compared salvation to a second birth and likened the Holy Spirit’s work to wind. But then He used an Old Testament illustration that might seem odd to modern readers—He said the Son of Man must be lifted up, just as Moses lifted the bronze serpent (Num. 21:1-9).

Nicodemus would have been familiar with the story: En route to the Promised Land, the Israelites complained about going the long way around enemy territory. God responded by sending poisonous snakes, whose venom was fatal unless a victim looked at the bronze serpent. The statue was a representation of God’s presence, and a reminder that He was their deliverer.

While we might not think to associate spiritual birth with a snake on a pole, Jesus did so for good reason. He was explaining that He must be lifted onto the cross as a sacrifice for sin. A new birth is impossible unless somebody pays the price for our sin. Those who look to Jesus and believe will be saved. Have you turned to Jesus Christ for salvation? He is the only way to new life.

Christ Is Our Redeemer

“For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth.” (Job 19:25)

This famous testimony of Job has encouraged many. He knew, as we can know, the reality of his living Redeemer and that the Redeemer would one day reign over His creation as intended.

A redeemer is one who buys back something that has fallen into the hands of the enemy. Originally, the creation was in the proper hands, but Adam sinned, and to a great extent the rebellious world and all its inhabitants fell into bondage at the hands of Satan. “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (Romans 5:12). We became the slaves or “servants of sin” (Romans 6:20).

In order to be freed, a slave must be redeemed. Could we as slaves have bought ourselves back? No, we had nothing of worth. Silver and gold would not do it. In fact, nothing short of the blood of a completely innocent sacrifice would suffice to pay the “wages of sin” (Romans 6:23). Only God the Son, by laying aside aspects of His deity and taking on human flesh, could be that perfect sacrifice. “And he saw that there was no man [capable of redeeming mankind], and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore his arm brought salvation” (Isaiah 59:16). “In his love and in his pity he redeemed them” (Isaiah 63:9) by His own blood, buying us out of bondage to sin and Satan.

Notice also that this redemption is not just something we hope for; it is a fact! He has done it, and it will never be undone! “Thou shalt know that I the LORD am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob” (Isaiah 60:16). “I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day” (2 Timothy 1:12). JDM

Isn’t It Time To Hit the Rewind Button?

2 Timothy 1:6

Have you ever experienced the delivering and rescuing power of God? I’m talking about those moments when your situation looks completely hopeless—but suddenly God’s amazing grace intervenes and your situation is miraculously changed! Can you think of moments like this in your past?

It’s amazing that when we are confronted with a new challenge, we often fail to remember God’s faithfulness in the past. Our perspective gets blurry because of the problems we are currently facing, and we forget that we’ve gone through similar or worse circumstances before. The looming mountain of problems before us looks so big that we momentarily fail to remember all the other mountains we’ve already faced and overcome with the help of God.

When Paul wrote his second letter to Timothy, the younger man was facing the biggest mountain of his life. Nero had become the emperor of the Roman Empire. Because of his tyrannical rule, believers were being persecuted and were even dying for their faith. In the midst of all the panic, Timothy was tempted to fear for his life and his future. He must have wondered, Is God going to be faithful to me in this terrible hour?

So in Second Timothy 1:5, Paul tells Timothy, “When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice, and I am persuaded that in thee also.” Paul wanted to remind Timothy about something very important!

God’s faithfulness was a part of Timothy’s family heritage. His grandmother trusted the Lord—and the Lord had never failed her or let her down. His mother trusted the Lord—and the Lord had never failed her or let her down either. Because Timothy was dealing with great stress and difficulty, Paul took the opportunity to remind him that just as God had never failed his grandmother or mother, neither would He abandon Timothy in his difficult hour.

Then Paul told him, “… I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands” (2 Timothy 1:6). I want you to particularly focus on the phrase, “I put thee in remembrance.” It is taken from the Greek word anamimnesko, a compound of the words ana and mimnesko. Pay close attention, because this is very important! The word ana means again or to repeat something. The second part of the word mimnesko means to be reminded of something, such as memories.

When these two words are joined together as in this verse, it means to regather or to recollect memories. The little prefix ana carries the idea of replaying these memories over and over again in your mind, the way you would hit the rewind button on your video player so you can back up and watch one part of a movie over and over again.

This means there are some memories we should never forget! For example, we should constantly hit the rewind button in our minds and “replay” the times that God has been faithful to us in the past—delivering us, healing us, and rescuing us time and time again. We should “replay” those scenes in our minds until we never forget His faithfulness to us!

 

You could translate Second Timothy 1:6 in the following way:

“I am putting you in memory of all these things, so that by your remembering them, you might stir up the gift of God that is in you….”

Paul reminds Timothy (and us) to take our eyes off these times of trouble or the present crisis and to remember God’s delivering and rescuing power in the past. If we really looked at our past, we’d find that we have faced other moments more severe than the one we’re facing right now—and God never failed us or let us down. In fact, He delivered us and turned those situations around!

Don’t ever forget what God has already done for you, for those memories will stir you up and encourage you to face your present dilemma with faith. Just as God has always been faithful to you in the past, He will be faithful to you right now.

Never forget how:

  • God has healed you.
  • God has delivered you.
  • God has saved you.
  • God has guided and directed you.
  • God has brought you through difficult trials.
  • God has provided for you during hard financial times.
  • God has protected you from the snare of the enemy.

These kinds of memories are powerful and will stir up your faith today!

So the next time the devil tells you there is no way you’ll survive what you’re facing, take the time to get alone with the Lord. Then hit the rewind button, and ask the Holy Spirit to help you regather and recollect all those past events when God came through for you! As you replay those memories over and over in your mind, your faith will rise to a new level of confidence. You’ll be able to look your problems right in the face and say, “God’s record with me has always been faithfulness, and I know He’ll be faithful to me now as well!”

 

The Holy Spirit: Present or Absent?

And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

—Ephesians 4:30

In most Christian churches the Spirit is quite entirely overlooked. Whether He is present or absent makes no real difference to anyone. Brief reference is made to Him in the doxology and the benediction. Further than that He might as well not exist….

Our neglect of the doctrine of the blessed Third Person has had and is having serious consequences. For doctrine is dynamite. It must have emphasis sufficiently sharp to detonate it before its power is released….

The doctrine of the Spirit is buried dynamite. Its power awaits discovery and use by the Church. The power of the Spirit will not be given to any mincing assent to pneumatological truth. The Holy Spirit cares not at all whether we write Him into our creeds in the back of our hymnals; He awaits our emphasis. POM060-061

[The Holy Spirit] loves us so much that when we insult Him, He is grieved; when we ignore Him, He is grieved; when we resist Him, He is grieved; and when we doubt Him, He is grieved. COU052

 

The Time is Now!

John 7:6

Do you sense that time is rapidly fleeting? Our entry into a new year seems to make this all the more apparent. Concerning this matter, I have a suggestion. Don’t think of time as rushing by; think of the time that is yours now.

Jesus said, “Your time is always ready” (John 7:6 KJV). In the first part of that verse Jesus said that His time had not yet come. He, with God, knew what would happen and when it would happen. But His disciples were ordinary mortals, like you and me. The only time they had, and that we have, is now.

The time is now! This is so because we have no guarantee of any other time. It is not morbid to point to the slender cord of life which holds us in time; it is only to face a fact. James warned us not to take time for granted. He said that our life is “a vapor that appears for a little time, and then vanishes away” (James 4:14). Don’t presume about tomorrow. Use today wisely; it is priceless.

The time is now! This is so because this very moment can be more important than any which have preceded it or any which may follow. See today as the living essence of time between a past that is gone and a future not yet come. Today we can take what has come from the past and, with God’s help, transform it so that the future will be better and nobler. Today can be the time for new beginnings. What needs to be said? Say it. What ought be done? Do it.

The time is now! This is so because it is God’s time. He has given us life, permitting us to participate in a segment of time. There are many necessary and important things to do with time, but nothing should prevent us from giving God His rightful place in today’s schedule. This is God’s time for us. Be sensitive to Him and His will so that we may effectively respond to the needs of the people around us. Today is ours because God has given it to us.

Another year has come, and we find ourselves swept up in its forward movement. But you and I are not fearful of time’s relentless passage. We are not measuring a diminishing time but trusting the Eternal God. “Your time is always ready.” Let us make the most of today, because the time is now!

Bramwell Tripp, The War Cry