VIDEO Alone with God – Freedom

Our Solitude with Him. Jesus doesn’t take us aside and explain things to us all the time; He explains things to us as we are able to understand them. The lives of others are examples for us, but God requires us to examine our own souls. It is slow work— so slow that it takes God all of time and eternity to make a man or woman conform to His purpose. We can only be used by God after we allow Him to show us the deep, hidden areas of our own character. It is astounding how ignorant we are about ourselves! We don’t even recognize the envy, laziness, or pride within us when we see it. But Jesus will reveal to us everything we have held within ourselves before His grace began to work. How many of us have learned to look inwardly with courage?

We have to get rid of the idea that we understand ourselves. That is always the last bit of pride to go. The only One who understands us is God. The greatest curse in our spiritual life is pride. If we have ever had a glimpse of what we are like in the sight of God, we will never say, “Oh, I’m so unworthy.” We will understand that this goes without saying. But as long as there is any doubt that we are unworthy, God will continue to close us in until He gets us alone. Whenever there is any element of pride or conceit remaining, Jesus can’t teach us anything. He will allow us to experience heartbreak or the disappointment we feel when our intellectual pride is wounded. He will reveal numerous misplaced affections or desires— things over which we never thought He would have to get us alone. Many things are shown to us, often without effect. But when God gets us alone over them, they will be clear.

If a man cannot prove his religion in the valley, it is not worth anything.  Shade of His Hand, 1200 L


Freedom (Romans 14) – Pastor Robert Furrow

A Lifestyle of Praise

Today's Devotional

I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.  Psalm 146:2

 

Wallace Stegner’s mother died at the age of fifty. When Wallace was eighty, he finally wrote her a note—“Letter, Much Too Late”—in which he praised the virtues of a woman who grew up, married, and raised two sons in the harshness of the early Western United States. She was the kind of wife and mother who was an encourager, even to those that were less than desirable. Wallace remembered the strength his mother displayed by way of her voice. Stegner wrote: “You never lost an opportunity to sing.” As long as she lived, Stegner’s mother sang, grateful for blessings large and small.

The psalmist too took opportunities to sing. He sang when the days were good, and when they weren’t so good. The songs were not forced or coerced, but a natural response to the “Maker of heaven and earth” (146:6) and how He “gives food to the hungry” (v. 7) and “gives sight to the blind” (v. 8) and “sustains the fatherless and the widow” (v. 9). This is really a lifestyle of singing, one that builds strength over time as daily trust is placed in “the God of Jacob” who “remains faithful forever” (vv. 5–6).

The quality of our voices isn’t the point, but our response to God’s sustaining goodness—a lifestyle of praise. As the old hymn puts it: “There’s within my heart a melody.”

By: John Blase

Sunday Reflection: The Blessing of God’s Word

Sometimes it’s hard to remember how we survived before smartphones, tablets, and other technology. With so much information at our fingertips, we can instantly discover sports statistics, answers to trivia questions, and even flight arrivals and departures. But really, the yearning for knowledge is an old problem. Back in the days of the prophets, people desired more information and wisdom than was available to them.

The fullness of God’s plan had yet to be revealed. But the men and women of that day trusted in His Word nonetheless, because to trust in God’s Word was to trust in God Himself. It’s possible—and necessary—for us to live the same way today. The Bible is more than a source of comfort or guidance. It’s one of the ways God remains present to us throughout life—and part of fulfilling His promise to never leave or forsake us.

Think About It
• Many of us have heard the phrase talk is cheap, but how do we actually give value to a word or phrase?

• Imagine what it would be like not to know that Christ was the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies. Would it be easy to trust in God’s Word? Why or why not?

The Holy Spirit’s Ministry: God’s Fail-Safe Plan–Predestination

“For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” (Romans 8:29)

God “predestinates” all whom He has foreknown. The Greek term is proorizo. It is similar to proginosko (the word used for “foreknowledge”). The basic meaning is “to predetermine, decide beforehand” as opposed to having had knowledge about beforehand.

It is used in five other Scriptures in the New Testament. Acts 4:28 indicates that the crucifixion happened as “thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.” Paul told the Corinthian church that “the wisdom of God” was “ordained before the world” (1 Corinthians 2:7).

Although God’s omniscience would indicate that He is aware of all “the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12), His predestination seems to be more specifically focused. Our text insists that the predestination (decision made ahead of time) is “to be conformed to the image of his Son” (Romans 8:29). Paul also confirms this in his letter to the Ephesian church, where we are told we are predestinated to adoption as children (Ephesians 1:5) and that this adoption is “according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will” (Ephesians 1:11).

God surely knows the details of our lives (Matthew 10:30; Luke 12:7), but the “liberty” God has granted to His children on Earth is not predestined (Galatians 5:1, 11). God grants us choice in much (Exodus 17:9; 1 Chronicles 21:10; Proverbs 1:29; Philippians 1:22)—at least as it seems to be so to us. HMM III

Just Think God’s Thoughts

This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

—Joshua 1:8

To think God’s thoughts requires much prayer. If you do not pray much, you are not thinking God’s thoughts. If you do not read your Bible much and often and reverently, you are not thinking God’s thoughts….

There also has to be a lot of meditation. We ought to learn to live in our Bibles. Get one with print big enough to read so it does not punish your eyes. Look around until you find a good one, and then learn to love it. Begin with the Gospel of John, then read the Psalms. Isaiah is another great book to help you and lift you. When you feel you want to do it, go on to Romans and Hebrews and some of the deeper theological books. But get into the Bible. Do not just read the little passages you like, but in the course of a year or two see that you read it through. Your thoughts will one day come up before God’s judgment. We are responsible for our premeditative thoughts. They make our mind a temple where God can dwell with pleasure, or they make our mind a stable where Christ is angry, ties a rope and drives out the cattle. It is all up to us.   RRR042

Lord, help us to lead Your people wisely, despite the barrage of outside influences we face every day. Amen.

 

The Godhead Never Works Separately

We will come unto him, and make our abode with him.

—John 14:23

 

What we have in the Christian doctrine of the Holy Spirit is Deity present among us. He is not God’s messenger only; He is God. He is God in contact with His creatures, doing in them and among them a saving and renewing work.

The Persons of the Godhead never work separately. We dare not think of them in such a way as to “divide the substance.” Every act of God is done by all three Persons. God is never anywhere present in one Person without the other two. He cannot divide Himself.

Where the Spirit is, there also is the Father and the Son. “We will come unto him, and make our abode with him” (John 14:23). For the accomplishment of some specific work one Person may for the time be more prominent than the others are, but never is He alone. God is altogether present wherever He is present at all. POM070

[Jesus] is the epitome of love, kindliness, geniality, warm attractiveness and sweetness. And that is exactly what the Holy Ghost is, for He is the Spirit of the Father and the Son. HTB021

 

Mind of Christ continued

Romans 12:2

In response to Paul’s challenge in Philippians 2:5, we address the question,

“What is the mind of Christ?”

To have the mind of Christ is to love as He loved and serve as He served. Brigadier Josef Korbel was for ten years imprisoned in the communist labor camp in Czechoslovakia. He and the other prisoners were near starvation and issued but one piece of bread each day. When other prisoners devoured their food, Korbel divided his into three pieces. One he ate slowly and the other two he kept in his pocket. Later in the day as he ate his second piece, a fellow prisoner would eye him jealously and say, “Where did you get extra bread?” Korbel would reply, “Nowhere. I have kept some of my own back. Have a share of mine.” Then, starving himself, he would give his last piece to the ravenous fellow prisoner. No wonder his selfless love made such an impression on others that many of his fellow prisoners came to accept the Christ whom Korbel loved and served.

Finally, the mind of Christ had an awareness of evil. Jesus saw the world as a battleground between the forces of good and evil. The more holy the life, the more alert is the mind to the approach of sin and wrong.

Besides the Lord’s testing in the wilderness, Christ faced temptation throughout the whole of His life, right up to those agonizing moments when He hung on the cross, and the mocking Jews tempted Him to come down and prove Himself the Son of God.

As the power of the Holy Spirit enabled Him to resist every clever enticement of the devil, so the Holy Spirit will give us a conscience quick to feel the approach of evil, sensitive to the danger of rationalization, sensitive to the easy acceptance of the world’s standards and to those sins which so easily beset us and trip us up, sensitive to wrong relationships, self-indulgence, pettiness, greed and pride.

Let us ask ourselves, am I as sensitive to evil as I should be? Do I have the mind of Christ to resist every approach of wrong? Let this sensitive mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.

We ask, how can I live like that? How can I have the mind of Christ—obedient to God, concerned for others, sensitive to sin? The Apostle Paul writes in Romans 12:2: “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” It is the Holy Spirit’s work to shape our thoughts to the thoughts of Christ, to align our will to His will, to shed abroad His love in our hearts. The Holy Spirit transforms our attitudes to those of Christ.

Eva Burrows, The Salvationist Pulpit

 

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