VIDEO New Beginnings as to Nicodemus

There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. John 3:1

Nicodemus was a member of the Jewish ruling council, the Sanhedrin. He was a religious man, a member of the strict sect of Pharisees. He was wealthy, and he was a gifted teacher. Jesus called him, “the teacher of Israel” (John 3:10, emphasis added). Yet for all this, he was empty. His power, wealth, religion, and status didn’t give him a satisfied mind or heart. He arranged a secret meeting with Jesus under the cloak of darkness, and the young Rabbi of Galilee told the old teacher of Jerusalem that he needed to be “born again” (John 3:3).

And Nicodemus was! He is mentioned twice more in John’s Gospel. In chapter 7, he sought to defend Jesus before the Sanhedrin; and in chapter 19, he gained access to the crucified body of Jesus and arranged for His burial.

There’s no better new beginning than the new birth. When money, status, wealth, fame, and occupation all fail, try Jesus. He alone can satisfy the empty space in your heart.

He went from darkness to light…. When we first meet Nicodemus, he is in the dark; but the last time we see him in Scripture, it is midafternoon and he is openly giving witness of his faith in Christ. Warren W. Wiersbe


God’s Role in Regeneration (John 3:1-10)

Instead of Revenge

If your enemy is hungry, feed him. Romans 12:20

After Jim Elliot and four other missionaries were killed by Huaorani tribesmen in 1956, no one expected what happened next. Jim’s wife, Elisabeth, their young daughter, and another missionary’s sister willingly chose to make their home among the very people who killed their loved ones. They spent several years living in the Huaorani community, learning their language, and translating the Bible for them. These women’s testimony of forgiveness and kindness convinced the Huaorani of God’s love for them and many received Jesus as their Savior.

What Elisabeth and her friend did is an incredible example of not repaying evil with evil but with good (Romans 12:17). The apostle Paul encouraged the church in Rome to show through their actions the transformation that God had brought into their own lives. What did Paul have in mind? They were to go beyond the natural desire to take revenge; instead, they were to show love to their enemies by meeting their needs, such as providing food or water.

Why do this? Paul quotes a proverb from the Old Testament: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink” (v. 20; Proverbs 25:21–22). The apostle was revealing that the kindness shown by believers to their enemies could win them over and light the fire of repentance in their hearts.

By: Estera Pirosca Escobar

Reflect & Pray

How did Jesus live out the command to love one’s enemies? What will you do today to show God’s love to those who have harmed you?

Abba, Father, it’s difficult, even impossible, for us to love others in our own strength. Help us through Your Spirit to truly love our enemies, and use us to bring them to You.

The Landmine of Jealousy

James 3:13-18

Jealousy has destructive power. It’s actually a disagreement with God over something we don’t have that He has chosen to give someone else. Or, in some cases, it results from fear of being replaced in a relationship or job. To overcome this attitude, we must first acknowledge that we have a conflict with God. We should confess our wrong mindset, repent, and then turn away from it.

The next step is harder: Thank God for the person of whom you’re jealous, and express gratitude for the blessings in his or her life. Then the weight of our ill feelings will begin to lift. In addition, do something good for the other person, regardless of how you feel. We can never overcome jealousy if we think only of our feelings.

One of the most helpful things we can do is focus on what the Lord is doing in our own life. This brings us back to the path He’s chosen for us. God has our best in mind, but it may be that we’re missing His blessings because our mind is elsewhere. The more we delight ourselves in Him (Psalm 37:4), the more our desires will align with what He wants for us.

Being A Created People

“This shall be written for the generation to come: and the people which shall be created shall praise the LORD.” (Psalm 102:18)

Only God can create, and whenever this verb (Hebrew bara) is used in the Bible, the subject of the verb, either explicitly or implicitly, is God! However, certain “progressive creationists” contend that “creation” does not have to be instantaneous but can be a protracted process—some form of evolution. The verse above is used as a proof text for this position, the idea being that the Jewish “people” are being gradually created (“molded”) into a nation that will eventually bring praise to God.

This type of scriptural distortion illustrates the extremes to which theistic evolutionists and progressive creationists will go in order to force long evolutionary ages into Scripture. In the context, the psalmist is not speaking of a long process but a future event. He is speaking of a future time to “have mercy upon Zion,” when “the time to favour her, yea, the set time, is come” (v. 13). At that future time, “the LORD . . . shall appear in his glory” (v. 16). Then will come the glorious day “when the people are gathered together, and the kingdoms, to serve the LORD” (v. 22).

It is only then that “the people shall be created” who “shall praise the LORD.” When a person receives the Lord Jesus Christ by faith as his Creator and Savior, he does indeed become “a new [creation]” (2 Corinthians 5:17), and the miracle of regeneration is always recognized in Scripture as an instantaneous event accomplished by the Creator in the mind and heart of the believer at the time of conversion. As for the Jews who are alive when the Lord returns, “in that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David” (Zechariah 13:1). Multitudes will believe and become, at that time, “new creature[s] in Christ Jesus.” HMM

Healing In Silence

And when he had sent them away, he departed into a mountain to pray.

—Mark 6:46

Very few of us know the secret of bathing our souls in silence. It was a secret our Lord Jesus Christ knew very well. There were times when He had to send the multitudes away so He could retire alone into the silence of the mountainside. There He would turn the God-ward side of His soul toward heaven and for a long time expose Himself to the face of His Father in heaven….

My eyes and ears and spirit are aware of the immaturities in the so-called evangelicalism of our time. The more noise we make, the more we advertise, the more bells we jingle, the happier we seem to be. All of the signs of immaturity are among us.

We are seeing a general abhorrence of being alone, of being silent before the Lord. We shrink from allowing our souls to be bathed in the healing silences.   MMG103-104

Father, grant that we might not forsake the quest for solitude and silence until we have really mastered this discipline, no matter how busy our lives continue to be. Amen.

 

Another Nature

And you…hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable.

—Colossians 1:21-22

For the moral unlikeness between man and God the Bible has a word, alienation, and the Holy Spirit presents a frightful picture of this alienation as it works itself out in human character.

Fallen human nature is precisely opposite to the nature of God as revealed in Jesus Christ. Because there is no moral likeness there is no communion, hence the sense of physical distance, the feeling that God is far away in space….

The new birth makes us partakers of the divine nature. There the work of undoing the dissimilarity between us and God begins. From there it progresses by the sanctifying operation of the Holy Spirit till God is satisfied. BAM121-122

The only remedy for human nature is to destroy it and receive instead the divine nature. God does not improve man. He crucifies the natural life with Christ and creates the new man in Christ

Jesus. DHE/October013

 

On a Wing and a Prayer

Job 5:9

Ian Knop for many years had his home in Perth, Australia. There he had a part in starting a new Christian congregation, and just as a hobby he kept half a dozen white ducks behind a wire netting fence in his backyard.

One day his wife warned him that he needed to clip the wings of the ducks, as some of them seemed to be trying to get over the fence. He said that he would do the job on Saturday when he was home from work. However, late on Friday afternoon as Ian was watching from his veranda, one of the ducks which happened to be a bit lame stretched its wings, flew over the netting and disappeared behind the house.

Somewhat surprised, Ian ran into the street, but the duck was nowhere to be seen. He went to the next street, but again there was no sign of the bird. Although he inquired of almost everyone he met no one had seen the rather improbable suburban sight of a white duck flying or walking about. Time went by and the mystery of the missing duck remained unsolved.

Almost a year later the truth came out, and what had happened to the lame duck became known. Ian had attended a Sunday night service when the theme had been on answers to prayer. As the weather was rough he offered a ride home to a woman in the congregation who lived four streets from where he lived himself and who had experienced a hard life with a drunken husband and their five children.

As they drove along, the woman kept up a stream of comments on this and that and then remarked on the lovely meeting they had shared thinking about answers to prayer. She said: “I know God answers prayer. Believe it or not, about a year ago on a Friday night I was standing on my veranda praying to God because I had little money with which to buy meat or other food for the family over the weekend.”

“Suddenly, a white duck came out of the sky and landed just in front of me. It had a little bit of a limp but otherwise it was a lovely bird, and a real answer to prayer. In no time I had killed it and had it ready for the pot and we had all the meat we needed. Wasn’t that wonderful!”

Ian resisted the temptation to reveal that it was his loss that had been her gain! God’s servant of old reminds us, “He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted” (Job 5:9).

Wesley Harris, Truth Stranger than Fiction