VIDEO The Economy of God

To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given… to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God who created all things. Ephesians 3:8-9, NASB

When we hear about “the administration” or “the economy,” the news can be good or bad. If we are not careful, we can set our hopes on the government or the economy to determine our future well-being. What we forget is that God has an administration, an economy, that rules over all those on earth.

In fact, we get our English word “economy” from the Greek word oikonomia. This word (and related forms) occurs eighteen times in the New Testament, all based on the word oikos, or “household.” So an economy or administration is the overseeing of property, responsibility, a household—or even a national economy—by a group of stewards. (Paul was a steward—an oikonomos—of the grace of God.) Human administrators are just small players in God’s great eternal economy. Our trust is in Him and His “administrative ability,” not in man.

When you read the headlines today, remember Who is really in charge of the economy.

Nothing whatever surprises God; all things that happen are absolutely certain from all eternity because they are all embraced in God’s eternal plan. J. Gresham Machen


Ephesians 3:7-9 – In Depth – Pastor Chuck Smith – Bible Studies

Where Are You Headed?

Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man!” 2 Samuel 12:7

 

In northern Thailand, the Wild Boars youth soccer team decided to explore a cave together. After an hour they turned to go back and found that the entrance to the cave was flooded. Rising water pushed them deeper into the cave, day after day, until they were finally trapped more than two miles (four kilometers) inside. When they were heroically rescued two weeks later, many wondered how they had become so hopelessly trapped. Answer: one step at a time.

In Israel, Nathan confronted David for killing his loyal soldier, Uriah. How did the man “after [God’s] own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14) become guilty of murder? One step at a time. David didn’t go from zero to murder in one afternoon. He warmed up to it, over time, as one bad decision bled into others. It started with a second glance that turned into a lustful stare. He abused his kingly power by sending for Bathsheba, then tried to cover up her pregnancy by calling her husband home from the front. When Uriah refused to visit his wife while his comrades were at war, David decided he would have to die.

We may not be guilty of murder or trapped in a cave of our own making, but we’re either moving toward Jesus or toward trouble. Big problems don’t develop overnight. They break upon us gradually, one step at a time.

By: Mike Wittmer

Reflect & Pray

What decision can you make right now to move toward Jesus and away from trouble? What must you do to confirm this decision?

Jesus, I’m running to You!

Praying in Jesus’ Name

John 16:23-33

Do you remember the teaching Jesus introduced the night before His death? He told His followers, “Whatever you ask in My name the Father will give you” (John 15:16 NIV, emphasis added). Praying in the name of Christ declares our:

Association with the Savior. Our relationship with Jesus allows us to approach the Father. We used to be foreigners, but at salvation, we became God’s children through the redemptive work of the Son of God (Eph. 2:19). The Holy Spirit within us proves we belong to the Father, who listens to the requests of His family.

Access to the Father. Jesus’ death opened an immediate, unhindered path to the Father’s presence. When the Savior offered Himself as the final priestly sacrifice (Heb. 7:26-28), the temple veil that separated the Holy of Holies from man was torn in two (Mark 15:38). In that moment, access to God became available to all who believe. Through the Holy Spirit, we can talk to God directly without a human intermediary (Eph. 2:18).

Because of our Savior Jesus Christ, we can freely access our heavenly Father. Let’s give Him thanks for the remarkable privilege of prayer!

Yes, Joy Is Better than Fun

“Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts.” (Jeremiah 15:16)

People today seem always to be looking for fun or entertainment. “Fun” is never mentioned in the Bible, so it is evidently not considered to be a very significant part of the Christian life. The word “entertain” is used to speak of hospitality, and such activities as “play” and “reveling” only receive condemnation. (Playing is appropriate for children and animals, of course.)

Christians, however, have something far better than worldly fun—they have heavenly joy! This is the unique privilege of the redeemed, and there are many channels through which this joy can be experienced.

First of all, Christian joy comes through the Word. As even Jeremiah (“the weeping prophet!”) could say: “Thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart,” as in our text. Then we rejoice in God’s great salvation: “I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation” (Isaiah 61:10).

There is great joy also in the privilege of prayer and having our prayers answered: “Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full” (John 16:24). Christian service and witnessing are a source of tremendous joy when their fruits are finally seen. “They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him” (Psalm 126:5-6).

And there is much, much more! “Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice” (Philippians 4:4). After all, we know personally the very Creator of all that is good, “in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory” (1 Peter 1:8). HMM

Depending on God

And it shall be, that thou shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there.

—1 Kings 17:4

We can learn important lessons by considering God’s disciplines in dealing with Elijah. As Elijah fled to the wilderness following his first confrontation with King Ahab, God said to him, “Elijah, go to the brook Cherith, and I will feed you there.” God sent big, black buzzards—ravens, scavenger birds—each morning and evening with Elijah’s meals. What humiliation! All his life Elijah had been self-sufficient. Now he waited on scavenger birds to deliver him his daily bread….

Elijah was like so many faithful preachers of the Word who are too true and too uncompromising for their congregations.

“We don’t have to take that,” the people protest. And they stop contributing to the church. More than one pastor knows the meaning of economic strangulation. Preach the truth, and the brook dries up! But the Lord knows how to deal with each of us in our humiliations. He takes us from truth to truth.   MMG096

Lord, I commit myself anew today to never compromise the truth, even if it costs me my job. Amen.

 

Our Habit of Holy Thought

The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

—Romans 8:7

Every normal person can determine what he will think about. Of course the troubled or tempted man may find his thoughts somewhat difficult to control and even while he is concentrating upon a worthy object, wild and fugitive thoughts may play over his mind like heat lightning on a summer evening. These are likely to be more bothersome than harmful and in the long run do not make much difference one way or another.

The best way to control our thoughts is to offer the mind to God in complete surrender. The Holy Spirit will accept it and take control of it immediately. Then it will be relatively easy to think on spiritual things, especially if we train our thought by long periods of daily prayer. Long practice in the art of mental prayer (that is, talking to God inwardly as we work or [relax]) will help to form the habit of holy thought. BAM047

This is what the Holy Spirit brings to us, the vision of the Lord, power to see divine things as God sees them….The Spirit also thinks in us by giving us divine instincts, intuitions and enablements. HS571-572

 

Walk the Talk

Philippians 2:15

In the cut and thrust of business, entrepreneurs are constantly seeking that “winning edge.” One corporation established as a requirement for its merchandise the following standard: “zero defects.” The level of excellence was set; the company would not tolerate a blemished product on the market.

The very nature of Christian integrity is that it calls us toward zero defects. When our actions, thoughts, words or deeds become compromised, Christian integrity becomes blemished.

It is only by the grace of God that such integrity can be attained. This is an inner disposition rather than a coded set of behaviors. Such a high criterion, however, is possible, and when engaged it can be a witness to the grace of Christ.

General Arnold Brown has written of The Salvation Army: “If we are to hope that as a movement we will last through the next century, let alone the next millennium, then our byword and our hallmark must be integrity.”

In due course, integrity will stand out in an influential way simply because it will be in contrast to so much else: “Become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe” (Phil. 2:15).

The essence of integrity is utter honesty. The word literally means “not a fraction.” In other words, there is wholeness between who we are and what we profess. It means we are for real. It answers the question, “What do you do when no one is looking?” There is a perfect match between our words and our deeds. In the language of the street, we “walk the talk.”

One can sense the desperate need for people of integrity in the world today. Many among the generation of young adults have become cynical regarding the notion that politicians or even church leaders are people of honest principle.

Into this uncertain moral climate every Christian has an opening to be a refreshing agent of the gospel, in the privacy of home and in the openness of the workplace.

Richard Munn, The War Cry