Praise the One true God!
Dear Jesus, we come before You and praise Your Holy name! The name above all names! We thank You and You alone for everything, even the thinks we may not understand completely right now. BUT, we love You, we trust You, and we exalt your mighty name. Jesus we ask You to watch over all of our brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus all over the world and yes, in Iran and Iraq and China and N Korea. Not just these but in all nations across this world. Dear Father in heaven, we pray that You would watch over our military, our sons and daughters, our mothers and fathers, our nieces and nephews. Our friends and neighbors. Watch over them as they are under attack. We ask that You would give them and our president and each of us Godly wisdom. War is not good or what we want. Sometimes it might be necessary. I trust You and You alone.
In the name above all names, I ask these things, thank You Jesus. Amen
We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 2 Corinthians 4:7
I’ve acquired a number of old clay pots over the years. My favorite was excavated from a site dated during Abraham’s time. It’s at least one item in our home that is older than I! It’s not much to look at: stained, cracked, chipped, and in need of a good scrubbing. I keep it to remind me that I’m just a man made out of mud. Though fragile and weak, I carry an immeasurably precious treasure—Jesus. “We have this treasure [Jesus] in jars of clay” (2 Corinthians 4:7).
Paul continues: “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed” (vv. 8–9). Hard pressed, perplexed, persecuted, struck down. These are the pressures the pot must bear. Not crushed, in despair, abandoned, destroyed. These are the effects of the counteracting strength of Jesus in us.
“We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus” (v. 10). This is the attitude that characterized Jesus who died to Himself every day. And this is the attitude that can characterize us—a willingness to die to self-effort, trusting solely in the sufficiency of the One who lives in us.
“So that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our mortal body” (v. 10). This is the outcome: the beauty of Jesus made visible in an old clay pot.
Reflect & Pray
How can you meet the demands placed on you? Where does your strength come from?
God, I’m weak and fragile. Thank You for living in me. I want You and Your strength to be seen.
God has a purpose for our life, but we need goals to help us stay on track (Eph. 2:10). In Genesis 24, Abraham’s trusted servant demonstrated this well. He knew his goal, kept confidence, made a plan, and set a timeline. We should follow his example. Once we know the direction God wants us to take, we must:
• Have a picture of the goal. A defined mission helps us weigh the opportunities God presents.
• Be confident that we can succeed through Christ. We are to look at the future in light of God’s presence within us, His inexhaustible resources, and His promises (Phil. 4:19; 2 Corinthians 1:20).
• Desire to accomplish God’s plan. His sacrificial, unending love motivates us to stay on the path He has set for us (1 John 4:9-11).
• Set a course of action. Try breaking a large goal into smaller tasks, and cover each step with prayer that earnestly seeks instruction from God.
• Set a timeline. Deadlines help propel us forward, and they can be adjusted as circumstances change.
Are you moving step-by-step toward God’s purpose for you? If you’re unsure what that looks like, ask for divine wisdom and guidance.
“Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.” (James 1:18)
The term “born again” has come into wide use—too wide and popular, in fact, for many who use it have little comprehension of its meaning. First of all, there can be no real Christian who is not a “born-again Christian.” Jesus said: “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. . . . Ye must be born again” (John 3:3, 7).
The Creator of the new birth is the Creator of the universe, as the text declares. He begat us as a kind of first fruits of His creatures. The new birth is not a new leaf, or a new morality, but a new creation! “Except a man be born of . . . the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:5).
The miracle is accomplished through faith in Christ, believing the record of His saving work, as revealed by the Scriptures. “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God” (1 John 5:1). “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever” (1 Peter 1:23).
Those who are truly born again will inevitably exhibit the characteristics of a spiritual birth, just as those who are born physically exhibit signs of physical life. As one characteristic of the new birth, “whosoever is born of God doth not commit [i.e., ‘practice’] sin” (1 John 3:9). Another sign is that of true Christian love, for “every one that loveth is born of God” (1 John 4:7). Furthermore, “whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith” (1 John 5:4).
The new birth is not a religious cliché but a miracle generating everlasting life. “According to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost” (Titus 3:5). HMM
I have chosen the way of truth: thy judgments have I laid before me. I have stuck unto thy testimonies: O LORD, put me not to shame.
The important thing about a man is not where he goes when he is compelled to go, but where he goes when he is free to go where he will….
A man is absent from church Sunday morning. Where is he? If he is in a hospital having his appendix removed his absence tells us nothing about him except that he is ill; but if he is out on the golf course, that tells us a lot. To go to the hospital is compulsory; to go to the golf course, voluntary. The man is free to choose and he chooses to play instead of to pray. His choice reveals what kind of man he is. Choices always do….
I think it might be well for us to check our spiritual condition occasionally by the simple test of compatibility. When we are free to go, where do we go? In what company do we feel most at home? Where do our thoughts turn when they are free to turn where they will? When the pressure of work or business or school has temporarily lifted and we are able to think of what we will instead of what we must, what do we think of then?
The answer to these questions may tell us more about ourselves than we can comfortably accept. But we had better face up to things. We haven’t too much time at the most. MDP158-161
Lord, help me to make choices today that are pleasing to You. Amen.
To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.
God is speaking to mankind with more than one voice, but it must be said that the clearest, most distinct and most easily distinguished voice is that of the Holy Spirit. The call and reproof and conviction by the Holy Spirit give grave and serious meaning to all other voices calling men home.
If it were not for the presence of the Holy Spirit speaking through the consciences of men and women, no other voice would have any significance. For the Holy Spirit, the divine Comforter, came to confirm Christ’s words and Christ’s work and Christ’s person. EFE026
The Holy Spirit…lived in the human Christ for three and a half years, the Spirit who wept in His tears, suffered in His agonies, spoke in His words of wisdom and love, took the little children in His arms, healed the sick and raised the dead. HS069
The Holy Spirit is God’s purifying messenger to us, bringing the water and the fire that will make us white as snow. Let us trust Him, let us obey Him, let us receive Him. CTAB042
2 Corinthians 12:7-10
Paul wrote of having been “caught up” to the third heaven, and for an indescribable moment was exalted to a rarified realm beyond time and space. There he heard “things that man is not permitted to tell” (2 Corinthians 12:4). He did not wish to boast about his experience. All he could boast about was his own weakness, his own insufficiency and utter dependence upon the Lord.
It is against this astonishing background that Paul speaks of his thorn in the flesh. God permitted the affliction “to keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations” (2 Corinthians 12:7). Whatever it was, the affliction was so severe and disturbing, that on three different occasions the apostle “pleaded with the Lord to take it away” (2 Corinthians 12:8).
As a lad I often wrestled with the meaning of the Lord’s promise that,
“Whatever you ask in my name… I will do it” (John 14:13-14). Does God really answer all our prayers? It appeared that some were overlooked! It was some time before I realized that praying “in the name” of the Lord means praying in tune with His will and purpose. When Paul pleaded with the Lord to remove his affliction, the answer was a positive refusal. “My grace is sufficient for you,” the Lord replied, “for My power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
On one occasion during my service as a World War II military chaplain I came perilously close to becoming a victim of self-pity. My battalion was camped on the edge of a forest. With 22 days of cold rain and submarines busy in the North Atlantic, mail was not getting through. A padre is supposed to help maintain morale, but how can you do that if your own morale is oozing through the bottom of your boots?
At long last mail arrived and there were over 20 letters from my wife Janet. I arranged the letters in order of dates on my rickety homemade desk, told the batman to keep my tent clear of visitors barring emergencies, then settled down to read the mail.
In one letter Janet told me about our six-year old son who got into such a tantrum that she had to order him down to the basement to cool off, where he whooped it up as loudly as he could. Close to bedtime he went to his own room. A few moments later she heard him talking. Tiptoeing to the door which was ajar, she peeped in. Clad in his pajamas, Donald was kneeling by the bed, having a conversation with God. She heard him say, “Dear God, help me not to cry when there’s nothing to cry about, and make me a man!” How well I remember dropping to my knees in that dank, mildewed tent, and offering the very same prayer, word for word.
Clarence D. Wiseman, The Desert Road to Glory