VIDEO Power Washed

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.  Ephesians 2:10, NIV

Dennis Bonifan attempted suicide last year, but he’s gotten help and is doing better. He’s also found a cause. When Dennis saw a Facebook post about swastikas spray-painted on a nearby street, he grabbed his power washer and obliterated the hateful graffiti free of charge. He continued donating his spare time to clearing the streets of unwanted graffiti, telling a reporter, “It’s very rewarding to be able to do something and then put a smile on my face…it actually helps my mood a lot.”1

We all face challenges of many kinds. Sometimes they’re emotional challenges, for our toughest battles often involve our feelings and reactions. But finding a meaningful purpose can put a smile on our faces and help our moods. That’s especially true when we know God is leading us to engage in good works He planned in advance for us to do.

He power-washes our souls with His blood, then uses us to help others. Challenges needn’t defeat us. They can strengthen us and lead us to helping others.

Our lives have purpose and meaning. God has a path for us to follow, a path that He marked out ahead of time. He already knows the way through every difficulty we will face.
Larry Richards

  1. “After Recovering From Suicide Attempt, Man Now Finds Joy in Erasing Hateful Graffiti,” Good News Network, September 30, 2019.

His Workmanship, Ephesians 2:10 – Pastor Chuck Smith – Topical Bible Study

Mercy’s Lament

My heart is poured out on the ground . . . because children and infants faint in the streets of the city. Lamentations 2:11

Her father blamed his illness on witchcraft. It was AIDS. When he died, his daughter, ten-year-old Mercy, grew even closer to her mother. But her mother was sick too, and three years later she died. From then on, Mercy’s sister raised the five siblings. That’s when Mercy began to keep a journal of her deep pain.

The prophet Jeremiah kept a record of his pain too. In the grim book of Lamentations, he wrote of atrocities done to Judah by the Babylonian army. Jeremiah’s heart was especially grieved for the youngest victims. “My heart is poured out on the ground,” he cried, “because my people are destroyed, because children and infants faint in the streets of the city” (2:11). The people of Judah had a history of ignoring God, but their children were paying the price too. “Their lives ebb away in their mothers’ arms,” wrote Jeremiah (v. 12).

We might have expected Jeremiah to reject God in the face of such suffering. Instead, he urged the survivors, “Pour out your heart like water in the presence of the Lord. Lift up your hands to him for the lives of your children” (v. 19).

It’s good, as Mercy and Jeremiah did, to pour out our hearts to God. Lament is a crucial part of being human. Even when God permits such pain, He grieves with us. Made as we are in His image, He must lament too!

By: Tim Gustafson

Reflect & Pray

How do you handle the painful situations in your life? How might it help you to write it down and share your journal with a friend?

Dear God, I’m hurting because of ____________________. You see my grief. Please show Your strength in my life today.

Passion to Know Christ

Philippians 3:3-12

Claiming to know someone usually means we know facts about the person or simply are aware he or she exists. Unfortunately, that is how too many Christians “know” Jesus Christ—they’re aware He is the world’s Savior, who died in our place and rose again to sit at the Father’s right hand. Those are the facts, but simply collecting data won’t bring lasting satisfaction. Instead, ask, Who is this Jesus, and why did He willingly give up His life? The search for answers begins a journey to intimacy and true knowledge of Him.

By recognizing Jesus Christ as our Savior, we are blessed with redemption and a spiritual relationship. But though we have gained heaven, it is possible to miss the treasure of experiencing Christ as our Lord and friend. Few people will dig deep enough into Scripture and spend the time in prayer to claim Him as their life—as the One who makes us complete. The apostle Paul was so intimately acquainted with God that he viewed his own history and experiences as negligible when compared with knowing Jesus (Phil. 3:7).

If you want to thirst for Jesus as Paul did, Scripture and your experience with the Lord can fuel your passion. Start by opening the Word and drinking Him in.

Made Manifest by Scriptures

“But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith.” (Romans 16:26)

This revelation was written by Paul the apostle as a conclusion to his great doctrinal epistle to the Romans. That which “now is made manifest . . . to all nations” had been “kept secret since the world began” and was essentially the simple truth revealed in “my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ” (Romans 16:25) offering to people from every nation (not just Israel!) the wonderful gift of salvation and eternal life through Jesus Christ.

And note that this was being made manifest not just by the preachers and Scriptures of the New Testament, but “by the scriptures of the prophets”—that is, by the Old Testament Scriptures. There are some today who think the Old Testament is no longer of significance to Christians. But they are wrong! Remember that Jesus, after His resurrection, speaking to two of His disciples, rebuked them by saying: “O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: . . . And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself” (Luke 24:25, 27).

Furthermore, the Old Testament abounds with wonderful promises and precepts and examples that are supremely practical and profitable for the Christian life. As Paul said, “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope” (Romans 15:4). In fact, every Old Testament Scripture is “given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). HMM

Just Turn the Crank

Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.

—Zechariah 4:6

 

It is possible to run a church and all of its activity without the Holy Spirit. You can organize it, get a board together, call a pastor, form a choir, launch a Sunday school and a ladies’ aid society. You get it all organized—and the organization part is not bad. I’m for it. But I’m warning about getting organized, getting a pastor and turning the crank—some people think that’s all there is to it, you know.

The Holy Spirit can be absent and the pastor goes on turning the crank, and nobody finds it out for years and years. What a tragedy, my brethren, what a tragedy that this can happen in a Christian church! But it doesn’t have to be that way! “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches” (Revelation 3:22)….

If you could increase the attendance of your church until there is no more room, if you could provide everything they have in churches that men want and love and value, and yet you didn’t have the Holy Spirit, you might as well have nothing at all. For it is “‘Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ saith the LORD of hosts” (Zechariah 4:6)…. [I]t is by the Spirit that God works His mighty works.   COU038-039

Oh, Lord, in whatever ministry I am involved, I pray that Your Holy Spirit would be present with His controlling power. Amen.

 

God’s Word Is Powerful

For the word of God is quick, and powerful…and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

—Hebrews 4:12

 

God Almighty does not bellow to the wide universe and have it come back as an empty echo through His holy ears. He has told us that His word going forth from His mouth does not ever return void and without results. God’s word is always powerful and it needs no one to run around apologizing for it and thinking up clever ways to defend it.

The gospel ship, the ark of God, is not a ghost ship floating idly on the sea. [It is] fully manned with a faithful crew, the winds of the Holy Spirit in her sail, passengers who are…free men and women, bound for a free port in a holy land!

Throughout this troubled old world, God has His saints and He knows them. They are washed in His blood, born of His Spirit. They are begotten of the Word of Truth, saved by the miracle of redemption. He will call them all home when the time comes. EFE106-107

What comforts me is the thought that we are being shaped here below into stones for the heavenly templethat to be made like Him is the object of our earthly existence. JAS055

 

Is Jesus Your Lord

1 Corinthians 12

The New Testament word for “Lord”—kurios—is a word which carried deep significance. It is now almost commonplace to speak of the Lord Jesus Christ, but this title did not come to Jesus easily.

In Mark’s Gospel, Jesus is referred to as Lord in the full theological sense on only two occasions. The same is true of Matthew’s Gospel, while Luke utilizes the term some 17 times. It was, however, a favorite with Paul, who refers to Jesus as Lord 130 times in his epistles. It ultimately became the first Christian creed: “Jesus Is Lord.”

Kurios was the word used to describe the Roman Emperor, who was considered supreme. The one demand the Romans made upon the people they conquered was that they must acknowledge Caesar as Lord—supreme or without rival. It was at this point the clash came between the Christians and the Romans, for the Christian would acknowledge no one but God as supreme.

Thus, to refer to Jesus as Lord means that He is without a rival. After hearing a minister preach on the coming again of our Lord, Queen Victoria said, “I wish He would come during my lifetime so that I could take my crown and lay it at His feet.”

To acknowledge Jesus as Lord is a mark of the Spirit-filled life, “No one can say ‘Jesus is Lord,’ except by the Holy Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:3). We personalize this truth, when we exclaim with Thomas, “My Lord and my God” (John 20:28).

This submission will enable us to be effective witnesses in the field where God has called us to live and to work. We need to be reminded that the power of the Holy Spirit is not stored up in our little batteries; it flows in and through us as we maintain contact with God. We are transmitters of spiritual power, and need to be reminded of the truth declared by Edward Hale:

 

I am only one,

But still I am one.

I cannot do everything,

But still I can do something.

And because I cannot do everything

I will not refuse to do the something that I can.

Bramwell H. Tillsley, Life in the Spirit