VIDEO Sleep in Peace

Now in the second year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, Nebuchadnezzar had dreams; and his spirit was so troubled that his sleep left him. Daniel 2:1

In the Bible, dreams are mentioned more than eighty times, almost all of them in the Old Testament. That should provide a clue as to how God has used dreams. As more of His revelation came by the Spirit and through the Word, the less frequent the need to communicate by dreams. But for the pagan world, dreams were often used by God to communicate His intent to rulers like Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 2) and Pharaoh (Genesis 41).

What should Christians make of dreams today? There is no definitive answer, but some neuroscientists believe dreams are the brain’s way of consolidating and reviewing memories (and experiences) in our life. Sometimes our dreams are sweet and sometimes they are sour. The more peaceful our thoughts and memories, the more likely our dreams will be too. As the apostle Paul wrote, whatever is true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous, and praiseworthy—“meditate on these things” (Philippians 4:8).

And as the psalmist prayed: “I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety” (Psalm 4:8).

We sleep in peace in the arms of God, when we yield ourselves up to His providence. François Fénelon


Daniel 2:1-13, Sleepless In Babylon

The Miracle of White Snow

Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.  Isaiah 1:18

In the seventeenth century, Sir Isaac Newton used a prism to study how light helps us see different colors. He found that when light passes through an object, the object appears to possess a specific color. While a single ice crystal looks translucent, snow is made up of many ice crystals smashed together. When light passes through all of the crystals, snow appears to be white.

The Bible mentions something else that has a certain color—sin. Through the prophet Isaiah, God confronted the sins of the people of Judah and described their sin as “like scarlet” and as “red as crimson.” But God promised they would “be as white as snow” (Isaiah 1:18). How? Judah needed to turn away from wrongdoing and seek God’s forgiveness.

Thanks to Jesus, we have permanent access to God’s forgiveness. Jesus called Himself “the light of the world” and said whoever follows Him “will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). When we confess our sins, God forgives us and we’re seen through the light of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. This means that God sees us as He sees Jesus—blameless.

We don’t have to wallow in the guilt and shame of what we’ve done wrong. Instead, we can hold on to the truth of God’s forgiveness, which makes us “white as snow.”

By:  Linda Washington

Reflect & Pray

What does it mean to be completely forgiven? What helps you remember that God has forgiven you?

Heavenly Father, thank You for the forgiveness You freely offer.

Salvation Is From God

Ephesians 2:1-9

Do you ever doubt that you’re saved? Once we ask Jesus into our heart, we’re saved. He never leaves us. John 10:28 says that nothing can snatch us out of His hand, but sometimes we might still feel uncertain. Maybe we can’t remember the specific time and place of our decision to follow Him. Or perhaps we’ve messed up and sinned so badly that we wonder how He could forgive us. Let’s see what the Bible says about it.

God made us alive Together with Christ by raising Him from the dead (Eph. 2:4-5). We’re all born dead in our sins. There’s nothing we can do to make ourselves spiritually alive; our salvation is the result of God’s love and mercy. And once He makes us alive, we can never become spiritually dead again.

We’re saved by God’s grace, not by our goodness or performance. Ephesians 2:8-9 tell us, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works.” We didn’t do anything to deserve or earn God’s grace, yet He still chose to save us.

Our salvation isn’t because of our goodness or works, nor is it maintained by us. We’re saved simply through faith and should recognize that as God’s gift. As a result, we enjoy the blessings of belonging to His family, and one day we will know the full reality of being seated with Jesus in heaven (Eph. 2:6).

Lessons from Rich Fool

“But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?” (Luke 12:20)

This sobering verse gives, in a nutshell, God’s evaluation of people whose dominating concern is the accumulation of material possessions. Such a person is, by the Lord’s own testimony, a fool.

But before the man in this parable became a covetous fool, he first became a self-centered clod, interested only in his own desires. In the verses comprising his monologue (Luke 12:17-19), he used the personal pronouns “I” and “my” no less than 11 times, and then even addressed himself using the pronoun “thou” or “thine” twice more.

“My” is the devil’s pronoun. It was Satan who first said “I.” “I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: . . . I will be like the most High” (Isaiah 14:13-14). Lucifer’s primeval, self-seeking covetousness brought rebellion and sin into the angelic host, and then into the human family. Ever since his fall, he has used this deadly sin of self-centeredness to keep men away from God and to lead them into all kinds of other overpowering sins.

In the case of the rich man, his pampering of self had led him into a life of such greed and covetousness that he was still concerned only with his own personal comfort (“eating and drinking”) right up to the day of his death. He “thought within himself” (Luke 12:17), giving no thought whatever to God’s will or the fact that all his possessions really belonged to God. Multitudes over the ages have been overtaken by this same sin of self-centered covetousness, perhaps never more pervasively than in modern America, even among American Christians. To anyone of such covetous spirit, the day may soon come when the Lord will say: “Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee.” HMM

No Fear of Emotions

And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God.

—Acts 3:8

 

One cause of the decline in the quality of religious experience among Christians these days is the neglect of the doctrine of the inward witness.

Stamping our feet to start the circulation and blowing on our hands to limber them up, we have emerged shivering from the long period of the theological deep-freeze, but the influence of the frosty years is still felt among us to such an extent that the words witness, experience and feeling are cautiously avoided by the rank and file of evangelical teachers. In spite of the undeniable lukewarmness of most of us we still fear that unless we keep a careful check on ourselves we shall surely lose our dignity and become howling fanatics by this time next week. We set a watch upon our emotions day and night lest we become over-spiritual and bring reproach upon the cause of Christ. Which all, if I may say so, is for most of us about as sensible as throwing a cordon of police around a cemetery to prevent a wild political demonstration by the inhabitants.   BAM011

Lord, open up my heart to receive, and then open up my mouth to declare, the glory of Your mighty work! Amen.

 

Inward Blindness

But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.

—Romans 6:17

 

I once read a book about the inner spiritual life by a man who was not a Christian at all. He was a sharp intellectual….He examined spiritual people from the outside, but nothing ever reached him. And that is possible!

You cannot argue around this. You can read your Bible…and if you are honest you will admit that it is either obedience or inward blindness. You can repeat Romans word for word and still be blind inwardly. You can quote all the Psalms and still be blind inwardly. You can know the doctrine of justification by faith…and be blind inwardly. It is not the body of truth that enlightens; it is the Spirit of truth who enlightens.

If you are willing to obey the Lord Jesus, He will illuminate your spirit. He will inwardly enlighten you. The truth you have known intellectually will now be known spiritually. Power will begin to flow up and out, and you will find yourself changed, marvelously changed. FBR032

God works for a wholly blessed end, namely, Himself: to bring the soul and all her powers into that end, into Himself. BME016

 

The Trinity for Us

Matthew 28:19

Trinity Sunday does not appear on our Salvation Army calendars, but that

does not absolve us from the need to instruct our people in the meaning of our third Article of Faith. Our Handbook of Doctrine admits the difficulty of the task, saying that “It is impossible adequately to picture… the complete truth concerning the mystery of the Godhead.”

From the work of theologians, ancient and modern, guidelines can be singled out. Paul Tillich said that “Trinitarian monotheism is not a matter of the number three. It is a qualitative and not a quantitative characterization of God.” That is to say, when we speak of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, we are not making a mathematical statement. We are using the only language at our disposal to attempt to define what lies beyond definition, for in the Godhead there exists a richness of personality which is both beyond our conceiving and our describing. In the scriptural sense a mystery does not contradict reason though it may transcend it. No way can we describe infinity.

The doctrine of the trinity is more than a means of expressing what men have thought about God; it declares what God has revealed to men in history about His own nature.

In the fullness of time came the Incarnation, and in the life, death and rising again of Jesus the church of the New Testament saw God at work. Their experience of Jesus was nothing other than an experience of God. “The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14 KJV).

More was to follow. Jesus told His immediate followers that it was expedient for them that He should go away, at which announcement sorrow filled their hearts. But their sorrow was turned into joy when the company of about 120 found themselves visited by the very Holy Spirit of God in their lives, both individually and corporately.

Yet the last truth must be that for all the unimaginable richness of His complex nature, God is one. The verb was, is and ever must remain, singular. The three persons share every act of thought, will and feeling.

How then does this affect my habit of prayer? Only to help me recognize that there is no activity on the part of the Father, the Son or the Holy Spirit that is not shared by the entire Godhead.

These revealed truths, even if apprehended only through a glass darkly in our personal experience, help us to appreciate the mystery and yet the reality of God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Frederick Coutts, In Good Company