VIDEO The Makeup Called Radiance

They looked to Him and were radiant.  Psalm 34:5

One Sunday the powerful Scottish preacher, Alexander Maclaren, spotted a well-known skeptic in the audience. The man attended several Sundays and made a profession to receive Christ as his Savior. Maclaren asked which message had brought the man to that decision. “Your sermons, sir, were helpful,” replied the man, “but they were not what finally persuaded me to become a Christian. A few weeks ago as I was leaving church, I noticed an elderly lady with a radiant face. Because she was making her way with difficulty along the icy street, I offered to help her. As we walked along together, she looked up at me and said, ‘I wonder if you know my Savior, Jesus Christ? He is everything in the world to me. I want you to love Him, too.’ Those few words touched my heart, and when I got home, I knelt down and received the Savior.”

Even those in the grip of sin and frailty can recognize a true believer in Jesus Christ. When they see the joy of Christ in our life, it becomes a convicting moment. There’s a sermon in the holy smiles of God’s faithful people.

If you go about doing good, speaking love and truth, radiant with His Spirit, they will be reading in you the Gospel after all. Vance Havner


 

RADIANT (PSALM 34: 4-5 ESV)


The Eyes of the Lord. Psalm 34 – Pastor Chuck Smith – Topical Bible Study

Thoughts of Joy

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!  Philippians 4:4

 

In What We Keep, a collection of interviews by Bill Shapiro, each person tells of a single item that holds such importance and joy that he or she would never part with it.

This caused me to reflect on the possessions that mean the most to me and bring me joy. One is a simple forty-year-old recipe card in my mom’s handwriting. Another is one of my grandma’s pink teacups. Other people may value treasured memories—a compliment that encouraged them, a grandchild’s giggle, or a special insight they gleaned from Scripture.

What we often keep stashed away in our hearts, though, are things that have brought us great unhappiness: Anxiety—hidden, but easily retrieved. Anger—below the surface, but ready to strike. Resentment—silently corroding the core of our thoughts.

The apostle Paul addressed a more positive way to “think” in a letter to the church at Philippi. He encouraged the people of the church to always rejoice, to be gentle, and to bring everything to God in prayer (Philippians 4:4–9).

Paul’s uplifting words on what to think about helps us see that it’s possible to push out dark thoughts and allow the peace of God to guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus (v. 7). It’s when the thoughts that fill up our minds are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, and praiseworthy that we keep His peace in our hearts (v. 8).

By:  Cindy Hess Kasper

Reflect & Pray

What unwelcome thoughts have stubbornly taken residence in my mind and heart? What’s one way I can daily fill up my mind with good things?

Guide my thoughts this day, O God, as You hold my heart and life in Your care.

Live A Life of Peace

Isaiah 26:1-6

Let’s suppose I’ve got a problem that has my stomach in knots with persistent worry. Friends and family try to be understanding, but after a time they grow weary of me taking my anguish out on them. I’m so focused on this issue that it feels as if I’m carrying a heavy load on my shoulders. The Lord offers a liberating alternative: “Cast your burden upon [Me] and [I] will sustain you” (Psalm 55:22). Though He doesn’t erase the ills that invade this life, He instead shields us from the weight of worry by taking our situation into His own hands.

However, the call to a peaceful life is impossible without confidence in the Lord. That trust is built through a relationship with Him—praying through trials and triumphs, seeking His guidance, and testing His Word to see that it is true and practical for life.

When we’ve experienced God’s faithfulness and believe He will continue to act on behalf of His followers (Isa. 64:4), that’s when peace is possible. In fact, it is not only possible but promised to the believer who trusts in Him (Phil. 4:6-7). But unshakeable peace isn’t instantaneous; it is cultivated through a consistent relationship with the Lord.

Lessons from Amos: Seeking the Lord

“But seek not Bethel. . . . Seek the LORD, and ye shall live.” (Amos 5:5-6)

Bethel had a long history with Israel. Abraham camped near Bethel when he first entered the land of Canaan (Genesis 12:8) and “called on the name of the LORD” at Bethel when he returned from Egypt (Genesis 13:3-4). Jacob’s dream of the ladder took place at Bethel (Genesis 28:10-12, 19), and later it was there his name was changed to Israel (Genesis 35:9-15).

Later, however, Bethel became Bethaven, the “House of Idols” (Hosea 4:15), after Jeroboam I established a temple to the golden calf (1 Kings 12:28-33). And much later, Assyria, after the destruction of Israel, left false priests at Bethel to corrupt the land (2 Kings 17:27-34). The place became a substitute for the person of God.

The danger comes when God becomes fixed to a place or an event where there is more concern for property than people. The kind of place (one’s denomination) substitutes theology for truth, or the experience gives more credence to intuition than inspiration. Worship of place or event supersedes the worship of God. Both substitutes will produce error.

The admonition of Amos is to “seek the LORD” (Amos 5:6). The promise is that if we seek the Lord, we “shall live.” We will not find God in a place but in a person (Acts 4:12). We cannot find God in a campaign but in a commitment (Matthew 6:33). We surely will not find God in promises from men but in power from God (2 Peter 1:4). HMM

You’ll Be As Holy as You Want to Be

Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

—2 Corinthians 7:1

 

It may be said without qualification that every man is as holy and as full of the Spirit as he wants to be. He may not be as full as he wishes he were, but he is most certainly as full as he wants to be.

Our Lord placed this beyond dispute when He said, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6). Hunger and thirst are physical sensations which, in their acute stages, may become real pain. It has been the experience of countless seekers after God that when their desires became a pain they were suddenly and wonderfully filled. The problem is not to persuade God to fill us, but to want God sufficiently to permit Him to do so. The average Christian is so cold and so contented with His wretched condition that there is no vacuum of desire into which the blessed Spirit can rush in satisfying fullness.   BAM008

Lord, quiet my heart today and fill me with this holy longing. I don’t want to be contented with my present condition; I long for that vacuum of desire into which the Holy Spirit can rush. Amen.

 

Breathless Adoration

There is no God like thee…which…shewest mercy unto thy servants, that walk before thee with all their hearts.

—2 Chronicles 6:14

 

The theory [of impromptu service planning] is that if the meeting is unplanned the Holy Spirit will work freely, and that would be true if all the worshipers were reverent and Spirit-filled. But mostly there is neither order nor Spirit, just a routine prayer that is, except for minor variations, the same week after week, and a few songs that were never much to start with and have long ago lost all significance by meaningless repetition.

In the majority of our meetings there is scarcely a trace of reverent thought, no recognition of the unity of the body, little sense of the divine Presence, no moment of stillness, no solemnity, no wonder, no holy fear….

The whole Christian family stands desperately in need of a restoration of penitence, humility and tears. May God send them soon. GTM005-006

We would do well to follow our old-fashioned forbears who knew what it was to kneel in breathless, wondering adoration in the presence of God. JMI043

 

What Are We Worth?

Matthew 10:28-31

Sadly, life is cheap in America these days. The preservation of human life is no longer a primary value in contemporary culture, in spite of our Judeo-Christian heritage, which teaches us to value human life. What of the ongoing slaughter of unborn, innocent babies for reasons of uninhibited pleasure and personal and family convenience? No wonder Pope John Paul II in his encyclical proclaiming a gospel of life is constrained to describe modern culture as a “culture of death.”

Jesus said that when a sparrow falls to the ground, God notes it. The birds of the air are incredibly precious to God. He made them. And ours would be a visually tedious and eerily silent world without them. The created universe and this beautiful planet of ours are of inestimable worth to God and therefore should be treasured.

Having said that, let us be clear: Precious as all created life is to God—and the environments and ecosystems in which it thrives—human persons are worth a great deal more to God. “You are worth more than many sparrows,” (Matt. 10:31) says Jesus.

If we could focus as much compassion and creative energy on kids in our inner cities-blowing each other away with automatic weapons and self-destructing on crack cocaine—as we give to saving whales and the nesting sites of tufted titmice, we might accomplish a great deal for the peace and prosperity of our cities, not to mention the salvation of these kids! Perhaps we can, and should, do both! Look at the mass graves in Rwanda and read the painful reflection of horror in the eyes of the children there and you need not be persuaded that there is much to fear in our world.

Recognizing the value Jesus places on human life makes His words even more poignant and powerful: “Do not be afraid of those that kill the body, but cannot kill the soul” (Matthew 10:28). Many a martyr to totalitarianism within the past 50 years has sealed their testimony to that truth with their blood. There is something beyond human life, valuable as it is, that is of infinitely greater consequence. It is the soul.

It is the simple but liberating truth that God values us all as human persons. It is that love of God for us, not based upon our merit, but upon His grace toward us, that makes us infinitely worthy. This is such a crucial issue that God invested in it the life of His own Son. We can know ourselves loved, unconditionally. And we can respond to that love.

Paul A. Rader, The War Cry