VIDEO The Plans of God

The Lord frustrates the plans of the nations and thwarts all their schemes. But the Lord’s plans stand firm forever; his intentions can never be shaken.  Psalm 33:10-11, NLT

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice recently told an audience the world is now in a “somewhat dangerous and chaotic” state. She went on to say the geopolitical and economic balance is “under strain and under threat” and we’re seeing the “breakdown of the global order as we once knew it.” What we need is a plan—and we have it!

There are two levels of God’s planning for us.

First, He has a plan for the history of the world. All the current global events are unfolding under His providential eye. Even the leaders of the world’s greatest nations are like grasshoppers to Him. If we look closely, we can see events moving toward the prophetic promises of Scripture.

Second, He has a plan for you. God is both infinite and intimate. Psalm 139:16 says, “You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed” (NLT).

Don’t worry about tomorrow. God has an incredible, unchanging plan for us and for our world.

The God who knows you best knows the best for you.  Woodrow Kroll


Psalm 33 • What is Worship?

Broken to Be Shared

You give them something to eat.   Luke 9:13

We met every Thursday after he lost his wife in a car accident. Sometimes he came with questions to which no answers exist; sometimes he came with memories he wanted to relive. Over time, he accepted that even though the accident was a result of the brokenness in our world, God could work in the midst of it. A few years later, he taught a class at our church about grief and how to lament well. Soon, he became our go-to guide for people experiencing loss. Sometimes it’s when we don’t feel like we have anything to offer that God takes our “not enough” and makes it “more than enough.”

Jesus told His disciples to give the people something to eat. They’d protested that there was nothing to give; Jesus multiplied their meager supplies and then turned back to the disciples and gave them the bread, as if to say, “I meant it: You give them something to eat!” (Luke 9:13–16). Christ will do the miraculous, but He often chooses to involve us.

Jesus says to us, “Place who you are and what you have in My hands. Your broken life. Your story. Your frailty and your failure, your pain and your suffering. Put it in My hands. You’ll be surprised what I can do with it.” Jesus knows that out of our emptiness, He can bring fullness. Out of our weakness, He can reveal His strength.

By:  Glenn Packiam

Reflect & Pray

What brokenness have you experienced? What would it look like to offer that experience to Jesus and ask Him to bring life to others from it?

Dear Jesus, take my “not enough” and make it “more than enough.” Take my pain, my failure, and my frailty, and make it something more.

How Do We Prove We Love God?

2 John 1:1-13

Many people say “I love God” to express good feelings about the Lord, but Jesus taught that only those who obey God’s commands truly love Him. So, what are some actions that show that we love God?

Pray often. Jesus taught that frequent prayer is essential to the Christian life. However, when we pray with wrong motives—ones that center around what we want rather than what God wants—we’re not expressing affection for Him. True prayer seeks to determine God’s mind in order to carry out His agenda. This kind of prayer, accompanied by an obedient response, says “I love You” to God.

Read the Bible regularly. Since Jesus defined love as obedience, it’s essential that Scripture reading be accompanied by application. Otherwise, we’re just hearers of the Word (James 1:22).

Serve at church and in the community. If we ourselves choose how to serve instead of obeying the Lord’s direction, our efforts are simply good works rather than an expression of love to Him.

God’s love for us was demonstrated through the sending of His Son Jesus (1 John 4:9-10). Our compliance to the Father’s known will reveals how deeply we care about Him. Take steps each day to show God your love.

Appreciate God’s Creation

“And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food.” (Genesis 2:8-9)

Everything in the garden of Eden was prepared for man’s enjoyment. In the time between creation and the curse, Adam and Eve no doubt fully enjoyed the vegetation (Genesis 2:5, 9, 15-16), the animals (vv. 19-20), the atmosphere and the weather (vv. 5-6), the rivers and the raw materials (vv. 10-14), each other (vv. 18, 21-25), and fellowship with God (3:8). But soon they rebelled and were driven from the beautiful garden (3:24), and ever since, mankind’s ability to enjoy creation has been shackled somewhat, for creation was distorted by sin, and the eyes of each one of us have become dull. The second verse of the well-loved hymn “I Am His, and He Is Mine” describes a partial reopening of the eyes of a believer upon salvation, as a love gift from our Lord.

Heav’n above is softer blue, Earth around is sweeter green;
Something lives in ev’ry hue Christless eyes have never seen!
Birds with gladder songs o’erflow, Flowers with deeper beauties shine,
Since I know, as now I know, I am His and He is mine.

In His abundant love for His children, our Lord promises to supply all our needs once again. “Why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these” (Matthew 6:28-29). Creation’s beauty waits to thrill us and instruct us. Our loving Father wills it so. But creation will be fully restored soon, and “the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing” (Isaiah 35:1-2). He beckons us to join Him in His kingdom. JDM

Fencing with the Masters

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

—2 Timothy 4:3-4

 

Everyone who has come to the years of responsibility seems to have gone on the defensive. Even some of you who have known me for years are surely on the defensive—you have your guard up all the time!

I know that you are not afraid of me, but you are afraid, nevertheless, of what I am going to say. Probably every faithful preacher today is fencing with masters as he faces his congregation. The guard is always up. The quick parry is always ready.

It is very hard for me to accept the fact that it is now very rare for anyone to come into the house of God with guard completely down, head bowed and with the silent confession: “Dear Lord, I am ready and willing to hear what You will speak to my heart today!”

We have become so learned and so worldly and so sophisticated and so blasé and so bored and so religiously tired that the clouds of glory seem to have gone from us.   CES108-109

Lord, quiet my own heart before You and give me that humble spirit of listening. Whenever I come before You may I be “ready and willing to hear what You will speak to my heart today.” Amen.

 

The Holy Spirit Is Indispensable

Repent, and be baptized every one…and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

—Acts 2:38

 

 

The continued neglect of the Holy Spirit by evangelical Christians is too evident to deny and impossible to justify.

Evangelical Christianity is Trinitarian: “Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost” is sung in almost every church every Sunday of the year; and whether the singer realizes it or not he is acknowledging that the Holy Spirit is God indeed with equal claim to be worshiped along with the Father and the Son. Yet after this claim is sung at or near the beginning of the service little or nothing is heard of the Spirit again until the benediction….

[T]here can be no doubt that there is a huge disparity between the place given to the Spirit in the Holy Scriptures and the place He occupies in popular evangelical Christianity. In the Scriptures the Holy Spirit is necessary. GTM109, 110

David Brainerd once compared a man without the power of the Spirit trying to do spiritual work to a workman without fingers attempting to do manual labor. The figure is striking but it does not overstate the facts. The Holy Spirit is not a luxury….The Spirit is an imperative necessity. Only the Eternal Spirit can do eternal deeds. MDP066

 

Start By Loving God

Deuteronomy 6:5

I desire to ask you a question that may possibly sound a little strange, but which nevertheless is very important. It is, “Do you love God?” I do not mean do you believe and talk and sing about Him, and admire Him; but do you really love Him, and that with all your heart?

Love to God is an essential part of religion, just as heat is an essential part of fire. You cannot have a living, sanctifying, enjoyable salvation without it. It does not matter what else you do; if you are without love, your religion is vain.

You can very readily tell whether you love God or not.

When any being is truly loved he will be very much in the thoughts. Last thing at night and first thing in the morning the heart will turn to the one it loves. Has God such a place in your mind, my comrade?

When anyone is truly loved, his interests will be cared for. When a father is loved by a son, the reputation and business and property of that father will be anxiously cared for by that son. So it is with your Heavenly Father. If you love Him you will assuredly care for His interests, and seek to promote them with all your heart.

When a being is really loved, the dearest object of life will be to do those things that will yield that being pleasure. What pleases that person and makes him happier will please and gladden you. If you love God you will delight in the doing of His righteous will, if for no other reason than that you will thereby give satisfaction to the heart of your Heavenly Father.

When any being is loved, there will be at least a measure of pleasure experienced in communion with that being. As the flowers turn to the sun, and the rivers run to the sea, so the heart ever turns to that one on whom its affections are chiefly set for comfort, and guidance, and satisfaction. To converse with that being and have his opinions regarding the men and things about us, to speak with him of our successes and failures, our hopes and fears, to hear him tell what his feelings are toward us and to tell him what our feelings are toward him, constitutes one of the chief delights.

Have you any such experience as this with respect to your Heavenly Father? Do you find pleasure in talking to Him, and hearing Him talk to you—on your knees, at your work, in your trials and in your joys?

Is this your experience? Do you feel after this fashion towards God?

William Booth, The Warrior’s Daily Portion, No. 2