VIDEO The Perfect Counselor

For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Hebrews 4:12

A trusted friend or counselor is “living” (engaging with us), “sharp” (wise, discerning), can see into our heart and mind, and can help us understand our thoughts, intentions, and motivations. In short, the Word of God, according to Hebrews 4:12, is like a wise counselor.

The longest chapter in the Bible, Psalm 119 at 176 verses, is a tribute to all the ways the words, decrees, and statutes of God can have a practical impact on our life. Every verse refers to the Word of God in some dimension. For example, the young can live a pure life by living according to God’s Word (verse 9) and by hiding the Word in their heart (verse 11). And there is joy to be found in following God’s teachings (verse 14). We also ought to pray daily that God would open our eyes to the wonders of His Word (verse 18).

When you need counsel, direction, or encouragement, turn prayerfully to God’s living and powerful Word.

The Word of God is perfect; it is precious and pure; it is truth itself. Martin Luther


Hebrews 4:12-13 “The Word of God: Living, Active, Sharp” Line by Line Bible study with John Piper

Spiritual Vision Through Personal Purity

Purity is not innocence— it is much more than that. Purity is the result of continued spiritual harmony with God. We have to grow in purity. Our life with God may be right and our inner purity unblemished, yet occasionally our outer life may become spotted and stained. God intentionally does not protect us from this possibility, because this is the way we recognize the necessity of maintaining our spiritual vision through personal purity. If the outer level of our spiritual life with God is impaired to the slightest degree, we must put everything else aside until we make it right. Remember that spiritual vision depends on our character— it is “the pure in heart” who “see God.”

God makes us pure by an act of His sovereign grace, but we still have something that we must carefully watch. It is through our bodily life coming in contact with other people and other points of view that we tend to become tarnished. Not only must our “inner sanctuary” be kept right with God, but also the “outer courts” must be brought into perfect harmony with the purity God gives us through His grace. Our spiritual vision and understanding is immediately blurred when our “outer court” is stained. If we want to maintain personal intimacy with the Lord Jesus Christ, it will mean refusing to do or even think certain things. And some things that are acceptable for others will become unacceptable for us.

A practical help in keeping your personal purity unblemished in your relations with other people is to begin to see them as God does. Say to yourself, “That man or that woman is perfect in Christ Jesus! That friend or that relative is perfect in Christ Jesus!”

WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS

Always keep in contact with those books and those people that enlarge your horizon and make it possible for you to stretch yourself mentally. The Moral Foundations of Life, 721 R

Recognizing God’s Handiwork

Psalm 33:3-11

Sometimes it’s hard to understand what God is doing in your life, but over time I’ve learned that we can identify His fingerprints in several ways:

First, the work God does is creative and powerful. He made heaven, earth, and all living creatures, and He knitted each of us in our mother’s womb. Then, through His Son Jesus, He powerfully accomplished salvation for all who trust in the Savior. What’s more, He adopted all believers into His family.

Second, we can see God’s work through Christ-centered prayers, which narrow our focus on the Lord. When we pray actively and persistently, we can more readily identify His actions and see how to join Him.

Third, the work of God becomes clear to a yielded heart, which prepares us to listen and obey. Regularly concentrating on God’s Word will clear our mind and help us understand what the Lord is up to.

Have you been too busy or distracted to notice what God is doing? If you want to perceive His work, these things can give you a fresh perspective. Admit your lack of attention, and refocus your heart and mind on the Lord.

 

Just Babes in Christ

“Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men.” (1 Corinthians 14:20)

The Christian life is entered by the new birth so that everyone who is genuinely born again must begin as a spiritual babe. “Except ye be converted, and become as little children,” said the Lord Jesus, “ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3).

Furthermore, they should continue to be as innocent children insofar as “malice” (Greek kakia, literally meaning “wickedness” or “evil”) is concerned. This is an attribute that should diminish, not grow, in a believer.

The sad truth, however, is that many born-again Christians remain spiritual babes in attributes that should characterize strong men and women of God. Paul equated the term “babes in Christ” with carnality, characterized by “envying, and strife, and divisions” (1 Corinthians 3:1, 3). Paul also speaks of those Christians as “children” who are “tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine” (Ephesians 4:14). He urges each one to be “speaking the truth in love,” so that we “may grow up into him [Christ] in all things” (Ephesians 4:15).

Spiritual growth, of course, can come only through spiritual food and spiritual exercise. “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby” (1 Peter 2:2). “But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Hebrews 5:14).

Christians should become mature, both in understanding and in behavior. The last reference to growth in the Bible applies to each Christian: “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). HMM

Consistency of His Attributes

God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?

—Numbers 23:19

 

In studying any attribute, the essential oneness of all the attributes soon becomes apparent. We see… that if God is self-existent He must be also self-sufficient; and if He has power He, being infinite, must have all power. If He possesses knowledge, His infinitude assures us that He possesses all knowledge. Similarly, His immutability presupposes His faithfulness. If He is unchanging, it follows that He could not be unfaithful, since that would require Him to change. Any failure within the divine character would argue imperfection and, since God is perfect, it could not occur. Thus the attributes explain each other and prove that they are but glimpses the mind enjoys of the absolutely perfect Godhead.

All of God’s acts are consistent with all of His attributes. No attribute contradicts any other, but all harmonize and blend into each other in the infinite abyss of the Godhead. All that God does agrees with all that God is, and being and doing are one in Him….

God, being who He is, cannot cease to be what He is, and being what He is, He cannot act out of character with Himself. He is at once faithful and immutable, so all His words and acts must be and must remain faithful. KOH122-123

What confidence that inspires, Lord! Thank You for

Your faithfulness, love and unchanging nature. Amen.

 

The Strongest Force in History

Luke 24:4, 12

Sorrow and love sleep lightly. As a result, it was early in the morning when the women found their way to Jesus’ tomb. In their hands they carried, as a representation of the love in their hearts, spices to anoint the body of Jesus. When they came to the tomb they found the stone rolled away. Luke tells us that “While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them” (24:4).

Guilt and shame also sleep lightly. Peter had spent sleepless nights as he thought about his failure in denying and deserting Christ. When the word reached him that the stone had been rolled away and the tomb was empty, he rushed to see if it was true. Luke tells us, “He saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened” (24:12).

Jesus challenged the two foes that people in all their strength cannot handle-sin and death—and conquered them both. The empty tomb stands as the strongest force in history. There is a power in the resurrection that gives deep meaning and purpose to life.

Wondering minds, then and now, begin to see from the signal event in history that truth is stronger than a lie. The claim of the resurrection is so great that, if true, nothing else matters, and if not true, it is the biggest deception ever.

Most of the disciples died violent, agonizing deaths. While men may die for what they think to be true, they will not die for what they know to be a lie. Truth is stronger than a lie.

The whole existence of the church rested on the strength of the resurrection. After the crucifixion, the disciples found themselves despondent and despairing. But after seven weeks and Pentecost, a very different Peter preached to a mob.

A new sense of power was experienced. Apart from the resurrection, there would be no church. If the enemies of Jesus had succeeded, that which is false would have been shown to be stronger than truth.

Wondering minds, then and now, begin to see from the strongest force in history that life is stronger than death.

The resurrection is the strongest force in history, for it shows us that truth is stronger than a lie, love is stronger than hate and life is stronger than death.

John Busby, The War Cry

 

The Evidence of Power

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

—2 Corinthians 4:7

 

A sharp contrast is observable between Spirit-filled Christians of St. Paul’s time and many who claim to be filled with the Spirit today. Paul’s converts received the Spirit by faith to be sure, but they actually received Him: thousands now go through the motion of taking Him by faith, and believe they do so take Him, but show by their continued feebleness that they do not know Him in real power….

And unless they see it differently later and decide to go through the hard way, they are fated to spend the rest of their lives in secret disappointment.

Let it be remembered that no one ever received the Holy Spirit’s power without knowing it. He always announces Himself to the inner consciousness. God will pour out His Spirit upon us in answer to simple faith, but real faith will be accompanied by deep poverty of spirit and mighty heart yearnings. PTP056-057

The essential condition of the baptism of the Holy Spirit is to yield everything to God, even the things that in themselves may be harmless. Why? For no other reason than to prove our will is wholly laid down and that God is all in all. CTBC, Vol. 2/244

 

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