VIDEO Powerful and Personal

Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.  John 11:5

 

The Bible has over 31,000 verses—not a lot when you consider all the information God wants to impart. One of those verses—John 11:5—is devoted purely to emphasizing how much Jesus loved three grown siblings in a small Judean town. That’s all verse 5 says. Now Jesus loved Mary, Martha, and their brother Lazarus. That entire chapter of the Bible—John 11—is devoted to showing how our Lord visited them at their time of greatest need, how He wept with them, and how He solved their heartache. Three siblings, one of whom was dying. But how much Jesus loved them!

You can put your own name in John 11:5.

The Lord is all powerful, but, oh, how personal! Whether you live in a small town, a sprawling suburb, or a congested city, Jesus knows your address. He knows your living conditions, your hardest problems, your heaviest burdens, and your unfolding opportunities. He cares. He considers. He carries out His plan, and it’s always for your benefit.

The Lord Jesus thinks of you constantly, so you can shift your sorrows onto His shoulders. He knows how to bear burdens, and He knows how to bless believers.

God loves each of us as if there were only one of us. Attributed to Augustine


A Death for the Glory of God (John 11:1–16)

Foolishness Of The Cross

beach scanner
1 Corinthians 1:18-25

The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God (1 Corinthians 1:18).

On beaches around the globe, you can find people sporting shorts, flip-flops, and headphones as they comb the seashore with metal detectors. While many sun-lovers return from a day at the beach with a tan and a few seashells, these modern-day treasure hunters often bring back something more valuable—gold, mostly in the form of lost jewelry.

At first glance, these folks may look a bit silly, even foolish. But when you see them through the lens of soaring gold prices, they don’t seem so foolish after all.

People who follow a crucified Jesus as Lord may appear odd and foolish to outsiders. To many people in Jesus’ day, those who followed Christ seemed absurd. Back then, being put to death on a Roman cross was reserved only for the worst of criminals. And it meant Rome won again, while everyone else lost.

No one in his right mind would believe that anything good could come from the crucifixion of his leader. But that’s precisely what the early Christians boldly proclaimed. Paul wrote to the church in Corinth: “The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18).

The apostle looked at the cross of Jesus differently because he saw it through the lens of the resurrection (Romans 6:8-10). He, along with others, recognized that something new and wildly powerful happened when the Savior died and arose from the dead. It was the dawn of God’s new creation that Jesus will one day bring to completion. Until then, God calls us to live as new creation people—joining Him in the process of making His renewed creation flourish in our corner of the world. That’s not foolish at all!

In Danger of a Hardening Heart

Psalm 95:1-11
Most of us struggle with a hardened or apathetic heart from time to time, but there is an antidote: recognizing God at work and giving Him thanks.This recipe for a tender heart was ignored in Exodus when Israel came to Rephidim and complained about the lack of water. They had just experienced the miracle of the manna and its comforting reminder that God was with them. A few days later, however, they were asking, “Is the Lord among us, or not?” (Ex. 17:7). Had they remembered God’s provision with the manna and expressed gratitude, they could have trusted in Him once more and held out hope for a water supply.

Another time, when God told Moses to speak before Pharaoh and display miraculous signs, the Egyptian ruler chose to ignore the obvious. Even his own magicians could see what was happening. They finally came to their senses, acknowledged God’s work and said, “This is the finger of God” (Ex. 8:19).

God speaks to us, but we won’t know that if we have a hardened heart. Are we listening? Are we giving thanks? Take a moment to reflect on the state of your heart, and trust where the Holy Spirit directs you

He Prepared the Light and the Sun

“The day is thine, the night also is thine: thou hast prepared the light and the sun.” (Psalm 74:16)

One of the traditional “discrepancies” attributed by the skeptics to the Genesis account of creation is the fact that there was “light” (Hebrew or) on the first day of the creation week, whereas God did not create the “lights” (Hebrew ma-or) to rule the day and the night until the fourth day.

However, it is interesting that modern evolutionary cosmologists find no problem in having light before the sun. According to their speculative reconstruction of cosmic history, light energy was produced in the imaginary “Big Bang” 15 billion years ago, whereas the sun “evolved” only five billion years ago. Thus, even in their attempts to destroy the divine revelation of Genesis, they inadvertently find it necessary to return to its concepts. Light energy somehow had to be “prepared” before the sun and other stars could ever be set up to serve as future generators of light energy. The fact that light is an entity independent of the sun and other heavenly bodies is one of the remarkable scientific insights of the Bible. As the basic form of energy (even intrinsic in the very nature of matter, as expressed in the famous Einstein equation), it is significant that the first recorded word spoken by the Creator was “Let there be light” (Genesis 1:3).

In this chapter, the psalmist is entreating the Lord of light, the Creator of all things, to deliver His people from those who are seeking to destroy all genuine faith in the true God of heaven. “The tumult of those that rise up against thee increaseth continually” (Psalm 74:23). Nevertheless, “God is my King of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth” (v. 12). The mighty God of creation, who established and controls all the basic energies of the cosmos and their manifestation on the earth, is fully able to defeat His enemies and establish His people. We can be sure of that. HMM

With A Closed Mouth and Silent Heart

My heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire burned: then spake I with my tongue.

—Psalm 39:3

 

Prayer among evangelical Christians is always in danger of degenerating into a glorified gold rush. Almost every book on prayer deals with the “get” element mainly. How to get things we want from God occupies most of the space. Now, we gladly admit that we may ask for and receive specific gifts and benefits in answer to prayer, but we must never forget that the highest kind of prayer is never the making of requests. Prayer at its holiest moment is the entering into God to a place of such blessed union as makes miracles seem tame and remarkable answers to prayer appear something very far short of wonderful by comparison.

Holy men of soberer and quieter times than ours knew well the power of silence. David said, “I was dumb with silence, I held my peace, even from good; and my sorrow was stirred. My heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire burned: then spake I with my tongue” (Psalm 39:2-3). There is a tip here for God’s modern prophets. The heart seldom gets hot while the mouth is open. A closed mouth before God and a silent heart are indispensable for the reception of certain kinds of truth. No man is qualified to speak who has not first listened.   SOS014-015

Lord, teach me to close my mouth. Help me to sit in silence before You, with my mouth closed. A

 

It’s Time to Stand Up!

Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted?

—Matthew 5:13

 

Many Christians spend a lot of time and energy in making excuses, because they have never broken through into a real offensive for God by the unlimited power of the Holy Spirit!

The world has nothing that we want—for we are believers in a faith that is as well authenticated as any solid fact of life. The truths we believe and the links in the chain of evidence are clear and rational.

I contend that the church has a right to rejoice and that this is no time in the world’s history for Christian believers to settle for a defensive holding action! ICH030

We Christians must stop apologizing for our moral position and start making our voices heard, exposing sin as the enemy of the human race and setting forth righteousness and true holiness as the only worthy pursuits for moral beings.

I have no doubt that historians will conclude that we of the twentieth century had intelligence enough to create a great civilization but not the moral wisdom to preserve it. TTPI, Book 1/113

 

Send Out Thy Light

Psalm 43:3

 

Send out Thy light and Thy truth, Lord,

Into my heart let them shine;

Here while I’m waiting in faith, Lord,

Hark to this pleading of mine.

Search now my heart, do not spare it,

Pour in Thy Spirit’s pure light;

Tell me the truth I will bear it,

Hide not the worst from my sight.

 

Savior, my all I will bring;

How can I offer Thee less?

Widely the doors now I fling,

Come and Thy temple possess.

 

Send out Thy light, let it lead me,

Bring me to Thy holy hill;

When from all sin thou hast freed me,

I shall delight in Thy will.

Jesus, Thy wounding is tender,

Kind is the light that reveals,

Waiting until I surrender,

Pouring the balm then that heals.

 

Fullness of joy in Thy presence,

Bliss at Thy side evermore,

This is the life that I enter,

Now that my struggles are o’er. When with Thy Spirit’s rich treasure

My earthen vessel is stored,

Mine is the service of pleasure,

Thine all the glory, dear Lord.

Ruth Tracy, The Salvation Army Song Book