VIDEO Perfect Timing

My lord, O king, this is the woman.  2 Kings 8:5

Have you ever heard that timing is everything? In 2 Kings 4, Elisha is introduced to a Shunammite woman who generously provides food and a room for his use when he passed by Shunem. Elisha noted the woman’s kindness and desired to do something for her. Upon learning that she had no child, he called for the woman and told her that within a year she would have a son.

The story then jumps to a time when the boy is in the fields with his father and he becomes ill. He dies in his mother’s arms. This woman of faith sought Elisha, who ultimately raised the boy back to life. Later in 2 Kings 8, Elisha told her to take her family away from Israel because of an impending seven-year famine. She followed Elisha’s counsel, but upon her return to Israel, the ownership of her house had gone to others, so she appealed to the king. Once again, God’s perfect timing is seen. On that day, the king had an appointment with Elisha’s servant, Gehazi. The king said, “Tell me … all the great things Elisha has done” (2 Kings 8:4). As Gehazi recalled  how Elisha raised the boy to life, the woman entered the room. Gehazi exclaimed, “this is the woman, and this is her son whom Elisha restored to life” (verse 5). It was perfect timing. The woman’s property was restored to her.

There are no coincidences when we are in the will of God—His timing is perfect.

There are no coincidences in our life, only God’s providence. Greg Laurie


2 Kings 8

Friends Again

Today's Devotional

How much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!  Romans 5:10

 

A mother and her young daughter are sitting in church one day. During the service, opportunity is given for people to publicly receive God’s forgiveness. Every time someone walks forward to do so, the little girl begins to clap. “I’m so sorry,” the mother later tells the church leader. “I explained to my daughter that repentance makes us friends with God again, and she just wanted to cheer for everyone.”

Simplified for a child’s mind, the mother’s words were a good explanation of the gospel. Once God’s enemies, we have been reconciled to Him through Christ’s death and resurrection (Romans 5:9–10). Now we’re indeed God’s friends. Since we were the ones to break the friendship (v. 8), repentance is our part in completing the restoration process. And the little girl’s response couldn’t have been more appropriate. Since all heaven claps when just one person repents (Luke 15:10), she was unknowingly echoing its applause.

Jesus described His reconciling work in similar terms. “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13). As a result of this sacrificial act of friendship toward us, we can now be friends with Him. “I no longer call you servants . . . . Instead, I have called you friends” (15:15).

Once God’s enemies, we are now God’s friends. It’s an overwhelming thought. And one worth clapping about.

By:  Sheridan Voysey

Reflect & Pray

How often do you describe your relationship with God as one of friendship? In practical terms, how is your friendship with Him going today?

God, thank You for loving me when I was still Your enemy. I repent of everything that disappoints You and celebrate being Your friend.

Favorites Versus Intimates

Romans 8:26-30
We learned yesterday that God doesn’t show favoritism. However, He does enjoy closeness with His own—throughout the Bible, God had an intimate relationship with His people. And today, all who have received Jesus Christ as Savior have become part of God’s family.

The heavenly Father desires to have an intimate relationship with each one of His children. We get to enjoy this closeness by engaging with Him in His Word and in prayer. Intimacy comes from a deepening fellowship that leads to our greater understanding of God, His Word, and His will for our life. As we spend time with Him and obey Him, He begins to conform us to His image. Then He works through us, and we reflect Him to those around us, like a light set on a lampstand (Matt. 5:14-16).

Don’t allow yourself to be satisfied just with being saved from wrath. The Lord desires that we know Him intimately, and He calls each of us to step out in faith and commitment. He wants us to be characterized like Abraham, who is tenderly described as a friend of God (2 Chron. 20:7).

Christ Is Our Substitute

“So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” (Hebrews 9:28)

There are two specific references in the New Testament to Christ “bearing” our sins as He died on the cross. In addition to our text above, the other is 1 Peter 2:24: “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree.”

However, the same word (Greek anaphero) is also used with a similar thrust in Hebrews 7:27, where it is translated “offer up”: “Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.”

When Christ died, He died as a substitutionary sacrifice, “offering up” our sins for judgment and punishment by a holy God, as He simultaneously “offered up” Himself as the One who would submit to that judgment and bear that punishment. He was able to do this because He was both the infinite Creator and the one sinless man, who needed not to offer a sacrifice for His own sins. He was willing to do this because He loved us and wanted to save us.

This doctrine of substitutionary sacrifice is central to the gospel of salvation, and therefore precious to the saint. But its central importance likewise means that it is profoundly offensive to the natural man. Many acclaim Him as a great martyr or a great teacher but deny either His deity or His humanity, and certainly deny the universal efficacy of His shed blood in substitutionary sacrifice for the sin of a lost world.

Nevertheless, He did bear the sins of “the many,” and He did completely settle our account with God. In both Hebrews 7:27 and 9:28 (as cited above), the word “once” means, literally, “once for all.” He did have to die once—but only once—as our sin-bearing substitute. Thus, when He comes again, it will be “without sin unto salvation.” HMM

When God Answers Prayer

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

—James 1:17

 

Why does God answer prayer? Let’s not imagine that it’s because somebody was good. We Protestants think we don’t believe in saints, but we do. We canonize them: we have Saint George Mueller, Saint C.H. Spurgeon, Saint D.L. Moody and Saint A.B. Simpson. We get the idea that God answered prayer for them because they were really good. They would deny that fervently if they were here.

Nobody ever got anything from God on the grounds that he deserved it. Having fallen, man deserves only punishment and death. So if God answers prayer it’s because God is good. From His goodness, His loving-kindness, His good-natured benevolence, God does it! That’s the source of everything.   AOG046-047

Thank You, God, that You are indeed good, You are faithful, You are gracious, You are full of loving-kindness and benevolence. Thank You that You do in fact answer prayer! Amen.

 

A Worshiping People

Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name:…come before him: worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.

—1 Chronicles 16:29

 

We are brought to God and to faith and to salvation that we might worship and adore Him. We do not come to God that we might be automatic Christians, cookie-cutter Christians, Christians stamped out with a die.

God has provided His salvation that we might be, individually and personally, vibrant children of God, loving God with all our hearts and worshiping Him in the beauty of holiness.

This does not mean, and I am not saying, that we must all worship alike. The Holy Spirit does not operate by anyone’s preconceived idea or formula. But this I know: when the Holy Spirit of God comes among us with His anointing, we become a worshiping people. WHT014

Worship means to “express in some appropriate manner” what you feel. Now, expressing in some appropriate manner doesn’t mean that we always express it in the same way all the time. And it doesn’t mean that you will always express your worship in the same manner. But it does mean that it will be expressed in some manner. QTB197

 

There’s A Price Tag

Luke 14:27

Remember the Mother Goose rhyme about Simple Simon? He’s the one who met the pie man and asked for a sample. The pie man said, “Show me first your penny.” Or as we might say, “There’s a price tag on it.”

Jesus said this about Christian discipleship. “No one can be My disciple who does not carry his own cross and follow Me. But don’t begin until you count the cost” (Luke 14:27, 28 TLB).

There’s a price tag on life. Whether at its beginning or end or at any point in between, life costs something. The world offers many desirable, fascinating things. Impulsively we say, “That’s for me! I’ll have a big helping of that!” Then comes the unavoidable demand, “First your penny!” Health, peace, liberty, reputation, all of these and much more demand prior and continuing payment. There’s a price tag on everything.

There’s a price tag on achievement. To master a musical instrument, or to sing well requires long hours of diligent study and patient practice. To get a good education, to excel in some sport, to be a leader in a profession or in the arts, every worthwhile thing demands payment in industry, self-discipline and perseverance. Some of us do no more than window shop. We see the price tag and don’t want to pay what it costs.

There’s a price tag on religion. Jesus dispelled any illusions of an easy, cheap, pie-in-the-sky sort of discipleship when He said, “If any man would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me” (Luke 9:23). A satisfying relationship with God will cost the surrender of every known wrong, every conflicting love, every doubtful practice. Time and effort must also be spent in cultivating the things of the Spirit. Salvation is of such surpassing value that whatever it costs us it is still a gift. It cost Heaven’s best, the self-giving of the Son of God.

Whether we choose the best or the worst, we pay for it. The best Christian you know chooses to be a servant of Jesus Christ and pays for it. Some people choose to be slaves to their appetites and they pay for it. We take what we want and pay for it.

May we so live as to be satisfied and benefitted with what we are paying for.

Bramwell Tripp, To the Point