VIDEO Words of Life

Go, stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this life. Acts 5:20

The Oxford English Dictionary is the primary source for the words of the English language. The first full edition was published in ten volumes in 1928. The second edition was published in twenty large volumes in 1989 and contains entries for 171,476 English words (and 47,156 words that are now obsolete). Currently, there are 355,000 entries in the Revised Second Edition. Among modern languages, English is considered to have more words in use than any other.

We live in a world of words. Yet, how many of the words in the OED are words of life and hope? It all depends on who speaks them and for what purpose. What the world needs is for familiar words to be cast in an eternal, life-giving context. That’s what the early apostles did in Jerusalem. When an angel of the Lord released the apostles from jail, he told them to go and “speak to the people all the words of this life.”

We have those very words recorded in the Bible. Make sure you get a daily portion of life and hope from the Scriptures.

I hear the words of love, I gaze upon the blood, I see the mighty sacrifice, and I have peace with God.  Horatius Bonar


Five Essentials of Evangelism, Part 1 (Acts 5:11-42)

Living in the Branches

Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.

Ephesians 3:17 nlt

As I shared with my counselor my roller-coaster of emotions after a stress-filled week, she listened thoughtfully. Then she invited me to look out the window at the trees, lush with autumnal oranges and golds, the branches swaying in the wind.

Pointing out that the trunks weren’t moving at all in the wind, my counselor explained, “We’re a bit like that. When life is blowing at us from every direction, of course our emotions will go up and down and all around. But sometimes we live as if we only have branches. Our goal is to help you find your own trunk. That way, even when life is pulling from all sides, you won’t be living in your branches. You’ll still be secure and stable.”

It’s an image that’s stuck with me, and it’s similar to the image Paul offered new believers in Ephesians. Reminding them of God’s incredible gift—a new life of tremendous purpose and value (Ephesians 2:6–10), Paul shared his longing that they’d become deeply “rooted and established” in Christ’s love (3:17), no longer “blown here and there by every wind of teaching” (4:14).

On our own, it’s easy to feel insecure and fragile, pummeled by our fears and insecurities. But as we grow in our true identity in Christ (vv. 22–24), we can experience deep peace with God and each other (v. 3), nourished and sustained by Christ’s power and beauty (vv. 15–16).

By:  Monica La Rose

Reflect & Pray

When do you feel most “blown here and there” by life’s challenges? How might remembering your identity in Jesus encourage and strengthen you?

Jesus, thank You for the overwhelmingly good news that the strength needed to withstand life’s challenges isn’t our own. Help us to grow ever-deeper roots in Your love and our place in Your family.

 

The Right Relationships

Proverbs 27:17
 

Becoming a godly person is a worthy goal for every believer. We know prayer and Bible study are essential in achieving this objective, but did you know that having right relationships is also a critical element in our journey toward godliness?

Since this world is filled with people who don’t share our values, we need relationships that inspire and challenge us to become the people God wants us to be. We’d like to think that all our Christian acquaintances help us achieve this goal, but sadly, many believers interact with each other only on a trivial level.

We need friends who give wise counsel based on God’s Word. Even when their advice isn’t comfortable, it’s always beneficial. They’re not afraid to speak the truth, even if it is painful to hear. When we’ve gotten off track, they lovingly confront us and point us in the right direction. And if we encounter times of suffering, they are by our side, encouraging us as we walk through fiery trials.

What kinds of relationships do you have? Can you name someone who helped you become more like Jesus? If you don’t have anyone like this in your life, ask the Lord to provide someone. We were not created to walk alone.

Inherited Wind

“He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind: and the fool shall be servant to the wise of heart.” (Proverbs 11:29)

This verse was selected to provide the title for one of the most widely distributed movies ever produced in Hollywood. Inherit the Wind was a black-and-white movie produced in 1960 starring Spencer Tracy as the famous atheist lawyer Clarence Darrow. The theme of the picture was the Scopes evolution trial held in Tennessee in 1925. The picture glorified Darrow and evolutionism, portraying creationists and Bible-believing Christians as fanatical buffoons.

Although the movie grossly distorted history, it has continued all these years to be shown over and over. The Scopes trial itself—in the absence of any real scientific evidence for evolution— is repeatedly rehashed in print by evolutionists in their zeal to destroy creationism. This is typical of the “profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called” (1 Timothy 6:20) to which evolutionists resort in lieu of evidence.

As far as the Scripture verse itself is concerned, it should serve rather as a sober warning to those evolutionary humanists who are still troubling our nation’s homes and schools and churches with this false and deadly doctrine of evolution. They are the ones who will inherit the wind. “The ungodly…are like the chaff which the wind driveth away” (Psalm 1:4). They are the ones who, “professing themselves to be wise,” became fools (Romans 1:22), “who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator” (Romans 1:25).

It is the one who proclaims “no God” who is “the fool” (Psalm 53:1) of our text. Evolutionists, humanists, atheists, and other anti-biblicists will inherit nothing but wind, but “the wise shall inherit glory” (Proverbs 3:35). HMM

Really Listen to God

Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

—John 8:12

 

If while hearing a sermon we can fix on but one real jewel of truth we may consider ourselves well rewarded for the time we have spent.

One such gem was uncovered during a sermon which I heard some time ago. From the sermon I got one worthy sentence and no more, but it was so good that I regret that I cannot remember who the preacher was, that I might give him credit. Here is what he said, “Listen to no man who fails to listen to God.”…

No man has any right to offer advice who has not first heard God speak. No man has any right to counsel others who is not ready to hear and follow the counsel of the Lord. True moral wisdom must always be an echo of God’s voice. The only safe light for our path is the light which is reflected from Christ, the Light of the World….

God has His chosen men still, and they are without exception good listeners. They can hear when the Lord speaks. We may safely listen to such men. But to no others.   ROR017-019

Don’t ever let me preach my own empty, worthless stuff, Lord. Whenever I enter the pulpit I pray that I might have afresh word from heaven. Amen.

 

As Holy as I Want to Be

I dwell in the high and holy place…to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.

—Isaiah 57:15

 

Among revival-minded Christians I have heard the saying, “Revivals are born after midnight.”

This is one of those proverbs which, while not quite literally true, yet points to something very true.

If we understand the saying to mean that God does not hear our prayer for revival made in the daytime, it is of course not true. If we take it to mean that prayer offered when we are tired and worn-out has greater power than prayer made when we are rested and refreshed, again it is not true….

Yet there is considerable truth in the idea that revivals are born after midnight, for revivals…come only to those who want them badly enough. It may be said without qualification that every man is as holy and as full of the Spirit as he wants to be. BAM007-008

 

Spirit of God, descend upon my heart;

Wean it from earth, through all its pulses move;

Stoop to my weakness, mighty as Thou art,

And make me love Thee as I ought to love. HCL137

 

Apples of Gold

Proverbs 25:11

 

My “country aunt” was my favorite when I was a child. Not that her city counterparts weren’t wonderful people whom I loved, but Aunt Dina embodied a kind of natural beauty and order that I found especially attractive.

The time-honored practice of sitting down to the table at mealtime was a habit she refused to abandon, even in later years when that custom was challenged. She brings to mind a white linen tablecloth stretched and ironed to perfection, real cloth napkins carefully folded, and clean, sparkling dinnerware. Aunt Dina’s table always featured some centerpiece of grace and beauty.

Her favorite centerpiece was a silver basket-like bowl reserved for special occasions. From one of the several fruit trees on the farm she chose five of the most perfect golden apples, polished them with beeswax and placed them artfully in the bowl. Generally, the top apple retained a pinkish blush and two or three of its own dark green leaves. The effect was one of perfection and simple elegance.

“A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver” (Proverbs 25:11). Whether the writer of Proverbs had such a centerpiece in mind when he wrote his delightful simile, one cannot be sure. The image at once summons the idea of beauty and good taste. Coupled with its allusion to the apt word, the picture engenders some rather significant insights.

The word is the right word to speak when it is the true word. Silver and gold, to which the writer refers, are both precious metals, costly substances, that must be refined. The purer the gold or silver, the greater the price. The truth is often costly, but precious and enduring.

For the person who follows Christ, the true word is the natural word, springing from a heart that has been purified at great cost. “Surely you desire truth in the inner parts,” the psalmist wrote, knowing that the inner part determines the direction of the outward behavior (Psalm 51:6).

We will be responsible for our words as well as our deeds. People who cherish truth will heed the injunction: “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (Ephesians 4:29).

What a different world we would know if everyone did “speak truthfully to his neighbor” (Ephesians 4:25). It would be a world as beautiful as “apples of gold in settings of silver.”

Marlene Chase, Pictures from the Word