VIDEO Our Go-Between – No One Can Separate Us

Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.  Romans 8:34

Our English word intercede comes from two Latin words: inter (between) and cedere (go). So to intercede is to “go between” two parties. When a teacher breaks up a scuffle on the playground, she intercedes. When an NFL referee breaks up a fight on the field, he intercedes.

In the same way, Jesus is our “Interceder” or “Intercessor.” Who is He going between when He intercedes for us? Between “the accuser of [the] brethren” (Revelation 12:10), that is, Satan and the Father. We see a perfect example of Satan’s accusatory role in Job 1–2. Satan accused Job before God of being weak in faith and offered to prove the point by testing Job, which God allowed (Job 1:6-12). Just so, Satan will take every opportunity to accuse us of unworthiness before God. But Paul says that no one can bring a charge or condemnation against us because Christ died for us, removing our sins and unworthiness (Romans 8:33-34).

Thank God today that Jesus is our Intercessor, coming between Satan and the Father on our behalf.

There is no way of obtaining favor from God but through the intercession of Christ.    John Calvin


No One Can Separate Us (Romans 8:31-34)

Open Arms

In my distress I called to the Lord . . . . My cry came to his ears.  2 Samuel 22:7

Saydee and his family have an “open arms and open home” philosophy. People are always welcome in their home, “especially those who are in distress,” he says. That’s the kind of household he had growing up in Liberia with his nine siblings. Their parents always welcomed others into their family. He says, “We grew up as a community. We loved one another. Everybody was responsible for everybody. My dad taught us to love each other, care for each other, protect each other.”

When King David was in need, he found this type of loving care in God. Second Samuel 22 (and Psalm 18) records his song of praise to God for the ways He had been a refuge for him throughout his life. He recalled, “In my distress I called to the Lord; I called out to my God. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came to his ears” (2 Samuel 22:7). God had delivered him from his enemies, including King Saul, many times. He praised God for being his fortress and deliverer in whom he took refuge (vv. 2–3).

While our distresses may be small in comparison to David’s, God welcomes us to run to Him to find the shelter we long for. His arms are always open. Therefore we “sing the praises of [His] name” (v. 50).

By:  Anne Cetas

Reflect & Pray

When has God been your refuge? How can you help someone else run to Him?

God, I’m grateful You’ve always been and will always be my secure place to land.

Gift of Forgiveness

Matthew 18:21-35

How can you lift the debt from your debtors if you don’t comprehend your own indebtedness? How can you offer that freedom if you yourself have never received it? One of the biggest obstacles to forgiving others is our failure to understand the depth of God’s forgiveness for us. Not until you accept that God has paid the penalty on your account will you cease your efforts to collect from others.

When you take God at His word, this glorious freedom can start to sink in. Then you can then begin the process of offering your offenders full forgiveness. You must choose to leave all punishment or retaliation up to the Lord. It is essential that you surrender your so-called “rights,” whether it is your right to get even or to get justice. Remember, we can totally trust God to handle our injustices appropriately because He is the ultimate judge.

It may be helpful to write out a list of all the offenses against you that you can think of. Then bring them one by one before God and leave them at His feet. By doing this—and by asking for His help—you can release your offender to the One who says, “Vengeance is Mine” (Heb. 10:30).

Our Undeserved Suffering

“Why standest thou afar off, O LORD? why hidest thou thyself in times of trouble?” (Psalm 10:1)

This cry of the psalmist has been echoed times without number by those persecuted for their faith. “Yea, for thy sake are we killed all the day long; we are counted as sheep for the slaughter. Awake, why sleepest thou, O LORD? arise, cast us not off for ever. Wherefore hidest thou thy face, and forgettest our affliction and our oppression?” (Psalm 44:22-24). Consequently, one of the great mysteries of life is the suffering of the righteous. How can a God of love and power allow such undeserved suffering in His creation?

The fact is, however, that there is no such thing as undeserved suffering, “for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). The reason there is suffering in the world is that there is sin in the world. Even though one’s particular experience of suffering may or may not be directly related to his particular sin, all of us are sinners before God, and therefore deserving of nothing but suffering and judgment in the sight of a holy God.

It is not suffering that is undeserved but God’s grace and mercy! “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us” (Titus 3:5). There has only been one person in all history whose suffering was undeserved, and He suffered for us, “the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18).

Our sufferings are not undeserved, but neither are they uncontrolled, for God “worketh all things after the counsel of his own will” (Ephesians 1:11). There are many good reasons why God permits a faithful Christian to suffer, but even if one cannot discern the particular reason at the time, he can at least “rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy” (1 Peter 4:13). HMM

Eloquence of His

And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.

—1 Corinthians 2:1-2

 

There are few things in religious circles held in greater esteem than eloquence. Yet there are few things of less actual value or that bring with them greater temptation or more harm.

One qualification everyone expects a preacher to have is the ability to discourse fluently on almost any religious or moral subject. Yet such ability is at best a doubtful asset and unless brought to Christ for cleansing may easily turn out to be the greatest enemy the preacher faces here below. The man who finds that he is able to preach on a moment’s notice should accept his ability as an obstacle over which he must try to get victory before he is at his best for God and His kingdom.   WTA091

Lord, keep us mindful of our need for humble reliance on the Holy Spirit to accomplish the awesome task to which You have called us. Amen.

 

The Discipline of Right Thinking

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.

—1 Peter 5:8

 

 

The Holy Spirit knows us well and enforces the exhortation to gird up our minds, to pull up our spiritual standards, to eliminate carelessness in word and thought and deed, and in activities and interest!

Now, let us think of what Peter must have had in mind when he added the words, “be sober,” to the discipline of right thinking.

Sobriety is that human attitude of mind when calm reason is in control. The mind is balanced and cool and the feelings are subject to reason and this statement is proof enough for me that the Holy Spirit will never urge believers into any kind of spiritual experience that violates and dethrones reason.

All of us are aware of instances where men and women have taken part in unreasonable and unseemly acts and then excused them on the grounds that they were moved by the Spirit.

Frankly, I must doubt that! I doubt that the Holy Ghost ever moves to dethrone reason in any man’s mind. ICH146

Wherever the Holy Spirit…comes, He will always be found witnessing to Jesus and honoring the Son of God. HS488

 

Communion with Jesus

Psalm 46:10

 

Three kilometers from Jerusalem lay the village of Bethany and the home of Jesus’ friends, Mary and Martha and their brother, Lazarus—a convenient place for Jesus to pause, an oasis of true friendship. A few hours within this home’s peaceful confines would provide the quiet interval that His body and spirit needed before proceeding to the thronging city of Jerusalem.

In describing this stopover, Luke mentions only the two sisters, Mary and Martha, and the brief narrative revolves around the fact that a special meal was intended for their revered visitor. The two sisters have much in common. But they were quite different in temperament.

It was Martha who was in charge of the preparations for dinner. “Martha was very worried about her elaborate preparations” (v. 50 PH), or as the King James Version has it, Martha was “cumbered about [with] much serving” (Luke 10:40). Joseph Scriven’s famous hymn, asks: “Are we weak and heavy laden, Cumbered with a load of care?” What today’s meteorologist calls “cumulus clouds” are those rounded masses heaped upon on each other, and at once we see analogies:

“the work is all piled up”; “it is just one thing on top of another!” In such terms Martha’s feelings are described. She was pulled away from fellowship with Jesus by the distractions of the kitchen and by her anxiety to provide an impressive table.

Hospitality is good. Even culinary achievements in their own way can be good. But something is better. Nothing can compare with, or take the place of, communion with Jesus. To hear His voice is better than all other sounds that can fall on the ear of the soul. To listen to His instruction is better than all the knowledge that a secular world can impart. Outside of the presence of Jesus we are soon inevitably enveloped by the cumulus clouds of care. In His presence all is at peace.

In this frenetic age it is not easy to find the time for communion with Jesus. Tremendous forces are at work to keep His followers from spending quiet periods in His presence. We have only to think of the chaotic atmosphere that dominates many homes and many lives. In the morning the house is a panic zone, with members of the family scrambling in all directions as they rush from ablutions to breakfast to the bus. The pace only quickens by noon. In the evening fatigue takes over.

Let us, in the rush of life, not neglect our communion with the Master.

Arnold Brown, With Christ at the Table