VIDEO Recognizing Jesus

Then [Jesus] said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.”  John 20:27

More than one person was raised to new life in the Bible, but not permanent new life. Their earthly bodies were reanimated (they were resuscitated) and they were probably immediately recognized by people who had known them before their death. This was not the case with Jesus and His resurrection body.

After His resurrection, the two disciples Jesus joined on the Emmaus road didn’t recognize Him. His resurrection body must have looked human to the two travelers, but somehow different. Also after His resurrection, Jesus appeared in a locked room where the disciples were gathered. In other words, He “materialized” in the room rather than opening the locked door. But there was one thing about His resurrection body that was the same: the wounds in His hands, feet, and side. Those wounds will eternally mark Him as the Lamb who was slain for us.

Worship Jesus Christ today as the Lamb slain for your eternal redemption, and prepare to recognize Him by His wounds.

The Divine glory shone more out of his wounds than out of all his life before.   Robert Murray M’Cheyne


Ravi Zacharias: He Is Risen Indeed

Sweeter Than Honey

Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. Proverbs 16:24

 

His topic was racial tension. Yet the speaker remained calm and collected. Standing on stage before a large audience, he spoke boldly—but with grace, humility, kindness, and even humor. Soon the tense audience visibly relaxed, laughing along with the speaker about the dilemma they all faced: how to resolve their hot issue, but cool down their feelings and words. Yes, how to tackle a sour topic with sweet grace.

King Solomon advised this same approach for all of us: “Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones” (Proverbs 16:24). In this way, “The hearts of the wise make . . . their lips promote instruction” (v. 23).

Why would a powerful king like Solomon devote time to addressing how we speak? Because words can destroy. During Solomon’s time, kings relied on messengers for information about their nations, and calm and reliable messengers were highly valued. They used prudent words and reasoned tongues, not overreacting or speaking harshly, no matter the issue.

We all can benefit by gracing our opinions and thoughts with godly and prudent sweetness. In Solomon’s words, “To humans belong the plans of the heart, but from the Lord comes the proper answer of the tongue” (v. 1).

By:  Patricia Raybon

Reflect & Pray

What is your way of speaking when talking about a hot and divisive topic? When you allow God’s Spirit to sweeten your tongue, what changes in your words?

Our holy God, when we speak on hard topics, soften our hearts and words with Your sweet Spirit

Don’t Neglect Your Spiritual Gift

1 Timothy 4:12-16

Every Christian is given a spiritual gift with which to serve and build up the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:7). Sadly, though, many believers neglect theirs. Timothy actually had some good reasons to forsake his calling, but Paul urged him not to “neglect [his] spiritual gift” (1 Timothy 4:14). We can learn from Timothy’s situation by asking ourselves if the following situations might be hindering us from fully serving God.

Age: Whatever our age, the Lord wants us to use our spiritual gifts. Because of his youth, Timothy could’ve been intimidated by those with more experience. Others think they’re too old to serve God, but we’re never called into spiritual retirement.

Inadequacy: Have you ever avoided a service opportunity simply because you felt totally unqualified? That’s probably how Timothy felt about leading the church at Ephesus. Our spiritual gifts rarely come to us fully developed. God often requires that we step out in faith and trust Him to work in and through us. Over time, as we obey and learn how to use our gifts, they become more effective for God’s kingdom.

Is anything keeping you from using your spiritual gifts? Though given to us, these abilities aren’t for us; they’re for the church. To neglect them not only deprives fellow believers; we ourselves are also robbed. We’ll find both joy and blessing by serving others and doing the work God has designated for us.

Pillar and Ground of the Truth

“These things write I unto thee, hoping to come into thee shortly: But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.” (1 Timothy 3:14-15)

The church has been ordained by God to be the primary instrument through which His work on Earth is to be accomplished. Here Paul uses three phrases to describe three aspects of the church:

The house of God: The Christian family with husband, wife, and children performing their God-given roles, provides a beautiful picture of the relationship of the church (the “bride” of Christ) to the Lord. The household of God consists of a family of believers where love controls and where He is honored. “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:5).

The church of the living God: The ekklesia, or “called-out ones,” serve the living God. “The blood of Christ [shall]… purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God” (Hebrews 9:14).

The pillar and ground of the truth: A facade pillar of a building is not used for support but rather for display by elevating or calling attention to something else. The ground provides the support. The church should function to support and display the whole truth in such a way that all people can see and believe it.

It should be a family of believers exhibiting brotherly love, individually and corporately serving the living God out of a pure conscience, defending the truth, and displaying it to the lost. May each of us as church members enjoy and support such a church. JDM

Faithful Interpreter

Being born again… by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever…. This is the word [of the Lord] which by the gospel is preached unto you.

—1 Peter 1:23, 25

 

Often our missionaries have told us of difficult times they have had with interpreters. The expression of the missionary may go in one way and come out with a different sense to the hearer, and I think when we expound the Scriptures, we are often guilty of being imperfect interpreters. I shall do the best I can to catch the spirit of the man, Peter, and to determine what God is trying to say to us and reduce the interference to a minimum.

Now, I suppose more people would like me if I were to declare that I preach the Bible and nothing but the Bible. I attempt to do that, but honesty compels me to say that the best I can do is to preach the Bible as I understand it. I trust that through your prayers and the Spirit of Christ my understanding may be right. If you pray and if I yield and trust, perhaps what we get from First Peter will indeed be approximately what Peter would say if he were here in person. We will stay as close as we can to the Word of the Living God.   ICH017-018

Guide me constantly by Your Spirit so that I may be a faithful mouthpiece. Amen.

 

Irritating or Attractive?

Ye that love the Lord, hate evil: he preserveth the souls of his saints.

—Psalm 97:10

 

Sometimes we Christians are opposed and persecuted for reasons other than our godliness. We like to think it is our spirituality that irritates people, when in reality, it may be our personality.

True, the spirit of this world is opposed to the Spirit of God; he that is born after the flesh will persecute him that is born of the Spirit. But making all allowances, it is still true that some Christians get into trouble through their faults instead of through their likeness to the character of Christ. We may as well admit this and do something about it. No good can come from trying to hide our unpleasant and annoying dispositional traits behind a verse of Scripture.

It is one of the strange facts of life that gross sins are often less offensive and always more attractive than spiritual ones. The world can tolerate a drunkard or a glutton or a smiling braggart but will turn in savage fury against the man of outwardly righteous life who is guilty of those refined sins, which he does not recognize as sins, but which may be more exceeding sinful than the sins of the flesh. WTA036

In the sanctified heart, the hatred of sin is supreme. DTC094

 

The Doctrine Adorned

Titus 2:10

A good plan for helping the kingdom forward is found in this sentence which Paul wrote: “But showing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things” (Titus 2:10 KJV). There is nothing which commends an apple tree so much as the sight of ripened fruit hanging from the branches. So nothing sets people longing for holiness like the living exhibition of it.

To “adorn” is to set off to advantage, to add to the attractiveness, to beautify, to decorate as with ornaments. Now that is exactly what the apostle meant, and the application is that you and I must set off to advantage, add to the attractiveness of the gospel which we believe.

Jesus Christ meant that when He said, “Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). This also was the idea in Paul’s mind in that verse to the Philippians, “Shine as lights in the world” (Philippians 2:15 KJV).

There are people who know very little of what you call “the body of doctrine,” who yet in all simplicity hold the truth of God and live up to it. Tens of thousands have “crossed the river” who could never give you a definition of any doctrine; but they accepted the simple truths in their hearts, were ornaments to their profession, and are now in Glory.

Our trumpet has no uncertain sound. We not only talk about the pardoning mercy of God but about the all-cleansing Blood of Jesus Christ. We not only point out how the rebel can be transformed into a child, but we show how a man’s heart can be made pure and his natured renewed by the indwelling Spirit. Delivered from the love of sin and from its pollution in his heart, he can be kept from sin and sinning and be enabled to rejoice evermore, to pray without ceasing, and in everything to give thanks. Think what a commendation of the doctrine it would be if you all adorned the truth and showed in your daily lives the power to live in holiness.

Talking about holiness has small effect unless it is to be seen in your disposition, in your ordinary life, in your loving consideration for other people, or in your patient endurance of injury. If you want to adorn this doctrine, there must be the beauties of a happy, consistent character and life, otherwise it goes for nothing.

T. Henry Howard, Standards of Life and Service