VIDEO Not in Vain

For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 4:14

A real estate developer spends a year courting the owner of a prime piece of land on which he hopes to develop a commercial shopping and retail space. Just when the owner seems ready to sell, he backs out; he changes his mind about selling the property to the developer. The developer thinks to himself, “A year’s work has been in vain. All my effort has led to nothing.” It wasn’t totally in vain, of course—the deal might still bear fruit in the future.

The apostle Paul wrote about something that might truly be in vain: our faith and our preaching of the Gospel. In vain, that is, if Christ was not raised from the dead. The Christian faith stands or falls on the resurrection. If we don’t serve a living Savior, then our hope in the resurrection of the dead and eternal life is vanity. Instead of a Savior, we have followed only a martyr. That’s how important the resurrection is.

Today, spend time with the living Savior who gave His life for you and who will come again to receive you unto Himself!

Christianity is in its very essence a resurrection religion.  John R. W. Stott

Ed Hindson – Can We Still Believe in the Rapture – 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

Why Not Me?

Why have you made me your target? Have I become a burden to you?  Job 7:20

The Book of Odds says that one in a million people are struck by lightning. It also says that one in 25,000 experiences a medical condition called “broken heart syndrome” in the face of overwhelming shock or loss. In page after page the odds of experiencing specific problems pile up without answering: What if we’re the one?

Job defied all odds. God said of him, “There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil” (Job 1:8). Yet Job was chosen to suffer a series of losses that defied all odds. Of all people on earth, Job had reason to beg for an answer. It’s all there for us to read in chapter after chapter of his desperate struggle to understand, “Why me?”

Job’s story gives us a way of responding to the mystery of unexplained pain and evil. By describing the suffering and confusion of one of God’s best examples of goodness and mercy (ch. 25), we gain an alternative to the inflexible rule of sowing and reaping (4:7–8). By providing a backstory of satanic mayhem (ch. 1) and an afterword (42:7–17) from the God who would one day allow His Son to bear our sins, the story of Job gives us reason to live by faith rather than sight.

By:  Mart DeHaan

Reflect & Pray

How do you feel about a God who sometimes allows suffering without explanation? How does the story of Job help you understand this?

God of creation, Giver of life, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, please help us to trust You more than our own eyes and hearts.

Life’s Passing Storms

Psalm 107:23-32

Everyone experiences storms in life—occasions that bring pain, suffering, or loss. It’s in turbulent times that all sorts of questions come to mind: Where is God? Why has this happened? Was it something I did? Did God cause it, and if so, why? When we find ourselves in tumultuous times, the safest place to go for answers is God’s Word.

The literal tempest described in today’s passage provides insight regarding the Lord’s role in the various upheavals we face. According to Psalm 107:25, God was responsible for this storm, as He was the one who raised the winds and waves that frightened the sailors.

Sometimes the Lord interrupts our life by sending turbulence so we will do what those sailors did—in their misery and helplessness, they cried for God’s help. He then brought them out of their distress by calming the storm and guiding them to a safe haven. In response, they thanked the Lord for His lovingkindness and wondrous deliverance and praised Him to other people.

There’s nothing like the sense of relief that comes when a storm is past. But let’s not forget to respond like those grateful sailors.

Look, Nine Forty-Day Periods

“To whom also he showed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.” (Acts 1:3)

It is interesting how often the Scriptures refer to a 40-day period. There are nine different 40-day periods noted in Scripture (the phrase itself occurs 17 times), and it may be noteworthy that 40 days is one-ninth of the original (and prophetic) lunar/solar year of 360 days (note Genesis 7:11; 8:3-4; Revelation 11:2-3). Thus, the total of the nine 40-day periods equals the ideal year.

These nine 40-day periods are as follows: (1) The intense rainfall at the start of the Flood (Genesis 7:12, 17); (2) The first giving of the law (Exodus 24:18; Deuteronomy 9:9, 11); (3) The second giving of the law (Exodus 34:28; Deuteronomy 9:18, 25); (4) The searching of Canaan by the fearful spies (Numbers 13:25; 14:34); (5) The defiance of Israel by Goliath (1 Samuel 17:16); (6) Elijah’s journey to Horeb (1 Kings 19:8); (7) Jonah’s reluctant preaching in Nineveh (Jonah 3:4); (8) Christ’s temptation in the wilderness (Matthew 4:2; Mark 1:13; Luke 4:2); (9) Christ’s post-resurrection ministry (Acts 1:3).

Each of these periods was a time of great stress and intense testing for one or more of God’s people, except the last. Instead, the final 40-day period, encompassing Christ’s ministry to His disciples after His resurrection, was a time of triumph and great blessing. He had come victoriously through the most intense time of stress and testing that anyone could ever experience, and now He could show Himself alive eternally to His disciples and promise them the same victory. Forty days of testing, then 40 days of triumph! Even a lifetime of testing is more than balanced by an eternity of blessing. HMM

Master Must Your Medium

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

—2 Timothy 2:15


Among the countless gifts of God, one of the most precious to us is our beautiful, expressive English tongue. That such a gift should be neglected by busy men and women in their wild race to make a living is at least understandable, if unfortunate; but that it should be neglected as well by the ministers of the sanctuary is not only impossible to understand but completely inexcusable.

For the very reason that God has committed His saving truth to the receptacle of human language, the man who preaches that truth should be more than ordinarily skillful in the use of language. It is necessary that every artist master his medium, every musician his instrument. For a man calling himself a concert pianist to appear before an audience with but a beginner’s acquaintance with the keyboard would be no more absurd than for a minister of the gospel to appear before his congregation without a thorough knowledge of the language in which he expects to preach.   SIZ041-042

Help me to be a faithful servant, Lord, skilled in the task to which You have called me. Amen.


Detached or Attached?

And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.

—Genesis 5:24


Enoch was a spiritual rebuke to his own generation. He fought off the wiles and the temptations of the devil. He purposed within himself: “I will walk with God by faith even if that means that I must be detached from my generation.”

Are you really detached from your generation because you resist the devil and walk in the fullness of the Holy Spirit? Am I? That is a very personal question, and we dare not try to answer it for each other.

Our generation in this world system claims that there is no personal devil, no enemy of our souls. Yet, all the while, Satan is busy. He is using a successful, age-old tactic with many people. He is assuring them in a variety of ways that there is no urgency in the matters of faith….”Put off a decision until you feel you are ready.” That is the devil’s urging to those who are lost. As a result, millions have waited. And in waiting, they have never come to God in repentance and faith. JAF026-027

As of old [Christ] hung on Calvary between two men that represented at once both heaven and hell, so still it is true that the cross of Jesus is the dividing line between lost and saved men. CTBC, Vol. 3/322


Never Be In Despair

Hebrews 12:1

Never despair,” says the natural world. A little drama was played out in my garden. Two birds made five attempts to rear a family. The first nest was forsaken when a cat attacked the sitting bird. When the next two nests were built, the hen was again set upon, was blinded in one eye, and had a wing damaged. In the fourth, again tragedy came, for two babies were found dead on the grass. For a few days the parent birds flew about in obvious distress, and then began building their fifth nest. Nature is like that! It does not admit defeat. Only man loses heart and despairs.

Who can tell how the history of Scotland might have been altered but for the perseverance of the little spider associated with the thirteenth-century story of Robert the Bruce, the greatest and best known of the Scottish kings. In a hut in a dark forest lay a young man in despair. He had tried his utmost to free Scotland from its English enemies, and had failed again and again. Almost ready to abandon the struggle, he caught sight of a spider above his head trying to swing by its slender thread from one beam to another. The tiny creature missed its goal six times, the exact number of Bruce’s lost battles. “If it can try again,” he said to himself, “then surely so can I.” He watched the spider swing once more—and win! Robert the Bruce rose to fight again, and became the hero of his people.

The hopefulness of nature is seen in all her ways. Disturb an ant colony and, as though trained in military discipline, each ant will accept its responsibility and carry an egg to safety, so that within a couple of minutes not one of the precious things is left in sight.

Part of man’s trouble is the wrong use of his imagination. He observes the dark clouds and forgets that they have a silver lining. Like Christian in Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, he sees the lions in the way and does not notice that they are chained.

No one would guess from the writings of the Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson that most of them were produced while he was fighting a desperate battle with ill health. When he started to write his delightful and beloved Child’s Garden of Verses, which has in it the words, “I’m sure we should all be as happy as kings,” one of his lungs as well as his eyes became badly affected. What kept him going? Courage, and faith in God.

God will show us the way if we seek His guidance. A situation is desperate only when all hope is abandoned.

James Morgan, Nature Speaks