VIDEO Beautiful Renovation – Look, Jesus Is Coming!

But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. 2 Peter 3:10

For five seasons (2013-2018), Chip and Joanna Gaines entertained American viewers with their Fixer Upper TV show. When the series began, the couple ran a home renovation business in Waco, Texas. Throughout the 79 episodes of their show, they partnered with more than 100 home buyers who purchased a home in need of renovation. Joanna designed the renovations and Chip served as the contractor, transforming run-down properties into showcases of style.

Renovation and fixer-upper are good words to apply to houses, but when it comes to God’s plan for planet earth, we have to be careful with our words. The earth isn’t going to be “fixed up”—it’s going to be wholly renovated. Would “restoration” work as well? Possibly, when we think of God restoring our planet to its original pristine and sinless perfection. In short, the earth is going to get a total makeover.

Are you anticipating your new home? It’s going to be more beautiful than we can possibly consider (1 Corinthians 2:9).

Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful…. Beauty is God’s handwriting.  Charles Kingsley


Look, Jesus Is Coming! – 2 Peter 3:1-10 – Skip Heitzig

A Glimmer on the Sea

At that time you were separate from Christ. . . . without hope and without God in the world. Ephesians 2:12

“I lay on my bed full of stale liquor and despair,” wrote journalist Malcolm Muggeridge of a particularly dismal evening during his work as a World War II spy. “Alone in the universe, in eternity, with no glimmer of light.”

In such a condition, he did the only thing he thought sensible; he tried to drown himself. Driving to the nearby Madagascar coast, he began the long swim into the ocean until he grew exhausted. Looking back, he glimpsed the distant coastal lights. For no reason clear to him at the time, he started swimming back toward the lights. Despite his fatigue, he recalls “an overwhelming joy.”

Muggeridge didn’t know exactly how, but he knew God had reached him in that dark moment, infusing him with a hope that could only be supernatural. The apostle Paul wrote often about such hope. In Ephesians he noted that, before knowing Christ, each of us is “dead in [our] transgressions and sins . . . . without hope and without God in the world” (2:1, 12). But “God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead” (vv. 4–5).

This world tries to drag us into the depths, but there’s no reason to succumb to despair. As Muggeridge said about his swim in the sea, “It became clear to me that there was no darkness, only the possibility of losing sight of a light which shone eternally.”

By:  Tim Gustafson

Reflect & Pray

What has been your darkest moment? In what places have you glimpsed the “light that shines eternally”?

Father, You’re the source of all my genuine hope. Fill me with Your light and joy.

Responding to Our Culture

1 Peter 3:13-18

How do you react when you see people being hostile toward Christian beliefs? Do you let your anger simmer, get into an argument on Facebook, or just keep quiet? It’s difficult to know how to respond to those who show antagonism to our faith, but Peter gives us good advice in today’s passage.

Be willing to suffer or be misunderstood. Since the world finds holiness, obedience, and reverence for God confusing or even offensive, taking a stand for righteousness may bring you criticism instead of praise. Don’t fear the intimidation, but remember that when you are persecuted, you are blessed (Matt. 5:10).

Sanctify Christ as Lord in your heart. A follower of Jesus is no longer enslaved to the world but is now a slave of Christ and His righteousness (Rom. 6:18; 1 Corinthians 7:22).

Always be ready to give a defense for your hope. This is to be done gently and respectfully—never with anger or condemnation.

Keep a good conscience. You can’t foresee how God may use your example. Perhaps your righteous behavior and words will influence others to see their own sin and turn to Christ.

Even though our culture looks very dark, Christ can use your light to show someone the way to the Jesus.

Jesus Christ Is Our Creator

“For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him.” (Colossians 1:16)

Before one can really know Jesus Christ as Savior or Lord, he must acknowledge Him as offended and rejected Creator, because He was our Creator first of all. This is such an important doctrine of the New Testament that it is remarkable how rarely it is emphasized in modern evangelicalism.

Creation by Jesus Christ is the doctrine with which John begins his great gospel of salvation: “In the beginning was the Word,…All things were made by him;…and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not” (John 1:1, 3, 10). It is the foundational message of the book of Hebrews: “God .…hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds” (Hebrews 1:1-2).

The apostle Paul said that he had been called specifically to preach “the unsearchable riches of Christ; and to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 3:8-9). When a person becomes a believer in Christ, receiving His very life by the new birth, he is said to be “renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him” (Colossians 3:10).

In the final book of the Bible, Jesus Christ is called “the beginning of the creation of God” (Revelation 3:14). But of all the biblical passages identifying Jesus Christ as Creator, the most definitive of all is our text for today. Everything in heaven and Earth was created by Him and for Him! “For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen” (Romans 11:36). HMM

Being Different from the World

Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.

—2 Corinthians 6:17

 

The church’s mightiest influence is felt when she is different from the world in which she lives. Her power lies in her being different, rises with the degree in which she differs and sinks as the difference diminishes.

This is so fully and clearly taught in the Scriptures and so well illustrated in Church history that it is hard to see how we can miss it. But miss it we do, for we hear constantly that the Church must try to be as much like the world as possible, excepting, of course, where the world is too, too sinful….

Let us plant ourselves on the hill of Zion and invite the world to come over to us, but never under any circumstances will we go over to them. The cross is the symbol of Christianity, and the cross speaks of death and separation, never of compromise. No one ever compromised with a cross. The cross separated between the dead and the living. The timid and the fearful will cry “Extreme!” and they will be right. The cross is the essence of all that is extreme and final. The message of Christ is a call across a gulf from death to life, from sin to righteousness and from Satan to God.   SOS035-036

Lord, help me to be willing to be different. Forgive me for the sin of blending in. I pray that our neighbors would see something different in our church and our people and be drawn to the Savior. Amen.

 

The Test of Truth

Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock. —Matthew 7:24

 

Every activity now being carried on in the name of Christ must meet the last supreme test: Does it have biblical authority back of it? Is it according to the letter and the spirit of the Scripture? Is its spiritual content divinely given?

That it succeeds proves nothing. That it is popular proves less. Where are the proofs of its heavenly birth? Where are its scriptural credentials? What assurance does it give that it represents the operation of the Holy Spirit in the divine plan of the ages? These questions demand satisfactory answers.

No one should object to an honest examination of his work in the pure light of Scripture. No honest man will shrink from the light, nor will he defend beliefs and practices that cannot be justified by the test of truth. Rather he will eagerly seek to build according to the pattern shown him in the mount. PON088-089

While the moral quality of any act is imparted by the condition of the heart, there may be a world of religious activity…which would seem to have little or no moral content. Such religious conduct…stems from the current cult of commotion and possesses no sound inner life. ROR076

 

A Tribute of Love

John 20:21

In November 1910, we were ushered into the Founder’s study, as he had expressed his wish of having a last word with us before we were sent forth to the Army’s distant battlefield of India. Slowly feeling his way to where we were standing—his eyesight having become impaired—he sat down saying: “Come right near to me, my children.”

Then, sitting quite close to him, his hands holding ours, he began, “You are going to India, and we are sending you to a very hard part of it, too, and I feel that it will mean to you hardship and sacrifice. I want you to be brave like unto that noble, heroic woman, Colonel Yuddha Bai, who has fought so brave a fight in that very part of India, and who has now laid down the sword.”

And on went our grand old leader, speaking words of counsel and warning, comfort and encouragement, in accents of a father’s concern and compassion concerning his two officers about to depart. Then he knelt in prayer, his hands still clasping ours, when he poured out his soul in yearning, passionate appeal for India, for “these girls, who were now going out to hardship and loneliness.” One more long look at our grand old General standing before us as the prophet of God, yet so tender in the task entrusted to us, so buoyant in his faith for us, could we ever disappoint such trust? Out we went, our eyes blinded with tears, but in our hearts the fixed determination to go and carry out the sacred charge to our fullest ability.

It was far inland in India, in the land of Marashtra, a year or so later. We had left the great high road and were trudging miles and miles over the wild, barren countryside, leaving civilization and comfort far behind. How long the way seemed, how merciless the sun’s rays over our heads.

At last we reached our longed-for destination of our weary journey. The question arose in my mind, whether it had been really worthwhile, wise too, to undertake such a hazardous, fatiguing journey to reach this village. I learned to look at the matter in a different light the following morning.

Great excitement of interest and joy was manifest on all sides among the villages, and a demonstrative welcome given us. What was the meaning of all this? Ah, we understood when we learned the story. Many years ago an English lady, the first that ever was looked upon by these people, had come to be one of them, teaching them of Jesus, caring for them in their sicknesses. And this lady was Yuddha Bai, and her memory was still fragrant and revered in spite of the lapse of time between.

Catherine Bannister, The Practice of Sanctification