VIDEO Things Will Get Better – The Branch

For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord. Isaiah 11:9

Our planet is wrought with fears of pandemics, wars, earthquakes, and global economic meltdowns. The worst is yet to come for planet earth, for there is a future seven-year period known as the Tribulation. But wait! At the end of the Tribulation, Jesus Christ will descend from heaven, deal with evil, and establish a thousand-year kingdom, which we call the Millennium.

Our Lord will reign from New Jerusalem, unify the world, transform nations, and give us a preview of eternity. He will also fulfill all the promises made in the Old Testament to the nation of Israel.

In The Book of Signs, I wrote: “The Millennium will be a time of great peace. It will also be a time of prosperity. The whole world will be economically healthy, and the land of Israel will flourish beyond anything imaginable.”

Don’t peer into the future with fear and foreboding. Gaze forward with anticipation. Things are going to get better—much better!

If God be our God, He will give us peace in trouble. When there is a storm without, He will make peace within. The world can create trouble in peace, but God can create peace in trouble. Thomas Watson


The BRANCH, Isaiah 11:1 – Pastor Chuck Smith – Topical Bible Study

Cultivating God’s World

The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. Genesis 2:15

“Dad, why do you have to go to work?” The question from my young daughter was motivated by her desire to play with me. I would have preferred to skip work and spend time with her, but there was a growing list of things at work that required my attention. The question, nevertheless, is a good one. Why do we work? Is it simply to provide for ourselves and for the people we love? What about labor that’s unpaid—why do we do that?

Genesis 2 tells us that God placed the first human in the garden to “work it and take care of it” (v. 15). My father-in-law is a farmer, and he often tells me he farms for the sheer love of land and livestock. That’s beautiful, but it leaves lingering questions for those who don’t love their work. Why did God put us in a particular place with a particular assignment?

Genesis 1 gives us the answer. We’re made in God’s image to carefully steward the world He made (v. 26). Pagan stories of the way the world began reveal “gods” making humans to be their slaves. Genesis declares that the one true God made humans to be His representatives—to steward what He’d made on His behalf. May we reflect His wise and loving order into the world. Work is a call to cultivate God’s world for His glory.

By:  Glenn Packiam

Reflect & Pray

What’s the work God has given you to do? How could you cultivate this “field” by bringing order into it and bringing good from it, by His grace?

Dear God, thank You for the honor of joining You in Your work in the world. Help me to reflect Your love, wisdom, and order in my life and in the place where I work.

Facing Doubts About Salvation

1 John 3:19-24

Nothing drains spiritual energy like fear. When believers are repeatedly worried about their salvation, anxiety can cloud their thoughts and distract them from God’s purpose for their life. Furthermore, it robs them of the peace and joy that the Lord promised His followers.

There are several reasons why some Christians struggle with doubts about whether they are saved:

Sin. Salvation brings forgiveness and a righteous standing before God. But when we focus on our sins and failures, we may doubt that God could forgive us.

Emotions. Sometimes we rely solely on our feelings, rather than the truth of God’s Word, to determine our salvation.

Immaturity. Due to ignorance of Scripture or the slow process of change, new believers may begin to question whether they are truly saved.

Legalism. Some Christians evaluate their eternal security by their performance. If they fall short of a standard they themselves set, uncertainty can take root.

1 John 3:19 says we can know that we are of the truth and assure our heart before God. The word assure means to pacify and calm our soul so we’re not consumed by fearful doubts that prevent us from enjoying our new life in Christ.

He Shall Judge the entire World

“Before the LORD: for he cometh, for he cometh to judge the earth: he shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth.” (Psalm 96:13)

Those men and women who reject or ignore the wonderful offer of salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ need somehow to realize the eternal consequences of their foolishness. Jesus Christ was not just a religious teacher in Israel 2,000 years ago but is the very God who created them, the Second Person of the triune Godhead (Father, Son, Holy Spirit). God the Father “created all things by Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 3:9) and therefore “hath committed all judgment unto the Son” (John 5:22).

And on what basis will He judge us? Our text tells us that “righteousness” and “truth” are the criteria. The problem is that “there is none righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10). “He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (1 John 2:4). However, the Lord Jesus was incarnate truth and righteousness, and God “hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). Christ has made eternal salvation available freely to us. There is no other way. “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him” (John 3:36).

But how do we know that all this is not just a peculiar doctrine of one particular religion?

Here is how: God “hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead” (Acts 17:31). By defeating death itself, Christ has vindicated His claim to be the Judge of all! HMM

Good, just Not Great

Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.

—1 Corinthians 4:2

 

Then there are the men who are good but not great, and we may thank God that there are so many of them, being grateful not that they failed to achieve greatness but that by the grace of God they managed to acquire plain goodness….

Every pastor knows this kind—the plain people who have nothing to recommend them but their deep devotion to their Lord and the fruit of the Spirit which they all unconsciously display. Without these the churches as we know them in city, town and country could not carry on. These are the first to come forward when there is work to be done and the last to go home when there is prayer to be made. They are not known beyond the borders of their own parish because there is nothing dramatic in faithfulness or newsworthy in goodness, but their presence is a benediction wherever they go. They have no greatness to draw to them the admiring eyes of carnal men but are content to be good men and full of the Holy Ghost, waiting in faith for the day that their true worth shall be known. When they die they leave behind them a fragrance of Christ that lingers long after the cheap celebrities of the day are forgotten.   GTM099

Thank You, Lord, for the host of good people in our church! May each one be richly blessed of You today. Direct me to some today who I could thank for their faithfulness. Amen.

 

Pleasures and Treasures

Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.

—Colossians 3:2

 

Let the Bible experts split it up however they will, let them divide and subdivide it, then tack on a couple of Greek verbs. But when they are through, I will still believe that the kingdom of God is the realm of the Holy Spirit into which men and women enter when they are born from above.

Yes, that invisible world that God has revealed is more real, more lasting, more eternal than this world we are in now. That is why God has given us the prophets and His revelation in His Word. He wants us to be able to look in on the coming world….

Of all the calamities that have been visited upon this world and its inhabitants, the willing surrender of the human spirit to materialistic values is the worst!

We who were made for higher worlds are accepting the ways of this world as the ultimate. That is a tragedy of staggering proportions. MMG101-102

Moses turned his back on the pleasures and treasures of Egypt. Would we, could we turn our backs on the cash, the comforts, the conveniences we have in order to be the people of God? MMG085

 

Our Father

Luke 10:22

All nations of this world, both civilized and barbarous, have a God of some kind, but their God is mostly a cold, hard, unloving force. The God of merely nominal Christians is no better than a stern magistrate, the author of a set of rules which they hate to keep. Our Lord states a general truth, attested both by the history and experience of mankind, when He says that no man can apprehend the nature of God by his intellect alone.

We are told as children that God made the worlds, and as adults we accept the statement because no other adequate cause for the daily marvels of the near earth and the distant universe can be found or suggested. But to accept God as Creator does not reveal Him to us as a Father. We can never know Him as Love, never understand His real nature and His feelings towards us, till we see Him taking our flesh upon Him, bearing our burdens, our sorrows, and our sins, living with us, dying for us, in the body called Christ Jesus. Only the Son can reveal Him.

Do you remember how, when you were little, your own father represented not only all power but all tenderness to you? If you were frightened, you sheltered in his arms; if you were hurt, you ran to him for sympathy; if you were lonely, he comforted you; and when your child’s heart felt a thrill of love and tenderness, it found a full return from him.

God loves us more than that. Multiply the tenderest father’s power of self-sacrificing love by infinity and that is how God loves. But how was He to make us know that unmeasured love and sympathy and every gracious quality which our hungry hearts demand?

Just as our fathers showed their love by stooping to our level, by becoming children with us, by incessant care and pains in all details of our need, so the Father of fathers has done for His children. He took our flesh, with its pain, hunger, temptation and weakness upon Him. He put himself into our possible circumstances—of poverty, homelessness, friendlessness; He came to the level of the outcast by law as well as by misfortune and ended His life with sorrow and suffering by the most horrible of deaths.

Love must always express itself by sacrifice. Whether it be the love of parent, lover or friend, sooner or later it meets and stands the test of sacrifice. The Lord high over all became a reproach of men, that we might understand His tender love for us.

Elizabeth Swift Brengle, Half Hours with My Guide