VIDEO Thursday

Therefore, beloved, looking forward to [the end of this age], be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless. 2 Peter 3:14

Without knowing where you want to go, a GPS system has no idea what course to plot. Such a fact calls to mind the old saying, “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.” But once you know your destination, lots of other decisions can be made: travel time, weather, eating arrangements, road and traffic conditions, and more. Destination is everything when it comes to making purposeful decisions.

Destination is also critical when it comes to living a purposeful spiritual life. If heaven is our eternal destination, then we gain the ability to live now in light of that destination. For example, we know that there will be a judgment of the works of our life that will determine the rewards we receive in heaven (Romans 14:10; 1 Corinthians 3:10-15; 2 Corinthians 5:10). If we want to be rewarded then, we must live in light of that judgment now.

Is heaven your destination? Live in a way now that will bring the greatest fulfillment and joy then.

Perfect holiness is the aim of the saints on earth, and it is the reward of the saints in Heaven.  Joseph Caryl


Breaking Up Camp and Moving On – 2 Peter 3:10-18 – Skip Heitzig

Touch the Needy

He put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God.   Luke 13:13

 

It wasn’t surprising when Mother Teresa received the Nobel Peace Prize. True to form, she received the award “in the name of the hungry, of the naked, of the homeless, of the blind, of the lepers, of all those who feel unwanted, unloved, uncared for throughout society.” Those were the people she ministered to for most of her life.

Jesus modeled how to care for and love the marginalized, regardless of circumstances. Unlike the synagogue leaders who respected the Sabbath law more than the sick (Luke 13:14), when Jesus saw an ill woman at the temple, He was moved with compassion. He looked beyond the physical impairment and saw God’s beautiful creation in bondage. He called her to Him and said she was healed. Then He “put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God” (v. 13). By touching her, He upset the leader of the synagogue because it was the Sabbath. Jesus, the Lord of the Sabbath (Luke 6:5), compassionately chose to heal the woman—a person who had faced discomfort and humiliation for nearly two decades.

I wonder how often we see someone as undeserving of our compassion. Or maybe we’ve experienced rejection because we didn’t meet somebody else’s standard. May we not be like the religious elite who cared more about rules than fellow humans. Instead, let’s follow Jesus’ example and treat others with compassion, love, and dignity.

By:  Estera Pirosca Escobar

Reflect & Pray

How have you experienced God’s healing and touch? Who can you show compassion to this week?

Jesus, thank You for Your infinite love and incredible compassion for all humans, including those marred by disease and difficulties.

A Pattern for Servanthood

John 13:1-17

Jesus told His disciples, “Whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant” (Matt. 20:26). In Bible times, the lowest servant of the house washed dusty feet. So the disciples must have been surprised when Jesus performed this humble task for them. He explained His shocking behavior by saying, “If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet” (John 13:14).

Based on those words, many churches have turned foot washing into an ordinance; they believe that this act shows Christlikeness and demonstrates willingness to serve. Perhaps that’s true for some believers, but many perform the ceremony by rote. Jesus’ message to the disciples and to modern believers is not literally to wash dirty feet, but rather to serve one another with humility and love.

True servanthood is not a popular topic because many people regard it as beneath them. But God wants us to see ourselves as living sacrifices. To serve the Lord well, we must be willing do whatever He asks for whomever He asks. Our Christlikeness is evident when we love God and others so much that we willingly humble ourselves for their sake.

Jesus performed one of the lowliest tasks of His day to demonstrate His servanthood. What are you willing to do for Him?

It Was Given to Us Eternal Life

“And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.” (1 John 5:11)

Our text for today contains truths that provide great power and comfort for Christians. Let us reflect on some of them.

The word “record” needs amplification. In noun form, it means “the evidence given,” and in verb form it means “testify,” or “witness.” The apostle John used it nine times in verses 7 through 11. Study of our text and its context shows that the record mentioned is none other than the great truth that Christ Jesus was God’s only Son and that He died as a perfect and fully sufficient sacrifice to provide us life eternal.

In our text, we see that this work of bestowing eternal life is God’s work. It is “not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us” (Titus 3:5). This eternal life is our present possession, for He “hath given” it to us (i.e., in the past). This gift is to individuals—to “us”—not to a nation or even the church, but to those who have believed. Furthermore, this “eternal life” is eternal! It will last for eternity and cannot be taken away. It is inconceivable for an omnipotent God to give “eternal life” temporarily. We are alive in Him, having been born (again) into His family. This is a permanent situation.

The tense shifts to the present in the last phrase of the text. Our “life is in his Son.” We are “in him….This is the true God, and eternal life” (1 John 5:20). Our life finds its vitality in living union with the Son. His death and resurrection made life possible, and now His present life is ours. His Spirit, resident within us, provides this vitality, and since the Spirit of God is eternal, our life is eternal. “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God” (v. 13). JDM

100 Pianos In One Accord

That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.

—John 17:21

 

Someone may fear that we are magnifying private religion out of all proportion, that the “us” of the New Testament is being displaced by a selfish “I.” Has it ever occurred to you that 100 pianos all tuned to the same fork are automatically tuned to each other? They are of one accord by being tuned, not to each other, but to another standard to which each one must individually bow. So 100 worshipers meeting together, each one looking away to Christ, are in heart nearer to each other than they could possibly be were they to become “unity” conscious and turn their eyes away from God to strive for closer fellowship. Social religion is perfected when private religion is purified. The body becomes stronger as its members become healthier. The whole church of God gains when the members that compose it begin to seek a better and a higher life.   POG090

Lord, let this start with me. Give me a closer walk with You today. Then as a leader enable me to encourage others as well, individually, so that all to whom I minister might be in harmony as we individually are close to You. Amen.

 

In the Image of God

Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

—1 John 4:10

 

Every person who is born into the world begins to see God in some ways as soon as he or she is old enough to comprehend. If that person does not repent and experience the renewal of regeneration through the working of the Holy Spirit, he or she is lost and will be lost forever. I believe that with all my heart.

But I also believe that human beings, made in the image of God, continue to keep upon themselves something of that image of deity. It is that residual image that permits God to incarnate Himself in us without incongruity or inconsistency.

So it was that the eternal Son, Himself God, could become flesh in Jesus Christ without inconsistency. MMG125-126

“You matter to the living and loving God of all creation. Above everyone else in the whole universe, He cares for you and calls to you and has gracious plans for you!….” What a message for the sinner! CES094

That He should leave His place on high

And come for sinful man to die,

You count it strange?

So once did I Before I knew my Saviour. HCL507

 

Living By the Spirit

Galatians 5:25

This is the age of the Holy Spirit for the church. The energizing purpose of

the Holy Spirit is continued under the New Covenant. With the baptism of the Holy Spirit, God promises and provides power (Acts 1:8). He is not satisfied with Christians who are weaklings.

Gifts are bestowed “to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up” (Ephesians 4:12). The Holy Spirit comes for the practical purpose of preparing men to be useful to God.

But, in a marked sense, He comes for the ethical purpose of developing Christlikeness, of cleansing, of baptizing the heart with love, of maturing character.

Paul wrote to the Corinthian church: “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own” (1 Corinthians 6:19). The Holy Spirit comes to, and is now present with, all believers. As Paul expressed to the church in Rome, “If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ” (Romans 8:9). This is not surprising since the Holy Spirit, as the Administrator of the Godhead, has actively dealt with the person in bringing him to Christ.

There is a difference between the Holy Spirit being present with the believer and His filling him. God wants His temple filled! What does this say to the Church and to the individual Christian? It says that this sanctifying act of the Spirit is still today a blood-bought privilege, to them that ask, that Christ yearns to bestow the same experience of sanctification, that surely He even now continues His prayer before the Father for His children: “Sanctify them!”

Since we “live by the Spirit,” we are exhorted also to practice a life of ordered holiness by the Spirit’s very presence and power—”Let us also walk by the Spirit” (Galatians 5:25 RSV).

Believing in Christ for sanctification as well as for regeneration through the work of the Holy Spirit introduces one into a life of power and victory. Thus, to “walk by the Spirit” is to live one’s whole life in accordance with the mind of Christ. Walking by the Spirit calls for a fellowship on the cross with Christ, a crucifixion of self. “May I never boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world” (Galatians 6:14).

Milton S. Agnew, The Holy Spirit: Friend and Counselor