VIDEO The Hitchhiker – Love is a Verb

Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble.
Romans 12:16

A man in India named KA Ranjith strapped on his motorcycle helmet and roared off to St. Mary’s High School in Kandanad, where he works as a teacher. When he arrived and pulled his helmet off, he saw a venomous snake known as a common krait was coiled inside and had joined him for the seven-mile ride. Ranjith rushed to the local hospital where doctors determined he hadn’t been bitten, but nonetheless Ranjith decided to destroy his helmet in a fire and replace it.[1]

The old serpent, the devil, is always trying to get into our mind. He wants us to set our mind on high things—that is, to be filled with pride, desire, and vainglorious ambition. The Bible says, “But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:3).

God wants our mind to be humble, concerned about others, and willing to associate with the needy. As we allow Him to mold our life, we’re able to live a life of meekness.

Meekness and lowliness of heart should be the distinguishing feature of the disciple. Andrew Murray 


Love Is a Verb – Romans 12:9-21 – Skip Heitzig

Named by God

“Don’t call me Naomi,” she told them. “Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter.”

Ruth 1:20

Riptide. Batgirl. Jumpstart. These are a few names given to counselors at the summer camp our family attends every year. Created by their peers, the camp nicknames usually derive from an embarrassing incident, a funny habit, or a favorite hobby.

Nicknames aren’t limited to camp—we even find them used in the Bible. For example, Jesus dubs the apostles James and John the “sons of thunder” (Mark 3:17). It’s rare in Scripture for someone to give themselves a nickname, yet it happens when a woman named Naomi asks people to call her “Mara,” which means “bitterness” (Ruth 1:20), because both her husband and two sons had died. She felt that God had made her life bitter (v. 21).

The new name Naomi gave herself didn’t stick, however, because those devastating losses were not the end of her story. In the midst of her sorrow, God had blessed her with a loving daughter-in-law, Ruth, who eventually remarried and had a son, creating a family for Naomi again.

Although we might sometimes be tempted to give ourselves bitter nicknames, like “failure” or “unloved,” based on difficulties we’ve experienced or mistakes we’ve made, those names are not the end of our stories. We can replace those labels with the name God has given each of us, “loved one” (Romans 9:25), and look for the ways He’s providing for us in even the most challenging of times.

By:  Lisa M. Samra

Wait in Faith

Hebrews 11:6-16

When I was a young boy, my mother let me plant some seeds in her garden. Although she explained that the plants would take time to appear, when nothing happened after several days, I decided to dig them up to check for progress. I found no plants, but what’s worse, I also ruined the possibility of ever seeing any.

Hebrews 11 records examples of people who by faith waited for what God promised, even when it wasn’t visible.

• Noah continued building an ark despite the many intervening years until the predicted flood (Heb. 11:7).
• Abraham looked forward to the land God promised, though the fulfillment did not take place during his lifetime (Heb. 11:8-10).
• Sarai had to wait until she was well beyond childbearing age before God finally gave her the son He’d promised (Heb. 11:11-12).

If we expect God to work according to our timetable, we’re likely to face disappointment. The people mentioned in Hebrews had to wait many years; in fact, some of the promises made to them won’t be fulfilled until after Christ returns. The Lord doesn’t work like a gumball machine—we can’t cash in a promise and assume the fulfillment will pop out. Ours is a long-term walk by faith.

Understanding The Ownership

“The earth is the LORD’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.” (Psalm 24:1)

The doctrine of creation is not merely a “scientific” debate. The opposite concepts of natural and evolutionary development versus the fiat creation of an omnipotent, omniscient, and transcendent Being impact every facet of our worldview. God owns the earth; He is its Creator (Genesis 1:1; Psalm 24:1-2; Revelation 4:11; and hundreds of other passages throughout the Bible).

Christians who revere the biblical revelation of God are not to be in conflict with this most basic of all doctrines. God owns the living creatures that inhabit the earth (Psalm 50:10). He owns the metals that establish monetary value in the earth (Haggai 2:8). He claims ownership over our bodies (1 Corinthians 6:19). He even states ownership of our very souls (Ezekiel 18:4). Nothing is excluded from the sphere of His ownership and kingship (1 Chronicles 29:11-12; Isaiah 45:12; Colossians 1:16-17). And we are to manage God’s resources as stewards of the Owner.

Lucifer’s error was that he thought he could become like the Owner, usurping all the rights and privileges of the Creator (Isaiah 14:12-14). Israel’s error was similar; they behaved as if their possessions were their own property (Malachi 3:8-10). The prodigal son claimed for himself the right of ownership and treated the money as if it were his own (Luke 15:12-14). The unfaithful steward made no effort to be productive (Matthew 25:24).

We have been delegated authority over the creation itself (Genesis 1:28), are required to be faithful with the “mysteries of God” (1 Corinthians 4:1-2), and are expected to administer “the manifold grace of God” (1 Peter 4:10). May God preserve us from self-serving stewardship. HMM III

The Times of Extraordinary Crisis

Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest

—Matthew 9:37-38

Let a flood or a fire hit a populous countryside and no able-bodied citizen feels that he has any right to rest till he has done all he can to save as many as he can. While death stalks farmhouse and village no one dares relax; this is the accepted code by which we live. The critical emergency for some becomes an emergency for all, from the highest government official to the local Boy Scout troop. As long as the flood rages or the fire roars on, no one talks of “normal times.” No times are normal while helpless people cower in the path of destruction.

In times of extraordinary crisis ordinary measures will not suffice. The world lives in such a time of crisis. Christians alone are in a position to rescue the perishing. We dare not settle down to try to live as if things were “normal.” Nothing is normal while sin and lust and death roam the world, pouncing upon one and another till the whole population has been destroyed.   BAM030

Lord, help me to respond like Isaiah when he saw the extraordinary crisis around him, “Lord… here am I; send me” (Isaiah 6:8). Amen.

 

Know Your Gift

Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.

—1 Corinthians 12:27

 

The task of the church is too great for any one person to compass and too varied for the skill of any one person to accomplish.

God has met this difficulty by dividing the task and giving to every man gifts that enable him to do his part. By distributing the work, He lightens the burden for all and makes possible the smooth carrying out of His purposes among men. That is undoubtedly the reason behind the gifts of the Spirit given to the various members of the Christian community. Here, as elsewhere, the manifold wisdom of God is revealed….

Blessed is the man who knows his gift and who seeks to exercise it toward the other members of the body of Christ “as good stewards of the manifold grace of God” (1 Peter 4:10). NCA080

[T]he Holy Spirit desires to take us and control us and use us as instruments and organs through whom He can express Himself in the body of Christ….The Spirit of God, His presence and His gifts are not simply desirable in our Christian congregations; they are absolutely imperative. TRA030, 027

 

Our Place in the Son

John 14:13

It was the hottest day on record in Washington, D.C. Few people ventured out on the blistering sidewalks that sent up a nearly visible steamy mist. Factoring in the humidity, the index reached 111 degrees.

Perhaps the weather heightened the odd appearance of the old man dressed in a winter flight jacket with fleece collar. He carried his belongings on his back and shuffled along the street.

Unfortunately, homeless persons are no oddity on our nation’s streets. Although they have always been with us, we are becoming more keenly aware of their plight. Some two million people are homeless over the course of a year, estimates the National Alliance to End Homelessness.

If anyone understands the woundedness, the perplexity, the terror of the homeless, I suppose Jesus does. He left the splendor of heaven. He experienced the coldness, the hardness of life in a fallen world. He knew what it was to suffer loss, to bear rejection.

And how tenderly Jesus dealt with those who were beaten down by a power-conscious, materialistic society. He had nothing but censure for those who abused the poor, who contributed to the discomfort of others.

Close to the end of Jesus’ Galilean ministry, the disciples witnessed Jesus’ transfiguration on the mountain. In a moment of passion, one of them said,

“Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go” (Matthew 8:19).

But Jesus knew they had not yet understood His mission or given their complete loyalty. They were not fully aware that discipleship must take precedence over material comforts, social duties, even family relationships. He reminded them that He didn’t even have an earthly home: “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head” (Matthew 8:20). He was, essentially, homeless.

Or was He? Is homelessness only a matter of material dislocation or deprivation? “I came from the Father and entered the world” (John 16:28), Jesus declared. He knew exactly who He was and what He was doing. He is the welcoming hearth, the light in the window, the steaming bread prepared to give sustenance and energy to all who come to Him. He is the fixed compass point by which we can steer our lives. As we follow, we are led home to Him.

God is our home. We have only to accept His gracious gift of life, and of home, where we are open to the wind of His eternal Spirit nourishing, sheltering and loving.

Marlene Chase, Pictures from the Word