VIDEO A Better Life

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Matthew 5:8

C. S. Lewis is quoted as saying, “Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.” The truth of the matter is that Someone is always watching. God in heaven sees our thoughts, our actions, our mistakes, and our guilt when we fail. One of the great assurances found in Scripture is that in spite of our failures and sin, God loves us and encourages us to be better. How often have we heard a young child say, “Daddy, I want to be like you!” What a blessing for an earthly father to hear those words from his child. That is what God wants to hear from us—not that we are perfect—but that our desire and goal is to be like Him.

Do you have someone in your life who makes you want to be a better person in one or more ways? We should all be so blessed. People who knew Jesus felt that way about Him. The phrase “Go and sin no more” (John 8:11) is emblematic of what happened to many people who encountered Jesus in their life. It was hard to be around the Son of God without being motivated to be better, especially to be a purer person.

If you are a Christian, you are around Jesus every moment through the Holy Spirit’s presence in your life. Let His presence, and His Word, be the primary shaping influence in your life.

If you would have the life holy before men, let the heart be pure before God.  Thomas Manton


Blessed are the Pure in Heart – Sermon by John Piper on Matthew 5:8

Only Trust

So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family. 1 Kings 17:15

Three hundred children were dressed and seated for breakfast, and a prayer of thanks was offered for the food. But there was no food! Situations like this were not unusual for orphanage director and missionary George Mueller (1805–1898). Here was yet another opportunity to see how God would provide. Within minutes of Mueller’s prayer, a baker who couldn’t sleep the night before showed up at the door. Sensing that the orphanage could use the bread, he had made three batches. Not long afterward, the town milkman appeared. His cart had broken down in front of the orphanage. Not wanting the milk to spoil, he offered it to Mueller.

It’s normal to experience bouts of worry, anxiety, and self-pity when we lack resources essential to our well-being—food, shelter, health, finances, friendships. First Kings 17:8–16 reminds us that God’s help can come through unexpected sources like a needy widow. “I don’t have any bread—only a handful of flour in a jar and a little olive oil in a jug” (v. 12). Earlier it was ravens that provided for Elijah (vv. 4–6). Concerns for our needs to be met can send us searching in many directions. A clear vision of God as the Provider who has promised to supply our needs can be liberating. Before we seek solutions, may we be careful to seek Him first. Doing so can save us time, energy, and frustration.

By:  Arthur Jackson

Reflect & Pray

What’s been your experience when you’ve focused on securing provision before seeking the Provider in prayer? What current needs will you bring before God?

Father, sharpen my vision of You as the Provider for all my needs. Forgive me for times I have futilely sought to find my way without seeking You first.

Living Above Our Circumstances

Philippians 1:12-30

Do you ever look at your circumstances and see no possible way the Lord could bring something good from them? What benefit could come from illness, unemployment, a broken family, or other difficulties? While we can’t always understand what God is doing, there is one thing we can do—trust Him to use our situation for His own glorious purposes.

Although Paul’s imprisonment may have seemed like the end of his ministry opportunities, God actually used it to further the gospel. Not only was the apostle able to reach Roman guards, but his incarceration also inspired others to preach boldly, whether from good motives or bad. And in facing the threat of a death sentence, Paul recognized that, whether in his execution or in the continuation of life, it was yet another chance to glorify the Lord.

Paul’s responses prove it is possible in every circumstance to live in a manner that exalts Jesus Christ. And the same Holy Spirit who helped the apostle will help any willing believer today. When we view life from God’s perspective, every hardship becomes an opportunity to trust His good purpose, fully depend on Him, and respond in a manner that glorifies and exalts Christ.

Love His Appearing

“Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:8)

It is fascinating to learn that the Lord has a special reward for all those who “love his appearing.” The word “appearing” (Greek epiphaneia) can refer to either the first or second advent of Christ, depending on the context. Paul urges us to be “looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13). For “the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ…hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light” (2 Timothy 1:10).

Our text for the day obviously refers to His Second Coming “at that day,” exhorting us not only to look for but to love His appearing! At that great day, “the Lord, the righteous judge” will award to those who have loved His appearing a special crown of righteousness. We have already received the imputed “gift of righteousness” (Romans 5:17) by His grace and have been “made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:21), so this crown of righteousness somehow must be (as a wreath encircling the head of a victor in a race) an enveloping glow of divine appreciation for a godly life lived in daily anticipation of the Lord’s return.

The apostle John beautifully expressed the way in which such a life, loving Christ’s coming, produces a growing righteousness now and perfected righteousness then. “And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming….We know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure” (1 John 2:28; 3:2-3). HMM

From Within or Above

If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth.

—1 Peter 4:11

 

The Church at this moment needs men, the right kind of men—bold men. The talk is that we need revival, that we need a baptism of the Spirit—and God knows we must have both; but God will not revive mice. He will not fill rabbits with the Holy Spirit.

We languish for men who feel themselves expendable in the warfare of the soul, who cannot be frightened by threats of death because they have already died to the allurements of this world. Such men will be free from the compulsions that control weaker men. They will not be forced to do things by the squeeze of circumstances; their only compulsion will come from within—or from above. OGM011

God does ask us and expect us to be holy men and women of God, because we are the children of God, who is holy….[T]he provision of God by His pure and gentle and loving Spirit is still the positive answer for those who hunger and thirst for a life and spirit well-pleasing to God. ICH068

 

Fireproof Faith

Daniel 3:1-23

Its construction must have been the topic of conversation for months. The colossus made by Nebuchadnezzar was 90 feet high and nine feet wide and could be seen for miles. It surely was the talk of the empire!

The dedication of the golden image was an elaborate affair. The stern demand was proclaimed throughout the kingdom so that everyone knew that when the symphonic sound was heard, it was the cue to prostrate themselves before the golden image and pay homage to the king.

To forestall any rebellion, the king constructed a large furnace within sight of the image and his decree warned: “Whoever does not fall down and worship will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace” (Daniel 3:6).

The orchestra struck the note, and as its symphonic sounds wafted across the plain, “all the peoples… fell down and worshipped the image of gold” (Daniel 3:7). All the peoples, except for the three devout friends of Daniel. The astrologers were quick to report the defiance of the faithful three.

The three Hebrews acknowledged they had no claim on divine intervention, but had absolute faith in God’s almighty power. The response of the faithful three served only to increase the rage of the king who ordered his furnace to be made seven times hotter.

The faith of these three men becomes enshrined in that Westminster Abbey of the Bible, Hebrews 11, with its roll call of heroes “who through faith… quenched the fury of the flame” (vv. 33, 34).

The external setting may be different, but the inner truth abides. There are still many who know the experience of a fiery furnace, of a brutal force that seeks to destroy faith, and a Presence that enables them to survive the testing by fire.

The setting is no more barbaric than our own time. The distance from Nebuchadnezzar’s furnace to the fiery furnaces of the Holocaust is not that great. And what about the “silent holocaust” of 1.5 million legalized abortions every year in our country?

This chapter may be as up to date as any in the Bible. Even as we read, devout Christians in certain countries are suffering in prison for their faith, some even facing death.

This great text reminds us that “the God we serve is able,” (Daniel 3:17) and in our fiery furnace experience He will be with us and make us adequate.

Henry Gariepy, Light in a Dark Place

 

The Conviction and Pain

Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.

—Isaiah 6:5

 

When Isaiah cried out, “I am undone!” it was a cry of pain. It was the revealing cry of conscious uncleanness. He was experiencing the undoneness of the creature set over against the holiness of the Creator.

What should happen in genuine conversion? What should a man or woman feel in the transaction of the new birth?

There ought to be that real and genuine cry of pain. That is why I do not like the kind of evangelism that tries to invite people into the fellowship of God by signing a card.

There should be a birth from above and within. There should be the terror of seeing ourselves in violent contrast to the holy, holy, holy God. Unless we come into this place of conviction and pain, I am not sure how deep and real our repentance will ever be.   WHT076

Use me today to declare to someone the awesomeness of God. Then let me go to my knees with him in heartfelt repentance. Amen.