VIDEO Made for Himself

Lord, what is man, that You take knowledge of him? Or the son of man, that You are mindful of him?
Psalm 144:3

By the end of 2020, the population of the world will be more than 7.8 billion people—of which you are one individual. If that isn’t humbling enough, consider this: Recent estimates show that the total number of people who have ever lived on planet earth range from 90–110 billion. And again, each one of us is a single individual in that vast number. Numbers that large make us think of sand on the seashore or stars in the heavens.

Yet, in spite of the seeming insignificance of a single human life, Jesus taught that God sees every sparrow that falls and knows the number of hairs on your head (Luke 12:6-7). Such truths made the psalmist, David, look into the heavens and wonder how it could be possible for the mighty God who created the world and everything in it to know and care for him (Psalm 8:3-4). David also wrote that God knows us because He fashioned us, individually, in our mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13-14).

You may be only one, but you are a unique and precious one to God. He created you for Himself!

You made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless till they rest in You.  Augustine


Psalm 144 • A Psalm for the day of battle

The Whispering Gallery

In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help.  Psalm 18:6

 

In the towering dome of London’s St. Paul’s Cathedral, visitors can climb 259 steps to access The Whispering Gallery. There you can whisper and be heard by another person anywhere along the circular walkway, even across the enormous abyss nearly one hundred feet away. Engineers explain this anomaly as a result of the spherical shape of the dome and the low intensity sound waves of a whisper.

How we long to be confident that God hears our agonized whispers! The Psalms are filled with testimonies that He hears us—our cries, prayers, and whispers. David writes, “In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help” (Psalm 18:6). Over and over again, he and other psalmists plead, “Hear my prayer” (4:1), my voice (5:3), my groans (102:20). Sometimes the expression is more of a whispered, “Hear me” (77:1), where the “heart meditated and [the] spirit asked” (77:6).

In answer to these pleas, the psalmists—like David in Psalm 18:6—reveal that God is listening: “From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears.” Since the actual temple wasn’t yet built, might David have been referring to God listening in His heavenly dwelling?

From His very own “whispering gallery” in the dome of the heavens above the earth, God bends to our deepest murmurs, even our whispers . . . and listens.

By:  Elisa Morgan

Reflect & Pray

What do you long to whisper to God today? How can you know that He hears?

Dear God, give me courage to whisper to You today, trusting You to hear and respond.

Freedom’s Responsibility

1 Corinthians 9

Our rights are among the most difficult things for us to relinquish, and that’s because letting go of them often feels unjust. After all, they are by definition a claim that we are morally or legally entitled to have something or to act in a certain way. Yet in order to serve Christ more effectively, the apostle Paul chose not to insist on certain rights and privileges.

Godly freedom carries responsibility and therefore shouldn’t be a selfish means of making others treat us as we desire. As 1 Peter 2:16 says, our freedom is not to be a covering for evil, but we’re to “use it as bondslaves of God.” Jesus set us free from the power of sin so we could obey the Lord, and part of obedience is serving one another unselfishly. God also wants His followers to share the good news of salvation and forgiveness of sins through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

If we believe that God has liberated us only for ourselves, then we have missed the point and are abusing our freedom. Paul likened the Christian life to competition at Olympic-style games. In the world’s system, a person wins by demanding his or her rights. But in God’s race, we’re victorious when we discipline ourselves to obey Him and fulfill His purpose.

Pie in the Sky Bye and Bye

“And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.” (Revelation 19:9)

Unbelievers sometimes ridicule Bible-believing Christians as being “so heavenly minded that they are of no earthly use” and as waiting for “pie in the sky bye and bye.” This canard is, of course, unjustified because the Lord Jesus has told us: “Occupy till I come” (Luke 19:13), and we are also instructed: “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men” (Colossians 3:23). A Christian could—and should—do a better job in his particular occupation than he would ever have done as a non-Christian. All honorable occupations come within the scope of God’s primeval dominion mandate (Genesis 1:26-28). “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might” (Ecclesiastes 9:10).

Nevertheless, there is indeed a great feast day coming bye and bye, and indeed it will be a great blessing to be “called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb.” Presumably those who partake of this wonderful feast will be not only those who constitute His Bride, but also others who are called to be guests at His wedding supper. Since the Holy City is also called “the bride, the Lamb’s wife” and since it is inscribed with the names of both the “twelve tribes” of Israel and also of the “twelve apostles” (Revelation 21:9, 12, 14), it is clear that believers from both the pre-Christian and Christian ages will be there. They will all have responded to the Lord’s invitation and have had the right attitude of heart and life toward the will of the Bridegroom (Matthew 22:1-14; 25:1-13).

Whether some kind of heavenly pie will be served at the supper is doubtful, but it will surely be a time of great blessing. HMM

Attend A Purified Church

But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord; for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ.

—Philippians 3:7-8

 

Our most pressing obligation today is to do all in our power to obtain a revival that will result in a reformed, revitalized, purified church. It is of far greater importance that we have better Christians than that we have more of them. Each generation of Christians is the seed of the next, and degenerate seed is sure to produce a degenerate harvest not a little better than but a little worse than the seed from which it sprang. Thus the direction will be down until vigorous, effective means are taken to improve the seed….

To carry on these activities [evangelism, missions] scripturally the church should be walking in fullness of power, separated, purified and ready at any moment to give up everything, even life itself, for the greater glory of Christ. For a worldly, weak, decadent church to make converts is but to bring forth after her own kind and extend her weakness and decadence a bit further out….

So vitally important is spiritual quality that it is hardly too much to suggest that attempts to grow larger might well be suspended until we have become better.   SOS154-156

Help us not to water down the message and make our teaching so shallow that we don’t challenge our people to holy living. Amen.

 

Steady Inward Fire

I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy.

—Acts 2:18

 

God dwells in a state of perpetual enthusiasm. He is delighted with all that is good and lovingly concerned about all that is wrong.

He pursues His labors always in a fullness of holy zeal. No wonder the Spirit came at Pentecost as the sound of a rushing mighty wind and sat in tongues of fire on every forehead. In so doing He was acting as one of the Persons of the blessed Godhead.

Whatever else happened at Pentecost, one thing that cannot be missed by the most casual observer was the sudden upsurging of moral enthusiasm.

Those first disciples burned with a steady, inward fire. They were enthusiastic to the point of complete abandon. OGM005-006

With [the disciples’] baptism in the Spirit, their whole demeanor changed. The sadness left their hearts. The minor key left their worship. Their self-imposed righteousness was turned into life in the Spirit. JJJ310

 

God’s Amazing Grace

Romans 1:7

I am among those authors who, when they set about the task of writing, have difficulty with beginnings and endings. Paul had no such problem. In his epistles he followed the stylized form of Greek letter writing. But though his beginnings and endings were written according to the transient conventions of his time, they were always filled with the eternal content of his faith. For example, almost without exception they contain the hallowed words, grace and peace, which ring through his writing like the melodious peal of a carillon.

The actual greeting which follows Paul’s salutation in Romans is more than a mere greeting. It is a prayer of blessing containing a promise and a pledge:

“Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ”

(Romans 1:7). The grace of Christ was unveiled to Paul on the Damascus Road and remained the source of his achievements ever after.

When he speaks of the grace of the Lord, he means the unconstrained and undeserved favor and mercy of God toward needy, sinful man and the fact that Christ Himself is the sacrificial expression of that divine grace. (Ephesians 2:4-9). Grace is the master word and key to Paul’s theology. It appears 88 times in his writings and is actually one of the most significant words in the New Testament, for it indicates the nature of God and sums up all that He has done for us through Jesus Christ.

God’s grace is not conditioned by the worth of its object. It is shown in His tender regard for the person who lives in sin.

Though grace comes to us while we are yet sinners through the convicting Spirit, it can be resisted and spurned. The dictionary gives eight different uses of the word grace, and among them is one that stirred my memory—”a short prayer of thanksgiving before or after a meal.” As far back as I can recall, prayer at mealtime was an institution in my parents’ home. This defense, available to every Christian family, helps to hold it together and protect it from hostile external influences. As a family altar, it is the heart of the home where the family gathers about God’s Word and communes with the heavenly Father. There, children are taught the things of God and learn how to pray. A family at prayer is a sign of grace.

Clarence D. Wiseman, The Desert Road to Glory