VIDEO We Are Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

Psalm 139:7-14

 

Three thousand years ago King David declared that we were “fearfully and wonderfully made . . . and that my soul knoweth right well.” Today we would have to say that what he knew about it was very little. It is obvious even on the surface, as many have observed down through the centuries, that we are an extraordinarily wonderfully wrought creation, that the human body is, indeed, astonishing in many ways. The founders of modern science were Christians. They believed such things as: Examining the creation would bring us closer to the Creator, or that in science, said the founder of astronomy, we were merely thinking God’s thoughts after Him. But evolution teaches differently.


Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

 

 

Now, then Next

He holds success in store for the upright.  Proverbs 2:7

I recently attended a high school graduation during which the speaker provided a needed challenge for the young adults awaiting their diplomas. He mentioned that this was a time in their lives when everyone was asking them, “What’s next?” What career would they be pursuing next? Where would they be going to school or working next? Then he said that the more important question was what were they doing now?

In the context of their faith journey, what daily decisions would they be making that would guide them to live for Jesus and not for themselves?

His words reminded me of the book of Proverbs, which makes many pointed statements about how to live—now. For instance: practicing honesty, now (11:1); choosing the right friends, now (12:26); living with integrity, now (13:6); having good judgment, now (13:15); speaking wisely, now (14:3).

Living for God now, by the leading of the Holy Spirit, makes the decisions about what is next much easier. “The Lord gives wisdom; . . . He holds success in store for the upright, . . . he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones” (2:6–8). May God supply what we need for us to live by His guidelines now, and may He guide us into what’s next for His honor.

By:  Dave Branon

Reflect & Pray

What changes in direction do you need to make now to honor God? How can you seek God’s guidance and empowerment in doing so?

Thank You, heavenly Father, for Your guidance in my life today. Protect me and give me wisdom to live in a way that both pleases You and reveals who You are.

To learn more about the spiritual life, visit ChristianUniversity.org/SF212.

Made in the Image of God

Genesis 1:26-27

In the beginning God created Adam and Eve in His image. That likeness, however, was soon marred by sin, and the ripple effect continues in humanity to this day. The Lord was gracious, however, and didn’t wipe out the human race; instead, He set in motion a redemptive plan to rescue anyone willing to repent.

Someday all who have trusted in Jesus Christ for salvation will be fully restored to God’s image. In the meantime, the heavenly Father is molding believers into the likeness of His Son. It’s a process that will continue until we each receive our new eternal body and, like a flawless mirror, reflect a true image of our Lord. But while we remain on earth, we are called to reveal Jesus to those in our sphere of influence.

Like any parent, God the Father is pleased to see His children maturing to look more like Christ, and to that end He continually works in us. Becoming more and more like Him should be our goal as well, because nothing can compare to the joy we will have when we eventually stand before God in heaven, fully restored to resemble Him.

Is It Labor or Service?

“Six days thou shalt labour, and do all thy work.” (Deuteronomy 5:13)

The term “labor” to many seems to connote drudgery or routine, repetitive, demeaning toil. As used here in the fourth of God’s Ten Commandments, however, the Hebrew word abad means rather to “serve” and is so translated 214 times in the King James. Only one other time is it translated “labor,” and that is in the first rendering of the commandments (Exodus 20:9). Thus, the command could well be read: “Six days shalt thou serve….”

Furthermore, the word for “work” (Hebrew melakah) does not denote servile labor but “deputyship” or “stewardship.” The one whom we are to serve or act as deputy for, of course, is God Himself when we do our work. In the ultimate and very real sense, the Lord is our employer, and we serve Him, not man. Therefore, “whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men” (Colossians 3:23). Every honest occupation, if carried out for the Lord’s sake and to His glory, is “divine service,” and every Christian who holds this perspective on his or her work (be it preaching, or bookkeeping, or homemaking, or whatever) is in the Christian ministry—for “ministry” simply means “service.”

Note also that God has ordained not a four-day or five-day workweek: “Six days thou shalt labour, and do all thy work,” He says, thus commemorating the six days in which He worked in the beginning, “for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth” (Exodus 31:17).

One day, Lord willing, we shall hear Him say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant:…enter thou into the joy of thy Lord” (Matthew 25:21). Then, throughout the ages to come, “his servants shall serve him” (Revelation 22:3) with everlasting joy. HMM

His Blessing on Our Terms

Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

—Matthew 16:24

 

Here is what grieves me, and I believe this also grieves the Holy Spirit: My hearers rise to this call emotionally, but they will not confirm it by a corresponding change in their way of life. Their goodness is like the morning clouds—by 9 o’clock the sun has burnt off the fog. This is what happens to many people’s good intentions. They rise emotionally to an urgent message that we become a New Testament church, that we become a model church, that we have the order of the New Testament and the power of the Holy Spirit in order that we might worship, work and witness. Emotionally they rise to it, but they will not confirm their emotions by corresponding changes in their way of life.

They want to be blessed by God, but they want God to bless them on their terms. They look pensively to God for victory, but they will not bring their giving into line. They will not practice family prayer, rushing off without it. They will not take time for secret prayer and will not forgive those who have wronged them. They will not seek to be reconciled to those with whom they have quarreled. They will not pick up their crosses and say, “Jesus, I my cross have taken, All to leave, and follow Thee.”   RRR146-147

Lord, may my desire for You rise above emotions. I do want to be blessed of You, both personally and in my ministry. I commit myself this morning to a willingness to take my cross and follow Youand to take the necessary action to come on Your terms. Amen.

 

Sunday and Monday

I will extol thee, my God, O king; and I will bless thy name for ever and ever. Every day will I bless thee; and I will praise thy name for ever and ever.

—Psalm 145:1-2

 

My brother or sister, if we are believing children of God in whom the Holy Spirit nurtures continual joy, delight and wonder, we will not need a storm on the mountain to show us how glorious our Lord really is.

It is a delusion to think that because we suddenly feel expansive and poetic in the presence of the storm or stars or space that we are spiritual. I need only remind you that drunkards or tyrants or criminals can have those “sublime” feelings, too. Let us not imagine that they constitute worship.

I can offer no worship wholly pleasing to God if I know that I am harboring elements in my life that are displeasing to Him. I cannot truly and joyfully worship God on Sunday and not worship Him on Monday. I cannot worship God with a glad song on Sunday and then knowingly displease Him in my business dealings on Monday and Tuesday. WHT124-125

[I]f you will not worship God seven days a week, you do not worship Him on one day a week. TTPI, Book 1/051

 

Linked Lives

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

 

I have been watching the rainstorm outside my window that has been with us in terrific force for days. The 50 to 100 mph winds are very unusual for San Francisco, where I live. The tall eucalyptus trees are bowing down in slow motion, over and over, as they yield to the force of the wind.

When later I went outside I saw fallen, broken trees everywhere. I thought they had toppled over because the wind was too strong. But the newscaster said it was the incessant rains saturating the ground which caused the trees to uproot in the wind. The trees that fared better grew in close proximity to each other. You can tell I’m a tree-watcher.

God intends for us to grow together in close proximity with one another, so we can support each other when the storms beat upon us. Our spiritual roots intertwine, just as the tree roots do, and strengthen us when we would otherwise be weak. The Apostle Paul urges, “Bear one another’s burdens” (Galatians 6:2).

God intends for us to help hold each other up amid the testings of life. The preacher in Ecclesiastes powerfully reminds us of this sacred truth:

Two are better than one,

because they have a good return for their work:

If one falls down, his friend can help him up.

But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!

Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.

But how can one keep warm alone?

Though one be overpowered, two can defend themselves.

A cord of three strands is not quickly broken (Eccles. 4:9-12).

Even the tallest trees can fall if their roots are not intertwined in a network of support with others around them. We were not meant to be loners in the kingdom of God.

May we, with linked lives, together grow stronger in Christ, intertwined by love’s strong strands, and in love and support for one another hold each other up in the storms of life.

Keilah Toy, The War Cry