VIDEO Joy in the Word

I rejoice at Your word as one who finds great treasure.  Psalm 119:162

El Dorado was the name given by Spaniards in the sixteenth century to describe a mythical king of native people in Colombia, South America. The myth grew from referring to a man, to a city, to a kingdom, and finally to an empire of gold. Treasure hunters from England and Spain searched all over Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, and northern Brazil—and all came up sad and disappointed. There was no city or kingdom of golden treasures to be found.

But there is a treasure of joy waiting to be discovered between the pages of Scripture—the treasure of God’s Word. Could anything be more valuable than a Book that answers mankind’s most important questions: Where did I come from? What is my purpose? What is right and wrong? What is my destiny? These questions, and more, have been the most important ever asked. In good times and bad, we can rejoice in knowing the answers to all of life’s biggest questions are ours for the reading.

The more we read and study God’s Word, the more we can rejoice and give thanks in all things (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

The more reverence we have for the word of God, the more joy we shall find in it.  Matthew Henry


Psalm 119 (Part 2) :89-176 • Your Word is a Light Unto My Path

Making His Music

We all . . . are being transformed into his image. 2 Corinthians 3:18

Choir director Arianne Abela spent her childhood sitting on her hands—to hide them. Born with fingers missing or fused together on both hands, she also had no left leg and was missing toes on her right foot. A music lover and lyric soprano, she’d planned to major in government at Smith College. But one day her choir teacher asked her to conduct the choir, which made her hands quite visible. From that moment, she found her career, going on to conduct church choirs and serving now as director of choirs at another university. “My teachers saw something in me,” Abela explains.

Her inspiring story invites believers to ask, What does God, our holy Teacher, see in us, regardless of our “limits”? More than anything, He sees Himself. “So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27 nlt).

As His glorious “image bearers,” when others see us, we should reflect Him. For Abela, that means Jesus, not her hands—or her lack of fingers—matters most. The same is true for all believers. “And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image,” says 2 Corinthians 3:18.

Similar to Abela, we can conduct our lives by Christ’s transforming power (v. 18), offering a life song that rings out to the honor of God.

By:  Patricia Raybon

Reflect & Pray

How does knowing you are God’s “image-bearer” help you to see yourself differently? How does it help you in your interactions with others?

Thank You, God, for making me in Your image. Help me to apply this fact to all of my life.

The Destructive Power of Unforgiveness

Ephesians 4:26-32

What is your first response when someone hurts you? Maybe you immediately become angry and want to retaliate. Or perhaps your outward expression doesn’t change, but inside you begin quietly nursing bitterness. Although these reactions strike us as understandable and perfectly natural, they are not how God tells us to respond.

Unforgiveness is spiritually destructive because it is contrary to God’s will and affects our emotions, thoughts, prayers, and relationships. Scripture is clear that we are to forgive anyone who causes us harm, because we ourselves have been forgiven a much larger debt of sin by God. The grace He pours out on each of us should be our motivation to extend grace to others. If we have received His loving pardon, then we must do the same for others, even when it feels unfair.

Forgiveness involves a total change of attitude and action, whereby we give up resentment toward someone and relinquish a desire for revenge. In our own strength, this is impossible. But if, instead of rehearsing our hurts, we ask the Lord to change us and fill us with His Spirit, He will begin the process of transforming our heart.

Imperatives of Redemption

“From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.” (Matthew 16:21)

The little word “must” (Greek deon) conveys urgency and necessity and is frequently used in connection with the redemptive work of the Lord Jesus Christ. When He was just a lad, He told His parents in the temple: “I must be about my Father’s business” (Luke 2:49).

But then the first time this key auxiliary verb is found in the New Testament is in the comprehensive prophetic statement of His mission, as given to His disciples in our text. He must go to Jerusalem to suffer, and die, and be raised the third day. As He was moving toward that climactic event, “he said unto them, I must preach the kingdom of God to other cities also: for therefore am I sent” (Luke 4:43). Furthermore, “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work” (John 9:4).

He had much preaching and much work to do in that brief three-year interim in world history. But then He must die! And why must He die? Because “the scriptures must be fulfilled” (Mark 14:49). “These are the words which I spake unto you… that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me” (Luke 24:44). And how must He die? “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up” (John 3:14). But then, of course, “he must rise again from the dead” (John 20:9).

To what purpose must He be lifted up on the cross to die and then be raised again? Why, because “there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). HMM

We Really Need A Revival!

And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.

—Luke 12:19-21

 

We need a revival! We need a revival of consecration to death, a revival of happy abandonment to the will of God that will laugh at sacrifice and count it a privilege to bear the cross through the heat and burden of the day. We are too much influenced by the world and too little controlled by the Spirit. We of the deeper life persuasion are not immune to the temptations of ease and we are in grave danger of becoming a generation of pleasure lovers.

Any who disagree with these conclusions are within their rights, and I would be the last to deny them the privilege. But in the name of a thousand struggling churches and disheartened pastors, may I not plead for a little more loyalty to the local church during this season of difficulty?

May God raise up a people who will consult their pleasures less and the great need more.   GTM159-160

Lord, make me today one of those “who will consult their pleasures less and the great need more.” Amen.

 

Always Be Thou Exalted

And he is before all things, and by him all things consist….That in all things he might have the preeminence.

—Colossians 1:17-18

 

Father, I want to know Thee, but my cowardly heart fears to give up its toys. I cannot part with them without inward bleeding, and I do not try to hide from Thee the terror of the parting. I come trembling, but I do come. Please root from my heart all those things which I have cherished so long and which have become a very part of my living self, so that Thou mayest enter and dwell there without a rival. Then shalt Thou make the place of Thy feet glorious. Then shall my heart have no need of the sun to shine in it, for Thyself wilt be the light of it, and there shall be no night there.

Lord, how excellent are Thy ways, and how devious and dark are the ways of man. Show us how to die, that we may rise again to newness of life. Rend the veil of our self-life from the top down as Thou didst rend the veil of the Temple. We would draw near in full assurance of faith. We would dwell with Thee in daily experience here on this earth so that we may be accustomed to the glory when we enter Thy heaven to dwell with Thee there. POG030, 044

Rise, O lord, into Thy proper place of honor, above my ambitions, above my likes and dislikes….Let me sink that Thou mayest rise above. POG099-100

 

Walk As Jesus Did

1 John 2:6

A disciple who had known Jesus in the days of His flesh could give no better advice to Christian converts than to point them to His Lord. This counsel should not be written off as too generalized or too vague. Holiness is born of a relationship to God which will express itself in Christlikeness.

This definition, sound in doctrine, or if you like, in theory, is of the greatest possible assistance in practice. For the One whose example we are bidden to follow was touched with the feeling of our infirmities.

He was in all respects tested like as we are. To remember this will save us from writing off the life of holiness as unnatural, as if all it could do was to turn out a species of plaster saint in a stained-glass window setting. We do not have to cease being human in order to live the life of holiness.

No one should be fearful of the experience of holiness or deem it prudent to keep it at an arm’s length. This state of grace will not deprive us of any worthwhile element in any of the relationships of life. This holds good of the boy/girl relationship which will be kept wholesome. The parent/child relationship will be included as well, for here we shall be given grace to be what we would have our children become. This will embrace the husband/wife relationship as well for this will be strengthened and enriched. Two people who truly love God and one another will forge a bond that cannot lightly be broken.

Nor can the man to man relationship be excluded, for in this we shall be able to manifest that personal integrity which is an incontrovertible sign of holiness of heart and life. For holiness is not primarily a matter of the emotions but the outworking of a Christian character which can ennoble every aspect of our lives.

Catherine Booth wrote to William before they were married: “The more you lead me up to Christ in all things, the more highly shall I esteem you and, if it be possible to love you more than I do now, the more shall I love you.” Those two young Victorians knew that their affection for one another would not be diminished, but enhanced, by their mutual love for their Lord.

It must be said once again, no one is required to cease to be human in order to learn how to be holy. Rather is it as we grow in the experience of holiness that we learn how satisfying our human relationships can be.

Frederick Coutts, The Splendor of Holiness