VIDEO Crystal-Clear Goals

Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God; Your Spirit is good. Lead me.
Psalm 143:10

Many nations are battling infrastructure problems, and this extends to reservoirs. In America, for example, many of the nation’s reservoirs are filling up with sediment. In the past, sand, silt, rocks, and debris floated down rivers and into the sea, but now they get trapped behind dams, threatening our water supply. The point being…

If we’re going to have the crystal-clear goals and plans of God flowing through our lives, we need pure sources. Our best ideas flow from the reservoir of prayer. Our most creative moments come from our time with the Creator. When we invest time with Him in prayer and Bible study, we gain a clearer focus on our personal dreams.

In Psalm 143, David felt overwhelmed (verse 4), but he spread out his hands to God (verse 6). He said, “Cause me to know the way in which I should walk” (verse 8), and he asked for God to teach him and to lead him (verse 10).

God will lead you, teach you, and use you, even when you feel overwhelmed—as you seek His guidance and help through prayer.

Until the race is run, until the journey’s done, until the crown is won, teach me thy way! Benjamin Ramsey


Psalm 143 • Bring my soul out of trouble!

Try, Begin with the End

He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” I was often asked that question as a child. And the answers changed like the wind. A doctor. A firefighter. A missionary. A worship leader. A physicist—or actually, MacGyver (a favorite TV character)! Now, as a dad of four kids, I think of how difficult it must be for them to be asked that question. There are times when I want to say, “I know what you’ll be great at!” Parents can sometimes see more in their children than the children can see in themselves.

This resonates with what Paul saw in the Philippian believers—those he loved and prayed for (Philippians 1:3). He could see the end; he knew what they’d be when all was said and done. The Bible gives us a grand vision of the end of the story—resurrection and the renewal of all things (see 1 Corinthians 15 and Revelation 21). But it also tells us who’s writing the story.

Paul, in the opening lines of a letter he wrote from prison, reminded the Philippian church that “he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6). Jesus started the work and He’ll complete it. The word completion is particularly important—the story doesn’t just end, for God leaves nothing unfinished.

By:  Glenn Packiam

Reflect & Pray

Where are you in your story? How can you trust Jesus to take the “pen” from your hand and to bring your story to completion?

Dear Jesus, You’re in charge of my story. It’s not up to me to make it happen. I surrender my life to You. Help me to trust You.

To learn more about who you are and how you can best serve God, visit ChristianUniversity.org/SF108.

A Pattern for Praying God’s Will

Colossians 1:9-14

Paul’s prayer for the church at Colossae is an example of what God desires to do in every believer’s life. Although the Lord wants to hear about our physical and material concerns, we should also bring our spiritual needs to Him, as the apostle does in Colossians 1:9-14. He prays for: 

  • The Knowledge of God’s Will. In order to understand what God desires for us, we need spiritual wisdom and insight, which come from His Spirit and Word (Col. 1:9).
  • A Walk Worthy of the Lord. This includes a desire to please God in every area of life, to bear lasting spiritual fruit in all we do, and to grow in our knowledge of Him through His Word (Col. 1:10).
  • Strength for Steadfastness and Patience. The Christian life is a marathon, not a sprint. We need God’s mighty power in order to persevere to the end (Col. 1:11).
  • Gratitude for Salvation. We should never forget that we have been rescued from sin and darkness and transferred to Christ’s kingdom (Col. 1:12-14).

There is nothing more effective than praying God’s Word back to Him, because our Father promises to hear and answer requests made according to His will (1 John 5:14-15).

Take Heed of the Lessons from Colossians

“To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Colossians 1:2)

Paul’s letter to the church in Colossae is especially instructive to those who would seek a close relationship with the Lord Jesus.

Chapter 1 provides a breathtaking summary of the purpose for which we are saved and the eternal changes that take place at salvation: “And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight” (Colossians 1:21-22).

Chapter 2 provides clear warnings about the spiritual battle that is taking place and precise insights on gaining victory over the world: “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving” (Colossians 2:6-7).

Chapter 3 insists that our responsibility is to take advantage of what has been provided by Christ and to live as Christians: “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3:1-2).

Chapter 4 gives practical instructions for our day-to-day relationships through the lives of the godly people who worked with Paul: “Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man” (Colossians 4:5-6). HMM III

Have No Past at All!

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; be—hold, all things are become new. —2 Corinthians 5:17

In our churches we often sing, “Arise, my soul, arise! Shake off thy guilty fears.” But nothing happens and we keep our fears. Why do we claim on one hand that our sins are gone and on the other act just as though they are not gone?

Brethren, we have been declared “Not Guilty!” by the highest court in all the universe. Still there are honest Christians, earnestly seeking the face of God, who cannot seem to break loose and find real freedom. The grave clothes trip them up every time they try to move on a little faster. Satan uses their past sins to terrify them.

Now, on the basis of grace as taught in the Word of God, when God forgives a man, He trusts him as though he had never sinned. God did not have mental reservations about any of us when we became His children by faith. When God forgives a man, He doesn’t think, I will have to watch this fellow because he has a bad record. No, He starts with him again as though he had just been created and as if there had been no past at all! That is the basis of our Christian assurance—and God wants us to be happy in it.   ITB006-007

Thank You, Father, for that glorious freedom of forgiveness. Thank You for Your marvelous grace. No past at all! What a wonderful, incomprehensible truth! I humbly and joyfully worship You this morning. Amen.

Go From Self to God

If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. —Matthew 16:24

It is a distressing thing that a truth so beautiful [as justification by faith] should have been so perverted. But perversion is the price we pay for failure to emphasize the moral content of truth; it is the curse that follows rational orthodoxy when it has quenched or rejected the Spirit of Truth.

In asserting that faith in the gospel effects a change of life-motive from self to God I am but stating the sober facts.

Every man with moral intelligence must be aware of the curse that afflicts him inwardly; he must be conscious of the thing we call ego, by the Bible called flesh or self, but by whatever name called, a cruel master and a deadly foe. POM026

Affections that do not terminate on God, terminate on self. Men who do not “seek the things that are Jesus Christ’s,” seek their own. Inordinate self-love is the ruling passion of their hearts and the governing principle of their lives….The glory of God the Christian must seek. DTC141, 143

Be Dedicated to Truth

John 17:15-20

The depth and beauty of Christ’s prayer for His disciples overwhelms, even

startles us, while viewing the scene of our Lord’s intercession before the ordeal of the Cross. At each coming we remain a little longer within the circle of those for whom Jesus prayed—Himself, His disciples, His Church, and us. It is a stupendous thought that in His prayer nearly two thousand years ago Christ included you and me. “I pray also for those who will believe in Me through their message” (John 17:20).

It is a passionately earnest prayer that God will save this group of men from the attachment to corruptible treasures that is the mark of the world. Christ pleaded with an intensity beyond our comprehension that His disciples should be consecrated to the real, the eternal.

The burden of Christ’s prayer is that His disciples shall be sanctified by the truth. They are not merely to admire truth, or do no more than value it; they are to be dedicated to it. In the New Testament the word “truth” means more than merely true as opposed to untrue. It means genuine as opposed to spurious, perfect as opposed to imperfect. It is the property of substance as opposed to shadow.

We may say that our material possessions, our financial position and our properties are as a shadow compared with the only kind of position that really matters to God. Our rank or our position, even when and if deserved, is only as an imitation compared with the genuine qualities that make men great in the sight of God. Our intense activity is spurious unless it is a means to that great end for which we were called.

To be consecrated to the eternal means more than valuing incorruptible riches for ourselves. It means we shall desire eternal wealth for others. Jesus said,

“For them I sanctify Myself” (John 17:19). This meant that He desired the sanctification, or dedication to truth, of His own people so much that He was willing to pay the extreme price to bring it about. For us, this means being drawn by something outside of ourselves so vast and irresistible that we cannot see ourselves at all. It involves a kind of caring of which we are not capable at all without Christ.

When we ponder the Lord’s last prayer and through it know God’s will for us, we would be discouraged did we not believe in the timeless words, “I have finished my work” (Romans 15:23). He who saw the harvest in the seed of corn saw too the saints in the stumbling loyalty of the disciples. And so it is with us.

Catherine Baird, Evidence of the Unseen