VIDEO No One Like You, the Body of Christ

Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. 1 Corinthians 12:27

For about $75,000 you can buy Spot, the mass-produced robotic dog that can walk, climb stairs, and eventually open doors. He doesn’t need housetraining, feeding, or a daily walk. And he can be helpful in difficult situations. He has cameras in his eyes, is rust-proof, and can operate in terrible weather. But, he isn’t safe for children, and he isn’t unique. Every Spot is essentially like every other Spot—and he’s not really alive.

God has created billions of beings who are alive. He put cameras in our eyes, a beating heart in our chests, and remarkable physical systems that defy the finest robotic innovators. And we don’t rust.  

Furthermore, we aren’t mass produced. Each of us is uniquely created by God with our own personalities, gifts, talents, backgrounds, faces, and fingerprints. We all have one purpose—to glorify God and enjoy Him forever—but we can have individual ministries. There is no one like you. There never has been, and there never will be. 

You should use you for Him!

When you are clear about what makes you a unique individual, you can then better understand what it is that you can give to others. You can know your unique place in the world and the purpose that God has for you. Victor Kubik

1 Corinthians 12 (Part 3) Being the Body of Christ

Slow, but Sure

Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree. Matthew 13:32

I ran into an old friend who told me what he’d been up to, but I confess it seemed too good to be true. Within a few months of that conversation, however, his band was everywhere—from charting top singles on the radio to having a hit song pulsing under TV ads. His rise to fame was meteoric.

We can be obsessed with significance and success—the big and the dramatic, the quick and the meteoric. But the parables of the mustard seed and yeast compare the way of the kingdom (God’s reign on earth) to small, hidden, and seemingly insignificant things whose work is slow and gradual.

The kingdom is like its King. Christ’s mission culminated in His life, like a seed, being buried in the ground; like yeast, being hidden in the dough. Yet He rose. Like a tree breaking through the dirt, like bread when the heat is turned up. Jesus rose.

We’re invited to live according to His way, the way that’s persisting and permeating. To resist the temptation to take matters into our own hands, to grasp for power and to justify our dealings in the world by the outcomes they may produce. The outcome—“a tree . . . that the birds come and perch in its branches” (v. 32) and the bread that provides a feast—will be Christ’s doing, not ours.

By:  Glenn Packiam

Reflect & Pray

What small and seemingly insignificant things could you do to encourage or bless the people in your life? Where do you need to turn away from comparison with others or from a false picture of significance and success?

Dear Jesus, thank You for often working in small, hidden, and seemingly insignificant ways. Help me to trust You’re at work even when I can’t see You. Grant me the grace to remain faithful.

Satan’s Strategy

John 8:43-44

Deception is Satan’s trademark, and it’s nothing new. The very first book of the Bible tells of his trickery with Eve in the Garden of Eden: He planted seeds of doubt about God’s words by asking, “Indeed, has God said … ?” (Gen. 3:1). And this is still the devil’s primary tactic because deception blinds people to the truth.

If you’ve ever accepted a false belief or been intentionally deceived, you know how devastating it is to feel betrayed. Now imagine the utter ruination Satan causes by blinding people to the truth of the gospel. It’s hard to imagine the countless souls who will suffer eternally because of his trickery.

However, the devil doesn’t limit his efforts to preventing faith. He also works diligently to deceive believers by feeding us discouraging thoughts: he insinuates God doesn’t care when we’re going through difficulties and suggests He’s unjust for allowing our suffering. Our enemy also prompts us to dwell on the wrongs done to us or the things God hasn’t provided so we’ll hold grudges, complain, and find fault.

All this robs us of the joy, gratitude, and peace that are ours in Christ. Our first defense against deception is a mind filled with truth from God’s Word so we can discern the lies before they poison our emotions and contaminate our behavior.

Continue to Stand in the Faith

“If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel.” (Colossians 1:23)

In the New Testament, the use of the definite article “the” always modifies the noun that follows. In this case, “the faith” insists on a particular body of doctrine that defines the Christian life. For instance, as Paul and Barnabas were returning from their initial missionary effort, they went back to each area “confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith” (Acts 14:22).

There are nearly 50 occurrences in the New Testament where “the faith” is used in this way. These references always speak of obedience to specific teachings that embrace the core of the godly lifestyle that represents holiness and the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). Thus, one who is “grounded and settled” in the faith will be both knowledgeable and stable in his Christian testimony and ministry.

It is necessary, of course, to build on the foundation of the Lord Jesus (1 Corinthians 3:11), but only the “gold, silver, precious stones” have any lasting value (1 Corinthians 3:12- 15)—hence the requirement in Jude: “It was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 1:3).

Furthermore, those who continue in the faith will not be “moved away from the hope of the gospel.” That hope acts as “an anchor of the soul” (Hebrews 6:19) and is the drive that motivates us to maintain a purity of lifestyle (1 John 3:3). “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58). HMM III

Our Test Today: Success

For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ. —2 Corinthians 2:17

Much that passes for Christianity today is the brief bright effort of the severed branch to bring forth its fruit in its season. But the deep laws of life are against it. Preoccupation with appearances and a corresponding neglect of the out-of-sight root of the true spiritual life are prophetic signs which go unheeded. Immediate “results” are all that matter, quick proofs of present success without a thought of next week or next year. Religious pragmatism is running wild among the orthodox. Truth is whatever works. If it gets results it is good. There is but one test for the religious leader: success. Everything is forgiven him except failure.

A tree can weather almost any storm if its root is sound, but when the fig tree which our Lord cursed “dried up from the roots” it immediately “withered away” (Mark 11:20-21). A church that is soundly rooted cannot be destroyed, but nothing can save a church whose root is dried up. No stimulation, no advertising campaigns, no gifts of money and no beautiful edifice can bring back life to the rootless tree.   ROR008-009

Lord, give us solid roots. Forgive us for our preoccupation with success and move in Your church today to restore to us a proper perspective. Amen.

There is No Worship without the Holy Spirit

God is the King of all the earth: sing ye praises with understanding….God sitteth upon the throne of his holiness. —Psalm 47:7-8

We find much of spiritual astonishment and wonder in the book of Acts. You will always find these elements present when the Holy Spirit directs believing men and women.

On the other hand, you will not find astonished wonder among men and women when the Holy Spirit is not present.

Engineers can do many great things in their fields, but no mere human force or direction can work the mysteries of God among men.

If there is no wonder, no experience of mystery, our efforts to worship will be futile. There will be no worship without the Spirit. WHT065

Worship has to be in the Spirit and by the Spirit. The notion that just anybody can worship is all wrong. The notion that we can worship without the Spirit is all wrong. The notion that we can crowd the Spirit into a corner and ignore Him, quench Him, resist Him and yet worship God acceptably is a great heresy which we need to correct. TWE041

Dark Days

Romans 5:3-5

Jesus Christ said, “In the world you will have tribulation,” (John 16:33 KJV) while Paul assures us that “All who will live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12 KJV)

When you are a sufferer, when your burden of care and trouble increases, think upon the following. God has promised to support you in your trials while you walk in the light; that is, while you do His blessed will. Some of the most beautiful and precious passages to be found in the Bible describe the consolation He promises to His soldiers while they are battling with the difficulties, persecutions and sufferings of life.

He promises you the comfort of His presence. “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you; when you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, neither shall the flame kindle upon you” (Isaiah 43:2 KJV).

He promises you victory. “God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that you are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that you may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13 KJV).

Tribulations are intended for your profit. “All things work together for good to them that love God” (Romans 8:28 KJV). Rightly accepted, they will promote your holiness and usefulness, and help you to understand the struggle for the welfare of those around you. What is more, they strengthen faith and help the formation of that character which God desires His children to possess.

Dark days strengthen the soul. Perpetual and uninterrupted sunshine, soft and genial weather, make weak men and women. Frost and gloom and darkness make hard and vigorous people.

Dark days are instructive. There is no place like the school of adversity for teaching wisdom.

Dark days drive the soul to God. Nothing succeeds in throwing a man back upon his Maker like affliction.

Dark days increase the brightness of the bright days that are to come. What a magnificent background the sorrows of earth will form to the joys of heaven! How the tears and pains and crosses of this life will set off and render more glorious the songs and crowns and glories of the skies!

William Booth, The Warrior’s Daily Portion, No. 2