VIDEO Go! Go! Go!and Be Ready! – Seeing Truth Clearly

Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. 2 Timothy 4:2

An ancient Greek herald was an important, official member of the civic court. They had strong, authoritative voices, allowing them to be heard by crowds as they made official proclamations. They also had a peace-keeping role, settling civic disputes. As government representatives, the herald also had a religious role since gods and governors were so intertwined.

The verb form of the Greek word herald made its way into the New Testament as “proclaim” or “preach.” But the connotation to “proclaim the word” was different from “announcing the Gospel.” When Paul told Timothy to “preach the word” in his role as pastor in Ephesus, he had the authority of the Word of God in mind. There were some in the church who were teaching incorrectly and causing trouble, and Timothy needed to “convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.” Just as a Greek herald spoke with civic authority, so the herald of God’s Word must speak with divine authority.

Like Paul, we must not be ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16).

Preaching has authority only when the message comes as a word from God himself. J. I. Packer

Seeing Truth Clearly – 2 Timothy 4:1-8 – Skip Heitzig

Surviving Drought

The one who trusts in the Lord . . . will be like a tree planted by the water. – Jeremiah 17:7–8

In April 2019, a suburban neighborhood in Victorville, California, became buried in tumbleweeds. High winds pushed the rolling thistles into the development from the adjacent Mojave Desert where the plant grows. At maturity, the pesky weed can grow to up to six feet in height—a formidable size when it releases itself from its roots to “tumble” with the wind to scatter its seeds.

Tumbleweeds are what I picture when I read Jeremiah’s description of a person “whose heart turns away from the Lord” (Jeremiah 17:5). He says that those who draw their strength from “mere flesh” will be like “a bush in the wastelands” and be unable to “see prosperity when it comes” (vv. 5–6). In sharp contrast are those who put their trust in God instead of people. Like trees, their strong, deep roots draw strength from Him, enabling them to remain full of life, even in the midst of drought-like circumstances.

Tumbleweeds and trees both have roots. Tumbleweeds, however, don’t stay connected to their life-source, causing them to dry out and die. Trees, on the other hand, remain connected to their roots, enabling them to flourish and thrive, anchored to that which will sustain them in times of difficulty. When we hold fast to God, drawing strength and encouragement from the wisdom found in the Bible and talking to Him in prayer, we too can experience the life-giving, life-sustaining nourishment He provides.

By:  Kirsten Holmberg

Reflect & Pray

How has God sustained you in times of drought? What can you do today to drive your roots more deeply into relationship with Him?

Life-giving God, You’re my sustainer. Thank You for giving me what I need to navigate my struggles and hardships.

God Is Absolutely Trustworthy

Matthew 10:29-31

As Christians, we put our trust in God’s unending divine love. But some days are harder than others, and we need to be reminded of the Lord’s character. We can trust Him because:

  • He is perfect in wisdom. God sees the big picture and knows every detail, so He has more wisdom than we do. He promises to make our paths straight when we trust His knowledge (Prov. 3:5-6). From our limited perspective, we sometimes take action that’s equivalent to telling God, “I think You forgot something.” Too late, we discover that our own solution was the wrong choice—all because we didn’t trust His infinite wisdom.
  • He is absolutely sovereign. We can’t see the future, but we can trust the One who is in control of everything. Jesus told His disciples that not even a sparrow would fall without God’s consent (Matt. 10:29). He also told Pilate, “You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above” (John 19:11). Even that prominent Roman official was powerless to order the crucifixion without the Father’s approval.

God has always been sovereign over all things—from a little bird’s safety to the extraordinary events at the cross. So peace will accompany the realization that our Father has perfect love, infinite wisdom, and omnipotence. When you understand who He is, you won’t feel the need to question His motives.

Best Regeneration

“That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” (John 3:6)

Perhaps the greatest purpose of Christianity is to take that which is only flesh and see it reborn as Spirit—to see spiritual life born where before there was only death. But then, even in the most mature of believers, there remain aspects of the old nature mixed in with—even at war with—the new. In frustration Paul cried, “I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me” (Romans 7:21). But each Christian should, through the power of God, be winning that war.

Christ came to regenerate the spiritual side of people. “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:1-2).

Too many Christians still have their spirits buried deeply within the flesh, having “yielded [their] members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity” (Romans 6:19). But Christ came to change all that. “God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Romans 8:3-4).

Through faith, “according to his abundant mercy [He] hath begotten us again” (1 Peter 1:3). To “beget” means to reproduce a like kind. Since He has “begotten us,” we should be becoming like Him in attitudes and aims. “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5).

“And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it” (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24). This is the object of Christianity. JDM

Remember We Are Coworkers, Not Competitors

And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence —Colossians 1:18

God’s servants are not to be competitors, but coworkers….

A local church, as long as it is indwelt by the Holy Spirit, cannot entertain the psychology of competition. When it begins to compete with another church, it is a true church of God no longer; it has voided its character and gone down onto a lower level. The Spirit that indwells it is no longer divine; it is human merely, and its activities are pitched on the plane of the natural….

The Holy Spirit always cooperates with Himself in His members. The Spirit-directed body does not tear itself apart by competition. The ambitions of the various members are submerged in the glory of the Head, and whatever brings honor to the Head meets with the most eager approval of the members.

We should cultivate the idea that we are coworkers rather than competitors. We should ask God to give us the psychology of cooperation. We should learn to think of ourselves as being members in particular of one and the same body, and we should reject with indignation every suggestion of the enemy designed to divide our efforts.   NCA056-057

Lord, forgive us for the sin of comparison and competition. Replace it in our hearts with a spirit of cooperation as coworkers. May the glory all go to the Head. Amen.

As They Are, so He Is

Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him. —Matthew 12:18

To the reverent question, “What is God like?” a proper answer will always be, “He is like Christ.” For Christ is God, and the Man who walked among men in Palestine was God acting like Himself in the familiar situation where His incarnation placed Him.

To the question, “What is the Spirit like?” the answer must always be, “He is like Christ.” For the Spirit is the essence of the Father and the Son. As they are, so is He. As we feel toward Christ and toward our Father who art in heaven, so should we feel toward the Spirit of the Father and the Son. POM070-071

Holy Father, Holy Son, Holy Spirit

Three we name Thee;

Though in essence only one,

Undivided God we claim Thee,

And adoring bend the knee

While we sing our praise to Thee. Amen. HCL006

Somebody pointed out that hymnody took a downward trend when we left the great objective hymns that talked about God and began to sing the gospel songs that talk about us. TWE096

The Beatitudes

Matthew 5:1-12

The Sermon on the Mount is perhaps the best known part of the teaching of Jesus. It is also the least understood and certainly the least obeyed. Here we find Jesus giving instructions to the disciples. Many consider it the “Ordination Address” to the Twelve.

“His disciples came to Him, and He began to teach them” (Matthew 5:1-2). The Sermon on the Mount is a description of what Jesus wanted His followers to be and do. It describes an ideal that can never be reached by human strength alone.

Incorporated into the Sermon, we have what are commonly called “The Beatitudes.” If you ask the general public to name the ingredients that make for happiness, you will likely hear such things as money, fame, success or popularity. J. B. Phillips paraphrased the Beatitudes as the world would render them:

Happy are the pushers, for they get on in the world.

Happy are the hard-boiled, for they never let life hurt them.

Happy are the blase, for they never worry over their sins.

Happy are the slave-drivers, for they get results.

Happy are the knowledgeable of the world, for they know their way around.

Happy are the troublemakers, for they make people take notice of them.

How different was the response of Jesus. In the Beatitudes the word “blessed” is employed nine times. It is a translation of makarios, which refers to the bliss that belongs to the gods. It is thus an experience independent of outward circumstances. It is a joy which has its secret in itself.

The Beatitudes speak of a blessedness that exists in spite of events around us. The blessedness is completely untouchable and unassailable. In the Greek, there is no verb in the Beatitudes, thus they are not so much statements as exclamations. They are not promises of future happiness but speak of present bliss. In essence they are saying, “O the bliss of being a Christian.”

In the Beatitudes we have a description of what human life and human community look like when they come under the gracious rule of God. It has been said that “rejoice” is the standing order of the Christian.

Bramwell H. Tillsley, The War Cry