VIDEO the Designer and the Design

For you formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. Psalm 139:13

The intelligent design movement suggests that the existence of an orderly, purposeful creation implies the necessity of an organized, purposeful design, and, therefore, a Designer. 

 Applying that idea to human beings, the presence of humans with the ability to find and fulfill a purpose in their life suggests a Creator who created them with a purpose to fulfill. There are certainly plenty of biblical examples: Abraham was called to create a chosen people; Moses was called to shape that people into a nation; Jeremiah was called to be a prophet to the nation; David was called to be their king; Jesus was called to redeem Jews and Gentiles alike from sin; Paul was called to deliver Jesus’ Good News to Gentiles and their kings…to cite a few examples. Psalm 139:13-16 pictures God forming humans and ordaining the days of their lives.

If you are seeking God’s specific purpose for your life, ask Him to show it to you. And ask in faith, believing He will shine light on your path (Luke 11:9-10).

Life can only be enjoyed as one acquires a true perspective of life and death and of the real purpose of life.  Spiros Zodhiates

September 27, 2020 | Dr. Jack Graham | Life Giver | Psalm 139:13, 15 | Sunday Sermon

A Truck Driver’s Hands

We have different gifts, . . . if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully. Romans 12:6, 8

The news came as a shock. Having already survived prostate cancer, my father had now been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. To complicate matters, my father is my mother’s full-time caregiver, attending to her own chronic illnesses. With both parents needing care, there would be some difficult days ahead.

After flying home to be with them, I visited my parents’ church one Sunday. There, a man named Helmut approached me, saying he’d like to help. Two days later, Helmut visited our home with a checklist. “You’ll need some meals when the chemotherapy starts,” he said. “I’ll arrange a cooking roster. What about the mowing? I can do that. And what day is your rubbish collected?” Helmut was a retired truck driver, but to us he became an angel. We discovered he often helped others—single mothers, the homeless, the elderly.

While believers in Jesus are called to help others (Luke 10:25–37), some have a special capacity to do so. The apostle Paul calls it the gift of mercy (Romans 12:8). People with this gift spot needs, rally practical assistance, and can serve over time without getting overwhelmed. Moved by the Holy Spirit, they’re the hands of the body of Christ, reaching out to touch our wounds (vv. 4–5).

Dad recently had his first day of chemotherapy. Helmut drove him to the hospital. That night my parents’ fridge was full of meals.

God’s mercy through a truck driver’s hands. By:  Sheridan Voysey

Reflect & Pray

What spiritual gifts do you have? (If unsure, check out Romans 12:3–8; 1 Corinthians 12; and Ephesians 4:7–13.) How are you using them to serve others?

Heavenly Father, help me to be filled with Your mercy, so that I might serve those in need powerfully and cheerfully, revealing who You are.

Distracted Listeners

1 Samuel 3:1-10

Have you ever tried to have a discussion with someone who wasn’t really listening to you? It can be frustrating. It’s practically impossible to get your message across, but it also shows the other person’s selfishness.

When we have something to share, we naturally want undivided attention. Guess what—God is the same way. He speaks with a purpose and expects our complete focus and attention. If we have been walking with Him, we will often hear His voice immediately. It may come as a gentle whisper in our spirit, or it could be an obvious, miraculous sign.

But we don’t always walk perfectly with the Lord, do we? When we’re distracted, God must do something to get our attention. He may give us a restless spirit or speak a word of wisdom through a friend. He might even do something drastic, like bring about an unexpected move or career change.

When we’re not tuned in to the Spirit, God’s warning signs can feel like spiritual attacks. Could He be trying to break through your distractions? Prayerfully consider how He may be speaking to you, and see if you can discern His message.

The Real Circumcision of Christ

“In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ.” (Colossians 2:11)

During the millennia when God was preparing the earth for the coming of the promised Messiah, the sign of relationship was focused on physical purity through the unique nation of Israel. Hence the requirement of male circumcision, a poignant identity that would emphasize the genetic line as well as reinforce the personal commitment.

That dramatic message, amplified throughout the lifetime of Israel in the feasts and liturgical observances, was radically changed when the Messiah came in “the fulness of the time” (Galatians 4:4) to fulfill and complete the promises. Thereafter, the mystery of the grand plan of God was revealed “which was kept secret since the world began” (Romans 16:25): “Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God” (1 Corinthians 7:19). Now the message is “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27).

This “circumcision” of Christ is “not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God” (1 Peter 3:21). This public declaration (not a private ceremony for Jewish families) demonstrates that “there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28). The sign of the new relationship is for all who believe in the completed work of the Messiah. This “circumcision” dramatizes the creation of the “new man” (Romans 6:4) and tells the story of salvation in a way that anyone can both participate in and remember. HMM III

Not Measuring Up Well?

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, 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

It is good to come to the understanding that while God wants us to be holy and Spirit-filled, He does not expect us to look like Abraham or to play the harp like David or to have the same spiritual insight given to Paul.

All of those former heroes of the faith are dead. You are alive in your generation. A Bible proverb says that it is better to be a living dog than a dead lion. You may wish to be Abraham or Isaac or Jacob, but remember that they have been asleep for long centuries, and you are still around! You can witness for your Lord today. You can still pray. You can still give of your substance to help those in need. You can still encourage the depressed.

I hope you have not missed something good from God’s hand because you felt you did not measure up to Gideon or Isaiah. In this your generation, give God all of your attention! Give Him all of your love! Give Him all of your devotion and faithful service! You do not know what holy, happy secret God may want to whisper to your responsive heart.   JAF072

Father, I commit myself to faithfulness today. You have given me life today; You have given me the gifts You want me to have and use; You have called me by Your grace to serve You. I give it all to You today. Amen.

A Supernatural Potency

Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost. —Romans 15:13

“Ye shall receive power.” By those words our Lord raised the expectation of His disciples and taught them to look forward to the coming of a supernatural potency into their natures.

… It was to be nothing less than God Himself entering into them with the purpose of ultimately reproducing His own likeness within them.

Here is the dividing line that separates Christianity from all occultism and from every kind of oriental cult….They each advise, “Get in tune with the infinite,” or “Wake the giant within you,” or “Tune in to your hidden potential” or “Learn to think creatively.”

All this may have some fleeting value as a psychological shot in the arm, but its results are not permanent because at its best it builds its hopes upon the fallen nature of man and knows no invasion from above. POM088

Oh, how long we struggle! Oh, how hard we try!

Helplessly we labor, Helplessly we sigh

Till Thy Spirit gives us

Power from on high. HCL249

The Decisive Experience

Romans 8:5

It is no accident that one story in the Acts of the Apostles is told three times over—that of the conversion of Saul. Yet though the story of the Apostle’s conversion is repeated but three times in the New Testament, it could have been that he told it many times more on his thousands of miles of missionary journeyings—told it until his traveling companions almost knew it by heart.

Now this matter of personal testimony has its own difficulties for we Salvationists of the second and third generation. We may never have plunged catastrophically into sin. Nor have we ever wasted our substance in riotous living in a far country. We might even feel it to be an exaggeration to describe ourselves as brands plucked from the burning. Most of the commandments have we kept from our youth up. Must our testimony then be less effective than that of our fathers? In other words, must sin abound before an experience of grace can much more abound? As the apostle himself said in another connection: God forbid!

The experience called conversion can express itself in different ways for different people. No two human encounters with the grace of God are ever exactly the same. To some, conversion is a drastic change. But to others among us, we have always believed in such general truths that God is love, that in His mercy sin can be forgiven, and that by His grace temptation can be overcome. But there comes a moment when these truths to which we have long given passive assent suddenly become compellingly alive. They demand that we live by them.

Outwardly there may be little change in the externals of our living. But inwardly that moment of illumination and dedication is never to be forgotten. We do not need to have been very bad in order, by God’s grace, to be made good—though at the crisis point we may doubtless feel bad enough. But while Paul called himself “the chief of sinners” gross habits had never mastered him. Like the rich young ruler he also had kept the commandments. And this is where many of us come in.

The new birth may well be that moment when, in an act of penitent self-surrender to Christ, the Lord becomes a living reality and His daily presence our all-sufficiency.

Frederick Coutts, Essentials of Christian Experience