VIDEO The Light of Life – Living Wisely or Foolishly

But the path of the just is like the shining sun, that shines ever brighter unto the perfect day. Proverbs 4:18

For most of the day, there seems to be little change in the amount of light. But the magic hour of dawn is when we see a distinct change take place: Darkness is slowly invaded by light. It is slow, but it is also consistent. Once the light begins to appear, the darkness never overtakes it until the sun sets again at dusk.

Solomon used the dawn to illustrate the increasing light in which the righteous walk throughout their life. The “path of the just” becomes clearer and clearer as the light dawns, and for all of one’s life the light “shines ever brighter unto the perfect day” in which darkness is done away with forever in eternity. When we first become a Christian, the light of the knowledge of God is just beginning to break in our hearts. Things may not seem as clear as we want; we still stumble over obstacles in our path. But the longer we walk, the brighter the light shines.

Wherever you are on your path with God, if you walk faithfully you will receive more and more light from Him.

For I am verily persuaded the Lord hath more truth and light yet to break forth from His holy word.  John Robinson

Living Wisely or Foolishly – Dr. Charles Stanley

A Mighty Stream

But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream! Amos 5:24

Among the many exhibits and artifacts exploring the harsh reality of slavery and its aftermath in the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington DC, I was grateful to discover the Contemplative Court. This tranquil room features translucent walls of bronze glass, and water appears to rain down from the ceiling into a pool.

As I sat in that peaceful space, a quote on the wall from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. caught my eye: “We are determined . . . to work and fight until justice rains down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.” These powerful words are drawn from the Old Testament book of Amos.

Amos was a prophet living among a people who were involved in religious activities, such as celebrating festivals and offering sacrifices, but whose hearts were far from God (Amos 5:21–23). God rejected their activities because they’d turned away from His commands, including those regarding justice toward the needy and oppressed.

Instead of religious ceremonies devoid of love for God and others, Amos wrote that God longed for His people to demonstrate genuine concern for the welfare of all people—a generous way of living that would be a mighty river bringing life wherever it flowed.

Jesus taught the same truth that loving God is connected with loving our neighbors (Matthew 22:37–39). As we seek to love God, may it come from hearts that also treasure justice.

By:  Lisa M. Samra

Reflect & Pray

How might you love God through pursuing justice for others? What are examples of generous living toward the needy or oppressed that encourage you?

Heavenly Father, thank You that Your love is like a mighty stream that brings justice to all. Help me to join You in Your healing work.

Evangelism: Every Believer’s Calling

Acts 1:1-8

One Sunday a man approached me between services to share his story. He had been addicted to drugs and was leading a hopeless life when he heard a Scripture verse in a sermon. He said that one passage led him to place his trust in Jesus Christ.

We all have a story. Oftentimes the more we surrender to God, the more we see His hand in our life. And the more we watch Him work, the more we want to share with others what He has done.

The same was true of the disciples, who gathered around Jesus before His ascension. They heard His command to spread the gospel, make disciples, and baptize people from all nations. Surely this seemed like an overwhelming task for a handful of followers, but they obeyed. Their personal experiences with Christ undoubtedly motivated them to share the good news, and they also must have gained confidence from Jesus’ promise of His presence and power.

Are you passionately telling others about Christ? One of our highest callings is to tell others about Him. As was true for the early Christians, our own experience with the Savior is the most exciting and convincing story to tell.

Thou Hast Made Me Glad

“For thou, LORD, hast made me glad through thy work: I will triumph in the works of thy hands.” (Psalm 92:4)

“It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto thy name, O Most High” (Psalm 92:1). So begins this “Song for the Sabbath day” (heading), the psalmist extolling the virtues of praising God both day and night (v. 2). The true believer, with a proper understanding of God’s majesty, can see, in every situation, His lovingkindness and faithfulness. There is no better way to begin and end the day than to rehearse manifestations of His loving control over each event and circumstance and express confidence in His ability to handle new situations. “O LORD, how great are thy works! and thy thoughts are very deep” (v. 5).

Vexation over the seeming prosperity of the enemies of God is understandable, but we must rest in the fact that God will act justly at the proper time, when it best suits His purpose. “The wicked…shall be destroyed for ever: But thou, LORD, art most high for evermore. For, lo, thine enemies, O LORD,…shall perish; all the workers of iniquity shall be scattered” (vv. 7-9).

Conversely, the righteous will ultimately flourish. Whether in this lifetime or in the next, God’s justice will prevail. “Those that be planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God” (v. 13).

The claim of ultimate victory must not be considered as vague, insufficient, and improbable, as skeptics have always claimed. The reputation of God Himself is on the line. He will not allow His name to be tarnished. He must act “to shew that the LORD is upright: he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him” (v. 15). As in our text, we can even now be “glad” and “triumph” in His works, whether we see them in this life or in the life to come. “O LORD, how great are thy works! and thy thoughts are very deep” (v. 5). JDM

Our Choices

I have chosen the way of truth: thy judgments have I laid before me. I have stuck unto thy testimonies: O LORD, put me not to shame. —Psalm 119:30-31

The important thing about a man is not where he goes when he is compelled to go, but where he goes when he is free to go where he will….

A man is absent from church Sunday morning. Where is he? If he is in a hospital having his appendix removed his absence tells us nothing about him except that he is ill; but if he is out on the golf course, that tells us a lot. To go to the hospital is compulsory; to go to the golf course, voluntary. The man is free to choose and he chooses to play instead of to pray. His choice reveals what kind of man he is. Choices always do….

I think it might be well for us to check our spiritual condition occasionally by the simple test of compatibility. When we are free to go, where do we go? In what company do we feel most at home? Where do our thoughts turn when they are free to turn where they will? When the pressure of work or business or school has temporarily lifted and we are able to think of what we will instead of what we must, what do we think of then?

The answer to these questions may tell us more about ourselves than we can comfortably accept. But we had better face up to things. We haven’t too much time at the most.   MDP158-161

Lord, help me to make choices today that are pleasing to You. Amen.

The Most Significant Voice

To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation. —Hebrews 3:15

God is speaking to mankind with more than one voice, but it must be said that the clearest, most distinct and most easily distinguished voice is that of the Holy Spirit. The call and reproof and conviction by the Holy Spirit give grave and serious meaning to all other voices calling men home.

If it were not for the presence of the Holy Spirit speaking through the consciences of men and women, no other voice would have any significance. For the Holy Spirit, the divine Comforter, came to confirm Christ’s words and Christ’s work and Christ’s person. EFE026

The Holy Spirit…lived in the human Christ for three and a half years, the Spirit who wept in His tears, suffered in His agonies, spoke in His words of wisdom and love, took the little children in His arms, healed the sick and raised the dead. HS069

The Holy Spirit is God’s purifying messenger to us, bringing the water and the fire that will make us white as snow. Let us trust Him, let us obey Him, let us receive Him. CTAB042

The Thorn in the Flesh

2 Corinthians 12:7-10

Paul wrote of having been “caught up” to the third heaven, and for an indescribable moment was exalted to a rarified realm beyond time and space. There he heard “things that man is not permitted to tell” (2 Corinthians 12:4). He did not wish to boast about his experience. All he could boast about was his own weakness, his own insufficiency and utter dependence upon the Lord.

It is against this astonishing background that Paul speaks of his thorn in the flesh. God permitted the affliction “to keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations” (2 Corinthians 12:7). Whatever it was, the affliction was so severe and disturbing, that on three different occasions the apostle “pleaded with the Lord to take it away” (2 Corinthians 12:8).

As a lad I often wrestled with the meaning of the Lord’s promise that,

“Whatever you ask in my name… I will do it” (John 14:13-14). Does God really answer all our prayers? It appeared that some were overlooked! It was some time before I realized that praying “in the name” of the Lord means praying in tune with His will and purpose. When Paul pleaded with the Lord to remove his affliction, the answer was a positive refusal. “My grace is sufficient for you,” the Lord replied, “for My power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

On one occasion during my service as a World War II military chaplain I came perilously close to becoming a victim of self-pity. My battalion was camped on the edge of a forest. With 22 days of cold rain and submarines busy in the North Atlantic, mail was not getting through. A padre is supposed to help maintain morale, but how can you do that if your own morale is oozing through the bottom of your boots?

At long last mail arrived and there were over 20 letters from my wife Janet. I arranged the letters in order of dates on my rickety homemade desk, told the batman to keep my tent clear of visitors barring emergencies, then settled down to read the mail.

In one letter Janet told me about our six-year old son who got into such a tantrum that she had to order him down to the basement to cool off, where he whooped it up as loudly as he could. Close to bedtime he went to his own room. A few moments later she heard him talking. Tiptoeing to the door which was ajar, she peeped in. Clad in his pajamas, Donald was kneeling by the bed, having a conversation with God. She heard him say, “Dear God, help me not to cry when there’s nothing to cry about, and make me a man!” How well I remember dropping to my knees in that dank, mildewed tent, and offering the very same prayer, word for word.

Clarence D. Wiseman, The Desert Road to Glory