VIDEO God Knows – Taking Up Our Cross

But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Matthew 10:30

Modern technology has provided unparalleled views of the vastness of our planet and the universe. Via aerial photography we can sweep across endless plains and skim the peaks of immense mountain ranges—often without a single person or animal in sight. The thought might strike us, “If I was lost down there, no one would ever know.” No one on earth might know, but Someone in heaven would.

The psalmist David didn’t have access to the visual vistas that we have, but he knew enough about the immensity of the universe to know that God is everywhere and knows everything. David confesses in Psalm 139 that it is impossible to hide from God; He sees us wherever we are—beginning with our first heartbeat in our mother’s womb. Jesus amplified this truth when He encouraged His disciples not to be afraid. Not even a sparrow falls without God’s knowledge, and He knows the number of hairs on our head (Matthew 10:29-31)!

Yes, the world and the universe are big—but God is bigger! Never forget that He knows you and your needs.

If one thing lies at the basis of the whole biblical teaching about God, it is that God knows all things. J. Gresham Machen

Matthew 10 (Part 4) :32-38 Taking Up Our Cross

Desperate Solutions

You did not . . . have regard for the One who planned it long ago. Isaiah 22:11

In the late sixteenth century, William of Orange intentionally flooded much of his nation’s land. The Dutch monarch resorted to such a drastic measure in an attempt to drive out the invading Spaniards. It didn’t work, and a vast swath of prime farmland was lost to the sea. “Desperate times call for desperate measures,” they say.

In Isaiah’s day, Jerusalem turned to desperate measures when the Assyrian army threatened them. Creating a water storage system to endure the siege, the people also tore down houses to shore up the city walls. Such tactics may have been prudent, but they neglected the most important step. “You built a reservoir between the two walls for the water of the Old Pool,” God said, “but you did not look to the One who made it, or have regard for the One who planned it long ago” (Isaiah 22:11).

We aren’t likely to encounter a literal army outside our homes today. “The batterings always come in commonplace ways and through commonplace people,” said Oswald Chambers. Yet, such “batterings” are genuine threats. Thankfully, they also bring with them God’s invitation to turn to Him first for what we need.

When life’s irritations and interruptions come, will we see them as opportunities to turn to God? Or will we seek our own desperate solutions?

By:  Tim Gustafson

Reflect & Pray

What ordinary threats do you face today? What do you need to face them?

Today, loving God, I turn to You first with all of my challenges, large and small.

Download Forty Days of Praying the Word at

The Influence of Our Convictions

Daniel 1

Although our circles of influence vary in size, we all have the power to affect people at home, in church, or in the world. The fact is, our life is always on display, whether we’re aware of it or not.

Daniel didn’t set out to impress others, but his convictions had an effect on everyone who came in contact with him— from lowly servants to kings of empires. He clung to the truth of the Scriptures. When he was taken to Babylon’s royal court, he “made up his mind” not to defile himself with the king’s food (Dan. 1:8), because he knew that eating meat offered to idols was forbidden by the Mosaic law.

The important thing to notice is that Daniel’s convictions, not his environment, determined his behavior. One can always find some reason to give in, but being sure of our beliefs ahead of time can help us stand firm in obedience to God. Although the world may mock our values, people actually lose respect for us when we waffle and yield to temptation. What’s worse, our witness for Christ is damaged.

Conviction about God’s truth is like an anchor holding you steady in the waves of temptation and the winds of opinion. Don’t underestimate your obedience to the Lord—it can powerfully influence others.

Created and Made

“These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens.” (Genesis 2:4)

There are two accounts of creation in Genesis, with the above text marking the dividing point. In the first (Genesis 1–2:4), the name used for the Creator is “God” (Hebrew Elohim), and its termination is the summarizing “signature,” as it were: “These are the generations [Hebrew toledoth] of the heavens and of the earth when they were created.”

The second account (Genesis 2:4–5:1) normally uses the name “LORD God” (Jehovah Elohim) in chapters 2 and 3 (except where the serpent and Eve used Elohim when she was being tempted) and then simply “LORD” (Hebrew Jehovah) in chapter 4. This second creation account ends with Adam’s signature: “This is the book of the generations [i.e., toledoth] of Adam.”

Critics claim that the two accounts are contradictory. Actually they are complementary, the second merely giving more details of the events of the fifth and sixth days of the creation week. The Lord Jesus (who was there as the Creator!) used them both, quoting from each (Matthew 19:4-6) at the same time in the same context.

Note also that “create” (Hebrew bara) is used seven times in Genesis 1, never in Genesis 2–4. In that second account, “made” and “formed” (Hebrew asahyatsar) are the words used. Genesis 2:3 stresses the fact that “create” and “make” are different when it tells us that God rested “from all his work which God created and made.” Evidently the verb “create,” which always has the Creator as its subject, refers to His work in calling entities into existence; “make” refers to systems constructed (by either God or men) out of previously created entities. The heavens and the earth were both “created” and “made” (see our text). HMM

Dead Churches

These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest and art dead. —Revelation 3:1

I think we are going to have to restudy this whole teaching of the place of the Holy Spirit in the Church, so the Body can operate again. If the life goes out of a man’s body, he is said to be a corpse. He is what they call “the remains.” It is sad, but humorously sad, that a strong, fine man with shining eyes and vibrant voice, a living man, dies, and we say, “the remains” can be seen at a funeral home…. The living man is gone. You have only the body. The body is “the remains.”

So it is in the Church of Christ. It is literally true that some churches are dead. The Holy Spirit has gone out of them and all you have left are “the remains.” You have the potential of the church but you do not have the church, just as you have in a dead man the potential of a living man but you do not have a living man. He can’t talk, he can’t taste, he can’t touch, he can’t feel, he can’t smell, he can’t see, he can’t hear—because he is dead! The soul has gone out of the man, and when the Holy Spirit is not present in the Church, you have to get along after the methods of business or politics or psychology or human effort.   COU112-113

Lord, send Your Holy Spirit in power, that we might not be a dead Church, striving to look alive, pretending to function as though alive, while the life is actually gone. Amen.

The Word and the Spirit

Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. —James 1:18

Some people wish they could have lived in Jesus’ day so they could have heard His voice and His teaching. They forget there were thousands who heard Jesus but who had no idea what He was talking about. They forget that His own disciples had to wait for the Holy Spirit at Pentecost to know what He had been telling them.

“If only I had heard Jesus,” you may have said. No, you are better off now. You have the Light that lights every person. You have the voice of the inner conscience.

Some are sorry they never heard Dwight L. Moody or Albert B. Simpson in person. But I remind you that even if we could have [heard] the apostle Paul on magnetic tape…his speech could do no more for us than the Holy Spirit can do with the Bible and the human conscience….

We have heard the voice of the Light within the heart….The Church needs to listen to the inner voice and do something about its message! FBR076-077

There are two extremes. The Word without the Spirit is dry and dead, but the Spirit without the Word is incomplete. HS489

Purity of Heart

Matthew 5:8

We all know what is meant by being pure. When we talk about the purity of things around us, we mean that they are clean and unadulterated. That is, that they are not only without dirt or filthiness, but have no inferior substance mixed with them.

Sin is spoken of in the Bible as filthiness or defilement of the body, mind or spirit. Purity in religion must mean, therefore, the absence of such things. In short, to be pure in soul signifies deliverance from everything which the Lord shows you to be opposed to His holy will.

We all like material purity. I am sure that everyone reading this letter prefers to have a clean body. You like clean clothes and clean linen, do you not? You like a clean home. See how the housewife scrubs and washes and brushes and dusts to keep the floor and windows and furniture clean.

You like a clean city. What a laborious and costly sweeping of the streets, carrying away of rubbish, and money spent on keeping our towns sweet and pure.

We like this sort of purity because it is pleasant to the eye and good for health. But all right-minded beings admire the purity of the soul far more than they do the purity of the body, or the clothes, the home or anything else; and that, because it is so much more important.

God loves soul purity. It is His nature to do so. I have no doubt, like us He prefers to see His children also outwardly clean. His dwelling place is pure. Its inhabitants are pure.

As the heart in your body is the great driving force of the natural man, so the heart we are talking about is the great driving force of the spiritual man. In this sense it is your heart that feels joy or sorrow. It is the heart that chooses between right and wrong. It is the heart that molds the character, guides the choice and masters all the course and conduct of a man’s life. The heart is the captain of the ship. How important it is to each one of us that we should have a good—a right— a pure heart.

But what is a pure heart? A pure heart is a heart that has been cleansed by the Holy Spirit from all sin, and enabled to please God in all it does: to love Him with all its powers, and its neighbor as itself.

To those who know that they do not possess a pure heart, God is waiting to cleanse you. Now is the accepted time.

William Booth, Purity of Heart