VIDEO What Jesus Continues to Do – Continuing Christ’s Work

The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach. Acts 1:1

The biblical writer, Luke, wrote his Gospel (“the former account”), telling us of all Jesus began to do and teach. Then Luke wrote the book of Acts to tell us what Jesus continued to do and teach through His people by His Spirit. The Lord Jesus indwells His people by His Spirit, working and speaking through them.

Each of us is different—utterly unique. There’s no other person on earth like you, nor has there ever been, nor will there ever be! Of the billions of people on the world’s stage from Creation to the return of Christ, only one person is like you—and it’s you. Jesus wants to use your strengths and weaknesses, your idiosyncrasies and quirks, your gifts and talents, your abilities and disabilities. 

We are uniquely created by God to serve Him, and we should never bemoan the way we are. Let Him have control over every part of your life and ask Him to work through you to His glory today!

“Good works” are those that have their origin in Jesus Christ—whose activity is released through your body, presented to Him as a living sacrifice by a faith that expresses total dependence. Major Ian Thomas

Continuing Christ’s Work, Part 1 (Acts 1:1-3)

Facing Fear

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. Psalm 56:3

Warren moved to a small town to pastor a church. After his ministry had some initial success, one of the locals turned on him. Concocting a story accusing Warren of horrendous acts, the man took the story to the local newspaper and even printed his accusations on pamphlets to distribute to local residents by mail. Warren and his wife started praying hard. If the lie was believed, their lives would be upended.

King David once experienced something similar. He faced an attack of slander by an enemy. “All day long they twist my words,” he said, “all their schemes are for my ruin” (Psalm 56:5). This sustained assault left him fearful and tearful (v. 8). But in the midst of the battle, he prayed this powerful prayer: “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. . . . What can mere mortals do to me?” (vv. 3–4).

David’s prayer can be a model for us today. When I am afraid—in times of fear or accusation, we turn to God. I put my trust in you—we place our battle in God’s powerful hands. What can mere mortals do to me?—facing the situation with Him, we remember how limited the powers against us really are.

The newspaper ignored the story about Warren. For some reason, the pamphlets were never distributed. What battle do you fear today? Talk to God. He’s willing to fight it with you.

By:  Sheridan Voysey

Reflect & Pray

What real fears do you face? How can David’s prayer help you deal with them?

Loving God, I’m afraid—and so today I put my trust in You. What can mere mortals do to me when You’re fighting for me? Thank You for the coming victory.

For help in choosing hope instead of fear, read

The Good News About Death

1 Corinthians 15:50-58

The Bible teaches that death is only the beginning for believers. God has prepared an eternal home for us, and the condition for entry is clear: Believe that Jesus died for your sins, and receive His forgiveness. Some people consider this narrow-minded and unfair. But God set up that condition for a reason.

Way back in the garden of Eden, the Lord established a rule to protect His creation: Do not disobey Me. Sin was such a serious matter in His eyes that He determined it deserved the death penalty. Yet ever since Adam and Eve’s transgression, we’ve been bound to slip up because we’re flawed human beings. And God knew that. So, to save us from the consequence of sin, He sent His Son to die in our place. Jesus fulfilled the law while taking our punishment. And three days later He rose again.

God promised in His Word that those who receive Jesus as Savior share in His resurrection. When a believer dies, the heavenly gates open, and he or she has the same triumph over death that Jesus did. In other words, when we leave this world, we do not simply disappear. We continue to worship the Lord in heaven.

The Wicked Man

“The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts.” (Psalm 10:4)

It is significant that the word “wicked” does not necessarily mean morally depraved or violently dangerous. It is essentially synonymous with “ungodly,” and the Hebrew word used here (rasha) is often so translated. This tenth psalm provides a graphic summary of their real character. They are:

  1. Proud. “The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God” (v. 4).
  2. Fawning. “For the wicked…blesseth the covetous, whom the LORD abhorreth” (v. 3).
  3. Atheistic, at least in behavior. “He hath said in his heart, God hath forgotten:…he will never see it” (v. 11).
  4. Stubborn. “He hath said in his heart, I shall not be moved: for I shall never be in adversity” (v. 6).
  5. Profane. “His mouth is full of cursing….under his tongue is mischief and vanity” (v. 7).
  6. Hurtful. “In the secret places doth he murder the innocent” (v. 8). This surely applies to character assassination, when not to actual killing.
  7. Deceptive. “His mouth is full of…deceit and fraud:…He lieth in wait secretly as a lion in his den” (vv. 7, 9).

It is significant that the apostle Paul cited verse 7 (“full of cursing”) as descriptive of most of the ancient pagans in his day, and it can sadly be applied to many modern pagans as well.

But David said: “I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree. Yet he passed away, and, lo, he was not” (Psalm 37:35-36). “For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish” (Psalm 1:6). HMM

As Holy as You Want to Be

Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. —2 Corinthians 7:1

It may be said without qualification that every man is as holy and as full of the Spirit as he wants to be. He may not be as full as he wishes he were, but he is most certainly as full as he wants to be.

Our Lord placed this beyond dispute when He said, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6). Hunger and thirst are physical sensations which, in their acute stages, may become real pain. It has been the experience of countless seekers after God that when their desires became a pain they were suddenly and wonderfully filled. The problem is not to persuade God to fill us, but to want God sufficiently to permit Him to do so. The average Christian is so cold and so contented with His wretched condition that there is no vacuum of desire into which the blessed Spirit can rush in satisfying fullness.   BAM008

Lord, quiet my heart today and fill me with this holy longing. I don’t want to be contented with my present condition; I long for that vacuum of desire into which the Holy Spirit can rush. Amen.

Breathless Adoration

There is no God like thee…which…shewest mercy unto thy servants, that walk before thee with all their hearts. —2 Chronicles 6:14

The theory [of impromptu service planning] is that if the meeting is unplanned the Holy Spirit will work freely, and that would be true if all the worshipers were reverent and Spirit-filled. But mostly there is neither order nor Spirit, just a routine prayer that is, except for minor variations, the same week after week, and a few songs that were never much to start with and have long ago lost all significance by meaningless repetition.

In the majority of our meetings there is scarcely a trace of reverent thought, no recognition of the unity of the body, little sense of the divine Presence, no moment of stillness, no solemnity, no wonder, no holy fear….

The whole Christian family stands desperately in need of a restoration of penitence, humility and tears. May God send them soon. GTM005-006

We would do well to follow our old-fashioned forbears who knew what it was to kneel in breathless, wondering adoration in the presence of God. JMI043

What Are We Worth?

Matthew 10:28-31

Sadly, life is cheap in America these days. The preservation of human life is no longer a primary value in contemporary culture, in spite of our Judeo-Christian heritage, which teaches us to value human life. What of the ongoing slaughter of unborn, innocent babies for reasons of uninhibited pleasure and personal and family convenience? No wonder Pope John Paul II in his encyclical proclaiming a gospel of life is constrained to describe modern culture as a “culture of death.”

Jesus said that when a sparrow falls to the ground, God notes it. The birds of the air are incredibly precious to God. He made them. And ours would be a visually tedious and eerily silent world without them. The created universe and this beautiful planet of ours are of inestimable worth to God and therefore should be treasured.

Having said that, let us be clear: Precious as all created life is to God—and the environments and ecosystems in which it thrives—human persons are worth a great deal more to God. “You are worth more than many sparrows,” (Matt. 10:31) says Jesus.

If we could focus as much compassion and creative energy on kids in our inner cities-blowing each other away with automatic weapons and self-destructing on crack cocaine—as we give to saving whales and the nesting sites of tufted titmice, we might accomplish a great deal for the peace and prosperity of our cities, not to mention the salvation of these kids! Perhaps we can, and should, do both! Look at the mass graves in Rwanda and read the painful reflection of horror in the eyes of the children there and you need not be persuaded that there is much to fear in our world.

Recognizing the value Jesus places on human life makes His words even more poignant and powerful: “Do not be afraid of those that kill the body, but cannot kill the soul” (Matthew 10:28). Many a martyr to totalitarianism within the past 50 years has sealed their testimony to that truth with their blood. There is something beyond human life, valuable as it is, that is of infinitely greater consequence. It is the soul.

It is the simple but liberating truth that God values us all as human persons. It is that love of God for us, not based upon our merit, but upon His grace toward us, that makes us infinitely worthy. This is such a crucial issue that God invested in it the life of His own Son. We can know ourselves loved, unconditionally. And we can respond to that love.

Paul A. Rader, The War Cry