VIDEO Fight or Flight!: The Sons of Reuben

They made war with the Hagrites…. And they were helped against them…for they cried out to God in the battle. He heeded their prayer, because they put their trust in Him. 1 Chronicles 5:19-20

People who read through the Bible for the first time are often flummoxed when they come to First Chronicles because the first chapters are genealogies. But sprinkled throughout these chapters you’ll find people or groups commended for some virtuous feat. For example, in 1 Chronicles 5:18-22, we’re told the sons of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh were drawn into battle against the Hagrites. The Chronicler paused his record to tell us God helped these warriors because they cried to Him for aid in the battle. God heeded their prayer, because they put their trust in Him.

We all face battles in life, and the devil sends “Hagrites” our way. But we shouldn’t shrink from the conflict. The Bible likens us to soldiers (2 Timothy 2:3). Don’t fear or flee in the battles of life. Cry out to God in the battle and put your trust in Him. He heeds our prayers and gives the victory.

Outside of Christ, I have been defeated; in Christ, I am already victorious. Watchman Nee

Adrian Rogers: How to Be a Fully Committed Disciple of Jesus [#2434​]

Minding My Own Business

Mind your own business and work with your hands.1 Thessalonians 4:11

Years ago, my son Josh and I were making our way up a mountain trail when we spied a cloud of dust rising in the air. We crept forward and discovered a badger busy making a den in a dirt bank. He had his head and shoulders in the hole and was vigorously digging with his front paws and kicking the dirt out of the hole with his hind feet. He was so invested in his work he didn’t hear us.

I couldn’t resist and prodded him from behind with a long stick lying nearby. I didn’t hurt the badger, but he leaped straight up in the air and turned toward us. Josh and I set new world records for the hundred-yard dash.

I learned something from my brashness: Sometimes it’s best not to poke around in other people’s business. That’s especially true in relationships with fellow believers in Jesus. The apostle Paul encouraged the Thessalonians to “make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands” (1 Thessalonians 4:11). We’re to pray for others and seek by God’s grace to share the Scriptures, and occasionally we may be called to offer a gentle word of correction. But learning to live a quiet life and not meddling into others’ lives is important. It becomes an example to those who are now outside God’s family (v. 12). Our calling is to “love each other” (v. 9).

By:  David H. Roper

Reflect & Pray

What happens when you meddle in other people’s business? What’s the first thing you should do instead for others?

God, teach me to know what it means to love others better.

The Words of Our Faith

Hebrews 2:1-4

Some churches today avoid using biblical language to describe what it means to be saved, because the terms can be confusing. However, since God chose these words to convey the greatness of our salvation, we should not overlook them. In order to understand grace, it is essential that we grasp the following concepts:

• Redemption refers to Christ’s payment for sin—in other words, His death purchased us for God.

• Regeneration is a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit, in which He gives us divine life and makes us into new creatures.

• Justification is God’s declaration that through our faith in Christ, we are righteous and acquitted of guilt for sin.

• Forgiveness is the removal of our guilt; to accomplish this, Jesus went to the cross in our place and bore our sins (1 Peter 2:24).

• Reconciliation is the restoration of a right relationship with God. No longer His enemies, we’re now His beloved children. 

• Sanctification means to be set apart for God. It’s the process by which we grow in holiness and obedience. 

The more you understand the depths of your salvation, the greater your awe, gratitude, and love for Jesus will be. So meditate on these truths and the fullness of your salvation, and let them fill your mind and heart today.

Breaking Bread

“And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.” (Matthew 26:26)

This is the first of 12 specific references to the “breaking of bread” in the New Testament, each reminding the participants of Christ’s sacrificial death. Although Paul had not been present at the Last Supper, he had evidently received a special revelation concerning it. “For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed [literally, ‘while he was being betrayed’] took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me” (1 Corinthians 11:23-24). Similarly, drinking of the cup recalled to them His shed blood. All of this helped them remember and appreciate the great reality of eternal life imparted to them through His death, for He had said, “Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life” (John 6:54).

For a while after His resurrection and their empowering by the Holy Spirit, “they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house” (Acts 2:46), seem to have combined each day this remembrance of the Lord’s supper with their own evening meals. Sometime later, it seems to have been “upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread” (Acts 20:7).

There is no specific instruction in Scripture as to how often this breaking of bread should be observed, but when it is observed, the implied actions of “discerning the Lord’s body,” giving thanks to Him for His sacrifice for us, and “[judging] ourselves” (1 Corinthians 11:29, 31) are far more vital than the physical act of eating the broken bread. HMM

A Good Husbandman

Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me be—fore the foundation of the world. —John 17:24

I believe that a pastor who is content with a vineyard that is not at its best is not a good husbandman. It is my prayer that we may be a healthy and fruitful vineyard and that we may be an honor to the Well Beloved, Jesus Christ the Lord, that He might go before the Father and say, “These are mine for whom I pray, and they have heard the Word and have believed on Me.” I pray that we might fit into the high priestly prayer of John 17, that we would be a church after Christ’s own heart so that in us He might see the travail of His soul and be satisfied….

The church should be a healthy, fruitful vineyard that will bring honor to Christ, a church after Christ’s own heart where He can look at the travail of His soul and be satisfied.   RRR112, 119

Lord, I long that Jesus Christ might indeed be satisfied with my own life and the lives of those whom He has called me to lead. Help me to be a faithful husbandman in whatever vineyard You place me. Amen.

The Instant Obligation

Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered. —Hebrews 5:8

The life of God in the soul of a man is wholly independent of the social status of that man. In the early church the Spirit leaped across all artificial lines that separate men from each other and made of all believers a spiritual brotherhood. Jew and Gentile, rich and poor, Greek and barbarian were all baptized into one body, of which Christ was and is the Head.

Along with the gift of eternal life, the entrance of the Holy Spirit into the believer’s heart and the induction of the newborn soul into the Body of Christ comes instant obligation to obey the teachings of the New Testament.

These teachings are so plain and so detailed that it is difficult to understand how they could appear different to persons living under different political systems or on different cultural levels. That they have so appeared cannot be denied; but always the reasons lie in the imperfect state of the believers composing the different groups. GTM045-046

Since I am God’s temple, I am not to serve my own ends with my body, but the cause of Jesus Christ as His devoted disciple….Do I regard His temple, my body, as more mine than His? PRL68

The Bread of Life

John 6:35

Fight times during His final year of earthly life, Jesus startled His listeners by

using a mysterious phrase beginning with the words “I Am.” Only the

Apostle John records these cryptic, self-revealing declarations in his Gospel.

John sets the stage for Jesus’ first declaration by recounting the only miracle recorded in all four Gospels: the feeding of the 5,000. After Jesus fed and addressed the multitude, He retreated to the nearby hills known today as the Golan Heights. His disciples sailed back to Capernaum.

By foot and by boat the people followed Jesus to Capernaum, where they cornered Him in the synagogue. Jesus ignored their shallow questions and bluntly challenged their motivation: “I tell you the truth, you are looking for Me, not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life” (John 6:26-27). With these piercing words Jesus moved the conversation from their desire for physical nourishment to their need for spiritual sustenance. After Jesus described the spiritual bread that He offered, the crowd pleaded, “Sir… give us this bread” (John 6:34).

The throng’s approval plummeted when Jesus declared that He alone was the Bread they were seeking. Jesus proclaimed: “I am the Bread of Life. He who comes to Me will never go hungry, and he who believes in Me will never be thirsty” (John 6:35). It did not take long for the fickle crowd to turn their backs on Jesus. The Jewish leaders “began to grumble because He said, ‘I am the Bread that came down from heaven'” (John 6:41).

The crowd came looking for bread, and Jesus offered them Himself—the Bread of Life. The cost of discipleship was simply too high for many to pay. Jesus illustrated the sacrificial cost with an unforgettable, startling metaphor: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven… This bread is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world” (John 6:51).

Sadly this discourse ended with many followers leaving Jesus. “‘this,’ they concluded, ‘is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?’ From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him” (John 6:60, 66).

Thankfully, this is not the end of the story: “‘You do not want to leave, do you?’ Jesus asked the Twelve. Simon Peter answered Him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life'” (John 6:67-68).

Jesus’ penetrating question resounds throughout the ages. His faithful disciples must ever follow Peter’s example and response.

William Francis, The War Cry