VIDEO The Fear of Being Alone

I alone am left a prophet of the Lord…. I alone am left…. I alone am left. 1 Kings 18:22

Church history is filled with examples of those who stood alone for God at risk to their own lives. When Martin Luther dared to proclaim a biblical Gospel in 1517, he was called to account before the Diet of Worms in 1521. When told to take back his teachings, he refused: “I cannot and will not recant anything.”

Standing alone can be a fearful experience. Martin Luther no doubt was thinking what the prophet, Elijah, said when he stood alone: “And they seek to take my life” (1 Kings 19:10, 14). The apostle Paul probably thought the same thing before Emperor Nero took his life. But all who stand alone for Christ do so because they have confidence in God’s promise never to forsake His own.

We may never be called upon to stand alone for God in the face of death. But even in the face of criticism, or being ostracized or ridiculed for our faith, we can stand firm because God stands with us. Remember: God has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).

Great eagles fly alone; great lions hunt alone; great souls walk alone—alone with God. Leonard Ravenhill

11 1 Kings 18-22 – J Vernon Mcgee – Thru the Bible

Out of Our Poverty

They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on. Mark 12:44

Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates made history when they launched the Giving Pledge, promising to donate half of their money. As of 2018, this meant giving away 92 billion dollars. The pledge made psychologist Paul Piff curious to study giving patterns. Through a research test, he discovered that the poor were inclined to give 44 percent more of what they had than wealthy people. Those who’ve felt their own poverty are often moved to greater generosity.

Jesus knew this. Visiting the temple, He watched the crowds drop gifts into the treasury (Mark 12:41). The rich tossed in wads of cash, but a poor widow pulled out her last two copper coins, worth maybe a penny, and placed them into the basket. I picture Jesus standing up, delighted and astounded. Immediately, He gathered His disciples, making sure they didn’t miss this dazzling act. “This poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others,” Jesus exclaimed (v. 43). The disciples looked at each other, bewildered, hoping someone could explain what Jesus was talking about. So, He made it plain: those bringing huge gifts “gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything” (v. 44).

We may have little to give, but Jesus invites us to give out of our poverty. Though it may seem meager to others, we give what we have, and God finds great joy in our lavish gifts.

By:  Winn Collier

Reflect & Pray

What does it mean for you to give out of your poverty? How can you give “everything” for Jesus today?

God, I don’t feel like I have much to offer. My gifts feel puny and worthless. But I’m here. All of me. Will You receive me in my poverty?

Put on the Lord Jesus

Romans 13:11-14

Modern culture encourages doing whatever comes naturally, but that approach leads only to self-centered, sinful living. In contrast, we as believers are told to make no provision for our natural or fleshly desires. This means we don’t place ourselves in the path of temptation or consider going back to the old sinful longings, attitudes, and habits that were ours before we knew the Lord.

When I was a young Christian, I heard talk about sanctification and “doing away with sin.” I mistakenly thought that when I was older, I’d have some kind of spiritual experience that would rid my life of wrong desires and thoughts. But that’s not how sanctification works. Instead, it’s a lifelong process in which God’s Spirit progressively transforms us into Christ’s image.

Even after three years in Jesus’ company, the disciples couldn’t live the Christian life on their own. They had to wait for the indwelling Holy Spirit, who gave them strength, guidance, and wisdom. That has not changed—it remains true that apart from Christ’s Spirit, we cannot overcome fleshly desires and live in obedience to God’s will.  But when we rely on Him instead of ourselves, He produces godly desires within us, empowers obedience, and transforms our character into Christ’s likeness.

Thy Power to Save

“O sing unto the LORD a new song; for he hath done marvelous things: his right hand, and his holy arm, hath gotten him the victory.” (Psalm 98:1)

Throughout Scripture God accomplished glorious things, and His people responded in song. The final verse of “There Is a Fountain” reminds us that our song will last for eternity.

Then in a nobler, sweeter song,
I’ll sing thy power to save,
When this poor lisping, stammering tongue
Lies silent in the grave.

There will come a time when redeemed individuals will amass around the throne of God and His Son, our Redeemer, and sing a mighty song of praise to Him for salvation: “And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation” (Revelation 5:9). The Creator had bought creation back with His own blood.

The just and holy Creator was rejected by His creation and rightly pronounced the penalty of death. Yet, He entered the created world to live a sinless life so that He could die as a proper substitute for all, and then rose from the grave in final victory over sin, offering us eternal life.

Our inability in this life to fully understand all that has transpired or even phrase a proper testimony will be replaced with an accurate assessment. We will gather there with all the saints to sing His praise: “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created” (Revelation 4:11). The great Creator became our Redeemer and our everlasting King! JDM

The Economic Squeeze

But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. —2 Timothy 4:5

A number of factors contribute to bad spiritual leadership….

The economic squeeze. The Protestant ministry is notoriously underpaid and the pastor’s family is often large. Put these two facts together and you have a situation ready-made to bring trouble and temptation to the man of God. The ability of the congregation to turn off the flow of money to the church when the man in the pulpit gets on their toes is well known. The average pastor lives from year to year barely making ends meet. To give vigorous moral leadership to the church is often to invite economic strangulation, so such leadership is withheld. But the evil thing is that leadership withheld is in fact a kind of inverted leadership. The man who will not lead his flock up the mountainside leads it down without knowing it.   GTM061-062

Lord, again I pray for any pastor who may be facing this “economic squeeze” today. Help him to be faithful and give strong leadership no matter the cost. Then, Lord, I pray that even today You would grant one of Your special, generous provisions as a powerful reminder of Your great faithfulness. Amen.

If Christ, then Us

God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good…for God was with him.—Acts 10:38

According to the Scriptures everything God did in creation and redemption He did by His Spirit. The Spirit was found brooding over the world at the moment God called it into being. His presence there was necessary.

The life-giving work of the Spirit is seen throughout the entire Bible; and it is precisely because He is the Lord and giver of life that the mystery of the Incarnation could occur. “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35).

It is highly significant that our Lord, though He was very God of very God, did not work until He had been anointed with the Holy Spirit (Acts 10:38). The Son did His work of love as a Spirit-anointed Man; His power derived from the Spirit of power. GTM110-111

How little some Christians accomplish for God!…Get filled with the Spirit, and you will neither be idle or unfruitful. CTBC, Vol. 6/311

The Easy Yoke

Matthew 11:30

Farmers in Jesus’ day knew that a good working team of oxen often stood between starvation and well-being.

My uncle had a team of horses that pulled the hay wagon and helped him clear heavily wooded areas. During our summer visits to the farm we loved to watch him work with Champ and Casper—sinewy, thick-haunched animals with amazing stamina. They were incredibly strong creatures, their muscles rolling and turning with the demands of their task. Often after a particularly difficult task was done, my uncle would jump down from the box and affectionately slap the horses’ sweaty flanks. And they in turn would nuzzle his pockets for the treats he invariably carried for them.

Uncle Bill took special care with the wooden crosspiece and harness that bound Casper and Champ together. He’d sand away any rough spots in the wood and oil the leather parts until they were soft and pliable. And at the end of each day he checked the animals’ flesh for sore or chafed spots. Casper and Champ were inseparable yokefellows, seeming almost to understand their common task and revel in it.

Paul used the word “yokefellow” to characterize people whose lives were bound together for a common mission (Phil 4:3). The Christian life was meant to be lived in community. Empowered by the same Spirit, it is the Christian’s duty to labor not to develop private empires but to harvest souls for God’s kingdom.

“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me… For My yoke is easy and My burden light” (Matt. 11:30) said Jesus. He never said the work would not be difficult, the nights long, the sun’s heat intense and our energies tested. For some the hazards of being joined to Him would mean death.

What our Lord did mean to tell us is that His presence would make our service not only bearable but joyful and provide rest from our labors. “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest… For I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matt. 11:28-29).

With remarkable tenderness Jesus pours the ointment of His love and blessing upon us. He enables us to work for Him through gifts chosen especially for us, through the fellowship and sustaining of brothers and sisters. When pressed down with the weight of our toil or wounded in some desperate battle, He comes with His healing, with His presence, with His rest.

Marlene Chase, Pictures from the Word