VIDEO Be a Builder

Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another. Romans 14:19

Say you’re at a neighborhood gathering and you meet a new neighbor. When you ask about his line of work, he says, “I am the president of AAA Edification Company.” If you are familiar with New Testament language, you might think he was in a ministry of some sort. But when you inquire, he clarifies: “We’re in the building business—houses, apartments, office spaces, and the like.”

That would be a reasonable, if not unlikely, name for such a company since edification means “to build up.” The New Testament words edify and edification are based on a compound biblical word: house and build. More than a dozen times, the apostle Paul applied this “building” idea to Christians and the Church. On the large scale, he compared the Church to a building—a “holy temple in the Lord” (Ephesians 2:21). At the personal level, he exhorted all Christians to “build up” one another—to build up the Church by building up (edifying) the individual members (1 Thessalonians 5:11, NIV).

Look for ways today to build up—strengthen, encourage, love—other members of the Body of Christ. In doing so, you build up the whole Church.

If you build upon yourself your edifice will be a mere ruin.  Augustine

Romans 14:13-23, How To Get Along

Refuge for the Rejected

Have mercy on me, my God, have mercy on me, for in you I take refuge. Psalm 57:1

George Whitefield (1714–1770) was one of the most gifted and effective preachers in history, leading thousands to faith in Jesus. But his life wasn’t without controversy. His practice of preaching outdoors (to accommodate large crowds) was sometimes criticized by those who questioned his motives and felt he should speak only within the four walls of a church building. Whitefield’s epitaph sheds light on his response to others’ harsh words: “I am content to wait till the Day of Judgment for the clearing up of my character; and after I am dead, I desire no other epitaph than this, ‘Here lies George Whitefield—what sort of a man he was, the great day will discover.’ ”

In the Old Testament, when David faced harsh criticism from others, he too entrusted himself to God. When Saul falsely accused David of leading a rebellion and he was forced to hide from Saul’s approaching army in a cave, David described being “in the midst of lions,” among “men whose teeth are spears and arrows, whose tongues are sharp swords” (Psalm 57:4). But even in that difficult place, he turned to God and found comfort in Him: “For great is your love, reaching to the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies” (v. 10).

When others misunderstand or reject us, God is our “refuge” (v. 1). May He be forever praised for His unfailing and merciful love!

By:  James Banks

Reflect & Pray

How does dwelling on God’s mercy help you when you’re discouraged? How can you demonstrate His love to another?

Abba Father, I praise You that I can be accepted by You forever because of Your Son. I take refuge in Your perfect love today.

Listening With Expectation

1 Samuel 3:1-10

What do you expect when you read the Bible? Is it something to cross off your to-do list, or are you expecting to hear from the Lord? Sermons, Sunday school lessons, Bible studies, and personal quiet time in Scripture are all means the Lord uses to strengthen, comfort, and encourage us in our walk with Him. But God’s Word can have influence only on a believer who’s ready to receive and respond to its message.

To get the most out of our time in God’s Word, we first need to prepare our heart. That means We come ready to listen with a prayerful, humble attitude. Today’s passage tells the story of young Samuel’s encounter with God. The priest Eli instructed the boy to say, “Speak, Lord, for Your servant is listening” (1 Samuel 3:9). This is valuable advice for us as well. Before you open your Bible, consider praying those simple words; then ask God to help you understand His message and apply it to your life.

God’s Word is an amazing gift. It comforts the mourner, strengthens the weary, convicts the sinner, gives peace to the repentant, and brings joy to those who read and obey it. Let Him speak into your life today.

Pleasures at God’s Right Hand

Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” (Psalm 16:11)

The 16th Psalm contains the Bible’s first reference to the resurrected Christ at the “right hand” of His heavenly Father, and this is important, for there are 20 other such references that follow this one. “The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool” (Psalm 110:1). This latter verse is quoted no less than five times in the New Testament (Matthew 22:44; Mark 12:36; Luke 20:42-43; Acts 2:34-35; Hebrews 1:13).

Then there are seven references to Christ being at God’s right hand in Paul’s epistles (Romans 8:34; Ephesians 1:20; Colossians 3:1; Hebrews 1:3; 8:1; 10:12; 12:2), and seven in other books of the New Testament (Matthew 26:64; Mark 14:62; 16:19; Luke 22:69; Acts 7:55-56). Lastly, “[Jesus Christ] is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him” (1 Peter 3:22). It is noteworthy that the first reference speaks of Christ’s great joy at God’s right hand; the last of His great power there.

One additional activity there is mentioned: “Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us” (Romans 8:34). In fact, His continual intercessory ministry on our behalf is His main activity in God’s immediate presence during this present age (note Hebrews 7:25; 1 John 2:1-2; etc.).

Soon He will become God’s strong right hand of power, manifested until all His enemies become His footstool and we, His people, are taken up to be with Him (1 Thessalonians 4:17). Then we shall enjoy with Him the pleasures and fullness of joy at God’s right hand forevermore. HMM

Men Who Do Not Pray

Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. —Acts 6:3

Let us watch that we do not slide imperceptibly to a state where the women do the praying and the men run the churches. Men who do not pray have no right to direct church affairs. We believe in the leadership of men within the spiritual community of the saints, but that leadership should be won by spiritual worth.

Leadership requires vision, and whence will vision come except from hours spent in the presence of God in humble and fervent prayer? All things else being equal, a praying woman will know the will of God for the church far better than a prayerless man.

We do not here advocate the turning of the churches over to the women, but we do advocate a recognition of proper spiritual qualifications for leadership among the men if they are to continue to decide the direction the churches shall take. The accident of being a man is not enough. Spiritual manhood alone qualifies.   WTA016

Lord, don’t ever let me have leadership that I don’t deserve. Don’t ever let me become careless in prayer. Don’t ever let me rely on the women to pray while I lead. Amen.

Tozer on Christian Leadership

Worship and Work in the Spirit

God is a Spirit: and they at worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. —John 4:24

Only the Holy Spirit can enable a fallen man to worship God acceptably. As far as that’s concerned, only the Holy Spirit can pray acceptably; only the Holy Spirit can do anything acceptably. My brethren, I don’t know your position about the gifts of the Spirit, but I believe that all the gifts of the Spirit not only ought to be but have been present in His Church all down the centuries….

You cannot account for Augustine and Chrysostom and Luther and Charnock and Wesley and Finney except they were men gifted by the Holy Ghost.

I believe that the Holy Spirit distributes His gifts severally as He will….The Church has been propagated by the Holy Spirit, so we can only worship in the Spirit, we can only pray in the Spirit, and we can only preach effectively in the Spirit, and what we do must be done by the power of the Spirit. WMJ014-015

We do not need many gifts but one….The Holy spirit is wisdom, power, holiness, faith, love…all comprehended in the one living Presence that comes to abide in the heart that is yielded wholly to Him. CTBC, Vol. 4/332

Tozer on the Holy Spirit.

From Tragedy to Triumph

1 Corinthians 15:58

The incredible Easter miracle, the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ, is either the greatest fact of history or it is the greatest fraud ever perpetrated. Our belief in the resurrection is at the very heart of our Christian faith. It is the resurrection that interprets the cross. It transforms what initially appeared to be an irreversible tragedy into a brilliant triumph, the power of God unto salvation.

Unbelievers and opponents have through the centuries attempted to discredit the truth of the resurrection. Of all the theories introduced to disprove it there is none further from the truth than that suggesting it was a hoax perpetrated by the disciples and followers of Jesus. That overlooks one indisputable fact. The followers of Jesus were themselves amazed and astounded by the resurrection, and had to be persuaded that it was true.

Mary Magdalene came first to the tomb. She approached the tomb with concern for a proper burial. She was horrified to find an open tomb. According to the scriptural account, Mary stood outside the tomb weeping. Jesus appeared. Mary did not recognize that the One who spoke to her was Jesus, until He intoned her name. When our name is uttered by the one we love, the source can never be mistaken. When Jesus said, “Mary,” she immediately knew it was Jesus. Tears of sorrow changed to tears of joy. All doubts were dispatched and belief in the resurrection instantly infused.

As the disciples met at night behind locked doors, Jesus, no longer bound by earthly limitations, came and stood in their midst. All is changed when Jesus comes. As soon as the disciples saw Jesus they rejoiced and believed. Thomas, absent that night, eight days later came to the inescapable belief when Jesus honored his presumptuous request to see the nail prints in His hand and to put his hand into His side.

The evidence is irrefutable. The overwhelming truth of the resurrection is that it was not planned by men, it was of God. The further resurrection miracle was that out of disillusioned, despondent, defeated and divided disciples was fashioned a force that turned the first century world upside down, that established a church so strong it has endured two thousand years and is a growing, dynamic influence in the world today.

With resurrection faith, we too determine to be “steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, for as much as we know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58 NKJV).

James Osborne, The War Cry