VIDEO Letters From Heaven

For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven… so shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth. Isaiah 55:10-11

Last December, a woman named Katrina in Youngstown, Ohio, grabbed her mail from the mailbox and was shocked to find a card addressed to her in her mother’s handwriting. The envelope had her mother’s return address on it. But Katrina’s mother had passed away in 2018. The postmark said, “June 20, 2015.” It was a birthday card, lost in the mail, delivered more than five years after it had been mailed. Katrina opened the card and there in her mother’s handwriting was a Bible verse: “I know the thoughts I have towards you sayeth the Lord. Thoughts of peace and not of evil.” Katrina took it as a message from heaven for her, here and now.[1]

Whenever we open our Bibles, it’s like opening a handwritten message from heaven, and as we read consistently through Scripture, the verses often come to us just as we need them.

During difficult times, we’re lifted up by God’s Word, which came down from heaven as truly as rain and snow.

This is the power of the Scriptures—personally. They speak, and if we will listen and heed them and let them take us over, they will transform us, forever.

Mark Clark in The Problem of God


Coming Out of the Drought | There Is A Cloud | Pastor Steven Furtick

Live Like It’s Morning

The fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth. Ephesians 5:9

When I have to travel across time zones by air, I try various remedies to avoid jet lag. I think I’ve tried them all! On one occasion, I decided to adjust my in-flight eating to the time zone where I was heading. Instead of eating dinner with the rest of the passengers, I kept watching a movie and tried to fall asleep. The hours of elective fasting were difficult, and the breakfast that came right before we landed left much to be desired. But living “out of sorts” with those around me worked. It jolted my body clock into a new time zone.

Paul knew that if believers in Jesus were to truly reflect Him in their lives, they would need to live out of step with the world around them. They “were once darkness” but now they were to live as “children of light” (Ephesians 5:8). And what might that look like? Paul goes on to fill out the picture: “The fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth” (v. 9).

Sleeping through dinner may have seemed foolish to the people on my flight, but even as it’s midnight in the world, as believers, we’re called to live like it’s morning. This may provoke scorn and opposition, but in Jesus we can “walk in the way of love,” following the example of the One who “love[s] us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (v. 2).

By:  Glenn Packiam

Reflect & Pray

Where have your actions and choices lined up too closely with the world around you? What would the fruit of goodness, righteousness, and truth look like in your life?

Jesus, wake me up to the new day that has come in You. Fill me with Your power to live in a “different time zone.” Open my eyes to choose goodness, righteousness, and beauty.

To learn more about the characteristics of a believer in Jesus, visit ChristianUniversity.org/SF132

The Reach of God’s Love

Acts 9:1-31

Do you know someone with a hostile attitude toward God? It can be hard to imagine such a person accepting the Lord’s salvation, but no one is beyond the reach of our loving heavenly Father.

Saul of Tarsus is a perfect example. This self-righteous Pharisee was so confident of his obedience to God’s Law that he couldn’t see his need for a Savior. His goal was to get rid of Christians, but God had other plans for his life. Jesus appeared to him in a blinding light and confronted him about his persecution of the church. Saul repented, placed his trust in the Savior, and spent the rest of his life spreading the good news that salvation comes through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Conviction of sin is an uncomfortable but important step for a life of faith. Before we can understand our need for a Savior, we must recognize the hopelessness of our sinful condition. Then we can repent and receive the forgiveness of sins through faith in Jesus Christ. 

Like Paul, we are saved only because God reached down to rescue us. And He will never leave or forsake us (Heb. 13:5) but is always present to mold us into Christlikeness.

Inspiration

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” (2 Timothy 3:16)

The Bible insists its writers were supernaturally influenced by God to such an extent that their words were given divine accuracy. The unique word translated “inspiration” in our text could be rendered “God blowing” or “God puffing.” Peter speaks of “holy men of God” who “spake” as they were moved by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21). David was conscious that his own “tongue” was speaking words that the Holy Spirit of the Lord gave him (2 Samuel 23:2). Jeremiah was given audible instruction and told to reproduce those words precisely (Jeremiah 30:1-2; 26:2), as was Isaiah (Isaiah 6:8-10), who clearly knew he was being controlled by God (Isaiah 59:21).

These are samplings of some 2,600 claims in the Old Testament for direct inspiration of the text of Scripture. God used several methods to make sure that His Word was “puffed” out, and on one occasion even wrote them with His own finger on tables of stone—twice (Exodus 31:18; 34:1). Those words were not only inspired but inscribed!

The writings of the 27 books of the New Testament are also full of declarations of God’s personal inspiration of the words. Jesus claimed to speak only what God the Father instructed Him to say (John 12:46-50). Paul knew he was given revelation (Ephesians 3:3-4) and insisted on equivalent standing with God’s commands (1 Thessalonians 2:13). Peter demanded remembrance of the apostles’ teachings (2 Peter 3:1-4, 15-16), John insisted on the accuracy of what he shared (1 John 1:1-3), and Jude verified the words of the other apostles (Jude 1:3, 17).

It seems we are confronted with an all-or-nothing proposition. Either all Scripture is inspired or none of it is. HMM III

Teach Me to Listen

And the LORD came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak; for thy servant heareth. —1 Samuel 3:10

Lord, teach me to listen. The times are noisy and my ears are weary with the thousand raucous sounds which continuously assault them. Give me the spirit of the boy Samuel when he said to Thee, “Speak, for thy servant heareth.” Let me hear Thee speaking in my heart. Let me get used to the sound of Thy voice, that its tones may be familiar when the sounds of earth die away and the only sound will be the music of Thy speaking voice. Amen.   POG078

“Speak, for Thy servant heareth.” Amen.

Tozer on Christian Leadership

God’s Book—Fresh as the Dew

Ye received the word of God…not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God. —1 Thessalonians 2:13

There isn’t anything dated in the Book of God. When I go to my Bible, I find dates but no dating. I mean that I find the sense and the feeling that everything here belongs to me….

When the Holy Spirit wrote the epistles, through Peter and Paul and the rest, He wrote them and addressed them to certain people and then made them so universally applicable that every Christian who reads them today in any part of the world, in any language or dialect, forgets that they were written to someone else and says, “This was addressed to me. The Holy Spirit had me in mind. This is not antiquated and dated. This is the living Truth for me—now!”…

Brethren, this is why…the Word of the Lord God is as fresh as every new sunrise, as sweet and graciously fresh as the dew on the grass the morning after the clear night—because it is God’s Word to man! ICH027-028

God has given us the Book, brother, and the Book comes first. If it can’t be shown in the Book, then I don’t want anyone coming to me all aquiver and trying to tell me anything. The Bookyou must give me the Word! COU114

Tozer on the Holy Spirit.

The Light of the World

John 8:12

The world needs light. It cannot exist or survive without it. The world without Christ is a world of darkness. Without Christ the world is in philosophical darkness. He alone is the fulfillment of the philosopher’s quest. Without Christ the world is in sociological darkness. He alone teaches the higher laws of love that contribute to true brotherhood and peace. Without Christ the world is in spiritual darkness. He alone can save man from the dark night of sin.

Light is the great revealer. The most beautiful flowers, the most majestic mountains are obscured in inky blackness until they are rescued from the night and bathed in the sunlight.

At the Academia in Florence, Italy, are Michelangelo’s great works of sculpture, including his magnificent David. Also on exhibit are unfinished statuary which revealed by their chisel marks the method of Michelangelo’s sculpting. His concept was that he unveiled what was already in the marble, cutting away the superfluities, giving to the world his Pieta or an angel that he saw in a rough piece of marble. Christ releases from its imprisoned splendor the divine qualities within a life and reveals by His light the otherwise hidden glory and beauty of the divine imprint.

Light permeates. It travels at its phantom speed of 186,000 miles a second. It is unhindered by space and time. Christ transcends the barriers of time and space. He is nearer than our dearest one on earth.

Light is pure. Water may start out as a pure spring but too soon it becomes impure when it comes close to man’s habitations. The wind and air become contaminated with man’s toxic chemicals. But light may shine through the most foul medium and yet remain impeccably pure. Christ mingled amid earth’s moral pollution and yet remained pure.

Jesus said to His disciples, “I am the light of the world,” (John 8:12) and “You are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14). How do we reconcile these two sayings?

Every student of astronomy knows that there are two orders of luminaries. There is that which is its own source of light. The sun is of this order. Then there is the luminary which catches and reflects light from another source. The moon is that kind of luminary. Without the light of the sun it would be a sterile, dark ball in a midnight sky. But catching the radiance of the sun, it becomes a glowing, luminous body up in our sky.

Our light is a borrowed ray from the Son of Righteousness. And our lives can catch His radiance and reflect it in a darkened world.

Henry Gariepy, Portraits of Christ