VIDEO Fluorescent Personalities

Darkness which may even be felt. Exodus 10:21

When the Lord judged Egypt, the ninth plague was darkness, which fell over the land like a blanket. The Bible says the darkness could be felt, and “they did not see one another; nor did anyone rise from his place for three days. But all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings” (Exodus 10:23). Later the same phenomenon happened again at the Red Sea. The Angel of God “came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel. Thus it was a cloud and darkness to the one, and it gave light by night to the other” (Exodus 14:20).

Those who are followers of Christ walk in light. Their lives are radiant, for the Light of the World lives within them. The rest of the world abides in darkness, and the darkness is deep enough to be felt. 

There is a supernatural fluorescence to the smiles, the actions, the words, the service, and the personalities of God’s children. Let’s make sure we are “blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world” (Philippians 2:15).

If you have only a little ray of light, show out distinctly that you are for Him. G. V. Wigam

Exodus 10-11 – 2011 – Skip Heitzig

Seeing with New Eyes

[Don’t look] to your own interests but each of you to the interests of . . . others. Philippians 2:4

A video game, one that’s become a cultural phenomenon, places a hundred players on a virtual island to compete until one player remains. Whenever a player eliminates you from the contest, you can continue to watch through that player’s vantage point. As one journalist notes, “When you step into another player’s shoes and inhabit their point of view, the emotional register . . . shifts from self-preservation to . . . communal solidarity. . . . You begin to feel invested in the stranger who, not too long ago, did you in.”

Transformation happens whenever we open ourselves to see another’s experience, looking beyond our own vision and encountering another’s pain, fear, or hopes. When we follow Jesus’ example and “do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit” and instead “in humility value others above [our]selves,” then we notice things we would have missed otherwise (Philippians 2:3). Our concerns broaden. We ask different questions. Rather than being preoccupied with only our own needs or angst, we become invested in others’ well-being. Rather than looking to “[our] own interests,” we become committed “to the interests of . . . others” (v. 4). Rather than protecting what we assume we need to thrive, we joyfully pursue whatever helps others flourish.

With this transformed vision, we gain compassion for others. We discover new ways to love our family. We may even make a friend out of an enemy!

By:  Winn Collier

Reflect & Pray

How can the Holy Spirit help you avoid becoming small, narrow, or selfish? How do you think God’s inviting you to see others with new eyes?

Jesus, too often what I see is only my fear, my pain, or my lack. Help me to see my sisters and brothers. I want to truly see them and love them. 

Defeating Giants

1 Samuel 17:41-54

Life’s “Goliaths” come in all shapes, sizes, and intensities—such as an unhappy relationship, a rebellious child, a difficult job, a pile of debt, or an uncontrollable habit. But if we avail ourselves of God’s power, then we, like David, can ultimately gain victory over a seemingly insurmountable problem.

Notice that David declared victory over Goliath before the battle even began (1 Samuel 17:46). His confidence came from …

• Remembering times in the past when the Lord protected and strengthened him, such as moments when a lion or bear threatened his flock (1 Samuel 17:37). As he faced the fearsome giant, David wisely recalled how faithful God had always been.

• Strong convictions about the Lord and what He could do. David knew he had full access to his Father’s storehouses of power, courage, and wisdom.

• Practical habits that bolstered his faith. David had spent hours alone in the wilderness, listening to God’s voice. So he knew how to discern what the Lord was telling him to do.

I encourage you to try following David’s example. Keep a record of the Lord’s work in your life, and meditate on who He is. Then you, too, can be confident that God is sufficient, no matter how large the problem you’re facing.

Accepted in the Beloved

“To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.” (Ephesians 1:6)

This wonderful verse assures that all who have been saved by God’s grace have been “accepted” by the Lord. However, this is not just a marginal acceptability. The Greek word occurs only one other time in the New Testament, and there it appears in the words of the angel Gabriel to Mary. “Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women” (Luke 1:28). That is, we are not merely accepted, we are highly favored by God!

This is not because of our own personal merits, of course. It is because God sees us as in His Son; He loves us because He loves Him, and we are in Him.

Although Christ is called God’s “beloved Son” seven times in the New Testament (each time directly by the Father Himself), there is only one other time when He is spoken of simply as “the beloved.” This is in Matthew 12:18 (quoting Isaiah 42:1), “Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him.”

The love of God the Father for His beloved Son is the root source of every other love in the universe, for it is the one love that is eternal. “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 before the foundation of the world” (John 17:24). This is what it means to be highly favored in the beloved! This was the prayer of Christ on His way to Gethsemane the night before He went to the cross.

We who are in Him are predestined to be with Him in glory, to behold His glory, and forever, as redeemed sinners saved by grace through faith, to be “to the praise of the glory of his grace” (today’s text). HMM

Two Conditions Must Be Met

And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us. —1 John 5:14

When we go to God with a request that He modify the existing situation for us, that is, that He answer prayer, there are two conditions that we must meet: (1) We must pray in the will of God and (2) we must be on what old-fashioned Christians often call “praying ground”; that is, we must be living lives pleasing to God.

It is futile to beg God to act contrary to His revealed purposes. To pray with confidence the petitioner must be certain that his request falls within the broad will of God for His people.

The second condition is also vitally important. God has not placed Himself under obligation to honor the requests of worldly, carnal or disobedient Christians. He hears and answers the prayers only of those who walk in His way.

The truth is that God always answers the prayer that accords with His will as revealed in the Scriptures, provided the one who prays is obedient and trustful. Further than this we dare not go.   MDP086-087

Lord, in the power of Your Holy Spirit, help me to be obedient. May everything I think and do be pleasing in Your sight. Amen.

Tozer on Christian Leadership

The Final Test of Love

He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me. —John 14:24

There is something basically wrong with our Christianity and our spirituality if we can carelessly presume that if we do not like a biblical doctrine and choose not to “buy” it, there is no harm done.

Commandments which we have received from our Lord or from the apostles cannot be overlooked or ignored by earnest and committed Christians. God has never instructed us that we should weigh His desires for us and His commandments to us in the balances of our own judgment and then decide what we want to do about them.

A professing Christian may say, “I have found a place of real Christian freedom; these things just don’t apply to me.”

Of course you can walk out on it! God has given every one of us the power to make our own choices. ICH062-063

The final test of love is obedience. Not sweet emotions, not willingness to sacrifice, not zeal, but obedience to the commandments of Christ. Our Lord drew a line plain and tight for everyone to see. TIC166

Tozer on the Holy Spirit.

Sanctified Wholly

1 Thessalonians 5:23

It seems to me that there is a large amount of uncertainly abroad among us on the subject of holiness. I have no new truth to set forth; the doctrine is as old as the Book.

Holiness to the Lord is to us a fundamental truth; it stands in the front ranks of our doctrines. We inscribe it upon our banners. Holiness in its broad significance means separation from all unrighteousness and consecration to God. It means that the soul is brought into a state in which it has both the liberty and the ability to serve God as He desires and that it constantly does so.

In the early stages of Christian experience this deliverance is only partial. Although the soul is delivered from the domination and power of sin, and is no longer the slave of sin, still there are the remains of the carnal mind which trouble the soul, often lead it into sin, and which, if not continually fought against and kept under, bring the soul again into bondage. Nevertheless in this state the soul, when faithful, has peace with God, the guidance, energy and witness of the Holy Spirit, which together create in the soul a blessed certainty of salvation, and a joy which is unspeakable and full of glory. All this is, however, perfectly compatible with the conscious existence of sin in the soul.

There are three broad relations in which a man can stand toward sin. He can be, firstly, under sin; secondly, over sin; and thirdly, without sin.

He can be under sin. He is not only exposed to the penalty which God has in infinite wisdom and benevolence attached to the transgression of that law, but he is under its power. Even when enlightened to see its cruel and ruinous character, and yearning for deliverance, he is powerless to free himself from its iron grip. He is a slave to the tyrant; he is under sin.

He can be over sin. It may be that the pride, anger, lust or whatsoever other evils ruled him with a rod of iron before, may be there. Bruised and broken and faint they may be, but still they exist; but the Master has taken them from the throne of the soul and has been given power over them. He is now no longer under sin, but under grace. The old habits and tempers and tendencies can still make their presence felt, but they are no longer the masters.

But there is another state, and that is without sin. In this experience, Paul’s prayer for the Thessalonians (1 Thessalonians 5:23), and through them for all saints, is answered. The God of peace sanctifies wholly, and the whole body, soul and spirit are preserved blameless.

William Booth, Salvation Soldiery