VIDEO The Supreme Climb – Do you desire a God-given revival?

Take now your son…and offer him…as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you. —Genesis 22:2

A person’s character determines how he interprets God’s will (see Psalm 18:25-26). Abraham interpreted God’s command to mean that he had to kill his son, and he could only leave this traditional belief behind through the pain of a tremendous ordeal. God could purify his faith in no other way. If we obey what God says according to our sincere belief, God will break us from those traditional beliefs that misrepresent Him. There are many such beliefs which must be removed– for example, that God removes a child because his mother loves him too much. That is the devil’s lie and a travesty on the true nature of God! If the devil can hinder us from taking the supreme climb and getting rid of our wrong traditional beliefs about God, he will do so. But if we will stay true to God, God will take us through an ordeal that will serve to bring us into a better knowledge of Himself.

The great lesson to be learned from Abraham’s faith in God is that he was prepared to do anything for God. He was there to obey God, no matter what contrary belief of his might be violated by his obedience. Abraham was not devoted to his own convictions or else he would have slain Isaac and said that the voice of the angel was actually the voice of the devil. That is the attitude of a fanatic. If you will remain true to God, God will lead you directly through every barrier and right into the inner chamber of the knowledge of Himself. But you must always be willing to come to the point of giving up your own convictions and traditional beliefs. Don’t ask God to test you. Never declare as Peter did that you are willing to do anything, even “to go …both to prison and to death” (Luke 22:33). Abraham did not make any such statement— he simply remained true to God, and God purified his faith.


It is impossible to read too much, but always keep before you why you read. Remember that “the need to receive, recognize, and rely on the Holy Spirit” is before all else. Approved Unto God, 11 L

A Powerful Sermon Clip That Every American Needs To Hear

A Tree to Heal

Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from? Genesis 3:11

For $300,000, you can buy a new McLaren 720S sports car. The vehicle comes with a V8 engine pumping 710 horsepower—considerably more than you’ll need for your morning commute.

Of course, you might be tempted to use all that power. One Virginia driver learned his McLaren was so “fast” it could go from an upscale showroom to the scrap heap in just twenty-four hours! One day after buying the car, he slammed it into a tree. (Thankfully, he survived.)

Just three chapters into the story of the Bible, we learn how a different bad choice and a tree marred God’s good creation. Adam and Eve ate from the one tree they were to leave alone (Genesis 3:11). The story had barely begun, and paradise was cursed (vv. 14–19).

Another tree would play a role in undoing this curse—the cross Jesus endured on our behalf. His death purchased our future with Him (Deuteronomy 21:23; Galatians 3:13).

The story comes full circle in the Bible’s last chapter. There we read of “the tree of life” growing beside the “river of the water of life” (Revelation 22:1–2). As John describes it, this tree will be “for the healing of the nations” (v. 2). And he assures us, “No longer will there be any curse” (v. 3). God’s story comes with the happily-ever-after we all long for.

By:  Tim Gustafson

Reflect & Pray

How do we already experience the reality of Jesus’ victory over sin and death today? What do you think is an appropriate response to His sacrifice for us?

Father, don’t let me forget the price it cost Your Son to undo the curse we set in motion way back in the garden of Eden. All I can say is thank You. All I can give You is my life.

Sunday Reflection: The One True God

To get the most out of this devotion, set aside time to read the Scripture referenced throughout.

A crowd came together at Mount Carmel to watch a showdown between 450 prophets of Baal—the prominent false god of the time—and Elijah, the one prophet speaking for the true God. (See 1 Kings 18.) Elijah was used to standing up to the powerful, and this occasion would be no different.

Wanting to prove Yahweh’s supremacy once and for all, Elijah challenged the 450 to make an altar to their god, place meat on it, and pray for fire to descend. Baal’s prophets prayed energetically, but to no avail. Then it was Elijah’s turn to place an offering on an altar erected for the Lord, and he upped the ante by drenching the meat and the wood in water. When fire came down and consumed the soaked sacrifice and altar, the people fell to their faces and declared the Lord is God (1 Kings 18:39).

We may not often see such miraculous displays of God’s superiority when confronting false gods in our own life or in the world today. But we can rest assured, knowing that Elijah’s God is our own: the Alpha and Omega, the eternal Father who loves us.

Think about it
• When was the last time God showed up for you in a big way? What are small ways He shows you His love?

God Is Omnipotent

“Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee.” (Jeremiah 32:17)

The Genesis record of creation generates more hostility among men than any other message. Even secular atheists claim to respect the humanitarian teachings of Jesus, but they bristle irrationally when the Lord Jesus is identified as the Creator. Perhaps this is because the evidence for God’s omnipotence is displayed so openly and vividly by the “greatness of his might” (Isaiah 40:26).

The God who can speak the billions of galaxies into existence with the “breath of his mouth” (Psalm 33:6) is a God who can cast ungodly men into eternal hell for their defiance and rebellion against “the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ” (Jude 1:4). Conversely, the God who “stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing” (Job 26:7) is able to “save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him” (Hebrews 7:25).

No wonder the psalmist expresses the praise that all men should declare: “Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable. One generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts. I will speak of the glorious honour of thy majesty, and of thy wondrous works. And men shall speak of the might of thy terrible acts: and I will declare thy greatness” (Psalm 145:3-6).

When the Lord Jesus was formally invested at the great assembly around the throne, the entire throng burst into the song “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created” (Revelation 4:11). Each of us would do well to carry that song in our hearts every day. HMM III

“Thou Shalt Call His Name Jesus”

Matthew 1:21-23

ONLY Matthew and Luke give us any account of the birth of our Lord. Matthew records that Mary “was found with child of the Holy Ghost” and that the angel appearing to Joseph declares the child shall be called “Jesus,” which is equivalent to the Old Testament “Joshua” and means “Savior.” All this also is a fulfillment of Isaiah 7:14.

Luke records more details. Joseph and Mary at Bethlehem for the taxation find no room in the inn. Alas, there still is no room for the Lord Jesus to be born in the crowded inns of many hearts.

The Lord Jesus was first made known to shepherds, who represent the working class; to the wise men, who represent the student class; and to Simeon and Anna, who represent the worshiping class. Christ has ever been made known to men in their work, their study, their worship. It is significant that the first to hear the glad tidings were the humble shepherds, as if to declare in advance that these things should be received by the weak and base and despised—more by babes than by the wise and prudent.

Yet the learned are not excluded, for the wise men also came to the young King. This story has been twisted somewhat out of its original shape. It is not said that there were three, nor are their names given. Their gifts are significant: gold symbolizes royalty; frankincense speaks of the fragrance of our Lord’s life, a sacrifice to the Father; myrrh, used in embalming the dead, points to His death. In Isaiah 60:6 similar gifts are spoken of in connection with our Lord’s Return, but the myrrh is omitted for His death then is past.

In Matthews account, several scriptures are fulfilled. Micah 5:2, in regard to Bethlehem, comes to pass. The flight to Egypt fulfills Hosea 11:1, which applies primarily to Israel but also to our Lord, who was identified with His brethren according to the flesh. Jeremiah 31:15 is fulfilled in the slaughter of the children by Herod; it personifies Israel in Rachel weeping for her children. The contest shows that Israel will weep until she accepts her Messiah.

Mary must offer sacrifice (Luke 2:24) because she was sinful as other women. Devout Simeon and Anna, waiting for the consolation of Israel and not to die until they had seen the Christ, are Spirit-led to recognize Him. Simeon quotes from Isaiah 42 and 49 that the Lord Jesus shall be “a light to the Gentiles,” the glory of Israel and yet a stumbling stone to Israel (Rom. 3:29; 1 Cor. 1:23-24; 2 Cor. 2:16; 1 Pet. 2:8). Truly a sword pierced Mary’s heart at the cross (John 19:25) as Simeon declared. The rest of the verse, “that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed,” belongs to verse 34. In the attitude men take toward Christ all else is revealed.

Anna testified to others who looked for the Messiah, but doubtless her witness to other Jews was rejected, as it has been to this day.

The Choice Facing Us

Whoever is faithful in very little is also faithful in much.—Luke 16:10

What is denial? It is the attitude that avoids looking realistically at issues and pretends that things are not the way they are.

Most Christians (myself included) are to varying degrees held together by denial. Deep down we sense that if we were to face the realities of life openly and honestly, we might not be able to cope, and so we pretend things are not what they are.

I know Christians who pretend that what they have in life satisfies more than it does, or pretend they haven’t been hurt as badly as they have. They refuse to face and feel what is going on inside them, due to the strange belief that it is lack of faith on their part to admit to anything that is negative.

This faulty teaching—that we ought to ignore what is going on inside us instead of facing it and dealing with it—is responsible for more casualties in the Christian life than anything I know. A Christian psychologist says: “I am convinced that much of what we admire as spiritual maturity is a fragile adjustment to life based on the foundation of denial.” I would agree. My own observation would lead me to say that I have found some non-Christians to be more open and honest in facing what is going on inside them than some Christians.

Is denial a wise plan for life? Absolutely not. The choice, then, is stark: either to deny and live comfortably or to face every painful issue—and go on to climb the heights with God.


Father, help me to see that I need never be afraid to face anything, for in You I have the resources to resolve all problems, not just skirt them. Show me how to blast denial right out of my life—once and for all. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Further Study

Eccl 5:1-7; Isa 29:13; Mt 15:1-9

What do fools do?

What prophecy was fulfilled by the Pharisees?

God’s Shepherds

1 Peter 5:2-4

The Gospel narrative records that “When [Jesus] saw the crowds He had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:36).

The picture of the shepherd with his sheep is woven into the Bible’s language and imagery. Flocks of sheep blanket Judea’s central plateau that stretches 35 miles from Bethel to Hebron. In biblical times, as today, the most familiar figure of the Judean uplands was the shepherd.

The shepherd’s life was hard. He was never off duty. No flock ever grazed without a shepherd. The shepherd’s lonely task was constant and dangerous. Besides protecting his sheep from physical danger, the shepherd had to guard against wild animals. And there were always thieves ready to steal the sheep. The shepherd maintained constant vigilance, fearless courage and patient love so his flock would survive and prosper.

God entrusts church leaders, whether lay or clergy, as shepherds of His people. The Greek word for shepherd, poimain, reveals that the shepherd is one who feeds and nurtures the flock. Peter admonishes Christian leaders to be shepherds and examples to the flock.

First century shepherds had four indispensable pieces of equipment. Essential to the shepherd was his script—a bag made of animal skin in which he carried his food, typically bread, dried fruit, olives and cheese, all needed to remain physically strong.

Each shepherd treasured his custom-made sling. In the hands of a competent shepherd, a sling became a lethal weapon. This versatile device served as an instrument of offense and defense.

The third essential tool was the shepherd’s rod, a short, wooden club often studded with nails. The rod aided the shepherd in defending himself and his flock against beasts and robbers.

The shepherd’s final requisite equipment has become symbolic of his vocationthe staff. With his staff he could retrieve any sheep that had strayed from the flock.

The biblical picture of the shepherd illustrates the Christian leader’s responsibility to love, nurture and guide those under his or her care. The trustworthy leader of God’s children follows his Lord’s example, the One who for each of us became the Good Shepherd.

William Francis, The War Cry