VIDEO Wait Patiently

You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. James 5:8

When societies were agrarian, children grew up learning about how things grow. They learned that some crops grow underground—like potatoes, beets, carrots, garlic, radishes—and must be pulled out of the ground when harvested. More than one impatient child over the years has made the mistake of pulling a tiny plant out of the ground prematurely because, “I wanted to see how well it was growing!” A lesson in patience soon followed.

The New Testament’s world was agrarian; it is filled with illustrations related to agriculture. The apostle James used such an illustration when writing about Christ’s Second Coming. His exhortation was for his readers to be patient—just as the farmer has to wait for his “precious fruit . . . until it receives the early and latter rain” (James 5:7). Only then is the harvest ready. But such waiting is not idle waiting. It is anticipatory, preparatory, and proactive. And so is our waiting for the return of Christ.

Our preparation involves standing firm, establishing and keeping our hearts in faith, our hands busy with the Lord’s work. As we patiently, but actively, wait for the harvest, so we wait for Jesus’ return.

I am packed, sealed, and waiting for the post. John Newton


James 5:7–8

Learning from Foolishness

The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left. Even as fools walk along the road, they lack sense. Ecclesiastes 10:2–3

A man walked into a convenience store in Wollongong, Australia, put a $20 bill on the counter and asked for change. When the clerk opened the cash drawer, the man pulled a gun and asked for all the cash in the register, which the clerk promptly provided. The man took the cash from the clerk and fled, leaving the $20 bill on the counter. The total amount of cash he got from the drawer? Fifteen dollars.

We all act foolishly at times—even if, unlike this thief, we’re trying to do the right thing. The key is how we learn from our foolish behavior. Without correction, our poor choices can become habits, which will negatively shape our character. We’ll become “fools . . . [who] lack sense” (Ecclesiastes 10:3). 

Sometimes it’s hard to admit our foolishness because of the extra work it requires. Perhaps we need to reflect on a particular character flaw, and that’s painful. Or maybe we need to admit that a decision was made hastily and next time we should take more care. Whatever the reason, it never pays to ignore our foolish ways.

Thankfully, God can use our foolishness to discipline and shape us. Discipline isn’t “pleasant at the time,” but its training yields good fruit in the long run (Hebrews 12:11). Let’s accept our Father’s discipline for our foolish behavior and ask Him to make us more like the sons and daughters He intends us to be.

By:  Con Campbell

Reflect & Pray

What’s a recent foolish choice you’ve made? What do you think God wants you to learn from it?

Thank You, Father, for using my foolishness to train me. May I accept Your discipline graciously as You continue to work in me.

What Does It Mean to Be Born Again?

John 3:5-8

There is a great deal of misinformation regarding the meaning of the term “born again.” Such ignorance and confusion could have disastrous ramifications if those who think they are born again really aren’t.

In a conversation with Nicodemus, Jesus used this term to explain how one enters the kingdom of heaven. Nicodemus thought the Lord was referring to a subsequent physical birth and couldn’t fathom how this was possible, but Jesus was speaking in spiritual terms.

The original Greek phrase literally means “born from above,” signifying that this new birth originates with God, not with man. It also involves being born of water and the Spirit. To enter the kingdom of heaven, we must be cleansed from our sins and regenerated by the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5).

When you are born again through faith in Jesus Christ, there is a radical change within you. Your spirit, which was once dead to God, is made alive by the Holy Spirit, who now indwells you. He enables you to understand His spiritual truths and live in obedience to His Word. What begins as an invisible renewal will soon become increasingly visible in a righteous lifestyle.  

Christ the King

“Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords.” (1 Timothy 6:15)

Of the many descriptive titles of the Lord Jesus Christ, perhaps the most significant is that of King because this speaks of His universal dominion. The day is coming when “every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth” (Philippians 2:10).

First of all, since He created all things, He is the King of creation. “For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods. In his hand are the deep places of the earth: the strength of the hills is his also. The sea is his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land” (Psalm 95:3-5).

In a special sense, of course, He is the King of the Jews. “He shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end” (Luke 1:33).

He is also our King of redemption, having set us free from the kingdom of the wicked one. He “hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:13-14).

There is a day coming in which all the kings of the earth shall unite against Him. “These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful” (Revelation 17:14). “And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron….And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS” (Revelation 19:15- 16). Until then, let us serve Him as King and submit to Him as Lord. HMM

Divine Healing

Matthew 4:23

THE very words are misleading—as though all healing were not the work of God. But of direct healing without any intermediate agencies we hear much today, and that usually is called “Divine Healing.”

Our Lord’s ministry upon earth was one of preaching, teaching and healing (Matt. 4:23). Power to heal was to be a sign for believers (Mark 16:18). The apostles healed (Acts 3:1-11; 9:32-42; 14:8-10). Healing is listed as one of the spiritual gifts (1 Cor. 12:9). James declares that the prayer of faith shall save the sick (Jas. 5:15).

That God heals today in direct answer to prayer is proven again and again in undeniable instances, some of which all of us have known. In some cases He heals through the agencies of doctors and medicines. In other cases where healing is asked just as earnestly, for some reason best known to Himself, He does not heal at all. There is no uniform rule here that fits all cases.

Paul healed, yet he himself carried a “thorn in the flesh” which God did not take away in answer to prayer. He left Trophimus at Miletum sick (2 Tim. 4:20), and he advised Timothy to use a little wine for his stomachs sake and his often infirmities (1 Tim. 5:23).

These facts, with the facts of everyday experience, bear out the truth that God is not always pleased to heal the sick even in answer to earnest prayer. The “prayer of faith” that shall save the sick is prayer that is in line with God’s will to heal in a given case. The true attitude of faith is “Thy will be done,” and when it is God’s will to heal in a certain case, and the prayer is in harmony with His will, it is a true prayer of faith.

It is the same principle where we read that if we delight ourselves in the Lord He shall give us the desires of our hearts (Ps. 37:4). One readily can see how that if everyone got from God what he desired we should have hopeless confusion; with two men, for instance, in the same community praying, one for rain and the other for dry weather. The antecedent conditions are that we delight in the Lord, rest in His will, and then the desire of our hearts will be that His will be done. In other words, as we abide in Him He creates within us such holy desires as He is pleased to answer.

The true attitude toward healing is to trust one’s condition with the Lord, commit it to Him at the outset. Then, it is well to use such agencies as we can for healing and recovery, for they, too, are the gifts of God. Committing one’s case to a doctor does not exclude the participation of God, for whatever good results are obtained come from the giver of every good and perfect gift. God often uses means as He did with the poultice of figs in Hezekiahs case (Isa. 38:21) and as our Lord did with the blind man (John 9:6). Still, He can and often does heal when all earthly means have failed, so our attitude should be that God does heal and sometimes uses means—rather than that nature heals us with the aid of medicine and sometimes God may heal. This attitude allows for the possibility of Divine Healing.

Below the Waterline

Surely You desire integrity in the inner self.—Psalm 51:6

When considering the proposition that a balanced, honest look at what is going on beneath the surface of your life can contribute greatly to your spiritual health, think of your life as an iceberg.

We are told that the visible part of an iceberg—that is, the part we see above the water—is about one-tenth of its total size. Its bulk lies beneath the surface and is revealed only to those who are equipped to go down below the waterline. Our lives are like that; there is much more to them than we see on the surface.

Think of the visible part above the waterline as representing the things you do, the thoughts you consciously think, and the feelings you sense going on within you. Let the mass below the waterline represent the things that go on inside you that cannot be clearly seen or understood, such as motives, attitudes, impulses, and so on. Facing what goes on above the waterline—our visible behaviors and actions—is a whole lot easier than delving below the surface, and this is why many Christians (not all, of course) concern themselves only with what they can see, know, and understand.

These people can be described as “surface copers,” who cope with life by dealing with whatever they can see and ignoring all the rest. If, however, we are to enjoy a deeper relationship with God, then we will do so only as we come to grips with the tough issues that lie beneath the surface of our lives.

Prayer

God, help me this day to stand before You in complete and utter honesty. Save me from becoming a “surface coper,” and give me the grace I need to face the things that I would normally avoid. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Further Study

Isa 11; 1Kg 3:1-10; Jn 5:30

How does Jesus judge and reprove?

What did Solomon ask for?

The Second Coining of Christ

Acts 1:11

Astronaut James Irwin, Commander of Apollo 15, shared that while walking on the moon and looking out at planet Earth, suspended in space like an iridescent jewel, the thought came to him that this moment, man walking on the moon, was the greatest event in the history of the world. Then he adds that the Lord whispered to his heart, saying, “I did something greater than that—I walked on the earth!”

Stand with me on the tiptoes of your mind and contemplate the awesome wonder of the God whose power is flaunted by orbiting spheres, unveiling His love in the Babe of Bethlehem. Think of it—God, walking the earth in sandals!

The coming of Christ into the world is the most stupendous event of human history. That first Advent of our Lord is the marvel of the ages.

When we hear the news of our day, we say, “The worst is yet to come.” But when we read the Bible, we say, “The best is yet to be.” God’s Word declares that the most colossal event of history is yet to come!

The promise of the Second Coming of our Lord runs as a golden thread throughout the Bible.

We put our ear and heart close to the door of the Upper Room on the night before the crucifixion. The immortal words of our Lord float as soft music through the night air. “Do not let your hearts be troubled… I will come back and take you to be with me” (John 14:1-3). Jesus, in His last will and testament to His followers, bequeathed the precious promise that He will return and take us to be forever with Him.

Further on in the New Testament narrative, we read where, on the Mount of Olives, without the aid of booster rockets or computers, our Lord defies the law of gravity and ascends into the heavens. As 500 onlookers stand in wide-eyed wonder, the angelic messenger announces: “This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11).

Throughout the New Testament no less than 318 references, one of every 30 verses, assert the return of Jesus Christ. We turn to the very last page of the Bible, and read the final recorded words of Jesus to His followers of all ages. No fewer than three times He affirms the peerless promise (Rev. 22:7, 12, 20), His final words being, “Yes, I am coming soon.”

The Second Coming is the most precious promise yet to be fulfilled for the believer. Jesus is coming again! Let us be ready.

Henry Gariepy, The Salvationist Pulpit