VIDEO It Could Be Today

Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming. Matthew 25:13

 A few years ago, a Mississippi woman entered the hospital to give birth to triplets. After the three children were delivered, she was shocked to hear the doctor say, “More feet!” A fourth identical child, who had been missed by the ultrasounds, made a surprising appearance.

In the days of Herod the Great, few people expected the birth of the Messiah. The rabbis had misread the ultrasound charts of Old Testament prophecy. But Jesus arrived exactly at the right moment, in the fullness of time.

In our day, few people are expecting the imminent return of Christ. But every sunrise is a reminder of His impending return. J. D. Greear recalls growing up in a church where the pastor would end each service by saying, “Maranatha,” meaning, “The Lord is coming.” The congregation would respond, “And it could be today.” Greear said, “We could use some of that attitude. This may be our last chance—to share the Gospel, to forgive, to repent.”[1]

Christ could come at any moment. I believe that with all my heart—not because of what I read in the newspapers, but because of what I read in Scripture. John F. MacArthur


THE MYSTERY OF THE 10 VIRGINS | EPISODE 981

Working Together

If you do this and God so commands, you will be able to stand the strain, and all these people will go home satisfied. Exodus 18:23

Joe worked more than twelve hours a day, often without taking breaks. Starting a charitable business demanded so much time and energy that he had little left to offer his wife and children when he got home. After the toll of chronic stress landed Joe in the hospital, a friend offered to organize a team to help him. Though he dreaded giving up control, Joe knew he couldn’t keep up his current pace. He agreed to trust his friend—and God—as he delegated responsibilities to the group of people they chose together. A year later, Joe admitted that the charity and his family could never have prospered if he’d refused the help God had sent him.

God didn’t design people to thrive without the support of a loving community. In Exodus 18, Moses led the Israelites through the wilderness. He tried serving God’s people as a teacher, a counselor, and a judge all on his own. When his father-in-law visited, he offered Moses advice: “You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out,” said Jethro. “The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone” (Exodus 18:18). He encouraged Moses to share the workload with faithful people. Moses accepted help and the whole community benefited.

When we trust that God works in and through all His people as we work together, we can find true rest.

By:  Xochitl Dixon

Reflect & Pray

How can you trust God by asking for help or offering help to someone in leadership this week? How has He provided you the support of trustworthy people?

Father God, thank You for never asking me to handle life without Your help or the support of others.

Why Does God Still Speak?

Isaiah 30:18-21

The Bible is God’s Word, so does He still want to speak to us personally? The answer is yes, and there are several reasons why.

First, His guidance is a necessity for our lives. In Scripture, we see the Lord giving specific directions to His servants, and we often forget that we, too, need His instructions.

Second, we rely on the Lord’s power just as much as the Israelites. We all have “Red Sea” experiences, when we don’t know where to turn. But just as the Lord parted the waters for Israel, He will act in our lives, too.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, He wants us to have an intimate relationship with Him. The heavenly Father loves us just as much as He loved His children in biblical times. And He desires fellowship and honest conversation with today’s believers, just as He did with Abraham, Moses, and the prophets. So our priority should be to know Him and, once we do, to continually know Him better and better.

Our connection with God cannot be a one-way street. There must be a continual flow of back-and-forth communication—and that means we don’t do all the talking. We will get to know our Father more intimately when we learn to listen.

God Is Omniscient

“Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.” (Acts 15:18)

Although the concept of absolute knowledge is general to almost all ideas of God, it is perhaps the most difficult for any human being to understand. Most of us work very hard to obtain knowledge and, in most cases, even harder to retain it. The practical issue with this teaching is we forget that God does not forget!

“The LORD looketh from heaven; he beholdeth all the sons of men. From the place of his habitation he looketh upon all the inhabitants of the earth. He fashioneth their hearts alike; he considereth all their works” (Psalm 33:13-15). Deep in the heart of every man is the fear that God’s omniscience is very real, but we spend much of our waking hours attempting to override that concern.

Yet, the Scriptures are absolutely clear. “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened:…and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works” (Revelation 20:12). “But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment” (Matthew 12:36).

Ah, but the wonderful and encouraging side of God’s omniscience is that He does know. “O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether” (Psalm 139:1-4).

With that kind of knowledge, it is no wonder that “my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19). HMM III

Good-for-Nothing Christians

Matthew 5:13

YE are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savor, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men” (Matt. 5:13).

Our Lord used simplest figures of speech. Believers are here set forth as the “salt of the earth.” The Christian has many saline characteristics. Salt is cleansing, and every believer—himself cleansed by the Word and the blood—should cast a purifying influence wherever he goes. Every believer should have an antiseptic influence; the very air should clear up with his presence and conversation. The true social gospel is nothing more or less than the salting of the community with the life and testimony of born-again believers. Sin is disease, sickness, and the only remedy is the gospel. We are living gospels, epistles known and read by all men, and our work is to cleanse and purify by the outliving of Christ within.

Salt is relishing—it gives seasoning flavor. Consider how flat is food that has not been salted. And the believer should have salt in himself (Mark 9:50) and not be the flat, insipid sort we find composing the greater part of our church memberships. One reason why men pay so little attention to the gospel today is the tasteless living of Christians. We make our church services as dreary as possible. Many Christians get a negative slant, and go about so dead and dull that they repel any who might be considering the claims of Christ. There should be a zest, a relish, a good flavor to our faith that puts color into life and gives it tone and makes it tasty. The average church or Christian today reminds us of bread without salt.

Salt preserves; it keeps from spoiling and putrefaction. Christians are a preservative to society. The world would have been rotten long ago but for the presence of the Holy Spirit in Christians, the salt of the earth. And when Christ takes up His saints, speedy corruption will immediately set in. It is the Church that saves the world from decay, little as the world appreciates it.

We read of the savor of the knowledge of Christ (2 Cor. 2:14). It is this that gives the salt its flavor. But the believer can become tasteless and the salt thus loses its savor. The most useless thing in the world is salt without savor. It is good for nothing. Unsavory meat can be remedied, but what can you do with unsavory salt? We read that the salt without savor is to be cast out and trodden under foot of men. Such is the fate of the castaway, who brings upon himself the contempt of even the sinning world because he professes what he does not possess.

Here is a grievous reality in our world today. Think of the thousands of lifeless, tasteless Christians who carry no flavor whatsoever—are insipid and flat. And think of the churches that merely carry on an order of service but are devoid of any seasoning grace. Such are headed for judgment, for they are good for nothing else. Let your life be salted with the knowledge of Christ. Let your speech be with grace, seasoned with salt. Don’t be a good-for-nothing Christian.
Reflections on the Gospels.

The Spirit of Holiness

The sacrifice pleasing to God is a broken spirit. God, You will not despise a broken and humbled heart.—Psalm 51:17

Here are two important steps toward greater openness to the work of the Holy Spirit in your life:

(1) Ask yourself: “Is there any unresolved conflict, unrepented sin, or anything I must put right in order that God can flood my life with His Holy Spirit?” We must not forget that the Spirit of God is called the Holy Spirit. Holy symbolizes purity; Spirit symbolizes power. The Holy Spirit is completely holy, searching, convicting, cleansing, yet at the same time immensely powerful to support, strengthen, and sustain. If there is anything in your life that needs to be put right, then talk to God about it now. Remember at this point that you are not just reading a page—you are ridding yourself of a plague. You cannot have the Holy Spirit flowing through your life and hold onto unrepented sin. One or the other must go.

(2) Remind yourself that God is more eager to give you His Holy Spirit than you are to receive. Jesus called the giving of the Spirit “the Father’s promise” (Ac 1:4). This is the promise of promises. For God to go back on a promise would be the very reverse of His nature; it is impossible. The character of God is behind this promise. You can bank on it. If you could part the clouds for a moment and look into heaven, you would see in the heart of God such an intense longing and yearning for you to be filled with His Spirit that it would completely overwhelm and overawe you. He aches to give you the fullness of His Spirit—He really does.

Prayer

O Father, what You want for my life, I want too—for my will and Your will to coincide. Make me as eager to be filled as You are to fill me. For Jesus’ sake. Amen.

Further Study

Ac 2:14-38; Ps 34:18; Isa 66:2; Eph 4:24

How did Peter exhort the people to receive the Spirit?

What was the result?

Our Words and God’s Word

Romans 1:17

It is a source of joy to remember that in the midst of our humanity God’s word breaks in on our words and grips us in a way that human words do not.

Our initial relationship to the Bible is that of faith. By faith we accept the Bible as the Word of God to us. I have a simple definition for faith which has been helpful to me through the years. Faith is taking everything you know about yourself and committing it to everything you know about God. Every time we pick up the Bible to read it, we are acting on faith.

Martin Luther’s life well illustrates this commitment of faith. Luther, above all, wanted to find God, and he began his journey as a monk, trusting falsely in salvation by works. In 1510 he traveled to Rome by foot, a distance of 800 miles, and in the basilica of St. John Lateran he ascended on his knees the sacred stairs believed to have been trod by Jesus in Jerusalem. Surely, he thought, he would find God in Rome by such acts of contrition. But Luther left Rome a disappointed and disillusioned man. He next turned to scholasticism, and then to ruminations about the doctrine of election, still without assurance.

But in 1514, reading in Romans, his eyes fell on 1:17: “The righteous will live by faith.” Luther’s tortured pilgrimage ended. All was settled. He knew himself as a child of God by grace. God’s Word spoke to him clearly through the Bible. Luther came to know both himself and his Christ through the Word of God, and he was obedient to that Word.

The heart of our relationship to the Bible is our realization that Jesus Christ is the center of Scripture and the focus of the Christian faith. The lasting value of the written Word, the Bible, is that it points as an everlasting sign to the enfleshed Word, Jesus Christ, the center of Scripture.

What results from our relationship with the Bible? One word will do—obedience. The sure mark of the Christian is not spirituality. Martin Luther and John Wesley demonstrated intense spirituality before they were saved. The clear sign that we are Christians is that we obey the Word of God. William Booth wrote:

“I want to see a new translation of the Bible into the hearts and conduct of men and women.”

We approach the Bible by faith. The heart of our relationship to the Bible rests in the recognition that Jesus Christ is the central Word in God’s Word. And the result of our relationship to the Bible is to act out obediently and ethically the mandate of that Word.

Roger J. Green, The Salvationist Pulpit