VIDEO Mothers Know Best: Eunice

From childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 2 Timothy 3:15

Sponges—both the real kind from the ocean and the synthetic one in your sink—can hold vast amounts of water because of their countless series of complex labyrinths and dead-end tunnels and narrow channels. Water fills these tiny canals, which allows us to squeeze it out as needed.1

Mothers, grandmothers—and all the rest of us—should soak up Scripture like sponges because God wants even the slightest pressures upon us to yield an outpouring of His Word on others. In 2 Timothy 1:5, the apostle Paul commended Timothy’s grandmother, Lois, and his mother, Eunice, because their faith had provided a powerful model for young Timothy. In chapter 3, Paul rejoiced that Timothy had known the Holy Scriptures from childhood. These two women were saturated with Scripture, and Timothy lived in the overflow.

We need to saturate ourselves with God’s Word so the blessings will overflow on our children and all who come after us. Let’s be human sponges of the water of God’s Word!

Bible saturation is very different from the thin dribble of Bible that satisfies most of us. Amos R. Wells


55 2 Timothy 3-4 – Pastor Chuck Smith – C2000 Series

Dwelling in Our Hearts

I pray that . . . he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. Ephesians 3:16–17

Sometimes the words of children can jolt us into a deeper understanding of God’s truth. One evening when my daughter was young, I told her about one of the great mysteries of the Christian faith—that God through His Son and Spirit dwells in His children. As I tucked her into bed, I said that Jesus was with her and in her. “He’s in my tummy?” she asked. “Well, you haven’t swallowed Him,” I replied. “But He’s right there with you.”

My daughter’s literal translation of Jesus being “in her tummy” made me stop and consider how when I asked Jesus to be my Savior, He came and took residence within me.

The apostle Paul referred to this mystery when he prayed that the Holy Spirit would strengthen the believers in Ephesus so that Christ would “dwell in [their] hearts through faith” (Ephesians 3:17). With Jesus living within, they could grasp how deeply He loved them. Fueled by this love, they would mature in their faith and love others with humility and gentleness while speaking the truth in love (4:2, 25).

Jesus dwelling inside His followers means that His love never leaves those who’ve welcomed Him into their lives. His love that surpasses knowledge (3:19) roots us to Him, helping us to understand how deeply He loves us.

Words written for children can say it best: “Yes, Jesus loves me!”

By:  Amy Boucher Pye

Reflect & Pray

How does Jesus dwelling inside you give you great comfort? How can you grow closer to God knowing that His power gives you strength?

God, You’re not far off, but are close to me. May I delight in Your love and share it with others.

Following Christ

Galatians 5:13-26

We hear a lot about the importance of following Jesus, but what does that look like? Our walk with Him begins at salvation and continues throughout our earthly lifetime and into eternity. But how do we know whether we’re still on the right path or have drifted away?

Following the Lord requires obedience to God’s Word and sensitivity to His Holy Spirit. For example, Scripture clearly teaches us to forgive others as we have been forgiven (Eph. 4:32). Anger, resentment, and a desire for revenge are natural responses, but following Christ requires that we turn from these and pray to have a forgiving spirit and God’s supernatural love for our offender. It may take time to reach this point, but as we let the Holy Spirit change our mind and heart, forgiveness will come.

God has provided everything we need to faithfully follow our Savior. His Word is our guide, and His Spirit enables us to overcome our natural impulses and obey His instructions. However, we must cooperate with His work in us by denying our sinful responses and choosing instead to walk in the power of His Spirit each day. Following Jesus isn’t a one-time decision—it’s a way of life. 

Bruising the Devil

“And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.” (Romans 16:20)

This is an intriguing promise, suggesting that believers can somehow inflict bruises on the devil, who is perpetually seeking to “devour” them (1 Peter 5:8). This promise is a clear allusion to the primeval assurance of Genesis 3:15, when God promised that the unique “seed” of “the woman” would eventually “bruise” (actually “crush”) the head of the old serpent, the devil. This prophecy will finally be fulfilled in Christ’s ultimate victory, when Satan first will be bound for a thousand years in the bottomless pit and then confined forever in the lake of fire (Revelation 20:2, 10).

In the meantime believers, who also in a sense are the woman’s spiritual “seed” (Revelation 12:17), can repeatedly achieve local and temporary victories over Satan and his wiles by resisting him “stedfast in the faith” (1 Peter 5:9). If we resist him as Jesus did with relevant Scripture, then God promises that he will “flee from you” (James 4:7). Such local victories can be obtained over these dangerous teachers whom Satan is using (note Romans 16:17-19, just preceding today’s text) “shortly” in this manner, but we need to be continually alert against his recurrent attacks. The ultimate victory over Satan, of course, will be won only by the Lord Jesus when He returns, and we must “be sober, be vigilant” (1 Peter 5:8) until that time.

Whether we are aware of it or not, we must perpetually “wrestle…against the rulers of the darkness of this world” (Ephesians 6:12), who will be casting “fiery darts” (v. 16) against each believer. Finally, with the sword of the Spirit that is the Word of God (v. 17), we can even by God’s grace inflict spiritual wounds on Satan himself! HMM

“When Thou Prayest”

Matthew 6:5-13

IN the Sermon on the Mount our Lord reproved all worship done with an eye to the public. Those who so worship “have their reward”; they did it to be noticed, and notice is what they get. He said little concerning public prayer but commended the secret place with the closed door. That our Father knows what we need before we ask is not an excuse for not asking; it is here given as an incentive to asking. The Lord’s Prayer is His only in that He gave it to us. He did not need to pray it, for it asks for forgiveness which He needed not! But it is a fitting prayer for us, and how balanced! There is the worshipful beginning with its adoration; the prayer for His coming kingdom; the general desire that His will be done on earth. Then, the particular requests for daily bread, forgiveness, help in temptation; and the worshipful close with its eternal outlook “forever.”

Jesus cautions us that an unforgiving spirit on our part hinders God forgiving us. Then He holds up the ideal of true riches in heavenly investment, where misfortune and Depressions cannot reach. We are to have a single purpose: our eye must be single, “this one thing we must do.” We cannot serve God and the things of earth.

We are not to live in anxious care about tomorrow—what we shall eat, drink and wear. The birds and the lilies are examples of our Father’s provision. The true believer knows God has promised to supply all his needs, and he reckons on God’s faithfulness. Trusting in the Lord and doing good, he dwells in the land and is fed. The things of God are put first, and all else is added. Each day has enough troubles of its own.

These admonitions from the sixth chapter of Matthew are familiar. They have been read and memorized and treasured, and perhaps no portion of the Bible has been practiced less. Care is the “white sin” of most believers—who imagine that worry cannot be prevented. But we are expressly told to cast our care upon Him for He cares for us. The caring is His business, but most of us insist on helping Him attend to it.

In the seventh chapter we are bidden not to judge others or to look for faults in others, overlooking greater faults in ourselves (verses 1-5). Holy and precious truths aren’t to be wasted on those incapable of receiving them (6). We are assured that God answers prayer (7-11). The golden rule (12) has been misused, for only Christians truly can keep it. The way to heaven is narrow and few travel it (13-14). False prophets can be known by the fruits of their ministry (15-20). And it is not lip-worship but obedience that counts (21-23).

Our Lord closed His message with a parable about one house built on sand and another house on the rock. Christ is the sure foundation (1 Cor. 3:11), and lives built on Him shall endure. Where the life is unworthy, the soul is saved if it be on the Rock; but how much better when soul and life are to His glory. “The day shall declare it”—the last day will show up all shams and realities (Mal. 3:17-18).

The Worst Thing …

Whoever speaks the truth declares what is right, but a false witness, deceit.—Proverbs 12:17

Both we and the universe are made for integrity, and both the universe and we are alien to untruth and dishonesty. The whole thrust of the universe which God designed and created is simple, uncomplicated, and built on truth. There are great mysteries, of course, but no lies. Scientific laws are upheld by truth. Gravity, for example, will not lie; it is as true in one country as it is in another, as reliable in Jerusalem as it is in Japan.

It has often been pointed out that the word “evil” is the word “live” spelled backwards. Satan delights to take what God does and try to reverse it—to move life in the opposite way to that in which it was designed to go. Satan is a liar (Jn 8:44), and lies are always roundabout, complicated, and deceiving.

The fact that the universe is built on truth can be verified by the simple device known as a “lie detector.” The lie detector test works on the basis that people who tell lies and know they are telling lies become extremely anxious and uncomfortable, and this anxiety is then picked up by the machine. But why does telling a lie make a person anxious? Because we are built for truth, and any departure from it registers on the inside in a way that can be picked up on the outside. A lie detector is not infallible and can sometimes (though not often) be fooled. But what cannot be fooled is the soul of the person who is lying. The worst thing about being a liar is to be the person telling the lie.

Prayer

Father, help me lay hold of the fact that a lie demeans me, but the truth develops me. I cannot live successfully by a lie any more than I can fling myself out of the window and defy gravity. May I be a person of truth. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Further Study

Ps 10:1-8; Mt 17:17; 1Tm 6:3-10; Pr 28:18-28

List some of the aspects of integrity to which David committed himself.

What did Paul highlight as one area where integrity is compromised?

Apples of Gold

Proverbs 25:11

My “country aunt” was my favorite when I was a child. Not that her city counterparts weren’t wonderful people whom I loved, but Aunt Dina embodied a kind of natural beauty and order that I found especially attractive.

The time-honored practice of sitting down to the table at mealtime was a habit she refused to abandon, even in later years when that custom was challenged. She brings to mind a white linen tablecloth stretched and ironed to perfection, real cloth napkins carefully folded, and clean, sparkling dinnerware. Aunt Dina’s table always featured some centerpiece of grace and beauty.

Her favorite centerpiece was a silver basket-like bowl reserved for special occasions. From one of the several fruit trees on the farm she chose five of the most perfect golden apples, polished them with beeswax and placed them artfully in the bowl. Generally, the top apple retained a pinkish blush and two or three of its own dark green leaves. The effect was one of perfection and simple elegance.

“A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver” (Proverbs 25:11). Whether the writer of Proverbs had such a centerpiece in mind when he wrote his delightful simile, one cannot be sure. The image at once summons the idea of beauty and good taste. Coupled with its allusion to the apt word, the picture engenders some rather significant insights.

The word is the right word to speak when it is the true word. Silver and gold, to which the writer refers, are both precious metals, costly substances, that must be refined. The purer the gold or silver, the greater the price. The truth is often costly, but precious and enduring.

For the person who follows Christ, the true word is the natural word, springing from a heart that has been purified at great cost. “Surely you desire truth in the inner parts,” the psalmist wrote, knowing that the inner part determines the direction of the outward behavior (Psalm 51:6).

We will be responsible for our words as well as our deeds. People who cherish truth will heed the injunction: “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (Ephesians 4:29).

What a different world we would know if everyone did “speak truthfully to his neighbor” (Ephesians 4:25). It would be a world as beautiful as “apples of gold in settings of silver.”

Marlene Chase, Pictures from the Word