VIDEO Don’t Be Short-Circuited

And truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. 1 John 1:3

Every married couple has experienced the temporary loss of fellowship. When a word or action offends a spouse, there is a loss of closeness in the relationship. The root meaning of fellowship is “oneness”: two become one in marriage. But sin can break that oneness until the offense is dealt with through confession and forgiveness. The marriage doesn’t end because of the offense, but intimacy is short-circuited.

It’s the same with us and God. Our sin separates us from God until it is dealt with. God sent Jesus into the world to deal with our sin so we might be reconciled to God and have our oneness with Him restored (2 Corinthians 5:19). What happens if we sin as believers? We are not lost; our relationship with God is not set aside. But our fellowship with Him is interrupted until we say about our sin what God says about it (that is what confess literally means—“to say the same thing”). Because of Christ’s sacrifice for our sin, we can be forgiven and our fellowship with God restored (1 John 1:9).

Don’t let sin short-circuit your fellowship with God. Confess and be reconciled to Him.

The fellowship of God is delightful beyond all telling. A. W. Tozer


Paul Washer | 1John 1 | University Lectures

Abundant Waters

Strike the rock, and water will come out of it for the people to drink. Exodus 17:6

In Australia, a report outlined “a grim story” of extreme drought, heat, and fire. The account described a horrific year with only minuscule rainfall, turning parched brush into tinder. Raging fires torched the countryside. Fish died. Crops failed. All because they didn’t have a simple resource we often take for granted—water, which we all need in order to live.

Israel found itself in its own terrifying dilemma. As the people camped in the dusty, barren desert, we read this alarming line: “There was no water for the people to drink” (Exodus 17:1). The people were afraid. Their throats were dry. The sand sizzled. Their children suffered thirst. Terrified, the people “quarreled with Moses,” demanding water (v. 2). But what could Moses do? He could only go to God.

And God gave Moses odd instructions: “Take . . . the staff [and] . . . strike the rock, and water will come out of it for the people to drink” (vv. 5–6). So Moses hit the rock, and out gushed a river, plenty for the people and their cattle. That day, Israel knew that their God loved them. Their God provided abundant water.

If you’re experiencing a drought or wilderness in life, know that God is aware of it and He’s with you. Whatever your need, whatever your lack, may you find hope and refreshment in His abundant waters.

By:  Winn Collier

Reflect & Pray

Where are the parched and barren places in your world? How can you look for and trust in God’s abundant waters?

I need Your water, God, Your provision. If You don’t help me, I don’t think I’ll make it. Will You bring me the water I need?

Motivation to Press On

1 Corinthians 15:51-58

We would all agree life can be difficult. Pressures of daily living can feel overwhelming, relationships can disappoint us, and at times our expectations go unmet. So it’s good to remember an important truth that can sustain us: This life is not all there is; the best is yet to come.

Having the promise of the resurrection gives us the motivation we need to “be firm, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58). We know that our efforts are never in vain and our Father has provided everything we need to succeed:

• God’s Word reveals His purpose for all believers and transforms our character, thoughts, and behaviors to align with His desires.

• The Holy Spirit providentially guides us into God’s will and empowers our obedience. 

• Spiritual gifts are given by the Holy Spirit and enable us to serve the Lord in the way He’s planned.

• Prayer allows us to communicate with God at any time to receive guidance and grace to help with every need.

These remarkable divine provisions, together with the promise of resurrection and the glories of heaven, give us good reason to persevere and never lose heart.

Death by Sin

“Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” (Romans 5:12)

This very important verse conveys several vital truths. First of all, death came into the world only when sin came into the world. Suffering and death of conscious life, whether animal or human, were not a part of God’s “finished” and “very good” creation (Genesis 1:31–2:3). There was an abundance of food and all other provisions for both people and animals. There was certainly no “struggle for existence” or “survival of the fittest,” for every creature was created “fit” for its own environment.

When Adam sinned, however, it became necessary for God to bring the curse of decay and death not only upon Adam but also upon all his dominion (Genesis 3:17-20; see also Romans 8:20-22; 1 Corinthians 15:21-22).

Furthermore, there remains no warrant for the notion that “Adam” is simply a generic term representing the human race. He was “one man.” In fact, he was “the first man” (1 Corinthians 15:45), and Eve was “the mother of all living” (Genesis 3:20). There was certainly no population of evolving hominids becoming “Adam.” In fact, Christ Himself made it clear that Adam and Eve were there “from the beginning of the creation” (Mark 10:6, quoting Genesis 1:27).

The entire argument here in Romans 5:12-21 becomes irrelevant if the Genesis record of the creation and fall of Adam did not happen precisely as recorded in Genesis 1–3, and this would mean that there is no reality in the saving work of Christ either.

Such a rejection of the Christian faith is hardly warranted by the fragmentary fossils that have been alleged to support the notion of human evolution. No one should stake his eternal soul on such a will-o’-the-wisp as that! HMM

Reflections on the Gospel of Matthew

Why the Genealogies?

Matthew 1:16

THE long lists of our Lord’s ancestry given in Matthew 1:1-17 and Luke 3:23-38 have puzzled the devout not a little. They are not identical, and the ordinary reader wades through the formidable genealogical lists perhaps to no great edification.

But there is a definite purpose and value to every portion of the God-breathed Scriptures. Matthew, writing to Jews, traces our Lord on His human side back to Abraham. Luke, writing to Gentiles, goes back to Adam. Matthew traces the line through David to our Lord’s legal father, Joseph. Notice the changed expression in 1:16: “Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.” Matthew, representing Christ the King, gives His kingly descent.

Much difficulty attends the fact that Jacob is given as Josephs father in Matthew while Luke says “Joseph which was of Heli” (3:23). It is believed that in Luke we have the ancestry of Mary whose father was Heli, therefore Joseph as son-in-law is called “son.”

Whatever the explanation of that, the lists afford us spiritual meat. Our Lord is the heir by descent to the throne of David, which throne He will yet occupy when He reigns on earth over a redeemed Israel.

All classes occur in this line, good and bad, rich and poor. Our Lord is the representative of collective humanity. All of us may find our types in this line of descent. He was identified in His ancestry with all sorts. Three women who were guilty of gross sins are found here: Rahab, Tamar and Bathsheba. On our side, the Lord Jesus inherited all the common tendencies of humanity so that He might be tempted in all points like as we. Yet He was without sin.

On the human side He comes through all this checkered ancestry truly representative of the race, Jew and Gentile blood in His veins. On the divine side He comes from God, the express image of God, the Word, Emmanuel. These are joined in the supreme miracle of all time, Jesus Christ the God-man. So, legally through Joseph and actually through Mary, our Lord is linked with David and Abraham in the Gospel to the Jews and with Adam in the Gospel to the Gentiles. And both writers are careful to declare His virgin birth. Matthew with his “Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ” and Luke with “Jesus… being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph.”

Familiarity with the story has dulled us to the wonder and mystery of this marvel of all time, God becoming man. How carefully the stage is set: the Roman, Jewish and Greek worlds converging on this focal point, each with its own contribution! And God maintained through the centuries the line of descent until in the fullness of time He would send forth His Son born of a woman. No page of His record is dull when seen in the light of His wonderful purpose!
Reflections on the Gospels.

“Too Good to Be True”

While they still were amazed and unbelieving because of their joy, He asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?”—Luke 24:41

If we are to let nothing stand between us and the making of our feet into “hinds’ feet,” we must understand the nature of disappointment and how it hinders our pursuit of God.

All of us have been disappointed. Living in a fallen world means we have been subjected to experiences where we have been let down by others, even our loved ones at times. But this is not the problem—the problem occurs when we allow the hurts of the past to prevent us from reaching out to God and to others in an attitude of love.

A dramatic illustration of this is found in the passage before us today. It is the evening of the day of the Resurrection, and, without warning, Jesus suddenly enters the room where His disciples are assembled and makes Himself known to them. How did they respond? “They were still unconvinced, still wondering, for it seemed too good to be true” (v. 41, NEB). It was obvious that the disappointment of Christ’s crucifixion and death still reverberated within them. And now, faced with the reality of the Resurrection, they did not want to believe it in case it was not true—and they would be disappointed again.

They wanted to believe, but they had difficulty in doing so because they knew they could not cope with what would happen in their hearts if it turned out to be untrue. Rather than take the risk of faith, they preferred—for a little while at least—to withdraw into the safety of disappointment.

Prayer

God, forgive me that so often I allow the disappointments of life to deter me from moving toward You—in case something might happen that would disappoint me again. Help me to put everything I am and have in Your hands—with nothing held back. Amen.

Further Study

Lk 24:13-35; Jb 30:26

How did the disciples express their disappointment?

How did Jesus deal with them?

Cleansing For Me

1 John 1:9

Lord, through the blood of the Lamb that was slain,

Cleansing for me;

From all the guilt of my sins now I claim

Cleansing from Thee.

Sinful and black though the past may have been,

Many the crushing defeats I have seen,

Yet on Thy promise, O Lord, now I lean,

Cleansing for me.

From all the sins over which I have wept,

Cleansing for me;

Far, far away by the blood-current swept,

Cleansing for me.

Jesus, Thy promise I dare to believe,

And as I come Thou wilt surely receive,

That over sin I may never more grieve,

Cleansing for me.

From all the doubts that have filled me with gloom,

Cleansing for me;

From all the fears that would point me to doom,

Cleansing for me.

Jesus, although I may not understand,

In childlike faith now I stretch forth my hand,

And through Thy word and Thy grace I shall stand,

Cleansed by Thee.

From all the care of what men think or say,

Cleansing for me;

From ever fearing to speak, sing or pray,

Cleansing for me.

Lord, in Thy love and Thy power make me strong

That all may know that to Thee I belong;

When I am tempted, let this be my song,

Cleansing for me.

Herbert Booth, The Salvation Army Song Book