VIDEO Mothers Know Best: Jochebed

But when she could no longer hide him, she took an ark of bulrushes for him, daubed it with asphalt and pitch, put the child in it, and laid it in the reeds by the river’s bank. Exodus 2:3

Mothering isn’t for cowards, nor is being a parent, grandparent, guardian, uncle, aunt, mentor, teacher, or coach. The world is lined up against our children. Satan is pulling out all the stops to mess up their lives, confuse their morals, endanger their spirituality, hurt their hearts, and damn their souls. 

But wait! Before you grow discouraged, remember this. Satan has always attacked children. In the days of the Israelites, Pharaoh commanded all the baby boys among them to be killed—to be thrown into the Nile for the crocodiles. But Jochebed (we know her name from Exodus 6:20) had the courage of the Lord. She put her child in the Nile all right, but she did it courageously and creatively. God gave her insight that thwarted the government and saved her son.

Don’t allow the culture to push you into its mold. Trust the Lord to give you the courage and creativity to raise a new generation for Christ!

Jochebed…. lived her life as unto Him, and her sons and daughter lit their torches at her flame. Herbert Lockyer


Exodus 2 – 2011 – Skip Heitzig

Shining Stars

You will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. Philippians 2:15–16

I can close my eyes and go back in time to the house where I grew up. I remember stargazing with my father. We took turns squinting through his telescope, trying to focus on glowing dots that shimmered and winked. These pinpricks of light, born of heat and fire, stood out in sharp contrast to the smooth, ink-black sky.

Do you consider yourself to be a shining star? I’m not talking about reaching the heights of human achievement, but standing out against a dark background of brokenness and evil. The apostle Paul told the Philippian believers that God would shine in and through them as they held “firmly to the word of life” and avoided grumbling and arguing (Philippians 2:14–16).

Our unity with other believers and our faithfulness to God can set us apart from the world. The problem is that these things don’t come naturally. We constantly strive to overcome temptation so we can maintain a close relationship with God. We wrestle against selfishness to have harmony with our spiritual brothers and sisters.

But still, there’s hope. Alive in each believer, God’s Spirit empowers us to be self-controlled, kind, and faithful (Galatians 5:22–23). Just as we are called to live beyond our natural capacity, God’s supernatural help makes this possible (Philippians 2:13). If every believer became a “shining star” through the power of the Spirit, just imagine how the light of God would repel the darkness around us!

By:  Jennifer Benson Schuldt

Reflect & Pray

What causes your light for Jesus to dim? What do you need to do to brighten it?

Loving God, I ask Your Spirit to empower me to shine in the darkness. Make me into someone who is known for my love of others and my faithfulness to You.

The Gift of the Holy Spirit

Acts 2:22-39

There’s some confusion in the church today concerning the Holy Spirit. A number of Christians think the indwelling of the Spirit occurs sometime after salvation, but Scripture teaches that He comes to permanently live within a new believer the moment he or she places faith in Jesus.

We don’t need to pray specific words for the Spirit to arrive. Nor do we have to attend a special service invoking His presence in order for Him to dwell in us. Any teaching that claims we can lose the Spirit and must regain Him over and over again is false. As soon as we trust in Jesus, His Spirit comes to abide with us forever (John 14:16). This truth is essential to understand, because Scripture clearly says that anyone who doesn’t have the Spirit does not belong to Christ (Rom. 8:9).

It would be impossible to live the Christian life without the indwelling Spirit. He’s the one who guides us into God’s will, teaches us the truths of Scripture, transforms us into Christ’s likeness, and empowers us to serve and obey God successfully and joyfully.

When you fully understand this fundamental truth, you realize that instead of trying to “get the Spirit,” you need to live like the Spirit-filled Christian you are.

The Perfect Priesthood of Christ

“If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood…what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron?” (Hebrews 7:11)

As good as the Levitical priest system was, it was imperfect and the priesthood would need to be changed. Jesus Christ became the perfect priest who would never change.

Hebrews 7 describes the old priesthood as mortal: “And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered [allowed] to continue by reason of death” (v. 23). There would no doubt be some breakdown of knowledge or interest on behalf of a person when his priest moved or died. Not so with the Lord Jesus Christ, “because he continueth ever” (v. 24), and because He is “the Son, who is consecrated for evermore” (v. 28). Therefore, we approach Him with confidence, knowing He “is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them” (v. 25).

The priesthood of men was also fallible. Daily they needed “to offer up sacrifice, first for [their] own sins, and then for the people’s” (v. 27). A system of sinful men offering imperfect animals whose blood was incapable of washing away sins must have left some of the priests longing for something more assuring and fulfilling. Jesus ushered in a priesthood so perfect and infallible that nothing would ever be the same. For Christ “needeth not daily” to offer sacrifices as Levitical priests did, “for this he did once, when he offered up himself” (v. 27). The one-time-only work of Christ was sufficient because of who offered it and what was offered: “Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us” (Hebrews 9:12). RJG

Three Kinds of Burdens

Matthew 11:28-30; 23:1-4

THE burden business has been misunderstood and overworked by all too many believers. There are those who invent extra loads and devise all sorts of excess luggage—who think it a mark of exceptional piety to slave through life with uprolled eyes beneath a ton of baggage. Such souls mistake their own petty burdens for the cross of Christ and moan dismally about their load. Job said, “I am a burden to myself,” and so are these self-appointed martyrs. What a dour time one has trying to live with such specialists of gloom, who never have learned that the spirit-life is not weights but wings!

The Master spoke of the Pharisees, the orthodox religionists of His day, as binding heavy and grievous burdens and laying them on men’s shoulders, while they themselves would not move them with one of their fingers (Matt. 23:4). Many there are whose religious life is only a dull routine of formal observances, the shadow without the substance—”faultily faultless, icily regular, splendidly null”—a ritualism without redemption. A load instead of a life!

The Word speaks of three kinds of burdens of which we must dispose. There is, first, the burden we share. “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal. 6:2). Whatever we lift lifts us, and as we get under our brother’s load with him we find that our own is lightened. The early church had all things in common. We have departed somewhat from that early church ideal, but we, at least, ought to have in common those burdens which we can share.

Then, there is the burden we bear. “For every man shall bear his own burden” (Gal. 6:5). There is no conflict here with the other verse just above, as so many have supposed. Here Paul is speaking of our load of personal responsibility, which no man can saddle off on someone else. There are obligations which no other man can carry for us.

But the highest summit, the burden we forswear, is reached in Psalm 55:22: “Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and He shall sustain thee.” That reminds us of 1 Peter 5:7, “Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you.” How many trust God with their souls but never with their burdens. The conquest of care is not a matter of fighting them but of surrendering them! Victory here begins with surrender.

Nor is there conflict between bearing our own burden of responsibility and casting our burden upon the Lord. While there are obligations we must assume, we must remember that God carries both ourself and our burden. So, the whole load is His; yet, there is a load that is ours.

The lightest hearts are not those who acknowledge no responsibility but those who share and bear burdens, trusting in the Lord. The tracks on the main railroad lines stay shiny, for they bear burdens; the sidetracks are rusty, for few loads come that way.

Paul says this burden-bearing is “the law of Christ.” But that means no heavy and irksome thing. Jesus said, “My yoke is easy.” Now a yoke is not an extra burden but a device to make the burden light. Our faith is not to be lugged along as an extra obligation, like our insurance or taxes; rather, it makes life portable.

Finally, the Master said, “My burden is light.” That sums it all. His requirements are not heavy and enslaving. Indeed, He invites all the heavy laden to Him to find rest. For His Law brings liberty. “The truth shall set you free.” “And you shall find rest unto your soul.”

He Reigns—Now

With God we will perform valiantly.—Psalm 60:12

The final part of the Lord’s Prayer, which is really a doxology, contains a categorical assertion that God reigns through His kingdom—now. It manifestly requires a measure of faith and courage to affirm this truth in our modern society, when so many things seem positively to shout against it—so many wrongs that clamor for redress, so many problems that demand a solution, and so many social evils whose existence appears utterly incompatible with the reign of God. Yet affirm it we must.

A dear Christian, in a letter to me some time ago, said, “I look around the world and am appalled. My only comfort is the hymn ‘Jesus Shall Reign Where’er the Sun.’ I, therefore, sit back and watch and wait the day.” I told her that her letter reminded me of some words I heard someone put together in a conference once:

Sit down, O men of God!

His kingdom He will bring.

Whenever it shall please His will.

You need not do a thing!

In my reply I said, “Yes, it’s true that one day the kingdom of God shall’stretch from shore to shore,’ but let us not ignore the fact that God is reigning now. Given our cooperation, the Almighty can greatly affect the world through our committed lives. If we fail to see this, then it is possible that we struggle and stumble through life, waiting for Him, while all the time He is waiting for us.”

Prayer

O God, deliver me from a view of life that says, “Look what the world is coming to.” Help me to look at You; then I can say: “Look what has come to the world.” Thank You, Father. Amen.

Further Study

Rv 7:9-17; Ex 24:17; 40:34; Ps 19:1; Jn 1:14; Rm 11:36

How can we behold His glory?

How is our vision of God enlarged?

What’s On Your Mind?

Philippians 4:8

Jesus said, “love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Mark 12:30). Paul, writing to the Philippians, urged that we should use our minds to meditate and reflect on whatsoever things are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, gracious, virtuous and praiseworthy. Said Paul,

“Think about these things” (Philippians 4:8).

A great preacher of the nineteenth century, Thomas Chalmers, preached a memorable sermon on the topic, “The Expulsive Power of a New Affection.” In this discourse he sought to prove that the best way to cast out a wrong affection is to invite a right one. In the same way, we can drive out a low thought by putting a high one in its place. Banish the unclean by entertaining the pure.

We should think on these higher, nobler things, too, because thinking is the manipulation of memories. The brain is a memory machine. We cannot think of things that we do not have some memory of. Even so-called new thoughts, or insights are, at best, rearrangements of patterns of ideas or experiences stored in our memories.

How important it is, therefore, that we store up the proper memories. We turn to the storehouse of memory and find that our stock of the true, the honest, the just and the pure is low because we failed to build up our resources.

Reading the Bible and other good books, attending church, seeking the company of good people are some of the ways we can go about storing up worthy memories. If you want to bring forth good things, see that your treasured memories are of the best.

Thoughts are the basis for action. Solomon wrote in his proverbs, “For as [a man] thinks in his heart, so is he” (Prov. 23:7 NKJV).

Let us face the truth, then, that we cannot think low thoughts and expect to perform high actions. Paul admonished: “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2).

We all have recollections of moral failures and wrong choices. But such memories can lose their guilt-ridden, peace-destroying power if we will confess them to God and believe in His loving willingness to forgive. Then, with Paul, we can say, “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13).

Bramwell Tripp, To the Point