VIDEO The Habit of Recognizing God’s Provision

…you may be partakers of the divine nature… —2 Peter 1:4

We are made “partakers of the divine nature,” receiving and sharing God’s own nature through His promises. Then we have to work that divine nature into our human nature by developing godly habits. The first habit to develop is the habit of recognizing God’s provision for us. We say, however, “Oh, I can’t afford it.” One of the worst lies is wrapped up in that statement. We talk as if our heavenly Father has cut us off without a penny! We think it is a sign of true humility to say at the end of the day, “Well, I just barely got by today, but it was a severe struggle.” And yet all of Almighty God is ours in the Lord Jesus! And He will reach to the last grain of sand and the remotest star to bless us if we will only obey Him. Does it really matter that our circumstances are difficult? Why shouldn’t they be! If we give way to self-pity and indulge in the luxury of misery, we remove God’s riches from our lives and hinder others from entering into His provision. No sin is worse than the sin of self-pity, because it removes God from the throne of our lives, replacing Him with our own self-interests. It causes us to open our mouths only to complain, and we simply become spiritual sponges— always absorbing, never giving, and never being satisfied. And there is nothing lovely or generous about our lives.

Before God becomes satisfied with us, He will take everything of our so-called wealth, until we learn that He is our Source; as the psalmist said, “All my springs are in You” (Psalm 87:7). If the majesty, grace, and power of God are not being exhibited in us, God holds us responsible. “God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you…may have an abundance…” (2 Corinthians 9:8)— then learn to lavish the grace of God on others, generously giving of yourself. Be marked and identified with God’s nature, and His blessing will flow through you all the time.

WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS

We begin our Christian life by believing what we are told to believe, then we have to go on to so assimilate our beliefs that they work out in a way that redounds to the glory of God. The danger is in multiplying the acceptation of beliefs we do not make our own. Conformed to His Image, 381 L


Exceedingly Rich and Precious Promises, 2 Peter 1:3-4 – Pastor Chuck Smith – Topical Bible Study

Guilt and Forgiveness

They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts. Romans 2:15

In his book Human Universals, anthropologist Donald Brown lists more than four hundred behaviors that he considers common across humanity. He includes such things as toys, jokes, dances, and proverbs, wariness of snakes, and tying things with string! Likewise, he believes all cultures have concepts of right and wrong, where generosity is praised, promises are valued, and things like meanness and murder understood to be wrong. We all have a sense of conscience, wherever we’re from.

The apostle Paul made a similar point many centuries ago. While God gave the Jewish people the Ten Commandments to clarify right from wrong, Paul noted that since gentiles could do right by obeying their conscience, God’s laws were evidently written on their hearts (Romans 2:14–15). But that didn’t mean people always did what was right. The gentiles rebelled against their conscience (1:32), the Jews broke the Law (2:17–24), leaving both guilty. But through faith in Jesus, God removes the death penalty from all our rule-breaking (3:23–26; 6:23).

Since God created all humans with a sense of right and wrong, each of us will likely feel some guilt over a bad thing we’ve done or a good thing we failed to do. When we confess those sins, God wipes away the guilt like a whiteboard wiped clean. All we have to do is ask Him—whoever we are, wherever we’re from.

By:  Sheridan Voysey

Reflect & Pray

Where do you think humanity’s sense of right and wrong comes from? What guilt feelings are you wanting Jesus’ forgiveness for today?

Jesus, I’ve failed to do right and succeeded in doing wrong. Forgive me. Thank You for dying my death so I don’t have to.

Sunday Reflection: Glory in Our Differences

To get the most out of this devotion, set aside time to read the Scripture referenced throughout.

In 1 Corinthians 9:20-21, Paul describes people with different practices and identities—and then explains that he became like each group in order to tell them the good news.

Though we know our primary identity is in Jesus Christ, we each have a specific background that informs our life. Our ethnicity, family, and other identifiers were given to us by God. He formed every detail—and each of us uniquely bears His image. He wants us to honor His image in one another, no matter how different our backgrounds or circumstances.

That’s part of what it means to belong to the body of Christ—to fully embrace one another’s differences, understanding that God uses every part of who we are to bring Him glory. That should affect how we think of people who aren’t like us, especially other believers. It should also influence the way we evangelize—letting people come as they are, free to be themselves.

Think about it

• Can you think of a time when you became aware of ways you were different from a group? Can you remember if anything made you feel welcome, in spite of those differences? If not, what intensified your awareness of not fitting in? Consider how to apply your insights in your community.

Our Weekly Day of Rest and Worship

“And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the LORD thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the LORD thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath day.” (Deuteronomy 5:15)

It is significant that God’s Ten Commandments are found twice in the Bible (Exodus 20:3-17 and Deuteronomy 5:6-21). In fact, “Deuteronomy” means “the Second Law.” The two are worded identically, with a few exceptions.

The most significant of these changes is in connection with the reason given for obeying the Fourth Commandment, to “keep the sabbath day.” In Exodus, the reason given is “For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day” (Exodus 20:11). Here in “the second law,” the reason given is that God saved Israel out of bondage in Egypt and now was about to enter the Promised Land. In other words, when the Israelites observed each Sabbath day in rest and worship, they were acknowledging God as both their Creator and their Redeemer.

Christians also, as they devote every seventh day as a day of rest and worship, should be remembering God for His finished creation (“the heavens and the earth were finished,” Genesis 2:1) and His finished redemption (“It is finished” was Christ’s victory cry on the cross, John 19:30).

The word Sabbath means “rest,” of course—not “Friday” or “Saturday” or even “seventh” (the word for seventh in Hebrew is similar but distinctly different from that for sabbath). Most Christians now believe it is appropriate to honor the Lord Jesus (who is both their Creator and Redeemer) to take their seventh day of rest and worship on the first day of each week, thereby recognizing both His finished work of redemption and also His finished work of creation. HMM

The Sower

Matthew 13:1-9; 18-23

IN the thirteenth chapter of Matthew, our Lord reaches a turning point in His teaching. He had come to the Jew first, to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, and had presented Himself as the Messiah, and they had refused Him. He then presents in parable form the mystery of the gospel in the Church age—a truth that had not been revealed to the prophets, having been kept secret from the beginning, as our Lord plainly stated (Matt. 13:35). He spoke in parables that His disciples might catch the deeper meanings, while blinded Jews—as Isaiah had prophesied—would hear but not understand.

These parables do not teach world conversion but rather the saving of a few, and a final judgment and separation. The parable of the sower, interpreted by our Lord Himself, shows only one-fourth of the sown seed of the Word taking permanent root. Four types of human soil are presented: the superficial, upon whom no lasting impression is made; the emotional, making a fine start but not persevering; the preoccupied, soon choked out by earthly cares; and the truly receptive and productive. Here is encouragement in preaching, for at least one out of four will receive the seed and bear fruit. Yet here is warning against expecting universal acceptance of the gospel, for the three other types will last until the end.

The Word of God will not return void, for it will accomplish His purpose; but we must ever remember that it does not profit unless it is mixed with faith (Heb. 4:2). Seed falling by the wayside indicates that there are those who do not understand the message and who do not care or even try to understand it. They give no earnest heed to the things which they have heard; they go to church and sit politely as did the people before Ezekiel (Ezek. 33:30-33). They hear but heed not, and the devil, ever watchful, snatches away the Word before they get home from church.

Then there are those of the stony ground, who go further than the first group. They receive the Word, a good beginning is made, but they do not hold fast that which is good. They taste the good Word of God, but while they endure for a while, they do not endure until the end. When trouble—which works for the faithful a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory—arrives, these fall away.

The third kind also springs up; there is a beginning made, but worldly cares distract—as they did to Martha, so that she neglected the main thing. The deceitfulness of riches, the love of money which is the root of all evil, soon chokes the Word, and the young inquirer goes away grieved, having great possessions—and having nothing! It is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom because of the exceeding danger of earthly cares and fortunes.

The true believer hears the Word and understands it, being taught of the Spirit. He is also a fruitful believer although there are degrees of fruitfulness. Their hearts are honest and good, and they “bring forth fruit with patience” (Luke 8:15). Therefore we should take heed how we hear; for “whosoever hath, to him shall be given; and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have” (Luke 8:18).

Have a Great Childhood

Disaster pursues sinners, but good rewards the righteous.—Proverbs 13:21

Solomon’s comments in Ecclesiastes 11:9 are aimed at the young: “Let your heart be glad in the days of your youth.” Enjoy your days one by one, he is saying, because before you know it, you will be an adult.

The words that come next have sent some Christians into apoplexy: “And walk in the ways of your heart and in the sight of your eyes.” I remember a youth leader in a church I pastored who set out to teach the Book of Ecclesiastes to the young people. But he deliberately left out these words. When I asked him why, he said: “That’s bad advice for young people. They are inclined that way already so I thought it best not to draw attention to it.” I drew his attention to the words that follow: “but know that for all of these things God will bring you to judgment.” This is what Solomon is really saying: “Relax and have a super time when you are young. There will be many impulses and many things that appeal to your eyes. Follow them, but keep in mind there will be a day of accountability. So don’t let your impulses go wild.”

Some believe that warning takes the joy out of living, but it shouldn’t. If we ignore the God to whom we must all answer, then we leave ourselves open to experiencing not life but unrestricted liberty. And that kind of freedom is bad for us. So banish all worries, Solomon tells the young, and avoid those things that bring pain to your body. Young person, you are only young once. Stay close to God and you’ll get the most out of it.

Prayer

O God my Father, while I am thankful for all the books that help me learn of You and know about You, help me never to put these ahead of Your Word, the Bible, but always behind it. Make me a person of the Book. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Further Study

Jos 1:1-8; 2Kg 22:1-20

What was God’s command to Joshua?

Why did the king tear his robes?

A Practical Faith

1 Corinthians 1:28

During one year, 1882, the number of soldiers of The Salvation Army who were known to have been knocked down or otherwise brutally assaulted in the United Kingdom was 642. More than one-third of them were women. In addition, 23 children suffered. Some of these people were injured for life. And all because they attended religious meetings in their own buildings or in the open air. In that same year 60 of our buildings were practically wrecked by the rabble. There was no redress. We could obtain neither protection nor reparation.

The most persistent and unrelenting opposition that The Salvation Army had to encounter in what we sometimes call the lawless years came less from the drinking saloons than from the parsonages. The children of this world were for once outdone in malevolence by the children of light! Always the chief opposition to the Army was from the churches. Every conceivable calumny was spread abroad against us. And men tripped up our processions, insulted and assaulted our women, threw sticks and stones, not to mention dead cats and dogs, refused us even the peaceful burial of our dead, invaded our halls and smashed our furniture.

The denunciation reached its height of absurdity when the great Earl of Shaftesbury solemnly stated that, as the result of much study, he had come to the conclusion that The Salvation Army was clearly the Antichrist.

Our officers were refused admission to well-known places of worship at the hour of service, because they were accompanied by poor, unkempt and broken creatures whom Christ came to save. The trouble with the Army was that it was not respectable. A deeper reason for the obloquy which met us was that we were intruders, disturbing the unruffled calm of lip-service which many nice people had mistaken for the religion of Jesus. [Emphasis added.]

Ours was a practical faith. It offered a spiritual charter to the ecclesiastically disfranchised. Because we were what we were, religion which mistakes refinement for abundant life in Christ, or thinks that fine preaching or good music and ornate ceremonies can somehow be a substitute for surrender to God and the service of others—that religion was bound by its very nature to oppose The Salvation Army. And it did. “God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty” (1 Corinthians 1:27 NKJV).

Bramwell Booth, Echoes and Memories