VIDEO The Greatest Source of Power

Whatever you ask in My name, that I will do… —John 14:13

Am I fulfilling this ministry of intercession deep within the hidden recesses of my life? There is no trap nor any danger at all of being deceived or of showing pride in true intercession. It is a hidden ministry that brings forth fruit through which the Father is glorified. Am I allowing my spiritual life to waste away, or am I focused, bringing everything to one central point— the atonement of my Lord? Is Jesus Christ more and more dominating every interest of my life? If the central point, or the most powerful influence, of my life is the atonement of the Lord, then every aspect of my life will bear fruit for Him.

However, I must take the time to realize what this central point of power is. Am I willing to give one minute out of every hour to concentrate on it? “If you abide in Me…”— that is, if you continue to act, and think, and work from that central point— “you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you” (John 15:7). Am I abiding? Am I taking the time to abide? What is the greatest source of power in my life? Is it my work, service, and sacrifice for others, or is it my striving to work for God? It should be none of these— what ought to exert the greatest power in my life is the atonement of the Lord. It is not on what we spend the greatest amount of time that molds us the most, but whatever exerts the most power over us. We must make a determination to limit and concentrate our desires and interests on the atonement by the Cross of Christ.

“Whatever you ask in My name, that I will do….” The disciple who abides in Jesus is the will of God, and what appears to be his free choices are actually God’s foreordained decrees. Is this mysterious? Does it appear to contradict sound logic or seem totally absurd? Yes, but what a glorious truth it is to a saint of God.

WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS

Am I learning how to use my Bible? The way to become complete for the Master’s service is to be well soaked in the Bible; some of us only exploit certain passages. Our Lord wants to give us continuous instruction out of His word; continuous instruction turns hearers into disciples.  Approved Unto God, 11 L


Powerful Promises (John 14:7–14)

Our True Selves

We know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him. 1 John 3:2

Inside my parents’ old photo album is a picture of a young boy. He has a round face, freckles, and straight, light-blond hair. He loves cartoons, hates avocados, and owns just one record, by Abba. Also inside that album are pictures of a teenager. His face is long, not round; his hair is wavy, not straight. He has no freckles, likes avocados, watches movies rather than cartoons, and would never admit to owning an Abba record! The boy and the teenager are little alike. According to science they have different skin, teeth, blood, and bones. And yet they are both me. This paradox has baffled philosophers. Since we change throughout our lives, who is the real us?

The Scriptures provide the answer. From the moment God began knitting us together in the womb (Psalm 139:13–14), we’ve been growing into our unique design. While we can’t yet imagine what we’ll finally become, we know that if we’re children of God we’ll ultimately be like Jesus (1 John 3:2)—our body with His nature, our personality but His character, all our gifts glistening, all our sins gone.

Until the day Jesus returns, we’re being drawn toward this future self. By His work, step by step, we can reflect His image ever more clearly (2 Corinthians 3:18). We aren’t yet who we’re meant to be, but as we become like Him, we become our true selves.

By:  Sheridan Voysey

Reflect & Pray

When songs and films encourage us to find our “true selves,” what do you think they miss? In what area can you step toward Christlikeness today?

Jesus, make me more like You today and every day.

Sunday Reflection: True to Nature

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

Many of us ascribe a positive meaning to the word natural, whether in reference to talent, a warm friendship, or even fresh produce. But when it comes to our thoughts, the natural course isn’t always best. Consider your initial response to conflict—for many, it’s anger or fear. Or do you recoil when someone looks and acts differently than you expect or prefer? Such “natural” reactions aren’t aligned with God’s heart.

Fortunately, these instincts and reactions don’t necessarily indicate who we are. For Christians, they can instead serve as reminders of Adam and Eve’s grave mistake (Genesis 3) and how it forever changed humankind, birthing each of us into a state of sin. Let such tendencies bring to mind who we once were and how God is working on us now. Yes, in Christ we are a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17), but a struggle continues between old flesh patterns and our new nature (Rom. 7:15-25). Becoming who God created us to be is a lifelong process­, which often occurs in small moments as we choose love over every other thing.

Think about it
• Did anything happen recently that revealed the struggle between the old and new you? How can those moments be an opportunity to let God work in your life?

The Whole Heart

“I will praise thee with my whole heart: before the gods will I sing praise unto thee.” (Psalm 138:1)

When we sing or testify of our praise to God, it should not be perfunctory or repetitive rote praise. It should be sincere, wholehearted, personal praise. We should especially praise Him for revealing to us eternal truth, as written in His inspired Word. Further, we should not hesitate to praise our true God, even amidst all the false “gods” of this world. As verse 2 says, He has magnified His Word above all His name! The Holy Scriptures are our greatest physical possession of all the things in this world, for they alone will “not pass away” (Matthew 24:35). His Word is “for ever…settled in heaven” (Psalm 119:89).

This phrase, “the whole heart,” occurs a number of times in the Bible, especially in the psalm of the Word, Psalm 119. Note the testimony of the psalmist in this great psalm.

1. “Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart” (v. 2).
2. “With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments” (v. 10).
3. “Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart” (v. 34).
4. “I entreated thy favor with my whole heart: be merciful unto me according to thy word” (v. 58).
5. “The proud have forged a lie against me: but I will keep thy precepts with my whole heart” (v. 69).
6. “I cried with my whole heart; hear me, O LORD: I will keep thy statutes” (v. 145).

Thus, we should “keep his testimonies” (v. 2), “keep thy law” (v. 34), “keep thy precepts” (v. 69), and “keep thy statutes” (v. 145) with our whole heart, for the good and sufficient reason that He is our Lord and has given us His eternal Word, magnified above all His name. HMM

The Last Supper

Matthew 25:1-30; John 13

IN the twenty-fifth chapter of Matthew, our Lord, following His prophecy in the twenty-fourth, gives us the parable of the ten virgins. The five foolish virgins were unprepared—had only a superficial experience that soon gave out. The wise ones cannot divide at the last day with the unprepared. Many fanciful and overdrawn interpretations of this parable overlook its simple lesson of proper preparation for the Lord’s return.

This is followed by the parable of the talents. These sums of money represent the various degrees of endowments and abilities which God gives us with which we are to occupy till He comes. The first two men made a short report of their accomplishment; the man who had gained nothing made the longest speech! He had not squandered his gift, mind you, but neither had he used it. “I was afraid” is the secret of many lost lives.

The Lord’s account of the judgment in this same chapter is held by some to be the judgment of nations for their treatment of Israel, by others to be the judgment of professing Christians whose faith does not issue in works. Notice that though the wicked are cursed, it is not “of My Father” (as the righteous were blessed: vv. 34, 41); and though hell is prepared for the devil and his angels, those humans who prefer Satan’s company here must keep it hereafter.

Judas, the son of perdition, begins his work of betrayal. Although it was part of God’s plan, still Judas was personally responsible. It is interesting to note how our Lord told them to follow the man with the pitcher of water. It seems strange guidance, but shows that the tiniest detail is known ahead and all fits together in His plan.

The supper is an ordinance setting forth our Lord’s death till He come. It shows Him as the Passover Lamb whose blood must be applied to our hearts, but it also shows Him as the Bread of Life. This truth is often overlooked. The Passover must be followed by the feast of Unleavened Bread. We see the blood, but easily forget the bread. The life which begins with the blood applied must be continued by the Bread appropriated. “Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, ye have no life in you” (John 6:53).

Following the supper, our Lord set forth a very practical lesson in humility (John 13:1-38). What a wonderful contrast here: “Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He was come from God, and went to God… washed feet.” He could come down from magnificence to meniality! Some of us want to stay on the mountaintop; we do not know the technique of the towel. Peter must have had this incident in mind when later he wrote, “Put on the apron of humility” (1 Pet. 5:5, Williams).

We read that Judas went out “and it was night” (verse 30). It is always night when a soul goes away from Jesus. Then our Lord gives His commandment of love. This is the mark of discipleship, that we love one another.

Simon Peter wanted to follow Jesus now, but was told he should follow afterwards. That “afterwards” is very significant. Peter followed first from Galilee in much self-sufficiency; he had to come to the end of himself before, at Tiberias, he reached the second “follow Me” (John 21:19). The first time he forsook his nets; the second time he forsook himself. We cannot truly follow our Lord until “afterwards”—after we have been broken in self and have come to Tiberias.

Blessings—Not Just for Now

They also brought wheat, barley, flour, roasted grain, beans, lentils, honey, curds, sheep, and cheese from the herd for David and the people with him to eat.—2 Samuel 17:28-29

Some commentators believe that when David wrote the words, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies” (Ps 23:5), he had in mind the events about which we read in today’s passage. Driven into the wilderness by his son Absalom’s rebellion, David and his followers became desperately hungry, thirsty, and weary. God came to his aid, however, and directed to him three men who “brought beds [and] basins” (so that David could wash and refresh himself) as well as “pottery items … wheat, barley, flour, roasted grain, beans, lentils, honey, curds, sheep, and cheese.”

How David must have rubbed his eyes in astonishment as he saw God provide for him a table “in the presence of [his] enemies.” Can you cast your mind back at this moment to something “special” that God did for you to demonstrate His tender love and care? I can. Every Christian has these times—how sad that we forget them so soon.

God never does anything “special” in our lives just for the sake of the passing hour—it is done also as a pledge for the future. It is as though God is saying: “I’ll do this for you now, not only to meet your need, but also that you might always know you are the object of My love.”

If new dangers startle us with fear, we have forgotten the past mercies. I believe that David’s confidence in God was due to the fact that whenever he faced a new problem, he remembered vividly the past hour of deliverance.

Prayer

O Father, forgive me for taking so much for granted—rather than taking it with gratitude. I recall the words of Your servant John Newton and make them my own this day: “His love in time past forbids me to think, He’ll leave me at last in trouble to sink.” Thank You, Father—thank You. Amen.

Further Study

1Kg 17; Ezk 34:14; Isa 25:6; Jn 6:51

How did Elijah experience God’s provision?

What are we to feed on?

Give and Take

John 3:16

Give and take is the enduring message of Calvary: “For God so loved the world that He gave [gives] his one and only Son, that whoever believes in [takes] him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).

For three years, Jesus preached a “give and take” gospel. Now He gathers His disciples together and unloads a bombshell! “Where I am going you cannot follow now, but you will follow later” (John 13:36). They were obviously confused by this statement. Why does Christ have to leave? Jesus said: “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever” (John 14:16).

There was a great void between Jesus’ ascension and Pentecost. For a moment the disciples were prophets without power, followers without fellowship, men without a Master.

Why? So they might comprehend the limitation of their own humanity. So they might fully understand the transition from a self-centered life to a Spirit-centered life. So they might grasp the significance of a holy life.

God in the flesh was limited by flesh and blood. He could only be in one place at a time. He could only perform one miracle at a time. He could only relate to one person at a time. But God, through the indwelling presence of His Spirit, is capable of unlimited presence, unlimited miracles, unlimited relationships! This means that all—over five billion of us—can feel His touch anywhere and everywhere.

Unfortunately, for many there is still a great chasm between Calvary and Pentecost, salvation and holiness, self and others. There are many self-absorbed Christians who have not bridged the gap.

The material world advertises, “Take much and give little.” Seminars on manipulation, motivation and meditation preach the message: “Take it any way you can get it, from anyone who will give it.”

The Pentecostal message says, “You must give before you can take.” How much? Everything!

Before Calvary, Jesus said: “Anyone who does not take his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me” (Matthew 10:38). After Pentecost, the Holy Spirit inspired Jesus’ followers to give “to anyone as he had need” (Acts 4:35). Give and take is the herald of holiness. Give and take—for goodness’ sake!

Joe Noland, A Little Greatn