VIDEO Solid Ground

“A Psalm of David” is a wall art print done with a quote from Psalm 23: 1-6 as an overlay on an art print I have done using a color photograph of a rock ledge on a mountain. As a Christian artist, I seek to make sure that the biblical quote I am using is a good marriage with the art print I put it on. In this particular case, I was working with this Bible verse trying to find a suitable print to put it on. When I came across this photograph, I knew it was a fit. Finalizing the font and positioning the verse on this print was a tedious process of trial and error. I am pleased with the final look, as the font I chose looked best with the picture of the ledge in the foreground and the mountain valley below in the background. The shot was taken hiking up to Rattlesnake Ledge just above North Bend, Washington in the Cascades Mountain Range.

Therefore whoever hears these saying of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock. Matthew 7:24

Istanbul is one of the most beautiful cities on earth—the link between Europe and Asia—but it’s also one of the most vulnerable spots for a major earthquake. It sits directly on top of an active fault line, and thousands of buildings in the city are perilously unsafe because of this.

Millions of people are building their lives on unstable ground in a spiritual and moral sense. Only the Gospel provides a worldview that will sustain us when our world shakes. Jesus made this point visually in His story of the two men in Matthew 7. Both men listened to His teachings. One man followed through with faith and obedience, and he built his life on solid ground. The other listened, then went his way without trusting or obeying what Jesus said. The ground beneath him collapsed.

The Gospel brings steadfastness to those who trust it. Those who build on Jesus are on stable ground. As the hymnist said, “When all around my soul gives way, He then is all my hope and stay.”

On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand. Edward Mote


Sermon on the Mount – Matthew 7:24-27 – In Depth – Pastor Chuck Smith – Bible Studies

The Power of God

My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. Psalm 121:2

Rebecca and Russell’s doctors told them they couldn’t have children. But God had other ideas—and ten years later Rebecca conceived. The pregnancy was a healthy one; and when the contractions started, the couple excitedly rushed to the hospital. Yet the hours of labor grew long and more intense, and Rebecca’s body still wasn’t progressing enough for delivery. Finally, the doctor decided she needed to perform an emergency C-section. Fearful, Rebecca sobbed for her baby and herself. The doctor calmly assured her, saying, “I will do my best, but we’re going to pray to God because He can do more.” She prayed with Rebecca, and fifteen minutes later, Bruce, a healthy baby boy, was born.

That doctor understood her dependence on God and His power. She recognized that although she had the training and skill to do the surgery, she still needed God’s wisdom, strength, and help to guide her hands (Psalm 121:1–2).

It’s encouraging to hear about highly skilled people, or of anyone, who recognize they need Him—because, honestly, we all do. He’s God; we’re not. He alone “is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20). Let’s have a humble heart to learn from Him and to trust Him in prayer “because He can do more” than we ever could.

By:  Anne Cetas

Reflect & Pray

How have you gained an understanding of your own need for God and His power? How is this dependence seen in your daily life?

I need You and Your wisdom and power, God, for decisions, skill, work, relationships—all of my life

Open Up to Others

2 Corinthians 6:11-13

The popularity of social networking reveals our hunger to connect with one another, yet many people still feel lonely. In fact, even at home, work, or church, people sometimes feel they’re in a gathering of strangers. The degree to which we are known is, in part, our own responsibility. Instead of building a wall of self-protection, we must risk opening up and letting others into our life.

The fall of Adam and Eve usually brings to mind the disconnection that sin created between God and mankind, but it also affected all human relationships from that time on. As a result, fear and pride threaten to keep us in bondage due to isolation and self-protection.

Paul urged the Corinthians to open up to him as he had to them. But because they thought he’d been too harsh on them in the past, the congregation had built walls of distrust and animosity, which were hindering the apostle’s ministry to them and the effectiveness of the church.

Relational walls can be difficult to recognize, but sometimes self-protection comes in the form of unforgiveness, gossip, distrust, and resentment. Ask God to reveal ways that you may be shutting someone out. He’ll help you demolish hindrances in your relationship with Him and others.

Others’ Things

Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.” (Philippians 2:4)

Our responsibility is to think like the Lord Jesus, part of which requires “looking” (marking, identifying) matters beyond our own concerns.

Part of that responsibility is caution. “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark [same Greek word for ‘look’] them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them” (Romans 16:17). Another part is being aware of godly examples. “Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample” (Philippians 3:17).

Surely that responsibility also includes that “we then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves” (Romans 15:1). And in cases of necessary discipline: “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted” (Galatians 6:1). Also consider these:

  • “Let no man seek his own, but every man another’s wealth” (1 Corinthians 10:24).
  • “Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved” (1 Corinthians 10:33).
  • “But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak” (1 Corinthians 8:9).

Finally, written by the same apostle who instructed the stronger Philippian church, there is this gentle summary statement recorded for the struggling Corinthian assembly: “Giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed” (2 Corinthians 6:3). HMM III

The Fever Cure

Mark 1:29-31

IN Mark 1:29-31, we have the terse, simple account of the healing of Peters wife’s mother. From the synagogue, the Lord Jesus enters Simon’s home. Simon’s mother-in-law is sick with a fever. They tell Jesus about her. He takes her by the hand, the fever leaves her. She arises and ministers unto them.

We live in a world sick with a persistent fever. No word can describe the present international condition better than “feverish.” Business has a fever. Religion the world over has a fever. We individuals live in a fever. Life may be spelled in three words: “Hurry, Worry, Bury.” We are getting on—but on where?

With some it is a fever of getting or spending, amassing the wealth of earth. The love of money is the root of all evil, and men are sick with that root disease. With some it is a fever of worry, fear, doubt—all of them close kin. With some it is ambition. Napoleon had a fever. Later, Hitler and Mussolini had it. And we lesser fry do not escape it. With some it is an evil spirit of unlove, bitterness, grudges that fester and create a fever that spoils all peace and joy. There is no peace to the wicked, for they are like the troubled sea when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. Christians, too, do not enter into God’s rest and so live with a fever of self and flesh.

They told Jesus of the woman sick with a fever. “Are you weary? Are you heavy-hearted? Tell it to Jesus,” says the old hymn, and that is the only recourse that prevails. We tell our souls to flee like a bird to this and that mountain, but there is rest only in the Lord. Notice that others told Jesus of this case. We are to bring our fevered loved ones to the Lord.

He came and lifted her up, and the fever left her. How true throughout the ages! His touch turned James and John—sons of thunder—into calm, steady witnesses. His touch transformed Simon Peter—wilful, impulsive—into a rock. His touch transformed Saul—zealous Pharisee—into a mighty preacher. That does not mean that we become lifeless and dull when the fever departs. To put off the old man is not to “put on the old woman.” When we are suffering from a fever, we are of no benefit to others; we are taken up with ourselves. It is when we are freed from the fever that we can help others, being set free from ourselves. That leads us to this last consideration: The woman arose and ministered unto others. The Lord wants to heal our fevers so that we may serve Him with joy and peace. Serving Christ is the joyful expression of souls set free from their fevers and now free to help others. And there is no fretting in such service.

What is your fever? Let Him heal you that you may minister.

Who Is the Holy Spirit?

He will guide you into all the truth. For He will not speak on His own.—John 16:13

The Christian faith is a religion of the Spirit, and unless we are continually filled with His divine resources, then our lives are largely ineffective. If the Scripture places so much emphasis on being possessed by the Holy Spirit, then it follows that we ought to find out everything we can about the One who seeks to indwell us.

I say “who,” for the Holy Spirit is not just an impersonal influence, nor is He just a sense of fellowship when we get together, nor an enthusiasm over ideas or causes. It is evident from the personal pronouns used of Him in the Scriptures that the writers viewed Him as a member of the Trinity, equal in honor and status to the Father and the Son. However, the Holy Spirit does not like to draw attention to Himself. In the Old Testament, the Spirit turns the spotlight fully upon the face of the Father. In the New Testament, He turns it fully upon the face of the Son. Never does He focus attention on Himself.

We owe a great deal of our understanding of the Holy Spirit to what Christ said of Him in the Gospels, for there Jesus returns the compliment and occasionally turns the spotlight upon the Holy Spirit, revealing His nature and His ministry. Jesus, in fact, put His disciples through a deliberate course of mental and spiritual training to prepare them for the reception of the Spirit. If we are to understand the Spirit’s ministry in our lives, then we must enroll in this course, too.

Prayer

Gracious Father, as I seek to understand who the Holy Spirit is and what He wants to do in my life, give me an eager mind and a receptive spirit. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Further Study

Jn 14:16-31; 15:26-27; Lk 11:13; 24:49

What did Jesus teach about the Holy Spirit?

What does the word “comforter” mean?

A Qwerty Question

John 8:12

Your keyboard a QWERTY?” asked the cyber techie with a sardonic smile.

“Course it is!” I snapped back, hoping to mask my ignorance with an annoyed response.

I didn’t want him to think that I didn’t own the latest computer hardware, or that I had been napping at a rest stop on the information superhighway.

He left with a smug, self-satisfied look that said he had left me in a gigabyte of dust with no escape key in reach. I hurried to my dictionary of computing terms to see how badly I’d been had. As it turned out, every American’s standard keyboard is a “QWERTY”—and has been since 1867!

“I knew that!” I yelled after him lamely, although he was long gone.

I discovered, too, in reading, that QWERTY—the first six keys on the top row of letters—were an inefficiency created by design. As typists got faster, they were constantly jamming the keys together at high speed. A leading manufacturer devised a new keyboard that moved the most common letters out of easy reach, intentionally slowing the typists down, instead of making the typewriter faster. Today, no typist can type fast enough to jam a word processor, yet the old keyboard design is still the well-entrenched standard.

There are plenty of people who view the gospel of Christ as an anachronism-out of date and out of step with life today. Jesus, however, remains the standard against which all others are judged.

While some feel He is superseded by more cosmic world views, those who accept Him marvel at His constancy. When we stay apace with Him, the document that is our life comes out right. Christ, although He is not new, after being tried, is always found true. Did you pass Him by? Perhaps it’s time to put Him in your “active window” once again.

David Atkins, The War Cry