VIDEO The Overshadowing of God’s Personal Deliverance

…I am with you to deliver you,” says the Lord. —Jeremiah 1:8

God promised Jeremiah that He would deliver him personally— “…your life shall be as a prize to you…” (Jeremiah 39:18). That is all God promises His children. Wherever God sends us, He will guard our lives. Our personal property and possessions are to be a matter of indifference to us, and our hold on these things should be very loose. If this is not the case, we will have panic, heartache, and distress. Having the proper outlook is evidence of the deeply rooted belief in the overshadowing of God’s personal deliverance.

The Sermon on the Mount indicates that when we are on a mission for Jesus Christ, there is no time to stand up for ourselves. Jesus says, in effect, “Don’t worry about whether or not you are being treated justly.” Looking for justice is actually a sign that we have been diverted from our devotion to Him. Never look for justice in this world, but never cease to give it. If we look for justice, we will only begin to complain and to indulge ourselves in the discontent of self-pity, as if to say, “Why should I be treated like this?” If we are devoted to Jesus Christ, we have nothing to do with what we encounter, whether it is just or unjust. In essence, Jesus says, “Continue steadily on with what I have told you to do, and I will guard your life. If you try to guard it yourself, you remove yourself from My deliverance.” Even the most devout among us become atheistic in this regard— we do not believe Him. We put our common sense on the throne and then attach God’s name to it. We do lean to our own understanding, instead of trusting God with all our hearts (see Proverbs 3:5-6).

WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS

We never enter into the Kingdom of God by having our head questions answered, but only by commitment.
The Highest Good—Thy Great Redemption


Jeremiah 1-20 – The Bible from 30,000 Feet – Skip Heitzig – Flight JER01

Legacy of Kindness

All the widows stood around him, crying and showing him the robes and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was still with them. Acts 9:39

Martha served as a teacher’s aide at an elementary school for over thirty years. Every year, she saved money to buy new coats, scarves, and gloves for students in need. After she lost her fight with leukemia, we held a celebration of life service. In lieu of flowers, people donated hundreds of brand-new winter coats to the students she loved and served for decades. Many people shared stories about the countless ways Martha encouraged others with kind words and thoughtful deeds. Her fellow teachers honored her memory with an annual coat drive for three years after her life ended on this side of eternity. Her legacy of kindness still inspires others to generously serve those in need.

In Acts 9, the apostle Luke shares a story about Dorcas, a woman who was “always doing good and helping the poor” (v. 36). After she got sick and died, the grieving community urged Peter to visit. All the widows showed Peter how Dorcas had lived to serve (v. 39). In a miraculous act of compassion, Peter brought Dorcas back to life. The news of Dorcas’ resurrection spread, and “many people believed in the Lord” (v. 42). But it was Dorcas’ commitment to serving others in practical ways that touched the hearts in her community and revealed the power of loving generosity.

By:  Xochitl Dixon

Reflect & Pray

How can you love someone with your kind words and deeds today? How has God used someone else’s kindness to draw you closer to Him? 

Loving God, please help me to love others in practical ways each day so I can leave a legacy of kindness that points others straight to You

Sunday Reflection: Lasting Confidence

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

Read through Proverbs, and you’re likely to notice God has some harsh words for those who are arrogant. But that doesn’t mean we’re to embrace self-loathing or low self-esteem. Neither extreme accurately captures who we are in Christ. In fact, both are a form of pride, as they involve determining our value for ourselves rather than leaving that to God.

Jesus told His disciples, “I am the vine, you are the branches; the one who remains in Me, and I in him bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). The Twelve may have been discouraged to hear they couldn’t do anything on their own, but they also heard Jesus say that communion with Him was the key to becoming who they were made to be—and that anything was possible with God (Matt. 19:26).

To rightly esteem ourselves, we must first rightly esteem the Lord. Resting in the Holy Spirit, we become vessels of His power, wisdom, mercy, peace, and love—fruit we can count on bearing in the world regardless of our strengths or weaknesses. Relying on Him is the path to true confidence.

Think about it
• How does your outlook change when you put your confidence in God’s abilities rather than your own?

Working Out Salvation

“Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” (Philippians 2:12)

This verse is sometimes used by those who would insist that our salvation requires “works” either to obtain or to maintain the “new birth.” Even a casual reading of the New Testament does not support that view (John 5:24; 6:37; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Ephesians 4:24; etc.).

This passage, both in context and by specific word choices of the Holy Spirit, is focused on what we are to do with our salvation—obey and produce! The writer of the Hebrews letter spoke of “things that accompany salvation” (Hebrews 6:9). And even the Old Testament prophet Isaiah insisted that we should “draw water out of the wells of salvation” (Isaiah 12:3).

Two parables speak specifically to this work: the gift of the talents and the gift of the pounds. God illustrated His grace by the gift of “talents” (Matthew 25:14-30) to His workers, as well as His expectation of their productivity for the profit of the Owner. Differing amounts were given to the servants based on their abilities, and judgment was based on their efficiency, or the percent of their return. In the gift of the pounds (Luke 19:13-27), God is the investor and His servants are all of us who receive (John 1:12) the gift of salvation. What we do with this gift is our responsibility. The same amount was given to each servant, without the mention of abilities. Judgment was then based on the servants’ effectiveness, or gain.

It is no wonder, then, that Paul exhorted us to “work out” the priceless salvation that has been given to us with “fear and trembling.” God is “working” in us, and He expects us to “will and to do his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13). HMM III

No Room for Jesus

Luke 2:1-7

AS Christmas day brings us around to the blessed story of the Savior’s birth, it reminds us of a circumstance connected with that event which still is timely in its application. When Joseph and Mary came to Bethlehem, they were forced to put up in a stable “because there was no room for them in the inn” (Luke 2:7).

Today, amid this commercialized Christmas, this overworked headache of expensive giving, God’s great gift, the first Christmas gift, stands often unrecognized. It is easy enough to sing Christmas carols and put on pageants, the tribute of our lips, but how many of us honestly face Christ Himself and His challenge of discipleship at any cost? There is room for many things today, room even for much about Jesus, but is there room for Him?

Let it be observed that so far as we know, this innkeeper may not have been unkind or discourteous to Joseph and Mary. I don’t read that he drove them away when they came to him. He may have been very polite and even expressed his regrets, but just the same, there was no room for them. So today, most people turn down the Lord because they are preoccupied. They have nothing against Him, they may even speak well of Him, but there is no room—their hearts and homes are filled with other things. So today, men have bought land and oxen and married wives and cannot entertain the Lord Jesus—their time and thoughts are already taken up with other things; maybe not bad things, but things too important for what they are worth.

This innkeeper may have said, “Come back tomorrow—some other day.” So men say that at some “more convenient season” they will accept the Lord. They do not really mean to pass Him up, the house is just too full now—and after they have straightened up things a bit and made more room, then He will be welcomed. But days lengthen into weeks and months and years, and life has gone, and there has never been room enough for Jesus.

What other guests do you have in your heart and home that shut out Jesus? For certainly the reason why there is no room is because there are others in His place. Is there anybody or anything in all this universe important enough to take His place? Eternity lies ahead, and you had better admit the guest who can spend it with you. You will need Him out there! Remember the man who cleaned out his house but left it empty, and seven evil spirits returned. It is not even enough to clear out undesirable guests! If Jesus does not take the place of what goes out, one’s latter state will be worse than the first. God cannot use an empty heart; a vacant life will soon be devil-filled.

I beg of you, on this Christmas day, do not make of it a hollow mockery by paying a wordy tribute to the Christ while you refuse Him your heart. It does no good to go to church and listen to cantatas if you have barred and bolted your heart against the Christ. Today He would graciously enter as Savior and Lord. One day He will come as Judge, and then you cannot escape Him. Be sure to put the Christ in Christmas!

No Other Name

There is salvation in no one else.—Acts 4:12

We must continually watch out for statements that assert that all religions are the same, for when they are repeated over and over again, and by seemingly sincere people, we can be brainwashed into accepting them.

In 1966, when the first multi-faith service was held in an Anglican church in London, in which Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, and Christians took part on equal terms, some Christian newspapers described it as a “betrayal of the faith.” Nowadays there is hardly a mention of such services although they take place regularly in different parts of our nation and also in other countries. People seem to have given up the idea of syncretism—the idea that all religions can be fused into one—and are focusing more on pluralism—the recognition of each faith as being of equal value. I take my stand with Dr. Visser’t Hooft, who said: “It is high time that Christians should rediscover that Jesus Christ did not come to make a contribution to the religious storehouse of mankind, but that in Him God reconciled the world unto Himself.”

The words of our text for today were displayed outside a church in London until the minister was told by the local authority to take the poster down as it offended some local inhabitants who were adherents of other faiths. “It is not the best way to love one’s neighbor as oneself” was how one critic put it. But how can we love our neighbor as ourselves if we make no attempt to share with them the knowledge of salvation in Jesus Christ?

Prayer

O Father, in an age when the faith once delivered to the saints is being watered down, deepen my understanding of it so that I may contend for it without being contentious. In Christ’s name I pray. Amen.

Further Study

Jn 3:1-17; 6:35; 14:6

What Old Testament example shows there is only one way to salvation?

What did Jesus declare about Himself?

What It Takes

Matthew 5:13-16

During the 1920s, Mallory led a series of expeditions to conquer Mt. Everest.

The first expedition failed, as did the second. Then Mallory led a third

assault. But in spite of careful planning and extensive safety precautions, Mallory and most of his companions were killed.

When the remaining members of Mallory’s team returned to England, they honored their fallen comrades at a banquet. As the leader of the survivors stood to acknowledge the applause, he turned his back to the crowd and stared at the enormous picture of Mt. Everest that hung behind the banquet table. The man addressed the mountain. “I speak to you, Mt. Everest, in the name of all the brave men living and those yet unborn. Mt. Everest, you defeated us three times. But, Mt. Everest, we shall someday defeat you, because you can’t get any bigger and we can.”

Remarkable courage.

The motto of the French Foreign Legion is little known but wholly consistent with the popular impression of that elite corps: “If I falter, push me on. If I stumble, pick me up. If I retreat, shoot me.”

Extraordinary courage.

Acts of personal bravery and heroism never fail to thrill and inspire us, reaffirming as they do man’s ability to rise above adverse circumstances or impossible odds. But courage is not simply a matter of doing, but being as well. Indeed, it may require more valor to be a certain person than to do a certain thing. After all, what does it take to preserve one’s personal integrity day after day? It takes the courage to endure. And what does it take to rely on God? The courage to trust.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus calls His followers to live courageously (Matthew 5:13-16). He challenges them to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world. He simply asks us to be what we profess to be—Christians. But that is no small order. In fact, it takes more courage than any mountain climber could ever muster. It takes a courage that has been born of a new life in Christ and nurtured by the Spirit of God Himself. Yes, that’s what it takes to be a Christian.

Kenneth G. Hodder, The War Cry