VIDEO Good Night!

I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety. Psalm 4:8

Have trouble sleeping? You’re not alone. A recent study found 77 percent of Americans sleep fitfully. Nearly half of us say we’re losing sleep because of anxiety about what’s going on around us. Many have trouble sleeping because of concern about their loved ones or loneliness.3

In her book, God’s Peace for When You Can’t Sleep, Christina Vinson suggests focusing our hearts and minds on God’s promises and on the sweetness of prayer as the day ends. 

“Take in a deep breath. Exhale the stress you are holding, and breathe in the peace of God, letting the promises of His Word flood your tired soul. And then, as you close your eyes and lay your head down, know that He is right there with you; He is your rock, your strength, your ever-present help in times of trouble, even in the quiet hours of the morning.”

God’s eternal peace will cover all our troubles in this world and carry us into eternal peace.

Lord, You are the Giver of rest. Help me trust that You have everything under control, and that my job is not to juggle everything, but to hand all of my burdens over to You, the all-powerful, able, strong God. Christina Vinson

Psalm 4 • You alone, O Lord, Make Me Dwell in Safety

Your Life’s Passion

The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. . . . Flee from all this, and pursue righteousness. 1 Timothy 6:10–11

One evening years ago, my wife and I were making our way down a mountain trail, accompanied by two friends. The trail was narrow and wound around a slope with a steep drop on one side and an unclimbable bank on the other.

As we came around a bend, I saw a large bear moseying along, swinging his head from side to side, and quietly huffing. We were downwind, and he hadn’t detected our presence, but he would soon.

Our friend began to rummage around in her jacket for a camera. “Oh, I must take a picture!” she said. I, being less comfortable with our odds, said, “No, we must get out of here.” So we backed up quietly until we were out of sight—and ran.

That’s how we should feel about the dangerous passion to get rich. There’s nothing wrong with money; it’s just a medium of exchange. But those who desire to get rich “fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction,” Paul wrote (1 Timothy 6:9). Wealth is only a goad to get more.

Instead, we should “pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness” (v. 11). These traits grow in us as we pursue them and ask God to form them within us. This is how we secure the deep satisfaction we seek in God.

By:  David H. Roper

Reflect & Pray

What’s your passion in life? How might you pursue traits that will make you more like Jesus?

God, I want to grow to become more Christlike. Help me cooperate with what You’re trying to teach me.

Drawing From the Source

John 4:7-14

True contentment is determined by our attitude and responses rather than by our circumstances. And because Paul had learned this secret, he was able to experience joy and peace in any kind of situation.

The apostle understood what it meant to live in Christ and to have Christ living in him (John 15:1-9; Gal. 5:22-23). He knew that the treasure he possessed within could never be stolen. And that gave Paul confidence in his identity as a child of God, with full access to the abundant life Jesus offers.

I want to challenge you: This week, when something threatens to steal your contentment, choose to lean on God. When you find yourself becoming anxious or angry, stop and say, “Lord, You are my source. Provide me with the capacity to be kind, the forgiveness I need to extend, and the love I need to express.”

Watch and see how God will quiet your spirit and provide confidence when you draw from Him as your source. You’ll be surprised at your own attitude: When you respond from within—rather than from the flesh—Jesus will lead you to genuine contentment.

Doing God’s Pleasure

“Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:12-13)

In this passage with an unusual play on words, we are told to give our salvation a “workout.” The Greek word is katergazomai, an interesting compound word that means to “perform.” When we are told that God is working in us, the Greek word is energeô, which is the “energy” to do work.

Paul puts it this way: “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh [energeô] in us” (Ephesians 3:20). This “energizing” is an internal and spiritual resource, demonstrated most poignantly by “the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working [energeô] of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead” (Ephesians 1:19-20). Since the energy to produce comes from the same Creator who saved us by grace, He has every right to expect us to “will and to do of his good pleasure.”

Peter taught us that God provided “all things that pertain unto life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3). The Thessalonican church was told that “the word of God…effectually worketh also in you that believe” (1 Thessalonians 2:13). And of course, “all scripture…is profitable….That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

Our objective, having been supernaturally supplied by the One who saved us, is to “walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness” (Colossians 1:10-11). HMM III

Lepers Are Cleansed, the Lame Walk

Luke 5:12-15

MATTHEW, Mark and Luke record the healing of a leper who came to our Lord saying, “If Thou wilt, Thou canst make me clean.” With him, the question was not of Christ’s power but of His willingness. The Savior touched him—incurring ceremonial defilement, mind you, for this man was a loathsome leper—and healed him. Our Lord is willing to touch and transform the vilest. The leper was bidden not to publish the healing, for Jesus did not want to stir up sensationalism, and He knew the superficiality of public enthusiasm. He bade the leper fulfill the Levitical legal requirement—a good reminder for those who foolishly disregard all tradition and precedent. The leper, contrary to instructions, broadcasted what had happened to him, and one finds it hard to blame him! Luke adds the significant detail about our Lord: “And He withdrew Himself into the wilderness and prayed.” Gathering multitudes and growing popularity, far from lessening His hours of prayer, increased them and drove Him all the oftener to the secret place.

Following this miracle, our Lord went into Capernaum and taught crowds that jammed the house, and we read that “the power of the Lord was present to heal them” (Luke 5:17). Four friends of a paralytic carried the sick man to be healed and were forced to tear up the roof and let him down into the presence of Jesus. Certainly this was an undignified and unconventional procedure, but any course is justifiable that brings a man to the Lord. There would be more miracles today if there were more roofs torn up, more believers willing to do the unusual thing to get the needy to the Lord.

The record says: “When Jesus saw their faith….” Our faith and prayer and efforts bring blessing to others. Jesus began by forgiving the man’s sins. This was His boldest claim to be the Son of God, and it astounded the scribes and Pharisees who reasoned that only God could forgive sins. Their reasoning was entirely correct on that score, but what they did not see was that God was before them in the person of His Son.

Our Lord then gave a visible evidence that He had power to do the invisible wonder of forgiving sins. They could not tell whether the man had been forgiven or not, but when he arose and walked they could all see that he had been healed! He had come in with his back on his bed and he went out with his bed on his back —and there was no denying that!

We read that the people glorified God, saying, “We’ve never seen anything like this!” Indeed not! How this sad old world needs today to witness the wonder of a miracle-working Christ! But He cannot do many mighty works because of our unbelief. If we had faith to carry the needy to Him, persistence enough to tear up any roof that bars the way, He would reward our faith with wondrous blessing! Alas, we have dropped to a pale and pitiful dignity that respectfully gathers at church—and most of us don’t even do that—but there is not that determined, vivid, roof-raising faith that will not be denied. Let us return to that, and men will say once more, “We’ve never seen anything like this!”

The Final Emphasis—Jesus

We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him.—Acts 5:32

The Holy Spirit will glorify Jesus. The promise of John 16:14—”He will glorify Me”—was fulfilled after the Holy Spirit came on the disciples at Pentecost, for we read: “We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him” (Ac 5:32). This shows that the divine Spirit and human spirits were working together for the same end—the glorification of Jesus.

The statement that the Holy Spirit would glorify Jesus was one of the most important lessons in the process of spiritual education. The whole purpose of the Spirit’s coming was not to glorify Himself or the person who receives Him, but to glorify Jesus. That puts the emphasis in the proper place. If the Holy Spirit glorified the person who received Him, then that would make Christianity an eccentric religion—off center. If He glorified Himself, then it would make Christianity Spirit-centered rather than Christ-centered. Christianity that is not linked to the Incarnation can have no fixed idea as to what God is really like. Spirit-centered Christianity would leave us going off on a tangent into all kinds of weird areas of subjectivity.

There are some Christians who are more Spirit-oriented than Christ-oriented. They hear what they describe as the “voice of the Spirit” telling them to do strange and unseemly things. Every “voice” we hear must be tested against the character of Jesus, and if it doesn’t come up to His standard, then it has to be rejected. The Holy Spirit will always glorify Jesus.


O God, my Father, I am conscious that I am thinking through a delicate issue here. Give me such a clear vision of Jesus that I shall always decide according to Him. Amen.

Further Study

Mt 3; Isa 11:2; 42:1; 61:1; Jn 1:32, 16:14; Ac 10:38

What did Isaiah prophesy?

How was this fulfilled?

Watch and Pray

Matthew 26:40-46

Surely by this stage the disciples could not be unaware that they were involved in something momentous. They had seen firsthand the buildup of tension between Jesus and the authorities; they had seen Judas depart and must have suspected that he was up to no good; they had heard Jesus talk at length about leaving them. And yet they just went to sleep in the open, lying on the ground.

In Gethsemane the disciples, even the inner group of three whom He took further into the garden, went to sleep not once but three times. Dropping off once might be understandable, but three times in these circumstances! We know from experience how easy it is to slip from prayer into mental wanderings and even into sleep, especially if we are physically and emotionally exhausted. But this was one occasion when prayer was most definitely required.

By neglecting prayer, they and we lay ourselves open to three dangers. First, prayer is necessary to cope with temptation: “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation” (Matthew 26:41).

Second, prayer is helpful not only in present danger but in preparation for future situations. Regular prayer, whatever the circumstances, makes prepared people. If they had prayed harder the disciples might have been less likely to deny and desert. Their prayerlessness at this time showed them to be lacking in awareness of the critical spiritual situation they would soon face.

Third, they showed that they did not appreciate the place of prayer in supporting others. They slept in spite of Jesus’ almost desperate pleas for support.

“Get up and pray,” says Jesus (Luke 22:46). He needed companionship; He needed supportive prayer. Here He was praying desperately about the most difficult situation of His life. Do not Christians sometimes leave the praying to those who minister to them, thus leaving them with an insupportable load?

Verse 39 in the Good News Bible says, “He went a little farther on.” In spiritual terms this is a staggering understatement. Physically, He was only a stone’s throw away; spiritually, there was an infinite gulf that separated them. But it was Jesus who found God in Gethsemane, and set His course according to the Father’s will. When the disciples woke up, it was to hear Jesus say, “Rise, let us go!” (Matthew 26:46).

Clifford and Maureen Kew, Question Time