VIDEO Speak Out! Don’t Quit!

Now the Lord spoke to Paul in the night by a vision, “Do not be afraid, but speak, and do not keep silent; for I am with you, and no one will attack you to hurt you; for I have many people in this city.” Acts 18:9-10

We think of Paul as a superhero who wasn’t fazed by suffering, danger, or rejection. But if we could join him in Corinth, we might have found him near the end of his resources. In Acts 16 and 17, he was flogged in Philippi and run out of Thessalonica like a scoundrel. In Athens, few responded to his message. Going on to Corinth in chapter 18, he got a job making tents. When he tried to evangelize, he found rejection. 

That’s when the Lord said: “Don’t be afraid! Speak out! Don’t quit! For I am with you and no one can harm you. Many people here in this city belong to me” (Acts 18:9-10, TLB). Many souls in Corinth were ready to hear and respond to Paul’s Gospel. He stayed there a year and a half.

Through whatever challenges we face, the Comforter will always be at our side, saying: “Don’t be afraid. Don’t quit. I’m beside you and will bless your efforts.”

God has use for the heart that no difficulties can deter. V. Raymond Edman


The Answer For Fear, Acts 18:9-10 – Pastor Chuck Smith – Topical Bible Study

The Secret of Contentment

I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation. Philippians 4:12

When Joni Eareckson Tada returned home after suffering a swimming accident that left her a quadriplegic, her life was vastly different. Now doorways were too narrow for her wheelchair and sinks were too high. Someone had to feed her, until she decided to relearn how to feed herself. Lifting the special spoon to her mouth from her arm splint the first time, she felt humiliated as she smeared applesauce on her clothes. But she pressed on. As she says, “My secret was learning to lean on Jesus and say, ‘Oh God, help me with this!’ ” Today she manages a spoon very well.

Joni says her confinement made her look at another captive—the apostle Paul, who was imprisoned in a Roman jail—and his letter to the Philippians. Joni strives for what Paul achieved: “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances” (Philippians 4:11). Note that Paul had to learn to be at peace; he wasn’t naturally peaceful. How did he find contentment? Through trusting in Christ: “I can do all this through him who gives me strength” (v. 13).

We all face different challenges throughout our days; and we all can look to Jesus moment by moment for help, strength, and peace. He will help us to hold back from snapping at our loved ones; He will give us the courage to do the next hard thing. Look to Him and find contentment.

By:  Amy Boucher Pye

Reflect & Pray

How has leaning on Jesus helped you to find peace? In what areas of your life are you struggling right now? How could you commit them to God?

Saving Christ, thank You for giving me courage and hope. When I feel weak, help me to find strength in You

The Decisions That Lead to Contentment

Romans 8:28-39

Think about a circumstance in your life that you’d change if you could. Whether it’s a hardship or unfulfilled desire, in order to be content, you must accept that the situation has been allowed by God, even if He didn’t cause it.

When I face such things in my life, I often pray, “Lord, I choose to accept this as though it’s coming from You. I’m choosing to look to You.” Then I can rest in the knowledge that I’m His child. Instead of feeling like a victim of my circumstance, I know I’m cared for and guided by my sovereign Father.

I’ve also found it helps when we fully submit ourselves to God. This doesn’t mean approaching God insincerely and saying, “Well, Lord, I just want to thank You for this!” Be honest and admit, “This is painful and I don’t like it. But I choose to submit to You because You are trustworthy and loving. I choose to draw from Your strength for everything I need.” My friend, if you do this, your concerns will lose their power.

Do you believe Romans 8:28? If you do, you can entrust yourself to the Lord, knowing that He has your best interest at heart, will take care of you, and won’t ever leave your side. When you embrace these truths, you’re on your way to contentment in Jesus.

Behavior Checklist

“Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world.” (Philippians 2:14-15)

The Holy Spirit makes sure that we do not take lightly the obligation to live godly lives. This “list” contains both warnings and promises.

Everything is to be done without “murmurings” and “disputings.” Both words are very interesting synonyms of heart attitudes that produce ungodly behavior. The Greek word translated “murmur” is goggusmos, and it is almost an onomatopoeia (sounds like what it actually is)—a secret debate, muttering to oneself. The “dispute” (Greek dialogismos) suggests a logical debate with oneself.

We are commanded to excise that kind of behavior from ourselves so that we may well be blameless and harmless as the “sons of God,” living “without rebuke.” These words are powerful in their description of God’s expectations for us.

The blameless condition is first an eternal promise that comes with salvation: “To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God” (1 Thessalonians 3:13). That condition “works out” in this life as a faultless reputation that is harmless. Paul uses the term this way: “I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil” (Romans 16:19).

Finally, if we eliminate “murmuring and disputings” from our inner thoughts and actively seek to be “blameless and harmless” with our external behavior, we will be “without rebuke” in the middle of this sadly sinful world. “Be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless” (2 Peter 3:14). HMM III

As Thou Hast Believed”

Luke 7:1-17

OUR Lord, having healed elsewhere, returns to Capernaum and brings blessing at home as well as abroad (Matt. 8:5-13; Luke 7:1-10). A Roman centurion comes to Him on behalf of a sick servant. How we ought always to come to our Lord on behalf of others—and not only of the high and mighty but even of servants, the despised and lowly! This centurion had lived up to the light he had; he had befriended the Jews and built them a synagogue. Such men always find more light.

His humility is shown in that he thought himself unworthy to have the Lord under his roof. That spirit also always gets a blessing. He recognizes that just as he has men under his authority, so the Lord has authority over disease. Alas, we today do not believe He can and will work wonders; we see no authority beyond the purely natural. There is little recognition of the sovereignty of our Christ over every problem.

In the simple faith of this centurion our Lord saw a prophetic type of Gentiles being saved while the unbelieving Jews would be cast out (Matt. 8:10-12). How true that is in this present church-age is evident to us all.

Jesus commanded the centurion, “Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee.” It reminds us of His statement to the blind men: “According to your faith be it unto you” (Matt. 9:29). Our faith is the measure of our blessing. As we believe, we receive. How naturally follows the conclusion here: “And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour.” We blame many things for our meager, pale and tasteless lives today, but we simply do not believe His word enough to go our way. We must see before believing, whereas these believed and then went forth to see the wonder wrought.

Next day, our Lord entered Nain and met a widow’s son being carried to burial. A procession of life met a procession of death. Many people, we read in the account (Luke 7:11-17), were in each procession. It is not recorded that the widow solicited aid, but the Lord saw her and had compassion. With the simple word “Arise” He raised the dead. Three raisings are recorded in the Gospels. One had just died, the daughter of Jairus; this young man was on the way to burial; and Lazarus had been dead four days. But the Lord raised all three, and, although the details differed, each could say, “Once I was dead, but now I live.” Is it not so in conversion? Elijah and Elisha had raised the dead with great wrestlings, but here our Lord simply calls the dead to life.

Of course, after such an event the people would be in fear and glorify God, but most of the response, doubtless, was of that superficial sort that will not believe unless it sees signs and wonders. Often we think that if Jesus were among us today working such miracles, men would believe—but not so. Skeptics would offer their explanations, the magicians would produce their counterfeits, and sinful men would go on their way, loving darkness rather than light. More blessed are they who see not, yet believe and, believing, rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory!

Creative Commonplace

They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, and Philip.—Acts 6:5

No matter what happens to you or when it happens to you, it is never too late to become creative. Pray as one man did who was on the verge of going insane: “O Jesus, come into my soul, my mind, my body, into every brain cell, and help me to be a contributive person.” Jesus did come into every brain cell, and that man is now well and contributing to the kingdom of God in an astonishing way.

I wonder, am I talking today to someone who feels they are caught up in so many routines that they are in the rut? Routines often become (if I might coin a word) “rut”-ines. They make us into grooved, non-creative individuals unless—and this is the point—unless we make the commonplace a creative place. And how do we do that? By the creative spirit we bring to it.

Someone has described Philip the evangelist as “a third-rate man in a second-rate task who did a first-rate job.” He was quite different from the Philip who was one of Christ’s group of twelve disciples. He didn’t have the privilege of having been chosen as one of the apostolic band. He was instead one of “the seven” whose task was “to wait on tables.” He might have folded up under these limitations and said: “I am in a rut.” Instead, he accepted the commonplace as a consecrated place and gently pushed against the barriers until they broke. His creativity marks him out as one of the greatest characters of the New Testament.

Prayer

O God, help me to turn all common places into creative places. Give me the attitude of Your servant Philip, who turned a routine task into a redemptive one. In Jesus’ name I pray this. Amen.

Further Study

Col 3:1-10; 2Co 5:17; Rm 12:2

In what image is the new self made?

What are you creating at present?

Love Conquers All

1 Corinthians 13:13

Love—the excellency of heaven! Was it not out of this very germ came the creation? Love was the beginning of all things, and love will rush in and throb out the final climax of all.

It seems, in order to show us how mistaken we can be in our judgment of our spiritual standing, that God reveals in the 13th chapter of 1 Corinthians a case of gems of highest worth—all that the heart could desire for this world—and shows that, while possessing so much, we can miss all.

In this case we find, first, the gem of oratory. Who could look upon it and not be impressed with its mighty value? “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels” (1 Corinthians 13:1 KJV). What an overwhelming attraction there is in this supposition! Could a heart carry a burning theme and not covet that gift most fitted to voice its claims? Where God has thrown in a gifted tongue—skilled in swaying the mind as sky winds the foliage of the forest—convincing, convicting, converting the people by power of speech?

“Tongues of angels”—the tenderness of persuasion, fervency of entreaty, force of eloquence, depth of compassion of an angel’s tongue. But while even so much possessing, if the one crown jewel of love be missing, then in the ears of God all the outward sounding has but the echoing emptiness, coldness and hardness of beaten brass, the irritation of battering cymbals. You can talk love without having it; you can expound its priceless beauties, with its rightful place in your heart filled with self.

We draw from our case our next treasure—the gift of knowledge. None but fools would think lightly of a gift so priceless. How much more to be treasured than wealth or sought for than fame. Its pursuit has made thousands oblivious to poverty or pain. But the Bible tells us that knowledge, grand and mighty as it is, without love, is nothing. To compare knowledge with love you may as well expect the raindrops to rival the ocean. One “vanishes away,” the other is immortal.

We thrust our hands deeper into the case and draw from its clustering gems the pearl of sacrifice. “And though I give my body to be burned, and have not love, it profits me nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:3 KJV). I could never say it, my pen dare not write it, were these not the words of Bible record. Only those offerings springing from the burning promptings of that love which to live must give, that in giving reckons not on gain, can bring eternal profit to the giver.

“God so loved the world” (John 3:16). This victorious power, this golden coronet for which there is no tarnish, this invincible force—Love—conquers all.

Evangeline Booth, Love Is All