VIDEO Foresight

For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth…. All things were created through Him and for Him. Colossians 1:16

Dr. Marcos Eberlin, founder of the Thomson Mass Spectrometry Laboratory, claims that “biology is in the midst of a gold rush of discovery.” Many of these advances are impacting medicine and others are spurring new inventions. “All of this new knowledge is exhilarating in its own right,” wrote Eberlin. “At the same time I am now convinced that many of these discoveries, taken together, point beyond themselves to something even more extraordinary…. I will put this as plainly as I can: This rush of discovery seems to point beyond any purely blind evolutionary process to the workings of an attribute unique to minds—foresight.”[1]

Through God all things were created—visible and invisible. They were created through Jesus and for Jesus. For His pleasure. For His praise. That includes the birds that sing, the crickets that chirp, the stars that twinkle, and you and me! Praise God from whom all blessings flow. Praise Him all creatures here below! He has made the universe with divine foresight!

The evidence for foresight and design in nature is growing progressively more apparent as we pursue scientific discovery. Marcos Eberlin


51 Colossians 1 – Pastor Chuck Smith – C2000 Series

The “What” in Sharing Our Faith

My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power. 1 Corinthians 2:4

Alan came to me for advice on how to deal with his fear of public speaking. Like so many others, his heart would begin to race, his mouth would feel sticky and dry, and his face would flush bright red. Glossophobia is among the most common social fears people have—many even joke that they’re more fearful of public speaking than of dying! To help Alan conquer his fear of not “performing” well, I suggested he focus on the substance of his message instead of how well he’d deliver it.

Shifting the focus to what will be shared, instead of one’s ability to share it, is similar to Paul’s approach to pointing others to God. When he wrote to the church at Corinth, he remarked that his message and preaching “were not with wise and persuasive words” (1 Corinthians 2:4). Instead, he’d determined to focus solely on the truth of Jesus Christ and His crucifixion (v. 2), trusting the Holy Spirit to empower his words, not his eloquence as a speaker.

When we’ve come to know God personally, we’ll want to share about Him with those around us. Yet we sometimes shy away from it because we’re afraid of not presenting it well—with the “right” or eloquent words. By focusing instead on the “what”—the truth of who God is and His amazing works—we can, like Paul, trust God to empower our words and share without fear or reluctance.

By:  Kirsten Holmberg

What has prevented you at times from sharing the truth of God with others? How can Paul’s approach embolden you to share the gospel?

Father in heaven, thank You for revealing Yourself to me through the Bible and those You put in my life to share with me. Please help me to share with others, trusting You to empower my words.

To learn more about public speaking in ministry, visit odbu.org/ML111.

The Practice of Fasting

Matthew 6:16-18

Today much is misunderstood about fasting. One common assumption is that it’s related to dieting and health. And there are those who hope their self-denial will impress God or certain people. But neither of these is the purpose of the practice, according to Scripture.

Biblical fasting is a spiritual work in which we temporarily eliminate distractions so we can give undivided attention to our heavenly Father through prayer. As we abstain, other things begin to lose their sense of importance, and we gain a heightened awareness of God’s presence and His priorities for our lives.

Fasting can be carried out in several ways: going without food, eliminating activities, or forgoing sleep in order to seek the Lord. The intent is always to pray without disturbances so we can focus fully on the Lord.

Have you avoided fasting because it appears too hard or confusing? Think instead about the joy you will experience from having deeper communion with your loving heavenly Father, and then step out in faith. Giving the Lord your undivided attention for a period of time can deepen your relationship with Him.

The Word of Life

“Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.” (Philippians 2:16)

The Bible is always the best commentary on itself—especially when the word or phrase is not frequent. In this case, “the word of life” is only used twice and might be interpreted in various ways without this qualifier: “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life” (1 John 1:1).

In the context of Philippians 2, the emphasis is obviously on the person and work of our Lord Jesus. We who bear His name are His “sons” and are charged with the responsibility of being “lights” (Philippians 2:15) to a world that is steeped in darkness. The light that we shine is the word of life—and that is, according to the Scriptures, the person and work of Jesus Christ.

Thus, the word of life must certainly involve who Christ is (Creator, Lord, incarnate Word, King) as well as the “glorious gospel” of salvation by grace (2 Corinthians 4:4). Charged with the responsibility of “holding forth the word of life,” we are to be “the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God” (1 Corinthians 4:1). Thus, we should be well-versed in the written Word, since Jesus specifically said: “Search the scriptures…they are they which testify of me” (John 5:39).

Ultimately, of course, our “light” comes from “the Light.” Since we have been delivered “from the power of darkness” (Colossians 1:13) by our Lord’s substitutionary atonement, we who “were sometimes darkness” are now “light in the Lord: walk as children of light” (Ephesians 5:8). HMM III

The 70 and the Samaritan

Luke 10:1-37

OUR Lord sends out seventy disciples (Luke 10:1-24) with a charge similar to that given to the twelve in Matthew 10. Once in a while, some literal-minded questioner wants to know why preachers do not now go out without purse or scrip, according to these directions. This was local ministry to Israel under conditions vastly different from ours. Later, when His disciples must face a Gentile world, our Lord gave quite different instructions (Luke 22:35-36).

Later, the seventy returned with joy, reporting that even the devils were subject unto them. Our Lord answers, “I saw Satan as lightning fall from heaven.” He was with them in their ministry and saw Satan defeated, and here He also sums up in a flash his final defeat—even as he fell from heaven (Isa. 14:12-19) long before, a sight which our Lord doubtless beheld. Revelation 12:7-12 also pictures this fall of Satan. Our Lord is assuring them that as He saw Satan fall at first, so He sees him finally defeated—which is typified by their success in casting out demons.

After giving them power over the enemy our Lord bids them not to rejoice in that, but that their names are written in heaven. The sole ground of our rejoicing is not in our powers or successes, but in the unmerited and undeserved grace of God.

Jesus thanks the Father that the profound truths of heaven have been kept from the wise and prudent and revealed unto babes, the childlike (Matt. 18:3). He tells His disciples that they are privileged to see what prophets and kings had longed for. Marvelous truth—that the greatest revelation of all time was made to the humblest, the simple and lowly disciples who received Him gladly! It has always been so through the ages in His subsequent revelations through the Spirit. “More blessed are they that see not, yet believe” (John 20:29) and “not many wise or mighty or noble are called” (1 Cor. 1:26-31).

The familiar story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) was given instead of argument to the lawyer who asked, “Who is my neighbor?” He thought only Jews were his neighbors, and our Lord makes two Jews pass by in this story while the hero was a Samaritan. This must have been distasteful to the lawyer. Moreover, Jesus did not give the nationality of the wounded man, so that any nationality may be meant. Whoever needs our help is our neighbor, and whoever helps another is a true neighbor, so it works both ways.

It was a masterful presentation of a mighty truth, so skillfully done that the lawyer was obliged to confess the truth so evident. Our Lord then bids him, “Go thou and do likewise.” The truths of the Word are not merely for reading and inspiration. We are to “go and learn what this meaneth.”

“Teaching them to observe”—not merely to know but to do—is His command. “If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.”

Nothing!

Who are You, Lord?—Acts 9:5

Max Muller, a writer on religious issues, once made this arresting statement: “You do not know the worth of your Christian faith until you have compared it to others.” The first article of belief we look at is the fact that God has appeared in this world in the Person of His eternal Son. Our faith is not the word of a prophet but the Word of the Son Himself. No other world faith even attempts to represent its great teacher as God incarnate. Yet we claim for Christ just that. As God, He comes to us from the highest, and He comes all the way.

I remember hearing a missionary to India say that he was forced to rethink his faith in the light of other faiths and other ways of life. “All the old shibboleths and modes of expression and accepted outlooks on life are challenged,” he said, “and one begins to see where the relevant lies.” He started discussions with Hindu, Buddhist, and Muslim leaders, as well as representatives of India’s many other religions. The gatherings were called “Round Table” discussions to suggest that everyone could present what they considered to be the distinctives of their faith. One could see flashes of truth, the missionary recalled, as people spoke from experience or from their sacred books. But whenever a Christian spoke and unfolded the truth of the Incarnation, the meeting would lapse into silence. Sometimes the silence would last for many minutes, only to be broken with the remark: “We have nothing in our faith that compares to that. Nothing!”

Prayer

Dear God and Father, if You hadn’t come down to us, how could we have ever come up to You? What humiliation this must have meant for You. Yet what love. Our hearts sing with gratitude. Blessed be Your name forever. Amen.

Further Study

Ac 1:1-5; 1Co 15:1-8; Ac 9:1-6; 1Tm 3:16

What was Paul’s testimony?

How did he substantiate it?

Covenant Renewal

Deuteronomy 33:27

When from sin’s dark hold Thy love had won me,

And its wounds Thy tender hands had healed,

As Thy blest commands were laid upon me,

Growing light my growing need revealed.

Thus I sought the path of consecration

When to Thee, dear Lord, my vows were given;

And the joy which came with full salvation

Winged my feet and filled my heart with Heaven.

By the love that never ceased to hold me,

By the blood which Thou didst shed for me,

Whilst Thy presence and Thy power enfold me,

I renew my covenant with Thee.

But my heart at times with care is crowded,

Oft I serve with weak, overladen hands,

And that early joy grows dim and clouded

As each day its heavy toll demands.

Have I ceased from walking close beside Thee?

Have I grieved Thee with an ill-kept vow?

In my heart of hearts have I denied Thee?

Speak, dear Lord, O speak and tell me now.

By the love that never ceased to hold me

In a bond nor life nor death shall break,

As Thy presence and Thy power enfold me,

I would plead fresh covenant to make.

From before Thy face, each vow renewing,

Strong in heart, with purpose pure and deep,

I will go henceforth Thy will pursuing,

With my Lord unbroken faith to keep.

Will J. Brand, The Salvation Army Song Book