VIDEO Attention Getter #2: Be Active

For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation…. Ephesians 2:14

George Miller, 29, moved to a city far from family, so he adopted a golden retriever named Crosby. One day George found Crosby staring at the wall. This went on for days. Crosby was fixated at the wall. George decided to figure out the reason, so he opened a hole in the wall. Seeing nothing, he enlarged the hole and stuck his hand in. His fingers felt something move, and he pulled out a tiny kitten, safe and sound, but famished. No one is sure how the kitten got in the wall, but now George has two friends to keep him company.

Just on the other side of the wall of grace are people needing us. Christ has opened the wall, but we need to find ways of reaching our hands and hearts through the opening to help those on the other side. It’s tangible acts that enable us to put our hand through the wall and help them. We reach others with a kind spirit, and others will see God when we live out our faith.

Point someone to Jesus every passing day…. Make them think of Jesus all along the way. Lenore Harpster


Ephesians 2 (Part 4) :14-22 Created to Be One

Lies with Truth

Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Proverbs 30:5

I set my Bible on the podium and stared at the eager faces waiting for me to begin the message. I’d prayed and prepared. Why couldn’t I speak?

You’re worthless. No one will ever listen to you, especially if they know your past. And God would never use you. Seared into my heart and mind, these words spoken in various ways over my life ignited a decade-long war against the lies I so easily believed. Though I knew the words weren’t true, I couldn’t seem to escape my insecurities and fears. So I opened my Bible.

Turning to Proverbs 30:5, I inhaled and exhaled slowly before reading out loud. “Every word of God is flawless,” I read, “he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.” I closed my eyes as peace overwhelmed me, and I began to share my testimony with the crowd.

Many of us have experienced the paralyzing power of negative words or opinions others have of us. However, God’s words are “flawless,” perfect and absolutely sound. When we’re tempted to believe spirit-crushing ideas about our value or our purpose as God’s children, God’s enduring and infallible truth protects our minds and our hearts. We can echo the psalmist who wrote: “I remember, Lord, your ancient laws, and I find comfort in them” (Psalm 119:52).

Let’s combat lies we’ve accepted about God, ourselves, and others by replacing negative speak with Scripture.

By:  Xochitl Dixon

Reflect & Pray

What lies have you believed? What verses in the Bible have helped you see God, yourself, and others through the truth of Scripture?

Loving Father, please help me to prayerfully study Scripture as You help me view life through the lens of Your truth

Safe in God’s Presence

Psalm 139:1-12

There are two possible ways to respond to today’s Scripture passage. Some people find great comfort in knowing that God is always present in their life and nothing escapes His notice. This is usually the response of believers, because we understand that He cares for us. Why would we ever want to get away from the One who saved us and eternally loves us?

But for other people, the same psalm brings discomfort—they feel exposed when they realize it’s impossible to hide from a God who knows everything about them. So even though they can’t escape the Lord’s omniscience and omnipresence, they react like Jonah and attempt to run.

Sometimes they act out of pure selfishness. The flesh has a strong tendency to believe it knows the best course of action, regardless of what God says. Fear of failure or criticism can also result in disregarding His will. But often the problem is that people simply consider obedience too costly. What they fail to recognize is the real risk of fleeing from the Lord: missing out on His abundant life (Matt. 16:24-25).

 Instead of seeing Psalm 139 as restrictive, try to recognize it as the all-encompassing protection of God. He’s always watching over us for our good, and there is great peace in trusting and obeying Him.

How Does God Hear?

“Hearken therefore unto the supplications of thy servant, and of thy people Israel, which they shall make toward this place: hear thou from thy dwelling place, even from heaven; and when thou hearest, forgive.” (2 Chronicles 6:21)

No less than eight times in Solomon’s prayer of dedication for the temple does he beseech God to “hear from heaven” (see 2 Chronicles 6:21, 23, 25, 27, 30, 33, 35, 39). But the obvious question is just how can God hear our prayers, especially those uttered only in silence?

The answer is in both God’s omniscience and His omnipresence. Although God is indeed on His heavenly throne, He is also right here! “O LORD,” David prayed, “thou hast searched me, and known me….thou understandest my thought afar off” (Psalm 139:1-2). He can, and does, hear our prayers. “He that planted the ear, shall he not hear? he that formed the eye, shall he not see?” (Psalm 94:9).

In a manner of speaking, He hears the prayers of redeemed children today even more directly than in David’s day, for we who trust in Christ have been indwelt by the Holy Spirit. “God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them” (2 Corinthians 6:16). “The eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers” (1 Peter 3:12).

God can indeed hear our prayers. But there are times when He refuses to hear! “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me” (Psalm 66:18). “Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God…that he will not hear” (Isaiah 59:1-2).

Yes, but if we ask anything according to His will (and this implies first living according to His will), “he heareth us: and… we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him” (1 John 5:14-15). HMM

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!”

Our Only Protection

God of our salvation, help us—for the glory of Your name. Deliver us.—Psalm 79:9

The armor of God is our only protection against the wiles of Satan, but it will do us no good unless we avail ourselves of it in its entirety.

In considering this matter, we must constantly keep before us the fact that such is the might and power of Satan that nothing apart from the armor of God will protect us from his onslaughts. Mark this and mark it well, for there are many Christians who have tried to stand against Satan in their own strength and have found themselves not victors but victims. One of the “wiles” of Satan is to get us to believe that we can resist him in our own strength. But the moment we think this—we are finished!

In my time I have seen many believers lulled by Satan into thinking that their long experience in the faith and their understanding of Christian doctrine were all they needed in order to be protected from satanic attack. But they found to their great cost that this was inadequate and insufficient. We never live more dangerously than when we depend on our spiritual experience and understanding to protect us from the flaming arrows of the enemy.

One thing and one thing only can protect us from the attacks of Satan, and that is the spiritual armor that God has provided to His people. In the Devil, you see, we are dealing with a foe who is inferior in power only to the Almighty Himself. Therefore, nothing less than the protection that God provides is adequate for our need.

Prayer

O Father, I need to get this matter straight, for I see that if my dependence is on anything other than You, then I am sunk. Drive this truth deep into my spirit this day. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Further Study

Rm 13:1-12; 1Th 5:8; 2Tm 2:4; Eph 6:11

What are we to put aside?

What are we to put on?

Getting or Giving?

Matthew 25:31-46

I read recently of a little girl who finished her prayer saying, “And now, dear God, what can I do for You?” The writer went on to say that, inspite of her years, the girl was spiritually mature enough to see the other side of prayer. Getting form God should be balanced by giving to God.

It is the nature and spirit of League of mercy members—those devoted Salvationists who regularly visit hospitals and institutions of all kinds where people are in pain or have problems—to demonstrate their gratitude to God for all His love by carrying that love to others. What they get from God they return to Him in loving service for others

The achievements of love cannot ever really be computed or adequately recorded. Done as they are in the name and power of Christ, every kindness shown to someone else is, as Jesus Himself said, a kindness done to Him. A smile, a handclasp, a friendly word, a prayer, are all tools of League of Mercy workers as they follow their rounds, bringing good cheer and perhaps a new hope to the lonely patient of the housebound aged. No one, however, can calculate the eternal results that flow from the use of such simple means when those means are invested with divine love. Perhaps there are others, like the little girl, who, in such a service, would find the answer to the question: “And now, dear God, what can I do for You?”

Jean Brown, Excursions in Thought