VIDEO Angelic Protectors

Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5

When the United States entered World War II, Hollywood film star Jimmy Stewart enlisted in the Army Air Corps as a private. Eventually becoming an officer and a bomber pilot, he flew many combat missions during the war. When he left home for active duty, his father slipped a copy of Psalm 91 into his son’s pocket, telling him to pray it often.

Part of the promise of protection in Psalm 91 reads this way: “For He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways” (verse 11). It is ironic that Jimmy Stewart’s most famous movie, It’s a Wonderful Life, would involve an angel named Clarence who indirectly saved Stewart’s character from self-destructing. That fictional movie narrative is certainly indicative of the truth of Scripture. No matter where we are, God is with us—and often His presence is accompanied by the protection or provision of His angelic messengers. Angels may be the most unsung heroes in the story of redemption.

Wherever you are today, God is with you—and His angels are as well (Hebrews 1:14).

God will take care of you, through every day o’er all the way. Civilla D. Martin


58 Hebrews 13 – J Vernon Mcgee – Thru the Bible

Seeking God’s Help

We will stand in your presence . . . and will cry out to you in our distress. 2 Chronicles 20:9

For five years in the late 1800s, grasshoppers descended on Minnesota, destroying the crops. Farmers tried trapping the grasshoppers in tar and burning their fields to kill the eggs. Feeling desperate, and on the brink of starvation, many people sought a statewide day of prayer, yearning to seek God’s help together. The governor relented, setting aside April 26 to pray.

In the days after the collective prayer, the weather warmed and the eggs started to come to life. But then four days later a drop in temperature surprised and delighted many, for the freezing temperatures killed the larvae. Minnesotans once again would harvest their crops of corn, wheat, and oats.

Prayer was also behind the saving of God’s people during the reign of King Jehoshaphat. When the king learned that a vast army was coming against him, he called God’s people to pray and fast. The people reminded God how He’d saved them in times past. And Jehoshaphat said that if calamity came upon them, “whether the sword of judgment, or plague or famine,” they would cry out to God knowing that He would hear and save them (2 Chronicles 20:9).

God rescued His people from the invading armies, and He hears us when we cry out to Him in distress. Whatever your concern—whether a relationship issue or something threatening from the natural world—lift it to God in prayer. Nothing is too hard for Him.

By:  Amy Boucher Pye

Reflect & Pray

How has God answered your prayers? What situations in your life or in the world could you commit to Him today?

Creator God, You made the world and all that’s in it. Please restore order and save Your people, whom You love.

Thriving in Our Present Culture

Titus 1

Society’s philosophies and values are everywhere—on radio and TV, in books and magazines, and in conversations at the workplace and corner coffee shop. Believers can’t avoid the pressures to be and think like everyone else. And yet the Bible calls us to live in our culture without becoming part of it.

In his letter to Titus, who ministered on the worldly-minded island of Crete, Paul explained how we are to accomplish this. Those who are above reproach—meaning blameless and unmoved by the sins of the culture—must be “holding firmly the faithful word” (Titus 1:9). Paul was saying that we must cling to the Word of God and develop a lifestyle of applying His principles.

The Bible is the revelation of God—He tells us what He thinks, how He acts, and what He expects of us—but the Bible can’t help us if we never open it. Make time to read Scripture daily and carefully meditate upon it. What do the passages mean and how do they apply to our life? Scriptural truths are most powerful when we believe the Word wholeheartedly and obey it consistently. As we take practical steps to keep Scripture in our everyday life, we will reflect Christ in the world without being of the world.

Jesus Christ or Christ Jesus

“For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 3:20)

The doctrine of verbal inspiration implies that not only are the words of Scripture inspired, but the very order in which they appear is also inspired. Study by commentators and translators have rightly noted that a change in the order of the words would at times change the meaning or emphasis of a passage. This phenomenon is often seen in the order in which the various names of Christ appear. By noting this order, one may sometimes gain new insight into a passage.

While the name Jesus, alone, normally appears in the gospels and the book of Acts, the compound name Jesus Christ appears on occasion. Interestingly, the same compound name is used exclusively by the disciples John and Peter in their letters, and by James and Jude, the brothers of our Lord. Of course, these men knew Him first by His human name, Jesus, and only fully comprehended the fact that He was the Christ (meaning “the Anointed,” or “the Messiah”) after His resurrection and ascension.

Paul, on the other hand, first encountered Christ in all His glory on the road to Damascus. Perhaps, as a consequence, he frequently reversed the order, speaking of Christ Jesus, although he used both orders many times.

The reason for this choice of order perhaps can best be illustrated in Philippians 2:5-11. In verse 5, Paul described the Anointed One, who first emptied Himself of certain aspects of His deity to take on human form. Therefore, Paul used the name Christ Jesus. In verse 11, however, the order is reversed. In this case, as in our text, the movement is from humanity to glory. In one, the glory of the risen Savior is emphasized; in the other, the glory that we shall share with Him. This glory is assured us through His victory. JDM

I and My Father Are One

Luke 14:1-35

AT the feast of dedication the Jews asked Jesus to declare plainly whether He was the Christ. He answered in effect: “I have told you and you do not believe. My works also prove who I am, but you do not believe because you are not My sheep. My sheep know Me; to those who believe, I am precious. I give them eternal life, and no man can pluck them out of My Father’s hand.” Here is the security of the believer for all time!

Our Lord then declared, “I and My Father are one.” Modernists have toned down this claim of Christ, but it was such a tremendous statement that the Jews tried to stone Him for it. They recognized what some do not see today, that Jesus was making Himself God. Our Lord used the Scriptures to show them that even judges were called gods in the Old Testament (Ex. 22:28; Ps. 82:6) and how much more is it the right of God’s Son!

Jesus attended the house of a chief Pharisee and healed a man of dropsy (Luke 14:1-6). It was on the Sabbath, and again our Lord put human welfare above prejudices that allowed assistance to an animal on the Sabbath but complained at the healing of a man.

At this dinner there was, no doubt, the usual scramble for preferred seats, and Jesus gave them a parable about the evil of taking the higher seats only to be sent lower (Luke 14:7-11). The core of it is in the final words: “Whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” There is still the scramble for preferred posts, even in the churches. The worlds philosophy is “Exalt yourself,” but our business as Christians is not self-expression but Christ-expression. We must decrease that He may increase. We are but the friends of the Bridegroom, whose joy should be in hearing the Bridegrooms voice.

Our Lord went on to advise His hosts to make a supper for those who could not repay them in kind (Luke 4:12-14). We usually give to those from whom we hope to receive; but so did the Pharisees, and if your righteousness is to exceed theirs we must go the second mile and give to the unthankful or to those who cannot give in return.

He next gave the parable of the great supper with the trivial excuses of the invited. Notice, even our Lord could give no sensible excuse for not being saved, for there is none. First the rulers, then the common people, and then the Gentiles seem to be implied in the three groups (Luke 14:16-24).

Great crowds followed Jesus (Luke 14:25-35), but He laid down severe terms of absolute surrender and advised them to count the cost. Most of them were superficial disciples, for at Pentecost we find only a hundred and twenty. He wants us to know what we are doing! He will have no glib acceptance based on momentary enthusiasm. There is much salt without savor today, empty profession without the needed possession.

The Wonder of Forgiveness

For You, Lord, are kind and ready to forgive, rich in faithful love to all who call on You.—Psalm 86:5

Psalm 130:3 says, “Yahweh, if You considered sins … who could stand?” The psalmist is conscious of a great gulf that divides people from God, particularly himself, and he makes the assertion that if God kept a strict tally of mankind’s sins, there would be no hope for anyone. But then come the most beautiful and wondrous words in the Old Testament: “But with You there is forgiveness, so that You may be revered” (Psalm 130:4). The Living Bible paraphrases the verse like this: “But you forgive! What an awesome thing this is!”

Eight times the divine name “Lord” or “Yahweh” is used in this psalm, and as we observe how God is addressed we see what a difference knowing Him makes whatever plight we find ourselves in. He is addressed in the first couple of verses as the God who hears, and then, in verses 3 to 4, as the God who forgives. What a wonderful thing it is that God forgives. It is, as the Living Bible puts it, awesome.

As Christians we are so used to hearing about God’s forgiveness that we are in danger of taking it for granted. Heinrich Hein, when lying on his deathbed, was asked by a friend: “Do you think God has forgiven you?” Hein replied: “Of course God will forgive me. That’s His job.” I hope none of my readers will approach the subject of divine forgiveness with such cynicism. The fact that God forgives and forgets is something we will never fully understand, but it must never be taken for granted.

Prayer

O Father, forgive me if I have thought that divine forgiveness is just the result of Your doing Your job. Grant that my reaction to being forgiven will not be one of complacency but of constant reverence and holy awe. In Jesus’ name I ask it. Amen.

Further Study

Ps 104:1-35; Eph 1:7; 1Jn 1:9

Why was the psalmist filled with praise?

How did he describe the removal of sins?

A Christian in a Nuclear Age

Matthew 5:9

To contemplate a nuclear conflict within our lifetime is, for most of us, to think the unthinkable. What parent among us has not pondered his sleeping child and tried to guess whether that young life will end prematurely in instantaneous vaporization or, even worse perhaps, will drain away in the lingering throes of radiation sickness? But it is not only the parent who harbors secret thoughts. Today’s child does not have to be very old before he becomes aware of the awful possibility of a world-consuming conflagration.

The Christian will not be fooled into thinking that the issues are political only. The Holy Spirit will guide him to a recognition of the deep moral questions at the heart of the matter. What can the individual Christian, who has no public influence or power, do to help?

Be as well-informed as possible. Be calm and at peace within your soul by daily walking close to the Lord who loves you. Remember that while missiles can be dismantled, knowledge cannot be uninvented, and so the human race has and will forever have the ability to destroy itself entirely in a short and measurable span of time. Pray therefore for the leaders of nations, for their military advisors, for the peace talks negotiators. Prayer means the individual Christian, without political power, may influence events in accordance with God’s will.

Refuse to see the presence of nuclear devices on our planet as inevitable. Do not leave the thinking or the voicing of opinions only to the politicians. They need our Christian help to clarify the moral issues. Work on public opinion, not stridently but wisely, within your own circle of friends and contacts.

Living in the nuclear age requires courage to face up to the awful possibilities for the future. We can pray to be granted courage, but let us pray also for God to raise up men and women with obedient Christian hearts and able Christian minds to give us a theology for a nuclear age. God is alive. Jesus is risen. God is Lord of every molecule, every atom, every nucleus. We are God’s appointed steward over the created order. The cross of Jesus speaks reconciliation.

Hope in an armed world? Only in Jesus can we find hope. Without Him, we are running out of time.

Shaw Clifton, Strong Doctrine, Strong Mercy