VIDEO Prayer in the Father’s Honor

…that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. —Luke 1:35

If the Son of God has been born into my human flesh, then am I allowing His holy innocence, simplicity, and oneness with the Father the opportunity to exhibit itself in me? What was true of the Virgin Mary in the history of the Son of God’s birth on earth is true of every saint. God’s Son is born into me through the direct act of God; then I as His child must exercise the right of a child— the right of always being face to face with my Father through prayer. Do I find myself continually saying in amazement to the commonsense part of my life, “Why did you want me to turn here or to go over there? ‘Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?’ ” (Luke 2:49). Whatever our circumstances may be, that holy, innocent, and eternal Child must be in contact with His Father.

Am I simple enough to identify myself with my Lord in this way? Is He having His wonderful way with me? Is God’s will being fulfilled in that His Son has been formed in me (see Galatians 4:19), or have I carefully pushed Him to one side? Oh, the noisy outcry of today! Why does everyone seem to be crying out so loudly? People today are crying out for the Son of God to be put to death. There is no room here for God’s Son right now— no room for quiet, holy fellowship and oneness with the Father.

Is the Son of God praying in me, bringing honor to the Father, or am I dictating my demands to Him? Is He ministering in me as He did in the time of His manhood here on earth? Is God’s Son in me going through His passion, suffering so that His own purposes might be fulfilled? The more a person knows of the inner life of God’s most mature saints, the more he sees what God’s purpose really is: to “…fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ…” (Colossians 1:24). And when we think of what it takes to “fill up,” there is always something yet to be done.

WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS

We are in danger of being stern where God is tender, and of being tender where God is stern.  The Love of God—The Message of Invincible Consolation, 673 L


Luke 1:26-38 – In Depth – Pastor Chuck Smith – Bible Studies

Good Trouble

Let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream! Amos 5:24

When John Lewis, an American congressman and civil rights leader, died in 2020, people from many political persuasions mourned. In 1965, Lewis marched with Martin Luther King Jr. to secure voting rights for Black citizens. During the march, Lewis suffered a cracked skull, causing scars he carried the rest of his life. “When you see something that is not right, not just, not fair,” Lewis said, “you have a moral obligation to say something. To do something.” He also said, “Never, ever, be afraid to make some noise and get in good, necessary trouble.”

Lewis learned early that doing what was right, to be faithful to the truth, required making “good” trouble. He would need to speak things that were unpopular. The prophet Amos knew this too. Seeing Israel’s sin and injustice, he couldn’t keep quiet. Amos denounced how the powerful were oppressing “the innocent and tak[ing] bribes and depriv[ing] the poor of justice in the courts,” while building “stone mansions” with “lush vineyards” (Amos 5:11–12). Rather than maintaining his own safety and comfort by staying out of the fray, Amos named the evil. The prophet made good, necessary trouble.

But this trouble aimed at something good—justice for all. “Let justice roll on like a river!” Amos exclaimed (v. 24). When we get into good trouble (the kind of righteous, nonviolent trouble justice requires), the goal is always goodness and healing.

By:  Winn Collier

Reflect & Pray

Where do you sense the Holy Spirit might be prompting you to make some good trouble? How can you discern the godly way to do just that?

Heavenly Father, if I’m left to myself, I’ll likely play it safe, stay comfortable, keep quiet. But I know that You might ask something different. Help me discern what to do to honor You.

Sunday Reflection: Blessed to Be Broken

To get the most out of this devotion, set aside time to read the Scripture referenced throughout.

Brokenness is not a topic we like. It makes us feel powerless when our sources of protection fail. However, when that happens, we also receive a gift—the true understanding of ourselves and, better still, of the God who loves us.

Proverbs 18:24 says, “There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” And in Hebrews we hear God say, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever abandon you” (Prov. 13:5). Rather than leave, God abides. The Greek word menó is often translated as “abide,” but it can also be rendered “remain” or “stay”—and that is what God does. Others may walk out. We may even give up on ourselves, but He remains, waiting patiently alongside us. Always.

Perhaps that’s why Henry Francis Lyte’s hymn “Abide With Me” still resonates. The first stanza reads, “When other helpers fail and comforts flee, Help of the helpless, O abide with me.” Whether you’re broken or in the process of healing, make these words your prayer today.

Think about it
• Find a copy of “Abide With Me” and place it where you’ll be able to meditate daily on its biblical truths. Which stanzas resonate most with you? Why?

Rejoice in the Lord

“Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.” (Philippians 4:4)

The Christian has a compelling duty to rejoice. Paul stresses the Christian need to rejoice by using the tense in the Greek that specifies a continuing and habitual action. This instruction follows his mention of otherwise faithful believers in the church who were unfortunately pursuing disharmony and dissension. Believers are reminded to restore broken relationships, follow after harmony, and rejoice.

Perhaps the best reason to rejoice is that all our names are written in the “book of life” (v. 3). This precious book was mentioned from old times as “a book of remembrance…written before him for them that feared the LORD” (Malachi 3:16). Christ mentioned this book as a cause to “rejoice, because your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:20). Our rejoicing will continue throughout eternity, for only “they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life” (Revelation 21:27) will be permitted into the Lamb’s presence. Our love for the brethren and our hope for eternity are reasons to rejoice, indeed.

Paul told the Philippian church they were among the reasons for his joy. “I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace” (Philippians 1:7). Those who had a heart for the things of God were important to him. Therefore, “fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind” (2:2). “For the same cause also do ye joy, and rejoice with me” (2:18).

Their joy of fellowship was rooted in the love and service of Christ, as well as His sufferings, “that I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death” (3:10). So, rejoice! JDM

At the Pool of Bethesda

John 5:1-15

THE impotent man at the pool of Bethesda (John 5) was seeking the best help he could get, so far as he knew. Our Lord asked him, “Wilt thou be made whole?”, and so does He ask us today, for He would give us health of soul. The poor man saw only circumstance, as did the woman at Jacob’s well (John 4:11), Phillip at the feeding of the multitude (John 6:7) and Martha at Lazarus’ grave (John 11). But He obeyed the Lord’s command, arose and walked.

This brought on a storm with the Jewish authorities, who could look clear over such a wonderful blessing and see only a breach of the law! Verily their kind are still with us, men who miss blessing to quibble over tradition and custom. Our Lord proceeded to declare that God still was busy: He has not wound up this world like a clock and left it. Mind you, they understood Him to claim the power of God, and He did not deny it but affirmed it. Not to honor Christ is not to honor God, as He plainly stated in verse 23. Men who boast of being deists but not Christians should read carefully. To hear the Word and believe God is to have eternal life (v. 24)! It is the same as receiving Christ, in John 1:12.

Our Lord sets forth two resurrections. First, the spiritual resurrection of those dead in trespasses and sins: “the hour is coming and now is.” Then, the future bodily resurrection when all who are in the graves shall hear His voice and come forth, the good to life and the wicked to damnation. The resurrection of the righteous is the first resurrection and corresponds with the rapture of the Church (1 Cor. 15:51-53; 1 Thess. 4:13-18).

Jesus declares that of Himself He can do nothing. Now that ought to humble the rest of us! Then He sets forth four witnesses of His work. John the Baptist was the first witness (vv. 32-34). Then, our Lord’s own works testify that He came from God, for no man could do such miracles unless God were with him (John 3:2). The Father Himself bore witness by His voice from Heaven at His Son’s baptism. And the Scriptures testified of Him… but while many Jews searched the Scriptures, they would not come to Christ Jesus and live.

There is an idea going the rounds that the Scriptures alone are sufficient—that one needs only to give forth the Word, as though that were the whole matter. But many receive the seed on ground that does not yield harvest—the parable of the sower makes this clear. The Word must be mixed with faith in them that hear it (Heb. 4:2). No one searched the Scriptures more than the pious Jew, but he would not come to Christ. The Spirit must convict, and the hearer must come to the Christ of whom the Word testifies!

Our Lord concludes this discourse with a word of judgment upon Israel. They had not received Him but would receive false Christs—which they have done and will do until Antichrist comes, who shall deceive them. They are condemned by Moses himself, for if they had believed Moses they would have believed Him, since Moses wrote of Christ in type and figure. “If you do not believe the words of Moses as they are fulfilled in Me, how shall you believe My words?”

Unassailable—but Accessible

The Lord reigns! He is robed in majesty … Your throne has been established from the beginning.—Psalm 93:1-2

Ultimate authority rests with God who sits upon His throne. Years ago congregations frequently sang a chorus that goes like this:

God is still on the throne,
And He will remember His own;
Though trials may press us
And burdens distress us
He never will leave us alone.

The story is told of a little boy who, when introduced to this chorus for the first time in his Sunday school, came home and told his mother: “We learned a new song in Sunday school today.” “Oh yes,” said his mother, “what was it?” “God is still on the phone,” said the little lad. Well that wasn’t exactly what he had been taught, but the thought contained in those words was equally true. Though God reigns from a majestic throne, He is accessible to us at all times of day and night. The lines of communication that lead from us to Him are never blocked and never “down.” When a man or woman, boy or girl says, “God be merciful to me a sinner,” the message goes straight through to the throne, and they receive His personal reply: “You are forgiven, redeemed, and set free from your sin.”
The throne of God, you see, is not only a throne of righteousness but a throne of grace! Righteousness says: “Stay back until you are good enough to approach.” Grace says: “I will put on you the robes of righteousness that are provided for you by Christ—now you are good enough.” Too good to be true? Too good not to be true!


Prayer
Father, I draw near again today to Your throne of grace and with the redeemed all around the world sing: “How marvelous, how wonderful, this my song shall ever be; how marvelous, how wonderful is my Savior’s love to me.” Amen.


Further Study
Heb 4:1-6; Eph 1:1-7; 2:7; Php 4:19; 1Tm 1:14


What will God meet according to His riches?
What was Paul’s testimony?

The Sound of a Distant Trumpet

Ecclesiastes 3:11

The writer of Ecclesiastes gives us one of the sublime statements of the Bible about God’s creative handiwork: “He has made everything beautiful in its time” (Ecc. 3:11).

It is mind-boggling to contemplate the beauty and majesty of God’s creation. Our world is one of extravagant beauty and marvelous design. We live under star-strewn skies, are greeted each day with the grand spectacle of a sunrise, walk among the exquisite beauty of flowers and songs of birds and know the restless tides of oceans and the towering grandeur of mountains. These and countless wonders all about us render us fabulously wealthy with the endowments of our Creator.

The text also brings us one of the unexpected summits of this book: “He has also set eternity in the hearts of men” (Ecclesiastes 3:11).

All around us God has put intimations of our immortality. He has planted within us an unrelenting intuition to see beyond temporal horizons and press beyond the limits of the finite. A sense of destiny haunts us. Eternal forces ripple in our blood. Immortal cadences echo in our ears. Sublime visions flash upon the screen of our imagination. Eternity beckons as deep calls unto the depths God has put in our souls.

With Francis Thompson, from his haunting “The Hound of Heaven,” we hear the sound of a distant trumpet: “Yet ever and anon a trumpet sounds/From the hid battlements of Eternity.”

Augustine summarized this longing and homesickness of the soul: “O God, You have made us for Yourself and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in You.”

“Eternity is at our hearts,” wrote Thomas Kelly, “pressing upon our time-torn lives, warming us with intimations of an astounding destiny, calling us home unto Itself. Yielding to these persuasions, gladly committing ourselves in body and soul, utterly and completely, to the Light Within, is the beginning of true life.”

May we yield to this Light within who brings radiance and joy and fullfillment.

Henry Gariepy, Wisdom to Live By