VIDEO Rebounding

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. Romans 8:37

In a blog post, Michael Dubbels recalls the final game of his high school basketball career. The game came down to a single point. Michael attempted and missed the last second shot that would have allowed his team to advance. As the buzzer sounded, he collapsed to the floor in disappointment. A photographer snapped a picture of him, which appeared on the front page of the sports section the next day. It was literally a snapshot of intense and bitter failure.[1]

But later that night, Michael’s youth pastor called, inviting him to a conference the next morning. That weekend became a turning point in his life. Events merged together and opened into many new opportunities and led to a life of ministry.

We all have moments of intense and bitter disappointment. But the Lord helps us rebound. In all the disappointments in life, He alone knows how to turn disappointments into blessings. As we trust Him, we begin learning that disappointment is often God’s way of doing more with us than we’d expected.

You must constantly turn your setbacks into comebacks.
Michael Dubbels

[1]Michael Dubbels, “Missed Shots/Get Back in the Game,” Michael and Heather Dubbels, March 9, 2019.


Nothing Can Separate Us (Romans 8:35-39)

Fearless Love

We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death. 1 John 3:14

There are some images so powerful they can never be forgotten. That was my experience when I viewed a famous photograph of the late Princess Diana of Wales. At first glance, the captured scene looks mundane: smiling warmly, the princess is shaking the hand of an unidentified man. But it’s the photograph’s story that makes it remarkable.

On April 19, 1987, when Princess Diana visited London Middlesex Hospital, the United Kingdom was engulfed in a wave of panic as it confronted the AIDS epidemic. Not knowing how the disease—which often killed with terrifying speed—was spread, the public at times treated AIDS victims like social pariahs.

So it was a stunning moment when Diana, with ungloved hands and a genuine smile, calmly shook an AIDS patient’s hand that day. That image of respect and kindness would move the world to treat victims of the disease with similar mercy and compassion.

The picture reminds me of something I often forget: freely and generously offering the love of Jesus to others is worth it. John reminded early believers in Christ that to let love wither or hide in the face of our fear is really to live “in death” (1 John 3:14). And to love freely and unafraid, filled and empowered with the Spirit’s self-giving love, is to experience resurrection life in all its fullness (vv. 14, 16). 

By:  Monica La Rose

Reflect & Pray

When are you most prone to let fear stifle your love for others? How can you grow in experiencing and sharing the Spirit’s boundless love within those fearful places?

God of love, You are love, and to live in love is to live in You. I long to live with that kind of fearless, joyous love. Fill me with Your Spirit, and carry me ever deeper into Your love, until fear dissolves and Your love flows freely through me

Was Jesus Christ Really God?

John 1:1-18

Some people say they’re Christians but don’t acknowledge the divinity of Christ. They think He was simply a good teacher, healer, philosopher, or social reformer. I want to be crystal clear on this matter: You can believe all of these wonderful things about Jesus and even laud Him as a prophet sent by almighty God. But if you do not accept that Jesus Christ is God the Son and that He died for your sins, then you do not actually know Him.

It’s true Jesus was fully human, but the wonderful, supernatural mystery is that He was also fully divine. And believing this is absolutely essential to the understanding of how we are saved.

Now, you may have heard people falsely argue that Jesus never actually claimed to be God. Yet time and again in the Gospels, Jesus places Himself on equal footing with the Father (John 10:30; John 14:6-14). In fact, if Jesus was not truly God’s Son, then as C. S. Lewis observed, He was either a lunatic or the world’s most detestable liar. Don’t spend one more day believing Jesus is anything less than the Son of God. Your eternal salvation depends on it.

Loving God’s Word

“Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it.” (Psalm 119:140)

When asked to name the greatest commandment, Jesus cited Deuteronomy 6:5: “And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.” One who loves God must surely also love His Word. God has given the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as the primary means to know God.

Those who love God’s pure Word respond to it in obedience and faith. James instructed believers, “Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves” (James 1:22).

One who loves the Lord and His Word should realize that whenever the Bible says something that a reader may find unsettling, it is because humans fail to understand the infinite wisdom of God. The Lord explained this through the prophet Isaiah: “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:9).

One foundational point at which people often fail to trust God’s Word concerns the timing of creation. The first example of faith given in Hebrews 11 is “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God” (v. 3). One who truly believes that “in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day” (Exodus 20:11) must also accept the chronological information the Bible provides. These data indicate that Abraham lived about 2,000 years after creation (Genesis 5 and 11), making the earth around 6,000 years old, not billions of years as secular scientists claim. Christians should be known for taking God at His Word and living in obedience to it. WP

“Wilt Thou Be Made Whole?”

John 5:1-15

THE fifth chapter of John records the healing of the lame man at the pool of Bethesda. Our Lord went up to Jerusalem to the feast, for He attended worship and the services of God’s house in His day. And He is found at the pool where the sick and afflicted gathered. Human need always touched His heart. The world still gathers around its pools, and some of the waters of earth do wonderful things indeed!—but beside them all stands the Christ who alone can make us whole.

Jesus found this poor man who had been infirm for thirty-eight years. He addressed Himself to this desperate case, for it is usually only the desperate man who will cast himself wholly on Christ. “Wilt thou be made whole?” He asks. Today, men seek and get partial help here and there, but men need to be made whole, and only the Lord can perform so full a work as that! Peter said to Aeneas (Acts 9:34), “Jesus Christ maketh thee whole.” His is a perfect work.

But notice this poor man’s reply: “Sir, I have no man… to put me in the pool.” You see, he was looking to men. He was depending upon what men could do for him. Today, do we not say, “I have no money; I have no friends; I have no ‘pull'”? We look to the pool and to men, when there stands Jesus, asking, “Wilt thou be made whole?” All we need is Jesus!

And how we send people away—as the disciples wanted to send away the hungry multitude in Matthew 14, when Jesus responded, “They need not depart; give ye them to eat.” We let men go away to seek help here and yonder, when Christ alone can meet their need. If we claim to have the gospel, we ought to feed them. There is everything in Christ that men need, yet the church lets men go to the world and to fads and isms for help.

The Lord commanded the man to rise, take up his bed and walk. It seems a strange command; was not that the very thing he could not do? But the minute he made the effort in faith and at Christ’s command, the power was supplied and the miracle was done! There is a split-second of obedience that makes the difference between having your back on the bed and the bed on your back. If Christ commands the impossible and we by faith make the effort to do the impossible, believing in Him, it shall be done! The power is supplied the moment we make the move of faith in His name.

Of course, the Pharisees objected. They asked, “What man is that which said unto thee, Take up thy bed and walk?” They did not credit the miracle worker’s deity. Nor did they recognize the miracle, for they did not ask, “Who healed you?” but “Who said?” Later, the Lord finds the man in the temple; the place to be found after God heals you is in God’s house. You will meet Christ in the church and improve your acquaintance with Him there. Our Lord warns the healed man to leave his sinful ways, lest a worse thing befall him. Those who continue in sin may expect worse and worse rewards! Are you at the pool? Look not at it, or to the help of men. Jesus can work a perfect miracle. Wilt thou be made whole?

God’s Thorn Hedges

In His restraint God passed over the sins previously committed.—Romans 3:25

There are some psychiatrists who take the attitude that guilt is dangerous to the personality, and so they persuade their clients that there is no basis for their guilt feelings, that conscience and the moral universe are man-made concepts and must be eliminated. There is nothing, they say, to feel guilty about, so, as some put it: “Let bygones be bygones, and wave goodbye to guilt.”

It must be acknowledged that some ideas regarding guilt have to be dealt with in that way, for some guilt is false and needlessly torments many sincere people. However, I am not talking here about false guilt. I am talking about real guilt—the guilt that the human heart carries because it has offended a holy God. You cannot get rid of that by waving your hand and saying, “Let bygones be bygones.” Nor can you get away from sin by joking about it. Oscar Wilde said, “The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it.” But you do not get rid of temptation by yielding to it. It becomes an act, and then a habit, and then part of you.

No, we are hedged in—thorn hedges on either side. The only open door is the mercy of God. And these thorn hedges are His provision, too. They are God’s creation enabling us not to live comfortably with evil, for evil is bad for us. God has so arranged the universe that we can only be truly comfortable with that which is good for us. Guilt cannot be banished by subterfuge. Only God can redeem our wickedness.

Prayer

O God, I know that although men might be able to help me with my false guilt, only You can help me with my real guilt. I bring my guilty heart to You for cleansing, forgiveness, and reconciliation. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Further Study

Ps 32; Ac 2:37; Ezr 9:6; Jn 16:8

What was the result of guilt?

What did confession produce?

Following Christ

Matthew 4:19

What is following Christ? It is not difficult to discover. Here a child can be on a level with the most learned divine. It simply means keeping His words and copying His example. Following means imitating. The children of Israel followed the pillar of cloud. They went in the same direction it went; they stopped when it stopped.

Now many make a common mistake with regard to following Christ, and it is a disastrous one. They think it means following Him to heaven, and that in the most comfortable way possible. Whereas the true idea, the idea which was taught by His example—and explained a thousands times over by His words—was that following Christ means following Him from heaven into a world of sin by paths of sorrow and suffering; indeed, just doing as He did. To be a Christian in reality is to be a Christ—man or Christ—woman.

Following Christ must mean having the same purpose. How is it possible without? How can the marksman hit the same mark if he does not take the same aim? How will a vessel reach New York if she does not steer for that port? How can a man follow Christ if he is not moved by the same purpose?

What was His purpose? The salvation of the world. Not the humiliation and suffering, and agony and death. These were only the means by which the end could be reached. He wanted to reach the dying millions, and by living a divine life before them, to make the salvation of all possible, to make the salvation of multitudes sure.

This was His purpose. To this every thought, and feeling, and effort was He offered up. His whole being was consecrated to its accomplishment.

Here is your pattern. What are you living for? What is the deep secret purpose that controls and fashions your existence? Let us watch and fashion ourselves with our divine Model.

William Booth, The Warrior’s Daily Portion