VIDEO Never Alone

Indeed the hour is coming, yes, has now come, that you will be scattered, each to his own, and will leave Me alone. And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. John 16:32

In 1913, when William Howard Taft welcomed his successor, Woodrow Wilson, to the White House, he warned Wilson that the presidency was “the loneliest place in the world.” Wilson would later write, “I never dreamed such loneliness and desolation of heart possible.”

We don’t often think of leaders as being lonely—but it happened to the apostle Paul. In his second Roman imprisonment, he was confined in the dreadful Mamertine prison in Rome, from which he penned his second letter to Timothy. He had sent some co-laborers to other fields (2 Timothy 4:10) but had been deserted by everyone but Luke (4:11, 16). He longed to see Timothy and Mark (4:11). Was anyone with Paul when he died by beheading? We don’t know of any human coworkers who were there. But we know that God was with him.

No matter how alone we may be or feel, God continues to pour out His love for us by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:3-5). Be assured He is with you, even at this moment.

One trouble with being an atheist is that you have nobody to talk to when you are alone. Anonymous


The Hope That Overcomes the World (John 16:23–33)

The True Nature of Love

They gave as much as they were able. 2 Corinthians 8:3

During the pandemic lockdown, Jerry was forced to close his fitness center and had no income for months. One day he received a text from a friend asking to meet him at his facility at 6:00 p.m. Jerry wasn’t sure why but made his way there. Soon cars started streaming into the parking lot. The driver in the first car placed a basket on the sidewalk near the building. Then car after car (maybe fifty of them) came by. Those inside waved at Jerry or hollered out a hello, stopped at the basket, and dropped in a card or cash. Some sacrificed their money; all gave their time to encourage him.

The true nature of love is sacrificial, according to the apostle Paul. He explained to the Corinthians that the Macedonians gave “even beyond their ability” so they could meet the needs of the apostles and others (2 Corinthians 8:3). They even “pleaded” with Paul for the opportunity to give to them and to God’s people. The basis for their giving was the sacrificial heart of Jesus Himself. He left the riches of heaven to come to earth to be a servant and to give His very life. “Though he was rich, yet for [our] sake he became poor” (v. 9).

May we too plead with God so that we might “excel in this grace of giving” (v. 7) in order to lovingly meet the needs of others. 

By:  Anne Cetas

Reflect & Pray

How might sacrificial service or giving fit into your life this week? Who needs your encouragement?

Loving God, You are so good. Please give me opportunities to bless others for You in Your power and wisdom

The Price for Rejecting God

1 John 5:11-13

Many people believe they’ll go to heaven because they tried to live a good life, but the only way to spend eternity with God is to receive Jesus Christ’s gift of salvation. Whoever refuses the gift will be separated from the Him for all eternity.

For a person to be saved, he must first recognize that on his own, he is not good enough to deserve anything from God. His sin is rebellion that alienates him from his Creator. No matter how hard he tries, he can’t avoid sinning again because it’s his nature. However, if he turns to Christ in faith, all his sins are forgiven. He’s pronounced not guilty and is given a brand-new nature.

But if someone rejects the truth that salvation comes only through the atoning death of Jesus Christ, that person has nowhere else to turn. His good works aren’t enough to get him into heaven, because his transgressions remain unforgiven.

These words are not meant to scare you; they’re a warning about what the future holds if you reject the Lord’s offer of salvation. God has set before you a choice between eternal life and death. What will you choose?

The Righteous Judge

“The LORD is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works.” (Psalm 145:17)

When Abraham was interceding with God to spare Sodom if even 10 “righteous” people were there, he asked: “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” (Genesis 18:25). The Hebrew word (mishpat) refers to a formal judgment about right and wrong and is more commonly translated “judgment.”

Indeed, the divine Judge will do right and give right judgments in all things, for He “is righteous in all his ways” and “canst not look on iniquity” (Habakkuk 1:13).

Ever since Adam disobeyed the Word of God, however, all his descendants have been unrighteous in their ways. God’s righteous judgment has been that “there is none righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10).

Thus, a truly righteous Judge would not only have to consign Sodom to destructive “brimstone and fire from the LORD” (Genesis 19:24) but every one of us as well “into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:15) forever.

But God, being not only the righteous Judge but also “a faithful Creator” (1 Peter 4:19), had a plan whereby He could “declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past” and both “be just, and the justifier” of those who had been lost sinners (Romans 3:25-26). “God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh” (8:3). Those who believe on the Son of God as their substitute and Savior are now “justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (3:24).

So, Christ has been “made unto us…righteousness” (1 Corinthians 1:30). Furthermore, our loving Savior has now Himself become our righteous Judge, for “the Father…hath committed all judgment unto the Son” (John 5:22). HMM

“Let Your Light so Shine”

John 8:12

IN John 8:12 our Lord says, “I am the light of the world.” He was “the true Light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world” (John 1:9). “I am come a light into the world,” He declared in John 12:46. In the New Jerusalem, “the Lamb is the light thereof” (Rev. 21:23).

In Matthew 5:14 Jesus says to His disciples, “Ye are the light of the world.” “He that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life,” He tells us in John 8:12—and this light shines forth from our hearts, the Light of the Indwelling Christ, so that we shine as lights in the world (Phil. 2:15). The light is not generated within us by our own efforts; we are not the sources, but simply the instruments in and from which the Light shines. The Light is Christ living within because we have believed in Him and have been born again.

Jesus went on to say, “A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.” We are higher than the world, and nothing can hide the influence of a life that is in the will of God. Trouble and temptation and persecution only fan the flame. The life that is hid with Christ in God cannot be hidden in its outward influence for God.

Our Lord then gives us further teaching about our light-bearing. He states the negative side first: “Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.” Indifference and worldliness, neglect of duty and any disobedience of the law of Christ—these are bushels that quench the Spirit and spoil our influence. Candles are meant for candlesticks. Our influence will take care of itself if we are in the candlestick of His will.

Then Jesus gives us positive instruction: “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Mind you, He does not say “Shine your light” but “Let it shine.” Some believers are much concerned about their influence. They strain and strive trying to make good impressions and labor that others may see how good they are. They are shining their light. But we need only to abide in Him, beware of all “bushels,” and the light will shine of its own accord.

We are to let our light shine before men. We are not to hide in a cave, but live His life right out in the world of things as they are. The real saint is no cloistered recluse, but one who can meet life’s wear and tear through Christ. We are to let our light so shine before men that they may see our good works. Not just in order that they may see our good works and nothing more, to be sure, but they must see our good works if they are to be influenced. Men cannot see inside our hearts and tell what sort of faith we have; they can see only our works. We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works (Eph. 2:10), and faith without works is dead (Jas. 2:20).

The purpose of it all is that they may glorify not us, but our Father in heaven! “Whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31). That is the secret of unselfish goodness: living solely that God may be glorified. It is easy to take pride in our own influence for Christ—but then He decreases and we increase. We must ever remember to be only the friend of the Bridegroom.

Two Ways to Honk a Horn

It is honorable for a man to resolve a dispute, but any fool can get himself into a quarrel.—Proverbs 20:3

“Temper,” someone has said, “turns to bad or good according to what is behind it.” Remember that the word “temper” simply means “a disposition of mind” and really requires the words “good” or “bad” to be prefixed to it if it is to be clearly identified.

Dr. Stanley Jones says that there are two ways to honk a horn—the Christian way and the non-Christian way. The Christian way calls attention to a situation; the non-Christian way not only calls attention to the situation but it also calls attention to what the honker feels about it. In the USA I once saw a sign on a car that said: “Honk away—it’s your ulcer.” Ulcers are usually visible signs of an ulcerated spirit—ulcerated by irritation and bad temper.

Whenever we lose our temper and take it out on people around us, we do the utmost harm, not to them, but to ourselves. The one who is out of sorts with someone else is usually out of sorts with himself. He projects his inner problems onto others and fails to see the cause and remedy are in himself. I once witnessed a Sunday School superintendent lose his temper in a committee meeting, and when reprimanded by another for his bad spirit, he said: “I have to lose my temper in order to get anything done around here.” James 1:20 contradicts that view: “For man’s anger does not accomplish God’s righteousness.” Listen to it again, this time in the Phillips translation: “For man’s temper is never the means of achieving God’s true goodness.” Wrong means lead to wrong ends—inevitably.

Prayer

O Father, help me to meet all impatience with patience, all hate with love, all grumpiness with joy, and all bad temper with good temper. In Jesus’ name I ask it. Amen.

Further Study

Mt 5:1-26; Ps 37:8; Pr 14:17

What did Jesus teach about anger?

Are you angry with anyone?

Prayer for the Church

Ephesians 4:15-16

Father, we thank You for Your Church on earth. We praise You because Your Son Jesus is the head of the Church, and because the Church is His body, and we are empowered by His Spirit and commissioned to do His work and spread His gospel.

We thank You that everyone who acknowledges Jesus as Savior and Lord is part of the Church, and that each one has been differently gifted by Your Holy Spirit in order that Jesus should be glorified, that the fellowship of believers should be strengthened, and that we should serve the world in the name of Jesus Christ.

We pray for the different denominations which make up the one true Church. We praise You that this means Your work is done in many different places and that You are worshipped in many different ways. We ask You to forgive us for the fact that far too often we have allowed our denominational differences to become barriers between us and hinder the preaching of the gospel.

As we seek to work ever more closely with fellow Christians in various parts of the Church, we ask You to give us spiritual insight so that we can distinguish clearly between those spiritual truths on which we must never compromise and those things which are merely part of our human tradition.

Father, pour out Your Holy Spirit upon the Church so that we might march forward as a mighty army. Give us a holy intolerance of all injustice and oppression. Give us the courage to speak and act for the homeless and the hungry. Give us the wisdom to understand the complex moral issues of our age, and the authority to speak to the world with a prophetic voice. Give us the compassion of Jesus Himself so that, with loving hearts and in the spirit of self-sacrifice, we might bring all mankind to know the forgiveness and love of God.

Colin Fairclough, My Father, Our Father