VIDEO Where Is Australia?

Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice. John 18:37

“Do not measure His love by your circumstances,” wrote Al Bryant. “If you do, you must, of necessity, reach a false conclusion. Judge not according to the outward appearance. Never reason from your surroundings. Get to the heart of Christ, and reason out from that blessed centre. Never interpret His love by your circumstances; but always interpret your circumstances by His love.”

That’s a profound insight.

We don’t compare the world to our globe and say, “Oh, Australia is in the wrong spot.” No, we compare our globe to the world and say, “The mapmaker put Australia in the wrong place.” We mustn’t base our perceptions on other perceptions, but on reality—on the truth of Jesus Christ Himself! His followers live by the truth of His Word, not by the perceptions of our worries.

Let Christ carry your burdens, and keep your eyes on Him and on His vast love for you.

Come what may; let the furnace be ever so hot; let the waters be ever so deep; let the shadows be ever so dark; let the path be ever so rough; let the pressure be ever so great, still hold fast your confidence in [Christ’s] perfect love and sympathy. Al Bryant


Jesus Loves Atheists – John 18:28-38 – Skip Heitzig

Heeding the Warnings

Whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven. Matthew 10:33

When a pickpocket tried to pilfer my property while I was on vacation in another country, it wasn’t a surprise. I’d read warnings about the danger of subway thieves, so I knew what to do to protect my wallet. But I never expected it to happen.

Fortunately, the young man who grabbed my wallet had slippery fingers, so it fell to the floor where I could retrieve it. But the incident reminded me that I should have heeded the warnings.

We don’t like to dwell on warnings because we think they’ll get in the way of enjoying life, but it’s imperative to pay attention to them. For instance, Jesus gave us a clear warning while sending out His disciples to proclaim God’s coming kingdom (Matthew 10:7). He said, “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven” (vv. 32–33).

We have a choice. In love, God provided a Savior and a plan for us to be in His presence for eternity. But if we turn away from God and choose to reject His message of salvation and the real life He offers for both now and forever, we lose out on the opportunity to be with Him.

May we trust in Jesus, the One who chose to save us from being eternally separated from the One who loves and made us.

By:  Dave Branon

Reflect & Pray

Why is rejecting Jesus such a serious thing? How have you chosen to respond to His call?

Heavenly Father, thank You for providing salvation through Jesus. And thank You for sending warnings to remind me of the importance of putting my faith in Him.

Growing Faith

2 Thessalonians 1:1-4

Faith isn’t a one-time event with the single purpose of ushering us into salvation. Sadly, some Christians never progress beyond this initial level of faith. But God wants our relationship with Him to continually grow.

Willingness to trust the Lord affects every area of our life—how we feel, what we do, the way He blesses us. In some ways, it comes down to our focus: When you face difficulties or heartbreak, do you notice the impossibility of the circumstances, or do you see the greatness of our Father? Another way to ask the question is, Whose voice are you listening to?

Our focus also affects our emotions. Those who choose to believe God experience peace and joy. But when we doubt, it’s easier for anxiety and fear to creep in. Then, instead of resting in Christ, we fuss and fume, trying to anticipate all possible outcomes and solve problems in our own strength.

We need to realize that our faith is of utmost importance to God, and He takes joy in seeing it grow. He can move heaven and earth to act on our behalf and answer our prayers—and He delights in our choosing to believe that. By trusting Him, we will discover new excitement and adventure in life. We’ll also see that our Father is always faithful

Our Rock: The Creator

“Of the Rock that begat thee thou art unmindful, and hast forgotten God that formed thee.” (Deuteronomy 32:18)

Just before his death, Moses predicted the coming apostasy of Israel in a prophetic “history” of Israel. Not only did his prophecy come true for the nation of Israel, but the same could be said for much of Western Christianity today.

Moses recounted the fact that Israel had been blessed greatly of the Lord, but instead of drawing closer to Him, they grew “fat, and…Forsook God which made [them], and lightly esteemed the Rock of [their] salvation” (Deuteronomy 32:15). The use of the term “rock” refers to the rock that Moses struck, yielding water to sustain them in the parched desert region. The rock followed the people on their journeys and provided an ever-present reminder of God’s marvelous provision. (If one should further doubt as to the identity of the Rock, “that Rock was Christ,” 1 Corinthians 10:4.) They totally forgot, however, the God of their creation and salvation, and sacrificed to demons, old gods, and to any new gods around (Deuteronomy 32:17).

God has given us life, and without His daily sustenance all life would cease. How foolish it is to attempt to live life without the One “that begat” us—who gave us life and even now maintains it. All too often the Creator God is excluded from our churches, our government, and our schools. Even many Christians live their lives as practical atheists, making decisions and living their lives just as if no God exists. Let us recommit ourselves to giving the rightful place in our lives and in our sphere of influence to “the Rock that begat” us.

“I will publish the name of the LORD: ascribe ye greatness unto our God. He is the Rock, his work is perfect; for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he” (Deuteronomy 32:3-4). JDM

Bless the Lord, O My Soul For His Compassion!— Psalm 103

Praising The Lord For His Compassion

The Lord executes acts of righteousness and justice for all the oppressed. He revealed His ways to Moses, His deeds to the people of Israel. The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and full of faithful love. He will not always accuse [us] or he angry forever. He has not dealt with us as our sins deserve or repaid us according to our offenses. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His faithful love toward those who fear Him. As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him. For He knows what we are made of, remembering that we are dust… But from eternity to eternity the Lord’s faithful love is toward those who fear Him, and His righteousness toward the grandchildren of those who keep His covenant, who remember to observe His instructions (vv. 6-14, 17-18).

Whenever I read this psalm cataloging the virtues of God, I feel like Moses must have felt when standing in his presence on Mt. Sinai (Exod. 34:6-7). Moses was allowed to view the back of God, and in that intimate exposure the great man of God found out what our Lord is like!

He is compassionate and not only feels our pain and sorrow but also stands ready to alleviate it. He is gracious, choosing not to punish our sins in proportion to their seriousness (v. 10). He is loving and even tempered (vv. 7-8). He does not hold grudges (v. 9). His love is infinite; his forgiveness, totally effective and complete (vv. 11-12).

Of all these divine attributes, the one that resounds in my spirit like the clash of cymbals is his love. It is incomprehensible and inexhaustible. It is “wide and long and high and deep,” and when I begin to grasp it, my inner being is strengthened by the Holy Spirit (Eph. 3:16-21). I am changed from the inside out.

My imagination fired, I want to write a concerto, using God’s incomparable love as my theme!

Personal Prayer

I am grateful, Lord, that your mercy, love, and compassion temper the anger and judgment that should rightfully fall on me. Praise be to the Lord of love and grace!

It Lacks That

My speech and my proclamation were not with persuasive words of wisdom but with a powerful demonstration by the Spirit.—1 Corinthians 2:4

Much of modern-day Christianity is lacking power and conviction because it lacks a close encounter with this aspect of the Spirit’s resources. If we are to experience the fullness of the Spirit in our lives, then we must open ourselves to everything He wants to give us. We must not pick and choose and say, “I’ll take this but not that,” for in order to be God’s true representatives in this world, we must know Him in all His fullness.

I watched a man on television one day examine a beautiful painting. He studied it for a few moments and said, “Its perspective is good, the coloring is fine, the tones are excellent, the idea behind it is to be commended, but it lacks … that.”

The same can be said of a lot of Christian activity in this generation. Our preaching is correct, our worship services are well-structured, our music is fine, our organization is superb, but it lacks one thing—the throbbing power of the Holy Spirit. Without the power of the Spirit in our midst, we are preaching unquickened truth—truth that doesn’t fall upon the soul with convicting, sobering, awakening, converting power. Our Christianity is not bad—it is just dull. The Holy Spirit, when accepted and obeyed, turns insipidity into inspiration, dullness into dancing, and mediocrity into magnificence. If we are not careful, we may find ourselves in court one of these days accused of contravening the Trade Descriptions Act!

Prayer

Ouch, Lord, this hurts! But I know from experience that You hurt me in order to heal me. Begin with me today, and set me on fire that others may catch it, too! Amen.

Further Study

Ac 19:21-41; Eph 3:19; 5:18

How did the Holy Spirit give Paul holy boldness?

What was Paul’s exhortation to the Ephesian church?

All Nature Speaks

Job 12:7

In Job’s rebuttal to Zophar, he told him to look to nature and it will teach him of God. He cited three categories of fauna and the earth itself as a source of instruction about God (12:7-9).

First, “Ask the animals, and they will teach you” (Job 12:7). Ask a chipmunk, with a body barely six inches long, who made it able to carry and hide more than a bushel of acorns in just three days so he will be prepared for the long winter. Ask the snowshoe hare who turns its fur white only in the winter and the fawn who gave its spots to camouflage them from predators. Ask the sleek cheetah, the fastest land animal, who made it able to reach speeds of 70 miles an hour. Let the animals teach us of the marvelous endowments and providence of their Creator.

Job went on: “Ask… the birds of the air, and they will tell you” (Job 12:7). Ask the millions of birds who endowed them with the marvel of migration as their feathered power takes them incredible distances, with the champion migrant—

the small arctic tern—making an annual round trip of over 20,000 miles. Ask the ruby-throated hummingbird, weighing only an eighth of an ounce, who made it able to fly 500 miles across the Gulf of Mexico, its wings beating 50 times a second. Ask the birds and they will tell you who teaches them their solar and stellar migration, who planted their inbuilt compasses enabling them to span continents and oceans. Far more than Job ever knew in his day, the birds are able to tell us about the marvels of God’s creative handiwork.

“Or speak to the earth,” Job went on, “and it will teach you” (Job 12:8). What eloquence is spoken by creation in the miracle of seedtime and harvest, of the tapestry and wonder of a tree, the exquisite beauty of a flower, the spectacle of a sunrise that causes all the earth to blush at the extravagant beauty it is about to unveil.

“Or let the fish of the sea inform you,” (Job 12:8) added Job. The infinite variety, the incredible fecundity, and the exotic creations of marine life testify to a God of unlimited imagination and creativity.

Annie Dillard, in Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, writes, “The extravagant gesture is the very stuff of creation. The Creator will stop at nothing. The Creator loves pizzazz.”

May we pray to be kept open and aware to the wonder and beauty of God’s creation and its untold blessings to us.

Henry Gariepy, Portraits of Perseverance