VIDEO Don’t Lose Heart

Then [Jesus] spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart. Luke 18:1

Every parent has had the experience of being worn down by a toddler who keeps asking for some “can’t wait” item. The request is genuine and legitimate but comes at an inopportune time for the parent. In order to stop the asking, the parent stops what they are doing and grants the child’s request.

Jesus told a parable with a similar set of details. A widow kept approaching a callous judge in her pursuit of justice in a certain matter. He ignored her many requests until finally he relented because the widow “was driving [him] crazy” (Luke 18:5, NLT). In other words, she wore the judge down until he gave in. The parable was about not losing heart in prayer, but in no way was Jesus comparing God to a callous or hard-hearted judge. In fact, just the opposite. He basically was saying, if a callous judge will grant requests, how much more will our loving God?

When a widow was bold enough to ask Elisha for help, it was given. And Jesus says the same: Ask God boldly and persistently for what you need.

Prayer is not only asking, but an attitude of mind which produces the atmosphere in which asking is perfectly natural. Oswald Chambers


Charles Spurgeon Sermons – The Importunate Widow: Men Ought Always to Pray and Not Faint

Complete in Christ

So you also are complete through your union with Christ. Colossians 2:10 nlt

In a popular film, an actor plays a success-driven sports agent whose marriage begins to crumble. Attempting to win back his wife, Dorothy, he looks into her eyes and says, “You complete me.” It’s a heart-warming message that echoes a tale in Greek philosophy. According to that myth, each of us is a “half” that must find our “other half” to become whole.

The belief that a romantic partner “completes” us is now part of popular culture. But is it true? I talk to many married couples who still feel incomplete because they haven’t been able to have children and others who’ve had kids but feel something else is missing. Ultimately, no human can fully complete us.

The apostle Paul gives another solution. “For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body. So you also are complete through your union with Christ” (Colossians 2:9–10 nlt). Jesus doesn’t just forgive us and liberate us, He also completes us by bringing the life of God into our lives (vv. 13–15).

Marriage is good, but it can’t make us whole. Only Jesus can do that. Instead of expecting a person, career, or anything else to complete us, let’s accept God’s invitation to let His fullness fill our lives more and more.

By:  Sheridan Voysey

Reflect & Pray

How have you sought spiritual fulfillment through people instead of God? How does Jesus’ completing you change your view of marriage and singleness?

Jesus, thank You for making me complete through Your death, resurrection, forgiveness, and restoration.

Wait Patiently for the Lord

Psalm 40:1-5

Practicing patience is difficult because it often goes against our expectations and desires for immediate results. This is especially true when we are waiting on the Lord and His timetable doesn’t match our own. In such situations, it’s important to remember we can’t go wrong waiting for Him. Blessings will come in God’s good time when we refuse to run ahead of Him.

We ask the Lord for what we think we need, based on our limited information. But His understanding is infinite. At times God simply says no to our requests. In other cases, He may adjust our desire to match His. And sometimes He answers in a way that looks nothing like what we requested, but it will be exactly what we need. A submissive heart accepts the omnipotent Father’s gentle redirection, recognizing that He is always right.

Waiting patiently on the Lord strengthens our faith in Him: We learn to rest in His loving care and accept that whatever He gives us is best. It’s also a witness to others, who see His care and faithfulness to us and may choose to put their trust in Him as well.

Sojourners

“For we are strangers before thee, and sojourners, as were all our fathers: our days on the earth are as a shadow, and there is none abiding.” (1 Chronicles 29:15)

All of God’s people, whether ancient Israelites or latter-day Christians, need to recognize that we are mere “strangers and pilgrims on the earth” (Hebrews 11:13). This world is not our home, as the old gospel song puts it, and we must not let our roots get down too deep in this materialistic world.

The words of our text are in David’s last recorded prayer before his death. He was a great king and very wealthy in material things, but he still recognized that his real home was not in the earthly Jerusalem but in heaven.

So should we. The apostle Paul wrote, “For our conversation [the Greek word here literally means ‘citizenship’] is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20). We are merely serving in this world as “ambassadors for Christ,” and our business here, representing the court of heaven, is to urge men, “in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:20).

Why should we spend time and money beautifying a home on Earth when Christ has gone to prepare a mansion for us in heaven (John 14:2)? Remember Abraham, who by faith “sojourned…in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles” (Hebrews 11:9). “But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city” (Hebrews 11:16).

Also remember Paul, who had “no certain dwellingplace” (1 Corinthians 4:11), not to mention the Lord Jesus Himself, who had “not where to lay his head” (Matthew 8:20). We do well, therefore, to “pass the time of [our] sojourning here in fear” (1 Peter 1:17)—that is, reverential fear of God (never fear of man), as good citizens of our heavenly country. HMM

Celebrating His Love And Faithfulness- Psalm 108

My heart is confident, God; I will sing; I will sing praises with the whole of my being. Wake up, harp and lyre! I will wake up the dawn. I will praise You, Lord, among the peoples; I will sing praises to You among the nations. For Your faithful love is higher than the heavens; Your faithfulness reaches the clouds. Be exalted above the heavens, God; let Your glory be over the whole earth (vv. 1-5).

I love to improvise on the piano—to sit down at the keyboard and freely associate musically, to wing it! The term toccata comes from the Italian toccare, “to touch” (the keys), and is an early keyboard form designed to showcase the resources of the instrument, the ingenuity of the composer, and the technical virtuosity of the performer.

Part of the extraordinary body of King David’s creative work is this toccata of triumph in praise of the Lord’s loyal love of Israel. The theme is repeated for emphasis from Psalm 57:7-11.

Being the virtuoso he is, David is not interested in a dull, lifeless recital as he worships, but he brings his whole being into the experience. He begins the day with a spontaneous outburst of song, depending not on prepared material but on the flow of the Spirit to inspire both words and melody.

David’s theme is the unsurpassed greatness of God’s love which is “higher than the heavens,” and his marvelous faithfulness which “reaches the clouds.” He exalts his Lord who dwells in the heavens and desires that his glory will pervade the earth.

King David possessed not only a healthy mind-set but the fullness of God in the deep recesses of his being. Because he was in touch with eternity, he was able to interpret reality and to live his life with freedom and authenticity. He beautifully fulfilled and pre-lived Christ’s words

in John 10:10: “A thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come that they may have life and have it to in abundance.”

Personal Prayer

O God, I want to sing and make music with all my soul today. I lift my worship to you because of your great love and faithfulness.

The Language of Music

Tocatta

From the Italian term tocarre“to touch” (the keys).

Early keyboard form involving improvisation, fugue, and virtuosity desired to show off the resources of the instrument, the ingenuity of the composer, and the virtuosity of the performer.

Purity and Power

A demonstration of the Spirit is given to each person to produce what is beneficial.—1 Corinthians 12:7

Although Jesus told us that through the Holy Spirit’s power, we would do greater works than He had performed, the truth is that we are just not availing ourselves of the divine resources. There are notable exceptions to what I am saying, but, by and large, this is the way it is in today’s church. Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 1:5: “Our gospel [came] to you … in power, in the Holy Spirit, and with much assurance.” At the center of that “power” and “assurance” was the Holy Spirit. These traits are largely lacking in much of modern Christianity because too many of us lack a full encounter with the Holy Spirit.

Some years ago, when I was a pastor in the north of England, another minister in the town (a good friend of mine) said, “You preach about the Spirit’s power, and I’ll preach about the Spirit’s purity. That way we will keep a balance in the lives of Christians in this town.” I pondered what he said and came to the conclusion that such a procedure would produce lopsided Christians, for both congregations needed to hear of the Spirit’s purity and power.

Today’s churches can be divided into two camps—those where the purity aspect is emphasized and those where the power aspect is emphasized. If every church focused with equal emphasis on both these characteristics of the Spirit, we would witness a healthier body of believers. Purity is essential, but so is power. The Holy Spirit supplies both.

Prayer

O Spirit of purity and power, live in Your church as both. For I need purity to see my destiny and power to follow it. Give me equal measure. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Further Study

Ac 5:1-16; 1Co 12; Gl 5:22-26

How did the early church learn about this power and purity?

What was the result?

Linked Lives

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

I have been watching the rainstorm outside my window that has been with us in terrific force for days. The 50 to 100 mph winds are very unusual for San Francisco, where I live. The tall eucalyptus trees are bowing down in slow motion, over and over, as they yield to the force of the wind.

When later I went outside I saw fallen, broken trees everywhere. I thought they had toppled over because the wind was too strong. But the newscaster said it was the incessant rains saturating the ground which caused the trees to uproot in the wind. The trees that fared better grew in close proximity to each other. You can tell I’m a tree-watcher.

God intends for us to grow together in close proximity with one another, so we can support each other when the storms beat upon us. Our spiritual roots intertwine, just as the tree roots do, and strengthen us when we would otherwise be weak. The Apostle Paul urges, “Bear one another’s burdens” (Galatians 6:2).

God intends for us to help hold each other up amid the testings of life. The preacher in Ecclesiastes powerfully reminds us of this sacred truth:

Two are better than one,

because they have a good return for their work:

If one falls down, his friend can help him up.

But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!

Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.

But how can one keep warm alone?

Though one be overpowered, two can defend themselves.

A cord of three strands is not quickly broken (Eccles. 4:9-12).

Even the tallest trees can fall if their roots are not intertwined in a network of support with others around them. We were not meant to be loners in the kingdom of God.

May we, with linked lives, together grow stronger in Christ, intertwined by love’s strong strands, and in love and support for one another hold each other up in the storms of life.

Keilah Toy, The War Cry