VIDEO The “Go” of Reconciliation

If you…remember that your brother has something against you… —Matthew 5:23

This verse says, “If you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you….” It is not saying, “If you search and find something because of your unbalanced sensitivity,” but, “If you…remember….” In other words, if something is brought to your conscious mind by the Spirit of God— “First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift” (Matthew 5:24). Never object to the intense sensitivity of the Spirit of God in you when He is instructing you down to the smallest detail.

“First be reconciled to your brother….” Our Lord’s directive is simple— “First be reconciled….” He says, in effect, “Go back the way you came— the way indicated to you by the conviction given to you at the altar; have an attitude in your mind and soul toward the person who has something against you that makes reconciliation as natural as breathing.” Jesus does not mention the other person— He says for you to go. It is not a matter of your rights. The true mark of the saint is that he can waive his own rights and obey the Lord Jesus.

“…and then come and offer your gift.” The process of reconciliation is clearly marked. First we have the heroic spirit of self-sacrifice, then the sudden restraint by the sensitivity of the Holy Spirit, and then we are stopped at the point of our conviction. This is followed by obedience to the Word of God, which builds an attitude or state of mind that places no blame on the one with whom you have been in the wrong. And finally there is the glad, simple, unhindered offering of your gift to God.

WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS

For the past three hundred years men have been pointing out how similar Jesus Christ’s teachings are to other good teachings. We have to remember that Christianity, if it is not a supernatural miracle, is a sham.  The Highest Good, 548 L


What Is the Meaning Behind Matthew 5:23-24?

Rest Well

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28

The clock blinked 1:55 a.m. Burdened by a late-night text conversation, sleep wasn’t coming. I unwound the mummy-like clutch of my tangled sheets and padded quietly to the couch. I Googled what to do to fall asleep but instead found what not to do: don’t take a nap or drink caffeine or work out late in the day. Check. Reading further on my tablet, I was advised not to use “screen time” late either. Oops. Texting hadn’t been a good idea. When it comes to resting well, there are lists of what not to do.

In the Old Testament, God handed down rules regarding what not to do on the Sabbath in order to embrace rest. In the New Testament, Jesus offered a new way. Rather than stressing regulations, Jesus called the disciples into relationship. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). In the preceding verse, Jesus pointed to His own ongoing relationship of oneness with His Father—the One He’s revealed to us. The provision of ongoing help Jesus enjoyed from the Father is one we can experience as well.

While we’re wise to avoid certain pastimes that can interrupt our sleep, resting well in Christ has more to do with relationship than regulation. I clicked my reader off and laid my burdened heart down on the pillow of Jesus’ invitation: “Come to me . . .”

Reflect & Pray

How does viewing rest as a relationship rather than a regulation change your view of rest? In what area of your life is Jesus calling you to rest in relationship with Him?

Dear Jesus, thank You for the rest You call me to in an ongoing relationship with You.

Sunday Reflection: Forever Home

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

It’s easy to throw away broken things, but mercifully, that’s not what God does. Rather, He’s interested in restoring this world. It’s reassuring to know this beautiful planet we call home, broken and marred as it is, won’t be forgotten in eternity.

In Revelation 21-22, we are shown a time in the future, when the new Jerusalem comes down from heaven to join a fully restored earth. And in that holy place, “the tabernacle of God is among the people, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them” (Revelation 21:3).

Our God redeems and renews all things. Why? Because He called it all good and loves it completely (Gen. 1:10). That should influence how we view both ourselves and the world around us. After all, this is ultimately our forever home. Yes, we anticipate a time when sin and suffering no longer exist. But all creation, even in its incomplete, fallen state is still lovely and should be treated as such.

Think about it
• Do you truly appreciate the natural world around you? How can you do so more fully?

The Glory of the Lord

“And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the LORD, So that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of the LORD.” (1 Kings 8:10-11)

This remarkable glory cloud filling Solomon’s temple at its dedication had also been present when the tabernacle in the wilderness was dedicated. At that time, Moses recorded how “a cloud covered the tent of the congregation,…and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.” Furthermore, this “cloud of the LORD was upon the tabernacle by day, and fire was on it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys” (Exodus 40:34-35, 38). There could be no doubt as to His presence.

It is well known that this cloud of divine glory was called the Shekinah. Although this actual word never occurs in the Bible itself, it is closely related to the Hebrew words for “dwell” (shakan) and “tabernacle” (mishkan).

The significant truth here, of course, is not the name but the fact. The glory cloud was removed when Israel became apostate. “And the glory of the LORD went up from the midst of the city” (Ezekiel 11:23).

When God returned to Earth in the person of His Son, “the Word was made flesh, and [tabernacled] among us.” Then, once again, those who had eyes to see “beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father” (John 1:14). By His Spirit, He now even lives in the human bodies of those who receive Him, and “Christ in you” becomes our own “hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27). Then, as we live in His Word, “we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 3:18). HMM

Acknowledging His Deliverance From Distress

I called to the Lord in distress; the Lord answered me [and put me] in a spacious place. The Lord is for me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? With the Lord for me as my helper, I will look in triumph on those who hate me. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in nobles (vv. 5-9).

The stunning thought occurs to me that I’ve already made most of the major decisions I’ll make in this life—choice of spouse, education, profession, Lord and Savior.

The psalmist is in the same boat. He can either trust his friends, or he can take refuge in the Lord. He can even consult with “princes” (authorities and experts), or he can cry out to the Lord in his dilemma. Human resources or divine power? Which shall it be?

I can trust in secular philosophy, humanistic psychology, and modern science and technology. I can cast my lot with the scholars and experts of human opinion. Or I can take the often unpopular stance of placing my faith in the Lord. When I choose the Lord, he erases past error and teaches me to sing again!

Personal Prayer

Lord, I’m so prone to human error without your constant watch care. Help me always to look to you—not to manmade systems—to define my life and to bring back the music when I falter.

A Contemporary Lyric

Teach Me to Sing Again

In my wandering, my heart hardening,

In such little things I made the wrong choice;

And for many days, in such little ways,

My life went astray from Your still, small voice.

Ever straying, disobeying,

Rarely praying, not judging right from wrong!

Needing closeness, not remoteness

I almost lost the joy of Your priceless song.

Teach me to sing again, light up my face again,

Help me trust again, dear Lord, today;

Teach me to sing again, lifting my praise again,

Free me to love again, dear Lord, I pray.

Words and music by Don Wyrtzen © 1985 by Singspiration.

Touching the Intangible

When James, Cephas, and John … acknowledged the grace that had been given to me, they gave the right hand of fellowship to me and Barnabas, agreeing that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised.—Galatians 2:9

Truly, in making an effort to go outside of ourselves and relate to others, we receive a wider awareness and a deeper understanding of God. This has been one of the greatest and most exciting discoveries of my life. The more I have given myself to my brothers and sisters in Christ, the greater has been my awareness and understanding of God.

I am not saying that in order to know God, we first have to get to know each other. That would be blatant error. We can know about Him through such means as creation, providence, and so on, but we can only know Him through His Son Jesus Christ. “No one has ever seen God. The One and Only Son—the One who is at the Father’s side—He has revealed Him” (Jn 1:18). However, once we know Him in this way, our fellowship with Him and our understanding of Him can be deepened by our relationship with others who know Him.

How does this work? The more I have focused on learning to listen—really listen—to my brothers and sisters in Christ, the more I have found that the effort I have made to do this has resulted in a heightening of my ability to listen to God. And the more I have sought to understand the mystery of His dealings in their lives, the more I have come to know the depth and beauty of His character. Although down the years I have come to know Him intimately in prayer, I believe I can say that I know Him even better because I have met Him in others.

Prayer

O Father, how can I sufficiently thank You for the fellowship we have with one another in Christ. In the tangible I see the Intangible, and through the visible I see the Invisible. I am eternally grateful. Amen.

Further Study

Jn 14:20; Gl 2:1-20; Col 1:27; 1Jn 3:24

How does God make His riches known?

Are those riches being made known to others through you?

God’s Day

Psalm 118:24

Today—this day—this very day

Is God’s day!

Fresh from his hand,

And lent to me so graciously,

A day He planned.

Today, there’s work for us to do

Together;

It is not mine.

The day, the work, and I are his,

At his design.

And if today some sorrow comes

Ere night fall—

Some pain or care—

Yet I will know he’s with me still,

This day we share.

And in this day of ours I’ll find

The gladness

He waits to show.

Some burst of joy, or quiet peace,

Today I’ll know.

I will not wait tomorrow’s

Golden hue

Or rosy way,

But with His joy I’ll really live

In God’s today.

Juanita Nelting, It’s Beautiful!