VIDEO God’s Toolbox

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. 2 Timothy 3:16

Some clever marketer came up with the perfect housewarming or wedding present: an all-in-one toolbox. It wouldn’t work for a professional carpenter, but it can handle small odd jobs around the house: a hammer, a few screwdrivers, a tape measure, an adjustable wrench, pliers, a level, picture-hanging wire and hooks, and a container of assorted nails and screws—something for almost every repair or emergency.

But what about real-life problems with money, relationships, worry, child-rearing, marriage, and the like? Fortunately, there is a toolbox to meet those needs as well. It’s called the Word of God. The apostle Paul describes four things Scripture is good for: doctrine (theological truth), reproof (leading to repentance), correction (guidance), and guidelines for righteous choices in life. And the answers are guaranteed because the whole Bible is inspired by God.

Do you know someone starting out in their Christian life? Consider a gift of a reader-friendly, modern translation of God’s Word.

A partially inspired Bible is little better than no Bible at all. J. C. Ryle


What Does “Inspiration” Mean in 2 Timothy 3:16?

Joyful Learning

Be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Romans 12:2

In the city of Mysore, India, there’s a school made of two refurbished train cars connected end-to-end. Local educators teamed up with the South Western Railway Company to buy and remodel the discarded coaches. The units were essentially large metal boxes, unusable until workers installed stairways, fans, lights, and desks. Workers also painted the walls and added colorful murals inside and out. Now, sixty students attend classes there because of the amazing transformation that took place.

Something even more amazing takes place when we follow the apostle Paul’s command to “be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2). As we allow the Holy Spirit to uncouple us from the world and its ways, our thoughts and attitudes begin to change. We become more loving, more hopeful, and filled with inner peace (8:6).

Something else happens too. Although this transformation process is ongoing, and often has more stops and starts than a train ride, the process helps us understand what God wants for our lives. It takes us to a place where we “will learn to know God’s will” (12:2 nlt). Learning His will may or may not involve specifics, but it always involves aligning ourselves with His character and His work in the world.

Nali Kali, the name of the transformed school in India, means “joyful learning” in English. How’s God’s transforming power leading you to the joyful learning of His will?

By:  Jennifer Benson Schuldt

Reflect & Pray

Which areas of your thought life are most in need of God’s transforming power? How willing are you to act when you clearly understand His will for your life?

Dear God, I invite You to transform me by renewing my mind today. Thank You for all that’s possible when I surrender to You.

The Blessings of Inadequacy

2 Corinthians 3:4-6

Have you ever considered inadequacy a blessing? Life is filled with struggles that reveal our insufficiency, and it arouses uncomfortable emotions that make us feel useless, insignificant, and weak. No one likes the frustration and fear of facing challenges that are too big to handle, but God can use them for our good. Our job is to acknowledge our helplessness, depend on His strength, and step out with confidence in Him.

Inadequacy can be a blessing since it …

• Drives us to the Lord as we recognize our helplessness.
• Relieves us of trying to do God’s will in our own strength.
• Motivates us to live in the power of the Holy Spirit.
• Provides opportunity for God to demonstrate His power.
• Humbles our pride.
• Allows Christ to receive all the glory.
• Produces peace as we rely on Him.

Through the power of the Holy Spirit, believers have the ability to endure difficulty and accomplish whatever the Lord calls them to do. By claiming the adequacy of Christ, we can face every circumstance with confidence—not in ourselves but in God, who is totally capable.

Knowing Christ

“That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.” (Philippians 3:10-11)

When Paul speaks of knowing the Lord Jesus, he stresses the process involved in reaching the desired level of knowledge. These particular points of awareness (knowing the resurrection power, the fellowship of sufferings, and being conformed to His death) are not mere academic achievements but part of the process of experiencing life and personal study of God’s Word that produces confident knowledge.

John’s letter gives several key signs on how to “know” the Savior, one of which is keeping God’s commandments (1 John 2:3-5). The lifestyle of obedience (process of godliness) provides the experience that produces the knowledge.

Paul’s reference to the power of the resurrection is reflected in the wonderful promise of Ephesians 1:17-21. There, Paul says we can know the “exceeding greatness of his power” that was demonstrated in the resurrection of our Lord Jesus—that very power being beyond anything that can be observed in this or any age to come.

The fellowship that we now share in Christ’s sufferings is merely the process by which we are “being made conformable unto his death” (today’s verse). Paul noted that we were “crucified with Christ” but are still alive since Christ “liveth in [us]” (Galatians 2:20). Our bodies are to be “living [sacrifices]” so that we can prove the “good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God,” having been transformed by our renewed minds (Romans 12:1-2).

These many life processes are what our gracious God has decreed for our ultimate eternal possession—being “conformed to the image of his Son” (Romans 8:29). HMM III

Trust And Obey

Alef

How happy are those whose way is blameless, who live according to the law of the Lord! Happy are those who keep His decrees and seek Him with all their heart. They do nothing wrong; they follow His ways. You have commanded that Your precepts be diligently kept. If only my ways were committed to keeping Your statutes! Then I would not be ashamed when I think about all Your commands. I will praise You with a sincere heart when I learn Your righteous judgments. I will keep Your statutes; never abandon me (Psalm vv. 1-8).

Psalm 119 is a magnum opus, a mighty hymn of praise for the Word of God. The writer of this psalm lived under a lot of pressure—both internal and external. Men of earthly consequence persecuted him and ridiculed his beliefs. The severe test of his faith only strengthened him in his inner man. He became strong and resilient because he placed his faith in the Word of God and meditated on it day and night. The Word became his comfort and his ultimate resource for emotional strength.

This work is also an artistic masterpiece. Its structure is simple, elegant, and precise. This is the consummate alphabet psalm in which each line of each paragraph of eight verses starts with the same letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Verses 1-8 begin with the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet; verses 9-16 begin with the second, etc.

As he celebrates the value, worth, and magnificence of the law, the psalmist almost runs out of words—commandment, statute, judgment, precept, testimony, way, path.

The person who trusts in God’s Word and obeys it is happy (vv. 1-2). Obedience brings stability and leads to righteousness.

The secular environment or worldly system we live in is diametrically opposed to the Word of God. Its philosophy and value system are poles apart from Christian beliefs, yet even believers are far more influenced by our materialistic culture than they realize. This psalm stops me short: Am I more deeply affected by the world or by the Word?

Personal Prayer

Dear Lord, forgive me for not trusting and obeying you. My lack of faith has caused pain and unhappiness for myself and others. As I meditate again on your Word, fill me with deep joy and peace.

More Than a Recitation

These people approach Me with their mouths to honor Me with lip-service— yet their hearts are far from Me.—Isaiah 29:13

Some Christians think that prayer consists solely of reciting the words of the Lord’s Prayer, but, as the great preacher C. H. Spurgeon once said: “To recite the Lord’s Prayer and believe that you have then prayed is the height of foolishness.” This does not mean, of course, that there is no spiritual value in reciting it, providing we realize that it is not just a prayer to be recited. Personally, I would not want to deprive Christian congregations of the pleasure and joy of reciting together the Lord’s Prayer, but I do want to encourage them to view it as a departure point rather than an arrival platform.

If Jesus advised His disciples to avoid “[babbling] like the idolaters” (Mt 6:7), would He then immediately follow it by giving us a prayer to simply recite? Obviously, as I have said, one can derive great spiritual pleasure from repeating the words that Jesus gave us, but if we are to obtain the greatest value from the Lord’s Prayer, then we must view it as a skeleton on which we have to put flesh. If we view these words, not merely as something to recite, but as an outline from which we must work our way when praying, no matter what we are praying about, then we will experience a growing confidence that we are praying the way Jesus taught.

You see, it’s one thing to recite a prayer; it’s another thing to know how to pray.

Prayer

Heavenly Father, I see there can be great value in reciting a prayer, but I want to be able to do more than repeat a prayer—I want to pray. Help me, for without You I can do nothing. For Jesus’ sake. Amen.

Further Study

Gl 4:1-11; Mt 6:5; 23:14

What is Paul saying about ritualism?

When does prayer become hypocritical?

Science and Faith

Psalm 8:3-4

I’ve never quite been able to work out why some people think science and

Christianity don’t mix. It’s as if they think one disproves the other—and that’s nonsense.

We’ve known for some time of the existence of black holes and that the galaxies of which we are aware probably form only one-tenth of the entire universe. But now we are being introduced to a new class of “black objects.” Hydrogen and helium feature prominently in their makeup, but the number of these objects seems to be the most impressive piece of information. Apparently there are 10 million billion of them.

There’s obviously a good deal more to learn about these failed stars, and there’s a vast amount of speculation as to their value within the universe. But at least it gives the scientists something at which to point their telescopes.

No so long ago, two famous scientists set out to disprove the existence of God. As they examined the laws which govern our existence they amazed themselves by coming to the conclusion that evidence for a Creator was overwhelming.

Their research led them to issue a report which said that the chances of the world being an accident were a mere 10 to the power of 40,000. For those of us who don’t know what this means—even with a calculator—they said it meant that the chances of the world being an accident were “so utterly minuscule as to make it absurd.”

One of the professors said proof of a creator at work was to be found in “masses of evidence of designer activity that is continuing to sustain the universe.”

Belief in a creator is one thing. The next step is to ask ourselves why He put us here and what do we mean to Him? To go through life without trying to get answers is to miss the best exploration (and discovery) of all.

With the Psalmist we exclaim, “When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars which You have set in place, what is man, that You are mindful of him?” (Psalm 8:3-4)

Robert Street, It’s A New Day!