VIDEO The Undetected Sacredness of Circumstances

We know that all things work together for good to those who love God… —Romans 8:28

The circumstances of a saint’s life are ordained of God. In the life of a saint there is no such thing as chance. God by His providence brings you into circumstances that you can’t understand at all, but the Spirit of God understands. God brings you to places, among people, and into certain conditions to accomplish a definite purpose through the intercession of the Spirit in you. Never put yourself in front of your circumstances and say, “I’m going to be my own providence here; I will watch this closely, or protect myself from that.” All your circumstances are in the hand of God, and therefore you don’t ever have to think they are unnatural or unique. Your part in intercessory prayer is not to agonize over how to intercede, but to use the everyday circumstances and people God puts around you by His providence to bring them before His throne, and to allow the Spirit in you the opportunity to intercede for them. In this way God is going to touch the whole world with His saints.

Am I making the Holy Spirit’s work difficult by being vague and unsure, or by trying to do His work for Him? I must do the human side of intercession— utilizing the circumstances in which I find myself and the people who surround me. I must keep my conscious life as a sacred place for the Holy Spirit. Then as I lift different ones to God through prayer, the Holy Spirit intercedes for them.

Your intercessions can never be mine, and my intercessions can never be yours, “…but the Spirit Himself makes intercession” in each of our lives (Romans 8:26). And without that intercession, the lives of others would be left in poverty and in ruin.

WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS

The root of faith is the knowledge of a Person, and one of the biggest snares is the idea that God is sure to lead us to success. My Utmost for His Highest, March 19, 761 L


The Greatest Promise in the Bible | Dr. David Jeremiah

The Jesus Label

Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus. Colossians 3:17

“Son, I don’t have much to give you. But I do have a good name, so don’t mess it up.” Those wise, weighty words were uttered by Johnnie Bettis as his son Jerome left home for college. Jerome quoted his father in his American Professional Football Hall of Fame acceptance speech. These sage words that Jerome has carried with him throughout his life have been so influential that he closed his riveting speech with similar words to his own son. “Son, there’s not much that I can give you that’s more important than our good name.”

A good name is vital for believers in Jesus. Paul’s words in Colossians 3:12–17 remind us who it is that we represent (v. 17). Character is like the clothing that we wear; and this passage puts the “Jesus label” of clothing on display: “As God’s chosen people . . . clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another. . . . And over all these virtues put on love” (vv. 12–14). These aren’t just our “Sunday clothes.” We’re to wear them everywhere, all the time, as God works in us to reflect Him. When our lives are characterized by these qualities, we demonstrate that we have His name.

May we prayerfully and carefully represent Him as He provides what we need.

By:  Arthur Jackson

Reflect & Pray

As you evaluate your wardrobe, how “well dressed” are you with Jesus’ character? How can you seek His wisdom, power, and guidance to reflect Him even more clearly?

Father, forgive me when I don’t represent Jesus well. Give me strength and courage to be better dressed for Your glory and Christ’s name’s sake.

Learn more about the importance of living a life that honors Christ.

Sunday Reflection: Being Your Genuine Self

Vulnerability and honesty are important qualities to keep in our relationships.

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

After seeing the risen Jesus, everyone rejoiced—except Thomas. Recorded as the sole disciple who said, “I will not believe,” he often gets a bad rap, but can you imagine being the only one of your friends who was unsure? Thomas probably felt alone in his doubts—he may have sensed pressure to be excited and could have assumed he was disappointing his fellow disciples. He might even have felt embarrassed when Jesus singled him out to touch His wounds (John 20:19-29).

What we often overlook, however, is Thomas’s willingness to be vulnerable. It’s possible he wasn’t proud of feeling doubtful, but instead of pretending, he presented his true self to his friends and his Savior. And for that, Thomas was ultimately rewarded—Jesus met his insecurity with assurance. 

Because Thomas was honest, he was positioned for Jesus to extend grace. The same principle is at work in our relationships—we don’t have to hide the messy or difficult parts of ourselves, because vulnerability invites grace in. And that’s when friendships flourish.

Think about it

  •  Is there someone with whom you can be truly vulnerable? What do you need in order to take that leap?

God Does Not Author Evil

Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. (James 1:13-14)

One of the often-used excuses for rejecting the God of the Bible is if God is omnipotent (as the Bible teaches), and since evil exists in the world (as everyone can see), then God must be the author of evil or incapable of preventing it. Either way, such reasoning insists, that kind of God is not worthy of worship.

If that logic were accurate, then most of the foundational truths of Scripture should be rejected. The Bible insists that the whole of reality was initially “very good” (Genesis 1:31) but was quickly marred by Lucifer’s lie and Adam’s rebellion (Genesis 3:14-17). The thrice-holy God (Isaiah 6:3) has no pleasure in wickedness (Psalm 5:4), does not tempt any man with evil (James 1:13), and loves righteousness and hates wickedness (Psalm 45:7).

God does not cause evil. The Archenemy, Satan, is the father of untruth (John 8:44) and was the source of the deception of Eve (2 Corinthians 11:3) and the rebellion of Adam that brought sin and death into the creation (Romans 5:12).

The most precise description of the all-consuming character of the Creator God is that “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). There can be no impurity or inconsistency within the nature of the Godhead. The holy separateness of the Creator is such that no thing, no concept, no act, no thought can ever cause a break within the absolute light of our eternal God. HMM III

Future Blessings

May the Lord bless you from Zion, so that you will see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life, and will see your children’s children! Peace be with Israel (Psalm 128 vv. 5-6).

The psalmist moves now from individual happiness in the context of a single family to national prosperity within the context of the nation of Israel. He longs to see Jerusalem, the City of Zion, prospering and flourishing all the days of his life. From her blessing will flow out to all nations on earth.

The young father pictured earlier in the psalm is now a grandfather, observing the blessings of the Lord falling on many generations. We make much of the sins of the fathers being visited on future generations but fail to speak of the blessings of the righteous filtering down through the generations (vv. 3-4, 6).

I remember well my paternal grandparents. They both died when I was seven years old. However, since they lived in our home during their latter years, they left an indelible impression of security and godliness.

The psalmist concludes with a lovely benediction: “Peace be with Israel!” Thus, he expresses for all of us the deepest longing of our hearts—peace. Deep personal peace doesn’t come from things. It flows from warm, intimate relationships and from a close walk with God.

Personal Prayer

Dear Lord, as we learn to walk more consistently by your side, give us the peace that passes human understanding. If you don’t come soon, may I live to hear my grandchildren singing your praises!

Talk to Yourself

For the word of God is living and effective … it is able to judge the ideas and thoughts of the heart.—Hebrews 4:12

Whatever we do, we must not let any lurking doubts go unchallenged. Pascal said: “Doubt is an unhappy state, but there is an indispensable duty to seek when we are in doubt, and thus anyone who doubts and does not seek is at once unhappy and in the wrong.”

How do we go about resolving doubts? One way is to bring them to the Lord in prayer and ask Him to help us overcome them. If prayer does not dissolve them, apply the tactic which Nehemiah adopted: “So we prayed to our God and stationed a guard” (Neh 4:9). Take a verse of Scripture that is the opposite of your doubt and hold it in the center of your mind, repeating it to yourself many times throughout the day. Dr. Martin Lloyd-Jones once said: “Have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself? We must talk to ourselves instead of allowing ourselves to talk to us!”

In listening to our doubts instead of talking to them, we fall prey to the same temptation that caught Adam and Eve off guard in the garden of Eden. The order of creation was stood on its head when the first human pair allowed themselves to be dictated to by the animal world (in the form of the serpent), when, in fact, they had been put in a position to dictate to it.

Don’t let your doubts dictate to you. Turn the tables and dictate to them. Talk to them with words from the Word of God.

Prayer

Father, help me never to be nonplussed, for in You there are ways to overcome every problem. Drive the truth I have learned today deeply into my spirit so that I may apply it whenever I am faced with doubt. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Further Study

Gn 3; Ps 53:5; Jms 1:6

What was Satan’s strategy?

What did Adam confess?

Made Into Saints

Philippians 1:1

The Scriptures give four names to Christians,” wrote Andrew Fuller long ago, “saints, for their holiness; believers, for their faith; brethren, for their love; disciples, for their knowledge.”

Saints—that was Paul’s favorite term. Fifty-five times in the epistles you will find the members of the Church called that. To the Roman church, which included both slaves and citizens, he wrote, “To all in Rome, who are loved by God and called to be saints” (Romans 1:7). To Philippi, where (as we know from Acts 16) one member was a cloth merchant and another a jailer, he wrote, “To all the saints in Christ Jesus at Philippi” (Philippians 1:1). Quite apparently, these were ordinary people, yet saints!

If the apostle were here today, would he address us as saints? There is little doubt that he would, although most of us might be quite uncomfortable with the title.

Saint means “sanctified one,” and as in the Old Testament certain people had the right to be called holy because of their position, in the New Testament all true Christians are rightly called holy because of their position in Christ. After Calvary and Pentecost, no longer is it only selected office holders who are holy; the adjective is enlarged to include all God’s people, for we have all become priests through grace.

It needs to be carefully noted that this is only the foundation of an experience of holiness, a description of status. The chief concern of the New Testament is not merely how a man may be called a saint, but how he can be made a saint. Having been given the title to holiness, how can we be given the experience of it?

Saints though they were, the early Christians were not perfect. That needs to be said, lest in our tendency to idealize the past we make them into spiritual supermen and give up all hope of being like them. They had their weaknesses, and all of Paul’s 13 letters contain some rebuke. “The perfecting of the saints”

(Ephesians 4:12 KJV) was as necessary then as now.

But those first-century believers did have something the world had not experienced before. They had Jesus, and His promise: “I will ask the Father, and He shall give you another Counselor” (John 14:16). “The breathtaking claims of the New Testament in regard to holiness,” writes W. E. Sangster, “is that while man is helpless and hopeless alone, by the power of the indwelling Spirit he can reach up to the dizzy height of holiness revealed by Jesus and scale the serene summit itself.”

Edward Read, Studies in Sanctification