VIDEO Those Who Love God

But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9

Life is filled with qualifications. Do you want to drive legally? You need to pass the licensing exam and driving test. Do you want the twenty-percent discount at the store? You need to have the coupon that came in the mail.

Do you want to know that everything in your life is going to be for your good? There is a condition: You have to love God. That’s what Romans 8:28 says: “To those who love God.” What does it mean to love God? It means to obey Him, serve Him, submit to Him, rejoice in Him, and trust Him in all things. Compare Paul’s list of what it means to love others in 1 Corinthians 13. In other words, when we are wholly committed to God as His children, He, as our Father, watches over our lives to accomplish His purpose in us.

Love is not about perfection; it is not about never failing. It is about the heart’s desire to know God more deeply every day.

Either directly or indirectly, every providence has a tendency to the spiritual good of those who love God. Matthew Henry


God’s True and Complete Revelation (1 Corinthians 2:6-16)

God’s Amazing Creation

Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Job 38:4

What began as a simple spring nature walk turned into something special as my wife and I trekked along our hometown’s Grand River. We noticed some familiar “friends” on a log in the rippling water—five or six large turtles basking in the sun. Sue and I smiled at the amazing sight of these reptiles, which we hadn’t seen for many months. We were delighted that they were back, and we celebrated a moment of joy in God’s magnificent creation.

God took Job on quite a nature walk (see Job 38). The troubled man needed an answer from his Creator about his situation (v. 1). And what he saw on his journey with God through His creation provided the encouragement he needed.

Imagine Job’s amazement as God reminded him of His grand design of the world. Job got a firsthand explanation of the natural world: “Who laid its cornerstone—while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?” (vv. 6–7). He got a geography lesson regarding God’s imposed limitations of the seas (v. 11).

The Creator continued to inform Job about the light He created, snow He produces, and rain He provides to make things grow (vv. 19–28). Job even heard about the constellations from the One who flung them into space (vv. 31–32).

Finally, Job responded, “I know that you can do all things” (42:2). As we experience the natural world, may we stand in awe of our wise and wonderful Creator.

By:  Dave Branon

Reflect & Pray

How can nature bring you closer to God? How does it remind you of His great creative power and love?

Dear God, thank You for creating such a magnificent, diverse, fascinating world. Help me to appreciate Your workmanship and realize that You’re in control.

Learn more about the book of Job.

Is It a Need or a Desire?

God promises to meet the needs of faithful believers, and He even fulfills some desires that align with His will—but we must not confuse the two.

1 Timothy 6

There are many passages in the Bible that speak about God meeting the needs of His people, but we must be careful to interpret them correctly. It’s important to understand the difference between needs and desires. A need is something essential, according to God’s will for our life. But a desire is something we want for ourselves or others, and it’s often based on the expectation of enjoyment, ease, or comfort. 

There is nothing wrong with a desire, as long as it is within the will of God. After all, our heavenly Father “richly supplies us with all things to enjoy” (1 Tim. 6:17). But He never promises to grant all our desires. Therefore, not receiving what we want is no indicator that God is unfaithful! He does, however, promise to meet all our needs.

At the end of the day, two things are required to navigate times of need—contentment in every circumstance and dependence on Jesus Christ for strength (Phil. 4:12-13). Begin each day by asking the Lord to provide whatever He deems necessary; then ask for your desires. Let the Lord determine what is best in both categories, and be content with His choices for you. 

The New Covenant

Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you. (Luke 22:20)

The Greek word diatheke, translated as both “testament” and “covenant,” occurs 33 times in the New Testament, 17 of which are in the book of Hebrews. The Hebrew word for “covenant” (berith) comes from a word meaning to “cut, or divide,” referring to the fact that blood had to be shed to bind the parties involved to the covenant. (See Genesis 15:10; Jeremiah 34:18-19.) God had made covenants with Abraham and Moses on the part of the people of Israel. He had kept His part of the agreement; but in each case the others involved “continued not in my covenant” (Hebrews 8:9). But God, in His grace, has issued a new covenant.

This covenant or testament is not unlike a human “last will and testament,” but there are some differences. He did not merely die, thereby enabling His children to inherit His fortune, but He is now “the mediator of a better covenant” (Hebrews 8:6). He is the sacrifice whose death was necessary to make the covenant binding, and yet He is the “surety of a better testament” (Hebrews 7:22).

He cannot fail, and hence the new covenant cannot be done away with. Through His death, He not only has removed the penalty for our previous failures, but qualified us to receive the inheritance. “For this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator” (Hebrews 9:15-16). “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25). JDM

Harmony of Humility

Lord, my heart is not proud; my eyes are not haughty. I do not get involved with things too great or too difficult for me. Instead, I have calmed and quieted myself like a little weaned child with it’s mother; I am like a little child. Israel, hope in the Lord, both now and forever (Psalm 131 vv. 1-3).

David’s reign as Israel’s greatest king was matched by his contributions to art and literature, including the most profound psalm lyrics ever written. While he extended Israel’s borders to their limit, made Jerusalem the capital city, and founded an eternal dynasty of which our Lord, the Messiah, descended, he was also a virtuoso harpist and led a sweeping renaissance of Israelite culture. He accomplished this through building instruments, teaching music, and composing the temple liturgy.

With all his worldly “success,” David was a humble man with a childlike faith in God. His soul was calm and quiet (v. 2) because he was not neurotically driven by selfish ambition. He wrote: “He lets me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters” (Ps. 23:2). As a weaned child no longer needs it’s mother’s milk, he learned to receive his nurture from the Lord: “You prepare a table before me” (Ps. 23:5). His value system was founded on God’s eternal principles, not on ego-driven materialism.

The Bible stresses humility. To the humble, God gives salvation (Ps. 18:27), sustenance (Ps. 147:6), and grace (Prov. 3:34). The Lord hates arrogance and pride, which result in overwhelming self-confidence and insensitivity to others. This attitude is self-destructive. David is the consummate model of a creative artist and successful entrepreneur who didn’t let his fame go to his head. Trusting in the Lord is the opposite of pride and the only route to deeply satisfying human fulfillment.

Personal Prayer

O Lord, “lead me beside quiet waters” and give me rest from my obsessive behavior. I’m tired of the pressure I impose on myself Help me to trust in you today for everything I need.

A Temple, Not a Trap

You prepared a body for Me.—Hebrews 10:5

We continue to meditate on things we must do if we are to stay spiritually fresh. My next suggestion may come as a surprise: keep your body in good physical shape.

One of the most disastrous divorces that ever took place in Christendom was that between the physical and the spiritual. In the early days of Christianity, the two were one. When the disciples wanted men to look after the physical nourishment of those who were in need in the early church, the first of those they selected was Stephen, “a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit” (Ac 6:5). This combination of faith and the Holy Spirit was to be carried into the satisfying of physical needs, for the early church regarded the physical as being important as well as the spiritual. Not supremely important, of course, but important nevertheless.

In more recent centuries, the physical has been looked upon with greater suspicion in the church. In my youth I heard thundering sermons on the text, “our vile body” (Php 3:21, KJV), in which preachers propounded the idea that the body was the enemy of the soul. The suggestion was that the body must be ignored until the day when it is finally discarded and we are given a new resurrection body. These preachers failed to understand that the phrase “vile body” in the King James Version really means “the body of our humble condition” (HCSB) and not something to be treated with contempt. Let’s be done with this morbid idea concerning the body that still lingers in parts of the Christian church. Our bodies are not to be seen as traps, but as temples of the Holy Spirit.

Prayer

Blessed Lord Jesus, help me see my body in the way You saw Yours—not as something to be avoided but as something to be used. Show me the steps I need to take to be healthy in soul and in body. For Your own dear name’s sake. Amen.

Further Study

Rm 12:1-8; 6:13; 2Co 6:16

What are we to offer God?

What are we to honor God with?

A Task for The Ordinary Man

Luke 5:1-11

G. K. Chesterton said, “When our civilization wants a library cataloged, or the solar system discovered, or any trifle of that kind, it uses its specialists. But when it wishes anything done which is really serious, it collects twelve of the ordinary men standing round. The same thing was done by the Founder of Christianity.”

So it is that an important verdict, “guilty” or “not guilty,” in a criminal trial involving a human life, is not entrusted to legal experts but to twelve ordinary citizens chosen at random. Every murderer knows that he gets a fair chance when his case is in the hands of “ordinary men standing round.”

Jesus Christ chose the common people to share with Him a mission holding the issues of life and death. By intuitive wisdom He called twelve “ordinary men standing round” and entrusted them with powers transcending even the powers of the religious experts of His day.

Not in the whole of Palestine could one have chosen men more remote from the high vocation to which they were called. Unlettered and unknown, and yet the religious specialists—the Rabbis with their expert knowledge of the Scriptures-were passed by in favor of them. Christ’s mission demanded the freshness of the unspoiled heart. Preconceived notions, hardened opinions and uncompromising prejudices were soils too hard and stony to receive the new seeds of Christ’s teaching. He trusted love rather than education to carry on His work. He believed in integrity rather than intellect. He wanted not sophistication but simplicity of spirit.

He chose fishermen, ordinary folk. Let us take heart! Every ordinary person has something learning cannot give. If we haven’t mind we may have muscle. If we haven’t much in the head, we can have a lot in the heart.

But why did Christ choose fishermen? Because they were accustomed to cooperating with others. He wanted men who could work together as a team. He still wants ordinary people, willing to pull together in His cause.

Jesus called fishermen because they were men with a questing spirit, who would go out on to the high seas of the world to “rescue the perishing.” Fishermen are men of action: resourceful, enterprising, adventurous, always seeking a new haul. Christianity can thrive only by capture. The high art of winning souls requires the dashing courage of the fisherman.

In every man and woman there is something Christ can use. This does not require high gifts and superior qualities, but simple faith, strong courage, and conviction that Christ is the answer to every need.

George B. Smith, Meditations for the Ordinary Man