VIDEO The Temple of the Holy Spirit – Life of Joseph

…only in regard to the throne will I be greater than you. —Genesis 41:40

I am accountable to God for the way I control my body under His authority. Paul said he did not “set aside the grace of God”— make it ineffective (Galatians 2:21). The grace of God is absolute and limitless, and the work of salvation through Jesus is complete and finished forever. I am not being saved— I am saved. Salvation is as eternal as God’s throne, but I must put to work or use what God has placed within me. To “work out [my] own salvation” (Philippians 2:12) means that I am responsible for using what He has given me. It also means that I must exhibit in my own body the life of the Lord Jesus, not mysteriously or secretly, but openly and boldly. “I discipline my body and bring it into subjection . . .” (1 Corinthians 9:27). Every Christian can have his body under absolute control for God. God has given us the responsibility to rule over all “the temple of the Holy Spirit,” including our thoughts and desires (1 Corinthians 6:19). We are responsible for these, and we must never give way to improper ones. But most of us are much more severe in our judgment of others than we are in judging ourselves. We make excuses for things in ourselves, while we condemn things in the lives of others simply because we are not naturally inclined to do them.

Paul said, “I beseech you…that you present your bodies a living sacrifice…” (Romans 12:1). What I must decide is whether or not I will agree with my Lord and Master that my body will indeed be His temple. Once I agree, all the rules, regulations, and requirements of the law concerning the body are summed up for me in this revealed truth-my body is “the temple of the Holy Spirit.”

WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS

We begin our Christian life by believing what we are told to believe, then we have to go on to so assimilate our beliefs that they work out in a way that redounds to the glory of God. The danger is in multiplying the acceptation of beliefs we do not make our own. Conformed to His Image, 381 L


Life of Joseph: From Pit to Pinnacle – Genesis 41:33-44

Illustrating Scripture

We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done. Psalm 78:4

Decorative blue and white ceramic tiles commonly found in Dutch households were originally made in the city of Delft. They often depict familiar scenes of the Netherlands: beautiful landscapes, ubiquitous windmills, and people working and playing.

In the nineteenth century, Charles Dickens wrote in his book A Christmas Carol how these tiles were used to illustrate the Scriptures. He described an old fireplace built by a Dutchman paved with these quaint Delft tiles: “There were Cains and Abels, Pharaohs’ daughters, Queens of Sheba, . . . [and] Apostles putting off to sea.” Many households used these tiles as a teaching tool as the family gathered around the warmth of a fire and shared the stories of the Bible. They learned about God’s character—His justice, compassion, and mercy.

The truths of the Bible continue to be relevant today. Psalm 78 encourages us to teach the “hidden lessons from our past—stories we’ve heard and known, stories our ancestors handed down to us” (vv. 2–3 nlt). It goes on to instruct us to “tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done” and “they in turn [can] tell their children” (vv. 4, 6).

With God’s help, we can find creative and effective ways to illustrate the truths of Scripture to each generation as we strive to give God the full honor and praise He deserves.

By:  Cindy Hess Kasper

Reflect & Pray

What ways have you found effective in illustrating the truths of the Bible to someone who’s new to Scripture? Who needs to know about the “praiseworthy deeds of the Lord”?

Loving God, show me ways to illustrate what I’ve learned from Scripture so others may know of Your wonders.

Learn more about the central meaning of the Bible

Sunday Reflection: A Gift For The World

As Christians, we have the best reason to celebrate joyfully at Christmas: we were given the eternally perfect gift of Christ

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

Another busy Christmas season is upon us, and the next few weeks will be overflowing with parties, gifts, and good cheer. However, this time is especially meaningful for Christians, who recognize the reason for such joy: Our Savior came to rescue us from sin and death, and He will come again in glory to make all things new (Matt. 1:21; Revelation 21:4-5).

Thanks to Christ, the One who has overcome the world, we can experience true peace. And this blessing will continue into eternity, where we will dwell forever with our heavenly Father (John 16:33; 2 Pet. 1:10-11). As members of the Christian community, we should celebrate this truth every day and share it with those around us. The gladness that binds us together in unity is our gift to the world, and when it is evident, people can’t help but be drawn in.

Think about it

  •  Do you think of the kingdom of God primarily as a present reality or a future inheritance? How does that view shape your understanding of Christian community?

The Christian’s Position

“According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world.” (Ephesians 1:4)

The search for identity and meaning can drive one to great successes or tragic failures. For the Christian, however, the question is answered throughout Ephesians.

We are chosen! We are selected as a favorite out of “many [who] are called” (Matthew 22:14) “out of the world” (John 15:19). What a privilege! We are God’s choice to bear His name, represent His cause, and share His glory throughout eternity.

In fact, we are “predestinated [previous boundaries set]…unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself” (Ephesians 1:5). And “if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:17).

Furthermore, we have been “accepted in the beloved” (Ephesians 1:6). That word, “accepted,” is a specialized form of the word most often translated “grace.” We have been “graced” by almighty God, who has set absolute boundaries around our lives and made us His children. We were purchased “through his blood” (v. 7) “that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar [that is, ‘precious’] people, zealous of good works” (Titus 2:14).

Moreover, we are forgiven (Ephesians 1:7)! Our sins are “covered” (Psalm 32:1); “cast” behind God’s back (Isaiah 38:17); removed “as far as the east is from the west” (Psalm 103:12); “remember[ed]…no more” (Jeremiah 31:34); and cleansed “from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

Hallelujah! Since we are God’s children, we should have no identity crisis. We are a chosen, predestined, accepted, redeemed, forgiven, and holy people. Finally, we are predestined “to be conformed to the image of his Son” (Romans 8:29). HMM III

Song Of Sanctification

Lord, set up a guard for my mouth; keep watch at the door of my lips. Do not let my heart turn to any evil thing or wickedly perform reckless acts with men who commit sin. Do not let me feast on their delicacies. Let the righteous one strike me—it is [an act of] faithful love; let him rebuke me—it is oil for my head; let me not refuse it. Even now my prayer is against the evil acts of the wicked. When their rulers will be thrown off the sides of a cliff, the people will listen to my words, for they are pleasing (Psalm 141 vv. 3-6).

David had the right idea. His aspirations were lofty; he was just too human to attain them! Still, he longed to be pure, blameless, and sanctified (set apart).

In this passage he submits three parts of his body to the Lord for cleansing—his lips and mouth, lest he speak evil (v. 3); his heart, lest he become involved in sensual pleasures (v. 4); his head, lest his mind toy with the evil schemes of the wicked (v. 4). In fact, he asks for corrective support from godly friends.

God never intended for us to face life alone. If we isolate ourselves from real, down-to-earth relationships, the enemy will subtly distract us, seduce us, and then devour us. My close friends regularly pray for me, communicate with me, and generally hold me accountable. Karen and I also attend small group Bible studies where we experience rich Christian fellowship in a private setting. Without this support, we would be depriving ourselves of one of the greatest blessings the Lord gives us—intercessory prayer.

In unity there is strength to endure temptation, to make a frontal attack on societal sins, and to stand firm against the enemy. God has set me apart for his ministry, but he has also blessed me with godly friends who pray for me and point out possible dangers I am too blind to see.

Personal Prayer

O Lord, I thank you again for prayer warriors who faithfully hold me up in prayer. I know you have brought these people into my life to help me fight the battle… and win!

God, the Aggressive Lover

Love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that He loved us.—1 John 4:10

When we perceive how much God loves us, an amazing effect is produced in our personalities—we begin to love like Him. We cannot help it. Love—agape love—is not the fruit of labor; it is a response. When we stand at the foot of Calvary, the place where the love of God is fully focused and caught up, the scales drop from our eyes, and our own love flames in response. We love Him because He first loved us.

Teresa of Avila tells how one day, going into her private room, she noticed a picture of our Lord being scourged before His crucifixion. She must have seen it hundreds of times, but in that moment of revelation she saw it as she had never seen it before. She saw God suffering—suffering for love and suffering for her. The revelation sent her to her knees sobbing in pain and wonder, and when she arose, she was a changed woman. The revelation of Calvary’s love was the great divide in her life. She said that she arose with a sense of “unpayable debt” and went out to share God’s realized love with others.

Don’t try to manufacture love. Linger in the shadow of the Cross. The love of God finds its most burning expression there. Meditate on it. Contemplate it. Remember that heaven knows no higher strategy for begetting love in mortal hearts than by granting us a vision of how much we are loved, a vision strong enough to evoke a response in our hearts—and by that answering love begotten in us by the Holy Spirit, we are freed and purged and saved.

Prayer

Gracious Father, I see that before I can love, I must comprehend how much I am loved. Help me be aware that in my heart I have the most aggressive Lover in the universe. I am eternally grateful. Amen.

Further Study

Rm 5:1-8; Jr 31:3; Eph 2:4-5; 1Jn 3:1

How has God demonstrated His love for us?

What kind of love is God’s love?

A Conscience Without Offense

Acts 24:16

Conscience is that faculty of the soul which pronounces on the character of our actions. This faculty is a constituent part of our nature and is common to man everywhere and at all times. This office is to determine or pronounce upon the moral quality of our actions—to say whether this or that is good or bad. Conscience is an independent witness standing as it were between God and man; it is in man, but for God, and it cannot be bribed or silenced. Someone has called it “God’s spirit in man’s soul.” It is something in us bearing witness against us when we offend its integrity.

The apostle labored to have always a conscience void of offense. But this implies systematic obedience to the dictates of conscience. Set on the throne of the soul to communicate the light and truth of God, and to witness impartially whether it is obeyed or not, of course there can be but one way to keep this conscience void of offense, and that is by so acting as not to offend, grieve, or incense it again.

To keep a conscience void of offense requires unremitting effort, exertion and determination. “Herein do I exercise myself” (Acts 24:16 KJV)—the whole man, soul, mind, body, myself. Here is need for “exercise” indeed. Here is “the fight of faith,” the faith of the saints, which can dare, do, and suffer anything rather than defile its garments.

When inclination lures, when the flesh incites to that which conscience condemns, the will must say “No,” and repel the tempter. Our first parents fell here. Their consciences were on the right side, but their wills yielded to the persuasions of the enemy, to unlawful self-gratification. Joseph’s conscience thundered the right path, and his will acted it out. Pilate’s conscience also thundered the right course, but his will failed to carry it out.

Do you resolutely say, “I will not do this thing and sin against God?” To keep a pure conscience requires great vigilance, lest by surprise or inattention we defile it. Our enemy lays many a snare to take us unawares.

A pure conscience is its own reward. No matter who condemns, if it approves, there is peace and sunshine in the soul. As a clean conscience is its own reward, so an offended conscience is its own punishment.

Catherine Booth, Practical Religion