VIDEO There Is a Name

He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 1 John 4:8

When Frederick Whitfield (1829-1904) was a student at Trinity College Dublin, he wrote a poem that said: “There is a name I love to hear, I love to speak its worth; it sounds like music in mine ear, the sweetest name on earth.” Whitfield went on to describe what that name does for us—it tells us of a Savior’s love; it tells us of a Father’s smile; it bids our trembling soul rejoice.

Whitfield’s words were combined with a tune that added a chorus based on 1 John 4:19: “Oh, how I love Jesus, because He first loved me!”

Because our Lord first loved us, we can be confident that our relationship with Him is not based on what we do. It’s based on who He is and what He’s like. His nature is love, and His love for us is unconditional and uninterrupted. As A. W. Tozer said, “Because God is self-existent, His love had no beginning; because He is eternal, His love can have no end; because He is infinite, it has no limit.”

Oh, how He loves you!

It tells me what my Father hath in store for every day, and though I tread a darksome path, yields sunshine all the way. Frederick Whitfield

62 1 John 4 – Pastor Chuck Smith – C2000 Series

Beautifully Broken

I am forgotten as though I were dead; I have become like broken pottery .Psalm 31:12

Our bus finally arrived at our much-anticipated destination—an archaeological dig in Israel where we would actually do some excavation work of our own. The site’s director explained that anything we might unearth had been untouched for thousands of years. Digging up broken shards of pottery, we felt as though we were touching history. After an extended time, we were led to a workstation where those broken pieces—from huge vases shattered long, long ago—were being put back together.    

The picture was crystal clear. Those artisans reconstructing centuries-old broken pottery were a beautiful representation of the God who loves to fix broken things. In Psalm 31:12, David wrote, “I am forgotten as though I were dead; I have become like broken pottery.” Though no occasion is given for the writing of this psalm, David’s life difficulties often found voice in his laments—just like this one. The song describes him as being broken down by danger, enemies, and despair.

So, where did he turn for help? In verse 16, David cries out to God, “Let your face shine on your servant; save me in your unfailing love.”

The God who was the object of David’s trust is the same One who still fixes broken things today. All He asks is that we call out to Him and trust in His unfailing love.

By:  Bill Crowder

Reflect & Pray

What areas of brokenness have you experienced? How has God helped you through those difficult times?

God of my help, I thank You for all the times I’ve fallen and been broken—times when You’ve put me back together.

For further study, read Understanding the Bible: The Wisdom Books.

The Promise of Christ’s Return

Jesus’ triumphant return to Earth is a day that we can and should all look forward to

Revelation 19:11-21, Revelation 20:1-6

The return of Jesus Christ is a vital part of God’s redemptive plan for humanity. That’s why the event was foretold by prophets, proclaimed by angels, and taught by Jesus and the apostles. In fact, more Old Testament passages are devoted to Christ’s second coming than to His first. And in the New Testament, the Lord mentions His return more frequently than He speaks of His death. 

The second coming defeats Satan’s earthly reign and establishes Christ’s kingdom of peace and righteousness in its place. Saints from all the ages will be gathered together to reign with the Lord. And the Father wants us to be excited and hopeful about Jesus’ return, recognizing it as the culmination of His plan for the world. In order to keep our hope alive, Scripture tells us what to expect, though we don’t know the exact timing.

Are you eagerly anticipating Christ’s return, or do you seldom think about it? The apostle John warns us not to love the world or the things it contains, because they are passing away (1 John 2:15-17). Instead, we are to long for our Savior’s return and rejoice in His coming kingdom.

Running Yahweh’s Marathon

“O God, thou hast taught me from my youth: and hitherto have I declared thy wondrous works. Now also when I am old and greyheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to every one that is to come.” (Psalm 71:17-18)

What are your life goals? Maybe working hard so you can retire with ease? Maybe saving those precious pennies for that special once-in-a-lifetime getaway? Maybe all your energies are focused on your family, preparing them for a smooth future.

While these goals may be good, the psalmist reminds us that our primary focus must be on our Lord, showing His “strength unto this generation” (v. 18), which for today’s believers is the command to carry out the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20; Romans 10:14).

But life’s struggles and temptations are ever present, sometimes hindering us from fulfilling God’s command. What should be the correct motivation for followers of Yahweh? Believers should display a consistent and steadfast loving devotion to Yahweh—everything else in life is secondary. “In thee, O LORD, do I put my trust” (Psalm 71:1).

In the Hebrew language, the personal pronoun is used as the subject of the verb for extra emphasis. We also see this same construction in verse 14: “I will hope continually.” So, as the psalmist reviews his life from his youth onward (v. 5) and now as an aging man, he earnestly prays for Yahweh to continue to be his strength and deliverance. Why? So he can declare Yahweh’s power to his present generation.

Whether you are young or old, are you sowing the seeds of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, declaring His goodness and steadfast love in your spheres of influence to this very needy and corrupt generation? CM

His Listening Ear

The Lord is righteous in all His ways and gracious in all His acts. The Lord is near all who call out to Him, all who call out to Him with integrity. He fulfills the desires of those who fear Him; He hears their cry for help and saves them. The Lord guards all those who love Him, but He destroys all the wicked. My mouth will declare the Lord’s praise; let every living thing praise His holy name forever and ever (Psalm 145 vv. 17-21).

Picture the Lord. What image do you see? He’s a perfect King, infinitely powerful and totally just. But he is also a loving Father—intimately near, warm, and personal. He is just exactly what each of us needs. How sad that many of us try to keep him at arm’s length most of the time!

King and Father. It may be easier to accept the image of God as King than as Father. Some, whose childhood memories are scarred by thoughts of unloving, insensitive parents, need to learn the definition of father by studying this psalm. This Father is never inattentive, neglectful, or too busy.

Even to those of us who were blessed with godly fathers, this concept may seem foreign to us. Were so busy declaring our independence, toughing it out alone, and proving ourselves that we lose sight of the truth that self-sufficiency never results in lasting satisfaction. We need to learn that we are most satisfied and safest in the arms of our Heavenly Father. He is “near all who call out to Him” (v. 18). How amazing!

Personal Prayer

My God and King, I’m so glad you showed me something of your heart through my dad and that I have only to turn to your Word to be further reminded of your active love and care.

Fresh Water

The Lamb … will guide them to springs of living waters, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.—Revelation 7:17

The idea for the theme of “staying spiritually fresh” arose out of a letter I received some time ago which said: “Over the past year or so, my Christian life has become stale—insufferably so. I have lost the freshness and spontaneity I once knew. Can you say something that will help bring back the sparkle into my Christian experience? What is the remedy?”

But can we expect always to live in a state of spiritual alertness and freshness? Isn’t that being unrealistically optimistic? Well, what does Scripture say? It shows us that the people of God are meant to be beautiful gardens in the midst of a dry desert. The prophet Isaiah puts it like this: “You will be like a watered garden and like a spring whose waters never run dry” (Isa 58:11).

In Ezekiel 47:8, Ezekiel says that the river flows into the sea and “the sea becomes fresh.” How thrilling! The river of God flowing into our dead seas turns them fresh. Whatever reasons there are for our lives becoming spiritually stale, it is quite clear from Scripture that they need not be so. God offers to exchange His strength daily for our weakness, His freshness for our staleness.


My Father and my God, I come at the beginning of these meditations to ask that You will make my life like a watered garden. Let Your fresh rivers run into my dead seas so that my whole being is revived—day after day after day. Amen.

Further Study

Jn 4:1-29; 7:37-38; Rv 7:17

What is the quality of the water that Christ gives?

How did Jesus describe it to the woman?

The Birthday of Joy

Luke 2:10-11

Christmas is the season of joy! Our hearts are Filled with a warm sense of joy as we sing the carols, share in festivities, give and receive, and hear again the immortal Christmas story.

God knows that our world, filled as it is with sin, strife and suffering, longs to experience and sustain real joy. Christmas is the birthday of joy. The heavenly announcement that came to the shepherds on the Judean hillside that first Christmas sounds forth again for all who will hear: “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people… a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:10-11).

The magnificence of joy which Christ brought into the world can be the experience of every believing heart. In the Christmas story we cannot help but note how the shepherds were filled with great joy as they made their own personal discovery of Christ. From the humble birthplace of the infant Savior where they worshipped him, “The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God” (Luke 2:20).

This experience is repeated every time a seeking soul comes in contact with Christ the Savior. An amazing joy is born within us to which we give expression in word and deed. The coming of Christ into one’s life through personal faith is indeed the birthday of joy in the heart.

The momentum of joy is seen in the Christmas story: “when they had seen Him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child” (Luke 2:17). The shepherds were carried by the momentum of their newfound joy back to their everyday tasks with a song in their hearts and a witness of good news on their lips.

How often have we heard expressed the wish that the spirit of Christmas might continue throughout the whole year! This is possible and, in fact, is one of the reasons Jesus entered human history. The deep joy He imparts continues and expands as He assures us: “My joy will remain in you and your joy will be full” (John 15:11 NKJV)

The magnetism of joy is inevitable when a person discovers Jesus Christ as their Savior. On that first Christmas when the shepherds spread the joyous good news about Christ, their obvious joy created interest among their hearers. “And all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.” (Luke 2:18).

This Christmas season can be the birthday of joy for each one who will make their own personal discovery of the Christ of Bethlehem’s manger.

Robert Rightmire, The War Cry