VIDEO Good Works

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23

In a survey conducted last year by the Pew Research Center, nearly three-fourths of U.S. adults said they believe in heaven, but there was widespread disagreement about how to get there. Among all Americans, nearly 40 percent said heaven will be the home of those who do not even believe in God. Among those calling themselves Christians, 58 percent said there are multiple religions that can lead to heaven.[1]

The poll didn’t ask about whether we can go to heaven on the basis of good works, but many people seem to believe so. Ask them why they think they’re going to heaven, and they’ll say they’re trying to live a good life.

The Bible teaches we are saved by faith and grace alone. Eternal life is the gift of God, purchased for us by Jesus Christ through His death and resurrection. We engage in good works because we are saved, not in order to be saved. Good works don’t earn our salvation; they are the result of our salvation in Christ. You must receive His gift of everlasting life.

Christ’s mission on earth was to give men Life…. Spiritual and Eternal Life. Henry Drummond


Romans 6 (Part 2) :15-23 Freedom From Sin

Crave Him

Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” John 6:35

Why is it that when we say, “This is the last potato chip I’m going to eat,” five minutes later we’re looking for more? Michael Moss answers that question in his book Salt Sugar Fat. He describes how America’s largest snack producers know how to “help” people crave junk food. In fact, one popular company spent $30 million a year and hired “crave consultants” to determine the bliss point for consumers so it could exploit our food cravings.

Unlike that company, Jesus helps us to long for real food—spiritual food—that brings satisfaction to our souls. He said, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty” (John 6:35). By making this claim, He communicated two important things: First, the bread of which He spoke is a person, not a commodity (v. 32). Second, when people put their trust in Jesus for forgiveness of sin, they enter into a right relationship with Him and find fulfillment for every craving of their soul. This Bread is everlasting, spiritual food that leads to satisfaction and life.

When we place our trust in Jesus, the true Bread from heaven, we’ll crave Him, and He’ll strengthen and transform our lives.

By:  Marvin Williams

Reflect & Pray

Why do you think we crave things we know can never satisfy the deepest cravings of our souls? What are some practical practices that will help you crave Jesus more?

Jesus, Bread of Life, may I crave You and find all I need in Your perfect provision.

Our Eternal Home

Heaven is more than an idea—it is a real place of healing, restoration, and unimaginable joy

John 14:1-6

When Jesus told His disciples He was going away, He promised to return and take them to His Father’s house, where He had prepared a place for them. This confirms that heaven is a real place, not some ethereal cloud where we play harps. 

We tend to think of anything heavenly as less tangible than earth, but Scripture suggests the opposite. Hebrews 11:10 tells us that by faith, Abraham “was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.” And Revelation 21:10-27 describes this city—called the New Jerusalem—in great detail. Unlike earth, the kingdom of heaven cannot be shaken (Hebrews 12:27-28). It exists forever, and we’ll be worshipping and serving the Lord there. 

As Christians, we know our citizenship is in heaven. When we die, our spirits immediately go there (2 Corinthians 5:8), into the presence of the Lord, awaiting the immortal body we’ll be given at Christ’s return. That new body will be perfectly suited for heaven and free from the temptations, trials, heartaches, pain, and death that make life on earth so wearying. There will be rest, not from activity and fulfilling work, but from the consequences of sin that plague us here. I believe the joy we’ll experience when we finally see our Savior face to face is beyond our imagination.

Peaceful Security

“And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7)

This precious promise is rooted in the “garrison guard” that God will set around our hearts and minds through His peace. Imagine the war circle of angels “full of horses and chariots of fire round about” that Elisha spoke of (2 Kings 6:17).

And it is a war! “But I see another law in my members,” Paul wrote, “warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members” (Romans 7:23). Were it not for the peace that exceeds human comprehension, we would quickly succumb to the fact that “in the world [we] shall have tribulation”; but Jesus also said, “Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

The “peace of God” is a supernatural peace, not a false calm of meditative hypnosis or a denial of the turmoil that surrounds the “roaring lion” who seeks to devour (1 Peter 5:8). This peace is from our Lord Jesus and “not as the world giveth” (John 14:27). It comes through the “things I have spoken unto you,” Jesus said, “that in me ye might have peace” (John 16:33).

Since, however, this kind of supernaturally guarded and God-given peace comes from and through the message of the Scriptures, this peace must “rule in your hearts” (Colossians 3:15). There can be no vacillation, no hesitation about the source, the authority, the capability, or the stability of such peace—or the war that rages in the members of our body will dissipate the vision of God’s garrison surrounding our hearts and minds. “For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace” (Romans 8:6).

“And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful” (Colossians 3:15). HMM III

Unknown Graces

When men are cast down, then thou shalt say, There is lifting up; and he shall save the humble person. —Job 22:29

“No one was ever filled with the Holy Spirit without knowing it. The Holy Spirit always announces Himself to the human consciousness.” What…[is] the nature of this “announcement”? Of what does it consist? How may we recognize it? Is it some kind of physical evidence, or what?…

There is such a thing as the secret workings of the Spirit in the soul of man, for a time unknown and unsuspected by the individual. In fact, most of the fruits of the Spirit are unsuspected by the man in whom they are found.

The most loving, most patient, most compassionate soul is unlikely to be aware of these graces….Others will discover the operations of the Spirit within him long before he will and will thank God for his sweet Christian character while he may at the same time be walking in great humility before God, mourning the absence of the very graces that others know he possesses. WTA087-088

There is an inseparable connection between a holy heart and a holy life. A holy life can no more proceed from an unholy heart, than a pure stream can flow from an impure fountain. DTC206

“A Time Exposure to God”

I have heard this twice: strength belongs to God.—Psalm 62:11

It is futile to present our requests to God before pausing to reflect on His unchanging adequacy and sufficiency. One reason why Jesus directed us to use the words “Our Father in heaven” was to encourage us to focus our gaze on a God who is unaffected by the restrictions and limitations of earth and who dwells in a place where the resources never run dry. Those who plunge into the areas of petition and intercession before reflecting on the abundant resources that lie in God will find their praying ineffective. They are praying contrary to God’s pattern. As the poet says:

What a frail soul he gave me, and a heart

Lame, and unlikely for the large events.

However, I wonder if, more often than not, we haven’t given ourselves “a heart lame, and unlikely for the large events” because we rush into God’s presence to present our petitions before taking stock of our spiritual resources.

God offers us infinite resources for the asking and the taking—Himself. The first moments of prayer, therefore, should be contemplative, reflective, meditative. As we gaze upon God and His infinite resources, we take, as someone put it, “a time exposure to God.” His adequacy and sufficiency are printed indelibly upon us. No matter, then, what difficulties and problems face us—He is more than a match for them. The vision of His greatness puts the whole of life into its proper perspective. “We kneel, how weak—we rise, how full of power.”

Prayer

O Father, I am so thankful that Your resources are so near at hand. I reflect on Your greatness and Your wonder in the depths of my heart, and my praying takes on new strength and power. I am so grateful. Amen.

Further Study

Eph 1; Ps 5:3; 65:5-7; 1Ch 29:12

What was Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians?

Ask God to enlarge your vision in this way.

The Cost to Others

Standing by the cross of Jesus were His mother, His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.—John 19:25

There is no Christianity without a cross, for you cannot be a disciple of Jesus without taking up your cross. Crosses are painful, they forever change your life, but sometimes the greatest cost will not be to you but to those you love. You may be prepared to obey the Lord’s commands, whatever they are, because you’ve walked with Him and know that His way is best. Yet there will be those close to you who have not related to Jesus in the same way and have not heard His voice as clearly.

Jesus understood that His Father’s will for Him led to a cross. The cross would mean a painful death for Jesus, and it would also bring suffering to those closest to Him. Because of the cross, Jesus’ mother would watch in agony as her son was publicly humiliated, tortured, and murdered. Jesus’ aunt and close friends would witness His excruciating death. His disciples would be scattered in terror and confusion in what would be the longest, darkest night of their lives. Because of Jesus’ obedience, there would also be a cross for each of His disciples.

Obedience to your Lord’s commands will affect others (Luke 14:26). Don’t refuse to obey what you know God is asking because you fear the cost to your family will be too great. Beware lest you seek to prevent those you love from taking up the cross God has for them. Don’t ever try to protect those you love by disobeying God. The cost of disobedience is always far greater. Rather, look to Jesus, your model, and see what it cost those around Him for Him to be obedient to His Father.

VIDEO On Bended Knee

That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth. Philippians 2:10

Bowing out of respect, reverence, or worship has a long history. Throughout history, most nations were monarchies ruled by a king or queen and bowing before the monarch was commonplace. We still see it in modern monarchies like Great Britain where bowing to the current Queen is a sign of respect for her position. What we don’t see often is monarchs bowing to anyone. But a day is coming when everyone on earth—including monarchs—will bend the knee before the divine King of kings, Jesus Christ.

The bowing of humanity before God’s Messiah was foreseen by Isaiah, an image the apostle Paul then used in Romans 14:11 and Philippians 2:10. The prophet Zechariah foresaw the nations streaming to Jerusalem because they will have heard that God is with the Jews (Zechariah 8:23). Exactly how and when this bowing before Christ takes place remains to be seen. But it will happen.

Bowing in prayer and worship is a rightful posture for those who serve the King of kings and Lord of lords—today and in the future.

Jesus will not be a Savior to any man who refuses to bow to Him as Lord. Walter Chantry


Christ Jesus Our Lord – Philippians 2:5-11 – Skip Heitzig

Uncommon Courage

Take me to the king, and I will interpret his dream for him. Daniel 2:24

In 1478, Lorenzo de Medici, the ruler of Florence, Italy, escaped an attack on his life. His countrymen sparked a war when they tried to retaliate against the attack on their leader. As the situation worsened, the cruel King Ferrante I of Naples became Lorenzo’s enemy, but a courageous act by Lorenzo changed everything. He visited the king unarmed and alone. This bravery, paired with his charm and brilliance, won Ferrante’s admiration and ended the war. 

Daniel also helped a king experience a change of heart. No one in Babylon could describe or interpret King Nebuchadnezzar’s troubling dream. This made him so angry that he decided to execute all his advisors—including Daniel and his friends. But Daniel asked to visit the king who wanted him dead (Daniel 2:24).

Standing before Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel gave God all the credit for revealing the mystery of the dream (v. 28). When the prophet described and deciphered it, Nebuchadnezzar honored the “God of gods and the Lord of kings” (v. 47). Daniel’s uncommon courage, which was born of his faith in God, helped him, his friends, and the other advisors avoid death that day.

In our lives, there are times when bravery and boldness are needed to communicate important messages. May God guide our words and give us the wisdom to know what to say and the ability to say it well.

By:  Jennifer Benson Schuldt

Reflect & Pray

How has someone’s bravery made a difference in your life? How can you rest in God’s power to act courageously for Him?

Dear Jesus, thank You for the courage You showed during Your life on earth. Fill me with Your wisdom and power when I face tense situations.

A Strong Foundation

Circumstances cannot shake a strong foundation of faith

Psalm 62:1-12

In a tumultuous world, where can stability be found? We can’t count on political leaders, financial institutions, healthcare providers, or any other human institution to keep us safe and secure. There is only one sure foundation, and that is the Lord our God. 

David, who wrote today’s psalm, lived with many dangers and trials. But he knew that with God as his stronghold, he would not be deeply shaken by earthly events. And that is true for anyone who knows Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. He’s characterized by love, justice, and faithfulness in His interactions with us. We can have great confidence because our God is self-existent and unchangeable. He knows all things, has all power, and is present everywhere. 

Is your faith grounded on these truths about your Rock? Do you believe God is completely dependable in His dealings with you? Can you trust that He loves you during hard times when you’re still waiting for prayers to be answered? Do you accept that His guidance is based on His unlimited knowledge and love for you, even when you don’t understand or like His choices for your life? This is what constitutes a strong foundation of faith.