VIDEO Bad Hair Day

Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! 1 John 3:1

Some men have a hard time trying to figure out how to say, “I love you.” One fellow did a poorer job than most when he told his wife, “You’re just like dandruff, darling, because I just can’t get you out of my head, however hard I try!” It’s not just men. Saying, “I love you” can be a challenge for teenagers, young adults, sons, daughters, wives, and friends. We can be intimidated by the intimacy of those words.

The Lord has no such problem. In Jeremiah 31:3, He told us, “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.” The love of God is the strongest magnet ever known, the warmest blanket ever woven, and the safest region ever discovered. It’s a love beyond words, demonstrated in our Lord’s death, resurrection, ascension, and return.

In God’s love we are made complete. We are saved!

Ignoring God’s love is life’s greatest tragedy; receiving it is our greatest honor and joy.

The greatest of all motives which actuates God in the exercise of His saving grace is the satisfying of His own infinite love for those ruined by sin. Louis Sperry Chafer


Let His Love In – 1 John 3:1-3 – Skip Heitzig

He Knows

You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. Psalm 139:1

Lea was about to start a job as a nurse in Taiwan. She’d be able to better provide for her family, more than she could in Manila, where job opportunities were limited. On the night before her departure, she gave instructions to her sister, who’d be taking care of her five-year-old daughter. “She’ll take her vitamins if you also give her a spoonful of peanut butter,” Lea explained, “And, remember, she’s shy. She’ll play with her cousins eventually. And she’s afraid of the dark . . .”

While looking out the plane window the next day, Lea prayed: Lord, no one knows my daughter like I do. I can’t be with her, but You can.

We know the people we love, and we notice all the details about them because they’re precious to us. When we can’t be with them due to various circumstances, we’re often anxious that since no one knows them as well as we do they’ll be more vulnerable to harm.

In Psalm 139, David reminds us that God knows us more than anyone does. In the same way, He knows our loved ones intimately (vv. 1–4). He’s their Creator (vv. 13–15), so He understands their needs. He knows what will happen each day of their lives (v. 16), and He’s with them and will never leave them (vv. 5, 7–10).

When you’re anxious for others, entrust them to God for He knows them best and loves them the most.

By:  Karen Huang

Reflect & Pray

Who can you entrust to God’s care? How can you show your trust in Him in this area?

Father in heaven, though I can’t always be with those I love, I entrust them to Your loving care, remembering that You know them the best and love them the most.

Fear in Adversity

When we’re struggling and afraid, the best thing we can do is put our trust in the One whose sovereignty rules over all Psalm 56:1-13

It’s impossible to live in this world without ever facing doubt, confusion, or apprehension. The Word of God doesn’t dismiss these concerns. Instead, it tells us what to do when we’re afraid. The best response is to admit your fears to the Lord and trust Him to work out the situation according to His will and timing.  

Many people want to hold anyone but God responsible for their adversity—that’s because they can’t reconcile why a good God would allow their situation. What they fail to realize is that the Lord is sovereign over everything, including the events of each believer’s life. And even hardships have a purpose in His plan. They can be tools for strengthening our faith and maturing us spiritually. When we choose to trust the Lord with our fears and uncertainties, we’re promised a better outcome than anything we could have fashioned ourselves (Proverbs 3:5-6).

If you’re going through difficulty, remember that God has “taken account of [your] miseries,” and even in these circumstances, He is for you (Ps. 56:8-9). Yield to Him, and let Him accomplish His purposes through your trials. When you trust in God, you have no reason to be afraid.  

Seeking Signs

“An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” (Matthew 12:39-40)

If there was ever “an evil and adulterous generation,” it is surely this present one and, once again, there is a widespread seeking after signs (same word in the Greek as “miracles”). The almost explosive rise of the so-called New Age movement has produced an amazing interest in all forms of occultism and supernatural phenomena: astrology, channeling, ESP, near-death experiences, UFOs, meditation, and mysticism of many strange varieties.

Even in Christian circles, there is an unhealthy interest in new revelations and other supernatural signs. The Lord Jesus, however, rebuked those who wanted special signs before receiving Him. “Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe” (John 4:48). He has already given us the greatest of all signs—His bodily resurrection from the dead, the best-evidenced fact of all history—and this should suffice, as He told the scribes and Pharisees in our text.

In fact, there is a real danger in seeking such signs and wonders, for many of these things—while perhaps supernatural—are not from God. “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect” (Matthew 24:24).

Unlike the first generation of Christians, we now have the complete written Word of God, both Old and New Testaments, and it is sufficient for every need of every believer until Christ returns, “whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts” (2 Peter 1:19). HMM

God’s Presence, Wonderfully Real

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. —Matthew 5:6

There are qualities in God that can never be explained to the intellect and can only be known by the heart, the innermost being. That is why I say that I do believe in feeling.

I believe in what the old writers called religious affection—and we have so little of it because we have not laid the groundwork for it. The groundwork is repentance and obedience and separation and holy living!

I am confident that whenever this groundwork is laid, there will come to us this sense of the other-worldly Presence of God and it will become wonderfully, wonderfully real. ICH075

The deeper life is a continual discovery of how fully Jesus satisfies the deep yearnings of our hearts.

Do we long to be holy? The indwelling Christ offers Himself to us as our holiness!

Do we long to know our Father, God? Christ is the Revealer of the Father!

Do we long for power that enables a fruitful ministry? Christ, by His Holy Spirit, is that power! JJJ048

The Three Elements of Fear

In God I trust; I will not fear. What can man do to me?—Psalm 56:4

Many people, some Christians included, see death as an intruder. Gandhi, the great Indian leader and politician, said that he started his Swaraj movement to help people overcome the fear of death. Politics was only a minor part of his purpose. “My aim,” he said, “was the abandonment of the fear of death. So long as we let ourselves be influenced by the fear of death, we can never attain freedom.”

When we come to analyze the fear of death, three elements can be seen to be present: the fear of the physical act of dying, the fear of finality, and the fear of judgment. Let’s look first at the fear of the physical act of dying. This is very real to some people. Perhaps they have suffered and know, through bitter experience, how pain lacerates and hurts.

Doctors assure us that what people normally call “the agony of death” is felt much more by those who are watching than by the one who is passing away. Sir Frederick Treves, the eminent surgeon, said: “A last illness may be long, wearisome and painful, but the closing moments of it are, as a rule, free from suffering. There may appear to be a terrible struggle at the end, but of this struggle the subject is unconscious. It is the onlooker who bears the misery of it.” Add to this natural phenomenon the supporting power of God’s never-failing grace, and it is possible to look even this physical aspect of death quietly in the face and say, “My enemy—you are not really the terror that you seem.”

Prayer

Lord Jesus, You who are Master of life and death, I am so grateful that in You I see the death of death and the defeat of defeat. In You everything is alive—alive with meaning, destiny, goal—alive forevermore. Hallelujah!

Further Study

Isa 43:2-3; 1Co 15:1-21; Jn 11:11; Ac 13:36

Of what is Christ the firstfruits?

What is the difference between sleep and death?

Seedtime and Harvest

Galatians 6:7

Seedtime and harvest. They are inseparably linked, but always occurring at different times and under differing conditions. Seedtime speaks to us of the spring, while harvest speaks to us of the fall. Springtime is fertility; autumn is fruition. The inexorable springtime and autumn, seedtime and harvest, point to a vindication of faith in the process of natural growth which fulfills God’s purpose and promises.

Who is the mastermind who can define the process which transforms a black, ugly, twisted mass of autumn roots into the roses of springtime? Who can explain how a seed falls into the bosom of springtime and dies, only to reproduce itself a thousand times in the golden grain of harvest?

Springtime and harvest, uncompromising, follow the law of identical harvest. If the earth receives seeds of wheat, the harvest will be wheat. If corn is received, the harvest will be corn. The law of identical harvest says that one reaps what one sows. Whatever you put into the ground, into your body, into your mind, into your heart—is what you will get back.

I have heard advice given to young people today that all should have the opportunity to “sow their wild oats.” Personally, I am not too attracted to wild oats, and I find this kind of thinking to be fallacious double-talk. Instead, these young people should hear that if one chooses to sow wild oats, one must bear the responsibility of reaping them as well. The law of identical harvest is: what we plant, we reap.

Every person continually sows and plants. Each of us puts seeds of one kind or another into the ground of our character by the choices we make. The seeds dictate the nature of the harvest. In the holy presence of God one must examine the nature of seeds already planted and find ways to pluck them from our lives.

God is not mocked. What we plant is what we reap. We get back more than what we put into life, whether it be good or evil. What seeds are we sowing in our life? Psychologist Abraham Maslow said, “The test of any person is does he bear fruit. Is he fruitful?”

So what will the harvest be in your life? My father once wrote: “Let us plant the memories, the traditions of yesterday; let us water them with our tears and warm them with the sunshine of devotion and service, and may God grant to us a rich harvest of souls.” Those are the seeds we must all sow and the harvest we must all seek.

Robert L. Docter, The Salvationist Pulpit