VIDEO Blessing and Glory

Looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. Titus 2:13

The Christian Church has various ways of celebrating Epiphany (“appearing”). Some branches assign Epiphany to the coming of the Magi to worship Jesus, marking His appearance to the Gentile world. Others designate Epiphany as marking the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist, signifying the first public appearance of Jesus. Epiphany can also refer to the Christmas season that marks the appearance of Jesus to humanity.

Epiphany occurs in Greek six times: Once it refers to the birth of Christ—His first appearance—and the remainder of the uses refer to His Second Coming. Most descriptive of the verses referring to His Second Coming is Titus 2:13: “blessed hope and glorious appearing.” Christ’s Second Coming will be both a blessed and a glorious event. It will be blessed because it fulfills the “sure and steadfast” hope (Hebrews 6:19) we have in Christ. And it will be glorious because He will be revealed as “King of kings and Lord of lords” (Revelation 19:16).

Are you looking for the “blessed hope and glorious appearing” of Christ? In Him will our longings and desires be fulfilled.

The only revelation from God which Christians still await is the revelation of Jesus Christ at His second coming. Geoffrey B. Wilson


The Blessed Hope – Titus 2:13

Walking by a Blessing

If only you had paid attention to my commands. Isaiah 48:18

In 1799, twelve-year-old Conrad Reed found a large, glittering rock in the stream that ran through his family’s small farm in North Carolina. He carried it home to show his father, a poor immigrant farmer. His father didn’t understand the rock’s potential value and used it as a doorstop. The family walked by it for years.

Eventually Conrad’s rock—actually a seventeen-pound gold nugget—caught the eye of a local jeweler. Soon the Reed family became wealthy, and their property became the site of the first major gold strike in the United States.

Sometimes we walk past a blessing, intent on our own plans and ways. After Israel was exiled to Babylon for disobeying God, He proclaimed freedom for them once again. But He also reminded them of what they’d missed. “I am the Lord your God,” He told them, “who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go. If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your well-being like the waves of the sea.” God then encouraged them to follow Him away from old ways into a new life: “Leave Babylon . . . ! Announce this with shouts of joy” (Isaiah 48:17–18, 20).

Leaving Babylon, perhaps now as much as then, means leaving sinful ways and “coming home” to a God who longs to do us good—if only we’ll obey and follow Him!

By:  James Banks

Reflect & Pray

What aspect of God do you look forward to as you walk with Him today? What can you do to gently lead others to His love?

Loving God, there’s no one like You! Help me embrace the opportunity to walk with You and discover the blessings You alone provide.

Your Hope Journal

Sometimes the best encouragement is a reminder of what God has done in our past.

2 Chronicles 20:5-12

Yesterday we saw that when facing an intimidating military force, King Jehoshaphat immediately sought the Lord in prayer. But he didn’t begin with anxious requests for deliverance. Instead, after focusing attention on God’s power over all earthly kingdoms, he recounted the Lord’s past faithfulness and mighty acts on behalf of Israel. Jehoshaphat also recalled God’s promise to hear and save the nation when they cried out for help. Only then did the king make his request.  

This is a good pattern for our prayers as well. Unfortunately, we at times have a short memory when it comes to the Lord’s interventions on our behalf. If that’s the case, then later, when we’re fearful again, it’s hard to remember specific ways God has already proven Himself. 

This is why I encourage every believer to keep a journal—a written record of the Lord’s faithfulness. During times of helplessness, we want encouragement, not just from how God has worked in history or in the world, but from the particular ways He has worked in our own life. 

When you take time to record specific things that your heavenly Father has done, you’ll gain greater understanding of His loving purposes. He will begin to reveal how He’s been working to make your life a beautiful display of His glory.

The Linen Clothes

“Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury.” (John 19:40)

The Jews of Jesus’ day prepared bodies for burial in a much different fashion than we do today. In our text the word “wound” actually means “to bind, tie, or wind,” and bodies were tightly rolled up in long strips of linen cloth. Parallel passages in Matthew 27:59, Mark 15:46, and Luke 23:53 employ words derived from the Greek hellisso, meaning “to coil,” from which we get our word “helix.”

The tightness of the winding can be inferred from the raising of Lazarus from the dead. After Christ had called him back to life, “he that was dead came forth, bound [same word as ‘wound’] hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go” (John 11:44).

On resurrection morning, after hearing the news of the missing body of Christ, Peter and John ran to the sepulcher. “Peter…went into the sepulcher, and seeth the linen clothes lie, And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped [same word as ‘wound’] together in a place by itself. Then went in also that other disciple…and he saw, and believed” (John 20:6-8).

John recognized, as we should, that only a miracle could account for the state of these linen clothes. If thieves had stolen the body, they would either have taken the clothes, or the clothes would have been strewn around, not lying in the same location and shape as they had been when the body was present. Previously, John “knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead” (v. 9), but when he saw the linen clothes, he “believed.”

Christ miraculously rose from the dead. John believed; we have his eyewitness testimony. Can we do less? JDM

The Discipline of Right Thinking

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour. —1 Peter 5:8

The Holy Spirit knows us well and enforces the exhortation to gird up our minds, to pull up our spiritual standards, to eliminate carelessness in word and thought and deed, and in activities and interest!

Now, let us think of what Peter must have had in mind when he added the words, “be sober,” to the discipline of right thinking.

Sobriety is that human attitude of mind when calm reason is in control. The mind is balanced and cool and the feelings are subject to reason and this statement is proof enough for me that the Holy Spirit will never urge believers into any kind of spiritual experience that violates and dethrones reason.

All of us are aware of instances where men and women have taken part in unreasonable and unseemly acts and then excused them on the grounds that they were moved by the Spirit.

Frankly, I must doubt that! I doubt that the Holy Ghost ever moves to dethrone reason in any man’s mind. ICH146

Wherever the Holy Spirit…comes, He will always be found witnessing to Jesus and honoring the Son of God. HS488

Worship Is Central

I will keep watch for You, my strength, because God is my stronghold. My faithful God will come to meet me.—Psalm 59:9-10

If we are to go deeper with God, then we must understand both the importance and meaning of worship. Dr. Dick Averby, professor of the Old Testament at Dallas Seminary, claims that the antidote to every human problem is worship. I am sure he is thinking of personality problems, not physical problems, and allowing for this caveat, I would agree with him. Dr. Larry Crabb, professor of counseling at Colorado Christian University, says something similar: “Worship means, in the middle of life as it is experienced, that you find some way to be caught up in God’s character and purpose so that His will becomes central.”

Mature Christians are people who think of themselves first and foremost as worshipers. They will see their other roles in life—as fathers, mothers, factory workers, business people, farmers, doctors, evangelists, pastors, and so on—as secondary.

Some worship the servants of God more than they worship God Himself. A story is told of an occasion when Christmas Evans, the great Welsh preacher of a past century, was due to preach. Prior to the service the church was packed with people eager to hear the great orator. As the service was about to begin, it was announced that Christmas Evans was unable to keep the engagement and a lesser-known preacher would take his place. People began to show signs of leaving until the moderator said: “All those who have come to worship Christmas Evans may leave. All those who have come to worship God may stay.” No one left.

Prayer

O God, my soul is too big to be satisfied with the writings of a mere man. I can be inspired by human words, but I can be fed only by Your words. May I continually seek You. Amen.

Further Study

Jn 6:25-58; Ps 132:7; Isa 55:2; 1Co 10:3-4

What did Jesus declare?

Why did the Jews stumble over it?

Faithful Wounds

The wounds of a friend are trustworthy, but the kisses of an enemy are excessive.—Proverbs 27:6

Jesus never gave relief to people who were under conviction. When Zaccheus, in remorse for his sin, shared his generous plans for restitution, Jesus did not say, “Now Zaccheus, the important thing is that you feel sorry for what you did.” Jesus brought no comfort to him as he dealt with his sin (Luke 19:1–10). Neither did Jesus excuse disbelief. We never find Jesus saying, “Well, that’s all right. I know I’m asking you to believe a lot, and that’s not easy.” On the contrary, Jesus was quick to chastise His disciples when they failed to believe Him. Jesus loved His friends too much to condone or comfort them in their sin.

It is possible to be too gentle with your friends. When a friend is under deep conviction by the Holy Spirit, do you try to give comfort? Don’t ever try to ease the discomfort of someone whom the Holy Spirit is making uncomfortable! Be careful not to communicate to your friends that you find their lack of faith acceptable. You are not acting in true friendship if you condone disobedience or even if you look the other way. Kisses are far more pleasant than wounds, yet they can be even more devastating if they lull your friend into being comfortable with sin.

In our attempt to appease our friends and our reluctance to share a word from God, we can actually cause great harm. If we see our friends in danger and do not warn them, God will hold us accountable for our silence (Ezek. 33:6). Are you a friend of such integrity that you would risk wounding your friends in order to deter them from their sin?