VIDEO The Habit of Recognizing God’s Provision

…you may be partakers of the divine nature… —2 Peter 1:4

We are made “partakers of the divine nature,” receiving and sharing God’s own nature through His promises. Then we have to work that divine nature into our human nature by developing godly habits. The first habit to develop is the habit of recognizing God’s provision for us. We say, however, “Oh, I can’t afford it.” One of the worst lies is wrapped up in that statement. We talk as if our heavenly Father has cut us off without a penny! We think it is a sign of true humility to say at the end of the day, “Well, I just barely got by today, but it was a severe struggle.” And yet all of Almighty God is ours in the Lord Jesus! And He will reach to the last grain of sand and the remotest star to bless us if we will only obey Him. Does it really matter that our circumstances are difficult? Why shouldn’t they be! If we give way to self-pity and indulge in the luxury of misery, we remove God’s riches from our lives and hinder others from entering into His provision. No sin is worse than the sin of self-pity, because it removes God from the throne of our lives, replacing Him with our own self-interests. It causes us to open our mouths only to complain, and we simply become spiritual sponges— always absorbing, never giving, and never being satisfied. And there is nothing lovely or generous about our lives.

Before God becomes satisfied with us, He will take everything of our so-called wealth, until we learn that He is our Source; as the psalmist said, “All my springs are in You” (Psalm 87:7). If the majesty, grace, and power of God are not being exhibited in us, God holds us responsible. “God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you…may have an abundance…” (2 Corinthians 9:8)— then learn to lavish the grace of God on others, generously giving of yourself. Be marked and identified with God’s nature, and His blessing will flow through you all the time.

WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS

Am I learning how to use my Bible? The way to become complete for the Master’s service is to be well soaked in the Bible; some of us only exploit certain passages. Our Lord wants to give us continuous instruction out of His word; continuous instruction turns hearers into disciples.  Approved Unto God,


2 Peter 1 – Sharing the Divine Nature

Monkeying with the Cosmos

He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together. Colossians 1:17 nlt

In the early 1980s, a prominent astronomer who didn’t believe in God wrote, “A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a super-intellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology.” To this scientist’s eye, the evidence showed that something had designed everything we observe in the cosmos. He added, “There are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature.” In other words, everything we see looks as if it was planned by Someone. And yet, the astronomer remained an atheist.

Three thousand years ago, another intelligent man looked at the skies and drew a different conclusion. “When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?” wondered David (Psalm 8:3–4).

Yet God cares for us deeply. The universe tells the story of its Intelligent Designer, the “Super Intellect” who made our minds and put us here to ponder His work. Through Jesus and His creation, God can be known. Paul wrote, “[Christ] existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth” (Colossians 1:15–16 nlt).

The cosmos has indeed been “monkeyed with.” The identity of the Intelligent Designer is there to be discovered by anyone willing to seek.

By:  Tim Gustafson

Reflect & Pray

In what ways can you see God in every detail of your life? How might you humbly share your confidence in God with someone who doubts His existence?

Thank You, heavenly Father, that You can be known through Your creation. I pray for those who don’t see You. Please draw them to You.

Sunday Reflection: Masterworks in the Making

Through sanctification, we come to resemble the beautiful creation our Master envisioned.

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

Michelangelo Buonarroti, the 15th-century Italian artist known for masterworks like David and the Pietà, once said this about his art: “The sculpture is already complete within the marble block before I start my work. It is already there. I just have to chisel away the superfluous material.”

Though not made of granite or marble, we are also creations of a Master Craftsman. Ephesians 2:10 says, “We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” The Greek word translated as “workmanship”—poiēma—is the same root from which the English term “poetry” is derived, and it refers to a thing of notable excellence. 

If you feel insignificant, remember what God said before lovingly crafting Adam: “Let Us make mankind in Our image, according to Our likeness” (Genesis 1:26). Like him, you’re created in God’s image, and through sanctification, you are coming to resemble your Master more every day. That’s a beautiful thing. 

Think about it

• How does knowing you are a masterwork in progress change how you feel about yourself? About others? Who can you share this truth with today?

Rejoice

“Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.” (Philippians 4:4)

This encouraging command has been used in many generations of Sunday school teachings and sermons to challenge the saints. The apostle Paul uses nearly half of the 74 appearances of the word in the New Testament in his epistles.

This simple statement in Philippians 4:4 seems to summarize all of the other passages: “Rejoice [imperative command] in the Lord [the qualifier, or the ‘way’ to rejoice] always [in every circumstance and condition].” Joy is a godly thing.

Because of our sinful condition, we cannot easily “rejoice in the Lord.” We can have fleeting moments of happiness and experiences that fill our hearts with delight and pleasure, but true joy—the ability to “rejoice”—only comes “in the Lord.”

A quick review from the “Songs” of Israel can help us grasp how the righteous rejoice.

  • “Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart” (Psalm 32:11).
  • “Rejoice in the LORD, O ye righteous: for praise is comely for the upright” (Psalm 33:1).
  • “Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee: let such as love thy salvation say continually, The LORD be magnified” (Psalm 40:16).
  • “My lips shall greatly rejoice when I sing unto thee; and my soul, which thou hast redeemed” (Psalm 71:23).
  • “Rejoice in the LORD, ye righteous; and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness” (Psalm 97:12).

Joy and rejoicing from born-again believers produce emotion (gladness, cheering, praise, singing, thanks, etc.), but the object of the emotion is always the source of our joy—the Lord Jesus our Savior, King, and Creator. HMM III

Too Busy to Be Gloomy

Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation….Wherein ye greatly rejoice. —1 Peter 1:5-6

The life of the normal, believing child of God can never become a life of gloom and pessimism. In every age we will have some people whose concept of Christianity is a kind of gloomy resignation to the inevitable. But it is the Holy Spirit who has promised the ability for the Christian to rejoice in God’s promises day by day….

Peter states it as a paradox: the obedient Christian greatly rejoices even in the midst of great heaviness, trials and suffering. God’s people know that things here are not all they ought to be, but they are not spending any time in worrying about it. They are too busy rejoicing in the gracious prospect of all that will take place when God fulfills all of His promises to His redeemed children! ICH158-159

Whatever else trouble is in the world for, it is here for this good purpose: to develop strength….Every day we are blessed with new opportunities for the development of strength of soul. JAS071

What harm can happen to him who knows that God does everything and who loves beforehand everything that God does? JAS070

He Reigns Now

With God we will perform valiantly.—Psalm 60:12

The final part of the Lord’s Prayer, which is really a doxology, contains a categorical assertion that God reigns through His kingdom—now. It manifestly requires a measure of faith and courage to affirm this truth in our modern society, when so many things seem positively to shout against it—so many wrongs that clamor for redress, so many problems that demand a solution, and so many social evils whose existence appears utterly incompatible with the reign of God. Yet affirm it we must.

A dear Christian, in a letter to me some time ago, said, “I look around the world and am appalled. My only comfort is the hymn ‘Jesus Shall Reign Where’er the Sun.’ I, therefore, sit back and watch and wait the day.” I told her that her letter reminded me of some words I heard someone put together in a conference once:

Sit down, O men of God!

His kingdom He will bring.

Whenever it shall please His will.

You need not do a thing!

In my reply I said, “Yes, it’s true that one day the kingdom of God shall’stretch from shore to shore,’ but let us not ignore the fact that God is reigning now. Given our cooperation, the Almighty can greatly affect the world through our committed lives. If we fail to see this, then it is possible that we struggle and stumble through life, waiting for Him, while all the time He is waiting for us.”

Prayer

O God, deliver me from a view of life that says, “Look what the world is coming to.” Help me to look at You; then I can say: “Look what has come to the world.” Thank You, Father. Amen.

Further Study

Rv 7:9-17; Ex 24:17; 40:34; Ps 19:1; Jn 1:14; Rm 11:36

How can we behold His glory?

How is our vision of God enlarged?

Iron Sharpens Iron

Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.—Proverbs 27:17

The Christian life is a pilgrimage. At times the road is difficult, and we get lonely. Sometimes we may become discouraged and consider abandoning the journey. It is at such times that God will place a friend alongside us. One of God’s most precious gifts to us is friends who encourage us and lovingly challenge us to “keep going.”

According to Scripture, a friend is one who challenges you to become all that God intends. Jonathan could have succeeded his father to become the next king of Israel. But he loved his friend David, and he encouraged him to follow God’s will, even though it meant Jonathan would forfeit his own claim to the throne (1 Sam. 19:1–7).

The mark of biblical friends is that their friendship draws you closer to Christ. They “sharpen” you and motivate you to do what is right. True friends tell you the truth and even risk hurting your feelings because they love you and have your best interests at heart (Prov. 27:6).

Be careful in your choice of friends! Jesus chose His closest friends wisely. He did not look for perfect friends, but friends whose hearts were set to follow God. It is equally important to examine the kind of friend you are to others. As a friend, it is your duty to put the needs of others first (Prov. 17:17). Strive to find godly friends who will challenge you to become the person God desires. When you have found them, be receptive to the way God uses them to help you become spiritually mature. Strive also to be the kind of friend that helps others become more like Christ.