VIDEO He Comes Bearing Gifts!

Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift! 2 Corinthians 9:15

God’s indescribable gift is Jesus, and when we meet Him, we find Him holding open the door to the treasure house of grace. Entering the rotunda, we’re encircled by golden tables filled with a treasure trove of gifts. Romans 6:23 says, “The gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Jesus spoke about how our Father in heaven will give good gifts to those who ask Him (Matthew 7:11). He told us that when we come to Him, we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, who dwells within us (Acts 2:38). Romans 5:17 says we’re given the gift of righteousness to reign in life. Furthermore, the Lord gives us spiritual gifts and abilities to use in serving Him (Romans 12:6).

The Bible says, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning” (James 1:17).

Our salvation is an indescribable gift from God, but it’s only the doorway to the countless gifts God wants to bestow on us throughout time and eternity. How rich we are!

But a gift of God, let it be obtained by prayer from Him, by whom alone it can be given. Augustine


The Unspeakable Gift, 2 Corinthians 9:15 – Pastor Chuck Smith – Topical Bible Study

The Message of the Cross

The message of the cross is . . . the power of God. 1 Corinthians 1:18

Zhang was raised with, in his words, “no God, no religion, nothing.” In 1989, seeking democracy and freedom for his people, he helped lead students in peaceful protests. But the protests tragically led to the government’s intervention and hundreds of lives lost. For his part in the event, Zhang was placed on his country’s most-wanted list. After a short imprisonment, he fled to an outlying village where he met an elderly farmer who introduced him to Christianity. She had only a handwritten copy of the gospel of John but couldn’t read, so she asked Zhang to read it to her. As he did, she explained it to him—and a year later he became a believer in Jesus.

Through all he endured, Zhang sees that God was powerfully leading him to the cross, where he experienced firsthand what the apostle Paul states in 1 Corinthians, “The message of the cross is . . . the power of God” (1:18). What many considered foolishness, a weakness, became Zhang’s strength. For some of us, this too was our thinking before we came to Christ. But through the Spirit, we felt the power and wisdom of God breaking into our lives and leading us to Christ. Today Zhang serves as a pastor spreading the truth of the cross to all who will hear.

Jesus has the power to change even the hardest of hearts. Who needs His powerful touch today?

By:  Alyson Kieda

Reflect & Pray

How did you view the message of the cross before you received Christ as your Savior? Who might benefit from hearing your story? 

Jesus, thank You for leading me to You through the cross. I would be lost without You!

Saving Faith

When we’re convinced of Jesus’ sacrifice and trust Him with our life, we experience true saving faith

John 1:9-13

Yesterday we discussed the knowledge required to become a Christian. Now, let’s look at the remaining elements of saving faith: conviction and trust.

Knowledge of Jesus must be accompanied by confidence that the facts apply to us personally. First, we must own the truth that I have broken God’s law, and that makes me a sinner. Second, we acknowledge that none of our efforts can earn His favor. Third, we agree that Jesus died for each of us and paid for our sins, no matter how terrible the transgressions may be. Fourth, we believe that this payment for our wrongdoing is fully sufficient; nothing else is needed. Finally, we accept by faith that we’ve been adopted into God’s family. The invitation is extended to all humanity.

Once we are convinced that Jesus is our Savior, trust is demonstrated through action. As “new creatures” (2 Corinthians 5:17), we will have a fresh perspective and different values. Jesus, our Lord, now has authority over our life, and He alone deserves to be our highest priority. He knows what pleases the Father and has sent His Spirit to live in us and teach us.

Are you lacking in knowledge, conviction, or trust? If so, ask the Father to help you come to true saving faith.

Handfuls of Purpose

“And let fall also some of the handfuls of purpose for her, and leave them, that she may glean them, and rebuke her not.” (Ruth 2:16)

This verse contains the unusual instruction of Boaz to his servants concerning Ruth after she asked if she could glean after the reapers in his field of barley. Not only did Boaz allow her to do so but also commanded his servants to “let fall some of the handfuls of purpose” for her, thus making her task easier.

It is interesting that the same Hebrew word, basically meaning “take a spoil,” is used twice in this verse, once translated “let fall” and once as “of purpose.” The word for “handfuls,” used only this once in the Bible, evidently refers to a hand’s “grip.” Although all the translations seem to have difficulty with it, Boaz seems actually to be saying, in effect, to his servants: “Grab as though you were taking a spoil for her from the bundles of sheaves, and leave them as a spoil for her.” This was to be a deliberate and purposeful gift on Boaz’s part, but Ruth was not to know so that she could assume she had gleaned it all on her own.

Boaz, therefore, like his distant descendant (through his soon-to-be bride, Ruth) Jesus Christ, provided that which represented the bread of life as a gracious gift to his coming bride. In this, as in other ways, Boaz is a type of Christ and Ruth is a type of each believer destined for union with Him.

But the sheaves also represent the Word of God from which we daily can glean life-giving food for our souls. Our God has been pleased to leave us many “handfuls of purpose” along the way in the fruitful field of Scripture that we can stoop to gather as we go. Our heavenly “Boaz” has paid the price to take the spoil for us, but as we kneel down to glean each morsel, we “rejoice at thy word, as one that findeth great spoil” (Psalm 119:162). HMM

The Ability to Wait

Behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.Revelation 22:12

When Jesus was on earth 2,000 years ago, He told His hearers that the “day of the Lord” was coming. He said no one except the Father in heaven knew the day or the hour.

It is our understanding that God’s patience and His time of grace will endure until the world’s cup of iniquity overflows. According to the Scriptures, patience—the ability to wait—is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit.

The human, natural part of us does not like to wait for anything. But the great God Almighty, who has all of eternity to accomplish His purposes, can afford to wait. In our creature impatience we are prone to cry out, “O God, how long? How long?”

And God replies, in effect, “Why are you in such a hurry? We have an eternity stretching before us.” JIV094

It is not enough merely to know that Christ is coming, and to desire it. It is a great crisis in the life of a soul when it becomes truly centered there. The attraction of the soul is removed from earth to the heavens and learns to live under the power of the world to come. HS360

The Young and the Old

I will pour out My Spirit on all humanity; then your sons and your daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams.Acts 2:17

A barrier that went down in the upper room was that between the young and the old. Peter pointed out that what had happened in the upper room was the fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy, in which the prophet had declared that the day would come when young and old alike would receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. “This is the day the prophet spoke about!” said Peter. “It’s arrived!”

“There has always been a sacred age,” said someone, “—old age.” In almost all religions, power and sanctity have been associated with the old. This is why many religions tend to be backward-looking rather than forward-looking. In the upper room there were young men (I think we can assume this) who received the gift of the Holy Spirit in the same way as their elders. What a dynamic this produced. Young and old, moving together in the power of the Spirit. The old would naturally want to conserve the values and good things they had come to love and respect, while the young would want to move these values into greater realms and make them more widely operative.

One writer said, “The Christian faith demands radicalism as well as conservatism to fully express itself.” Young and old combine to fully express the nature of the Christian faith, for conservatism or radicalism on their own are weak. Together, however, they become strong and powerful.

Prayer

Heavenly Father, I am thankful that both young and old can be used in the kingdom. Blend the conservatism of the old with the radicalism of the young, so that this generation might see a new Pentecost. For Jesus’ sake. Amen.

Further Study

1Tm 4:12; 5; 1Jn 2:13-14; 1Pt 5:5; Rm 12:10

What was Paul teaching Timothy?

What does Paul mean, “Outdo one another in showing honor”?

Be Merciful!

“‘Shouldn’t you also have had mercy on your fellow slave, as I had mercy on you?’”Matthew 18:33

Mercy is a gift. It is undeserved. Punishment and consequences are sin’s just reward, but the merciful person does not demand justice for the guilty person. If it were not for God’s mercy, we all would have faced His terrible judgment long ago. If not for His mercy, He would have condemned us after our first offense. If not for His mercy, He would punish us each time we sin. But rather than letting us bear the full punishment for our sin, God demonstrated His mercy when He paid the penalty for our sin Himself.

Do you find it hard to show mercy? It may be that you do not comprehend the mercy that God has shown to you. Jesus commanded His disciples to extend the same mercy to others that they had received from God. When they considered the incredible, undeserved mercy they had been granted, how could they refuse to extend the same unconditional mercy to others?

Could anyone sin against us to the same degree that we have sinned against God? Could any offense committed against us be as undeserved as the abuse hurled against the sinless Son of God? How quickly we forget the mercy that God graciously bestowed on us, only to focus on the injustices we endure from others!

If you find it difficult to forgive others, you may need to meditate on the mercy of God that prevents you from experiencing God’s justifiable wrath. Scripture describes God as “Ready to pardon, / Gracious and merciful, / Slow to anger, / Abundant in lovingkindness” (Neh. 9:17b).