VIDEO Beyond the Text

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life. 1 John 1:1

As much as we love reading the Bible for its own value, we must remember our fellowship is not with the Book itself, but with its Author. The purpose of Scripture is to enable us to fellowship with Him who is the Word of Life. The Bible is more than a textbook, more than a storybook, more than a guidebook, and more than a songbook. It’s a living Book that brings us into the presence of a living Savior.

A. W. Tozer wrote, “As we come to the Word of God, we do not come just for information; we come for an encounter with the living Word of God…. I will not settle for just the text. I want to see beyond that text and encounter the Christ—the Word of Life.”[1]

Our study of the written Word reveals the living Word. The next time you open your Bible, think of it as a conversation in which the Author is speaking through His Book personally to you.

There have been times when I have lost myself in the manifest presence of the Lord as I meditated on His Word; He has come mysteriously close, defying explanation. A. W. Tozer


Paul Washer | 1John 1 | University Lectures

Run From Sin

Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 2 Timothy 2:22

Twice this summer I suffered the scourge of poison ivy. Both times it happened, I was working on clearing away unwanted plant growth from our yard. And both times, I saw the nasty, three-leafed enemy lurking nearby. I figured I could get close to it without it affecting me. Soon enough, I realized I’d been wrong. Instead of getting nearer to my little green nemesis, I should have run the other way!

In the Old Testament story of Joseph, we see modeled the principle of running from something worse than poison ivy: sin. When he was living in the home of Egyptian official Potiphar, whose wife tried to seduce him, Joseph didn’t try to get close—he ran.

Although she falsely accused him and had him thrown in prison, Joseph remained pure throughout the episode. And as we see in Genesis 39:21, “The Lord was with him.”

God can help us flee activities and situations that could lead us away from Him—guiding us to run the other way when sin is nearby. In 2 Timothy 2:22, Paul writes, “Flee the evil desires.” And in 1 Corinthians 6:18, he says to “flee from sexual immorality.”

In God’s strength, may we choose to run from those things that could harm us.

By:  Dave Branon

Reflect & Pray

What’s your “poison ivy,” something that can infect you if you don’t run from it? What can you do to run from it?

God, You know what I’m getting too close to right now. Help me to run from it and not look back. Please give me the courage and wisdom to not let anything get between You and me.

Heavenly Rewards

God longs to reward His children today and for eternity

Luke 14:12-14

Children aren’t the only ones who like to get rewards. Adults do too! And God’s Word makes exciting promises for those who walk in His way.

Some of these blessings are available here on earth—like fulfillment, joy, and good favor; others will be bestowed in heaven. As believers, we are clothed in righteousness through Jesus’ blood and need never fear God’s judgment (Romans 8:1).

To help us understand about these benefits, Scripture describes four crowns. The first, which is called incorruptible, is given to those whose great desire is to walk obediently before God. Second, the crown of life is granted to believers who stand firm, enduring trials without giving up or losing heart. Third, the crown of righteousness is bestowed upon those who long for Christ’s appearing and live godly lives through Him. Fourth, God will give the crown of glory to those who share His Word with others. And as the Bible tells us, we will be awed by Jesus’ glory and honored just to lay our crowns at His feet.

Heaven offers all believers the joy of unending communion with the Lord. Thankfully, though, we don’t have to wait to enjoy His presence—whoever trusts in Jesus is indwelled by God’s Holy Spirit and has His companionship and guidance for the remainder of life on earth. Won’t you put your faith in the Savior and accept God’s remarkable gift?

A Keeper at All Times

“He that keepeth thee will not slumber.” (Psalm 121:3)

Everyone needs that one person who “has your back,” especially in times of calamity. But who is equipped to fill this keeper role unilaterally and compassionately “by day [or] by night” (Psalm 121:6)?

The Hebrew word for “keeper” found in Psalm 121 is šāmar, meaning to guard or keep watch. David directs believers to look to that one Person who holds us fast, keeping watch over us. “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD [Yahweh], which made heaven and earth” (v. 1). As pilgrims journeyed to Jerusalem to attend major temple feasts, they would sing and meditate on this Ascent Psalm, reminding themselves that their help came only from the Creator of the universe—Yahweh!

But this psalm is not just for David and these pilgrims. David changed the personal pronouns “I” and “my” in the first two verses to “thee” and “thy” in verses 3-8. David’s keeper is every believer’s keeper! All believers have Yahweh’s protection, underscored by His “keeping role” being repeated six times in the next five verses.

  • “He that keepeth thee will not slumber” (v. 3).
  • “Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep” (v. 4).
  • “The LORD is thy keeper” (v. 5).
  • “The LORD shall [keep] thee from all evil” (v. 7a).
  • “He shall [keep] thy soul” (v. 7b).
  • “The LORD shall [keep] thy going out and thy coming in” (v. 8a).

Believer, be assured we have an eternal keeper “from this time forth, and even for evermore” (v. 8b). CM

The Habits of a Holy Life

Bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things.1 Timothy 4:8

Let me return to the root of this whole matter—are we Christians willing to be regular in the habits of a holy life, thus learning from the Holy Spirit how to be dependable and faithful, unselfish and Christlike?

The crops in the field are regular, and the birds and the animals have a regularity of life. We see it in the rising and the setting of the sun, and in the regularity of the phases of the moon.

The Old Testament revelation itself was built around regularity. It is said of the old man of God that he went into the temple of God in the order of his course and everything in the temple was laid out in order.

God has ordained, as well, that order and regularity may be of immense value to the Christian life….[L]earn to be regular in your prayer life, in your giving to God and His work and in your church attendance. WPJ025-026

God would have His people learn regular holy habits and follow them right along day by day. He doesn’t ask us to become slaves to habits, but He does insist that our holy habits of life should become servants of His grace and glory. WPJ027

The Final Emphasis—Jesus

We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him.Acts 5:32

The Holy Spirit will glorify Jesus. The promise of John 16:14—”He will glorify Me”—was fulfilled after the Holy Spirit came on the disciples at Pentecost, for we read: “We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him” (Ac 5:32). This shows that the divine Spirit and human spirits were working together for the same end—the glorification of Jesus.

The statement that the Holy Spirit would glorify Jesus was one of the most important lessons in the process of spiritual education. The whole purpose of the Spirit’s coming was not to glorify Himself or the person who receives Him, but to glorify Jesus. That puts the emphasis in the proper place. If the Holy Spirit glorified the person who received Him, then that would make Christianity an eccentric religion—off center. If He glorified Himself, then it would make Christianity Spirit-centered rather than Christ-centered. Christianity that is not linked to the Incarnation can have no fixed idea as to what God is really like. Spirit-centered Christianity would leave us going off on a tangent into all kinds of weird areas of subjectivity.

There are some Christians who are more Spirit-oriented than Christ-oriented. They hear what they describe as the “voice of the Spirit” telling them to do strange and unseemly things. Every “voice” we hear must be tested against the character of Jesus, and if it doesn’t come up to His standard, then it has to be rejected. The Holy Spirit will always glorify Jesus.

Prayer

O God, my Father, I am conscious that I am thinking through a delicate issue here. Give me such a clear vision of Jesus that I shall always decide according to Him. Amen.

Further Study

Mt 3; Isa 11:2; 42:1; 61:1; Jn 1:32, 16:14; Ac 10:38

What did Isaiah prophesy?

How was this fulfilled?

Bearing One Another’s Burdens

Carry one another’s burdens; in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.Galatians 6:2

When God places people in your life who are in need, He is aware of what they lack, and He knows He has given you the resources to meet those needs. You know God does nothing by accident. When a need surfaces around you, immediately go to the Father and say, “You put me here for a reason. You knew this was going to happen. What did You intend to do through me that would help this person become closer to You?”

Recognizing a need in someone’s life can be one of the greatest invitations from God you will ever experience. It’s easy to become frustrated by the problems of others. They can overwhelm you as you become aware of need after need. Rather than looking at each new problem as one more drain on your time, energy, or finances, ask God why He placed you in this situation. Allow God to help you see beyond the obvious needs of others to the things He wants to accomplish in their lives. Don’t miss God’s activity because you’re reluctant to carry the load of others.

Is God blessing you materially? It may be He is developing a “supply depot” in your life through which He can provide for others. Has God granted you a strong, healthy family life? It may be that He requires such a home to minister to the hurting families all around you. Has God released you from sinful habits? Has God’s peace comforted you in a time of great sorrow? Has God miraculously provided for your needs? It may be that He has been purposefully building things into your life so that you can now be the kind of person who will carry the burdens of others.