VIDEO In Remembrance of Me

The one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. John 6:37

The Church of the Holy Trinity in Sunderland, England, is a brick church with a clock tower. It’s no longer a church, but local organizers are preserving the building. During renovations, a paper was found stuffed down one of the pews. It was written 125 years ago by a boy who was thirteen.

Dear friend, whoever finds this paper, think of William Elliott who had two months and two weeks and four days on the 11 of August 1897. Whoever you are that finds this paper don’t tear it up or throw it away… keep it in remembrance of me, W. Elliott… I was the leading boy of this choir.

William was orphaned when his father was washed overboard on a ship. The boy was able to stay in an orphanage until he was fourteen, and William was anxiously counting down the days until he would be discharged. He wrote the note, apprehensive of being cast out on his own.2

How many of us are fearful of being cast out on our own! But the Lord will never cast us out. Calvary changes everything, and in Him we will never be abandoned, orphaned, or forgotten.

Christ never changes, never leaves us, never forgets us. John Todd


I Am the Bread of Life (John 6:32-59)

The Privilege of Stewardship

Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground. Genesis 1:28

While on vacation, my husband and I walked along the beach and noticed a large, square patch of sand blocked off by a makeshift fence. A young man explained that he worked around the clock with a team of volunteers committed to guarding the eggs in each sea turtle’s nest. Once the hatchlings emerge from their nest, the presence of both animals and humans threaten and decrease their chance of survival. “Even with all our efforts,” he said, “scientists estimate that only one out of every five thousand hatchlings reach adulthood.” These bleak numbers didn’t discourage this young man, however. His passion for selflessly serving the hatchlings deepened my desire for respecting and protecting sea turtles. Now I wear a sea turtle pendant that reminds me of my God-given responsibility to care for the creatures He’s made. 

When God created the world, He provided a habitat in which each creature could live and thrive (Genesis 1:20–25). When He created His image-bearers, God intended for us to “rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground” (v. 26). He helps us serve Him as responsible stewards who use our God-given authority to care for His vast creation.

By:  Xochitl Dixon

Reflect & Pray

In what ways have you cared for God’s creation? How can you become a better steward of it this week?

Loving Creator and Sustainer of all, please show me tangible ways I can fulfill my responsibility as a steward of Your creation and inspire others to care for the world You’ve entrusted to us.

The Trials of Life

God wants you to trust Him when calamity strikes

1 Peter 1:3-9

Have you ever wondered why God lets bad things happen to you or your loved ones? Hardships and suffering are a consequence of sin and the fallen condition of the world, but why is He allowing distress in your life? Though trials are painful, understanding the Lord’s purpose can bring joy and hope.

When a person is saved, he or she begins the lifelong process of becoming holy. And few things build character like sorrow. Unfortunately, our spiritual growth may be slow during pleasant times, but pain brings us to our knees in dependence upon God as we seek His help, strength, comfort, and grace.

Another reason the Father allows trials is to test and refine our faith. When we go through the fire of affliction and remain true to the Lord, we’ll come out more sure of our salvation. Not only that, but we will have greater trust in God’s character and dealings with us. Then when the next difficulty arises, we will remember His faithfulness during the previous trial and be able to rest confidently in Him. If we submit to the Lord, He’ll use our hardships to mature us, and that’s reason to rejoice.

The Watchman Held Accountable

“Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel:…When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning…the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.” (Ezekiel 3:17-18)

Our text comprises part of Ezekiel’s commission as prophet to Judah. His function was compared to a watchman on the city walls whose duty was to warn the city of impending danger. Ezekiel was to warn the apostate people of Jerusalem of the coming invasion by the Babylonians under Nebuchadnezzar. God warned Ezekiel that if he refused to pass on whatever messages he received from God, he himself would be held accountable.

On the other hand, Ezekiel was not accountable for the response of the hearer. “Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness…he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul” (Ezekiel 3:19). He would also be requested to give similar injunctions and warnings to righteous men who had fallen into sin, but again he was not held accountable for their response (vv. 20-21).

A corresponding teaching is found in the New Testament. “Obey them that have rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account” (Hebrews 13:17). Church leaders, we are told, will give an account before the Lord someday as to how those in their flock have fared. They will not be accountable for the response of others but are required to see to it that each person in their care clearly and lovingly understands the truth and the consequences of disobedience. This is a heavy responsibility!

Let each of us respond properly to the truth as presented by our church leaders, that they may minister with joy and not with grief. JDM

Energy from Indwelling Power

He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.Romans 8:11

Our Lord was able to work with a minimum of weariness because He was a man completely possessed by the Holy Spirit. As a man He did grow tired and had to sleep and rest to refresh Himself, but the strain and the exhaustion that He would otherwise have suffered were spared Him by the constant quickening of the Holy Spirit.

Peter explained that Christ “went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil,” after God had “anointed [Him] with the Holy Ghost and with power” (Acts 10:38).

It is possible to work far beyond the normal strength of the human constitution and yet experience little or no fatigue because the energy for the work has been provided, not by the burning up of human tissue, but by the indwelling Spirit of power. This has been realized by a few unusual souls, and the pity is that they are unusual. SIZ1

To live in the Spirit is to receive the…life of the Holy Spirit in our physical being and to find in Him the source of constant stimulus and strength for…our mind and all the functions of our body. ISS007

Inner Cohesion

He did what was right in the Lord’s sight but not wholeheartedly.2 Chronicles 25:2

One scriptural example that illustrates the need for a proper correlation between heart and mind is the Old Testament character, Amaziah. Second Chronicles 25:2 tells us: “He did what was right in the Lord’s sight but not wholeheartedly.” His mind gave itself to doing right in the sight of the Lord, but his heart did not support his actions.

This lack of coordination proved to be his undoing: “After Amaziah came from the attack on the Edomites, he brought the gods of the Seirites and set them up as his gods. He worshiped before them and burned incense to them” (25:14). Now look at how the life of Amaziah ends: “From the time Amaziah turned from following the Lord, a conspiracy was formed against him … men were sent after him to Lachish, and they put him to death there.” (25:27). Notice the steps:

(1) He was outwardly correct but inwardly uncoordinated.

(2) His inner disunity showed itself in outer disloyalty.

(3) This disunity resulted in his failure and death.

At the beginning, Amaziah does not appear to be a particularly bad individual—he just failed to be wholehearted in his commitment. He did all the right things outwardly, but his heart was not in them—hence, his spiritual ruin. We could say he missed his step by inches, but his fall was one of the worst ever recorded. If we are not held together by a single-minded devotion, our spiritual life can quickly go to pieces. Commitment to God demands cohesion—the cohesion of heart and mind.

Prayer

O God my Father, help me to live a life of single purpose, with heart and mind moving together as one. Let me will the highest with all my being. In Jesus’ name I ask this. Amen.

Further Study

Jms 1:1-8; 4:8; Heb 13:9; Lk 11:17

What makes us unstable?

What was the Word of the Lord to the Hebrews?

Clean Hands; a Pure Heart

Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord?

Who may stand in His holy place?

The one who has clean hands and a pure heart.—Psalm 24:3–4a

God has rigid requirements for those who want to enjoy intimate fellowship with Him. There is no easy access to God for those with unclean hands or an impure heart. It is an affront to holy God to assume that we can indulge in our sin and blatantly disobey His word, then brazenly enter the holy of holies. In Old Testament times, one’s hands represented one’s activities. Clean hands symbolized pure activities. Priests washed their hands before serving in the temple to symbolize that only those who were cleansed could worship holy God.

There are levels of intimacy with God. The moment you become a Christian you begin a relationship with the Lord. However, if you persist in your sin, sin will separate you from God and keep you from enjoying close fellowship with Him. If you follow only God’s basic commandments but resist every time God gives you specific, personal directions, you will never fully experience the depths of God’s Person. If, however, you are like the psalmist and understand the holiness of God, you will adjust your life to His standards and respond to His prompting so that you may have deeper fellowship with Him.

The closer you get to holy God, the more obvious even your smallest sins become. The more you know of God’s character, the more you will realize the need to wash your hands and purify your heart before you can get close to Him.

Are you willing for almighty God to make you absolutely pure before Him so that you can enjoy the maximum possible relationship with Him?