VIDEO Prayer in the Father’s House

…they found Him in the temple….And He said to them, “…Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” Luke 2:46, 49

Our Lord’s childhood was not immaturity waiting to grow into manhood— His childhood is an eternal fact. Am I a holy, innocent child of God as a result of my identification with my Lord and Savior? Do I look at my life as being in my Father’s house? Is the Son of God living in His Father’s house within me?

The only abiding reality is God Himself, and His order comes to me moment by moment. Am I continually in touch with the reality of God, or do I pray only when things have gone wrong— when there is some disturbance in my life? I must learn to identify myself closely with my Lord in ways of holy fellowship and oneness that some of us have not yet even begun to learn. “…I must be about My Father’s business”— and I must learn to live every moment of my life in my Father’s house.

Think about your own circumstances. Are you so closely identified with the Lord’s life that you are simply a child of God, continually talking to Him and realizing that everything comes from His hands? Is the eternal Child in you living in His Father’s house? Is the grace of His ministering life being worked out through you in your home, your business, and in your circle of friends? Have you been wondering why you are going through certain circumstances? In fact, it is not that you have to go through them. It is because of your relationship with the Son of God who comes, through the providential will of His Father, into your life. You must allow Him to have His way with you, staying in perfect oneness with Him.

The life of your Lord is to become your vital, simple life, and the way He worked and lived among people while here on earth must be the way He works and lives in you.

WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS

It is perilously possible to make our conceptions of God like molten lead poured into a specially designed mould, and when it is cold and hard we fling it at the heads of the religious people who don’t agree with us. Disciples Indeed


Jesus in the Temple (Luke 2:39-52) — A Sermon by R.C. Sproul

Strength to Let Go

[The everlasting God] will not grow tired or weary. Isaiah 40:28

Once known as the World’s Strongest Man, American weightlifter Paul Anderson set a world record at the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, Australia, despite a severe inner-ear infection and a 103-degree fever. Falling behind frontrunners, his only chance for a gold medal was to set a new Olympic record in his last event. His first two attempts failed badly.

So, the burly athlete did what even the weakest among us can do. He called on God for extra strength, letting go of his own. As he later said, “It wasn’t making a bargain. I needed help.” With his final lift, he hoisted 413.5 pounds (187.5 kg) over his head.

Paul, the apostle of Christ, wrote, “When I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10). Paul was speaking of spiritual strength, but he knew that God’s power was “made perfect in weakness” (v. 9).

As the prophet Isaiah declared, “[The Lord] gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak” (Isaiah 40:29).

What was the path to such strength? Abiding in Jesus. “Apart from me you can do nothing,” He said (John 15:5). As weightlifter Anderson often said, “If the strongest man in the world can’t get through one day without the power of Jesus Christ—where does that leave you?” To find out, we can release our dependence on our own illusive strength, asking God for His strong and prevailing help.

By:  Patricia Raybon

Reflect & Pray

When you depend on God’s strength, and not your own, what’s the outcome? How does abiding in Jesus give you strength?

All-powerful God, my life’s burdens feel heavy and overwhelming, but abiding in You gives me Your strength to carry on and overcome. 

An Open Invitation

Just as Jesus made the first move to reach out in love to us, we should initiate connection with others

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

Zaccheus was a typical tax collector of his time—wealthy by deceitful means and disdained for his greed. But that didn’t stifle his curiosity about Jesus. He fought through crowds and even climbed a tree for a mere glimpse of the famed teacher and healer. That’s when Jesus singled him out and invited Himself to Zaccheus’s house for dinner (Luke 19:1-10).

Time and again we see Jesus reach out to make the first move in a relationship, and He does the same with us. It’s His nature to invite and welcome—and to do so with unconditional love. As believers, we’re to follow His example in our own connections with others. In fact, healthy relationships must begin with us because we can control only our own behavior, not someone else’s. Even Zaccheus had the choice to turn down Jesus’ invitation for dinner that day, but having been seen and pursued by the Lord, the tax collector “hurried and came down, and received Him joyfully” (Luke 19:6).

Think About It

• Consider one of your relationships that needs attention. What’s scary about being the person to reach out, sacrifice, or make amends? What loving or healing gesture can you offer this week?

The True Riches

“Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy.” (1 Timothy 6:17)

Christians have so many true riches to enjoy that it is sad when many try hard to accumulate the uncertain riches of this world. “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth,” said Jesus (Matthew 6:19).

For example, Paul speaks of “the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering” (Romans 2:4) that have led Him to provide our eternal salvation. For those who have been saved, he writes of “the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory” (9:23). Then, in contemplating the great plan of God for both Jews and Gentiles, he exclaimed, “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!” (11:33). In Him, in fact, are “hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3).

When he wrote to the Ephesian Christians, Paul reminded them that Christ had redeemed them through His blood and forgiven their sins “according to the riches of his grace,” in hope that they would understand “the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints.” He told them that “God, who is rich in mercy,” had saved them in order “that in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 1:7, 18; 2:4, 7).

Finally, summarizing all these true riches—mercy, glory, grace, goodness, wisdom, knowledge—Paul spoke of “the unsearchable riches of Christ” (Ephesians 3:8). “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9). HMM

Draw It In, Give It Out

And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.Romans 5:5

The human heart can love the human Jesus as it can love the human Lincoln, but the spiritual love of Jesus is something altogether different from and infinitely superior to the purest love the human heart can know.

Indeed it is not possible to love Jesus rightly except by the Holy Spirit. Only the Third Person of the Trinity can love the Second Person in a manner pleasing to the Father. The spiritual love of Jesus is nothing else but the Spirit in us loving Christ the Eternal Son.

Christ, after the flesh, receives a great deal of fawning attention…, but love that is not the outflow of the indwelling Holy Spirit is not true spiritual love and cannot be acceptable to God. We do Christ no honor when we do no more than to give Him the best of our human love….He is not rightly loved until…the Spirit within us does the loving. NCA031-032

We are not love, and we never expect to love by our own impulses….But Jesus is the heart of love. Jesus is love itself, and Jesus is ours. His love is ours. We draw it in and give it out. CTAB060

Too Close to the Ground

But You, Lord, are exalted forever.Psalm 92:8

The reason our personal problems and difficulties seem so large and ominous is due mainly to the fact that we have not brought God into proper focus. When we are able to see Him as He really is—”high and lofty”—then all our troubles and anxieties are reduced to their proper proportions.

A minister looked through his study window one day into the garden next door. He saw a little boy there, holding in his hand two pieces of wood, each about eighteen inches long. He heard him ask his mother if he could make a weathercock. After getting her permission, he proceeded to nail one piece of wood upright on the low garden wall, then nailed the other piece loosely on top. Soon the loosely nailed piece of wood turned and twisted, first this way and then that, and the little boy danced with delight. He thought he had made a weathercock that registered the winds, but all it did was register the draughts. “It turned half a circle,” said the minister, “when the back door banged.”

From where the minister sat in his study, he could see a real weathercock on the church steeple. It was as steady as a rock in the constant winds that blew in from the sea. There are many Christians, however, who are like the little boy’s weathercock, always living at the mercy of every gust of circumstance, their thoughts of God fluctuating with their personal experiences. They take their direction from a weathercock that is too close to the ground.

Prayer

O God, my Father, forgive me that my life is taken up more with the immediate than the ultimate. I have been glancing at You and gazing at my circumstances. From today it will be different—I will glance at my circumstances and gaze at You. Amen.

Further Study

Ps 8:1-9; 1Co 13:12; 2Co 3:18

How did the psalmist focus his gaze on God?

How did Paul describe it?

Now!

“Lord,” another of His disciples said, “first let me go bury my father.”Matthew 8:21

Often our struggle as Christians is not in deciding whether we should obey Christ but in obeying immediately. We may acknowledge our need to follow Christ and commit ourselves to do what He has told us. Yet when God reveals His will to us, that is the time to obey! God’s revelation of His will is His invitation to respond immediately.

Some would-be disciples pledged their willingness to follow Jesus, but they told Him they were not ready yet. In Jesus’ day, a Jewish man was expected to care for his elderly parents until they died. One man wanted to wait until his father died before going with Jesus. This would be an honorable delay. The man had to choose between this important responsibility and heeding a call from the Lord. Yet God knew this man, and He knew the man’s father. God would have taken care of the man’s father, if he only would have followed Jesus. This was an opportunity to walk with the Son of God, yet the concerns of this life were competing for priority with obedience to God.

Timing our obedience is crucial. Invitations from God come with a limited opportunity to respond. Some opportunities to serve Him, if not accepted immediately, will be lost. Occasions to minister to others may pass us by. When God invites us to intercede for someone, it may be critical that we stop what we are doing and immediately adjust our lives to what God is doing. Missing opportunities to serve the Lord can be tragic. When an invitation comes from God, the time to respond is now.