VIDEO Be Confident

He has reconciled [you] in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight. Colossians 1:21-22

Have you ever returned home to discover that the family dog has gotten into the kitchen trash can or chewed up a cushion or soiled the living room carpet? When that happens, the beloved pet will often hide in a corner and not even meet our gaze. Even our pets (sometimes) know when they have “sinned”! They are full of shame and guilt. But when their owner “has a talk” and welcomes them back with a loving embrace, their confidence is restored.

God has made it possible for us, His children, to “come boldly to the throne of grace” (Hebrews 4:16) even after we have sinned. We can “draw near with confidence” (NASB 1995) in spite of our shame at having failed. Why? Because Christ, by His death on the cross, presents us “holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight” (Colossians 1:22). When we sin, if we confess our sin, God is “faithful and just to forgive us” (1 John 1:9).

If you have sinned, don’t hide in the corner. Go with confidence to God and be forgiven, cleansed, and restored.

The distinguishing mark of a Christian is his confidence in the love of Christ. Charles H. Spurgeon


The World’s Greatest Peace Treaty – Colossians 1:19-23 – Skip Heitzig

Discerning Right Paths

Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. Proverbs 22:6

No one would have believed sixteen-year-old Brazilian skateboarder Felipe Gustavo would become “one of the most legendary skateboarders on the planet.” Gustavo’s dad believed his son needed to pursue his dream of skating professionally, but they didn’t have the money. So his dad sold their car and took his son to the renowned Tampa Am skating competition in Florida. No one had heard of Gustavo . . . until he won. And the victory catapulted him into an amazing career.

Gustavo’s dad had the capacity to see his son’s heart and passion. “When I become a father,” Gustavo said, “I just want to be like 5 percent of what my dad was for me.”

Proverbs describes the opportunity parents have to help their children discern the unique way God has crafted their heart, energy, and personality—and then to direct and encourage them toward the path that reflects who God made them to be. “Start children off on the way they should go,” the writer said, “and even when they are old they will not turn from it” (22:6).

We may not possess vast resources or profound knowledge. With God’s wisdom (vv. 17–21) and our attentive love, however, we can offer our kids and other children within our sphere of influence an immense gift. We can help them trust in God and discern the paths they can follow for a lifetime (3:5–6).

By:  Winn Collier

Reflect & Pray

Where have you encountered a parent attentive to their child’s heart or energy? How has God revealed His attentive ways to you?

Heavenly Father, as I consider how good parents pay attention to their children, I know You’re the truest parent. Thank You for seeing and guiding me.

A Helper for All Occasions

You never have to face any situation alone

John 14:16-18

Did you ever wish for an emergency telephone line that rang in heaven? The truth is that we have something much better. The Holy Spirit lives inside us to be our helper in every situation.

The night before His crucifixion, Jesus warned the disciples that He was about to depart. The news confused and frightened them, even though it wasn’t the first time He’d spoken of His death. But the Lord offered His followers assurance that He would send them another Helper.

In this passage, the Greek word for “another” means “one of the same kind,” signifying that the new Helper would be like the Son of God—a divine being. As promised, God’s Spirit came to dwell in Christ’s followers at Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4).

Without the Holy Spirit, we’d never be able to live the Christian life. That’s why Jesus told the disciples to delay spreading the gospel until after the Holy Spirit’s arrival. Our Helper not only empowers obedience but also teaches, guides, intercedes, comforts, transforms, and gifts us for service. Whenever we’re beset by tough times or temptations, He provides strength, endurance, hope, and encouragement. We’re so privileged to have a divine Helper who is personally assisting us every minute of every day.

God’s Word, Our Sustenance and Power

“But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4)

In Matthew 4:1-4 we are told Jesus was “led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungered.” Satan then tempted Jesus, saying, “If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.” Jesus’ response began with an affirmation of the abiding authority and power of the Holy Scriptures with “It is written.”

It’s appropriate that the Greek verb for “It is written” (grapho) is used in the perfect tense, which indicates a past event with ongoing effect. The verb also occurs in the middle voice, indicating that the implied subject (the Scriptures) is its own cause and focus (experiencer and agent). Truly, God’s Word is “quick [living] and powerful” (Hebrews 4:12). Jesus wields this powerful “sword of the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:17), quoting the second half of Deuteronomy 8:3 in His answer to Satan.

God’s purpose in testing the children of Israel was similar to the purpose of Jesus’ wilderness test. Both accounts incorporate the number 40 (symbolic of a period of testing) and hunger. The first half of Deuteronomy 8:3 says, “He humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger.” Israel’s wilderness hunger was intended to teach them that hearing and obeying God’s Word is paramount in life (Deuteronomy 8:2-3).

While many of the Israelites failed their test, the sinless Son of God succeeded and provided an important lesson for us. Jesus overcame temptation with the same power-packed Scriptures available to His followers today. JPT

Marks of Love

And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.1 Corinthians 13:13

While the all-important distinction between the human and the spiritual love of Jesus is one that must be discerned, and one which can scarcely be explained, we yet venture to point out some marks which may distinguish the two.

Reverence, for one thing, will always be present in the heart of the one who loves Christ in the Spirit. The Spirit gives a holy solemnity to every thought of Jesus, so that it is psychologically impossible to think of the true Christ with humor or levity. Neither can there be any unbecoming familiarity. The Person of Christ precludes all such.

Then, self-abasement is always found in the heart that loves Jesus with true spiritual love. When Paul saw Jesus, he fell on his face. John fell down as dead, and every soul that ever saw and felt the terror and wonder of His glorious Presence, has known some such experience of self-abasement.

It is most important that we know whether our relation to Jesus is divine or human. It will pay us to find out now. NCA032-033

Love is the loveliest thing in this world and the thing that speaks most for God in your life. Everybody can understand it. WL007

Unassailable—but Accessible

The Lord reigns! He is robed in majesty … Your throne has been established from the beginning.Psalm 93:1-2

Ultimate authority rests with God who sits upon His throne. Years ago congregations frequently sang a chorus that goes like this:

God is still on the throne,

And He will remember His own;

Though trials may press us

And burdens distress us

He never will leave us alone.

The story is told of a little boy who, when introduced to this chorus for the first time in his Sunday school, came home and told his mother: “We learned a new song in Sunday school today.” “Oh yes,” said his mother, “what was it?” “God is still on the phone,” said the little lad. Well that wasn’t exactly what he had been taught, but the thought contained in those words was equally true. Though God reigns from a majestic throne, He is accessible to us at all times of day and night. The lines of communication that lead from us to Him are never blocked and never “down.” When a man or woman, boy or girl says, “God be merciful to me a sinner,” the message goes straight through to the throne, and they receive His personal reply: “You are forgiven, redeemed, and set free from your sin.”

The throne of God, you see, is not only a throne of righteousness but a throne of grace! Righteousness says: “Stay back until you are good enough to approach.” Grace says: “I will put on you the robes of righteousness that are provided for you by Christ—now you are good enough.” Too good to be true? Too good not to be true!

Prayer

Father, I draw near again today to Your throne of grace and with the redeemed all around the world sing: “How marvelous, how wonderful, this my song shall ever be; how marvelous, how wonderful is my Savior’s love to me.” Amen.

Further Study

Heb 4:1-6; Eph 1:1-7; 2:7; Php 4:19; 1Tm 1:14

What will God meet according to His riches?

What was Paul’s testimony?

Giving Your Best

“You must not sacrifice to the Lord your God an ox or sheep with a defect or any serious flaw, for that is detestable to the Lord your God.”—Deuteronomy 17:1

God’s love moved Him to sacrifice that which meant the most to Him—His only Son. Our response, if we truly understand His love for us, is the desire to give back to God that which means the most to us.

The Old Testament reveals that God set forth high standards for the sacrifices He required of His people. A worthy sacrifice had to cost the people something. As their hearts shifted away from God, the people began struggling to give God costly offerings. They would bring blind, lame, and sick animals, assuming God could not tell the difference (Mal. 1:8). God saw what they were doing and declared their offerings to be in vain (Mal. 1:10). Throughout the Old Testament period, God was setting the stage for the ultimate, perfect, and sinless sacrifice of His Son for the sins of humanity.

The offerings we give back to God reveal our hearts’ condition. A heart that overflows with gratitude for God’s love will respond in selfless devotion. If we are unwilling to sacrifice our time, our possessions, our money, or our energy, we indicate that we do not love God as He desires. God takes delight in the person who gives to Him cheerfully out of a loving heart, a person who understands that God is the source of everything he has and who knows that God will more than compensate for whatever is sacrificed for Him (2 Cor. 9:8).

If you struggle in giving your best offerings to God, pause and reflect on what God sacrificed for you. Trust Him and give Him the best that you have because you love Him with all your heart.