VIDEO Safe in His Hand

[Neither] height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:39

It is often helpful and interesting to compare how Jesus and Paul approached the same subject in their teachings. Jesus was the plainspoken Shepherd and Teacher who used metaphors and illustrations familiar to His audience. Paul, on the other hand, was a theologian and rabbinic scholar who wrote and spoke in eloquent terms. Comparing their differences provides an expanded understanding of a topic both addressed.

Take eternal security; both taught the same truth but expressed it in different ways. Jesus addressed it when describing Himself as the Good Shepherd (John 10). His sheep would never perish because they are secure in His and the Father’s hand (verses 28-29)—no one could “snatch” them away. Paul, on the other hand, described a long list of more than fifteen circumstances, none of which can separate believers from the love of God in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:35-39). Both Jesus and Paul taught that believers are eternally secure, using different words.

When you go through challenging times, read Jesus’ and Paul’s assuring words. Then rest in the love of God in Christ.

Let us not seek any other ground of assurance than [God’s] own testimony. John Calvin


The Roman Pilgrimage Vol 2, Part 6 (Romans 8:26 – 8:39) – Derek Prince

Seeds of Time

Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop. Mark 4:20

In 1879, people watching William Beal would likely think he was loony. They’d see the professor of botany filling twenty bottles with various seeds, then burying them in deep soil. What they didn’t know was that Beal was conducting a seed viability experiment that would span centuries. Every twenty years a bottle would be dug up to plant its seeds and see which seeds would germinate.

Jesus talked a lot about seed planting, often likening the sowing of seed to the spreading of “the word” (Mark 4:15). He taught that some seeds are snatched by Satan, others have no foundation and don’t take root, and yet others are hampered by the life around them and are choked out (vv. 15–19). As we spread the good news, it’s not up to us which seeds will survive. Our job is simply to sow the gospel—to tell others about Jesus: “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation” (16:15 esv).

In 2021, another of Beal’s bottles was dug up. The seeds were planted by researchers and some sprouted, having survived more than 142 years. As God works through us and we share our faith with others, we never know if the word we share will take root or when. But we’re to be encouraged that our sowing of the good news might, even after many years, be received by someone who will “accept it, and produce a crop” (4:20).

By:  Kenneth Petersen

Reflect & Pray

Consider an example of how you shared the good news with someone. How did that person respond? How are you praying for that person today?

Dear God, please give me courage to share Jesus with friends and colleagues

Servant Joseph

While we are faithfully serving God in difficult situations, He is preparing us for our future

Genesis 37:1-17

Joseph is one of my favorite Bible characters. I mention him often because there’s so much to learn from his life. Today’s passage is a good example, as it reveals two of his traits that we should emulate.

1. He demonstrated a servant spirit early in life. Genesis 37 describes the things that took place when Joseph was around 17 years old. In every exchange, the young man embodied respect and discipline; he never rebelled against those in authority over him. In fact, he continually went out of his way to serve others.

2. Joseph realized God was controlling his life. How else can you explain his relentless pursuit of excellence in every trial? No matter what happened to him, Joseph always remembered the divine visions he’d been given in his teen years (Gen. 37:1-6). He believed there was a plan for his life and felt convinced that somehow, sometime, God would reveal what it was.

Whether you are 17 or 77, the lessons of Joseph’s life are valuable. It is never too late to learn the art of service or to recognize that God’s plan is perfect. What’s more, it’s never too late to help someone else discover these things.

The Fourfold Witness to Christ

“One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established.” (Deuteronomy 19:15)

In the Mosaic law, at least two reliable witnesses were required to convict a man of a crime. Jesus Christ was charged with blasphemy, claiming to be the unique Son of God. Not only was there the required double witness, but actually a fourfold witness to the “crime.” The witnesses not only agreed that the claim was made but also that the claim was true!

The first was John the Baptist, who said, “I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God” (John 1:34). To so testify was John’s very reason for being, for he “was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light” (John 1:8-9).

There was also a second, more potent witness. “I have greater witness than that of John,” Jesus said, “for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me” (John 5:36). The great teacher Nicodemus had to acknowledge, “No man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him” (John 3:2).

Furthermore, there was the direct testimony of God from heaven. “The Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me” (John 5:37). “There came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (2 Peter 1:17).

Most importantly, there is the testimony of the Bible. “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me” (John 5:39).

We no longer have such direct testimony, but we will always have the Holy Scriptures, eternally proclaiming the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ. HMM

Magnify, Mortify, Simplify

If ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.Romans 8:13

Christ calls men to carry a cross; we call them to have fun in His Name. He calls them to forsake the world; we assure them that if they but accept Jesus the world is their oyster. He calls them to suffer; we call them to enjoy all the bourgeois comforts modern civilization affords. He calls them to self-abnegation and death. We call them to spread themselves like green bay trees or perchance even to become stars in a pitiful fifth-rate religious zodiac. He calls them to holiness; we call them to a cheap and tawdry happiness that would have been rejected with scorn by the least of the Stoic philosophers.

In a world like this, with conditions being what they are, what should a serious-minded Christian do? The answer is easy to give but hard to follow. First, accept the truth concerning yourself….Seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness. Seek through Jesus Christ a right relationship to your fellow man. Set about reverently to amend your doings. Magnify God, mortify the flesh, simplify your life. WOS079-080

We must obey God. What a joy it brings to the soul to be thus consciously submissive and doing the whole will of God….Satan feels helpless before a man with faith in heart and perfect obedience to God in life. SAN074

He Burns Me Up

Therefore, let us observe the feast, not with … malice and evil but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.1 Corinthians 5:8

Is it true that nursing a grudge can cause physical illness? A man I knew became enraged over something another Christian had done to him. I advised him to forgive and forget. He replied: “But every time I see him, he burns me up.” I said: “That’s because you want to burn him up, and all you succeed in doing is burning yourself up.” I told him about the sadistic farmer who tied a stick of dynamite to a hawk, lit the fuse, and then turned the bird loose, expecting it to blow itself up in mid-air. Instead, the hawk flew into the man’s barn, and the explosion wrecked not only the barn but part of his house also.

He listened, but I could see my words had not gone in. He could think and talk of nothing else but getting even with his fellow Christian. His wife told me that his breath became foul, his appetite left him, his digestion became bad, he suffered loss of sleep and, after a few months, he dropped down dead.

In case someone says, “But there could have been other reasons for his death,” I can tell you that I talked to his doctor, who was a close personal friend of mine, and he told me that the man had died of an “undrained grudge.” Of course, you can’t put that on a death certificate, but many doctors know that “undrained grudges” play a major role in creating physical disorders. A missionary suffered a breakdown because of a grudge he had held against his ministry organization for not supplying him with enough money. Apparently, grudges are just as deadly in the godly as the ungodly.

Prayer

Father, I see so clearly that my hurts harm me even more when I harbor them. Help me not to hold on stubbornly to my wounded pride, but consent for You to lance my inner boils, no matter how much it may hurt. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Further Study

1Jn 2:1-11; Pr 10:12; Isa 59:9-10

What brings us back into darkness?

What is the result of walking in darkness?

The Judgment Seat

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each may be repaid for what he has done in the body, whether good or bad.2 Corinthians 5:10

There are many motivations in the Christian’s life. One is our awareness that one day we will give an account of our lives to Christ, as He sits in judgment upon humanity. It is much more comforting to believe that Christians will be ushered into heaven with no questions asked about our faithfulness upon earth, but that is not what Scripture says will happen.

Paul cautioned that in the final day of judgment every Christian will give an account for his or her actions. This expectation terrified Paul and motivated him to strive to please God in everything he did (2 Cor. 5:9–11). Paul knew that although he might ignore the Spirit’s quiet voice during His life on earth, a time of accounting would come when he would have to explain why he had rejected God’s instructions. Paul never carelessly assumed that, because of all he had done for God’s kingdom, God would overlook his sin. Instead, he understood that to whom much is given, much is required (Luke 12:48).

God does not force His will upon us. He will ask us to answer for the way we responded to Him. Christians have been pardoned by the sacrifice of Jesus. We are not condemned. But because God is absolutely just, we will be called on to give an account of our actions. The Christian life gives a tremendous freedom, but it also brings a pervasive sense of our accountability to God and to others. We can learn from Paul that accountability is healthy; it gives us a powerful motivation to please God.