VIDEO Willingly or Unwillingly

For it is written: “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” Romans 14:11

Young people grow up learning to trust the word of certain adults, depending on how consistent those adults have been in following through on their words in the past. In Isaiah 55:10-11, the prophet quotes God’s promise that His Word will never fail to accomplish its intent. That is, God and His words are entirely trustworthy.

With that as background, every human being will someday bow before God and acknowledge Him. Because God said it, it will surely happen. He said it in Isaiah 45:23, referring to all “who are incensed against Him” (verse 24). Then the apostle Paul repeated this promise twice in his epistles—with two different applications. In Romans 14:11, the promise is directed toward Christians: Don’t judge others because everyone will one day be judged by God. But in Philippians 2:9-11, the promise encompasses all humanity: God exalted Christ over all, and one day all will acknowledge His Lordship; all will bow the knee before Him, willingly or unwillingly.

Who would doubt God’s words? Far better to bow before Christ today willingly than to bow unwillingly in the future.

When we see even a small glimpse of God’s holiness, we will bow in worship. R. C. Sproul


John 14:1-26 – Skip Heitzig

Living Water

Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. John 7:37

The cut flowers came from Ecuador. By the time they arrived at my house, they were droopy and road-weary. Instructions said revive them with a cool drink of refreshing water. Before that, however, the flower stems had to be trimmed so they could drink the water more easily. But would they survive?

The next morning, I discovered my answer. The Ecuadorian bouquet was a glorious sight, featuring flowers I’d never seen before. Fresh water made all the difference—a reminder of what Jesus said about water and what it means to believers.

When Jesus asked a Samaritan woman for a drink of water—implying He’d drink from what she fetched from the well—He changed her life. She was surprised by His request. Jews looked down on Samaritans. But Jesus said, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water” (John 4:10). Later, in the temple, He cried out, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink” (7:37). Among those who believed in Him, “rivers of living water will flow from within them. By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive” (vv. 38–39).

God’s refreshing Spirit revives us today when we’re life-weary. He’s the Living Water, dwelling in our souls with holy refreshment. May we drink deeply today.

By:  Patricia Raybon

Reflect & Pray

What areas of your life feel parched and dry? What may be preventing you from asking Jesus to give you this living water?

Loving God, when life leaves me road-weary and thirsty, thank You for the gift of Your Spirit, the living water, who dwells in every believer.

Peter: Sifted for Service

Our trials are the preparation for God’s future purpose for our life.

Luke 22:31-32

Have you ever experienced a situation that seemed impossible to endure? Years later, did you realize how that trial prepared you for things to come? The Scriptures tell us that the Lord sometimes allows us to be “sifted” for greater service. In other words, He may give Satan permission to affect an area of our life and thereby transform us into stronger witnesses for Him. 

In today’s passage, Jesus explains this process to Peter: “Satan has demanded to sift you men like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith will not fail; and you, when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” Jesus knew what was coming—His death, resurrection, and ascension—and He expected Peter to lead the disciples and accomplish great things for the kingdom. But Peter wasn’t ready. 

So the Lord allowed Satan to “sift” Peter. In so doing, God separated the “wheat” from the “chaff”—the righteous areas of Peter’s life from the ungodly areas. Ultimately, the disciple grew from the experience and played a key role in spreading the gospel. Had God not allowed this sifting, Peter wouldn’t have been prepared for the events to come. Ask God to bring into focus similar ways that He’s used difficulties for your ultimate good.

Promised in Writing

“He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32)

For those of us who have trusted God for salvation, based on the finished work of Christ on the cross, God has already done for us the most difficult and costly thing He could ever do. He graciously sent His only Son to Earth and then to the cross and the grave in order to make forgiveness and eternal fellowship with us possible. We are now adopted children in His family, joint-heirs with His beloved Son, Jesus Christ (Romans 8:16-17, 29, etc.), from whom we will never be separated (vv. 35-39), “whereby we cry, Abba, Father” (v. 15).

Consider our state when all this was being done for us. It is easy to love a beautiful baby who needs someone to care for it; but we were not at all attractive. We were filthy sinners, born in sin and habitually choosing to offend God’s holy nature by succumbing to “the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath” (Ephesians 2:3). Furthermore, we were even “enemies” of the cross at the time “we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son” (Romans 5:10). Outside of His eyes of love and grace, we would have appeared more like a repulsive maggot than a beautiful baby.

It stands to reason that He who has already done the most difficult, yea, infinitely difficult thing for us out of His great love will continue to manifest that love to us, especially now that we are of His family. As our text tells us, He will “freely give us all things.” With our best interests at heart, He will see that “all things work together for [our] good” (Romans 8:28).

“What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31). JDM

Here’s How It Works

Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. —1 Thessalonians 5:17-18

Here’s how the file card works when it gets into the Christian life and begins to create mental habits: It divides the Bible into sections fitted to the days of the year, and compels the Christian to read according to rule. No matter what the Holy Spirit may be trying to say to a man, still he goes on reading where the card tells him, dutifully checking it off each day….

Inevitably the calendar crowds out the Spirit and the face of the clock hides the face of God. Prayer ceases to be the free breath of a ransomed soul and becomes a duty to be fulfilled. And even if under such circumstances he succeeds in making his prayer amount to something, still he is suffering tragic losses and binding upon his soul a yoke from which Christ died to set him free. OGM080-081

It is the privilege of every Christian to live so fully in God that he never gets out of the experienced Presence for one moment….The whole life becomes a prayer…thoughts become mental prayers, deeds become prayers in action and even sleep may be but unconscious prayer. NCA090

Quality Par Excellence

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Hosts.Isaiah 6:3

Even the most casual reader of the Scriptures cannot help but notice that God is portrayed in the Bible as uniquely and awesomely holy. In fact, there are more references to the holiness of God in Scripture than to any other aspect of His character. This ought to give us some indication of how important it is.

But what do we mean when we say God is “holy”? There are three thoughts underlying the word “holy.”

First, the idea of separation, being withdrawn or apart.

Second, brightness or brilliance.

Third, moral majesty, purity, or cleanliness.

It is interesting that those who came into direct contact with the Almighty in the Old Testament were inevitably overwhelmed by His moral majesty.

Isaiah went into the temple to pray at a time when his people were in grave difficulties. Uzziah, the king who had ruled for half a century, was dying, and Assyria, a terrible and evil force, stood threateningly to the north. Whatever answer Isaiah thought he would get as he opened up his heart to God, it was not the one he received. He was given instead a vision of a holy God that shook him to the core of his being.

Why should this be? I think it was because the concept of God’s holiness is the main lesson in His school, the divine prerequisite for admission to the inner heart of God, the most important qualification for learning from the Lord.

Prayer

Father, I must search my heart this day and ask myself: Do I know what it is to serve a holy God? Have I ever received a vision of the moral majesty and purity of the divine? Deepen my understanding of all this I pray. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Further Study

Ex 15:1-11; Ps 99:9

What question did Moses pose?

What did the psalmist affirm?

Instruments

Does an ax exalt itself

above the one who chops with it?

Does a saw magnify itself

above the one who saws with it?

As if a staff could wave those who lift it!

As if a rod could lift what isn’t wood!—Isaiah 10:15

One of the dangers in the Christian life is to take credit for what God does. This was the Assyrians’ problem. They were a weak nation until God chose to bless them in order to use them as an instrument to punish the Israelites. However, the more God blessed them, the more confident they became in their own strength. When the farmers had good crops, they credited their farming skills rather than God. When their army won a victory, their generals took the credit. When the nation experienced prosperity, the Assyrians attributed it to their military and political might. Finally, God pointed out the absurdity of their conclusions (Isa. 10:5–19).

It is sometimes easier to handle poverty or weakness than wealth or strength. Poverty causes us to recognize our need for God. Prosperity persuades us that we no longer require Him. Scripture holds several examples of those who assumed they were self-sufficient, only to realize their dire poverty apart from God. Samson was the strongest person alive, but he forgot that his strength came from God. Once God removed his strength, Samson was reduced to a pitiful slave. Saul was the first king of Israel, yet when God removed His Spirit from this proud monarch, he became a paranoid, petty man, seeking counsel from the occult.

Be careful how you handle the success God gives you! As you enjoy His blessings in your family, your business, or your ministry, keep in mind that you are an instrument in the hands of the Master.