VIDEO The Mighty Word of God

For the word of God is alive, and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intents of the heart. — Hebrews 4:12

One of the canons of multicultural America is that no culture is better or worse than any other. That is why there is very little acknowledgement of the unspeakable horrors, cannibalism among them, practiced by pagan peoples.

This raises the question: how have formerly barbarous cultures been raised to civilization? Well, there is nothing in the annals of history that compares to what the World of God has done to civilize barbaric peoples. Even Charles Darwin confessed this after returning from his memorable voyage to the South Seas on the Beagle.  

There was a great attack upon foreign missionaries in the London Times. Darwin wrote a letter to the editor in which he criticized those who attack missionaries and said this: that such an attitude on the part of a voyager was particularly inexcusable, for should he happen to be cast ashore on some uncharted island he will devoutly pray that the lesson of the missionary has preceded him.

God’s Word changes people and nations and cultures. His Word changed the Celtic people. It changed the Vikings. The Lord uses His word to work His will. It is only God’s Word and the Gospel of Jesus Christ that truly change people.

Question to ponder: How does God’s Word continue to bring changes in your life?


The Indwelling Christ

On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. John 14:20

English preacher F. B. Meyer (1847–1929) used the example of an egg to illustrate what he called “the deep philosophy of the indwelling Christ.” He noted how the fertilized yolk is a little “life germ” that grows more and more each day until the chick is formed in the shell. So too will Jesus come to live with us through His Holy Spirit, changing us. Meyer said, “From now on Christ is going to grow and increase and absorb into Himself everything else, and be formed in you.”

He apologized for stating the truths of Jesus imperfectly, knowing that his words couldn’t fully convey the wonderful reality of Christ dwelling in believers through the Holy Spirit. But he urged his listeners to share with others, however imperfectly, what Jesus meant when He said, “On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you” (John 14:20). Jesus said these words on the night of His last supper with His friends. He wanted them to know that He and His Father would come and make their home with those who obey Him (v. 23). This is possible because through the Spirit Jesus dwells in those who believe in Him, changing them from the inside out.

No matter how you picture it, we have Christ living inside us, guiding us and helping us to grow to be more like Him.

By:  Amy Boucher Pye

Reflect & Pray

What difference does it make to you that Jesus dwells within you? How do you see His presence in others?

Dear Jesus, You’re God and man. Thank You for giving of Yourself so sacrificially, that I might be called a child of God.

Sunday Reflection: Many Parts, One Body

The whole body of Christ benefits when believers use the skills God gave them

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

It’s often at this time of year that church members gather to tend to their buildings and grounds, preparing for winter and giving everything a thorough cleaning. There are many tasks to accomplish, and no one person is meant to do them all.

The strongest workers tackle the heavy jobs like moving furniture or hefty tree limbs, while those with nimble fingers clean the dust from tiny spaces. Energetic little ones run supplies, while others can prepare refreshments for all to enjoy. When the congregation labors as a team, all the tasks are completed, and everyone benefits. 

The key is mutuality. In mutual relationships, we aren’t always equally equipped, but we should be equally committed to helping as best we can with the skills and talents God has given us. As the apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 12:14-18, “The body is not one part, but many,” and “God has arranged the parts, each one of them in the body, just as He desired.”

Think about it

  • Are you fulfilling your role in the body? If not, how can you begin to do so in a more robust and fulfilling way? 

The Invitations of Christ

“He saith unto them, Come and see. They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day: for it was about the tenth hour.” (John 1:39)

This is the first of the gracious invitations of the Lord Jesus to “come” to Him. On this occasion, right after His baptism by John, He invited two potential disciples to come with Him to His dwelling place. Very likely, this was an outdoor mat somewhere, for He soon afterward acknowledged that “the Son of man hath not where to lay his head” (Matthew 8:20). Nevertheless, one night of abiding with Jesus changed their lives. Soon afterward, He issued another invitation to them. “Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men” (Mark 1:17), and they never went home again. First He invites us to come see and know Him, then to come with Him to win others.

There is also the wonderful invitation to come to Him for relief from our burdens and cares. “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). And note His promise to those who do accept His invitation: “Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37).

There were also personal invitations. To Zacchaeus, the seeking sinner glimpsing Jesus from a sycamore tree, He said, “Come down; for to day I must abide at thy house” (Luke 19:5). To His friend Lazarus, dead and bound in a tomb, He cried, “Lazarus, come forth” (John 11:43), and not even the grave could prevent his accepting such a call.

There are other invitations from the Lord with gracious promises to those who come, but note especially the final invitation of the Bible. “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely” (Revelation 22:17). HMM

No Worship without the Holy Spirit

God is the King of all the earth: sing ye praises with understanding….God sitteth upon the throne of his holiness.Psalm 47:7-8

We find much of spiritual astonishment and wonder in the book of Acts. You will always find these elements present when the Holy Spirit directs believing men and women.

On the other hand, you will not find astonished wonder among men and women when the Holy Spirit is not present.

Engineers can do many great things in their fields, but no mere human force or direction can work the mysteries of God among men.

If there is no wonder, no experience of mystery, our efforts to worship will be futile. There will be no worship without the Spirit. WHT065

Worship has to be in the Spirit and by the Spirit. The notion that just anybody can worship is all wrong. The notion that we can worship without the Spirit is all wrong. The notion that we can crowd the Spirit into a corner and ignore Him, quench Him, resist Him and yet worship God acceptably is a great heresy which we need to correct. TWE041

Patience and Kindness

God’s chosen ones … put on … kindness … and patience.—Colossians 3:12

The fourth fruit of the Spirit listed by Paul is patience. The King James Version uses the word “longsuffering.” Someone has suggested that longsuffering is “love stretched out.” It is so elastic and tough that it doesn’t break up into impatience. It maintains a patient attitude amidst the flux of human events.

Patience, however, must not be confused with indifference. One group of people in ancient history—the Stoics—made indifference a virtue. Some people in the early centuries of the church tried to Christianize this characteristic, but it couldn’t be done. A Christian is someone who cares. Because we care, we suffer, but in the midst of suffering, we discover the Spirit’s enabling patience.

A woman, after finding Christ, went through a time of great persecution from her family. She said, “I have never been a patient woman, but since Christ and the Holy Spirit came into my life, He has turned me upside down and inside out. I always had to have the last word, but my last word is silence.” Now, whenever she says something, her family listens, because she speaks out of the depth of silence. The Amplified Bible presents Galatians 5:22 as, “But the fruit of the … Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is … patience.”

The next fruit is kindness. This may seem a very ordinary virtue, but yet, without it, the other virtues are incomplete. It is not by chance that this virtue is in the middle of the nine, for it puts flavor in all the others.

Prayer

Father, I want all the other virtues to be flavored with kindness, so that the spirit of kindness pervades everything I do and everything I am. For Jesus’ sake. Amen.

Further Study

1Th 1; Rm 5:3; 12:12; Lk 21:19; Jms 1:4

How did Paul relate patience to tribulation?

In what did Paul rejoice?

Never Too Busy

But a Samaritan on his journey came up to him, and when he saw [the man], he had compassion.—Luke 10:33

If anyone could understand the temptation to let busyness distract Him from the Father’s activity, Jesus certainly could! He told a parable that clearly illustrated this danger: A certain Jewish man was on his way to Jericho when he was brutally attacked by thieves and left to die by the road. First a Levite, then a priest, passed by. These were religious leaders; surely they would show compassion to a wounded person! But they had places to go and appointments to keep, so they passed him by. Surely someone else would come along who had more time to help the wounded man! Then a Samaritan, despised by the Jews, came along. Of all people, this man had reason to look the other way, since the wounded man was his enemy. But wherever he was going could wait, for someone needed his help.

It’s easy to become so busy that you are oblivious to those in need. Your schedule can become so full of accomplishing good things that you are of no help to the people around you. God is at work in the lives of your friends, your neighbors, your family members. He may ask you to interrupt your day long enough to join Him as He ministers to them. Nothing on your agenda, no matter how pressing, is reason enough to ignore the voice of God when He tells you to stop and help. If you have become too busy to minister to those around you, ask God to reestablish your priorities so that you do not miss opportunities to serve Him.