VIDEO Promises, Promises!

God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. 1 Corinthians 1:9

When we look back over our lives, some of our greatest regrets involve moments when we broke a promise to someone. In some cases, we made promises that we simply were not able to keep. On other occasions, we found it was convenient to make the promise in the moment, but we hadn’t really thought through the implications. Sometimes we just shrug off our unreliability as par for the course. But sometimes we’re haunted by our fickleness and failure, especially if we disappointed someone.

As we grow in Christ, we understand the sanctity of promises, for the Bible is full of them, and we rely on each one. We also become more Christlike, growing to be faithful as He is faithful.

Many people in today’s world are undependable. They don’t honor their word, whether it involves their workplace, their relationships, or their marriage. Let’s do better than that. And let’s remember that God is faithful, and we can count on every word in His Book!

I know of nothing which so stimulates my faith in my heavenly Father as to look back and reflect on His faithfulness to me in every crisis and every chilling circumstance of life. W. Phillip Keller


1 Corinthians 1:1-9 sermon by Dr. Bob Utley

God Spoke

God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. Genesis 1:3

In 1876, inventor Alexander Graham Bell spoke the very first words on a telephone. He called his assistant, Thomas Watson, saying, “Watson, come here. I want to see you.” Crackly and indistinct, but intelligible, Watson heard what Bell had said. The first words spoken by Bell over a phone line proved that a new day for human communication had dawned.

Establishing the dawn of the first day into the “formless and empty” earth (Genesis 1:2), God spoke His first words recorded in Scripture: “Let there be light” (v. 3). These words were filled with creative power. He spoke, and what He declared came into existence (Psalm 33:69). God said, “let there be light” and so it was. His words produced immediate victory as darkness and chaos gave way to the brilliance of light and order. Light was God’s answer to the dominance of darkness. And when He had created the light, He saw that it “was good” (Genesis 1:4).  

God’s first words continue to be powerful in the lives of believers in Jesus. With the dawning of each new day, it’s as if God is restating His spoken words in our lives. When darkness—literally and metaphorically—gives way to the brilliance of His light, may we praise Him and acknowledge that He’s called out to us and truly sees us.

By:  Marvin Williams

Reflect & Pray

When dawn breaks through the darkness, how will you celebrate God’s love and faithfulness? How has God’s light opened your eyes to see Him?

Creator of Light, I praise You for dispelling the darkness of this world—opening my eyes to You and Your presence in my life.

God Centered Prayer

When fear strikes, choose to focus on our almighty and faithful God instead of the situation 2 Chronicles 20:1-18

Once, when someone once asked if I’d ever heard myself pray, I decided to record my voice as I prayed about a matter of deep concern. After listening to the recording, I realized it was filled with negative descriptions of how bad the situation was and how discouraged I felt. My focus was all wrong. 

On encountering a fearful situation, Jehoshaphat chose a different approach: God-centered prayer. Instead of coming to the Lord with a “woe is me” attitude, Jehoshaphat began by focusing on God’s power and sovereignty (2 Chron. 20:6), His past faithfulness to Judah (2 Chron. 20:7-8), and His promise to hear and deliver His people (2 Chron. 20:9). Only after strengthening his faith through these reminders of God’s adequacy did the king make his petitions (2 Chron. 20:10-12). 

In prayer, we can choose to magnify either the Lord or our difficulty. Are you concentrating on the faithfulness of almighty God or your overwhelming problem and negative feelings? Let’s keep our eyes on Him and wait with complete confidence until we see the great things He’ll do for His glory and our good. 

Who’s Holding Your Hand?

“But I trusted in thee, O LORD: I said, Thou art my God. My times are in thy hand: deliver me from the hand of mine enemies, and from them that persecute me.” (Psalm 31:14-15)

Psalm 31 describes David at a time of great need. There was “fear…on every side” (v. 13). He was despised, defamed, and persecuted. Jeremiah used the same phrase, “fear is on every side” (Jeremiah 6:25; 49:29), to describe his turbulent circumstances.

Where do we turn when we encounter “divers temptations” (James 1:2)? We follow the ultimate example of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who expressed confidence in God despite the hateful wickedness that encircled Him while He hung on the cross, finally crying out, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit” (Luke 23:46).

Likewise, in today’s text David, as a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22), emphatically shifted his attention away from his momentary entanglements and looked solely to his sovereign God. The phrase “my times” includes all the turmoil and change he was feeling. But also notice that “my times” expresses the reality of a firm grasp in the tight grip of “Yahweh’s hand.”

As Thomas Reade wrote, “When [a believer] beholds, by faith, the unerring hand of infinite wisdom, wielding the stupendous machine of human events, causing everything to promote the spiritual good of His people, then he quiets himself as a little child, and can say with cheerful resignation, ‘Father, not my will, but yours be done.’”

“Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen” (Jude 1:24-25). CM

Cultivation Means Fruitfulness

Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up.1 Corinthians 13:4

This is the problem. We try to arrive at the fruits of Christianity by a shortcut….Everybody wants to be known as being spiritual, close to God and walking in the Truth….This is the answer. Every flower and every fruit has a stalk and every stalk has a root, and long before there is any bloom there must be a careful tending of the root and the stalk. This is where the misunderstanding lies—we think that we get the flower and the fragrance and the fruit by some kind of magic, instead of by cultivation….

“Be ye therefore followers of God…and walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us…” (Ephesians 5:1-2). This is the likeness of Christ in the human heart and life—and our neighbors are waiting to see Him in our lives! WPJ020

What a multitude of words the Holy Spirit has given us for the various forms of love and patience. The list includes: love, charity, brotherly kindness, tenderness, meekness, longsuffering, patience, forbearance, unity, gentleness. They are like many shades of a colorall in the same class, yet no two exactly alike. LCL147

Various Forms of Prayer

Devote yourselves to prayer; stay alert in it with thanksgiving.Colossians 4:2

Today we ask ourselves: what does it mean to “pray always with all prayer and supplication”? The phrase “praying always” presents no difficulty; quite clearly, this means praying as often as possible, regularly and constantly. But what does it mean to pray “with all prayer and supplication”? Paul means, I believe, that we should pray with all forms or kinds of prayer.

You see, there are many different forms of prayer that are available to us. First, there is verbal prayer when we present our prayer to God in carefully chosen words and phrases. Second, there is silent prayer, when no words cross our lips, but prayer flows directly from our hearts. Third, there is ejaculatory prayer, when we express sounds rather than words, as when we sigh or groan in prayer. Then there is public prayer, common prayer, or “praying together”—or, as some prefer to call it, “praying in concert.” So praying with “all prayer” means using every form of prayer available to us, praying in every way and manner we can. We are to be at it always and in endless ways.

But there is a certain form of prayer to which the apostle refers which deserves our closer examination—the prayer of “supplication” or “petition”—when we pray with regard to special requests and needs. We must not overlook this, for it is so easy to be caught up in adoration and praise that we neglect to focus our prayers on the various needs that arise from time to time, not only in our own lives, but also in the lives of others. This, too, is a necessary kind of prayer.

Prayer

Father, help me to see the senselessness of trying to muddle through life in my own strength when You have made Your power and resources available to me through prayer. Help me grow in prayer. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Further Study

Mt 7:1-12; Ac 1:14; 4:24; 12:12; 21:5

What is evident about the early church?

How does Jesus relate fatherhood to prayer?

One Man’s Sin

“Go and consecrate the people. Tell them to consecrate themselves tomorrow, for this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says, ‘There are among you, Israel, things set apart. You will not be able to stand against your enemies until you remove what is set apart.’”Joshua 7:13

Just as the obedience of one Christian can bring blessing to others, the sin of one Christian can bring harm to many others. The children of Israel were rapidly advancing into the Promised Land. They had experienced a miraculous victory over the city of Jericho, and they were continuing toward their next conquest. To their surprise they met decisive defeat as they attempted to capture the small town of Ai. They sought God’s explanation for their failure, and He provided it. He revealed that someone among them had disobeyed His clear command not to keep any possession from Jericho. The disobedience of one man and his family had paralyzed an entire nation! Achan thought he could conceal his sin and it would not affect anyone else. God chose to demonstrate the destructive power of one sin to His people. One act of disobedience cost Achan and his family their lives. It caused his countrymen to lose the battle; innocent soldiers were killed. His sin had serious repercussions for others, denying them the blessing, power, and victory of God.

Your sin will have an impact on others. Choosing to disobey God may cost your family God’s blessing. The power of God may be absent from your church because you are living in disobedience. Your friends may suffer because you are not living righteously. Diligently seek to obey every word from God, for you do not know how your disobedience could affect those around you. Scripture promises that if you will obey the Lord, your life will be a channel of blessing to others (Ps. 37:25–26).