VIDEO Love by Comparison

Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love. Ephesians 5:1-2


In English class, we learn that a simile is a figure of speech used to make comparisons using the words as and like, words that occur nearly ninety times in the book of Proverbs. That book is filled with comparisons between wisdom and folly. For example, Proverbs 25:28 says, “Whoever has no rule over his own spirit is like a city broken down, without walls” (emphasis added).

Similes occur in the New Testament as well, especially when comparing our behavior to God’s behavior. For example, when saying we should “walk in love,” Paul uses two similes to explain how. We are to forgive “as God in Christ forgave [us],” (Ephesians 4:32), and we are to “walk in love, as Christ also has loved us” (Ephesians 5:2). We are to compare our forgiveness and love to the forgiveness and love of God in Christ. We are to love sacrificially as Christ gave “Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God” (Ephesians 5:2). And sacrifice involves a cost, a price to pay.

Love is not cheap, especially love of enemies. Make a point to love and forgive someone today the way God loves and forgives you.

To love to preach is one thing—to love those to whom we preach, quite another. Richard Cecil

The Source of Love – Ephesians 5:1-2

Hearing Christ, Not Chaos

My sheep listen to my voice. John 10:27

After watching TV news for hours each day, the elderly man grew agitated and anxious—worried the world was falling apart and taking him with it. “Please turn it off,” his grown daughter begged him. “Just stop listening.” But the man continued to spend an excessive amount of time on social media and other news sources.

What we listen to matters deeply. We see this in Jesus’ encounter with Pontius Pilate. Responding to criminal charges brought against Jesus by religious leaders, Pilate summoned Him and asked, “Are you the king of the Jews?” (John 18:33). Jesus replied with a stunning question: “Is that your own idea . . . or did others talk to you about me?” (v. 34).

The same question tests us. In a world of panic, are we listening to chaos or to Christ? Indeed, “my sheep listen to my voice,” He said. “I know them, and they follow me” (10:27). Jesus “used this figure of speech” (v. 6) to explain Himself to doubting religious leaders. As with a good shepherd, He said that “his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice” (vv. 4–5).

As our Good Shepherd, Jesus bids us to hear Him above all. May we listen well and find His peace.

By:  Patricia Raybon

Reflect & Pray

What do you hear on the news or social media that makes you feel anxious? How can you give more time to hearing the voice of God?

Loving God, in a noisy world, when You speak to my heart, mind, and spirit in and through the Scriptures, may I hear You over all.

For further study, read Being Jesus Online.

Facing Life’s Mountains

Anytime believers face overwhelming problems, they can rely on the Holy Spirit for the help they need Zechariah 4:1-10

Are you facing what seems like an insurmountable obstacle? It might be a problem too complex to solve, a task beyond your ability, a sin too tempting to overcome, or a situation over which you have no control. Facing such things can make us feel weak, helpless, and vulnerable. But always remember that we have an almighty God, and nothing is too difficult for Him.

Zerubbabel was a Jewish leader who, together with 50,000 of his countrymen, returned to Jerusalem from Babylonian captivity. They set about rebuilding the temple, but the obstacles were daunting. The people became disheartened, so God gave His prophet Zechariah a vision to encourage them. The message reminded Zerubbabel that progress is made “not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit” (Zech. 4:6).

This same truth applies to us today. Your obstacles may seem like mountains too big to move, and in your own strength, they certainly are. But as a believer, you have the power of the Holy Spirit within you. Although your circumstances may not change, He’ll give you His comfort, joy, peace, patience, and strength to go through it. The Spirit is God’s promise of continual help to His weary people.

Think on These Things

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” (Philippians 4:8)

It’s nearly impossible these days to turn on the TV, go shopping, go out to eat, read a newspaper, go online, etc., without our minds being cluttered and our thinking infiltrated by all sorts of improper thoughts. In our text, Paul gives us guidelines for our thinking. Let’s investigate them.

True—or genuine, honest, and sincere. We should concentrate on honesty in all our dealings, for “God is true” (John 3:33), and Christ said, “My record is true” (John 8:14).

Honest—or better, honorable toward all. Strive to “lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty” (1 Timothy 2:2).

Just—or equitable. “Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal” (Colossians 4:1).

Pure—without spot or stain. “Neither be partaker of other men’s sins: keep thyself pure” (1 Timothy 5:22).

Lovely—literally “toward love,” i.e., those things that demonstrate love or a response of love. This word only appears here in the New Testament.

Of good report—that which elicits praise.

Virtue—a standard of righteousness. He “hath called us to glory and virtue” (2 Peter 1:3).

Praise—our speech should be to “the praise of them that do well” (1 Peter 2:14).

Surely our lifestyle and thought patterns need adjusting as noted above, particularly when the verb tense in the command “think on these things” implies a lifelong habit—a continuous way of doing things. JDM

What If?

Say these things, and encourage and rebuke with all authority.Titus 2:15

A little boy, when asked what the Holy Spirit meant, replied: “I suppose it is what puts the ‘oomph’ into Christianity.” He was on the right track but failed to use the correct pronoun—not “it” but “He.” The Holy Spirit is not an influence but a Person. This is why Scripture, when referring to Him, uses personal pronouns such as “He,” “who,” and “whom.”

Suppose there had been no Holy Spirit? Then we would have been faced with a religion in which there was little “oomph.” We would have the four Gospels without the upper room—distinctive, but not dynamic.

Take Mark’s Gospel, for example. If there had been no day of Pentecost, if the promised Holy Spirit had not been poured out upon God’s people, the message of Christ would have ended with these words: “So they went out and started running from the tomb, because trembling and astonishment overwhelmed them. And they said nothing to anyone, since they were afraid” (Mk 16:8).

What a sad plight we would all be in if the message of Christ had ended there. The Resurrection had taken place, the whole of the redemptive process was complete, the gladdest news that had ever burst upon human ears was in the possession of the disciples—but “they said nothing to anyone, since they were afraid.” If Christianity had ended there, it would not have been a gospel that conquered the world. No amount of good information could have transformed those early disciples. Something else was needed—the Holy Spirit.


O God, help me not to live in the twilight zone between Resurrection and Pentecost. I want to know all the fullness of the upper room in my life. Turn me from a flickering torch into a flaming torch. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Further Study

Jn 14:26; 15:26-27; 16:1-16; Ac 1:8

What did Jesus say of the Holy Spirit?

What is another title of the Holy Spirit?

Counted Faithful

I give thanks to Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, appointing me to the ministry. . . 1 Timothy 1:12

From a human perspective, the apostle Paul’s record as a zealous persecutor of Christians should have precluded him from being used in God’s service. Paul was known as the “chief of sinners,” a blasphemer, persecutor, and violent aggressor (1 Tim. 1:13–15). Everything changed when God saved Paul. He embraced the Christian life with the same fervency in which he had opposed it. Paul labored to be faithful in every assignment, no matter how small or large. Ultimately, because of Paul’s faithfulness, God entrusted him to be one of His foremost promoters of the gospel.

Paul understood that everything he ever accomplished for God’s kingdom was due to the enabling power of God. He was not deceived into thinking that his own intelligence or personal drive brought about God’s will. Rather, Paul was grateful for the opportunity to be tested and found faithful in any assignment, regardless of its size.

Your ability to serve God is not based on your past, but on your faithfulness today. If you are faithful with the task God entrusts to you, God will enable you to accomplish it. Don’t distinguish between big and small assignments from God. Paul saw every one as a privilege he did not deserve. Whether God has asked you to pray for someone, to minister to a person in need, to lead a Bible study, or to care for those who are sick, strive to be faithful. You will experience His enabling as you serve Him. If you are faithful in a little, God will entrust you with more. You will be able to join Paul in praising God for having counted you faithful, putting you into His service (Luke 16:10).

Establishing the Direction

But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.2 Peter 3:18

Once the Holy Spirit’s work in our heart begins, grace, forgiveness, cleansing take on a form of almost bodily clearness.

Prayer loses its unmeaning quality and becomes a sweet conversation with Someone actually there. Love for God and for the children of God takes possession of the soul. We feel ourselves near to heaven and it is now the earth and the world that begin to seem unreal….

Then the whole life changes to suit the new reality and the change is permanent. Slight fluctuations there may be like the rise and dip of the line on a graph, but the established direction is upward and the ground taken is held.

This is not all, but it will give a fair idea of what is meant when the New Testament speaks of power, and perhaps by contrast we may learn how little of the power we enjoy. POM092-093

In every thing that belongs to the excellence of real religion, the true believer is in a state of progression. He seeks and strives, he wrestles and fights. He is ever aiming at the prize….His obedience, though not perfect, is habitual. DTC192, 204