VIDEO Intimate Theology

Do you believe this? John 11:26

Martha believed in the power available to Jesus Christ; she believed that if He had been there He could have healed her brother; she also believed that Jesus had a special intimacy with God, and that whatever He asked of God, God would do. But— she needed a closer personal intimacy with Jesus. Martha’s theology had its fulfillment in the future. But Jesus continued to attract and draw her in until her belief became an intimate possession. It then slowly emerged into a personal inheritance— “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ…” (John 11:27).

Is the Lord dealing with you in the same way? Is Jesus teaching you to have a personal intimacy with Himself? Allow Him to drive His question home to you— “Do you believe this?” Are you facing an area of doubt in your life? Have you come, like Martha, to a crossroads of overwhelming circumstances where your theology is about to become a very personal belief? This happens only when a personal problem brings the awareness of our personal need.

To believe is to commit. In the area of intellectual learning I commit myself mentally, and reject anything not related to that belief. In the realm of personal belief I commit myself morally to my convictions and refuse to compromise. But in intimate personal belief I commit myself spiritually to Jesus Christ and make a determination to be dominated by Him alone.

Then, when I stand face to face with Jesus Christ and He says to me, “Do you believe this?” I find that faith is as natural as breathing. And I am staggered when I think how foolish I have been in not trusting Him earlier.


The great word of Jesus to His disciples is Abandon. When God has brought us into the relationship of disciples, we have to venture on His word; trust entirely to Him and watch that when He brings us to the venture, we take it.
Studies in the Sermon on the Mount

The Resurrection and the Life, John 11:25-26 – Pastor Chuck Smith – Topical Bible Study

Hope from Gehenna

Listen! I am going to bring a disaster on this place. Jeremiah 19:3

In 1979, archaeologist Gabriel Barkay unearthed two small silver scrolls. It took years to delicately unroll the metal scrolls, and each was found to contain a Hebrew etching of the blessing from Numbers 6:24–26, “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.” Scholars date the scrolls to the seventh century bc. They’re the oldest known bits of Scripture in the world.

Equally interesting is where they were found. Barkay was digging in a cave in the Valley of Hinnom, the very place where the prophet Jeremiah told the people of Judah that God would slaughter them for sacrificing their children (Jeremiah 19:4–6). This valley was the site of such wickedness that Jesus used the word “Gehenna” (a Greek form of the Hebrew name for the “Valley of Hinnom”) as a picture of hell (Matthew 23:33).

On this spot, about the time Jeremiah was announcing God’s judgment on his nation, someone was etching His future blessing onto silver scrolls. It wouldn’t happen in their lifetime, but one day—on the other side of the Babylonian invasion—God would turn His face toward His people and give them peace.

The lesson for us is clear. Even if we deserve what we have coming, we can cling to God’s promise. His heart always yearns for His people.

By:  Mike Wittmer

Reflect & Pray

What discipline from God have you deserved? How might you accept His discipline and cling to His promise of salvation?  

Father, I confess my sin and the judgment I deserve and cling to Your promise to forgive and restore.

Sunday Reflection: No Strangers to God

God knows us intimately and yet still loves us extravagantly.

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

How many people do you truly know? For most of us, the number would be small because it takes great effort and intention to love someone well. We’re finite beings and simply cannot give 100 percent of ourselves to everyone we meet. Not so with God.

Though there are 7.9 billion people on earth, the Lord knows all of them intimately. And He speaks to His children on an individual basis, according to each one’s needs and experiences. That shouldn’t surprise us—the Bible says we’re valuable to our heavenly Father (Matthew 10:29-31) and that He’s the one who wove us together in the womb (Psalm 139:13-16). But we, like David, might still marvel, Who are we to receive such personalized attention, such uninhibited love? (See Psalm 8:4.)

The realization that we’re fully known and treasured by God should fill us with gratitude. We don’t have to fight for His affection or work to gain His acceptance. We are His beloved ones, redeemed and destined to experience the “fullness of joy” that comes from being in His presence eternally (Psalm 16:11).

Think about it

  • Itemize the things you are grateful for. Offer a prayer of thanksgiving to God, listing them individually. 

Christ Our Leader

“For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.” (Hebrews 2:10)

The Lord never asks us to go anywhere that He has not gone before. He is the captain (literally, the “leader”) of our salvation, and we only need follow our divine leader. The same word is used in Hebrews 12:2, where we are exhorted to be “looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.” “Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps” (1 Peter 2:21). “Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince [same word] and a Saviour” (Acts 5:31).

The same wonderful truth appears under various figures. He is our Shepherd, for instance, and He says, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish” (John 10:27-28). He also illumines our path. “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12). He guides us along the way by His indwelling Holy Spirit. “When he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth….and he will show you things to come” (John 16:13).

With such a dauntless leader, a perfect example, a loving Shepherd, a clear light, and an infallible guide, we are (or should be) happy to follow Him, even if the way sometimes seems steep and hard.

He is the goal and prize at the end of the journey. For Him, Paul said, “I have suffered the loss of all things…that I may win Christ…forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:8, 13-14). HMM

Only the Spirit

Receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. And immediately…he received sight forthwith.Acts 9:17-18

We may be sure of one thing, that for our deep trouble there is no cure apart from a visitation, yes, an invasion of power from above.

Only the Spirit Himself can show us what is wrong with us and only the Spirit can prescribe the cure.

Only the Spirit can save us from the numbing unreality of Spiritless Christianity.

Only the Spirit can show us the Father and the Son.

Only the in working of the Spirit’s power can discover to us the solemn majesty and the heart ravishing mystery of the Triune God. POM094

This is what the Holy Spirit brings to us, the vision of the Lord, power to see divine things as God sees them. Not only does He give knowledge of the truth, but He gives the realization of it. Not only does He reveal to us the promises, but He enables us to appropriate them….The Spirit also thinks in us by giving us divine instincts, intuitions and enablements. HS571-572

Two Basic Fears

And free those who were held in slavery all their lives by the fear of death.—Hebrews 2:15

Psychologists are at pains to point out that fear is different from anxiety. Fear has a specific object, whereas anxiety is a vague and unspecified apprehension.

What, I wonder, is your biggest fear? Benjamin Rank, a social scientist, says that there are basically two forms of fear: the fear of life and the fear of death. The fear of life is the fear of having to live as an isolated individual. The fear of death is the fear of losing individuality. He says: “Between these two fear possibilities, these poles of fear, the individual is thrown back and forth all his life.”

The first fear—the fear of life—is vividly illustrated by a small boy’s comment: “I suppose the reason for twins is because little children don’t like to come into the world alone.” The fear of life makes many retreat into illness. It is a refuge from responsibility. Freud found the cause of neurosis in the past—in childhood; Jung, a disciple of Freud, found it in the present. He said: “I ask, what is the necessary task which the patient will not accomplish?” Backing out of life’s responsibilities through fear of life is a major cause of problems.

But with many, it is the fear of death that paralyzes them. Our verse today reads, in speaking of Jesus, that He is able to “free those who were held in slavery all their lives by the fear of death” (Heb 2:15). Is it necessary to live under such servitude? Of course not. When Christ has all of you, then fear can have no part of you. It is as simple as that!


Father, I am so thankful that You have made it possible for me not to be enslaved by fear. I can be free, gloriously free—and free now. Touch me in the deepest parts of my being this day and set me free from all and every fear. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Further Study

1Co 15; 2Co 5:1; Jn 11:25-26

What is the hope of every believer?

Is this your hope?

Don’t Avoid the Impossible

“They don’t need to go away,” Jesus told them. “You give them something to eat.”Matthew 14:16

Jesus asked His disciples to do something that clearly was impossible. There were five thousand men, along with their families, and they were famished. There were only five loaves of bread and two small fish—obviously not enough to feed a multitude. The cost of food for even a portion of the crowd would have far exceeded the disciples’ small budget. It may have seemed absurd to the disciples that Jesus should ask them to distribute the paltry amount of food to the massive crowd. Yet that is exactly what Jesus asked them to do. Because Jesus had given the command, the disciples obeyed and witnessed an incredible miracle.

Christ will lead you into many situations that will seem impossible, but don’t try to avoid them. Stay in the middle of them, for that is where you will experience God. The key difference between what appears to be impossible to us and what is actually possible is a word from our Master! Faith accepts His divine command and steps out in a direction that only God can complete. If you only attempt things that you know are possible with the visible resources you possess, those around you will not see God at work. You will be the one who receives the credit for a job well done, but God will have no part in it.

Take inventory of your life and the decisions you are presently facing. Have you received a word from the Master that awaits your next step of faith? If you will proceed with what He has told you, no matter how incredible it might seem, you will experience the joy of seeing your Lord perform a miracle, and so will those around you.