VIDEO Loving Limitations

Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good. Romans 7:12

 

A mother tells her young children: “You may play in this children’s park, anywhere you like. But you may not play in the school playground over there.” The children ask, “Why?” And the mother explains: “Because you would have to cross this busy road which would be dangerous. So you may play here, but not there.”

Laws are meant to protect us and make our life better—not to frustrate us and limit our pleasure. Not only is that true of civil laws like speed limits, but it is also true of God’s laws. In Galatians 4:1-7, Paul used the illustration of children in his day who were guided by tutors until they matured, using the law as an example of a tutor. Just as a tutor would keep a young child from harm, so the laws of God can keep us from harm until we are old enough to understand God’s expectations and wisdom. Chafing against civil or spiritual laws is a sign of immaturity.

If there is a law, commandment, or guideline you don’t see the need for, be patient. Trust that there is a loving reason for every limitation. 

When the law of God is written in our hearts our duty will be our delight. Matthew Henry


Just When you Thought it Was Over (Romans 7:7-12)

Made for Adventure

Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Genesis 1:28

I recently made a wonderful discovery. Following a dirt path into a cluster of trees near my home, I found a hidden homemade playground. A ladder made of sticks led up to a lookout, swings made from old cable spools hung from branches, and there was even a suspension bridge slung between boughs. Someone had turned some old wood and rope into a creative adventure!

Swiss physician Paul Tournier believed that we were made for adventure because we’re made in God’s image (Genesis 1:26–27). Just as God ventured forth to invent a universe (vv. 1–25), just as He took the risk of creating humans who could choose good or evil (3:5–6), and just as He called us to “be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it” (1:28), we too have a drive to invent, take risks, and create new things as we fruitfully rule the earth. Such adventures may be large or small, but they’re best when they benefit others. I bet the makers of that playground would get a kick out of people finding and enjoying it.

Whether it’s inventing new music, exploring new forms of evangelism, or rekindling a marriage that’s grown distant, adventures of all kinds keep our heart beating. What new task or project is tugging at you right now? Perhaps God is leading you to a new adventure.

By:  Sheridan Voysey

Reflect & Pray

How else do you see God being adventurous in Scripture? How can His adventures inspire our own?

Adventurous God, send me on a new adventure out of love for You and others!

For further study, read Genesis to Revelation: Why the Whole Story of the Bible Matters.

Taking Risks

Facing danger with the Lord is always better than seeking safety apart from Him. Acts 9:1-20

Do you like playing it safe, or are you more adventurous in your choices? Many Christians don’t like risk because the outcome is uncertain and may involve loss or other unwanted results. From a human viewpoint, eliminating potential harm makes sense. But for Christians, uncertainty is part of walking by faith. There are times when obedience may seem risky to us, but from God’s perspective, there’s no danger since He controls all things and never fails to accomplish His purposes. 

The Bible tells of real people who obeyed the Lord in unpredictable situations. One of them is Ananias, a disciple sent by God to minister to the newly converted Saul. Ananias risked his life by visiting this notorious opponent of Christianity. Saul, too, lived with risk after his conversion, facing peril almost every day of his life as he obediently preached the same gospel that he’d previously opposed. By focusing on God, His character, and His promises, both of these men obeyed despite uncertainty and were used greatly by the Lord.  

Where is God calling you to trust Him? Remember, each time you face risk, it’s an opportunity to experience His faithfulness firsthand. 

The Raging Seas

“Thou rulest the raging of the sea: when the waves thereof arise, thou stillest them.” (Psalm 89:9)

There are few things in nature more fearsome or more uncontrollable by man than a mighty storm at sea. Only the One who created the waters of the sea can really control them. But He can! “For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof….He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still” (Psalm 107:25, 29).

One of the most striking demonstrations of the deity of Christ was in a storm on the Sea of Galilee when “he arose, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water: and they ceased, and there was a calm” (Luke 8:24). Note also the experience of the mariners sailing to Tarshish when they realized that the storm that was about to destroy them had been sent by the God of heaven because of Jonah. “So they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea: and the sea ceased from her raging” (Jonah 1:15).

The Scriptures also compare opponents of the gospel to a raging sea. “The wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt” (Isaiah 57:20). Similarly, Jude says that apostate teachers are like “raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame” (Jude 1:13).

Christ used this same figure to prophesy the turmoil of the ungodly nations of the world in the last days. “There shall be…upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring” (Luke 21:25). But just as God the Creator can calm the raging waves of the ocean, so God our Savior can speak peace to the nations and calm each troubled soul. As our text assures us, He rules the ragings of every sea and stills them when the waves arise. HMM

Good-for-Nothing Christians

Matthew 5:13

YE are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savor, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men” (Matt. 5:13).

Our Lord used simplest figures of speech. Believers are here set forth as the “salt of the earth.” The Christian has many saline characteristics. Salt is cleansing, and every believer—himself cleansed by the Word and the blood—should cast a purifying influence wherever he goes. Every believer should have an antiseptic influence; the very air should clear up with his presence and conversation. The true social gospel is nothing more or less than the salting of the community with the life and testimony of born-again believers. Sin is disease, sickness, and the only remedy is the gospel. We are living gospels, epistles known and read by all men, and our work is to cleanse and purify by the outliving of Christ within.

Salt is relishing—it gives seasoning flavor. Consider how flat is food that has not been salted. And the believer should have salt in himself (Mark 9:50) and not be the flat, insipid sort we find composing the greater part of our church memberships. One reason why men pay so little attention to the gospel today is the tasteless living of Christians. We make our church services as dreary as possible. Many Christians get a negative slant, and go about so dead and dull that they repel any who might be considering the claims of Christ. There should be a zest, a relish, a good flavor to our faith that puts color into life and gives it tone and makes it tasty. The average church or Christian today reminds us of bread without salt.

Salt preserves; it keeps from spoiling and putrefaction. Christians are a preservative to society. The world would have been rotten long ago but for the presence of the Holy Spirit in Christians, the salt of the earth. And when Christ takes up His saints, speedy corruption will immediately set in. It is the Church that saves the world from decay, little as the world appreciates it.

We read of the savor of the knowledge of Christ (2 Cor. 2:14). It is this that gives the salt its flavor. But the believer can become tasteless and the salt thus loses its savor. The most useless thing in the world is salt without savor. It is good for nothing. Unsavory meat can be remedied, but what can you do with unsavory salt? We read that the salt without savor is to be cast out and trodden under foot of men. Such is the fate of the castaway, who brings upon himself the contempt of even the sinning world because he professes what he does not possess.

Here is a grievous reality in our world today. Think of the thousands of lifeless, tasteless Christians who carry no flavor whatsoever—are insipid and flat. And think of the churches that merely carry on an order of service but are devoid of any seasoning grace. Such are headed for judgment, for they are good for nothing else. Let your life be salted with the knowledge of Christ. Let your speech be with grace, seasoned with salt. Don’t be a good-for-nothing Christian.

“Rest in the Lord.”

Genesis 2:1-3

We have grouped together a few of the texts which refer to the Sabbath, in order that at one reading we may have the subject before us. In the history of the creation, we have the institution of the sacred day of rest.

Genesis 2:1-3

This primitive institution was confirmed at the giving of the Law upon Sinai; and is therefore surrounded by as solemn sanctions as any other precept of the Decalogue.

Exodus 20:8-11

Mark 2:23-28

We are not, however, to regard this law as forbidding the doing of works of piety, charity, or necessity, for our Lord Jesus has awarded us full liberty on these points. He corrected Jewish misconceptions, and taught us not to make a bondage of the day of rest.

Mark 2:28

Luke 14:1-5

Our Lord performed many of his noblest cures on the Sabbath, as if to show that the day was ordained to glorify God by yielding benefit to man. If at one time more than another the healing virtue flows freely from our Lord, it is on that one day in seven which is reserved for holy uses, and is called “the Lord’s Day.” In the passage which we are about to read he shows how suitable it is that a holy day should be crowned with holy deeds of mercy and love.

O day of rest and gladness,

O day of joy and light,

O balm of care and sadness,

Most beautiful, most bright!

Thou art a cooling fountain

In life’s dry, dreary sand;

From thee, like Pisgah’s mountain,

We view our promised land.

May we, new graces gaining

From this our day of rest,

Attain the rest remaining

To spirits of the blest;

And there our voice upraising

To Father and to Son,

And Holy Ghost, be praising

Ever the Three in One.

The Bible: More Than a Volume of Facts

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. 2 Timothy 3:16

Charles G. Finney believed that Bible teaching without moral application could be worse than no teaching at all and could result in positive injury to the hearers. I used to feel that this might be an extreme position, but after years of observation have come around to it, or to a view almost identical with it.

There is scarcely anything so dull and meaningless as Bible doctrine taught for its own sake. Theology is a set of facts concerning God, man and the world. These facts may be and often are set forth as values in themselves; and there lies the snare both for the teacher and for the hearer.

The Bible is more than a volume of hitherto unknown facts about God, man and the universe. It is a book of exhortation based upon these facts. By far the greater portion of the book is devoted to an urgent effort to persuade people to alter their ways and bring their lives into harmony with the will of God as set forth in its pages.

Actually, no man is better for knowing that God in the beginning created the heaven and the earth. The devil knows that, and so did Ahab and Judas Iscariot. No man is better for knowing that God so loved the world of men that He gave His only begotten Son to die for their redemption. In hell there are millions who know that.

Theological truth is useless until it is obeyed. The purpose behind all doctrine is to secure moral action!