VIDEO Never Alone

If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me. Psalm 139:9-10

Though the laws of physics are much more complicated, for practical purposes we can say that two physical objects cannot occupy the same physical space at the same time. Conversely, a single physical object cannot occupy two different physical spaces at the same time. But the Bible has a different take on these general laws.

Theologians say God is omnipresent—He is everywhere at the same time. So He can be “here” and “there.” That means we are never separated from the presence of God. Wherever we are, God is also there. The psalmist David wrote extensively about God’s omnipresence in Psalm 139:1-18. He concluded by asking God to search and know his “anxious thoughts” (verse 23, NASB). God could know David’s anxieties because He was always with David. And He is also with you—so He knows your “anxious thoughts” as well.

God is love, so you are never separated from God’s love, regardless of where you are or how you feel.

Though our feelings come and go, [God’s] love for us does not. C. S. Lewis

Here, There, and Everywhere – Psalm 139:7-12 – Skip Heitzig

Be Filled

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Matthew 5:6

The horrific assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. happened at the height of the American civil rights movement of the 1960s. But just four days later, his widow Coretta Scott King courageously took her husband’s place in leading a peaceful protest march. Coretta had a deep passion for justice and was a fierce champion of many causes.

Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled” (Matthew 5:6). We know that someday God will come to deliver justice and right every wrong, but until that time, we have the opportunity to participate in making God’s justice a reality on earth, just like Coretta did. Isaiah 58 paints a vivid picture of what God calls His people to do: loose the chains of injustice . . . set the oppressed free . . . share your food with the hungry . . . provide the poor wanderer with shelter . . . clothe [the naked], . . . and [do not] turn away [from those who need help]” (vv. 6–7). Seeking justice for the oppressed and the marginalized is one way our lives point back to God. Isaiah writes that His people seeking justice is like the light of dawn and results in healing for them as well as for others (v. 8).

Today, may God help us cultivate a hunger for His righteousness here on earth. As we seek justice His way and in His power, the Bible says we’ll be satisfied.

By:  Karen Pimpo

Reflect & Pray

What’s one injustice that draws your attention? How could you take a step toward doing what’s just and right today?

Give me a hunger for justice, God. Help me be a part of Your work in doing what’s right.

Misplaced Priorities

When our top priority is to please God with our life, we can expect treasure in heaven. Luke 12:13-21

Jesus’ parable of the foolish wealthy man is a study in misplaced priorities. The man neglected God and spent his life greedily accumulating treasure for himself on earth. Then he died with no opportunity to enjoy his goods. But worse than that, he died with a bankrupt soul.

Serving the Lord is the key to setting goals that will benefit us eternally. The question we ought to ask is not What shall I do? but, rather, What does God want me to do? The answer—which should be prayerfully sought and biblically evaluated—dictates which things we must put first to please the Lord. 

Life isn’t something that simply happens to us. Where we are today is largely determined by the priorities we set previously. This means we can also begin the process of re-evaluating them according to biblical guidelines and changing those that are misplaced. 

What do you prioritize in life? There’s nothing wrong with having earthly plans and goals, but we should also store up treasure in heaven, which can never be lost. Our top priority should be to live a life that honors the Lord. 

The Honest Use of Scripture

“Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.” (Mark 7:13)

Jesus uttered these sharp words of rebuke to the scribes and Pharisees, who had encumbered the plain teachings of Scripture with numerous “interpretations” that enabled them to ignore whatever teachings they found inconvenient. The Lord Jesus Himself always took the Scriptures literally and as of divine authority, and so should we.

Furthermore, He taught that every word was true and authoritative: “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled” (Matthew 5:18). He also said that “the scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35).

Skeptics may pose certain difficulties in the Bible, evolutionists may ridicule its account of creation, and sinners in general may try to wriggle away from its moral constraints, but the Scripture cannot be broken! Jesus said, “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day” (John 12:48). He Himself is the living Word of God, and we dare not tamper with the written Word inspired by the Holy Spirit. Christ, of course, could and did in some cases extend and apply the Old Testament Scriptures, because He Himself was their Author, but He never questioned their factuality or literal accuracy, and neither should we.

Nevertheless, many modern “Christian” intellectuals and cultists are following in the example of the Pharisees rather than that of Christ, “wresting” the Scriptures for their gain but “unto their own destruction” (2 Peter 3:16). God has spoken plainly in His Word. It is our responsibility to believe and do what He says. HMM

New Wine in Old Bottles

Matthew 9:9-17

THE synoptic Gospels record in detail the call of Matthew the publican and the dinner that followed in his home. The story of his call is brief but sufficient. Our Lord passed by and said, “Follow Me,” and he arose and followed Him. If Jesus had been aiming at popularity, He would never have summoned this despised tax-collector to be one of the twelve. But our Lord saw in him the writer of a Gospel, and present station meant nothing. It is significant that Christ called a busy man.

The call was followed by dinner at Matthews house, where the scribes and Pharisees were offended at His eating with publicans and sinners. He answers with irony. The publicans know they are sick and have availed themselves of the Great Physician; the Pharisees think they have no need of Christ. He declares that He came to call sinners to repentance and not the righteous, not meaning that the Pharisees were righteous but, since they thought themselves so, He did not expect them to welcome Him. It parallels His statement in John 9:39: “For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.” “The rich He sent empty away.”

Our Lord justifies His action by quoting Hosea 6:6: “I will have mercy and not sacrifice.” How we need to go and learn experimentally what much of the Word means! How terrible to be a stickler for form and observance and know not that love and mercy without which religion is but a hollow farce!

Then followed the question about feasting and fasting, why John’s disciples fasted and Jesus’ disciples feasted. Our Lord compares Himself and His disciples to a bridal party. When the Bridegroom has gone, it will be time enough to fast. Notice it is the disciples of John who raise this question instigated by the Pharisees; how readily the devil uses any apparent rift among disciples to further his own ends! Our Lord’s skillful answer cast no reproach on John’s disciples, yet vindicated His own.

Then He uses the figure of new cloth on an old garment and new wine in old bottles—skin bottles, of course, being in mind. In other words, the practices of John’s disciples were suited to his teaching and so were those of Christ’s disciples, and any attempt to mix them or graft the practices of one upon the other would be harmful. To patch up the Judaism of John with the new observances of Christ would make a mongrel mixture. The new practices, the greater liberties of Christ’s disciples, befit the new dispensation. Luke adds a peculiar statement (5:39): “No man also having drunk old wine straightway desireth new; for he saith, The old is better.” Do not expect men long accustomed to Judaism to change overnight. We must not expect too sudden a change to new doctrine. Here is a warning to all who have no patience with tradition and want immediate and “straightway” acceptance of new truths. Be patient: in due time the new wine will become old. Nothing is more needful than that we shall be considerate of those who have long cherished another viewpoint. We can be too hasty with them, and we must not demand instantaneous overnight sympathy with new practices. Practice must bring familiarity, and in due time the new wine will taste better.

“He will ever be mindful of His covenant.”

Genesis 9:8-17

In this portion we have fuller particulars of the gracious covenant made with Noah and his seed.

Genesis 9:8-11

To those who have been saved in Christ no future destruction is possible. They are for ever secure from the floods of wrath.

Genesis 9:14

The covenant sign is seen in cloudy times when faith most requires a seal of the Lord’s faithfulness. No cloud, no bow. It is worth while to have a cloud to have a rainbow painted upon it.

Genesis 9:16

This is better than man’s looking upon it, for He will never gaze with forgetful eye.

The word everlasting has heavenly music in it. A temporary covenant is of small value, but an everlasting covenant is a wellspring of delight.

Genesis 9:17

The rainbow is thus made the lovely symbol of God’s truth. A bow unstrung, for war is over; a bow without a string never to be used against us; a bow turned upward, that we may direct our thoughts and prayers thither; a bow of bright colours, for joy and peace are signified by it. Blessed arch of beauty, be thou to us ever the Lord’s preacher.

We will now turn to a passage in the prophets where the covenant of divine grace is linked with this bow.

Isaiah 54:4-10

Isaiah 54:10

Let us henceforth be ashamed to doubt the Lord. These steadfast signs should create in us unstaggering confidence in the faithfulness of our immutable God. Only let us make sure that we are exercising true faith in Him.

The warm affections of his breast

Towards his chosen burn;

And in his love he’ll ever rest,

Nor from his oath return.

Still to confirm his oath of old,

See in the heavens his bow;

No fierce rebukes, but joys untold

Await his children now.

The Grace of God Cannot Be Extinguished

And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. 1 Timothy 1:14

Brethren, we should be keenly aware that the living God can no more hide His grace than the sun can hide its brightness!

We must keep in mind also that the grace of God is infinite and eternal. Being an attribute of God, it is as boundless as infinitude!

The Old Testament is indeed a book of law, but not of law only. Before the great flood Noah “found grace in the eyes of the Lord,” and after the law was given God said to Moses, “Thou hast found grace in my sight.”

There never was a time when the law did not represent the will of God for mankind nor a time when the violation of it did not bring its own penalty, though God was patient and sometimes “winked” at wrongdoing because of the ignorance of the people.

The great source and spring of Christian morality is the love of Christ Himself, not the law of Moses; nevertheless there has been no abrogation of the principles of morality contained in the law. The grace of God made sainthood possible in Old Testament days just as it does today!

God has promised that He will always be Himself. Men may flee from the sunlight to dark and musty caves of the earth, but they cannot put out the sun. So men may in any dispensation despise the grace of God, but they cannot extinguish it!