VIDEO One for the Road

Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 1 Corinthians 6:19

Major Ian Thomas, a British expositor, described a foolish man who was trying to push his car when it was filled with gasoline and capable of running on its own. He said that’s how many people try to live the Christian life—in their own strength and by their own efforts. But only Christ can live a life of godliness. He wants to do it through us by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit.[1]

As we walk in the Spirit, we become more and more like Jesus because He is controlling more and more of us.

That perspective adjusts the way we look at difficulty. The devil seeks to harm us, but God uses every peril and problem to develop a more disciplined, Christlike, Christ-filled, Christ-empowered life. What a blessing to have a Heavenly Father who desires us to be more like Him! As we walk with Him, let’s thank Him for the daily work of the Spirit in our life.

The Christian life is nothing less than the life which He lived then… lived now by Him in you!
Ian Thomas

[1] Major W. Ian Thomas, The Indwelling Life of Christ (Colorado Springs, CO: Multnomah Books, 2006), 53-55.


Gluttony: Society’s Most Acceptable Sin – 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 – Skip Heitzig

But I’m Telling You

But I tell you, love your enemies. Matthew 5:44

“I know what they’re saying. But I’m telling you . . .” As a boy, I heard my mother give that speech a thousand times. The context was always peer pressure. She was trying to teach me not to follow the herd. I’m not a boy any longer, but herd mentality’s still alive and kicking. A current example is this phrase: “Only surround yourself with positive people.” Now while that phrase may be commonly heard, the question we must ask is: “Is that Christlike?”    

“But I’m telling you . . .” Jesus uses that lead-in a number of times in Matthew 5. He knows full well what the world is constantly telling us. But His desire is that we live differently. In this case, He says, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (v. 44). Later in the New Testament, the apostle Paul uses that very word to describe guess who? That’s right: us—“while we were God’s enemies” (Romans 5:10). Far from some “do as I say, not as I do,” Jesus backed up His words with actions. He loved us, and gave His life for us.

What if Christ had only made room in His life for “positive people”? Where would that leave us? Thanks be to God that His love is no respecter of persons. For God so loved the world, and in His strength we are called to do likewise. 

By:  John Blase

Reflect & Pray

When’s the last time someone extended love to you when you weren’t “positive”? What’s a tangible way today that you can show love to an enemy?

Father, it’s tempting to surround myself with only those who love me. But that’s not living, at least not the kind of living You desire for me. Help me to love even my enemies.

Training in Godliness

Loving parents teach their children that there are consequences for disobedience Deuteronomy 6:4-9

As Christian parents, we desire to help our children mature into godly men and women. We want them to trust Jesus as their Lord and Savior and to realize God has a plan for them and they are accountable to Him. 

I remember teaching my children from a young age about these truths because I wanted biblical principles to shape their thinking and choices. If kids think their only accountability is to parents, then when they’re apart from Mom and Dad, they’re likely to think they don’t have to answer to anyone. 

Protecting children through discipline is another aspect of godly parenting. When this is done with love, it helps them understand the wisdom of God’s boundaries and the importance of self-control. They need to know that there are painful consequences for disobedience, whether to parents or to the Lord.

Training in godliness should begin early in a child’s life, even before he or she understands God’s plan of salvation. Then as our children grow, we should continue teaching them the truths of Scripture and interceding for them. Let’s never stop modeling righteousness or encouraging our sons and daughters in their relationship with God.

Walk by Faith

“For we walk by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7)

Although today’s verse appears in parentheses in the King James Bible, it is a most important concept in Scripture and is the summary of an extensive passage that precedes it. Beginning with 2 Corinthians 4:8, Paul continually contrasts the seen and the unseen, finishing up with the admonition to “walk by faith.”

“We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed” (vv. 8-9). Though we have trials on the outside, through faith we have inward triumph.

“Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus…that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh” (vv. 10-11). Even though “death worketh in us,” that same persecution results in “life in you” (v. 12). Through faith we know “that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus” (v. 14).

“Though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (vv. 16-17).

“If our earthly house [i.e., body] of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” (5:1) “that mortality might be swallowed up of life” (v. 4). The death and decay of this life will ultimately be eradicated. We know this to be fact, for He “hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit” (v. 5) as a guarantee of our resurrection, if indeed we have been born again by faith, the same faith by which we walk.

“While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18). JDM

The Twelve Sent Forth

Matthew 10:1-23

THE sending forth of the disciples upon their first preaching tour (Matt. 10; Mark 6:7-13; Luke 9:1-6) has been the favorite pretext of misguided fanatics through the centuries. Time and again, some erratic soul has taken these commands literally and endeavored to practice them even to the point of the sandals and staff. They overlook the very first statement of our Lord in Matthew’s account—that this mission was purely local and temporary, to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Later on (Luke 22:35-36) when they must face a hostile Gentile world, they are given entirely different instructions and bidden to provide themselves with swords.

But it is also true that in Matthews account, further on in our Lord’s discourse (vv. 16-23), He seems to go beyond the immediate application, giving a prophecy about the trials and persecutions which they would undergo following His ascension. There we have an application that stretches through all the Gospel age.

Next He says: “Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come.” While there is a sense in which Christ “came” in the destruction of Jerusalem, or even earlier in the empowering of the Spirit of Pentecost, we are looking here at the ministry of the faithful remnant of Israel in the last days before our Lord’s second advent. The disciples prefigured the faithful witnesses in the time of Israel’s great trouble before our Lord comes in judgment.

The rest of Jesus’ message to the twelve contains general principles applicable to any age. What He had declared to them privately must be proclaimed aloud, without fear of men who could destroy only the body. Note that our Lord declares that He came not to bring peace but a sword and that He is the great divider, separating even families in their allegiance to or rejection of Him. In these days when light and easy things are being said of our Lord and He is pictured as the Great Pacifist with a gospel of brotherhood, sweetness and light, we need to remember that really Jesus Christ has been and is the most dividing force in all history! He who is not with Him is against Him, and he who gathers not with Him scatters abroad—so with the sharp, two-edged sword of the Word, Jesus Christ splits the whole human race asunder to the right and to the left. He unifies those who are in Him, but He is the great Divider of humanity—and this age will see division to the end over the supreme issue. Where do we stand with regard to Christ? His gospel is the savor of life unto life or of death unto death, and by Him the thoughts of all men are revealed.

Although many of the literal commands of this commission of the twelve are not for us, it would be a great day if His witnesses now so comfortably settled in established positions could go forth with the abandon of these early missionaries. Alas, with too many of us, the adventure of the Cross has become a fixed professionalism. We need the old abandon of those who, having freely received, freely gave.

“Lie not one to another.”

Genesis 12:10-20

Genesis 12:13

To say that she was his sister was part of the truth, but the intention was to deceive. Whether what we say be true or not, if our object be to mislead others, we are guilty of falsehood. Let us pray for grace to be strictly truthful.

Genesis 12:16

Yet surely these gifts must have given Abram but little pleasure; he must have felt mean in spirit and sick at heart.

Genesis 12:19

It must have been very humbling to the man of God to be rebuked by a heathen. It is sad indeed when the worldling shames the believer; yet it is too often the case.

Genesis 12:20

From this Scripture we learn that the best of men, though in the path of duty, will nevertheless have their trials. It is Abram, he is a pilgrim according to God’s command, and yet he is afflicted by the famine which falls upon the land in which he dwells. Trials find out the weak places in good men, and even the holy patriarch had some blemishes. He went into Egypt, into a land where he had no right to be: he was out of the path of duty, and therefore out of the place of safety. On the devil’s ground he was in slippery places, and found it hard to maintain his uprightness. He equivocated, in order to save himself and Sarai; he deceived Pharaoh by telling him only half the truth, and he exposed his wife to great peril: all this arose out of the unbelief which marred even the mighty faith of the father of the faithful. The best of men are but men at the best, and this record suffices to show us that even the chief of the patriarchs was a man of like passions with ourselves. Why can we not have Abram’s faith, since Abram had our infirmities? The same Spirit can work in us also a majestic faith, and lead us to triumph by its power.

Genesis 13:1-4

Genesis 13:1

He did not feel safe till he had returned to his separated condition. Association with the world is not good for the believer’s soul. The more he is a sojourner with his God, and a separatist from sinners, the better.

Genesis 13:2-4

Doubtless he confessed his sinful weakness, and renewed the allegiance of his faith in God. If we have erred or backslidden, let us also return to our first love, to that Bethel where first we set up an altar unto the Lord.

Oh send thy Spirit down, to write

Thy law upon my heart!

Nor let my tongue indulge deceit,

Nor act the liar’s part.

Order my footsteps by thy word,

And make my heart sincere;

Let sin have no dominion, Lord,

But keep my conscience clear.

.

Obedience: The Final Test of Love for Christ

He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me… and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. John 14:21

The final test of love is obedience, not sweet emotions, not willingness to sacrifice, not zeal, but obedience to the commandments of Christ!

Our Lord drew a line plain and tight for everyone to see. On one side He placed those who keep His commandments and said, “These love Me.” On the other side He put those who keep not His sayings, and said, “These love Me not.”

The commandments of Christ occupy in the New Testament a place of importance that they do not have in current evangelical thought. The idea that our relation to Christ is revealed by our attitude to His commandments is now considered legalistic by many influential Bible teachers, and the plain words of our Lord are rejected outright or interpreted in a manner to make them conform to religious theories ostensibly based upon the epistles of Paul.

The Christian cannot be certain of the reality and depth of his love until he comes face to face with the commandments of Christ and is forced to decide what to do about them. Then he will know!

I think we should turn for a while from finespun theological speculations about grace and faith and humbly read the New Testament with a mind to obey what we see there. Love for Christ is a love of willing, as well as a love of feeling, and it is psychologically impossible to love Him adequately unless we will to obey His words!