VIDEO Life: An Unalienable Right

“For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.” — Luke 1:44

Close your eyes for a moment, and pay attention to some things you probably take for granted most days: the beating of your heart, your lungs filling with oxygen, your muscles supporting and moving your body. These are gifts life gives us.

Today is the anniversary of the Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade, which has resulted in the death of tens of millions of unborn babies in this nation. “Abortion stops a beating heart,” says the National Right to Life Committee. Aborted babies never get to enjoy the life-giving gifts that you and I take for granted every day.

The late Dr. Francis Schaeffer said in one of his last messages that the right to life is more basic than the right to liberty, the right to the pursuit of happiness, or any other right. Indeed, if you lie dead in your coffin, you don’t care how many shackles and chains have been wrapped around you, nor do you care how much money you have in your bank account. If you don’t have life, you don’t have anything.

But the right to life is challenged by those who assert an inherent right to choose. People in favor of abortion call themselves “pro-choice.” But I don’t agree with that term. After all, the unborn baby has no choice at all in the matter. (I’m reminded of the bumper sticker “Equal rights for unborn women.”) To those who are pro-choice, I can only encourage you to seek God’s heart in this matter.

Maybe someone you know has had an abortion. Maybe you yourself have had one. In either case, remember that the God who gives life also grants mercy. God offers grace and forgiveness to all who flee to the Cross, confess their sins, and ask Him to forgive their sins. You can be sure of that.

Meanwhile, we should all pray that this horrible practice will end. Today, every time you’re aware of your heart beating, ask God to reestablish the right to life in our nation.

““And if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another?””

Mother Teresa

Mary’s Visit to Elizabeth (Luke 1:39–45) — A Sermon by R.C. Sproul

Lost, Found, Joy

Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep. Luke 15:6

“They call me ‘the ringmaster.’ So far this year I’ve found 167 lost rings.”

During a walk on the beach with my wife, Cari, we struck up a conversation with an older man who was using a metal detector to scan an area just below the surf line. “Sometimes rings have names on them,” he explained, “and I love seeing their owners’ faces when I return them. I post online and check to see if anyone contacted lost and found. I’ve found rings missing for years.” When we mentioned that I enjoy metal detecting as well but didn’t do it frequently, his parting words were, “You never know unless you go!”           

We find another kind of “search and rescue” in Luke 15. Jesus was criticized for caring about people who were far from God (vv. 1–2). In reply, He told three stories about things that were lost and then found—a sheep, a coin, and a son. The man who finds the lost sheep “joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me’ ” (vv. 5–6). All the stories are ultimately about finding lost people for Christ, and the joy that comes as they’re found in Him.

Jesus came “to seek and to save the lost” (19:10), and He calls us to follow Him in loving people back to God (see Matthew 28:19). The joy of seeing others turn to Him awaits. We’ll never know unless we go.

By:  James Banks

Reflect & Pray

What joy have you seen when people turn to God? How will you point others to Jesus’ love today?

Thank You, Jesus, for finding and loving me! Please send me in Your joy to another who needs You today.

Sunday Reflection: Staying Close to God

Sometimes we may feel far away from our Father, but nothing can alter our relationship with Him

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

A devastating event can certainly strain how we see our relationship with God, but sometimes it’s the everyday grind and goings-on—the mundane things—that most distract us. Yet there’s no need to spiral into shame about the struggle to remain aware of (and present with) Him. In fact, it’s often in the stuff of daily life that we best learn how to maintain a rich connection with the Lord. And when nothing else is helping, we have the gift of His creation to lead our hearts home.

Remember that there’s nothing wrong with struggling to stay focused—we all go through days, weeks, or seasons where connecting feels a little harder. Instead of concentrating on our frustrations and failures, we can choose instead to nurture gratitude in our heart. Connecting with God’s Word daily positions us to hear from Him. And let’s be watchful for the many opportunities our loving Father provides for us to practice knowing Him better.

Think about it

• Isaiah 40:11 says, “Like a shepherd He will tend His flock, in His arms He will gather the lambs and carry them in the fold of His robe; He will gently lead the nursing ewes.” What do you enjoy about this description of God?

God’s Sovereignty Over All

“So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations.” (Matthew 1:17)

This verse follows a detailed genealogy leading to the family in which Christ was born in Joseph’s lineage. When we look at these verses, we should be thankful for God’s sovereignty over the affairs of humans.

First, as Matthew points out, through God’s plan He ordained that exactly 14 generations should separate four key pivotal points in biblical history: 1) the giving of the promise of God’s seed (Christ) to Abraham, 2) the messianically prophetic rule of King David, 3) the prophetic period of time until Judah’s destruction and exile to Babylon, and 4) the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ.

The second thing we notice is that this lineage, while having a number of godly parents, also contains wicked and evil sons. But at the end of this list of names comes the God-man, the Lord Jesus Christ. Even though Christ is the eternal God, He humbled Himself to become a man, lived a sinless life, and became our prophesied redemption. His genealogy is another good example of how God uses the failings of evil men to bring about His purposes.

In the same way, God demonstrated His goodness in the life of the patriarch Joseph, who had been sold into slavery, falsely accused and imprisoned, and then made the second-highest ruler in Egypt. With hindsight, Joseph said, “Ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive” (Genesis 50:20). JPT

The Sower

Matthew 13:1-9; 18-23

IN the thirteenth chapter of Matthew, our Lord reaches a turning point in His teaching. He had come to the Jew first, to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, and had presented Himself as the Messiah, and they had refused Him. He then presents in parable form the mystery of the gospel in the Church age—a truth that had not been revealed to the prophets, having been kept secret from the beginning, as our Lord plainly stated (Matt. 13:35). He spoke in parables that His disciples might catch the deeper meanings, while blinded Jews—as Isaiah had prophesied—would hear but not understand.

These parables do not teach world conversion but rather the saving of a few, and a final judgment and separation. The parable of the sower, interpreted by our Lord Himself, shows only one-fourth of the sown seed of the Word taking permanent root. Four types of human soil are presented: the superficial, upon whom no lasting impression is made; the emotional, making a fine start but not persevering; the preoccupied, soon choked out by earthly cares; and the truly receptive and productive. Here is encouragement in preaching, for at least one out of four will receive the seed and bear fruit. Yet here is warning against expecting universal acceptance of the gospel, for the three other types will last until the end.

The Word of God will not return void, for it will accomplish His purpose; but we must ever remember that it does not profit unless it is mixed with faith (Heb. 4:2). Seed falling by the wayside indicates that there are those who do not understand the message and who do not care or even try to understand it. They give no earnest heed to the things which they have heard; they go to church and sit politely as did the people before Ezekiel (Ezek. 33:30-33). They hear but heed not, and the devil, ever watchful, snatches away the Word before they get home from church.

Then there are those of the stony ground, who go further than the first group. They receive the Word, a good beginning is made, but they do not hold fast that which is good. They taste the good Word of God, but while they endure for a while, they do not endure until the end. When trouble—which works for the faithful a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory—arrives, these fall away.

The third kind also springs up; there is a beginning made, but worldly cares distract—as they did to Martha, so that she neglected the main thing. The deceitfulness of riches, the love of money which is the root of all evil, soon chokes the Word, and the young inquirer goes away grieved, having great possessions—and having nothing! It is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom because of the exceeding danger of earthly cares and fortunes.

The true believer hears the Word and understands it, being taught of the Spirit. He is also a fruitful believer although there are degrees of fruitfulness. Their hearts are honest and good, and they “bring forth fruit with patience” (Luke 8:15). Therefore we should take heed how we hear; for “whosoever hath, to him shall be given; and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have” (Luke 8:18).

“He ever liveth to make intercession.”

Hebrews 7:1-25

It would be unwise to pass by the story of Melchizedek without noticing its typical meaning. This is fully expounded to us in—

Hebrews 7:1-3

No ancestors, or predecessors, or successors to Melchisedec are mentioned, and the apostle finds a meaning in the silence of Scripture. Some will not learn from what the Bible plainly says; but the apostle could learn even from what it does not say. In Melchisedec the regal and priestly offices were united, and he received his priesthood not by inheritance, but by an immediate divine ordination. In. these things he was eminently a type of our Lord Jesus.

Hebrews 7:13, 14

Therefore our Lord did not receive the priesthood by descent, but, like Melchisedec, his ordination was direct from God.

Hebrews 7:15-17

This is the inspired testimony of David in Psalm 110., where he speaks of the Lord Jesus as his Lord, and salutes him as king and priest.

Hebrews 7:20-22

The priesthood of Jesus therefore deals with sure things which cannot pass away or change, since the oath of God confirms them.

Hebrews 7:23-25

Jesus resembles Melchisedec in being both king and priest, in having no predecessor or successor in office, and in being greater than the Levitical Priesthood. He is a priest for ever by the oath of God, and we who trust in him have this sweet consolation that our Great High Priest ever lives, is always in power, is always accessible, and always ready to perform his office on our behalf.

Thou dear Redeemer, dying Lamb,

We love to hear of thee;

No music’s like thy charming name,

Nor half so sweet can be.

Oh may we ever hear thy voice,

In mercy to us speak;

And in our Priest we will rejoice,

Thou great Melchizedek.

Getting Glory for God or for Ourselves?

Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31

I think that we ought to be mature enough to confess that many have been converted to Christ and have come into the church without wrestling with that basic human desire for honor and praise. As a result, some have actually spent a lifetime in religious work doing little more than getting glory for themselves!

Brethren, the glory can belong only to God! If we take the glory, God is being frustrated in the church.

The work of the ministry which the saints are to do will bring about the edifying of the Body of Christ—and this is not just in reference to the ordained ministry as we know it. It is the ministry of all Christians to have some share in the building up of the Body of Christ until we all come into the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God unto a perfect man, with a measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.

Surely in this sense God desires to use the Body of Christ for doing His final work—His eternal work.

But Christian believers and Christian congregations must be thoroughly consecrated to Christ’s glory alone!

This means absolutely turning our backs on the modern insistence for human glory and recognition.

Natural gifts and talents are not enough in God’s work. The mighty Spirit of God must have freedom to animate and quicken with His overtones of creativity and blessing.

You can write it down as a fact: no matter what a man does, no matter how successful he seems to be, if the Holy Spirit is not the chief energizer of his activity, it will all fall apart when he dies!