VIDEO Slow to Chide

For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust. Psalm 103:14


Most believers live with a sense of sanctified dissatisfaction. We want to emulate the emotions, attitudes, reactions, and habits of Christ. We long to perfectly please Him. But we’re not perfect, nor will we be until we get to heaven. This holy dissatisfaction should evermore prompt us toward greater personal holiness. But we must also realize God knows all about our imperfections, and He isn’t surprised when we fail.

The great hymn, “Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven” by Henry Lyte has a wonderful phrase to encourage us. The second stanza says: “Praise Him for His grace and favor to our fathers in distress! Praise Him still the same for ever, slow to chide, and swift to bless!”

Whenever you stumble or fall, confess your sin quickly and ask for God’s help in the future. We should keep growing. But don’t keep beating yourself up over forgiven sin. Remember—He knows our frame, that we are dust. But in His wondrous grace, He is slow to chide and swift to bless.

Fatherlike He tends and spares us; well our feeble frame He knows. In His hands He gently bears us, rescues us from all our foes. Henry Lyte

Psalm 103 – Bless the LORD, O My Soul

A Baboon, a Donkey, and Me

Then the Lord opened the donkey’s mouth. Numbers 22:28

Jack knew how to put trains on the right track. In nine years of work, he never missed a track switch as locomotives drew near the Uitenhage, South Africa, station, indicating by their whistles the direction they were to go.

Jack was also a chacma baboon. He was cared for by railway signalman James Wide, and Jack in turn took care of James. Wide had lost both his legs in a fall between moving rail cars. He trained Jack to help him with tasks around the house and soon Jack assisted him at work also, learning how to respond to the incoming trains’ signals by pulling corresponding levers for their tracks.

The Bible tells of another animal that helped someone in a surprising way—Balaam’s donkey. Balaam was a pagan prophet serving a king who intended to harm Israel. As the prophet was riding his donkey en route to assist the king, “the Lord opened the donkey’s mouth” and it spoke to Balaam (Numbers 22:28). The donkey’s speech was part of the way God opened “Balaam’s eyes” (v. 31), warned him of imminent danger, and kept him from harming His people.

A railway baboon? A talking donkey? Why not? If God can use these amazing animals for good purposes, it’s not at all far-fetched to believe He can use you and me as well. Looking to Him and seeking His strength, we can accomplish more than we ever thought possible.

By:  James Banks

Reflect & Pray

Whom have you seen God use unexpectedly? What will you do to make yourself available to Him today?

I want to serve You, God! Use my hands, my feet, my mouth, whatever You like! Help me to live for You today.

Sowing to the Spirit

Are you planting seeds that result in a good harvest for you and others? James 3:13-18

Yesterday we discussed how, in all of our choices, we either sow to the flesh or sow to the Spirit (Galatians 6:8). We plant seeds that affect what kind of person we’re growing into and the level of impact our life will have for the Lord. 

The “flesh” is the part of us that wants to live and act independently of God. We all must deal with the strong pull of this attitude; it doesn’t simply vanish when we’re saved. However, the Holy Spirit ensures that we’re not enslaved to the flesh. He begins to change us so we can live according to the truth. The choices we make contribute to the process of transformation, and when they’re in alignment with the Spirit’s work, they plant good seed that results in even more new growth. 

When you’re sowing to the Spirit, you’re accepting God’s truth into your mind and heart. The fruit of the Spirit grows naturally from this seed of godly truth and influences every aspect of your life. When you feed your spirit with the things of God, you’re going to become stronger, more Christlike, and full of His life in your thoughts and actions. 

Are you feeding your spirit or the part of you that wants to act independently of God? Choose to sow seeds that build you up, letting streams of living water flow from you to nourish others (John 7:37-39). 

Jesus Sees and Cares

“Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.” (John 5:19)

What the Father sees, the Son sees, and what the Father does, the Son does, for “I and my Father are one,” said the Lord Jesus (John 10:30). God sees everything, of course, for “the eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good” (Proverbs 15:3), but it is noteworthy that there are just seven occasions where John’s gospel stresses specifically that Jesus saw a particular event and then took special action to do something about it.

At Jesus’ baptism, two seekers followed Him, and “Jesus turned, and saw them following” (John 1:38). He invited them to come, and they followed Him from that day on. Nathanael, a devout Jew, also followed Him when Jesus said, “When thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee” (v. 48).

There was an incurable cripple at a pool, and “when Jesus saw him lie” (John 5:6), He said, “Rise,…and immediately the man was made whole” (vv. 8-9). There was a hungry multitude. “Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him,” and He prayed, and soon “they were filled” (6:5, 12).

Next, Jesus “saw a man which was blind from his birth,” and soon the once-sightless man could testify, “Whereas I was blind, now I see” (9:1, 25). Not only the lame and blind, but also the grieving came to His attention. When Mary’s brother Lazarus died, Jesus “saw her weeping.” Then “Jesus wept,” and soon “he that was dead came forth” (11:33, 35, 44). Finally, even while Christ was dying on the cross, He “saw his mother” and provided for her care (19:26).

Jesus sees those who hurt, or grieve, or hunger, and He cares. For, after all, He is our Father. HMM

“The Faith of God”

Mark 11:22

OUR Lord, in the presence of the withered fig tree, said to His disciples: “Have faith in God” (Mark 11:22). Really He said, “Have the faith of God.” Then He went on to say, “Whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.”

Now here is a bona-fide promise in black and white, and if we actually believed these words, our lives would be revolutionized until we would almost need to be introduced to ourselves! What kind of faith is this?

It is God’s faith, not ours. We cannot stir up mountain-moving faith. It is the same faith by which we believe unto salvation (Eph. 2:8). The faith by which we live is the faith of the Son of God, not merely faith in Him (Gal. 2:20). Yet the sinner must will to believe; when he does, God gives him faith to believe. This same faith he must now exercise, and it increases by exercises. And don’t forget that it is nourished on the Word of God: “Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God” (Rom. 10:17). “Many of them which heard the word believed” (Acts 4:4).

This faith desires: “What things soever ye desire.” Only those who hunger and thirst after righteousness really are filled, and only those who really desire great things from God ever get them. There is no real concern today, no burden to see mountains move!

God’s faith forgives. Our Lord goes on to say in Mark 11:25-26 that we are to forgive, and that if we forgive not, our Father will not forgive. We can pray with confidence toward God only when our hearts condemn us not, and an unforgiving spirit does not make for a conscience void of offense.

Then God’s faith asks: “Every one that asketh receiveth.” We are told to ask, seek, knock, which means progressive praying that moves on with importunity until it gets what it seeks. Here is no superficial sentence-praying, but real supplication and intercession.

God’s faith wills. Jesus said to the Syrophenician woman, “O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt” (Matt. 15:28). When we are fully yielded to God, He works in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure (Phil. 2:13). He wills through us the things that are in His will, and such things of course we receive.

God’s faith commands: “Whosoever shall say, Be thou removed.” God has told us to command Him concerning the work of His hands (Isa. 45:11). When we pray the prayer of faith we may come boldly, for we speak with the authority of another.

God’s faith believes. Having asked and commanded, it believes it shall receive. Like Hannah, the believer goes away with his countenance no more sad, resting in the Lord. Like Abraham, he staggers not at the promise of God. God’s faith never fails. We are plainly promised that we shall receive. God’s faith will remove any mountain God wants moved. A life utterly yielded, fed on the Word, with sin confessed, seeking God’s glory—in such a life God will plant a mighty faith that will move mountains.

“O give thanks unto the Lord.”

Psalm 105

The Psalmist commemorates the providential care of the Lord towards the chosen family in the delightful verses of—

Psalm 105:1

Thankfulness should sweeten our spirit, worship should be our delight, and to make known the goodness of the Lord our constant employment.

Psalm 105:2

Both singing and talking ought to be consecrated to the Lord’s honour, though, alas! they are too often desecrated to the most unworthy purposes.

Psalm 105:3

We are very prone to glory in something; wise are they who glory only in the Lord.

Psalm 105:4

Even when we have found him and know his love, let us press onward and seek him more and more.

Psalm 105:5, 6

Those who receive special favours should consider themselves under peculiar obligations to glorify God by publishing abroad his goodness and power.

Psalm 105:8

Glory be to God, he has never ceased to be faithful to the covenant of grace. It is ordered in all things and sure, and not one word of it has ever fallen to the ground. His promises stand fast for ever, firm as the throne of the I AM.

Psalm 105:15

With ease the surrounding potentates might have crushed the chosen race while one single tent could hold them; but the Preserver of men mysteriously guarded them, as evermore he keeps the little flock of his people. The persons of the saints are sacred, and sanctified unto God, they cannot be touched with impunity.

Psalm 105:16

Before the famine came, arrangements had been made for the housing of Jacob and his family. Before our trials befall us the way out of than has been prepared. There was a Joseph before there was a famine.

Psalm 105:17-19

God’s word caused the trial, and the same word ended it. There is as much a divine fiat concerning our daily trials as there was in the creation of the world. One word from God can bring us down, but, blessed be his name, another can raise us up.

Psalm 105:23

Even favoured Israel must go into Egypt where trouble awaited his household; but it was needful for the preservation of the race, and therefore a matter for praise. Let us bless God also when we go down into Egypt, for the hand of the Lord is in it.

To God, the great, the ever bless’d,

Let songs of honour be address’d;

His mercy firm for ever stands;

Give him the thanks his love demands.

Remember what thy mercy did

For Jacob’s race thy chosen seed;

And with the same salvation bless

The meanest suppliant of thy grace.

Rationalism: A Danger in Today’s Christianity

Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law? Why go ye about to kill me? John 7:19

The theological battle line in our day is not necessarily between the fundamentalist and the liberal.

There is a difference between them, of course. The fundamentalist says, “God made the heaven and the earth.” The liberal says, “Well, that is a poetic way of stating it—but actually, it came up by evolution.”

The warfare, the dividing line today, is between evangelical rationalists and evangelical mystics. I will explain what I mean.

There is today an evangelical rationalism which is the same doctrine held by the Jewish religion in the day of Jesus. They said the truth is in the word, and if you want to know truth, go to the rabbi and learn the word. If you get the word, you have the truth.

That is also the view of evangelical rationalism in our day: “If you learn the text you’ve got the truth!”

This evangelical rationalism will kill the truth just as quickly as liberalism will, though in a more subtle way. The evangelical rationalist wears our uniform but he insists that the body of truth is all you need. Believe the body of truth and you are on your way to heaven and you cannot backslide and you will get a crown in the last day!

I believe the Bible is a living book, a revelation from God. But there must be illumination before revelation can get to your soul. It is not enough that I hold an inspired book in my hands—I must have an inspired heart. Truth has a soul as well as a body!

VIDEO Do-Overs

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

On the television broadcast of an international tennis tournament, one commentator asked his partner, “How would you rate [name’s] serve on a scale of one to ten?” The other commentator answered, “8.5. And, by the way, I don’t believe in a perfect 10.”

And that certainly applies to the Christian life. If we were perfect and never sinned, there would be no need for the grace of God. But all who are honest will admit to seeking forgiveness from God for a failure that has been confessed before. At some point, we wonder how much forgiveness God is willing to give us. How many times is God willing to pardon our imperfections? How many second chances do we get? Thankfully, there is no limit to the grace of God: “But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more” (Romans 5:20). When Jonah, one of God’s prophets, disobeyed God, “the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time” (Jonah 3:1). Jonah got a second chance.

If we confess our sins, God is faithful to forgive us (1 John 1:9). Our past, present, and future are covered by God’s grace.

Wonderful grace of Jesus, greater than all my sin. Haldor Lillenas

Make Your Confession – 1 John 1:9

Seeing a Need

All the widows stood around [Peter], crying and showing him the robes and other clothing that Dorcas had made. Acts 9:39

In the last few days of my dad’s life, one of the nurses dropped by his room and asked me if she could give him a shave. As Rachel gently pulled the razor across his face, she explained, “Older men of his generation like to have a neat shave every day.” Rachel had seen a need and acted on her instinct to show kindness, dignity, and respect to someone. The tender care she provided reminded me of my friend Julie who still paints her elderly mother’s nails because it’s important to her mom that she “look pretty.”

Acts 9 tells us about a disciple named Dorcas (also known as Tabitha) who showed kindness by providing handmade clothing for the poor (vv. 36, 39). When she died, her room was filled with friends who tearfully mourned this kind woman who loved helping others.

But Dorcas’ story didn’t end there. When Peter was brought to where her body lay, he knelt and prayed. In God’s power, he called her by name, saying, “Tabitha, get up” (v. 40). Amazingly, Dorcas opened her eyes and rose to her feet. When her friends realized she was alive, word spread quickly through the town and “many people believed in the Lord” (v. 42).

And how did Dorcas spend the next day of her life? Probably exactly as she had before—seeing the needs of people and filling them.

By:  Cindy Hess Kasper

Reflect & Pray

Whom do you know that always seems to find ways to help others? What can you do to become more aware of others’ needs?

Father, open my eyes each day to see the hurting and needy people around me. Open my heart to do what I can to show them what God’s love looks like.

The Principle of Sowing and Reaping

Each new day brings the opportunity to choose the path of blessing and to rely on the Holy Spirit’s strength Galatians 6:7-10

Satan wants us to believe the lie that our actions have no natural results or consequences. But the truth is that you can’t rebel against God without reaping the fruit of that choice later. You also can’t obey God without eventually receiving His blessing. The choices you make are the seeds you plant, and they determine the kind of crop you’re going to harvest in the future. 

The heart of this principle is that all our choices are important. How we think and act matters. At some point, we all have made choices we’ve regretted. Since consequences never simply evaporate, you may find yourself harassed or even governed by things you’ve seen, said, or participated in. Yet God will forgive everything you genuinely repent of, and He will work with you to redeem those past choices. The road to redemption often includes obstacles, but His Spirit can enable you to overcome. If consequences from your past are weighing on you, lay those burdens down before the Lord, and request that He cleanse and shape you into the person you were created to be. 

Ask yourself the following three questions: What kind of life do I want to live? What do I want my character to be like? Who do I want to become years from now? Let the Holy Spirit speak to you about your choices—past, present, and future—and His plans for you.