VIDEO Salty Words

Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one. Colossians 4:6

“You are the salt of the earth” (Matthew 5:13). These familiar words of Jesus suggest that our life is to accomplish the two benefits of salt: seasoning (attractiveness) and preservation. Paul applied the salt metaphor to speech when it came to relating to nonbelievers: Our speech should be graceful (kind, compassionate, encouraging, understanding)—seasoned with salt.

How might the two uses of salt—seasoning and preservation—apply to our speech when relating to those who might be opposed to our beliefs or actions? Seasoning suggests speech that adds an attractive flavor to the conversation or dialogue. And preservation suggests doing whatever we can, not just to preserve a relationship but to strengthen it. As Paul wrote in Romans 12:18, “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.” “All men” includes everyone we encounter—even those who may have done us wrong. Let us speak only “what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers” (Ephesians 4:29).

Look for an opportunity to encourage someone today with gracious words that are “flavorful” and that strengthen the relationship.

It is bad to think ill, but it is worse to speak it. Matthew Henry

Christian Communication | Dr. David Jeremiah | Colossians 4:2-6

Reflecting Christ’s Light

In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. John 1:4

To capture the beauty of reflective light in his landscape oil paintings, artist Armand Cabrera works with a key artistic principle: “Reflected light is never as strong as its source light.” He observes that novice painters tend to exaggerate reflected light. He says, “Reflected light belongs to the shadow and as such it must support, not compete with the lighted areas of your painting.”

We hear similar insight in the Bible concerning Jesus as “the light of all mankind” (John 1:4). John the Baptist “came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe” (v. 7). The gospel writer tells us, “He himself [John] was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light” (v. 8).

As with John, we’re chosen by God to reflect Christ’s light to those living in the shadows of an unbelieving world. This is our role, as one source says, “perhaps because unbelievers are not able to bear the full blazing glory of His light firsthand.”

Cabrera teaches his art students that “anything that has direct light falling on it in a scene becomes a source of light itself.” Similarly, with Jesus as “the true light that gives light to everyone” (v. 9), we can shine as witnesses. As we reflect Him, may the world be amazed to see His glory shine through us.

By:  Patricia Raybon

Reflect & Pray

How do you reflect the light of Christ? In what shadowy areas of the world can you shine His transforming light?

Shine on me, beautiful Light of God. Please help me to shine Your light in the shadows of an unbelieving world.

Salvation: An Ongoing Blessing

Our lives are transformed when we make a daily choice to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. 2 Peter 1:1-11

Some people think of Salvation as a single point in time. And it’s true that the moment trust is placed in Jesus, a person permanently becomes a member of God’s family. But limiting the definition to that single faith decision gives an incomplete picture.  

Salvation includes three parts: 1) justification—the moment our sins are forgiven and Christ’s perfect righteousness is imputed to us; 2) sanctification—the process of becoming increasingly righteous in this life; and 3) glorification—the completion of the process, when we’re made perfectly sinless at the resurrection. 

It’s a package deal. Those who are justified are being sanctified and will be glorified (Romans 8:29-30). We can’t claim we’re saved if sanctification isn’t happening in our lives. The degree of godliness and fruitfulness varies with each individual, but God has promised to complete the good work He began in our life (Philippians 1:6). 

Jesus is our Master because He purchased us from sin with His blood. And Romans 10:9 says we must confess Him as Lord in order to be saved. The question is whether you’re submitting to His process of sanctification. Has your life changed since you first professed Christ? Are you diligently cooperating with the Holy Spirit so that your life reflects Jesus’ image?

The Call of the Twelve

“And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach.” (Mark 3:14)

Early in His public ministry, Jesus gathered around Himself those to whom He would eventually entrust the Christian message. Many others had also been attracted to Him and His works, as indicated in the previous verse: “And he goeth up into a mountain, and calleth unto him whom he would [emphasis in the Greek is on “he”; the choice was His alone]: and they came unto him” (v. 13). Of those He invited, He “ordained twelve.”

Such a momentous selection could not be taken lightly, and we should not pass over it either. Luke gives us further information: “He went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God” (Luke 6:12) before choosing the twelve. As a sidelight, it bears mentioning that if God the Son so relied on the wisdom from God the Father before making an important decision, how can we neglect prayer as we so often do?

Four purposes are listed for these appointees, but the last three flow from the first: “That they should be with him.” They would see Him in action, learn truth from Him, assist Him in His work; but most importantly they would see His character and habits, and would never be the same.

Part of their training included being sent out to put in practice what they had learned, “that he might send them forth to preach, and to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils” (Mark 3:14-15). He gave them a message to preach and the ability to authenticate that message.

A study of these disciples as revealed in the gospels makes one wonder if Jesus made a proper choice. However, in the book of Acts, once He was gone and the Holy Spirit empowered them, we recognize that their training was complete. We are the result of their effective ministry. JDM

The Keys of Christ

Matthew 28:18; Rev. 1:18; Rev. 3:7

IN Matthew 28:18 the Lord Jesus Christ says, “All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth.” With all that authority back of Him, it is interesting to notice the keys which God’s Word says are His.

In Revelation 3:7 we read: “These things saith He that is holy, He that is true, He that hath the key of David, He that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth.” The reference to the key of David carries us back to Isaiah 22:22 where the Lord declares through Isaiah that Shebna, an unworthy court favorite and treasurer, shall be displaced by God’s servant Eliakim, who shall bear the key of the house of David upon his shoulder. The prophecy is prophetic of Christ, who is the true heir to the house of David and will one day reign over a redeemed and restored Israel. Isaiah 9:6 tells us that the government shall be upon His shoulder.

The Lord Jesus Christ also, in this connection, carries the keys to the storehouse of Divine truth. “All things are delivered unto Me of My Father” (Matt. 11:27). God’s riches in glory are by Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:19), and only through Christ can we lay hold upon them.

Our Lord also carries the key to doors of Christian service. Paul spoke of opportunities for service as open doors (1 Cor. 16:9; 2 Cor. 2:12). When Christ opens a door and calls us to go in, no man can shut that door, no one can prevent us. Men discouraged D. L. Moody, but God had set before him an open door, and he went in. Conversely, we must be careful not to try to open doors God has shut and force ourselves where He does not direct. Paul knew the experience of shut doors also, as in Acts 16:7.

In Matthew 16:19 the Lord Jesus Christ tells Peter: “And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt lose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Not the keys to the church, nor the keys to eternity, but the privilege of opening the door of the kingdom to the world is here meant. Peter exercised this privilege by opening the door to the Jews at Pentecost and to the Gentiles in the house of Cornelius. The “binding and loosing” in this passage, combined with Matthew 18:15-19, is simply the delegation to the disciples of the powers of church discipline and does not mean authority to decide upon any soul’s salvation. See also John 20:23.

In Revelation 1:18 our Lord declares that He has the keys of hell and death. He has conquered death and will eventually destroy it (1 Cor. 15:26). Death and hell ultimately are to be cast into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:14). The lake of fire is the final hell for sinners, the Gehenna of Jesus’ messages (Matt. 11:23, etc.).

Hell in Revelation 1:18 refers to Hades, the place where the spirits of the dead go. Hades is not to be identified with the final hell, for then Christ would have been in that hell before His resurrection (Acts 2:25-31). Death is the condition of the body without the spirit. Hades is the condition of the spirit without the body. The keys of both are with Him. He has the power to join body and spirit for their final destiny, which He will exercise in the resurrection of the righteous (1 Thess. 4:13-18) and at the judgment of the Great White Throne (Rev. 20:11-15).

“I the world ye shall have tribulation.”

Genesis 37:2-14, 18-24, 28, 31-35

Joseph was Jacob’s best loved and most tried son. Whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth. This chapter opens a long scene of suffering.

Genesis 37:2-4

His piety led him to protest against the wrongdoing of his brethren. He would not join them in evil, nor aid them by concealing their evil deeds.

Genesis 37:9-11

Whom God favours the ungodly are sure to dislike. The evil hate the righteous.

Genesis 37:34, 35

This was a very painful transaction, but let us. not forget that the Lord overruled it for the highest good.

Crosses and changes are their lot,

Long as they sojourn here;

But since their Saviour changes not,

What have his saints to fear?


Secular Men Confuse Truths with “Truth”

The Lord by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath he established the heavens. Proverbs 3:19

The celebrated prayer of the great German astronomer, Kepler, has been a benediction to many: “O God, I thank Thee that Thou has permitted me to think Thy thoughts after Thee!”

This prayer is theologically sound because it acknowledges the priority of God in the universe. Whatever new thing anyone discovers is already old, for it is but the present expression of a previous thought of God. The idea of the thing precedes the thing itself; and when things raise thoughts in the thinker’s mind these are the ancient thoughts of God, however imperfectly understood.

Should an athiest, for instance, state that two times two equals four, he would be stating a truth and thinking God’s thoughts after Him, even though he might deny that God exists.

In their search for facts, men have confused truths with truth. The words of Christ, “Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free,” have been wrenched from their context and used to stir people to the expectation of being made “free” by knowledge. Certainly this is not what Christ had in mind when He uttered the words.

It is the Son who is the Truth that makes men free. Not facts, not scientific knowledge, but eternal Truth delivers men, and that eternal Truth became flesh to dwell among us!