VIDEO His Commission to Us

Feed My sheep. —John 21:17

This is love in the making. The love of God is not created— it is His nature. When we receive the life of Christ through the Holy Spirit, He unites us with God so that His love is demonstrated in us. The goal of the indwelling Holy Spirit is not just to unite us with God, but to do it in such a way that we will be one with the Father in exactly the same way Jesus was. And what kind of oneness did Jesus Christ have with the Father? He had such a oneness with the Father that He was obedient when His Father sent Him down here to be poured out for us. And He says to us, “As the Father has sent Me, I also send you” (John 20:21).

Peter now realizes that he does love Him, due to the revelation that came with the Lord’s piercing question. The Lord’s next point is— “Pour yourself out. Don’t testify about how much you love Me and don’t talk about the wonderful revelation you have had, just ‘Feed My sheep.’ ” Jesus has some extraordinarily peculiar sheep: some that are unkempt and dirty, some that are awkward or pushy, and some that have gone astray! But it is impossible to exhaust God’s love, and it is impossible to exhaust my love if it flows from the Spirit of God within me. The love of God pays no attention to my prejudices caused by my natural individuality. If I love my Lord, I have no business being guided by natural emotions— I have to feed His sheep. We will not be delivered or released from His commission to us. Beware of counterfeiting the love of God by following your own natural human emotions, sympathies, or understandings. That will only serve to revile and abuse the true love of God.


Sincerity means that the appearance and the reality are exactly the same.
Studies in the Sermon on the Mount

About that call of God on your life

Listening to God

[Josiah] would not listen to what Necho had said at God’s command. 2 Chronicles 35:22

Back when I was driving to college and back home again, the road to our house in the desert seemed painfully dull. Because it was long and straight, I found myself driving faster than I should have more than once. First, I was given a warning from the highway patrol. Then I received a ticket. Then I was cited a second time in the very same place.

Refusing to listen can have unfortunate consequences. One tragic example of this is from the life of Josiah, a good and faithful king. When Necho, the king of Egypt, marched through Judah’s territory to help Assyria in battle against Babylon, Josiah went out to counter him. Necho sent messengers telling Josiah, “God has told me to hurry; so stop opposing God, who is with me” (2 Chronicles 35:21). God really did send Necho, but Josiah “would not listen to what Necho had said at God’s command but went to fight him on the plain of Megiddo” (v. 22). Josiah was fatally injured in the battle, “and all Judah and Jerusalem mourned for him” (v. 24).

Josiah, who loved God, discovered that insisting on his own way without taking the time to listen to Him or His wisdom through others never ends well. May God give us the humility we need to always check ourselves and take His wisdom to heart.

By:  James Banks

Reflect & Pray

What do you need God’s wisdom for in your life? What will you do to listen to Him today?

Ever wise and loving God, help me to be humble and to listen for Your wisdom today. Thank You that when I ask for wisdom, You give “generously . . . without finding fault” (James 1:5).

Learn more lessons from the kings of Israel.

My Body Is A Temple For The Holy Spirit, Redeemed, Cleansed, And Sanctified By The Blood Of Jesus

In making this confession, we need to be radical. Christianity is a radical religion. The word radical means “dealing with the root.” When John the Baptist introduced the gospel and Jesus, he said:

“And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire” (Matthew 3:10)

God is not going to lop off a few branches or even cut off the trunk. He is going to go straight to the root. He requires that a tree bring forth good fruit. If a tree does not bring forth good fruit, God says to chop it down.

Among the younger generation, there is a tendency to be pretty radical. I think this inclination needs to be encouraged—in the right direction. To be honest, we older generations have often compromised rather than be radical. We need to cooperate with the Holy Spirit, who often calls for apparently radical things.

“But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.” (Romans 8:11)

Paul was making a remarkable statement here. He said that it was the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God, who raised the dead body of Jesus from the tomb. And if you have that same Holy Spirit in your body, then He can do much that you need in your body through His power. What a radical truth!

Prayer Response

Thank You, Lord, for the blood of Jesus and the work of Your Holy Spirit. I proclaim that I will pursue radical obedience in cooperating with the Holy Spirit, because my body is a temple for the Holy Spirit, redeemed, cleansed, and sanctified by the blood of Jesus. Amen.

The Importance Of Courage

 “. . . Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” — Joshua 1:9

If someone just left thousands of people in your care with the command to lead those people through wilderness toward a promised land, how would you feel?

Joshua had that exact experience. After Moses, the Israelites’ leader, died, God handed Joshua the leadership baton, and with it came the responsibility to lead the people safely to Canaan. God had created Joshua for this role; even Joshua’s name, which means “the Lord saves,” set Joshua apart to lead the people into the Promised Land. As you might imagine, if Joshua was going to fill Moses’ shoes, he needed a little encouragement. At the beginning of Joshua’s new ministry, God exhorted Joshua to have courage. Four times in Joshua 1, God commands Joshua to be strong and of good courage. God obviously wanted to get His message across.

You and I also need courage. If we want to fulfill the destiny God has planned for us, we need to step out in courage, knowing that God will blaze our trail for us. To receive our inheritance, to successfully fulfill our life purpose, to bring glory to God, we must have a courageous character. Following Christ isn’t an easy task. It requires great strength and courage because we never know what God will call His people to do.

But we can’t muster up courage on our own. Any courage we manufacture within ourselves will vanish in the face of our first trial. We need to get our courage from the Lord. When God told Joshua to have courage, He followed that exhortation with the promise that He would go with Joshua wherever Joshua went. In the same way, God gives us courage for whatever He calls us to do. How? Through our reconciliation with God. When we come to Christ and find in Him our redemption, we gain courage to fulfill God’s purposes for us. We get our courage from knowing that God is our Father who has accepted us unto Himself and whose providence watches over us.

Since nothing can separate you from God’s love, go forth boldly into whatever He has for you this day. “Be strong and of good courage . . . for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

““Cowards die many times . . . The valiant never taste of death but once.””

William Shakespeare

“Blessed Among Women”

Luke 1:26-56

THE beautiful story of the annunciation of the birth of Christ to Mary has suffered from overemphasis among some and underemphasis among others. Mary has been called “The Mother of God,” which she was not. She was the mother of the Man Christ Jesus. She was “highly favored” and “blessed among women” for exactly this reason: God had chosen her to be the virgin mother of His only begotten Son as pertaining to the flesh. There is a Mariolatry which ignores our Lord’s own attitude toward His mother.

Genesis 3:15 now received fulfillment, and “the Seed of the woman” is coming to bruise the serpent’s head. Isaiah 7:14 here comes to fulfillment in the Son “Immanuel.” He is to reign over the house of Jacob from the throne of David, a prophecy yet to be fulfilled. Christ is at the right hand of the throne of God but not now on the throne of David.

It is significant that the first question asked about the virgin birth was asked by the virgin herself: “How shall this be?” Men have asked it ever since, but here is God’s own answer: that it is the supernatural work of the Holy Ghost and the power of God. Much argument is focused on the supernatural birth instead of the supernatural Son. The Son of God required a birth in keeping with His deity. Who He is explains how He was born.

Mary goes to Elizabeth with the good news and breaks forth into the Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55). Very similar is Hannah’s prophetic prayer in 1 Samuel 2:1-10, for both close with reference to Christ: “His king” with Hannah, and the “Help” promised Israel with Mary. The theme through both is the marvelous way in which God puts down the mighty and exalts those of low degree, even as He still does in His choosing of the saints (1 Cor. 1:26-31).

Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Ghost, had already called Mary “the mother of my Lord.” So she was, but mother of Him as man in no way elevates her to be worthy of adoration or worship. Bengel rightly says that she is addressed as a daughter of grace, not as the mother of it (Luke 1:28).

A beautiful little lesson in faith is gathered from verses 34, 37 and 45. “How shall this be?”—that is the query of men since the beginning when faced with the message of the supernatural power of God. The natural man cannot receive or comprehend how God works His wonders of grace!

The answer is “With God nothing shall be impossible” (v. 37). God is able to save (Heb. 7:25), to keep (Jude 24), to succor (Heb. 2:18), to deliver (Dan. 3:17), to do (Eph. 3:20), to subdue (Phil. 3:21).

Then verse 45: “And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her of the Lord.” It is always so when we take Him at His word. He who promises will perform. Do not ask “How?” Take Him at His Word and it shall be done even as He has said.

“Many are the afflictions of the righteous.”

Job 1:13-22

Job 1:13

Satan was crafty in his selection of the time. When troubles come upon us at seasons of rejoicing they have a double bitterness. The brightness of the morning of that memorable day made the darkness of the night all the darker.

Job 1:14-15

Job did not lose his property through neglect of business, the oxen were plowing, and the asses were not left to go astray: this proves that all our care and diligence cannot preserve our substance to us unless the Lord is the keeper thereof. To lose the oxen which plowed his fields, and the asses which carried his burdens was no small calamity, yet we do not find the man of God uttering one word of complaint. Some would have been in a sad way if but one ox had died.

Job 1:16

The trial increased in intensity, for the hand of God was more directly to be seen in it, and this would keenly wound the holy soul of Job. Moreover, an eastern’s wealth lies mainly in his flocks, and therefore the bulk of Job’s property was gone at a blow; yet he murmured not. Some professors of religion would have grievously fretted, if but one lamb had perished.

Job 1:17

How dolefully each messenger finishes his tidings. Satan knows how to drum a mournful truth into a man’s ears, and weary his heart with the reiteration. Three companies of servants had thus been destroyed, and the last relics of his live stock, yet not a word did he say. His heart was so fixed in God, that he was not afraid of evil tidings. What an example for us!

Job 1:19

This was a home-thrust indeed. This would stir the man if anything would. Great reasoners make the lesser arguments lead up to the greater, so here the arch-enemy weakens Job with the lesser afflictions, and then comes to his heaviest assaults. To lose his whole family at once, was heart-breaking work, yet did not his faith fail.

Job 1:20, 21

Now indeed was Job great. Surely no man, besides the Son of Man in Gethsemane, ever rose to a greater height of resignation. Instead of cursing God, as Satan said he would, he blesses the Lord with all his heart. How thoroughly beaten the evil spirit must have felt. May the Holy Spirit help each one of us to triumph over him in like manner. Neither in his heart, nor in his speech did he offend. He was taught the sacred wisdom of resignation, and in nothing was he displeased with his God.

Job 1:22

Grace made him more than a conqueror over Satan.

‘Tis God that lifts our comforts high,

Or sinks them in the grave,

He gives, and (blessed be his name!)

He takes but what he gave.

Peace, all our angry passions then,

Let each rebellious sigh

Be silent at his sov’reign will,

And every murmur die.

Sinful Man: Uncomfortable in God’s Presence

And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? Genesis 3:9

Sin never feels comfortable in the divine presence!

Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord among the trees of the garden. Their fear and chagrin for the moment overcame their conscious need of God. Jonah, in his determined refusal to obey God’s command, rose up to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.

Peter, with a sudden acute consciousness of personal guilt, sought not to flee from the Lord’s presence but begged the Lord instead to depart from him!

Men need God above everything else, yet are uncomfortable in His presence. This is the self-contradictory moral situation sin has brought us into.

The notion that there is a God but that He is comfortably far away is not embodied in the doctrinal statement of any Christian church. Anyone who dared admit that he held such a creed would be considered a heretic and avoided by respectable religious people; but our actions, and especially our spontaneous utterances, reveal our true beliefs better than any conventional creed can do.

If we are to judge by these, I think it can hardly be denied that the average Christian thinks of God as being at a safe distance, looking the other way!