VIDEO Checkmate

The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes. Proverbs 21:1


Magnus Carlsen, 32, of Norway is one of history’s greatest chess players. He earned the title of grandmaster when only thirteen and became World Chess Champion in his early twenties. His good looks have led to a modeling career on the side. Carlsen claims he can see fifteen moves ahead and sometimes twenty. If so, he must be a genius, for that many moves involves a lot of possible variations.

The Lord can see a trillion moves ahead—really, an infinite number. He knows what will happen down the chain of events every time a president is elected, a king is crowned, a leader is assassinated, or a war is started. Every single event—large and small—is simply moving this world closer to His preordained prophetic conclusion.

Sometimes we can’t imagine why God has placed someone in a position of power, but He uses unlikely people to accomplish His will. Just look at the biblical characters of Nebuchadnezzar, Ahasuerus, and Herod. They were chess pieces in the hands of the Master of history. Don’t panic with the times. Rather, stand amazed at God’s providential omnipotence.

Jesus shall reign where’er the sun does its successive journeys run. Isaac Watts

The President Who Gave Thanks – Proverbs 21:1

Comfort on Doorframes

Write [these commandments] on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:9

As I scanned my social media feed in the aftermath of the 2016 flood in southern Louisiana, I came across a friend’s post. After realizing her home would have to be gutted and rebuilt, my friend’s mom encouraged her to look for God even in the heart-wrenching work of cleaning up. My friend later posted pictures of Bible verses she uncovered on the exposed door frames of the home, apparently written at the time the home had been built. Reading the Scriptures on the wooden planks gave her comfort.

The tradition of writing Bible verses on doorframes may stem from God’s command to Israel. God instructed the Israelites to post His commands on doorframes as a way of remembering who He is. By writing the commandments on their hearts (Deuteronomy 6:6), teaching them to their children (v. 7), using symbols and other means to recall what God commands (v. 8), and placing the words on doorframes and entry ways (v. 9), the Israelites had constant reminders of God’s words. They were encouraged to never forget what He had said or their covenant with Him.

Displaying God’s words in our homes as well as planting their meaning in our hearts can help us to build a foundation that relies on His faithfulness as revealed in Scripture. And He can use those words to bring us comfort even in the midst of tragedy or heart-wrenching loss.

By:  Katara Patton

Reflect & Pray

When has Scripture comforted you the most? How are the truths of Scripture the foundation for your life?

Heavenly Father, thank You for Scripture that guides my path. Remind me to build my foundation on it.

Grow in your knowledge of the Scriptures.

A God of Grace

Our Lord delights in His children and offers abundant blessings to each one James 1:17-18

God’s character is misunderstood and distorted by the world, but even believers can have the wrong perception of Him. Some see our loving Father as authoritarian, harsh, or stingy, but every good gift we have comes from Him.   

God has freely given us forgiveness, redemption, righteousness, providential care, adoption into His family, and a glorious inheritance in heaven. It’s all ours at salvation, yet there is a misguided notion among some believers that the Lord’s grace to us varies according to our behavior or level of spiritual maturity. 

But this can’t be true, because the Lord never changes. His boundless, unmerited favor is lavished on all His children whether they’re aware of it or not. And spiritual growth will broaden their capacity to recognize and enjoy it.

Our heavenly Father is not tightfisted. He opens His hand wide to pour out grace upon us. Instead of sampling meager bites of His Word, we ought to devour whole “meals” every day. Follow the psalmist’s advice: “Taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8). 

Biblical Creation Is Real History

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” (Genesis 1:1-2)

An accurate understanding of the universe’s beginning is based solely on God’s written Word. The Genesis narrative is real history and essential doctrine. Mankind needs to listen to God’s revelation and understand that the six-day creation is a series of supernatural, instantaneous, inexplicable miracles. There’s not one hint of nature selecting or evolution substituting as God’s “creative” tool.

Unfortunately, many Christians desire to force an external ideology on Scripture. Can’t the words of Genesis stand on their own? Why impose gaps in between verses or breaks between chapters of Genesis? Martin Luther and the Reformation greats argued for the clarity (perspicuity) of the biblical text. Hebrews 11:3 underscores the truth by affirming that “through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.”

Believer, listen to God. “In the beginning (time) God (source) created (energy) the heaven (space) and the earth (matter).” Elohim accurately describes His actions before there was anything. At the beginning of time, the Trinity ingeniously painted an epic masterpiece. Our minds have a difficult time imagining what the spectacular scene was like. I’m envious of what the morning stars (angels) saw that creation week when they “shouted for joy” (Job 38:7).

Understanding our world begins with our Bibles in hand, looking through its magnificent lens to understand history. CM

The Blessing of the Unoffended

Luke 7:18-35

JOHN the Baptist, a rugged, outdoor ascetic, found prison life depressing and sent to know whether Jesus really was the Messiah. Great men may know moods of doubt and despondency. Our Lord simply declared that His works proved His mission, then paid John fine tribute. Here, He declared, was no comfortable, fashionable court preacher but a real prophet, and that no greater man had arisen. Yet the humblest believer in the age of grace is greater, in point of privilege, than John who lived under law. The difference is in position, not a matter of moral worth.

Our Lord declared (Matt. 11:12) that the kingdom suffered violence, and the violent took it by force—comparing those who were pressing into the kingdom to soldiers storming a fortress. Verily, the things of God are not for loafers: we must be violently resolute if we are to press into the deeper things; we must be diligent to make our calling and election sure. Then He said John was the Elijah prophesied in Malachi 4:5-6. Meanwhile, the Pharisees were like spoiled children who could not be suited with any kind of preaching, the fasting of John or the feasting of Jesus. But wisdom is vindicated by her children—in the lives of her disciples, in that wise children receive truth in any garb, and in the sense that wisdom is proven by what she does, the results she produces.

A neglected verse in this account (Matt. 11:1-19; Luke 7:18-35) is verse 6 in Matthew and verse 23 in Luke: “And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in Me.” John the Baptist had become offended in the Lord. Jesus was not doing things the way John had expected. He had prophesied a Messiah of flame and fire, and Jesus was merely going about doing good. How wide are the applications of this truth!

Believers often are tempted to pout regarding the Lord like those of Malachi’s day who said: “It is vain to serve God; and what profit is it that we have kept His ordinance and that we have walked mournfully before the Lord of hosts?” So men pray and do not receive, and, like Martha, when our Lord delayed His coming, they grow rebellious. Others are offended at hard doctrine like those in John 6:30ff., or because of persecution as in Matthew 13:21.

Mistaught Christians are grieved today because Christianity is not conquering the world but things are growing worse. But our Lord said it would be so. He is working His wonders still, as He did in John’s day, and is carrying out His plans just as He intended. We have misunderstood His method and mission and message. He will come one day as conquering King, but now the blind see, the deaf hear, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the poor have the gospel preached to them. He would have us not to be offended (John 16:1), and if we love His law we shall not be offended (Ps. 119:165). Our Lord is carrying out His program on schedule time. Let us learn the beatitude of the unoffended.

“I will work, and who shall let it.”

Job 38:1-11, 16, 17, 22, 23, 31-41

When the three accusers were silent, when Elihu had concluded his eloquent address, and Job had no more to say, the Lord himself interposed, and as with a long succession of thunderclaps hushed every heart and voice into awe.

Job 38:2

How solemn is that word “Who is this?” Is it a poor, weak, foolish man? Is it Job? My servant Job! Does he speak of that which he cannot understand and venture to complain of his God? Our wisdom is only wisdom when it admits its own folly.

Job 38:3-7

We know nothing of the common things of God, how foolish we are to think that we can pry into his arcana, and lay bare his mysterious secrets. We had better sing with angels, than doubt with devils. The angels all sang, sang together, and sang with one common joy. O for such unanimous joyful praise among men.

Job 38:8-17

The secrets of earth are too deep for us, how much more the mysteries of eternity. One thing, however, is consoling; if we do not see the gates of death open, we know who it is that has opened for us the door of heaven.

Job 38:32

Who among us can control the stars or change the seasons?

Job 38:33-41

In all these things the greatness of the Lord, and the nothingness of man are alike apparent. God forbid that a thought of pride should defile our spirit.

Great God! how infinite art thou!

What worthless worms are we!

Let the whole race of creatures bow,

And pay their praise to Thee.

Eternity, with all its years,

Stands present in Thy view;

To Thee there’s nothing old appears;

Great God! there’s nothing new.

Christ Established True Values for the Human Race

So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation. Hebrews 9:28

The Christian faith engages the profoundest problems the human mind can entertain and solves them completely and simply by pointing to the Lamb of God!

The problems of origin and destiny have escaped the philosopher and the scientist, but the humblest follower of Christ knows the answer to both.

“In the beginning” found Christ there at the creation of all things, and “the world to come” will find Him there at their regeneration.

There is about the Christian faith a quiet dogmatism, a cheerful intolerance. It feels no need to appease its enemies or compromise with its detractors. Christ came from God, out of eternity, to report on the things He had seen and heard and to establish true values for the confused human race.

Then, He drew a line between this world and the world to come and said, in effect: “Choose ye this day.”

The choice is between an earthly house which we can at best inhabit but a little while and the house of the Lord where we may dwell forevermore.

The church is constantly being tempted to accept this world as her home, but toward the world to come we are all headed.

How unutterably wonderful that we Christians have one of our own kind to go ahead and prepare a place for us!

That place will be in a world divinely ordered, beyond death and parting, where there is nothing that can hurt or make afraid.