VIDEO Spring Forward: Mentoring

And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. 2 Timothy 2:2

Nothing will help you spring forward in your Christian faith more than mentoring. Maybe that word intimidates you, but it’s simply doing what Paul wanted Timothy to do. Perhaps there’s a lonely young person who would welcome a kind word. Or a class of children to teach. Or a child or grandchild who would memorize a Bible verse if encouraged to do so.

Is there a kid’s team that needs a coach? A local school needing a volunteer? A college class that would enjoy some snacks, giving you an opportunity to mingle with them?

Every church needs workers, and every worker can find a way to disciple someone else. Fill yourself with Scripture, grow in wisdom and confidence, and develop good insights. Then ask God to use you to encourage someone else in their spiritual formation. Adopt this biblical prayer today: “O God, do not forsake me, until I declare Your strength to this generation, Your power to everyone who is to come” (Psalm 71:18).

Even the scars of past abuse and injury can be the means of bringing healing to another. What wonderful opportunities to make disciples! Charles Swindoll

Alistair Begg – Workers in the Word – 2 Timothy 2:1-15

Musical Medicine

David would take up his lyre and play. Then relief would come to Saul. 1 Samuel 16:23

When five-year-old Bella was hospitalized for cancer in North Dakota, she received music therapy as part of her treatment. Many people have experienced the powerful effect of music on mood without understanding exactly why, but researchers have recently documented a clinical benefit. Music is now being prescribed for cancer patients like Bella, and those suffering from Parkinson’s disease, dementia, and trauma.

King Saul reached for a musical prescription when he was feeling tormented. His attendants saw his lack of peace and suggested they find someone to play the lyre for him in the hope it would make him “feel better” (1 Samuel 16:16). They sent for Jesse’s son David, and Saul was pleased with him and asked that he “remain in [his] service” (v. 22). David played for Saul in his moments of unrest, bringing him relief from his anguish.

We may only just be discovering scientifically what God has known all along about how music can affect us. As the author and creator of both our bodies and music itself, He provided a prescription for our health that’s readily accessible to all, regardless of the era in which we live or how easy it is to visit a doctor. Even when there’s no way to listen, we can sing to God in the midst of our joys and struggles, making music of our own (Psalm 59:16Acts 16:25).

By:  Kirsten Holmberg

Reflect & Pray

How has God used music to soothe you? How can you bring music to someone as David did to Saul?

Father, thank You for creating music and using it to soothe my heart and mind during times of struggle.

Intimacy With God

The most precious gift our Lord gives us is the privilege of a close personal relationship with Him. Philippians 3:7-16

What’s the goal of the Christian life? Some may say it’s to become increasingly righteous or to tell others the good news of salvation. But the apostle Paul said his goal was to know Christ intimately. Is that your primary pursuit as well? When that’s our great desire, righteous living and passion for the gospel will follow.  

Intimacy grows as we immerse ourselves in God’s Word. Through our reading, study, and meditation on Scripture, the Lord reveals Himself to us. But intimacy isn’t merely an exercise of the mind. It includes the engagement of our emotions as we love, serve, and worship Him. The more we get to know the Lord through His Word, the deeper our love and devotion to Him will become. 

Another vital aspect of intimacy with God is an increased desire to obey Him. As we attune our hearts and minds to care about the things that matter to God, we’ll delight to do what He says. 

Have you settled for a superficial connection with the Lord? Salvation isn’t just the door to heaven; it’s the pathway to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Savior until we have the most satisfying of all possible relationships.

The Finger of God

“This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.” (John 8:6)

During His earthly ministry, Jesus never wrote a book or any other document, so far as we know, but it is recorded that He wrote with His own finger in the sand and that what He wrote turned away those who had sought to stone a woman caught breaking one of God’s Ten Commandments.

The woman was repentant, however, and Jesus forgave her, evidently indicating this by what He wrote with His finger on the ground. This He could do because He, as God, had written this very commandment Himself with His own finger long before. “And he gave unto Moses…two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God” (Exodus 31:18). Moses testified: “And the LORD delivered unto me two tables of stone written with the finger of God; and on them was written according to all the words, which the LORD spake with you in the mount out of the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly” (Deuteronomy 9:10).

There are only two other references to the “finger of God” in the Bible. When the Lord through Moses brought the great plagues upon Egypt, Pharaoh’s magicians were able to imitate Moses’ first few miracles, but soon their deceptive “magic” could no longer compare, and they had to confess, “This is the finger of God” (Exodus 8:19).

There is one final mention of God’s finger in the New Testament. When the Pharisees charged that His power to cast evil spirits out of demon-possessed people had been given to Him by Satan, He affirmed rather, “I with the finger of God cast out devils” (Luke 11:20). Jesus is able both to forgive sins and to defeat Satan because He is the Creator of the universe and all its laws. HMM

Three Gospel Snapshots, part 1

Luke 9:51-62

IN Luke 9:51-62 we find our Lord steadfastly setting His face toward Jerusalem, the cross and the consummation of His ministry. The Samaritans refused to receive Him because He headed for Jerusalem. It was quite a different attitude from that of the Samaritans in John 4. The disciples James and John wanted to call down fire from heaven upon them as Elijah had done in 2 Kings 1:10-12. Swift was the reply of our Lord: “Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of Man is not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.”

Christians today would do well to ponder these words. Often we have shown a disposition to call down fire upon others, not knowing what manner of spirit we are of. “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, saith the Lord.”

The rest of this passage sets forth three Gospel snapshots. Three men appear suddenly upon the stage, and as suddenly they are gone. The tantalizing brevity of it all leaves us wondering what became of them. They illustrate three perils of Christian discipleship: the peril of the uncounted cost, the peril of the unburied corpse, and the peril of the unforsaken circle.

The first man, a scribe according to Matthew, was a quick-on-the-trigger enthusiast who simply had not counted the cost. In Luke 14:25-33 our Lord deals thoroughly with this matter in the parables of the tower and of the king going to battle. He would have us know what we are doing and count the cost of obedience and following Him.

The second man was invited to discipleship by the Lord Himself, but he wanted first to go home and bury his father. The real trouble was in that word “first.” Something else came before following the Lord. He was ready to follow, but not just yet. Our Lord sternly replied, “Let the dead bury their dead; but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.” It is better that the dead should be unburied than that we fail to follow Him. Let the unbelieving relatives bury their dead. Let the dead in trespasses and in sins bury their kind. Whatever interpretation we put upon these words, we gather that our Lord will have no fondling of the carcasses of earth. No obligation of earth, no ties of sentiment should be allowed to hinder our discipleship to Him. Too many Christians sing hymns on Sunday but all week they are out in the world helping the dead to bury their dead.

The third man went further than the second. “I will follow Thee,” he said, but “first” he would tell his people goodbye. “I will follow Thee but…”—there is the weakness of many a prospective disciple. Our Lord uses a familiar figure from farm life to declare the peril of looking back. His kingdom is no place for a man with his feet pointed one way and his head the other. We are to forget the things behind. There is no place in discipleship for divided allegiance. “Fix your eyes upon Jesus” and run the race looking unto Him. Count the cost, let the dead bury the corpse and forsake the circle of those who are at home in this world.

“I know that Thou canst do everything.”

Job 42:1-13

Job 42:1, 2

The patriarch made an unreserved submission. He felt that the very idea of judging the conduct of the Almighty was preposterous. Omnipotence and Omniscience render the thought of calling the Eternal into question superlatively ridiculous.

Job 42:3

That first question of the Lord abides in his memory, and now in humble wonder at his own temerity he asks it of himself. It is tantamount to that apostolic question, “Nay, but O man, who art thou that repliest against God?” The patriarch illuminated with new light sees his own folly, and humbly confesses it before the Lord. A very great part of our religious talk consists of utterances which we ourselves do not understand, and all our complaining is based upon ignorance.

Job 42:4

Job desired to enter God’s school, and to be taught of him. He will no longer be a pleader but a humble enquirer.

Job 42:6

Hearing goes for little till the Lord’s arm is revealed in a man’s heart. Caryl well observes, “No man knoweth what a nothing he is in knowledge, grace, and goodness till the Lord is pleased to reveal himself to him.” While we compare ourselves with ourselves, or with others who are below us, we fancy ourselves important personages, but when the Lord unveils himself we become as nothing in our own eyes. The more we see of God the less shall we think of ourselves. Sound knowledge is the death of conceit.

Job 42:7

Out of zeal to defend God’s providence they were not fair in argument. We have no business to defend truth with lies or suppressions. God will have honest defenders or none. He is displeased with untruthful advocates even though they fancy that they are upon the Lord’s side, and at any rate desire to be so.

Job 42:8

Let us never judge others, for it may be we may come to be indebted to them for their prayers. We may have to crave their intercession, therefore let us not now judge them harshly.

Job 42:9

If the Lord accepted Job and blessed his friends for his sake, how much more doth he accept the Lord Jesus Christ who offered himself a sacrifice for sin, and how safe we, his poor offending friends, are in him.

Job 42:10

When in a forgiving spirit we pray for those who have behaved harshly to us some blessing is in store for us.

Job 42:11-13

Thus shall the Lord’s procedures vindicate themselves, and his people shall be no losers by their afflictions.

If peace and plenty crown my days,

They help me, Lord, to speak thy praise;

If bread of sorrows be my food,

Those sorrows work my real good.

I would not change my blest estate

For all that earth calls good or great;

And while my faith can keep her hold,

I envy not the sinner’s gold.

Anticipation of Heaven: More Than Eschatology

But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city. Hebrews 11:16

We have come to a wretched emphasis in the Christian church, so that when we talk about the future we talk about “eschatology” instead of heaven!

We must confess that Christians are living too much in the “present now”—and the anticipation of better things to come has almost died out of the church of Christ.

We find ourselves so well-situated now, that we don’t really need any tomorrow’s heaven. We don’t need to hope—we have everything well enough now!

In this kind of emphasis, the fact remains that the true Christian is one who is kind of sick of this world. When God works a miracle within the human breast, heaven becomes the Christian’s home immediately, and he is drawn to it as the bird is drawn in the springtime to fly north.

The Christian does have a homeland, and the fact that we are not anticipating it and looking forward to it with any pleasure is a serious mark of something that is wrong with us.

When I find someone who is settled down too snugly into this world and its system, I am forced to doubt whether he has ever truly been born again.

Actually, it is true that all of the Christians I meet who really amount to something for God are those very much out of key with their age—very, very much out of tune with their generation! Remember, you are on earth and God is in heaven—so don’t be afraid to dream high spiritual dreams, believing what your Bible says.