VIDEO A Plan and a Purpose

But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive. Genesis 50:20

In September 1928, Scottish doctor Alexander Fleming returned to his laboratory after a holiday. Before leaving, he had prepared some culture plates and set them aside. Upon returning, he discovered a fungus had grown on one plate that had killed off the organisms surrounding it. He accidentally discovered what became penicillin.

Sometimes unplanned events in our life become a blessing not only for us but for many others besides. That happened when Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers and was taken to Egypt. He became the second-most powerful person in the nation because of God’s blessing. When God revealed to him a famine was coming, he created a strategy to save Egypt. But his plan also saved his brothers and their families who migrated from Canaan to Egypt for food. What the brothers meant for evil against Joseph, God used to save their lives.

When unforeseen events occur, stop and ask God to show you His plan and purpose. Ask Him to let it be a blessing for you and for others.

Circumstances may appear to wreck our lives and God’s plans, but God is not helpless among the ruins. Eric Liddell

Life of Joseph: Blessed and Directed – Genesis 50:15-26

We’re Not Alone

I stand at the door and knock. Revelation 3:20

In Fredric Brown’s short story thriller “Knock,” he wrote, “The last man on Earth sat alone in a room. There was a knock on the door.” Yikes! Who could that be, and what do they want? What mysterious being has come for him? The man is not alone.

Neither are we.

The church in Laodicea heard a knock on their door (Revelation 3:20). What supernatural Being had come for them? His name was Jesus, “the First and the Last . . . the Living One” (1:17–18). His eyes blazed like fire, and His face “like the sun shining in all its brilliance” (v. 16). When His best friend, John, caught a glimpse of His glory, he “fell at his feet as though dead” (v. 17). Faith in Christ begins with the fear of God.

We’re not alone, and this is also comforting. Jesus “is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word” (Hebrews 1:3). Yet Christ uses His strength not to slay us but to love us. Hear His invitation, “If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me” (Revelation 3:20). Our faith begins with fear—Who is at the door?—and it ends in a welcome and strong embrace. Jesus promises to always stay with us, even if we’re the last person on earth. Thank God, we’re not alone.

By:  Mike Wittmer

Reflect & Pray

Why can’t we separate Christ’s power from His love? Why are both vitally important?

Dear Jesus, I welcome You into my heart and life.

For further study, read Unknown Caller: Recognizing Jesus and the Kingdom.

Obeying God

Make it a daily habit to spend time with God in the Word, and you’ll be ready for the inevitable challenges of life. Daniel 1:1-8

The story of Daniel illustrates some key elements of obedience. The young man knew that God’s law had dietary restrictions prohibiting food that had been offered to idols, yet now he was in foreign land with no such limitations. When King Nebuchadnezzar ordered that food from his table be given to Daniel, that posed a dilemma: Was it better to obey the Lord and risk angering the king or to disobey God and please the ruler? 

The underlying issue was allegiance to God. Daniel could have rationalized breaking the divine command by telling himself he was a servant and had no choice. Instead, he resolved not to eat the royal food and sought a solution that would honor the Lord and keep His law. 

Today, many things that our world finds acceptable are outside God’s will for His children. The struggle comes down to this: Our desire as Christians is to obey the Lord, whereas our fleshly side wants to please ourselves. However, obeying God is always the right choice. 

To become like Daniel, we must consistently apply Scripture to our decision-making. Then, when challenges come, we’ll have the courage to obey God’s commands.  

Psalm 104’s Creation Song

“Bless the LORD, O my soul. O LORD my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honour and majesty.” (Psalm 104:1)

This psalm captures a historical event recorded in the first scroll of Moses’ inspired text—God’s creation of all things. Many scholars, even those casting serious doubts on the historicity of Genesis, concede to the chronological order of this song. Examine carefully the prose, capturing the wonder, exuberance, and praises of God’s creative finger—and ponder how these inspired words relate to life then and now.

Both Psalm 104 and Genesis 1 portray God as our Creator, showing how He owns us as His creation and how He is to be praised. The psalm takes the reader from the waters of creation to the terrible waters of the Noahic Flood when they were at their highest, covering “all the high hills” (Genesis 7:19-20Psalm 104:6-92 Peter 3:5-6).

Scholars have noted the parallels between Psalm 104 and Genesis 1.1

Day 1: Light (Psalm 104:2a)
Day 2: Creation of the firmament, waters above (vv. 2b-4)
Day 3: Dry land appears, formation of plants (vv. 5-18)
Day 4: Luminaries indicating times and seasons (vv. 19-23)
Day 5: Creatures (vv. 24-26)
Day 6: Gift of life by God for animals and man (vv. 27-30)

Believer, never allow anyone to discount the historicity of Genesis 1–2. This magnificent psalm underscores and confirms the literalness of creation’s historical record. CM

“Except Ye Repent”

Luke 13:1-9

WE have almost forgotten that repentance is necessary to salvation. In this superficial day, when people glibly “accept Christ” and join the church on a “decision day” with no sense of sin or joy in salvation—the depths having never been stirred—we need to remember the words of our Lord, “Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.”

In the thirteenth chapter of Luke, our Lord mentions two disasters of that time in which a number of people had been killed. It was the common opinion that such people were greater sinners than the average to bring down such calamity upon themselves. But our Lord declares that “there is no difference.” All are sinners, and unless we repent we shall all alike perish.

We have our own way of reckoning one man a worse sinner than another, but in God’s sight we are all lost until we are saved; and if a man is lost, he cannot be more lost than another. If you are not a believer on Christ, you need not be any worse than you are right now to be lost, for it is your lack of believing that condemns you (John 3:18).

Jesus told a parable of a barren fig tree, whose owner was about to destroy it, when the vinedresser interceded to give it another chance. He was speaking of the Jews—typified in Scripture by the fig tree—who had the opportunity for the Messiahs ministry but had not received Him. It should also remind us that God is giving us an opportunity to bear fruit unto Him, and He wants fruit, not mere leaves of profession.

He healed a crippled woman on the Sabbath, and immediately the Pharisaic ruler of the synogogue objected. Jesus sternly calls His accuser a hypocrite and rebukes him. He speaks of the woman as one “whom Satan hath bound,” which throws light upon His attitude toward sickness as a shackle of Satan. Often we regard sickness as the will of God, when we ought to face it as a scourge of the devil. When Jesus was asked whether few would be saved (Luke 13:23) He did not answer directly, but bade His hearers to strive to enter in at the strait gate. Many who were highly favored will be cast out, while the babes and simple souls will be saved. It has ever been so: the privileged Jews first refused Him while the untaught Gentiles received Him. Through the ages the first have been last and the last first.

When warned that Herod would kill Him, our Lord replies by calling the king a “fox” and telling him that He could not be hindered by any king. Jesus adds a statement of awful irony about Jerusalem: “I must get on to Jerusalem, for it is unthinkable that a prophet should be killed elsewhere. They have killed so many there that it is natural to expect it.”

He closes with a lament over the city that He gladly would have gathered unto Himself. One day He will return, and Israel shall look upon Him whom they have pierced and shall say, “Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord.” Today, the papers tell us of continuous return to Palestine and the revival of that land—the greatest miracle of modern times. The stage is being set for the Lord’s return. Are you ready?

“Pride goeth before destruction.”

Exodus 7:1-5, 10-22

Exodus 7:1-5

God’s judgments hardened Pharaoh’s heart. They are sure to harden if they do not soften. The monarch was of such a nature that terrors and plagues only made his spirit more unbending.

Exodus 7:10

They had delivered their message, they here show their credentials.

Exodus 7:11-13

He concluded that Moses was only a magician, like those in his own pay, and he therefore again defied the power of Jehovah.

Exodus 7:14-18

They had before defiled the river with the blood of innocents, and now it appears to them in blood-red colours; as if it published aloud their murderous deeds.

Exodus 7:19-21

Horrible! A crowd of horrors! Their drink becomes blood; the river which they accounted sacred pours forth an intolerable stench; the delicious water grows worse than putrid; and the fish which were a great part of their food float dead upon the abominable stream! This was a plague indeed.

Exodus 7:22

Proud Pharaoh cares not. His magicians ingeniously imitate the miracle by sleight of hand, and the heartless king cares nothing for the sufferings of his people.

Lo, Moses scatters plagues of wrath,

A ministry of fire and death,

But our Immanuel cometh forth,

With life and love in every breath.

He turn’d their water into blood,

For vengeance was his dread design:

But, thanks to our incarnate God,

He turn’d our water into wine.

No One for Whom Christ Died Is Worthless

Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord; though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished. Proverbs 16:5

Contempt for another human being is an affront to God almost as grave as idolatry, for while idolatry is disrespect for God Himself, contempt is disrespect for the being He made in His own image.

Contempt says of a man, “Raca! Fool! This fellow is of no worth. I attach to his person no value whatsoever!” The person guilty of thus appraising a human being is thoroughly bad. The gravity of the situation lies not in the fact that a man can cry “Fool!” but that he can entertain in his heart the contempt which the word expresses.

Contempt is an emotion possible only where there is great pride. The error in moral judgment that undervalues another always springs out of the error that overvalues one’s self. The contemptuous man esteems himself too highly, and for reasons that are invalid. His high opinion of himself is not based upon his position as a being made in God’s image; he esteems himself for fancied virtues which he does not possess. The error in his judgment is moral, not intellectual.

Here is our warning: the Christian believer’s disapprobation of the evil ways of men and women must not betray him into contempt for them as human beings! He must reverence the humanity of every man—for no one for whom Christ died can be common or worthless. To esteem anyone worthless who wears the form of a man is to be guilty of an affront to the Son of Man! We are to hate sin in ourselves and in all men, but never undervalue the man in whom the sin is found.