VIDEO To See God

 “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” — Matthew 5:8

Some have called the concept of seeing God “the brightest star in the Beatitudes’ constellation.” For ages, Christians have longed to see God. The mystics of the Middle Ages rejoiced in the concept of seeing God, calling it the “Beatific Vision.” This vision was the great quest of theology and even the quest of science as originally constructed—through the
examination of the cosmos, humans hoped to more clearly see the Creator.

But Scripture explicitly states that no human can see God directly and live. Yet many still seek to do so. Philip the Apostle said to Jesus, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.” Even pagan princes have sought to see God. In the ancient Roman Empire, Trajan said to a believer in the true God, “I understand that you believe your God is everywhere . . . I should very much like to see Him.” The believer responded, “I am afraid, sire, that no mortal eye can look upon His glory.” Nonetheless, the king commanded the believer to show him God. The believer suggested to the king that he first look at God’s ambassadors before he look God in the face. With that, the believer led the king outside on a bright, dazzling day and told the king to look at the sun. The king responded, “I cannot, for the light dazzles my eyes!” The believer then explained that if the king could not look at a mere ambassador that carries a message of God’s creation, how could he possibly look into the face of God Himself?

We cannot see God with our limited human eyes. But we can see Him with our souls, experiencing His joy, His peace, and His serenity. I hope that you have the blessing of seeing God this way as you foster a pure heart.

““Jesus, the very thought of Thee, with sweetness fills my breast, but even more Thy face to see and in Thy presence rest.””

St. Bernard Of Clairvaux

Sermon on the Mount – Matthew 5:8 – In Depth – Pastor Chuck Smith – Bible Studies

Wagging Tails and Tongues

The words of a gossip are like choice morsels. Proverbs 18:8

The newspaper declared that Pep had taken the life of the cat belonging to the governor’s wife—but he didn’t do it. The only thing he may have been guilty of was chewing the sofa at the governor’s mansion.

Pep was a rambunctious young Labrador retriever owned by Pennsylvania’s governor Gifford Pinchot in the 1920s. The dog actually was sent to Eastern State Penitentiary, where his mug shot was taken with a prisoner identification number. When a newspaper reporter heard about it, he made up the cat story. Because his report appeared in the newspaper, many believed Pep really was a cat-killer.

Israel’s King Solomon knew well the power of misinformation. He wrote, “The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to the inmost parts” (Proverbs 18:8). Sometimes our fallen human nature causes us to want to believe things about others that aren’t true.

Yet even when others believe untruths about us, God can still use us for good. In reality, the governor sent Pep to prison so he could be a friend to the inmates there—and he served for many years as a pioneer therapy dog.

God’s purposes for our lives still stand, regardless of what others say or think. When others gossip about us, remember that His opinion—and His love for us—is what matters most.

By:  James Banks

Reflect & Pray

How does it encourage you to know that God isn’t affected by what someone may say or think about you? How will you celebrate His perfect love today?

Abba, Father, thank You for making me Your child. Help me to share Your love with others today.

Sunday Reflection: Taking Christ to the World

Sharing the gospel can begin with simply being kind to those in your community

To get the most out of this devotion, set aside time to read the scriptures referenced throughout.

After His resurrection, Jesus asked three times if Peter loved Him. And each time the disciple answered yes, the Lord said to take care of His sheep (John 21:15-17). Like Peter, we are called to tend to one another, loving the church and going out to “the roads and the hedges” to reflect Christ’s love (Luke 14:23).

Whether we’re volunteering at an after-school program, befriending unbelievers in our workplace, giving of our time and talents to benefit a charity, or simply having a conversation in the checkout line, we can do good for our communities and bring glory to God.

Our mission is to join in Christ’s vision as an outpouring of His love—uplifting, engaging, and supporting the people we encounter. And just as Jesus left His seat next to the Father to go out into a cold world and rescue those who needed it, we have all kinds of opportunities to share the loving message of the gospel.

Think about it

• Think about Christ’s commands to “love your neighbor” and to “go … and make disciples” (Matthew 22:34-40Matthew 28:18-20). How do these work together and even enrich one another?

The Better Hope

“For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.” (Hebrews 7:19)

Men and women have many false hopes in this world, one of which is that they can earn heaven by good works. Even though God’s law is a perfect law, it can never make a person fit for heaven because no one can keep the law perfectly. There is a better hope, however, and that hope is “the hope of salvation” (1 Thessalonians 5:8) “which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27).

This “hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15) is indeed a wonderful hope. In addition to the one in our text (“better”), there are three other adjectives in the New Testament relative to our Christian hope.

First, it is called a “good hope.” “Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father…hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace” (2 Thessalonians 2:16).

Next, it is a “blessed hope.” “Denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:12-13).

Finally, it is a “lively [or living] hope.” “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3).

It is true, of course, that our hope is centered on the eternal future, for “if in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable” (1 Corinthians 15:19). Nevertheless, the proved resurrection of Christ makes it a good hope, a blessed hope, and a living hope. HMM

Creating “Margin” In Our Lives

Each page in this book has a margin. You wouldn’t read this “Fact” if the print ran to the edges of the paper because it would offend your sense of proportion. In similar fashion, our lives also need margin. They need proportion.

Margin is:

  • “The gap between rest and exhaustion…
  • “The leeway we once had between ourselves and our limits…
  • “Something held in reserve for contingencies or unanticipated situations… “

If you are running thin on margin these days, my guess is you are on overload in at least some of the following areas:

  • Too many commitments.
  • Too much competition.
  • Too much debt.
  • Too many expectations.
  • Too much ministry.

Here are six steps we can take to insure margin is built into our lives:

  • Learn to expect the unexpected. Because most everything takes longer than anticipated, learn to build margin into your planning.
  • Learn to say no. Contrary to your perception, you are not indispensable.
  • Cut down on the activities as they have a way of self-perpetuating; of multiplying.
  • Practice simplicity and contentment. Choose to live with less.
  • Get less done but do the right things. Assess all your activities as to their spiritual authenticity.
  • Decide to live the life of Jesus… whatever the cost:

Let your sweet reasonableness, your forbearance, your being satisfied with less than your due, become known to all menStop worrying about even one thing, but in everythinglet your requestsbe made known in the presence of God, and the peace of Godshall mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.“(Philippians 4:4-6 – Wuest Translation)

“He remembereth that we are dust.”

Psalm 90

This Psalm is the record of Moses feelings when he saw the people dying in the wilderness, and it ought not to be read as exactly descriptive of the feelings of godly men, whose death is not a judgment of God’s wrath, but a falling asleep in God’s arms, that they may depart out of this present evil world to be where Jesus is.

A Prayer of Moses the Man of God

Psalm 90:1

We wander in tents, but, like our fathers, we dwell in thee. Sweet thought, in every age God is the home of his people.

Psalm 90:2

Though men. die, Thou ever livest; though nature itself expire, Thou art the same.

Psalm 90:3

One word from thee is enough. When thy fiat has gone forth, the spirits of men return to thee.

Psalm 90:4

What are ages to eternity? The drop is more in relation to the sea than time to the life of the Eternal One.

Psalm 90:5, 6

Men flourish and decay: the meadow grass is not more frail than they. Where are all the ancient generations? Are they not as undiscoverable as the generations yet unborn? Like the grass which grew when Jacob fed his flocks, the people of the past have disappeared.

Psalm 90:7

Not we at this time, but that generation of Israel. We enjoy Jehovah’s love, but Israel in the wilderness melted away before the Lord’s hot displeasure.

Psalm 90:8

Glory be to God, as believers, our sins are pardoned, and put behind the Lord’s back, but it was not so with that generation. This verse can now only be applied to the ungodly. Are there any such in this household?

Psalm 90:9

Our days are passed in peace, for the Lord has given us rest, but as for Israel in the desert it was sadly the reverse; and upon the ungodly at this day the curse is resting.

Psalm 90:10

The very strength of age is sorrow. What then is its weakness? Covet not extreme old age; but know that if it comes God must be our portion, or else life will be a burden.

Psalm 90:11

May we never know the power of God’s anger. The dread of it is awful, but the reality is beyond conception.

Psalm 90:13

Be gracious to those whom thou hast doomed to die.

Psalm 90:15

Balance our woes with a weight of mercy. Give a joy for every sorrow.

Psalm 90:16

They would accept the toil of the wilderness with cheerfulness because their children would obtain the joys of the promised land. So long as God’s church is continued in the world, we who now bear the burden and heat of the day are content to die.

Psalm 90:17

The labour of Moses’ lifetime had been very great in building up the Jewish commonwealth, and therefore he is prayerfully anxious that he may not have laboured in vain. Nor was it so, for a great nation was formed, and its mission has been fulfilled, unto this day. Fear not, servants of God, though death should seem to sweep away your life-work: true service for the Lord will outlast the pyramids.

Revival Blessings Flow from God’s Promises

Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. Philippians 4:4

One characteristic that is largely lacking in the average church today is that of spiritual anticipation.

When Christians meet, they do not expect anything unusual to happen: consequently, only the usual happens, and that usual is as predictable as the setting of the sun.

A psychology of nonexpectation pervades the assembly, a mood of quiet ennui which the minister by various means tries to dispel, the means depending upon the cultural level of the congregation and particularly of the minister.

Christian expectation in the average church follows the program, not the promises. The activities of the saints are laid out for them by those who are supposed to know what they need better than they do. Prevailing spiritual conditions, however low, are accepted as inevitable—what will be is what has been!

The weary slaves of the dull routine find it impossible to hope for anything better.

Today we need a fresh spirit of anticipation that springs out of the promises of God! We must declare war on the mood of nonexpectation, and come together with childlike faith. Only then can we know again the beauty and wonder of the Lord’s presence among us.

VIDEO Indeed! Personal Accounts of the Resurrection Story: The Apostles – Convert or a Disciple?

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you. Matthew 28:19-20

From the beginning of His ministry, Jesus made it clear why He came to earth: “to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10) and “to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). But it soon became clear to Jesus’ disciples that His mission would become their mission.

From day one, He made the disciples’ future clear: “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men” (Mark 1:17). They continually received expanded insights: “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain” (John 15:16). But it was only after His resurrection that Jesus gave His disciples their life-long mission: to go and make disciples in all the nations by baptizing and teaching new believers.

That was their mission then, and it is our mission today. The resurrected Christ is sending us into the world with His Gospel.

The spirit of Christ is the spirit of missions. The nearer we get to Him, the more intensely missionary we become. Henry Martyn

Am I a Convert or a Disciple? | Matthew 28:16-20 | Gary Hamrick

Always Trustworthy

The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises. Psalm 145:13

I’m a worrier. Early mornings are the worst because I’m alone with my thoughts. So I taped this quote from Hudson Taylor on my bathroom mirror, where I can see it when I’m feeling vulnerable: “There is a living God. He has spoken in the Bible. He means what He says and will do all He has promised.”

Taylor’s words came from years of walking with God and remind us of who He is and all He can do through our times of illness, poverty, loneliness, and grief. He didn’t merely know that God is trustworthy─he’d experienced His trustworthiness. And because he’d trusted God’s promises and obeyed Him, thousands of Chinese people gave their lives to Jesus.

Experiencing God and His ways helped David know that He’s trustworthy. He wrote Psalm 145, a song of praise to the God he’d experienced to be good, compassionate, and faithful to all His promises. When we trust and follow God, we realize (or understand better) that He is who He says He is and that He’s faithful to His word (v. 13). And, like David, we respond by praising Him and telling others about Him (vv. 10−12).

When we face worrisome times, God can help us not to falter in our walk with Him, for He is trustworthy (Hebrews 10:23).

By:  Karen Huang

Reflect & Pray

What have you been worried about lately, and which of God’s promises can you hold on to? How does knowing that Hudson Taylor’s and King David’s faith wasn’t in vain encourage you and give you hope?

Dear God, thank You for being trustworthy and keeping Your promises to me. Please help me to remember Your faithfulness as I trust and obey You each day.

Praying the Promises of God

We can build our life upon the sure foundation of God’s Word Isaiah 40:8

Jesus told us that we would face hardship in this life (John 16:33). But in His grace, He gave us amazing tools to keep trials from overwhelming us. For instance, He placed His Spirit inside each believer to guide and empower. He gave us the gift of prayer, not only to communicate and stay connected with Him but also to bring Him our requests. 

Today let’s focus on another one of His gifts: the Bible. Scripture is the Word of God Almighty. It is truth. It never changes. Regardless of our circumstances, the Bible provides a sure foundation on which to base our life and decisions. It contains thousands of promises—countless assurances that we can rely on with perfect confidence. And we can turn God’s promises into prayers and make them the cry of our heart. 

Here’s an example. Psalm 32:8 says, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will advise you with My eye upon you.” We can pray God’s words back to Him, saying that we believe He will teach us and reveal His path, while remaining by our side.  

God is faithful and unchanging, so we can trust in His promises, which enable us to rest confidently and act boldly.