VIDEO Spiritual and Material

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits. Psalm 103:2

We live in a world that is both material and spiritual. On the material side, we access our world through our five senses: sight, touch, taste, smell, and hearing. It is no wonder the apostle John warned about “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life”—“all that is in the world” (1 John 2:16). It is easy to be enticed by the things of this world, to think they will bless our life.

But the Bible says that God’s blessings are both material and spiritual. He forgives our sins, heals our diseases, redeems us from destruction, loves us, shows compassion to us, satisfies our life with good things, and renews our youth (Psalm 103:3-5). The world cannot offer anything to compare with the dual dimensions of God’s blessings—spiritual and material. When we are tempted to seek blessing and contentment in the things of this world, we need to look to God’s promised blessings.

Look around you today and count your blessings. Thank God for His provision and commit all your needs to Him.

The vast majority of mankind never gives a thought of gratitude towards God for all His care and blessings. Donald Grey Barnhouse

 The Value of Life | Psalm 103:2-4 | Gary Hamrick

Stolen Gods

You have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome. Genesis 32:28

A carved wooden figure—a household god—had been stolen from a woman named Ekuwa, so she reported it to the authorities. Believing they had found the idol, law enforcement officials invited her to identify it. “Is this your god?” they asked. She said sadly, “No, my god is much larger and more beautiful than that.”

People have long tried to give shape to their concept of deity, hoping for a handmade god to protect them. Perhaps that’s why Jacob’s wife Rachel “stole her father’s household gods” as they fled from Laban (Genesis 31:19). But God had His hand on Jacob, despite the idols hidden in his camp (v. 34).

Later, on that same journey, Jacob wrestled all night with “a man” (32:24). He must have understood this opponent was no mere human, because at daybreak Jacob insisted, “I will not let you go unless you bless me” (v. 26). The man renamed him Israel (“God fights”) and then blessed him (vv. 28–29). Jacob called the spot Peniel (“face of God”), “because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared” (v. 30).

This God—the one true God—is infinitely larger and more beautiful than anything Ekuwa could have ever imagined. He can’t be carved, stolen, or hidden. Yet, as Jacob learned that night, we can approach Him! Jesus taught His disciples to call this God “our Father in heaven” (Matthew 6:9).

By:  Tim Gustafson

Reflect & Pray

How would you describe God? How might your ideas of Him be too limited?

Heavenly Father, forgive me for seeing You as smaller than You really are. Help me embrace the reality of who You truly are.

The Transforming Grace of God

God can transform any sinner into a saint Romans 8:28-30

One of the most miraculous displays of the Lord’s power is His ability to transform an unrighteous man into a shining light for Jesus. The apostle Paul is a great example of how God can change …

• The religious into the redeemed (1 Timothy 1:12-13). Before his conversion, Paul was deeply religious, but not in a good way. He relied on his pedigree, performance, and piety to gain authority and acceptance. When he met the Lord on the road to Damascus, however, he discovered that all of his religious works and credentials meant nothing. The only way we can become acceptable before God is through receiving the saving grace of Christ—and that’s how Paul’s sin was replaced with a righteous spirit. 

• A servant of sin into a servant of God (Romans 6:17-18). Paul had been hostile toward the early church—promoting blasphemy, punishing believers, and voting for them to be punished with death (Acts 26:10-11). Yet after salvation, he became a dedicated missionary who spread the gospel wherever he could.  

Our Father turned one of the early church’s enemies into a wise and repentant leader. Commit to obey the Lord, and see what happens. He is faithful to complete the good work He has begun in you (Philippians 1:6). 

The Father’s Love for the Son

“And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:17)

In this remarkable verse, God the Father, speaking from heaven itself, introduces His beloved Son to the world. This is the first New Testament reference to “love,” just as the Father’s love for the Son was the first love that ever existed. As Christ prayed in the upper room, “For thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world” (John 17:24).

There are many other references to the Father’s love for the Son, including two to the voice at His baptism (Mark 1:11Luke 3:22) and two more in the upper room prayer (John 17:23, 26). One great reason for that love is the following: “Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life” (John 10:17).

The extent of the Father’s love for His blessed Son was all-encompassing. “The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand” (John 3:35). Furthermore, “the Father loveth the Son, and showeth Him all things that Himself doeth” (John 5:20).

God also spoke of His “beloved Son” on the Mount of Transfiguration, as cited four times (Matthew 17:5Mark 9:7Luke 9:352 Peter 1:17). Thus, there are seven references in the New Testament to the Father’s heavenly testimony to His beloved Son. Similarly, there are seven passages where the Son Himself testifies of that Fatherly love. In addition to the six cited above, Christ said, “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you” (John 15:9).

Seven testimonies from the Father and seven from the Son! Surely the Father loved the Son with a perfect love. And yet—“Herein is love…that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10). Such love for unworthy sinners merits nothing less than total thanksgiving from us. HMM

Complacency – Stagnation – Death

This morning I had breakfast with a businessman who is coasting spiritually. Basically, he’s bored with his Christian experience… and under-challenged with life in general.

At mid-life he has mastered his profession, enjoys the easy life-style of private clubs, trips abroad, and the respect of his peers. His time with God is bland. His involvement in ministry is dutiful, uneventful, and… predictable.

There is no overt sin in his life, you understand. Basically, he’s a nice guy, who faithfully shows up each week at church and Bible study.

But he’s dying from within. Bloated from too much intake and too little outflow.

What is missing is the very life of Christ pulsating through his veins:

  • Jesus wept over Jerusalem.
  • Jesus washed peoples feet.
  • Jesus climbed into an electric chair and died.
  • Jesus cautioned us:

Whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.“(Luke 9:24)

So I asked him, “If you are stagnated now, what will you be five years from now?”

I then challenged him to find the highest piece of real estate in his city: “Go to the top, look over the city and pray, asking God to allow you to see your city through the eyes of Jesus who wept over Jerusalem as He viewed their tragically lost condition.“(Matthew 23:37-39)

I urged him to ask God to give him a vision for his world that was larger than his safe and diminished life… A vision that would demand faith and sacrifice.

Is it not true that unless we are involved in a life of sacrifice in fulfilling a God-given vision, we too are in the process of dying?

QUESTION: What is your vision? What is your passion? For what are you expending your life? Is it the life of the cross or simply “business as usual?“If it is business as usual,

You may be a spiritual cadaver in the making.

“Beware of covetousness.”

Numbers 22:21-35

Numbers 22:21

It does not seem that the princes pressed him to go, it would rather appear that they started off before him; they were evidently on before when the angel met him. A covetous man needs no tempting, he is ready for anything.

Numbers 22:22, 23

Balaam knew he could not curse Israel, but he shewed his will to do so by going with the men. God was justly angry with such an evil intent.

Numbers 22:22, 23

Who can be proud of seeing visions since this poor beast saw an angel, and saw it sooner than a prophet?

Numbers 22:22, 23

Even an ass pays reverence to the angel of God. What are those who sneer at all divine things?

Numbers 22:24-29

Balaam did not seem to be either surprised or alarmed. He was familiar with supernatural wonders, and was moreover so taken up with the one idea of gaining Balak’s reward that he neither feared nor cared. Greed for gold hardens men’s hearts beyond measure; this passion created the monster Judas and others of his class.

Numbers 22:30

The best comment upon this is to be found in Peters Second Epistle; “He was rebuked for his iniquity, the dumb ass speaking with man’s voice forbad the madness of the prophet.” To go with the Moabites to obtain rewards by trying to do what he knew was contrary to God, was utter madness; even a beast was more wise than he, and it was meet that he should be so rebuked.

Numbers 22:33

God takes notice of cruelty to animals, the angel expostulates with Balaam for cruelly to his ass.

Numbers 22:34

He yields under pressure, but his heart goes after gain.

Numbers 22:35

Knowing the right, he yet desired to win the rewards of wrong doing, and went as far into opposition of God’s will as he dare.

From vanity turn off my eyes;

Let no corrupt design,

Nor covetous desires arise

Within this soul of mine.

Make me to walk in Thy commands,

‘Tis a delightful road;

Nor let my head, or heart, or hands,

Offend against my God

It Is Not Fanatical to Love God Supremely

While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light.... John 12:36

One of the marks of our modern time is the fact that many are guilty of merely “nibbling” at the truth of the Christian gospel.

If the cross of Jesus Christ means what it should to us and we know that we must carry it and die on it and then rise and live above it, we will have a constant desire to advance and gain spiritual ground!

The nervous people who want to put on the brakes, who feel the necessity for restraint in matters of spiritual desire and yearning for perfection, often use the expression, “Let’s not get fanatical about this.”

I can only ask: Is it fanaticism to want to go on until you can perfectly love God and perfectly praise Him?

Is it fanatical to find divine joy leaping up within your heart? Is it fanatical to find the willingness within your heart to say, “Yes, Lord! Yes, Lord!” and thus live daily in the will of God so that you are living in heaven while you are living on the earth?

If this is fanaticism, then it is the fanaticism of the Old Testament patriarchs and the Law; it is the fanaticism of the psalmist and of the prophets and the New Testament writers, as well!