VIDEO A Work in Process

For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Romans 8:29


A portrait or sculpted bust is ideally created with the subject in the studio. If that is not possible, a photograph of the subject is needed. In either case, an image of the subject—in person or in a photo—is required in order to create a 2D (portrait) or 3D (bust) likeness.

The ultimate goal of the Christian’s salvation experience is to be “conformed to the image of [God’s] Son,” Jesus Christ (Romans 8:29). Therefore, we are the blank canvas or the lump of marble or clay, and Jesus is the “image” to which we are being conformed. Not a physical conformity but a spiritual conformity. The process begins with the new birth (John 3:1-3). Paul expands on the idea by saying in Christ you are a “new creation”—the old you has “passed away,” and “the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17, ESV).

God, the Artist, is in no hurry. In fact, our conformity to Christ is a lifelong process, being completed when we see Him face-to-face. Be patient! You are a work in process.

The goal of sanctification is to be conformed to Christ’s image… not be self-satisfied. John MacArthur

The Greatest Promise in the Bible | Dr. David Jeremiah


Who Am I?

To all who did receive him . . . [Jesus] gave the right to become children of God. John 1:12

In 1859, Joshua Abraham Norton declared himself Emperor of the United States. Norton had made—and lost—his fortune in San Francisco shipping, but he wanted a new identity: America’s first emperor. When the San Francisco Evening Bulletin printed “Emperor” Norton’s announcement, most readers laughed. Norton made pronouncements aimed at correcting society’s ills, printed his own currency, and even wrote letters to Queen Victoria asking her to marry him and unite their kingdoms. He wore royal military uniforms designed by local tailors. One observer said Norton looked “every inch a king.” But of course, he wasn’t. We don’t get to make up who we are.  

Many of us spend years searching for who we are and wondering what value we possess. We flail, trying to name or define ourselves, when only God can truly tell us the truth about who we are. And, thankfully, He calls us His sons and daughters when we receive salvation in His Son, Jesus. “Yet to all who did receive him,” John writes, “he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12). And this identity is purely a gift. We are His beloved “children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision . . . but born of God” (v. 13).

God gives us our name and our identity in Christ. We can stop striving and comparing ourselves to others, because He tells us who we are.

By:  Winn Collier

Reflect & Pray

How do you know you’re chosen by God? How does being His child help you understand your true identity?

God, I know that I’m Yours. Help me feel confidence in knowing that I’m born of You—a child of the King.

Learn more about your identity in Christ through salvation.

No Calling Too Small

The Lord provides opportunities for anyone who wants to do His will Exodus 1:15-22

Yesterday, we read about Esther and how the Lord used her in a mighty way to deliver His people. If you caught yourself thinking, Well, I won’t be called to such a grand task, remember you don’t have to be a king or queen to have great influence.

Consider the story in today’s reading. A thousand years before the time of Esther, Pharaoh ordered all male Hebrew children in Egypt to be murdered at birth, but two midwives refused to comply with his decree. Even when they were questioned by Pharaoh—the powerful man considered by many to be divine—they continued saving lives because they feared the true God. And Scripture tells us that because of their bravery, the Lord “was good to the midwives, and the people multiplied, and became very mighty” (v. 20). Neither Shiphrah nor Puah was a queen, yet the Lord still used them to save an entire nation.

Embracing our respective callings may at times be scary but is always worth it. Each time we do, we’ll learn just how faithful our heavenly Father is. And that will build our trust in Him for the next opportunity He gives us to step out in obedience.

They Have Their Reward

“Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.” (Matthew 6:2)

Evidently in our Lord’s day there were individuals who, when they went to the synagogue to give of their money, did so with great show, even having a trumpeter go before them to announce their actions. They also prayed openly “standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men” (v. 5). Jesus called them hypocrites.

The Greek word for hypocrite was used primarily for a stage actor—one who acted as if he were another person, perhaps using a large mask to hide his true identity. In this case, the hypocrite played the part of a generous person or a pious person who, out of a heart of concern for the poor or out of genuine love for God, would give or pray abundantly. But under the “mask” was only a desire to have others recognize and glorify him. Perhaps they received the applause of the onlookers, to which Jesus remarked, “They have their reward” (v. 5), even as the hypocrites in the synagogues and in the streets receive theirs.

The word “have,” an ordinary word, is here modified by a prefix that changes its meaning to “have in full” and was commonly used on business receipts to mean “paid in full.” No payment or service was expected to follow the close of the transaction.

How sad it is when we do “Christian” work today for the praises of men and not the glory of God. Whatever comes of our work will be here; there will be no more reward to follow. Rather, let us give, or pray, or work in secret, as it were, “and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly” (v. 4). JDM

On Maintaining An “Image”

For the past year I have been personally meeting one-on-one with a man who has a reputation in the Christian community as a “SUCCESSFUL CHRISTIAN BUSINESSMAN.”

I can remember on many occasions leaving our times together feeling God was wonderfully changing our lives, only to learn recently from outside sources that his marriage is in crisis, and his business practices are notoriously unethical and exploitive of others.

I have also become aware that sincere Christian friends have attempted to approach him over these issues only to be rebuffed by acrimonious, self-justification.

Yet in certain Christian circles this “SUCCESSFUL CHRISTIAN BUSINESSMAN” is known to be generous with his time and resources for the cause of Christ.

What is going on here? Why the contradictions?

The issue is “IMAGE”: Here is a man who desperately wants to be viewed around town as a “SUCCESSFUL CHRISTIAN BUSINESSMAN”. Therefore:

Maintaining a certain public image is more important than any serious quest for holiness.

By his actions, it has become obvious that he loves the “praise of man more than the praise of God.“(John 12:43)

In retrospect, what was lacking in our times together was:

  • BROKENNESS over sin: “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart… “(Psalm 51:17)
  • TRANSPARENCY over failings: “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed… “(James 5:16a)
  • The SURRENDER of the mind and will to the Lordship of Christ and His Word: “We take captive every thought to make it obedient to ChristListen to the word, and… do what it says.“(2 Corinthians 10:5; James 1:22)

The fact is that God despises our efforts to impress others in order to garner their approval, since “that which is highly valued among men is detestable in Gods sight.“(Luke 16:15b)

So, what motivates you: The pursuit of holiness or maintaining your public image?

“All His ways are judgment.”

Deuteronomy 32

We shall now read some verses of Moses’ dying song. Like the fabled swan, he sang himself away—Deuteronomy 32.

Deuteronomy 32:1, 2

Though the law is as a tempest, yet Moses as the mediator was as the soft, refreshing, insinuating dew; and far more so is the Lord Jesus as the dew unto Israel.

Deuteronomy 32:5, 6

They have not the marks of saints, the secret, sacred marks of inward grace by which the heavenly Father distinguishes his own children.

Deuteronomy 32:7-9

God is their portion, and they are his portion.

Deuteronomy 32:10

This is where the Lord finds us all by nature, but mark his wise and tender dealings with us;

Deuteronomy 32:11, 12

The eagle, when its young are fit to leave the nest, will not let them remain idle, but disturbs them, entices them to try their pinions, and even carries them up to teach them to fly; thus graciously does the Lord train his people.

Deuteronomy 32:13-15

A sad picture of many professors. They are like lean horses, which at last come under the care of a kind master, they grow fat and then they kick, and leap away from the pasturage. Men increase in riches, and forget the God who gave them all they have.

Deuteronomy 32:18

Never let us forget our God from whom we derive our being, as the stream finds its fountain in the rock.

Deuteronomy 32:19

The sins of God’s own children are peculiarly provoking to him. He might endure from strangers what he cannot tolerate in his own beloved.

Deuteronomy 32:20

Or no steadfastness. The hiding of God’s face is never sent arbitrarily, but is ever meant to shew us that there is some evil thing in us which grieves the Lord. How can he, as our Father, continue to smile upon us if we do the things which he hates. May we all of us be very careful to please God in all things.

Polite Society: “Religion Must Not Get Personal”

And their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not. Luke 24:11

I remind you that it is characteristic of the natural man to keep himself so busy with unimportant trifles that he is able to avoid settling the most important matters relating to life and existence.

Men and women will gather anywhere and everywhere to talk about every subject from the latest fashions on up to Plato and philosophy—up and down the scale! They talk about the necessity for peace. They may talk about the church and how it can be a bulwark against communism. None of these things are embarrassing subjects.

But the conversation all stops and the taboo of silence becomes effective when anyone dares to suggest that there are spiritual subjects of vital importance to our souls that ought to be discussed and considered. There seems to be an unwritten rule in polite society that if any religious subjects are to be discussed, it must be within the framework of theory—”never let it get personal!”

All the while, there is really only one thing that is of vital and lasting importance—the fact that our Lord Jesus Christ “was wounded for our transgressions; he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”