One God

“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD.” (Deuteronomy 6:4)

This great verse has been recited countless times by Israelites down through the centuries, setting forth their distinctive belief in one great Creator God. The Jews had retained their original belief in creation, handed down from Noah, while the other nations had all allowed their original monotheistic creationism to degenerate into a wide variety of religions, all basically equivalent to the polytheistic evolutionism of the early Sumerians at Babel.

But along with its strong assertion of monotheism, there is also a very real suggestion that this declaration, with its thrice-named subject, is also setting forth the triune God. The name “LORD,” of course, is Yahweh, or Jehovah, the self-existing One who reveals Himself, while “God” is Elohim, the powerful Creator/Ruler. “Jehovah our Elohim is one Jehovah” is the proclamation. A number of respected Jewish commentators have acknowledged that the verse spoke of a “unified oneness” rather than an “absolute oneness.” The revered book called the Zohar, for example, even said that the first mention was of the Father, the second one the Messiah, and the third the Holy Spirit.

The key word “one” (Hebrew achad) is often used to denote unity in diversity. For example, when Eve was united to Adam in marriage, they were said to be “one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). Similarly, on the third day of creation, the waters were “gathered together unto one place,” yet this gathering together was called “Seas” (i.e., more than one sea, Genesis 1:9-10).

Thus, Israel’s great declaration should really be understood as saying, in effect: “The eternally omnipresent Father, also Creator and Sustainer of all things, is our unified self-revealing Lord.” HMM

Faith Must Be Demonstrated

For by [faith.] the elders obtained a good report. —Hebrews 11:2

The lesson that comes to us through the many dramatic illustrations of faith in Hebrews 11 brings us back to my earlier statement: Faith in God is to be demonstrated, not defined. Just as God’s church demonstrates Christian love, this demonstration of godly, humble faith is God’s ideal for His church.

It is not enough for preachers in their pulpits to try to define love. The love that God has promised must be demonstrated in the lives of the believers in the pews. It must be practiced as well by the man who occupies the pulpit.

We should put the matter of faith in that same category. God wants His people, including the ministers, to demonstrate all of the outworking of faith in their daily lives and practices.   JAF008

Lord, the pattern set forth in Hebrews 11 seems so unattainable! Strengthen me by Your Spirit to be able to demonstrate this type of unshakable faith. Amen.

A Religion Like No Other

Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. —Acts 4:12

There are in the Christian religion three major elements: spiritual life, moral practice and community organization, and these all spring out of and follow New Testament doctrine; or more correctly, the first must and the others should….

Life comes mysteriously to the soul that believes the truth. “He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life” (John 5:24). And again, “He that believeth on me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive)” (7:38-39).

The message of the cross offers eternal life and the blessedness of the Holy Spirit indwelling the soul. These distinguish Christianity from every other religion; and it is significant that these distinguishing marks are of such a nature as to be wholly above and beyond the reach of man. GTM044-045

Christianity tells humanity, “You have destroyed yourself, but in Me is your help.” It is a supernatural religion…the indwelling of the living God in human life. CTBC, Vol. 4/186

The Rightful King

Luke 19:37-44

On what proved to be the first day of Passion week, Jesus entered His capital city. The road to Jerusalem would be crowded with thronging pilgrims on their way to the Passover feast, which commemorated the most important event in their national history, the exodus from Egypt.

Jesus chose to approach and enter the city riding on a donkey. The humble pilgrims acclaimed Him, shouting “Hosanna,” but Jesus wept. Luke leaves us in no doubt as to the reason for those tears. He was foreseeing the dreadful consequences of the nation’s rejection of Himself, knowing that their choice of revolutionary action would lead to disastrous overthrow, as indeed it did.

Jesus entered Jerusalem in such a way as to make an open and unmistakable claim to Messiahship. The time for reserve was over. He was throwing down the gauntlet. It was as though our Lord deemed it necessary to give the nation a final chance to accept its King, and made His entry in this way to remind the people of the prophecy in Zechariah: “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your King comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey” (Zech. 9:9).

As their rightful King, Jesus had claims, but force cannot command love. His kingdom had to be rooted in the hearts of men, so He appealed to them in a way unlike anything they expected or desired. All emblems of power and authority were laid aside; there was only His personal dignity to persuade them. Any man’s acceptance of Christ must be free, completely unforced.

He, the Messiah, entered the capital of the chosen nation not on a war horse, but riding on a donkey, the symbol of humility and peace. Here was no political king, but the spiritual Lord of a spiritual kingdom. In the words of Henry Milman:

Ride on, ride on in majesty!

In lowly pomp ride on to die;

O Christ, Thy triumphs now begin

O’er captive death and conquered sin.

Harry Dean, Power and Glory

VIDEO Defeating the Fear of Disease

And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away. Revelation 21:4

Medical science has made it possible for humans to live longer. But ask the average senior citizen if that excites them and the answer may be, “Yes and no.” Yes, we want to live longer but not while battling a disease. Disease remains a potential source of fear for all humans, regardless of age.

But does it need to be? We know all of creation has been impacted by sin. When creation malfunctions or begins to break down, we shouldn’t be surprised. We know death is coming for all. But we need not be afraid of death or any disease that may hasten its arrival. Rather, we should echo the apostle John’s prayer: “I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health” (3 John 2). Health is a desire we should pray for and work toward, while leaving the answer to God.

One deadly condition we can eliminate today is fear! Fear is not from God (2 Timothy 1:7). Live well, pray well, and be well—one day at a time.

The destined end of man is not happiness, nor health, but holiness.  Oswald Chambers


Surprising Facts about Your Eternal Home – Revelation 21-22 – Skip Heitzig

Knowing the Father

Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.”John 14:9

According to legend, British conductor Sir Thomas Beecham once saw a distinguished-looking woman in a hotel foyer. Believing he knew her but unable to remember her name, he paused to talk with her. As the two chatted, he vaguely recollected that she had a brother. Hoping for a clue, he asked how her brother was doing and whether he was still working at the same job. “Oh, he’s very well,” she said, “And still king.”

A case of mistaken identity can be embarrassing, as it was for Sir Beecham. But at other times it may be more serious, as it was for Jesus’ disciple Philip. The disciple knew Christ, of course, but he hadn’t fully appreciated who He was. He wanted Jesus to “show [them] the Father,” and Jesus responded, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:8–9). As God’s unique Son, Christ reveals the Father so perfectly that to know one is to know the other (vv. 10–11).

If we ever wonder what God is like in His character, personality, or concern for others, we only need to look to Jesus to find out. Christ’s character, kindness, love, and mercy reveal God’s character. And although our amazing, awesome God is beyond our complete comprehension and understanding, we have a tremendous gift in what He’s revealed of Himself in Jesus.

By:  Con Campbell

Reflect & Pray

How well do you know God’s character? How does it match your perception of who Jesus is?

Dear God, help me to grow in my knowledge and appreciation of who You are.

The Solution to Jealousy

James 3:13-18

Have you ever wondered what causes envy? On the surface, it may seem like simply a reaction that occurs when we want something another person has. But it actually goes much deeper than this: The real root is resentment that God hasn’t provided for us what He has given someone else.

Jealousy arises from a heart overcome by:

•  Greed. We become discontent with what God has given to us, and we want what other people have, believing that will make us happy.

• Selfishness. We compare ourselves to others, and instead of rejoicing with them, we focus on our own life and what we don’t have.

• Pride. Seeing the success of other people makes us feel inadequate, and in an attempt to build ourselves up, we belittle them and their accomplishments.

Jealousy and envy can cause great damage to relationships and spiritual health. That’s why it is important to act quickly, correcting such attitudes before they become a habit. At the first awareness of such a mindset, confess it as sin and acknowledge God’s right to bless someone else abundantly. Then express gratitude for what He has given you, and ask Him to help you rejoice with others He has blessed.

Fellowship in the Gospel

“I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now.” (Philippians 1:3-5)

This poignant letter was written to a church that Paul founded early in his ministry to the Gentiles (Acts 16:12-15). He endured challenging opposition there, followed for days by a demon-possessed young girl, tossed into prison by an angry business community, beaten and locked immobile into wooden stocks (Acts 16:16-24).

Yet in that dark midnight while Paul and Silas sang the hymns of the faith, God struck the jail with an earthquake and opened both the chains and the doors of the prison. The head jailor became converted, and along with the successful businesswoman Lydia, the seed of a flourishing church was planted (Acts 16:25-34).

It is to these “saints” and the “bishops and deacons” of the church at Philippi that Paul writes. The church has matured enough over the years of Paul’s absence to have established leadership and a strong testimony in that pagan city. The “rememberance” of these faithful men and women gives rise to his thanks to God for their “fellowship in the gospel.”

May we never take for granted the sweet friends that we have known in our churches. Their fellowship is far more valuable than business or political contacts. Theirs is the bond of an eternal brother or sister—theirs is the friendship that is “closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24).

The apostle John understood this: “Truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ” (1 John 1:3). And because we share in a love for the Lord Jesus and walk together in the “light” of God’s truth, “we have fellowship one with another”(1 John 1:7). HMM III

Worthy to Lead

Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead.) —Galatians 1:1

Conformity to the Word of God is always right, but obedience to religious leaders is good only if those leaders prove themselves worthy to lead. Leadership in the church of Christ is a spiritual thing and should be so understood by everyone. It takes more than a ballot to make a leader….

If the church is to prosper spiritually she must have spiritual leadership, not leadership by majority vote. It is highly significant that when the apostle Paul found it necessary to ask for obedience among the young churches he never appealed to them on the grounds that he had been duly elected to office. He asserted his authority as an apostle appointed by the Head of the church. He held his position by right of sheer spiritual ascendancy, the only earthly right that should be honored among the children of the new creation.   WOS162-164

Renew within me, even today, a sense of my divine call. Then help me to live a holy life, exemplary in faithfulness, so that I might indeed be a leader worthy to lead. Amen.

The Christ Question

What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? —Matthew 27:22

Where is Jesus now?” asks the world, and the Christian answers, “At the right hand of God.” He died but He is not dead. He rose again as He said He would….Better than all, His Spirit now reveals to the Christian heart not a dead Christ but a living one. This we are sent to declare with all the bold dogmatism of those who know, who have been there and experienced it beyond the possibility of a doubt.

The gospel is the official proclamation that Christ died for us and is risen again, with the added announcement that everyone who will believe, and as a result of that belief will cast in his lot with Christ in full and final committal, shall be saved eternally.

He…will not be popular and…he will be called to stand where Jesus stood before the world: to be admired by many, loved by a few and rejected at last by the majority of men. He must be willing to pay this price; or let him go his way; Christ has nothing more to say to him now. GTM040-041

The question for every man is the Christ question.

… The turning point of every life is its direct relationship to the Lord Jesus Christ. CTBC, Vol. 5/420