Search the Scriptures, for…these are they which testify of Me. John 5:39
A. W. Tozer seldom used an unnecessary word. His sentences were plain and vivid, connecting with readers like an electrical circuit. Listen to this Tozer paragraph: “One great concern I have is that many of today’s Christians are not taking the Word of God seriously. For whatever reason, the Scriptures do not have authority in the Christian’s life in the way that is necessary for him or her to live a life to the glory of God.”
We must take the Scriptures seriously because the Scriptures take the Lord seriously. We learn about Jesus through His Word: His eternal glory, His remarkable humanity, His infinite wisdom, His glorious resurrection, His current enthronement, His swift coming, and His everlasting reign. By turning our eyes to the Bible, we’re turning our gaze to Him, and that changes the way we view the trails and trials of earth.
When you take the Bible seriously, you’ll grow closer to Christ—becoming stronger in Him and more joyful whatever befalls you. Ask the Lord to give you a love for His Word—and for His Son!
If we are going to be empowered by the Holy Spirit, we must start by taking the Bible seriously.A. W. Tozer
Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. Psalm 90:14
According to psychologist Meg Jay, our minds tend to think about our future selves similarly to how we think about complete strangers. Why? It’s probably due to what’s sometimes called the “empathy gap.” It can be hard to empathize and care for people we don’t know personally—even future versions of ourselves. So in her work, Jay tries to help young people imagine their future selves and take steps to care for them. This includes working out actionable plans for who they will one day be—paving the way for them to pursue their dreams and to continue to thrive.
In Psalm 90, we’re invited to see our lives not just in the present, but as a whole—to ask God to help us “number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (v. 12). Remembering that our time on earth is limited can remind us of our desperate need to rely on God. We need His help to learn how to find satisfaction and joy—not just now, but “all our days” (v. 14). We need His help to learn to think not just of ourselves, but of future generations (v. 16). And we need His help to serve Him with the time we’ve been given—as He establishes the work of our hands and hearts (v. 17).
How might you grow in taking care of your future self? How does keeping the bigger picture of your life in view help you to better serve others?
Dear God, thank You for the gift of life. Help me to cherish it with the time I’ve been given. Thank You that when my walk with You on earth is over, I can look forward to an eternity of fellowship with You.
There was a time when I was so disheartened that I wondered whether to remain in the ministry. How could I tell people that Jesus would give them peace and joy when I didn’t feel it myself?
God let me stew in my anxiety until I was fully committed to finding out if His Word was true or not. I found my answer in a biography of missionary Hudson Taylor. For a long time he, too, felt that his efforts fell short of the Lord’s expectations. But Taylor realized God wanted believers to trust Him fully and rest on His promises.
As a child, I was taught that a person got saved and then went to work for God. You did the best you could to think, speak, and act in a wise, godly manner. When your best wasn’t good enough, well, you tried harder. Such an impossible expectation was wearing me out. This idea of letting Jesus Christ work through me sounded both biblical and liberating.
A grape branch doesn’t bear fruit because of its determined efforts to get sunshine; rather, it simply abides in the vine, and fruit appears. The vine does all the work. In the same way, believers are to be in union with their Savior so that spiritual fruit can grow in their life.
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.” (John 10:7)
Jesus was not just making another notable “I am” statement in this verse but also putting forth a sober warning. This warning is related to the statement likening His followers to sheep, a common theme for God’s people in the Old Testament as well. Sheep are directionless, weak, prone to wandering, timid, stubborn, easily frightened, and utterly defenseless against predators. Without a shepherd, they are in deep trouble.
Jesus goes on to say, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture” (John 10:9). The sheepfold is the pen in which the sheep are kept at night, and the shepherd controls the door. On a daily basis, the shepherd leads the sheep to feed. “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters” (Psalm 23:2).
This discourse of Jesus is made even stronger by pointing out the nature of our adversary, a thief who seeks to enter the sheepfold to “steal, and to kill, and to destroy” (John 10:10). Christ also pointed out the influence of bad shepherds (hirelings), who “seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep” (v. 12).
But thankfully for us, Jesus is “the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep” (v. 11). “And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice” (v. 4). Let us put aside the distractions and deceptions of this world and follow Jesus to green pastures. JPT
Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty. —1 Chronicles 29:11
I believe a local church exists to do corporately what each Christian believer should be doing individually—and that is to worship God….
We are saved to worship God. All that Christ has done for us in the past and all that He is doing now leads to this one end. If we are denying this truth and if we are saying that worship is not really important, we can blame our attitudes for the great wave of arrested development in our Christian fellowships.
Why should the church of Jesus Christ be a spiritual school where hardly anyone ever graduates from the first grade? WHT093-094
Do you love Jesus for the divine glories of His person, for the excellence of His life, for the benefits of His death, for the prevalence of His intercession, for His resurrection, His dominion over the world, and His office as the supreme and final Judge? Are the feelings of your heart drawn out towards Christ as your chief joy? Can you sit down under His shadow with great delight, and find His fruit sweet to your taste? DTC115
After beginning with the Spirit, are you now going to be made complete by the flesh?—Galatians 3:3
The Christian church has always struggled to get the balance right between faith and works. Romans is the great book on “faith,” while James is the great book on “works.” I know some Christians who never read the book of James, taking sides with Martin Luther who called it a “book of straw.” Martin Luther may have been right about many things, but he was wrong when he referred to the Epistle of James in this way. We need to study both Romans and James if we want to be properly balanced Christians.
The difficulty with faith and works is this: we come into the Christian life by depending on Jesus’ innocent sufferings on Calvary as sufficient ground for our acceptance with God, and then when we learn the principles of Christian living, we turn from dependency on Christ to dependency on them. This was the great problem in the Galatian churches, and it is still a problem here in the church of the current century. Bringing forth the fruit of repentance by good works is terribly important, but we are not to depend on works for our salvation.
We tend to focus more on works than faith because it is something visible and tangible. We can see what we are doing and assess it or measure it. Faith is different. It requires of us a degree of helplessness (something the carnal nature detests), but if we are to know God better and avoid falling into the trap of pursuing godliness more keenly than pursuing God, then faith must be seen as the primary virtue.
O Father, help me get this right. I am saved to good works, but I am not saved by good works. Prevent me from falling into the trap of being more preoccupied with Your principles than with You Yourself. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
. . . casting all your care upon Him, because He cares about you.—1 Peter 5:7
As you’ve no doubt discovered, becoming a Christian does not make your problems go away. But it does give you an Advocate to whom you can take every concern. The Christians Peter addressed were facing persecution. They did not know whom they could trust; a friend, a neighbor, or even a family member could betray them, resulting in suffering and even death. But Peter had walked with the risen Christ, and he had personally experienced the love that Jesus had for His followers. He knew that Christ was in control, capable of handling every trial and that He wanted to do so as an expression of His love.
Casting our cares is a choice. It means consciously handing over our anxiety to Christ and allowing Him to carry the weight of our problems. At times this is the most difficult part of trusting God! We don’t like turning over the responsibility for our problems. We have been taught that self-reliance is good and praiseworthy. We may even enjoy worrying. Yet if we are to be freed from the burden of our concerns, we must choose to cast them into the strong hands of our Father.
Peter does not distinguish between little cares and big cares. God does not differentiate between problems we should handle on our own and God-sized needs. He asks us to turn them all over to Him. One of our greatest errors is to assume we can deal with something ourselves, only to discover that we really can’t.
God sees you as His frail child, burdened with a load that surpasses your strength. He stands prepared to take your load and to carry it for you. Will you let Him?
And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; for You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You. Sing praises to the Lord, who dwells in Zion! Psalm 9:10-11
Whenever we’re facing uncertain times, we’re apt to be apprehensive. That’s normal. It’s what we do with our apprehension that matters. The psalmist said that those who know the Name of the Lord will put their trust in Him, which enables us to sing praises to Him who dwells in Zion.
The more we trust God, the more naturally we’ll worship Him. When we trust Him with our problems, it enables our hearts to praise Him more freely; and when we cast our worries on Him, it expedites our worship toward Him.
So the next time worry invades your heart, say with the psalmist, “I will praise You, O Lord, with my whole heart…. I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High” (Psalm 9:1-2). Turn your worry into worship!
Only when we understand that we were created for His glory can we turn life’s trials and toils into acts of worship.Alistair Begg
Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?John 11:40
Blogger Kevin Lynn’s life seemed to be falling apart. In a recent article he recounted, “I actually put a gun to my head . . . . It took for God to supernaturally step into my room and my life. And at that moment, I really found what I know is God now.” God intervened and prevented Lynn from taking his life. He filled him with conviction and gave him an overwhelming reminder of His loving presence. Instead of hiding this powerful encounter, Lynn shared his experience with the world, creating a YouTube ministry where he shares his own transformation story as well as the stories of others.
When Jesus’ follower and friend Lazarus died, many assumed that Jesus was too late (John 11:32). Lazarus had been in his tomb for four days before Christ arrived, but He turned this moment of anguish into a miracle when He raised him from the dead (v. 38). “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” (v. 40).
Just as Jesus raised Lazarus from death to life, He offers us new life through Him. By sacrificing His life on the cross, Christ paid the penalty for our sins and offers us forgiveness when we accept His gift of grace. We’re freed from the bondage of our sins, renewed by His everlasting love, and given the opportunity to change the course of our lives.
The word delight means “to gain great pleasure, satisfaction, and happiness.” Isn’t that the kind of relationship you want with the Lord—one in which both you and He enjoy each other’s presence? Well, God also wants that kind of connection, and our part in helping it develop is through commitment, trust, and patience.
First, a believer must commit his or her ways to God. This means we invite Him to examine our desires and plans and alter whatever does not fit His purpose or plan for our life.
Second, a believer must trust God. Who is more worthy of our faith than the Father, who gave Jesus Christ to save undeserving sinners? The One who would not spare His only Son will certainly provide all that His children need (Romans 8:32).
Third, a believer must rest in God. When we fret, we’re neither committing ourselves to the Lord nor trusting in Him. Waiting on God is rarely easy, but He alone knows when circumstances and timing are aligned with His will.
Enjoying our relationship with the Lord requires effort, but it is a labor of love—because we were made to find joy in God’s presence. The greatest pleasure we can experience is to walk hand in hand with our Father.