VIDEO Brick by Brick – The Glorious Gospel

Therefore we do not lose heart…. the inward man is being renewed day by day.  2 Corinthians 4:16

Thomas Carlyle labored with intensity on the first volume of a three-part study of the French Revolution. He felt it could be his greatest work. He loaned the manuscript to his friend John Stuart Mill to read, and Mill read it by the fire. One morning the maid, cleaning the room and seeing the scattered pages on the floor, threw them in the fire. When Carlyle learned his manuscript was burned to ash, he sank into abysmal depression. Some time later, still desolate, he saw a brick mason through the window. The man was standing on a scaffold, singing and whistling to himself as he built the wall of a house one brick at a time. Watching him, Carlyle decided he would write his book again, one page at a time. His history of the revolution became famous, and he is remembered as one of Scotland’s literary giants.

Perhaps you’ve lost something very valuable to you. Don’t give up. Tomorrow still holds a bright promise, and the Lord blesses faithful, plodding work. Let’s take it step by step, day by day, and moment by moment.

Looking to Jesus till glory doth shine, moment by moment, O Lord, I am Thine.  Daniel Whittle


The Glorious Gospel (2 Corinthians 4:1-18)

My Father’s Child

Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. John 14:9

They looked down at the faded photograph, then up at me, then over at my father, then back at me, then back at my father. Their eyes were as wide as the proverbial saucers. “Dad, you look just like Papa when he was young!” My father and I grinned because this was something we’d known for a long time, but it wasn’t until recently that my children came to the same realization. While my father and I are different people, in a very real sense to see me is to see my father as a younger man: tall, lanky frame; full head of dark hair; prominent nose; and rather large ears. No, I am not my father, but I am most definitely my father’s son.

A follower of Jesus named Philip once asked, “Lord, show us the Father” (John 14:8). And while it wasn’t the first time Jesus had indicated as much, His response was still cause for pause: “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (v. 9). Unlike the physical resemblances between my father and me, what Jesus says here is revolutionary: “Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me?” (v. 10). His very essence and character were the same as His Father’s.

In that moment Jesus was being straightforward with His beloved disciples and us: If you want to know what God is like, look at Me.

By:  John Blase

Reflect & Pray

What are some of the characteristics of Jesus (and the Father) that resonate strongly with you, and why? How has He been molding your character?

Jesus, when things seem overwhelming, remind me that to see You is to see the Father. Help me keep my eyes fixed on You.

A Call of God

2 Thessalonians 2:13-17

Does the Lord still call people, or was that something He did only in Bible times? Does He speak to a specific few or to everyone? Although God may not use an audible voice, He’s still in the business of seeking followers. He calls people to:

Salvation. Because sin has created a barrier between man and God, He offers salvation through Christ.

Sanctification. Once we have been reconciled to the Lord, He sets us apart for His purposes. A sanctified life isn’t perfect but is bent toward righteousness and obedience. Although God begins this work at salvation and continues until our physical death, the process also requires our participation. If we choose not to cooperate with the Lord, our growth in Christlikeness will be hindered.

Service. God has chosen to establish His kingdom in the world through those who are saved. Our job is to serve Him by accomplishing what He has planned for us.

How are you responding to these calls? Remember that someday we will all stand before God and give an account of our life. Those who have a habit of responding to His voice will experience spiritual abundance and blessing, both here on earth and one day in heaven.

That You Might Believe

“And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” (John 20:30-31)

The gospel of John is the one book of the Bible specifically written with the purpose of leading people to Jesus Christ and salvation. It is structured around seven specially selected miracles of creation, or “signs” (John 2:11; 4:53-54; 5:9; 6:13-14; 6:19-21; 9:6-7; 11:43-45), each requiring supernatural power as well as knowledge. The book also contains many affirmations of His deity (there are seven great “I am” statements) and many exhortations to believe on Him (e.g., John 3:16) interspersed around the seven signs. Finally, there is the detailed description of the last supper, the crucifixion, and the resurrection, climaxed by the glorious affirmation of faith by doubting Thomas, and then our text stating the purpose of the entire book.

If we are to be effective witnesses for Christ, we can do no better than follow this same procedure. It is most significant that this begins with a strong emphasis on the special creation of all things, with an exposition showing that Christ Himself is the Creator (John 1:1-14). The judicious use of Christian evidences (e.g., the miracles) demonstrating the truth of His many claims of deity, climaxed by the overwhelming proofs of His own bodily resurrection (John 20:1-29), all interwoven with an uncompromising emphasis on the inerrant authority of Scripture (e.g., John 5:39-47; 10:34-36) and a clear exposition of His substitutionary death and the necessity of personal faith in Him for salvation (especially John 3:1-18), all combine to make the most effective way of bringing people to an intelligent, well-grounded decision to receive Christ as Savior and Lord. HMM

Beyond Just Thanksgiving

Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable.

—Psalm 145:3

 

The dictionary says that to admire is “to regard with wondering esteem accompanied by pleasure and delight; to look at or upon with an elevated feeling of pleasure.” According to this definition, God has few admirers among Christians today.

Many are they who are grateful for His goodness in providing salvation. At Thanksgiving time the churches ring with songs of gratitude that “all is safely gathered in.” Testimony meetings are mostly devoted to recitations of incidents where someone got into trouble and got out again in answer to prayer. To decry this would be uncharitable and unscriptural, for there is much of the same thing in the Book of Psalms. It is good and right to render unto God thanksgiving for all His mercies to us. But God’s admirers, where are they?

The simple truth is that worship is elementary until it begins to take on the quality of admiration. Just as long as the worshiper is engrossed with himself and his good fortune, he is a babe. We begin to grow up when our worship passes from thanksgiving to admiration. As our hearts rise to God in lofty esteem for that which He is (“I AM THAT I AM,” Exodus 3:14), we begin to share a little of the selfless pleasure which is the portion of the blessed in heaven.   TIC127

Almighty God, I want to be one of Your admirers. Help me to pass beyond thanksgiving to lofty esteem and selfless admiration. Amen.

 

Only the Spirit

No man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.

—1 Corinthians 12:3

 

I think that one of the most hopeless tasks in the world is that of trying to create some love for Christ our Savior among those who refuse and deny that there is a need for a definite spiritual experience of Jesus Christ in the human life.

I cannot understand the activities of many churches—their futile exercise of trying to whip up love and concern for Jesus Christ when there is no teaching of the new birth, no teaching of redemption through His blood, no dependence upon spiritual illumination by the Spirit of God!

No one can love the Lord Jesus Christ unless the Spirit of God is given opportunity to reveal Him in the life. No one can say that Jesus is Lord except the Holy Spirit enables him through spiritual life and experience. WPJ200

Those who have “put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness,” love God because He is just such a God as He is….The enemies of God may love Him for what they imagine Him to be; none but the real friends of God love Him for what He is. DTC066-067

 

On Practicality

Matthew 25:45

 

“Be practical” someone said,

“What can we do?

Don’t get involved,

You might get hurt.”

 

For the first time, I am practical

Because I am done with practicality.

Finished.

 

Didn’t the Master say,

“Go into the highways

And the byways?”

 

For need is often dangerous,

Not safe nor simple;

It is vicious, or dirty, or sobbing,

Or threatening, or dreadfully repulsive,

Or, I suppose, running at the nose.

 

Away with practicality!

If you will, call me a Samaritan person—

Good or bad or otherwise;

I am done with the right side of the road.

 

Can’t you hear the urgent callingness from other lives?

Walk with me where bloodied footsteps trail the wounded.

Where the hearts are cold.

Gray as granite, or broken, or crippled, or crushed.

 

The needy will be there,

And we shall care,

And share, each with each.

That will be sufficient.

And if pain comes, well, let it come.

Hurting will be preferable,

Under the circumstances, to not hurting.

Sallie Chesham, Walking with the Wind