A Mighty Fortress Is Our God (is based on Psalm 46)…

The history behind this great hymn, by Martin Luther, is interesting…

Martin Luther is one of the key figures in church history, a man mightily used by God to bring reformation to the church.

The year 1527 was the most difficult of his life.

After ten demanding years of leading the Reformation, a dizzy spell overcame him in the middle of a sermon on April 22 of that year, forcing him to stop preaching.

Luther feared for his life.

On July 6, while eating dinner with friends, he felt an acute buzzing in his ear and lay down, again convinced he was at the end of his life.

He partially regained his strength, but a debilitating discouragement set in as a result.

In addition, heart problems and severe intestinal complications escalated the pangs of death.

Of this ordeal, Luther wrote, “I spent more than a week in death and hell.

My entire body was in pain, and I still tremble.

Completely abandoned by Christ, I labored under the vacillations and storms of desperation and blasphemy against God.”

What was worse, the dreaded black plague had entered Germany and spread into Wittenberg.

Many people fled, fearing for their lives.

Yet Luther and his wife Katy remained, believing it was their duty to care for the sick and dying.

Although Katy was pregnant with their second child, Luther’s house was transformed into a hospital where he watched many friends die.

Then without warning Luther’s one-year-old son Hans became desperately ill. With death surrounding him on every side, Luther was driven to seek refuge in God as never before.

Psalm 46 became the strength of his soul.

As a result, Luther expanded its truths into the hymn for which he is most famous, “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.”

Its majestic and thunderous proclamation of God who is our all-sufficient refuge in our weakest moments has become the enduring symbol of the Reformation.

Like Martin Luther, the author of Psalm 46 found solace and refuge in God during difficult times.

The background for this song of praise is unknown, but it was probably written after a military victory over a foreign power that attempted a siege against Jerusalem.

It may have been written after the destruction of the armies of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir (2 Chr. 20:1-30).

Or perhaps it was recorded after the destruction of King Sennacherib and the Assyrian army during the reign of Hezekiah (2 Kgs. 18-19).

According to the superscription, it was written by one of the “sons of Korah” and was “for the director of music.”

Psalm 46:1-11

It is generally thought that the historical background of the Psalm is the miraculous deliverance of Jerusalem when it was besieged by the Assyrian wolf, Sennacherib (2 Kgs. 18:13—19:35; Isa. 36:1—37:36).

At this time the people of Judah were tremendously conscious of God’s presence with them in a unique way.

And so the Psalm celebrates the praises of Him who is Immanuel—God with us.

The word “Alamoth” in the title may refer to the pitch of the music, denoting that it was to be high for the treble and soprano voices, or it may have been implored to refer to certain shrill-sounding instruments (cp. 1 Chr. 15:20).

46:1–3 It starts off by telling us that “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”

(He is also “abundantly available for help in tight places” – NASB marg.)

Blessed are we when we realize that our safety and protection lie not in riches or armies but in Jehovah alone!

Imagine the worst that can happen!

Suppose the earth itself should melt as if caught in the flow of a gigantic volcano.

Suppose an earthquake should toss the mountains into the midst of the sea.

Suppose a flood of water should roar and foam over the land, or that the mountains should stagger with wild convulsions of nature.

Or think of the mountains as symbols of empires or cities, and the waters as nations.

The very foundations of society are crumbling; kingdoms are toppling and disintegrating.

The nations of the world are churning with political, economic, and social confusion and trouble of unprecedented intensity is enveloping the world.

But God … !

The worst that can happen is no cause for fear. God Himself is still with us!

46:4 He Himself is the river whose streams shall make glad the city of God.

Actually the city of Jerusalem has no river. But everything that a river is to an ordinary city, God is to His holy habitation—and more, for He is the fountain of life and refreshment, the river of mercy and goodness!

There the majestic Lord will be for us a place of broad rivers and streams, in which no galley with oars will sail, nor majestic ships pass by (Isa. 33:21).

46:5 It is because God is enthroned in Jerusalem that she shall never be moved.

God shall help her, just at the break of dawn.

It has been a long dark night for God’s people, but soon the morning will dawn and Christ will take His rightful place, showing Himself strong on behalf of His own.

46:6 The nations of the earth may rage in fury; the kingdoms may totter.

When God speaks in His wrath, the earth will melt in subservience to Him.

46:7 These words look forward in a special way to the Great Tribulation when the earth will be racked with violent disturbances of nature, with political upheaval, with wars and pestilences, and with inconceivable distress.

Then the Lord will appear from heaven to crush all insubordination and rebellion and reign in righteousness and peace.

At that time the believing remnant of the nation of Israel will say,

“The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.”

The assurance of this verse is inexpressibly sweet.

The LORD of hosts is with us, that is, the LORD of the angelic armies of heaven.

But He is also the God of Jacob.

Now Jacob means “cheat” or “supplanter.” Yet God speaks of Himself as the God of Jacob.

Put the two thoughts together and you learn that the God of the angelic hosts is also the God of the unworthy sinner.

The One who is infinitely high is also intimately nigh. He is with us in every step of our way, our unfailing refuge in all the storms of life.

46:8 By the time we get to verse 8 the tumult and cataclysms have ended.

Man’s day is over. Now the King is seated upon His throne in Jerusalem.

We are invited to go out and examine the field of His victory.

Everywhere we look we see the wreckage of His defeated foes.

Everywhere lies the evidence of the awful judgments which have descended on the world during the Tribulation and at His glorious appearing.

46:9 But now that the Prince of Peace is enthroned, wars have ceased throughout the world.

What councils and leagues and summits have been helpless to achieve, the Lord Jesus brings about by His iron rod.

Disarmament has passed from discussion to actuality.

Weaponry is scrapped, and the funds formerly spent on munitions are now diverted into agriculture and other productive channels.

46:10 The voice of God rings out to all the inhabitants of the earth in accents of assurance and supremacy.

“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”

Every fear is stilled, every anxiety quieted.

His people can relax. He is God. His cause is victorious.

He is supreme among the nations, supreme over all the earth.

It is from verse 10 that Katharina von Schlegel, the author of the hymn “Be Still, My Soul” drew inspiration:

“Be still, my soul; thy God doth undertake To guide the future as He has the past.

Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake; All now mysterious shall be bright at last.

Be still, my soul: the winds and waves still know His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.”

46:11 No matter what may happen or how dark the hour may be, the believer can still say with confidence and fearlessness,

“The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.”


If the One who directs the armies of heaven is on our side, who can be successfully against us?

The God of the unworthy worm Jacob is a fortress in which we can all take refuge from the storms of this uncertain life!

Be still, the morning comes, The night will end; Trust thou in Christ thy Light, Thy faithful Friend. And know that He is God,

Whose perfect will Works all things for thy good: Look up—Be still. (Florence Wills)

Nothing occurs beyond the reach of God’s power!

Awareness of God’s power provides rest and encouragement to all Christians.

Are you weary? Look to the protection and strength of God.

The world can be overwhelming at times AND OUR PROBLEMS AND TRIBULATIONS CAN BE OVERBEARING, but remember that God has everything under control.

So RELAX and find your REST in Him.

SELAH (let us pause and calmly think about these things)

Wednesday, March 15
God Calling
by Two Listeners


Be still before Me. How often in a crisis man rushes hither and thither.

Rush is a sign of weakness. Quiet abiding is a sign of strength.

A few quiet actions, as you are led to do them, and all is accomplished wisely and rightly, more quickly and more effectually than could be done by those who rush about and act feverishly.

Guidance IS Guidance, the being led, the being shown the way. Believe this.

Softly across life’s tumult, comes a gentle Voice, “Peace, be still.”

The waves of difficulty will hear. They will fall back. There will be a great calm.

And then the Still Small Voice of Guidance.

Now unto Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.
(Jude 1:24-25)

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Walking in wisdom is all about our learning to put on the mind of Christ daily…

The Wisdom from above…

James 3:13-18


In these verses, James is discussing the difference between true wisdom and false.

When he speaks about wisdom, he is not thinking of how much knowledge a man has, but how he lives his life from day to day.

It is not the possession of knowledge but the proper application of it that counts.

We have here a portrait of the truly wise man.

Basically, this man is the Lord Jesus Christ; He is wisdom incarnate (Matt. 11:19; 1 Cor. 1:30).

But also the wise person is one who manifests the life of Christ, one in whom the fruit of the Spirit is evident (Gal. 5:22, 23).

We have also a portrait of the worldly-wise man. He acts according to the principles of this world.

He embodies all the traits that men glorify.

His behavior gives no evidence of divine life within.

As in the previous chapters, James began his discussion of human speech with a practical exhortation and continued to deal with increasingly basic issues.

He spoke of the importance of controlling one’s mind next to enable his readers to understand how to control their tongues.

Wisdom in the mind affects one’s use of his or her tongue.

Note the key words “wise” and “wisdom” (vv. 13, 17), which bracket the thought of this section, as well of the prominence of “peaceable” and “peace” that conclude it (vv. 17, 18).

The real qualifications of a teacher (v. 1) are wisdom (the ability to view life from God’s perspective) and understanding (mental perception and comprehension).

James probably had the Old Testament sage in mind.

We can perceive understanding in others quite easily, but wisdom is more difficult to identify.

James said to look at a person’s behavior if you want to see if he or she is wise.

The wisdom James had in mind did not result so much in what one thinks or says but in what one does.

One of the marks of wisdom is gentleness, meekness, humility. The Greek word prauteti (“gentleness”) occurs in non-biblical literature to describe a horse that someone had broken and had trained to submit to a bridle.

It pictures strength under control, specifically the Holy Spirit’s control.

Psalm 32:8-9
Expanded Bible

8 The Lord says, “I will ·make you wise [instruct you] and ·show [teach] you ·where to [the way you should] go.

I will ·guide [counsel] you and ·watch over [my eye will be on] you.

9 So don’t be like a horse or donkey,
that doesn’t understand.

·They must be led […whose temper/or gallop must be restrained] with bits and reins,
or they will not come near you.”

The evidence of this attitude is a deliberate placing of oneself under divine authority.

The only way to control the tongue is to place one’s mind deliberately under the authority of God and to let Him control it (have His way with it; cf. Matt. 11:27; 2 Cor. 10:1).

James’ concept of wisdom was Hebraic rather than Greek, moral more than intellectual (cf. 1:5).

“The problem seems to be that some self-styled chief people, thinking they were endowed with superior wisdom and understanding, had divided the church because of their teaching, which betrayed a misuse of the tongue.”

“It is very difficult to be a teacher or a preacher and to remain humble; but however difficult it is, it is absolutely necessary.”

Bitter jealousy” and “selfish ambition” are motives that must not inhabit the heart of a teacher or he will find himself saying things he should not.

These are attitudes toward others and self that are the antithesis of graciousness that seeks the welfare of others before self.

Jealousy and ambition are manifestations of arrogance, and they result in promoting self rather than the truth the teacher is responsible to communicate.

Lying against the truth means teaching untrue things, things that oppose the truth.

Those who boast of wisdom are not following God because humility does not mark their lives.

This is as true of Christians as it is of non-Christians.

This type of so-called “wisdom,” which springs from jealousy and ambition, does not have its source in the fear of the Lord.

It comes from the spirit (philosophy) of this world (cf. 2:1-7).

It consists of only what is natural, excluding the supernatural influence of God’s Spirit.

Furthermore it is demon-like in its deception, hypocrisy, and evil.

“Wisdom is not measured by degrees but by deeds.

It is not a matter of acquiring truth in lectures but of applying truth to life.”

God is not the God of disorder but of order and peace (Gen. 1; 1 Cor. 14:33).

He opposes every evil thing (1 John 1:5).

Therefore ungracious jealousy and personal ambition are not part of the wisdom He provides.

“There is a kind of person who is undoubtedly clever; he has an acute brain and a skilful tongue; but his effect in any committee, in any Church, in any group, is to cause trouble, to drive people apart, to foment strife, to make trouble, to disturb personal relationships.

It is a sobering thing to remember that the wisdom that that man possesses is devilish rather than divine, and that such a man is engaged on Satan’s work and not on God’s work.”

In contrast, the wisdom God gives has several characteristics.

It is pure, meaning free of the defilements mentioned.

It is peaceable, namely, peace-loving, peace-practicing, and peace-yielding.

It is gentle or considerate of others.

It is reasonable, that is, open to reason and willing to yield to reasonable requests.

It is full of mercy in that it is actively sympathetic to the needy, and it is full of good fruits (good works).

It is unwaveringly single-minded in its devotion to God rather than double-minded.

It is, finally, without hypocrisy, namely, true to appearances.

“Thus ‘purity’ is not just one quality among others but the key to them all.”

People committed to preserving peace must teach the Word of God peacefully to reap a harvest of righteousness (cf. 1:20).

That good fruit will not come if teachers sow it in words and ways that inflame and antagonize people (cf. 1 Tim. 5:1-2; 2 Tim. 2:14, 24-26).

“To ‘raise a harvest of righteousness’ demands a certain kind of climate.

A crop of righteousness cannot be produced in the climate of bitterness and self-seeking.

Righteousness will grow only in a climate of peace.”

“Winsome speech comes from a wise spirit. A controlled tongue is possible only with cultured thought. A mouth filled with praise results from a mind filled with purity.”

To restate James’ thought in this chapter, our words are very important as we seek to carry out the ministry God has called us to fulfill.

We cannot control our tongues easily.

Therefore we should not be too quick to take on a teaching ministry.

The only One who can control our tongues is God, who can give us wisdom.

The marks of the wisdom He provides are humility, graciousness, and peace.

James warns against anything that does not bear the fruit of good works: unfruitful religion (1:25-26), unfruitful faith (2:26), and unfruitful wisdom (3:17-18).

The Apostle Paul instructed the Philippian church that the solution is that we should put on the mind of Christ.

Philippians 2:2-11
The Message

He Took on the Status of a Slave
1-4 If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care—then do me a favor:

Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends.

Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top.

Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead.

Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage.

Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.

5-8 Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself.

He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what.

Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human!

Having become human, he stayed human.

It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges.

Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion.

9-11 Because of that obedience, God lifted him high and honored him far beyond anyone or anything, ever, so that all created beings in heaven and on earth—even those long ago dead and buried—will bow in worship before this Jesus Christ, and call out in praise that he is the Master of all, to the glorious honor of God the Father. Amen

SELAH (let us pause and calmly think about these things)

Thursday, March 16
The Winning Walk
by Dr Ed Young


“But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.”
— James 3:17

How easy it is for us, in today’s culture, to be swallowed by it all – bigger, better, more.

How important it is that we get still and know that we can receive the wisdom from above that God promises to His children.

Notice that this wisdom is – first of all – pure. That means it is without mixture or alloy.

It calls us to be holy, to be separate, and to swim upstream against the current of our world.

With wisdom from above, we are able to interpret things from a divine dimension, and we understand something of the way God works.

We can go with the crowd, or we can act on the basis of wisdom from our Living God.

Choose correctly, and you will receive the ability in any situation, and in any relationship, to understand how God would have you live – and what He would have you do.

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There is only one name under heaven whereby we may be saved…

Israel Needs the Gospel…

Romans 10:1-21

Romans Chapter 10 signals a shift in Paul’s emphasis from God’s dealings with Israel in the past, specifically, before Christ’s death, to His dealings with them in the present.

Paul’s teachings were most distasteful to the unconverted Jews.

They considered him a traitor and an enemy of Israel. But here he assures his Christian brethren to whom he was writing that the thing that would bring the greatest delight to his heart and the thing for which he prays to God most earnestly for Israel is that they may be saved.

Romans 9:31-33

31 “…but Israel, pursuing a law of righteousness, did not attain that law.

32 Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as though it were by works.

They stumbled over the stumbling stone,

33 just as it is written,

The reason for Israel’s failure mentioned in 9:31-33, namely, is her rejection of Christ; and so this led Paul to develop that subject further in this section.

These verses open up with Paul expressing his feelings of compassionate concern (“my heart’s desire and my prayer”) for his fellow Israelites’ salvation (9:1-3).

Paul’s mention of their deliberate rejection of Christ (9:32-33) evidently triggered this emotional expression.

“The reality of his love is seen in the fact that he prayed for them.”

Ironically it was Israel’s “zeal” that set her up for failure.

Zeal also characterized Paul’s life, which in many ways duplicated Israel’s experience as a nation.

It had also kept him from believing on Christ too (cf. Acts 22:3; Gal. 1:14).

Paul and Israel both had zeal for God, but it was zeal that lacked (was “not in accordance with”) “knowledge,” knowledge that Jesus is the Messiah (1 Tim. 1:13).

The Jews were ignorant of “the righteousness” that comes from “(of) God” as a gift (1:17).

They sought to earn righteousness by keeping the Law (“to establish their own”).

Instead, they should have humbly received (submitted to) the gift of righteousness that God gives to those who believe on His Son (cf. Phil. 3:9).

Israel as a whole, excluding the believing remnant, failed to gain a righteous standing before God because she tried to win it “with (by) works.”

A “stumbling stone” on the racetrack over which she “stumbled” impeded her progress.

Intent on winning in her own effort, Israel failed to recognize the “Stone” prophesied in Scripture, who was sent to provide salvation for her.

The following quotation, from Isaiah 8:14 and 28:16 (cf. 1 Pet. 2:6-8), sums up the problem.

God intended the Messiah to be the provider of salvation.

However, the Jews did not allow Him to fulfill this function for them.

Consequently this Stone became a stumbling block for them (cf. 1 Cor. 1:23).

Israel’s rejection of Jesus Christ did not make God unfaithful or unrighteous in His dealings with the nation.

What it did do was make it possible for Gentiles to surpass the Jews as the main recipients of salvation.

The truth is for all of us that there are times when we all fall into the trap of trying to get right with God by doing certain things or obeying certain rules.

We may think that attending church, doing church work, giving offerings, helping people who are poor, or being nice will earn God’s favor and be enough to grant us eternal life with him.

After all, we’ve played by the rules, haven’t we?

But Paul’s words sting—this approach never succeeds.

Paul explains that a true relationship with God doesn’t come by trying to earn His favor or by being good enough.

It comes by realizing that we can never be good enough.

We must depend on Jesus Christ to rescue us from sin’s eternal consequences and introduce us to God by bringing us into His very presence as a forgiven and righteous people.

Only then will God look at us as though we have never sinned and welcome us into His presence (Colossians 1:21-22).

This is the whole reason for the Cross of Calvary, that necessitated that Christ pour out His life’s blood as a propitiation for OUR sins.

Consequently we can be saved only by putting our faith in what Jesus Christ has done.

If we do that, then we will not be disappointed.

Have you ever been asked, “How do I become a Christian?”

These verses in Romans 10:8-12
will give you the answer:

Salvation is as close as your own lips and heart.

People think it must be a complicated process, but it is not.

Romans 10:8-12

8 …“THE WORD IS NEAR YOU, IN YOUR MOUTH AND IN YOUR HEART”—that is, the word of faith which we are preaching,

9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;

10 for with the heart a person believes, leading to righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, leading to salvation.


12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him.”

So then if we sincerely believe in our hearts and profess that Jesus Christ is the risen Lord, we will be saved!

SELAH (let us pause and calmly think about these things)


Sunday, March 12
Inspiration Ministries
Daily Devotional


“The word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”
— Romans 10:8–9 (NASB)

Even mature Christians can find themselves depending on their reputations and experiences, relationships and abilities, and position or status. But Paul taught that before God, none of these things matter. He made it clear: We are not saved because of anything we do or justified because of our works. The key is faith alone.

We must act on faith. We must confess with our mouths and declare that Jesus is Lord. We must believe in our hearts that “God raised Him from the dead.”

When Paul talked about the “word of faith,” he used the Greek word rhema, indicating a specific word God gives at specific times. Paul was saying that God has a particular word for each situation we face. It is a word He has prepared before the foundation of the world. It is the exact word we need.

We will need to speak the word of faith at some point and, for the first time then, declare that Jesus is Lord! We will also need wisdom or guidance, deliverance or healing, discernment or salvation at other moments. God has a word of faith in each situation.

As the Bible promises, the word of faith is near you. Declare that Jesus is your Lord. Trust Him. Declare His Word to be true. Let Him give you the word of faith. Be ready to speak His Word and act in faith.

Reflection Question: What special word has God been whispering in your heart recently?

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Standing in the Gap, praying for another Great Awakening in America…

The Moravian Revival of 1727…

One of the greatest revivals of God’s people occurred at the Saxony estate of Count Zinzendorf.

The young, Christian noblemen offered many Christians safety on his property.

Many at the time were fleeing imprisonment, death, banishment, and torture for their beliefs.

They fled to Zinzendorf’s and called their new home Herrnhut, ‘the Lord’s Watch’.

There on August 13, 1727 a great revival started.

According to Oswald Smith, “They made the discovery that the Church could not save them; that there was no salvation in its creeds, doctrines or dogmas; that good works, moral living, commandment keeping, praying and Bible reading, could not avail; much less culture, character or conduct.

They found that Christ alone could save; that He was willing and able to receive sinners at a moment’s notice; that justification, the forgiveness of sins, the new birth, etc. were instantaneous experiences received the very moment a sinner believed on Christ; that salvation was through grace and by faith, apart from the deeds of the law; that when a man is saved he has peace with God, and that he receives the assurance of salvation by the witness of the Holy Spirit in his heart.”

History of the Moravian Church


“Lord God, the Holy Ghost,
In this accepted hour,
As on the day of Pentecost,
Descend in all Thy power.

We meet with one accord,
In our appointed place,
And wait the promise of our Lord,
The Spirit of all grace.

The young, the old inspire
With wisdom from above;
And give us hearts and tongues of fire,

To pray, and praise, and love.”

THUS sang the Scotch Moravian poet and hymn writer, James Montgomery, more than a hundred years ago.

His prayer for another Pentecost was undoubtedly inspired by the experiences of his spiritual fathers on August 13, 1727 in Herrnhut, Germany.

We are now (in 1927) celebrating the Bi-Centennial of what our Moravian Text Book calls the “Signal outpouring of the Holy Spirit experienced by the congregation of Herrnhut.”

We do well to join in Montgomery’s earnest prayer for another Pentecost in our own day.

D.L. Moody in one of his last sermons in Boston, his spiritual birthplace, spoke thus of the Holy Spirit:

“See how He came on the day of Pentecost! It is not carnal to pray that He may come again and that the place may be shaken.

I believe Pentecost was but a specimen day. I think the Church has made this woeful mistake that Pentecost was a miracle never to be repeated.

I have thought too that Pentecost was a miracle that is not to be repeated.

I believe now if we looked on Pentecost as a specimen day and began to pray, we should have the old Pentecostal fire here in Boston.”

A Moravian historian writes in a similar vein as follows:

God says; “It shall come to pass I will pour out My Spirit.”

This was His promise through the prophet Joel.

The first fulfillment of this promise was on the day of Pentecost.

There is nothing in the New Testament to indicate that this was to be the one and only fulfillment of this promise.

On the contrary we read in the book of Acts of many outpourings of the Holy Spirit, as in Samaria (8:14-17) as in Ephesus (19:1-7) and even in the case of the Gentiles (10:44-46).

Church History also abounds in records of special outpourings of the Holy Ghost, and verily the thirteenth of August 1727 was a day of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

We saw the hand of God and His wonders, and we were all under the cloud of our fathers baptized with their Spirit.

The Holy Ghost came upon us and in those days great signs and wonders took place in our midst.

From that time scarcely a day passed but what we beheld His almighty workings amongst us.

A great hunger after the Word of God took possession of us so that we had to have three services every day, at 5:00 and 7:30 A.M. and 9:00 P.M.

Everyone desired above everything else that the Holy Spirit might have full control. Self-love and self-will as well as all disobedience disappeared and an overwhelming flood of grace swept us all out into the great ocean of Divine Love.”

Psalms 14:2

The Lord has looked down from heaven upon the sons of men
To see if there are any who understand,
Who seek after God.

God’s warning to Israel…

Deuteronomy 4:27-31
The Message

25-28 When the time comes that you have children and grandchildren, put on years, and start taking things for granted, if you then become corrupt and make any carved images, no matter what their form, by doing what is sheer evil in God’s eyes and provoking his anger—I can tell you right now, with Heaven and Earth as witnesses, that it will be all over for you.

You’ll be kicked off the land that you’re about to cross over the Jordan to possess.

Believe me, you’ll have a very short stay there. You’ll be ruined, completely ruined.

God will scatter you far and wide; a few of you will survive here and there in the nations where God will drive you.

There you can worship your homemade gods to your hearts’ content, your wonderful gods of wood and stone that can’t see or hear or eat or smell.


When troubles come and all these awful things happen to you, in future days you will come back to God, your God, and listen obediently to what he says. God, your God, is above all a compassionate God.

In the end he will not abandon you, he won’t bring you to ruin, he won’t forget the covenant with your ancestors which he swore to them.

Jeremiah 29:13

You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart!

That offer still stands and is available to us today, to WHOMSOEVER will call upon His name, with all their heart, mind and strength!

The question is, are we thirsty enough yet?

The Amazing Story of the Moravian Falls Portal

God is still extending this invitation to us today:

Isaiah 55:1-7
The Message

Buy Without Money
55 1-5 “Hey there! All who are thirsty,
come to the water!

Are you penniless?
Come anyway—buy and eat!

Come, buy your drinks, buy wine and milk.

Buy without money—everything’s free!
Why do you spend your money on junk food,
your hard-earned cash on cotton candy?

Listen to me, listen well: Eat only the best,
fill yourself with only the finest.

Pay attention, come close now,
listen carefully to my life-giving, life-nourishing words.

I’m making a lasting covenant commitment with you,
the same that I made with David: sure, solid, enduring love.

I set him up as a witness to the nations,
made him a prince and leader of the nations,
And now I’m doing it to you:

You’ll summon nations you’ve never heard of,
and nations who’ve never heard of you
will come running to you

Because of me, your God,
because The Holy of Israel has honored you.”

6-7 Seek God while he’s here to be found,
pray to him while he’s close at hand.

Let the wicked abandon their way of life
and the evil their way of thinking.

Let them come back to God, who is merciful,
come back to our God, who is lavish with forgiveness. Amen

SELAH (let us pause and calmly think about these things)

From Wednesday, March 01
Worthy Brief


“…for you are still fleshly. For insofar as there is jealousy, strife, and factions among you, aren’t you fleshly, and don’t you walk in the ways of men? For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” aren’t you fleshly?
— 1 Corinthians 3:3-4

During the Catholic inquisitions, as millions of Christians were being killed by the Jesuit Priests for apostasy, throughout Europe, Christians were fleeing.

In Bohemia alone, there were an estimated 4,000,000 Christians before the Jesuit inquisition, and ten years later, only 800,000 people remained in Bohemia – all of whom were Catholic.

These terrible events prepared the ground for one of the greatest moves of God that have ever been recorded, the Moravian Revival, which lasted for over 100 years.

Gustav Warneck, the German Historian of Protestant Missions, testified,

“This small church in twenty years called into being more missions than the whole Evangelical Church has done in two centuries.”

It began with a young man, Count Zinzendorf, who was 27 years old when he opened his estate to welcome believers escaping persecution and inviting them to settle there.

There were different groups, Bohemian Brethren, Moravian Christians, Reformed Christians, and unsatisfied Catholics.

After a few years, this fragmented community of some 300 individuals with differing spiritual convictions and loyalties was so rife with conflict and disunity it seemed destined to fail.

One of the village founders, Christian David, got so caught up in apocalyptic fanaticism that he referred to Zinzendorf as the “Beast of the Apocalypse,” while the estate manager of the village, Johan Andreas Rothe was termed the “False Prophet.”

In this impossible environment, Count Zinzendorf devoted himself full-time to reconciliation and conflict resolution, visiting each home for prayer and exemplifying the persevering love of Christ.

Amazingly, this personal attention and devotion to unity and reconciliation opened the way for an awakening that would come in just a few weeks.

Yet what would have happened if Count Zinzendorf had lost patience and, in justified frustration, thrown everyone off his estate?

Instead of a 100-year spiritual awakening…NOTHING of spiritual significance would have happened.

The enemy, working through the carnal attitudes of believers [1 Corinthians 3:3-4], continually slandered this young man and one another, but his response was to disarm those persecuting him with the love of Christ.

The result was a genuine revival.

Disunity, and slander are deadly to spiritual life and will absolutely kill any hope of enjoying God’s presence.

This is true in the smallest company of two or three, or in a local church community, or in any size gathering at all.

When the Lord is moving, He will bring humility and love as Zinzindorf did.

Let this humble Count be your example in any sphere of responsibility God places you. God is always desiring to birth something supernatural!

From Thursday, March 02


“…with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.”
— Ephesians 4:2-6

Yesterday we wrote about one of the greatest moves of God … the Moravian Revival.

When the community was in complete disarray, Count Zinzendorf focused on how they could live together in love despite their differences.

He called all the men together for an intense study of the Scriptures to focus on how Christian life in community was portrayed.

These studies combined with intense prayer convinced many of the believers that they were called to live together in love and that their disunity and conflict were contrary to the clear calling of Scripture.

Zinzendorf’s dream was to see the differences among the community’s many traditions become secondary to a corporate unity in love.

In the history of the Moravian revival, we read:

“Zinzendorf was not aiming at organizational unity and uniformity among Christians and did not desire the dissolution of particular traditions, but rather their binding together in fraternal charity, mutual respect, communication and communion within a sort of loose federation.”

Thus they learned to agree to disagree on certain subjects – the one thing they agreed upon was the emphasis on love – and this was necessary in order to fulfill the “great commission.”

The complexities of God’s truth will make uniformity in all doctrines impossible for all believers.

It is even probable that secondary issues may be used of God to test our hearts.

The essential truths of the faith, however, are indisputable among true brethren and they form the truth basis for our unity.

The Moravian Revival motto was, “in essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, but in all things love!”

Revivals always reveal the veracity and power of this motto, and their fruit is the result of God’s wonderful unifying presence.

We will not compromise on the essentials (though some may even disagree on what they are); and we will peacefully discuss our convictions about secondary issues, agreeing to disagree and preserving the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace.

Your family in the Lord with much agape love,

George, Baht Rivka, Obadiah and Elianna (Going to Christian College in Dallas, Texas)

Come join the Adventure!

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God the Father’s goal is for us to be conformed into the image of Christ and be like Him in all of our ways…

The one necessity of life, above all else, is that we each allow God’s Light to shine upon us and transform us, in order that we can be conformed into Christ’s image.

And so let this be our prayer each and every day…

God’s love for us is great indeed.

Those who hope to see God purify themselves, even as He is pure.

The person who is born of God will not continue to live in sin. Rather, he should love his brother.

As Jesus laid down His life for us, so we should lay down our lives for one another, loving not in words but in deeds.

As believers, our self-worth comes from the fact that God loves us and calls us His children.

We are His children now, not just sometime in the distant future.

Knowing that we are God’s children should encourage us to live as Jesus did.

1 John 2:6
Legacy Standard Bible

The one who says he abides in Him (Jesus) ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.

Believing in Christ begins the process of becoming more and more like Him (see Romans 8:29).

This process continues until we see Christ face-to-face (1 Corinthians 13:12; Philippians 3:21).

We don’t know exactly how we’ll be like Him, but we do know that we will have eternal, resurrected bodies.

We will be free from sin and pain, and we will have much more understanding than we do now on earth.

Knowing our ultimate destiny motivates us to keep morally pure and free from the corruption of sin.

It also gives us hope as we struggle with sin because we know that one day we will be totally sinless like Jesus.

God purifies us, but we must also take steps to remain pure (see 1 Timothy 5:22; James 4:8; 1 Peter 1:22).

Every time we resist a temptation or turn from sin, we become more like Jesus.

Max Lucado’s LifeLessons…

Believers’ future transformation will take place when we see Him as He is.

Why do Jesus and His angels rejoice over one repenting sinner?

Can they see something we can’t?

Do they know something we don’t?

Absolutely. They know what heaven holds. They’ve seen the table, and they’ve heard the music, and they can’t wait to see your face when you arrive.

Better still, they can’t wait to see you.

When you arrive and enter the party, something wonderful will happen.

A final transformation will occur. You will be just like Jesus.

Drink deeply from 1 John 3:2:

“It has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.”

Of all the blessings of heaven, one of the greatest will be you!

You will be God’s magnum opus, His work of art. The angels will gasp. God’s work will be completed. At last, you will have a heart like His.

You will love with a perfect love.

You will worship with a radiant face.

You’ll hear each word God speaks.

Your heart will be pure, your words will be like jewels, your thoughts will be like treasures.

You will be just like Jesus.

You will, at long last, have a heart like His.

Envision the heart of Jesus and you’ll be envisioning your own.

Guiltless. Fearless. Thrilled and joyous. Tirelessly worshiping.

Flawlessly discerning.

As the mountain stream is pristine and endless, so will be your heart. You will be like Him.

And if that were not enough, everyone else will be like Him as well.

“Heaven is the perfect place for people made perfect.”

Heaven is populated by those who let God change them.

Arguments will cease, for jealousy won’t exist.

Suspicions won’t surface, for there will be no secrets.

Every sin is gone. Every insecurity is forgotten.

Every fear is past. Pure wheat. No weeds. Pure gold. No alloy. Pure love. No lust. Pure hope. No fear.

No wonder the angels rejoice when one sinner repents; they know another work of art will soon grace the gallery of God.

They know what heaven holds.
(From Just Like Jesus by Max Lucado)

SELAH (let us pause and calmly think about these things)

Monday, February 27
The Winning Walk
by Ed Young


Not one of us knows what we will become.

We can study for a certain career, plan for a certain vocation…but we do not know what we shall be.

When we come to Christ, we become members of His family, and He takes us on as His divine project.

He alone knows what we will become. He knows the precise blending of blessing and brokenness necessary to conform us to the image of Christ and allow us to be used by Him.

Suppose there is a certain aristocratic family in London, England, and the heir to this family’s fortune is Lord Something-or-Other.

He is wealthy and cultured. He and his wife and all of their children are graduates of Oxford and Cambridge.

Lord Something-or-Other decides rather late in life to adopt a child-a young boy- from the Belgian Congo.

He brings the boy to London and sets about indoctrinating him into the family.

What a challenge! This foreigner will need language tutors, etiquette lessons, and instruction on how to dress and act in aristocratic circles.

It will be no small challenge to make him into “one of the family.”

In one sense, that’s what God has done with us.

We have been adopted into His family…born again.

Right now we do not know where the journey is going to take us. We can only be certain that through blessings and buffetings, He will shape us into the man or woman He desires us to become…and He will not stop until the job is complete.

Memory Verse

1 John 3:2
Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we shall be.

Come join the Adventure!

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God yearns for ALL of His lost children to come home…

Jesus tells His disciples the parable about The Prodigal Son…

From a spiritual perspective, getting lost is unavoidable.

Human nature is fundamentally flawed by sin. If people live their lives apart from God and follow their intuitions, they stay lost.

That is because getting lost—physically or spiritually—is easy.

Sinners followed Jesus eagerly. Self-righteous religious leaders constantly chided Jesus for associating with such sinners.

Finally, Jesus told this story about the Prodigal Son, to show what it means to be lost and how a loving Father waits for His lost (estranged) son to come home and be reconciled back into the family.

Rich Man, Poor Woman, but Just Alike

The Rich Man…

The European tailored suit fit in perfectly in this large, white stone house nestled among the trees on a hill overlooking Lake Zurich.

The man conversed comfortably in three languages. An executive with an international company headquartered in Switzerland, he calmly discussed that day’s unexpected fall in the market.

Obviously, it had cost him at least six figures, if not seven.

Still, he remained unconcerned. He had more where that came from and knew how to make even more.

When I tried to turn the conversation from finances to eternal riches, he turned cold.

He had heard as much about God as he wanted.

God played no hand in his world.

Intelligence and quick action were all that mattered.

The Poor Woman…

From her ragged mat spread in front of her mud two-room house, she looked helplessly up at this strange white man.

Could we tell her about Jesus? Sure, but first would we pray for her husband?

He had crossed the Kenya border into Uganda and set up housekeeping there with his other two wives.

This left her almost destitute, but that was not her prayer request. She wanted her husband to come back and spend more time with her.

One could continue the stories on and on.

One thing unites these people who live in totally different worlds.

They are lost. They do not have a saving relationship with Jesus Christ.

The destitute African woman was at least willing to listen to the story.

Jesus told three parables illustrating what it means to be lost, heaven’s joy when the lost are found, and how the loving Father looks to save people.

The final parable also implicated the Pharisees as those who did not share the Father’s joy over the salvation of the lost because it was not done their way.

Are you like the sinners seeking salvation and finding a Father’s love, or are you standing aside watching and wondering how in the world the Father could do that for such unworthy, unclean, sinful people?

Reading Luke 15 raises one question for you: “Am I lost?”

All people are lost until they repent of their sins and find salvation.

When even one sinner comes to the Lord, the Bible tells us that “there is joy in the presence of God’s angels over one sinner who repents,” as his homecoming sets off a joyful celebration in heaven beyond all earthly experience or imagination.

God is not willing that any perish, but rather He loves ALL of His lost children and yearns that they should come home!

In this parable the younger son of the father demanded his share of the estate and got it.

There is no indication of why he wanted it or why the father so quickly gave it to him.

Later we will see the older brother’s attitude and surmise sibling rivalry here, as in the Old Testament stories of Jacob and Esau and of Joseph and his brothers.

The younger brother’s portion was only a third of the estate if the entire estate were divided. By law, the older brother got a double portion (Deut. 21:17).

The younger son wanted to be on his own, and so he distanced himself as far as possible from the family.

He also took up a new lifestyle. Untrained and inexperienced in money matters, he quickly had many expenses and no income.

The result came quickly: no assets. Then a famine hit the land. No one had food or work.

He was fortunate. He found a job, but what a job for a Jew!

He fed pigs in a pigpen.

Destitute of other resources, he longed to eat what he fed the pigs.

How repulsive for a law-abiding Jew to be tending the pigs; himself starving and yet he was not even allowed to eat their food.

So he fattened the pigs and starved himself.

Finally, his mind went to work again.

Humans have the capacity to change. We do not have to remain in the pigpen.

We do not have to continue to live as sinners.

We can become responsible for our lives. We can quit our riotous living. We can come home.

The younger brother came to his senses:

The day laborers on his dad’s farm had enough to eat. “And I am about to die from hunger,” he said.

“I will go back to Daddy and tell him I have sinned against him and against heaven.”

Note how this ties the story back to the beginning of the chapter and the theme of sinners.

No longer are we using animals or objects to talk about the lost. Now we have gotten down to basic facts.

People are lost. People need to realize their lost condition and admit it.

The younger son’s first step is saying, “I am a sinner.”

What is a sinner?

An unworthy person. One who deserves nothing. Yet a sinner wants something.

So the sinner searches for someone who loves the unworthy, who is willing to help the undeserving.

The sinful younger brother had forfeited his position as son. He had no more claims on his father, so he applied for a new job—day laborer.

At this point the focus shifts from son to father.

The son is on the move. The father is standing still, waiting to see his son.

Here is the poignant portrait of a busy man who has lost one of his chief helpers, taking himself away from his work to wait for a son who may never appear.

It is certainly not given that a sinner will repent.

The father did not stay still long. There he was—the son had returned.

What joy! What love! What tender compassion filled the father’s heart.

The old legs started churning. Arms stretched out. Lips reached for a kiss. The family feud was over and forgotten. My son was home.

Even the joyful welcome did not deter the son from his determined course.

He repeated the plea he had rehearsed, but somehow the last line never came out; the job application as a day laborer was never made.

The father never heard his lost son. He had business to attend to. Party time!

The son must be properly dressed for the party. Servants dashed off as they were commissioned to get the best robe, a ring, sandals—things all lost long before the pigpen.

Other servants ran to the kitchen to prepare the menu the father ordered. Nothing but the best for his son.

How could the father act like this? Did he not know what the son had done? Of course, but the son had been given up for dead.

This was resurrection time. He was lost.

We found the precious treasure for which we have hunted. The lost sheep is back.

Certainly a lost and found son is worth much more than a coin or a sheep.

Celebrate! What a picture of the Father in heaven.

How He does celebrate when the lost are found, when sinners repent.

What compassion and love He shows.

Why does Jesus associate with sinners?

Because heaven loves them and waits patiently for them to return and repent so the celebration can begin.

Let us remember that ALL of Heaven’s citizens are repentant sinners.

Jesus had given His disciples three different parables, illustrating the same point.

The sheep was lost because it foolishly wandered away (15:4), the coin was lost through no fault of its own (15:8), and the son left out of selfishness (15:12).

The point is this, God’s great love reaches out and finds sinners no matter why or how they got lost.

SELAH (let us pause and calmly think about these things)


Sunday, February 26, 2023
Anchor Devotional


“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.”
— Luke 15:20

Through tears, a prisoner mentee asked, “How can Jesus love me when I keep letting Him down and keep committing the same sins again and again?”

There are many comforting words for my friend and for so many of us who ask the same question.

“Your sins evoke his deepest heart for you, his compassion and pity. He is on your side.

He sides with you against your sin. He hates your sin, but he loves you” (Dane Ortlund, 2020).

Jesus is the good shepherd who goes after the one lost sheep until he finds it (see Luke 15:3-4).

He is the woman who seeks diligently until she finds her lost coin (v. 8). And He is the welcoming, forgiving father who runs to, embraces, and kisses his wayward son (v. 20).

When we struggle, we can turn to Jesus for help. When our faith is wobbly, when doubts fill our hearts, when we stumble again into the same sins,

if we will just turn toward Jesus, He will be our help.

Try as we may, we cannot pick ourselves up. Yet though we have no power of our own to turn to Him, He will come to us, seek us out, and rescue us.

Come join the Adventure!

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What is Faith?

1 Peter 5:7 tells us (by faith) to cast ALL of our cares upon Him, for He cares for us…

In Hebrews, faith is active and lived out rather than a matter of mere belief.

Faith happens when we are willing to take the RISK of stepping out in obedience to God’s Word, with the underlying confidence of His trustworthiness and reliability, that what He promises us He will perform

To have faith means more than just to believe.

Hebrews defines faith as “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

Faith starts out certain.

When people believe that God will fulfill His promises, they are showing TRUE FAITH, even in the midst of all contrary feelings and or circumstantial evidence.

Jesus said to Thomas, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29).

When people have faith in God, they know without a doubt that He will keep His promises.

They live and make choices in this world based on the unseen reality of their future home in heaven.

They persevere in their faith despite pain, hardship, or persecution, because they are convinced that the unseen God is with them.

In short, faith in God makes all the difference, both now and for eternity; and the Bible tells us in verse 6 that without Faith we cannot please God.

The rest of chapter 11 goes on to describe the exploits of the men and women in the Old Testament, as they took the risk of stepping out in faith, in obeying God against all odds.

And in Hebrews 11:32-40 (in The Message Bible) we read:

I could go on and on, but I’ve run out of time. There are so many more—Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, the prophets. . . . Through acts of faith, they toppled kingdoms, made justice work, took the promises for themselves.

They were protected from lions, fires, and sword thrusts, turned disadvantage to advantage, won battles, routed alien armies.

Women received their loved ones back from the dead. There were those who, under torture, refused to give in and go free, preferring something better: resurrection.

Others braved abuse and whips, and, yes, chains and dungeons.

We have stories of those who were stoned, sawed in two, murdered in cold blood; stories of vagrants wandering the earth in animal skins, homeless, friendless, powerless—the world didn’t deserve them!—making their way as best they could on the cruel edges of the world.

Not one of these people, even though their lives of faith were exemplary, got their hands on what was promised.

God had a better plan for us: that their faith and our faith would come together to make one completed whole, their lives of faith not complete apart from ours.

11:32-40 These verses summarize the lives of other great men and women of faith.

Some experienced outstanding victories, even over the threat of death. But others were severely mistreated, tortured, and even killed.

Having steadfast faith in God does not guarantee a happy, carefree life.

On the contrary, our faith almost guarantees us some form of abuse from the world.

While we are on earth, we may never see the purpose of our suffering. But we can know with confidence that God will keep His promises to us.

The Old Testament records the lives of the various people who experienced these great victories.

Joshua and Deborah overthrew kingdoms (see the book of Joshua; Judges 4–5).

Nehemiah ruled with justice (see the book of Nehemiah).

Daniel was saved from the mouths of lions (Daniel 6).

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were kept from harm in the flames of a blazing furnace (Daniel 3).

Elijah escaped death by the edge of the sword from evil Queen Jezebel’s henchmen (1 Kings 19:2-21).

Hezekiah regained strength after sickness (2 Kings 20).

Gideon was strong in battle (Judges 7).

A widow’s son was brought back to life by the prophet Elisha (2 Kings 4:8-37).

We, too, can experience victory through faith in Christ.

Our victories over oppressors may be like those of the Old Testament saints, but more likely, they will be directly related to the unique role God wants us to play.

Even though our bodies deteriorate and die, we will live forever because of Christ.

In the promised resurrection, even death will be defeated, and Christ’s victory will be complete.

SELAH (let us pause and calmly think about these things)

Faith in All the Ages
by Henry M. Morris, PH.D.

“And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthah; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets.”
— Hebrews 11:32

Hebrews 11 is a thrilling catalog of the faithful servants of God in all the ancient ages. There were Abel, Enoch, and Noah before the Flood; then Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph in the patriarchal age; followed by Moses, Joshua, and Rahab in the time of the exodus and conquest. Finally, today’s verse summarizes the periods of the judges (Gideon, Barak, Samson, and Jephthae), the kings (Samuel, David), and the prophets.

All these were men and women of great faith, though each had to endure great testing. They, as the writer says, “stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword…had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: They were stoned, they were sawn asunder…destitute, afflicted, tormented” (Hebrews 11:33-37).
In every age, men and women of faith were more often than not despised and persecuted by the world (even by the religious world!), but the Bible notes, parenthetically, that it was they “of whom the world was not worthy” (Hebrews 11:38). In God’s sight, they all “obtained a good report through faith” (Hebrews 11:39), and this is worth more than all the world, for it is the entrance into a far better and eternal world.

Note that faith is not a sentimental wishfulness but a strong confidence in God and His Word, through Jesus Christ, who is Himself “the author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2). Like those of past ages, we can also “run with patience the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1) through the faith He offers us.

Come join the Adventure!

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Who do you say that Jesus is?…

Isaiah 9:6 says,

“For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder.

And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace!

What happened in Caesarae Philippi?…

Matthew 16:13-21
Peter’s confession of Christ

The Transfiguration (17:1–8)

17:1, 2 Six days after the incident at Caesarea Philippi, Jesus took Peter, James, and John up to a high mountain, somewhere in Galilee.

Many commentators attach significance to the six days.

Gaebelein, for instance, says: “Six is a man’s number, the number signifying the days of work.

After six days—after work and man’s day is run out then the day of the Lord, the Kingdom.”

Peter, James, and John, who seem to have occupied a place of special nearness to the Savior, were privileged to see Him transfigured.

Up to now His glory had been veiled in a body of flesh. But now His face and clothes became radiant like the sun and dazzling bright, a visible manifestation of His deity, just as the glory cloud or Shekinah in the OT symbolized the presence of God.

The scene was a preview of what the Lord Jesus will be like when He comes back to set up His kingdom.

He will no longer appear as the sacrificial Lamb but as the Lion of the tribe of Judah.

All who see Him will recognize Him immediately as God the Son, the King of kings and Lord of lords.

Jesus’ followers took a risk when they believed that Jesus was the Messiah and the Son of God.

Though they had seen Jesus’ power and authority daily, this transformation of Jesus proved that Jesus was God’s Son—the Messiah.

Max Lucado puts it this way…

Light spilled out of Him. Brilliant. Explosive. Shocking. Brightness poured through every pore of His skin and stitch of His robe.

Jesus on fire. To look at His face was to look squarely into Alpha Centauri (a triple star system in the southern constellation of Centaurus).

Mark wants us to know that Jesus’ “clothes became shining, exceedingly white, like snow, such as no launderer on earth can whiten them” (Mark 9:3).

This radiance was not the work of a laundry; it was the presence of God.

Scripture habitually equates God with light and light with holiness.

“God is light and in Him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5).

He dwells in “unapproachable light” (1 Timothy 6:16).

The transfigured Christ, then, is Christ in His purest form.

It’s also Christ as His truest self, wearing His pre-Bethlehem and post-Resurrection wardrobe . . . One who is “holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners” (Hebrews 7:26).

A diamond with no flaw, a rose with no bruise, a song on perfect pitch, and a poem with impeccable rhyme. . . . They were gripped deep in their gut that God was, at once, everywhere and here.

The very sight of the glowing Galilean sucked all air and arrogance out of them, leaving them appropriately prostrate.

Face-first on the ground. “They fell on their faces and were greatly afraid” (Matthew 17:6). . . . In the end we respond like the apostles.

We, too, fall on our faces and worship. And when we do, the hand of the carpenter extends through the tongue of towering fire and touches us.

“Arise, and do not be afraid” (17:7).

(From Fearless by Max Lucado)

When did God open your eyes to accept Jesus?

Recount the experience when God took your heart and made it new.

Thank Him for His awesome love and grace that He has extended to you, in your own life.

And in your daily routine today, look for a way to tell someone else your story.

SELAH (Let us pause and calmly think about these things)


Thursday, Feb 16
The Berean
Daily Verse and Comment

Matthew 17:1-6

(1) Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves;

(2) and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light.

(3) And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him.

(4) Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, let us make here three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”

(5) While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying,

“This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!”

(6) And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their faces and were greatly afraid.

Jesus clearly calls this mysterious occurrence a “vision” (verse 9). It was not reality but a glimpse of what the future held for Jesus Christ.

The word “transfigured” in verse 2 sounds esoteric, but it is merely the passive form of the Greek word metamorphoo, meaning “changed in form” or “transformed.”

This same word is used in the well-known Romans 12:2, “. . . be transformed by the renewing of your mind. . . .”

Unlike Matthew and Mark, Luke uses the phrase egeneto heteron, translated as “was altered” and meaning “became different” (Luke 9:29).

In the vision, the three disciples saw Jesus change to the form He will have in God’s Kingdom, which He alluded to in Matthew 16:28.

Why did Moses and Elijah appear with Him?

This is where the events of Matthew 16 become important.

These two servants of God were the most revered among all the Old Testament figures.

Moses, the Great Lawgiver, personified the Law, and Elijah, the Archetypal Prophet, the Prophets.

Evidently, the vision depicted Moses and Elijah speaking to Jesus in a servant-Master relationship, but the disciples failed to see this vital distinction.

Notice how Peter puts it.

“Let’s make three tabernacles, one for each of you.”

The other accounts say he did not really know what he was saying, meaning that he had missed something in his fear, that he spoke without thinking it through (Mark 9:6; Luke 9:33).

What happened as a result of his thoughtless comment?

Notice that Matthew writes, “While he was still speaking. . . .”

This is a big clue. God, immediately seeing that the disciples did not understand, took steps to make it plain.

To paraphrase what God says, “Look! Jesus is MY beloved Son, and He has MY highest approval.

Listen to what HE says! He is far greater than Moses and Elijah, the Law and the Prophets.”

This is why the transfiguration occurred.

God wanted to make it very clear to the disciples that His way of life is based on the life and death and life again of Jesus Christ, not on the Jews’ traditional beliefs.

He had to stun the disciples so that they would put Jesus and His teachings on a higher level than Judaism—even higher than the teachings of Moses and Elijah.

Whatever Jesus says is far more important to our salvation than the minutiae of Moses’ law or the vagaries of prophecy.

In many instances, Jesus makes upgrades to Old Testament law, giving a higher, spiritual meaning (for instance, Matthew 5:21-22). Hear Him!
— Richard T. Ritenbaugh

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The importance of our giving Christ numeral uno position in our life…

This is a question we all need to consider…

Are you too busy with your life to consider God and to give Him first place in your life?

Don’t you realize that we are His creation, that it is He who made us, that we belong to Him and we did not make ourselves?

If you don’t realize that then you’ve been educated beyond your intelligence!

Galatians 1:16 tells us that, “For in Him (Jesus) ALL things were created, things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities.

All things were created through Him and for Him”; and in John 1:3, we are told, “All things came into being through Him (Jesus), and without Him not even one thing came into being that has come into being.”

In Luke 14:15, Jesus tells a parable about a wedding feast which the Father in Heaven is planning for His children, and this parable illustrates the low regard that so many of His children have for Him.

The first thing necessary for one to obey the gospel message and be born-again, to have their sins forgiven and be reconciled back into God’s family again is that they have to recognize the value of what God is offering them!

What an honor and privilege it is that God is a requesting the honor of our presence at His wedding banquet!

Luke 14:15-33
The Message

The Story of the Dinner Party
15 (Someone said) “…How fortunate is the one who gets to eat dinner in God’s kingdom!”

16-17 Jesus followed up. “Yes. For there was once a man who threw a great dinner party and invited many.

When it was time for dinner, he sent out his servant to the invited guests, saying, ‘Come on in; the food’s on the table.’

18 “Then they all began to beg off, one after another making excuses.

The first said, ‘I bought a piece of property and need to look it over. Send my regrets.’

19 “Another said, ‘I just bought five teams of oxen, and I really need to check them out. Send my regrets.’

20 “And yet another said, ‘I just got married and need to get home to my wife.’

21 “The servant went back and told the master what had happened.

He was outraged and told the servant, ‘Quickly, get out into the city streets and alleys.

Collect all who look like they need a square meal, all the misfits and homeless and down-and-out you can lay your hands on, and bring them here.’

22 “The servant reported back, ‘Master, I did what you commanded—and there’s still room.’

23-24 “The master said, ‘Then go to the country roads. Whoever you find, drag them in. I want my house full!

Let me tell you, not one of those originally invited is going to get so much as a bite at my dinner party.’”

Figure the Cost
25-27 One day when large groups of people were walking along with him, Jesus turned and told them,

“Anyone who comes to me but refuses to let go of father, mother, spouse, children, brothers, sisters—yes, even one’s own self!—can’t be my disciple.

Anyone who won’t shoulder his own cross and follow behind me can’t be my disciple.

28-30 “Is there anyone here who, planning to build a new house, doesn’t first sit down and figure the cost so you’ll know if you can complete it?

If you only get the foundation laid and then run out of money, you’re going to look pretty foolish.

Everyone passing by will poke fun at you: ‘He started something he couldn’t finish.’

31-32 “Or can you imagine a king going into battle against another king without first deciding whether it is possible with his ten thousand troops to face the twenty thousand troops of the other? And if he decides he can’t, won’t he send an emissary and work out a truce?

33 “Simply put, if you’re not willing to take what is dearest to you, whether plans or people, and kiss it good-bye, you can’t be my disciple.

Let’s take another look at verse 26, which in the New King James Bible says, “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.”

Jesus here is telling those who follow Him that in order to be His disciple, they must love Him supremely, above all else.

One point that becomes very clear, as we understand the Second Commandment, is that ANYTHING that we put at a higher value and importance in our life than our relationship and devotion to God is an idol.

He’s not suggesting that men should have bitter hatred in their hearts toward father, mother, wife, children, brothers, and sisters.

Rather He is emphasizing that love for Christ must be so great that all other loves are hatred by comparison (cf. Matt. 10:37).

No consideration of family ties must ever be allowed to deflect a disciple from a pathway of full obedience to the Lord.

Actually, the most difficult part of this first term of discipleship is found in the words “and his own life also.”

It is not only that we must love our relatives less; we must hate our own lives also!

Instead of living self-centered lives, we must live Christ-centered lives.

1 John 2:6 makes it very clear that WHOEVER says that he or she (is a Christian)that their lives [abides and remains] in God, they must learn to live and walk as Jesus lived and walked.

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Urgent Warning: The Fear of God is Coming!…

What is the fear of the Lord…

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”
— Proverbs 9:10

The word “fear” is typically used in a negative context. When we are afraid of something, it’s usually because that particular something is bad or negative in some way.

But what about when we are talking about the fear of the Lord? God isn’t bad or negative — we know God is a good God. He is our Heavenly Father, our creator who loves us and who made each of us in His image.

So why are we supposed to fear the Lord? What is the fear of the Lord?

Proverbs 19:23

The fear of the Lord leads to life,
So that one may sleep satisfied, untouched by evil.

Isaiah 33:6

And He will be the stability of your times,
A wealth of salvation, wisdom and knowledge;
The fear of the Lord is his treasure.

Proverbs 14:26

In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence,
And his children will have refuge.

Proverbs 14:27

The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, that one may turn away from the snares of death.

Luke 1:50

And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.

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