Yeshua (Jesus) is the Bread/Manna of Life…

John 6:51-58
The Message

47-51 “I’m telling you the most solemn and sober truth now: Whoever believes in me has real life, eternal life.

I am the Bread of Life. Your ancestors ate the manna bread in the desert and died.

But now here is Bread that truly comes down out of heaven.

Anyone eating this Bread will not die, ever.

I am the Bread—living Bread!—who came down out of heaven. Anyone who eats this Bread will live—and forever!

The Bread that I present to the world so that it can eat and live is myself, this flesh-and-blood self.”

52 At this, the Jews started fighting among themselves: “How can this man serve up his flesh for a meal?”

53-58 But Jesus didn’t give an inch.

“Only insofar as you eat and drink flesh and blood, the flesh and blood of the Son of Man, do you have life within you.

The one who brings a hearty appetite to this eating and drinking has eternal life and will be fit and ready for the Final Day.

My flesh is real food and my blood is real drink.

By eating my flesh and drinking my blood you enter into me and I into you.

In the same way that the fully alive Father sent me here and I live because of him, so the one who makes a meal of me lives because of me.

This is the Bread from heaven. Your ancestors ate bread and later died. Whoever eats this Bread will live always.”

Jesus is the Bread/Manna of Life

Torah Portions
(Understanding the scripture from the hebraic perspective)

Eat my Flesh; Drink my Blood

Years before the Last Seder occurred, Yeshua told the people of Capernaum to eat His flesh and drink His blood.

How were the people present that day supposed to eat Him?

The text in John 6:53 is ordinarily understood as a sacramental reference to the cup and bread of Passover, but chronologically speaking, the Last Seder had not yet occurred.

Instead, Yeshua invited the people to come to Him, look to Him, and believe in Him.

DESCENT FROM HEAVEN THE REAL DIFFICULTY

The manna of the wilderness did not impart eternal life.

Those who ate the manna in the wilderness died because,

“Man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD” (Deuteronomy 8:3).

The Master contrasted the living manna (Himself) against the manna in the wilderness.

He implored the people to set aside their objections.

He said, “I say to you, he who believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life” (John 6:47-48).

Yeshua is the heavenly bread that came forth from the mouth of the LORD, “the bread which comes down out of heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die … if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever” (John 6:50-51).

Some of the people in the Capernaum synagogue that day (many of whom had come looking for another miraculous feeding) misunderstood.

They objected and began to argue with others,

“How can this man give us His flesh to eat?” (John 6:52).

Undaunted, the Master turned their misunderstanding into a further teaching:

“Amen, amen,” He said, “I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves” (John 6:53).

The image is disturbing even outside of a Jewish context where the Torah severely censures ingesting blood.

Yeshua took the imagery even further:

“He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink” (John 6:54-55).

How were the people present that day supposed to eat Him?

Yeshua was not actually made of manna or bread. Nor did He expect the congregation in the Capernaum synagogue to gather around and begin to cannibalize Him.

He explained to the people,

“He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him” (John 6:56).

In other words, consuming the Master’s flesh and blood consists of abiding in Him and allowing Him to abide within oneself.

Like food that nourishes the body and becomes one with the human body, Yeshua nourishes the human spirit and becomes one with the spirit.

In the Torah and the teachings of the rabbis, the manna from heaven mystically represents the study and incorporation of Torah—the Word of God—into one’s consciousness and life.

A similar meaning lies behind the Master’s words.

Yeshua compared Himself to manna.

Eating the manna (which is Messiah) symbolically means coming to Him, looking to Him, and believing in Him.

He had already made that much clear earlier in the discourse:

This is the work [required by] God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent. (John 6:29)

Come to the Son, behold the Son, and believe in Him. (John 6:35, 40)

Listen to the Father and learn from Him and come to the Son (6:45).

Believe in the Son and receive everlasting life. (John 6:47)

Selah (let us pause and calmly think about these things)
____

Friday, June 10
cFaith – Freedom in the Word
Verse A Day

HIS FLESH AND BLOOD
by Tim Davidson

“He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.”
— John 6:56

Jesus said that if you eat His flesh and drink His blood, you are one with Him, and He is one with you.

This statement may be very difficult to understand if we try to explain it naturally.

Eating flesh and drinking blood is not culturally acceptable. But when we endeavor to understand this spiritually it makes tremendous sense to us.

The Message Bible says:

“By eating My flesh and drinking My blood you enter into Me and I into you.”

Partaking of Jesus is partaking of the Word of God.

We are to taste and see that the Lord is good.

We are to eat His Word and we will be eating His substance.

We are to drink of the water of the well of salvation and drink in the Spirit of God to sustain us in this dry and thirsty land.

Put spiritual things first and you will be eating and drinking the heavenly components that will uphold you.

Today’s Thought to Take With You:

I eat the flesh and drink the blood of Jesus through the Word.

These are the spiritual substances that God provides for me in Christ Jesus.

Source: A Verse A Day
by Tim Davidson
____

Come join the Adventure!

Skip 🕊️

What does the LORD require of us?… “to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with our God” (Micah 6:8)…

The Power of Humility…

“Pride is the mother hen under which all other sins are hatched.”
—C. S. Lewis

In Philippians 2, Paul admonishes the church at Philipp to, Live unselfishly, as Jesus did, who gave up trying to advance Himself. Instead, He lived to help others; and when He humbled Himself, God highly exalted Him, and He will do the same with you.

Philippians 2

What do we do when we don’t feel like obeying God?

He has not left us alone in our struggles to do His will.

He wants to come alongside us and be within us to provide help.

God gives us the desire and the power to do what pleases Him.

We find the secret to a changed life when we submit to His control and let Him work in and through us.

In our struggle against temptation, we must ask God to help us both do His will and desire to do His will.

To change our desires to be more like Christ’s, we need the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit (1:19), the influence of faithful Christians, obedience to God’s Word (not just exposure to it), and sacrificial service.

Often it is in doing God’s will that we gain the desire to do it (see 4:8-9).

Do what He wants and trust Him to change your desires.

Why are complaining and arguing so harmful?

If all that people know about a church is that its members frequently argue, complain, and gossip, they get a false impression of Christ and the Good News.

Belief in Christ should unite those who trust Him.

If people in your church often complain and argue, they lack the unifying power of Jesus Christ.

Stop arguing with other Christians and complaining about people and conditions within the church; instead, patiently work on your issues and let the world see Christ.

Our lives should be characterized by moral purity, patience, and peacefulness, so that we will shine “like bright lights” in a dark and depraved world.

A transformed life effectively demonstrates the power of God’s Word.

Are you shining brightly, or are you clouded by complaining and arguing?

Don’t let dissensions snuff out your light. Shine out for God until Jesus returns and bathes the world in His radiant glory.

God views service and humility as strengths, not weaknesses.

If we are going to be like Jesus, we need to love people – even people who are hard to love.

Jesus set the example for us, coming to die even for the people who hated Him.

As good parents know, love means a willingness to be inconvenienced, a willingness to set aside our own concerns to attend to the needs of someone else.

Love is a lot more than good feelings – it must also include good actions.

God is good not because He is powerful, but because He is good.

He always uses His power to help other people, not to serve Himself.

We praise people who risk their lives to save others; we do not praise people who had the power but refused to use it.

We admire self-sacrifice, not selfishness.

Jesus came to serve, not to lord it over people (Matthew 20:28).

He told His disciples they should not be like power-hungry rulers, but should set an example by helping people.

“Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant” (verse 26).

Jesus shows us what the Father is like (John 14:9) – not just what He was like 2,000 years ago, but what He is like all the time.

If we follow Jesus, grace should fill our families, our friendships and our workplaces.

Being like Jesus means that we are not always demanding to get our own way.

We are not bragging about ourselves or insulting others.

Paul describes the results of God at work in our lives:

“The fruit of [God’s] Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23).

If we are to be like Jesus, our relationships may have to change a lot.

It won’t be easy, and it won’t happen overnight. It takes time, so we need patience with the process, both in ourselves and in others.

We need faith that God will finish the work he has started in us (Php 1:6)

Selah (let us pause and calmly think about these things)
____

Wednesday, June 8
Joy and Strength Devotional

OPPORTUNITY FOR GRACE

“Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.”

Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life.”
— Philippians 2:14–16

There is an invitation, even in suffering, to practice laid-down love.

Are we quick to argue when others don’t see what we want them to?

Are we prone to complain when our expectations are unmet?

As God’s people, we get to cast all of our frustrations at the feet of Jesus.

May we walk in the wisdom of his Word that leads us into life.

Today, may we look at every hiccup in our plans as an opportunity to receive and extend grace.

In getting to know why we react the way we do, we are able to offer compassion to both ourselves and to others.

In receiving God’s great mercy, we are empowered to forgive and seek forgiveness over and over again.

Then we will shine as lovers of God who do not let pride keep us from loving well.

God over all, I need your grace to empower me to turn my offenses over to you.

I know that you don’t expect me to be perfect, so I’m laying down that impossible bar for myself.

Let me be full of humility and grace. And when I am offended, help me to look within to see why without blaming others for my consternation.
____

Come join the Adventure!

Skip 🕊️

Jesus the Apostle and High Priest of our confession…

Christ was superior to Moses and Joshua…

Moses was one of Israel’s greatest national heroes. Therefore the third main step in the writer’s strategy is to demonstrate Christ’s infinite superiority to Moses.

The message is addressed to holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling.

All true believers are holy as to their position, and they should be holy as to their practice.

In Christ they are holy; in themselves they ought to be holy. Their heavenly calling is in contrast to the earthly call of Israel.

Old Testament saints were called to material blessings in the land of promise (though they did have a heavenly hope as well).

In the Church Age, believers are called to spiritual blessings in the heavenlies now and to a heavenly inheritance in the future.

Consider Jesus. He is eminently worthy of our consideration as the Apostle and High Priest of our confession.

In confessing Him as Apostle, we mean that He represents God to us.

In confessing Him as High Priest, we mean that He represents us before God.

There is one aspect in which He was admittedly similar to Moses.

He was faithful to God, just as Moses also was faithful in God’s house.

The house here does not mean only the tabernacle but also the entire sphere in which Moses represented God’s interests.

It is the house of Israel, God’s ancient earthly people.

But there the similarity ends. In every other respect there is undisputed superiority.

First the Lord Jesus is worthy of more glory than Moses because the builder of a house has more honor than the house itself.

The Lord Jesus was the Builder of God’s house; Moses was only a part of the house.

Second, Jesus is greater because He is God.

Every house must have a builder. The One who built all things is God.

From John 1:3, Colossians 1:16, and Hebrews 1:2, 10, we learn the Lord Jesus was the active Agent in creation.

The conclusion is unavoidable—Jesus Christ is God.

The third point is that Christ is greater as a Son.

Moses was a faithful … servant in all God’s house (Num. 12:7), pointing men forward to the coming Messiah.

He testified of those things which would be spoken afterward, that is, the good news of salvation in Christ.

That is why Jesus said on one occasion, “If you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me” (John 5:46).

In His discourse with the disciples on the road to Emmaus, Jesus began at Moses and all the prophets, and “expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself” (Luke 24:27).

But Christ was faithful over God’s house as a Son, not as a servant, and in His case, sonship means equality with God.

God’s house is His own house.

Here the writer explains what is meant by God’s house today.

It is composed of all true believers in the Lord Jesus: whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end.

At first this might seem to imply that our salvation is dependent on our holding fast.

In that case, salvation would be by our endurance rather than by Christ’s finished work on the cross.

The true meaning is that we prove we are God’s house if we hold fast.

Endurance is a proof of reality. Those who lose confidence in Christ and in His promises and return to rituals and ceremonies show that they were never born again.

It is against such apostasy that the following warning is directed.

(vv. 7-15) During the journey to the Promised Land, the Israelites had hardened their hearts in the wilderness.

A hardened heart resembles a hardened lump of clay or a stale loaf of bread.

Nothing can restore it to make it useful.

Psalm 95 warns against hardening our hearts as Israel did in the wilderness by continuing to resist God’s will and doubting His ability to bring deliverance (see Exodus 17:7; Numbers 13–14; 20).

The people were so convinced that God couldn’t deliver them from their enemies and bring them safely into the Promised Land that they simply gave up their faith in Him.

People with hardened hearts stay so stubbornly set in their ways that they cannot turn to God.

This does not happen suddenly; it is the result of a series of choices to disregard God’s will.

Each day we should pray for God to soften our hearts so we can hear Him speak to us.

God’s rest has several meanings in Scripture:

(1) the seventh day of creation and the weekly Sabbath commemorating it (Genesis 2:2; Hebrews 4:4-9);

(2) the Promised Land of Canaan (Deuteronomy 12:8-12; Psalm 95);

(3) the peace with God we now have because of our relationship with Christ through faith (Matthew 11:28; Hebrews 4:1, 3, 8-11); and

(4) our future eternal life with Christ (4:8-11).

All of these meanings were probably familiar to the Jewish Christian readers of Hebrews.

We should warn each other about the danger of missing God’s rest.

If we let doubt about God’s promises, lack of trust in His power, or rejection of His love overtake us, we could forfeit the good things He has for us.

Our hearts turn away from the living God when we stubbornly refuse to believe Him.

If we persist in our unbelief, God will eventually leave us alone in our sin and rebellion.

But God can give us new hearts, new desires, and new spirits (Ezekiel 36:22-27).

To prevent yourself from having an unbelieving heart, stay in fellowship with other believers, talk daily with them about your mutual faith, be aware of the deceitfulness of sin (which attracts but also destroys), and encourage one another with love and concern.

The Israelites failed to enter the Promised Land because they did not believe in God’s protection and did not believe that He would help them conquer the giants in the land (see Numbers 14–15).

So God sent them into the wilderness to wander for 40 years.

This was an unhappy alternative to the wonderful gift He had planned for them.

Lack of trust in God leaves us with the dangerous alternative that we won’t enter His rest and receive His best.

The Sin of Unbelief

In 1 John 2:2, speaking of Jesus’ atonement on calvary’s Cross we’re told that, “He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.”

When the Bible says that Christ was the sacrifice for all sin, it does not mean that all sin was automatically forgiven.

It simply means that the offering to secure forgiveness for the whole world has been made; whether that offering actually results in the forgiveness of any individual is another matter, because the offering must be accepted by faith.

Our way back to God has been prepared by Christ; the question now is, will we avail ourselves of the opportunity?

Christ died for all sin; that is, His sacrifice was completely sufficient to pay for the sins of the entire world.

But forgiveness only comes to an individual when he or she repents and believes (see Mark 1:15).

Until we accept (by faith) the provision of God in Christ, then we are still in our sins.

Those who die in unbelief die in all their sin—they are unforgiven liars, murderers, adulterers, etc. (Revelation 21:8).

Those who trust in Christ for their salvation do not die in sin; they die in Christ, with all sins forgiven.

We are justified by faith (Romans 5:1); without faith, we are condemned (John 3:18).

Forgiveness is received through faith in Christ and comes with the promise of an eternity in heaven; lack of faith keeps us unforgiven and consigned to an eternity in hell.

In the Bible, belief, or faith, is more than just thinking something is a fact.

Faith has more to do with trust and personal acceptance, deliberate acts of one’s will.

So, in Scripture, the sin of unbelief is not merely ignorance; rather, it is willfully refusing God’s free gift of forgiveness of sin—including the sin of unbelief.

When God offers to forgive a man’s sin if he believes, logic dictates that his response cannot be, “No, I refuse to believe in You, but forgive my sins anyway.”

Forgiveness is a conditional offer: if the required condition is met (faith), then the promised result occurs (forgiveness).

Faith in Christ is how people rightly respond to God’s offer of salvation.

The Bible says much about the necessity of choosing faith in Christ and the results of unbelief.

Christ longed to gather the sinful inhabitants of Jerusalem to Himself, yet they remained in their sin; Jesus’ condemnation places the onus directly on them: “You were not willing” (Luke 13:34).

Their unbelief kept them away from Christ, their only salvation.

On the logic of requiring belief:

“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6)

On unbelief as an act of will, a deliberate choice:

“Even after Jesus had performed so many signs in their presence, they still would not believe in Him.” (John 12:37)

The Bible is clear that the only way to get into God’s perfect heaven is to be as perfect (pure and sinless), as God Himself (Matthew 5:20, 48; Luke 18:18–22).

Even if you sin only once in your whole life, you have broken all of God’s law, just as breaking one link in a chain breaks the whole chain (James 2:10).

God’s perfect justice means that every sin must be punished. That penalty is death in the form of eternal separation from God in hell (Exodus 32:33).

No human can meet God’s perfect standard, so without a supernatural Savior to rescue us, we are all lost sinners (Acts 15:10; Romans 3:9–23).

God loves you and wants to rescue you from hell (John 3:16; 2 Peter 3:9).

So He sent His own perfect Son to take your punishment on Himself—His life for yours— paying your debt to God in full by dying on the cross, and forever freeing you from God’s righteous condemnation.

Every one of your sins—past, present, and future—is forgiven “IF” and only if you choose to accept that gift of forgiveness by faith (believing and trusting God to keep His promise)…

And that happens only as you repent (change the way you think) and turn away from your sins (Luke 24:47; Acts 11:18; 2 Corinthians 7:10); and then you must ask Him to save you (Joel 2:32; Acts 2:21).

The blood of Jesus covers your sins so that God sees you as perfect as His own Son (Isaiah 53:4–6; 2 Corinthians 5:21).

The instant you accept God’s free gift by faith, you are changed:

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

You become God’s own beloved child (1 John 3:1), an eternal relationship that can never be broken (Romans 8:38–39; Ephesians 1:13–14).

God as Father, Son and Spirit indwell you and make their “home” with you (John 14:17, 23).

You can see then why the Gospel of Christ is called the Good News (Luke 2:10; Acts 5:42, 14:15)!

In accepting this gift, you agree that you belong to God (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

You are not your own because He bought (redeemed) you with the precious blood of His Son (1 Peter 1:18–19).

So the Bible says that we are saved by GRACE, through FAITH; and ultimately always our faith is expressed by the words that come out of our mouth.

God’s plan to restore the world disfigured by sin and death reaches its climax with the resurrection of Jesus.

When the King enters, all the prophecies, all the hopes, all the longings find in Him their true fulfillment.

There may have been earlier fulfillments; but these are only partial fulfillments, signposts along the way to God’s true goal.

God’s goal has always been the restoration and reconciliation of His lost children.

With Jesus, we find the only perfect man with right standing before God.

He comes to blaze a path defined by God’s justice, not by our own sense of right and wrong.

All men, women, and children who commit their lives to Him will be made right with God and will begin new lives defined by faith and God’s new covenant.

Romans 10:5-11
The Voice

5 Moses made this clear long ago when he wrote about what it takes to have a right relationship with God based on the law:

“The person devoted to the law’s commands will live by them.”

6 But a right relationship based on faith sounds like this:

“Do not say to yourselves, ‘Who will go up into heaven?’” (that is, to bring down the Anointed One),

7 “or, ‘Who will go down into the abyss?’” (that is, to bring the Anointed One up from the dead).

8 But what does it actually say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the good news we have been called to preach to you).

9 So if you believe deep in your heart that God raised Jesus from the pit of death and if you voice your allegiance by confessing the truth that “Jesus is Lord,” then you will be saved!

10 Belief begins in the heart and leads to a life that’s right with God; confession departs from our lips and brings eternal salvation.

11 Because what Isaiah said was true:

“The one who trusts in Him will not be disgraced.”

So what will happen to the Jewish people (or anyone else for that matter) who believe in God, but not in Jesus Christ?

Since they believe in God, won’t they be saved?

If that were true, Paul would not have worked so hard and sacrificed so much to teach them about God’s plan of salvation through Christ.

Because Jesus is the most complete revelation of God, we cannot fully know God apart from Him, and because God appointed Jesus to bring God and people together, we cannot come to God by any other path.

Salvation does not come by multiple choice…

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. NO ONE comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6)

The Jews, like everyone else, can find salvation only through Jesus Christ (John 14:6; Acts 4:12).

Like Paul, we should pray that all Jews might be saved and lovingly share the Good News with them.

However, rather than living by faith in God, the Jews established customs and traditions (in addition to God’s law) to try to make themselves acceptable in His sight.

But human effort, no matter how sincere, can never substitute for the righteousness God offers us by faith.

The only way to earn salvation is to be perfect—and that is impossible.

We can only hold out our empty hands and receive salvation as a gift.

Christ accomplished the purpose for which the law was given in two ways:

(1) He fulfills the purpose and goal of the law (Matthew 5:17) in that He perfectly exemplified God’s desires on earth.

(2) He is the termination of the law because its purpose was to point to a new “law,” a new covenant that we are to follow.

The Old Testament law remains the Word of God, but with the coming of Jesus we now understand its real purpose—to show us that it cannot save us and to point us to the only one who can save us, Jesus Christ.

This does not make the Old Testament laws irrelevant; they continue to teach us about God’s character and how we are to live as followers of God.

In order to be saved by the law, a person would have to live a perfect life, not sinning once.

Why did God give the law, knowing people couldn’t keep it?

According to Paul, one reason was to show people how guilty they are (Galatians 3:19).

The law was a shadow of Christ—that is, the sacrificial system educated the people so that when the true sacrifice came, they would be able to understand His work (Hebrews 10:1-4).

The system of ceremonial laws was to last until the coming of Christ; and the intent of the law was to point us to our need for a Savior.

So if our faith is expressed by the words that come out of our mouths, we should always try and make sure that our CONFESSION lines up with God’s Word.

So what is confession?

Confession is stating something we believe in our hearts. It is giving evidence to something we know to be true. It is testifying to a truth we have accepted.

God moves only in line with His Word and has magnified His Word above His Name (Ps. 138:2).

We cannot expect to get help from God if we are taking sides against His Word, even though it may be an unconscious act on our part.

We should treat the Word of God with the same reverence we would show to Jesus if He were present with us.

You may be facing a problem that seems impossible. Instead of talking about how impossible it is, look to Jesus, Who is inside you and say, “God is in me now.”

And you’ll find that your confession of faith will cause Him to work on your behalf. He will rise up in you and give you success.

The Master of Creation is in you! You can face life fearlessly because you know that greater is He Who is in you, than any forces that may be arrayed against you. This should be your continual confession.
____

Tuesday, June 7
Faith to Faith Devotional

HIGH PRIEST OF YOUR CONFESSION

“Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession [or confession], Christ Jesus.”
— Hebrews 3:1

Very few believers today understand the mystery of the apostleship and priesthood of Jesus.

We think that an apostle is some kind of supersaint. But apostle actually means “sent one.” So, Jesus has been sent from God to do something for us.

He’s been sent to serve as our High Priest.

Again, many believers don’t have the first idea what a high priest does. They picture a person walking around in strange clothes performing religious rituals.

In reality, a high priest is much more than that.

He is one who is authorized to administer, to execute, to implement and to carry into effect.

Now, you may wonder what it is that Jesus is authorized to administer, execute or carry out on your behalf.

Hebrews 3:1 says that Jesus is the High Priest of our confession. He’s been sent to put into effect, to execute, to carry out the words that you say.

But, chances are, you’ve been speaking what you feel, instead of speaking words of faith.

If, for example, you’re speaking sickness, what’s He going to do with that? He’s not High Priest over sickness.

He can’t execute that. If you’re saying, “I’m so weak, I’m so tired,” He can’t carry that out.

The Bible says, “Let the weak say, I am strong!” The minute you say that, Jesus can administer strength.

Jesus is not going to administer sickness or disease or poverty or sin. He’s defeated all that. He is High Priest over deliverance and righteousness and freedom.

Consider that. Then as you come before Jesus, don’t speak words of defeat.

Speak words He can implement—words of victory. That’s what He’s been ordained by God to bring to pass in your life.

Scripture Reading: Hebrews 7:20-28
____

Come join the Adventure!

Skip 🕊️

Experiencing God’s peace in the midst of the storms of life…

God promises His Shalom-Peace in the Midst of Trouble…

“Most Christians are being crucified on a cross between two thieves: yesterday’s regret and tomorrows worries.”
— Warren Wiersbe

In Philippians chapter 4, Paul admonishes the Philippian Christians:

DO NOT WORRY (be anxious) about the future, but pray about your concerns.

Only think about good things, and God will give you peace.

The Apostle Paul goes on to say, “Even though I have learned to be content with little, I am grateful for your gift to me, and I am happy that God will bless you for it. God will take care of you.”

The Parable of Death

Death was walking toward a man who stopped him and asked,

“What are you going to do?”

Death said, “I’m going to kill ten thousand people.”

The man said, “That’s horrible!”

Death said, “That’s the way it is; that is what I do.”

As the day passed, the man warned everyone he could of Death’s plan.

At the end of the day, he met Death again.

He said, “You said you were going to kill ten thousand people, and yet one hundred thousand people died.”

Death explained, “I only killed ten thousand. Worry and fear killed the others.”

Worry is one of the biggest problems we face in life, and it tends to get worse as we get older.

Its destruction is sure.

Charles Mayo of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, said, “Worry affects the circulation, the heart, the glands, the whole nervous system, and profoundly affects the health.”

Corrie Ten Boom knew the destructive force of worry when she said, “Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow; it empties today of its strength.”

Its destruction starts like a little trickle through the mind and cuts out a furrow until it becomes a Grand Canyon and all other thoughts drain into it.

Do you ever engage in imaginary, “what if thinking?

Do you ever blow things up in your mind by jumping to a conclusion or making a mountain out of a molehill?

Have you ever looked at a dilemma and imagined the worse-case scenario?

If you engage in any of these draining, negative mind games, then you need to know that God’s plan for you is peace and joy not worry.

His plan for you is rest not stress, peace not turmoil.

In this final lesson from Philippians, you will learn how to keep worry from robbing you of your joy.

You will discover how to have peace and joy in your relationships with God and others.

Peace in the Midst of Trouble
Believers are to rejoice (return-to-joy) always, not to worry but to pray, and to keep our minds fixed on good thoughts.

As you do, you will experience God’s peace, knowing that God will bless your generosity.

Joy in Friendship
Friends standing fast in the Lord bring joy to other Christians.

Philippians 4

In verse 1, Paul demonstrates his love and friendship for the church at Philippi.

He addresses them as my brothers and dear friends, that is, as equals under God not as a superior church authority to subordinate members.

In this most personal of his writings, Paul expressed his fond affection and the pain of separation by telling them that he both loves and longs for them.

They are his joy and crown because their growth in the Christian life makes him proud.

He points back to everything he has written in the previous three chapters as the reason to maintain a firm foundation in the Lord.

He points forward to the following verses to show how to stand firm.

He remains ever concerned with believers’ spiritual lives.

Deeper spirituality can come but only by heeding the rapid-fire list of imperatives
Paul is about to throw at us.

Joy in Unity

Be at peace, and help one another.

In verse 2, Paul addressed a specific situation in the Philippian church, a quarrel between two Christian sisters—Euodia and Syntyche.

This discord may be why he wrote what he did in Philippians 2:1-4.

Although he believed their conflict would negatively affect the entire church, Paul did not reveal the nature of their problem or take sides.

He did appeal tactfully for unity by asking them to agree with each other in the Lord.

To agree is a strong Pauline word, which
basically means “to think, form an opinion,” or “to set one’s mind on something.”

It came to mean to be in agreement, to live in harmony.

This is the picture of the Christian church standing firm in Christ.

Paul then asked (v. 3) a specific member of the congregation to help these women.

Despite numerous guesses, no one knows who the loyal yokefellow was.

Some even think Paul referred to the entire church. At least he set a precedent for church disputes to be settled by mediation within the church.

Paul uses strong, urgent language to insist that the church get the problem solved and get back to the Christian position of standing firm “in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel” (1:27; compare 2:2-4).

Disagreements even among mature Christians are not new.

Mature Christians do not allow these disagreements to interfere with love and unity in the body of Christ.

Quarreling is not the nature of the church nor was it of the women involved.

They had fought alongside Paul like gladiators in the arena to spread the gospel message.

God had written their names in heaven’s registry of citizens alongside all the others to whom he promised eternal life.

Paul sets the women on an equal level with others whom the Philippian church knew as faithful soldiers of the cross.

Paul names one specifically—Clement.

We know nothing else about him.

The third bishop of Rome was named Clement, but we have no evidence to connect the two persons.

Joy in God’s Peace (vv. 4-9)

Rejoice in the Lord, pray in all things, and keep your mind on positive thoughts, and as you do, God’s peace will be yours.

Again Paul returns to the key theme of this letter: joy.

He calls believers to rejoice at all times and repeats the call for emphasis.

This includes the bad times as well as the good (compare Jas. 1:2-5).

Christians should be known as joyful people.

Such joy resides not in circumstances or positive attitudes toward life.

Joy reigns in the heart only when Christ is Lord of life. Joy is always in the Lord.

A practical way to have joy is by exhibiting gentleness to all.

This lets the church and world see that you belong to the Lord.

The Greek word epieikeus means “yielding, gentle, kind.”

It includes the ability to go beyond the letter of the law in treating others, to provide something beside strict justice.

It does not insist on personal rights or privileges.

Christ embodied such gentleness in His dealing with all people (2 Cor. 10:1; compare 1 Tim. 3:3; Titus 3:2; Jas. 3:17; 1 Pet. 2:18).

Why should we surrender personal rights for others?

The Lord is near.

In both time and space, God is available to us. He is not far removed in heaven but present in our hearts to hear and relate to us.

His nearness also means He knows us and what we are.

In time, God is near, for He is coming again. Then we will receive our rewards for living like Christ rather than like the world.

(v. 6) Joy replaces anxiety in life, so Paul advises the Philippians not to be anxious about anything.

The cure for anxiety? Prayer!

Worry and anxiety come from focusing on your circumstances such as imprisonment or persecution which Paul and the Philippians faced.

Anxiety or worry doesn’t accomplish anything, but prayer does (Jas. 5:16).

Jesus warned against worry which demonstrates a lack of trust in God (Matt. 6:25-34).

The peace of God comes from prayer involving both asking God for earthly needs and thanking God for His presence and provision.

The expression appears only here in the New Testament.

God’s peace reflects the divine character, which lives in serenity, totally separate from all anxiety and worry.

Such peace is like a squad of Roman soldiers standing guard and protecting you from worry and fret.

Such peace is not a dream of the human mind. The human mind cannot even comprehend this kind of peace, wholeness, and quiet confidence.

Such peace protects the two organs of worry—heart and mind that produce feelings and thoughts.

Such protection is real, available in Christ Jesus.

Those who do not trust and commit their life to Christ have no hope for peace.

(v. 8) Continuing his strong imperative style, Paul suggested what should occupy our minds rather than anxiety and worry.

Paul understood the influence of one’s thoughts on one’s life.

Right thinking is the first step toward righteous living.

What is right thinking?

It is thinking devoted to life’s higher goods and virtues.

Thus Paul picked up a practice from secular writers of his day and listed a catalog of virtues that should occupy the mind.

Such virtues are not limited to the Christian community, but are recognized even by pagan cultures.

True is that which corresponds to reality.

Anxiety comes when false ideas and unreal circumstances occupy the mind instead of truth.

Ultimately, thinking on the truth is thinking on Jesus, who is the truth (John 14:6; Eph. 4:21).

Noble refers to lofty, majestic, awesome things, things that lift the mind above the world’s dirt and scandal.

Right refers to that which is fair to all parties involved, that which fulfills all obligations and debts.

Thinking right thoughts steers one away from quarrels and dissensions to think of the needs and rights of the other party.

Pure casts its net of meaning over all of life from sexual acts to noble thoughts to moral and ritual readiness for worship.

Thinking on the pure leads one away from sin and shame and toward God and worship.

Lovely is a rare word referring to things that attract, please, and win other people’s admiration and affection.

Such thoughts bring people together in peace rather than separating them in fighting and feuding.

Admirable is something worthy of praise or approval, that which deserves a good reputation.

Pondering ways to protect one’s moral and spiritual image in the community leads away from worries about circumstances and possessions that project a different image to the community and which thinking cannot change.

What we put into our minds determines what comes out in our words, desires, and actions.

Paul tells us to train our minds to focus on thoughts that are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and worthy of praise.

Do you have problems with impure thoughts and daydreams?

Examine what you are putting into your mind through movies, the Internet, books, conversations, television, video games, and magazines.

Replace harmful input with wholesome material.

Above all, read God’s Word and pray.

Ask God to help you fill your mind with good and pure thoughts.

This takes practice, but it can be done.

(v. 9) It’s not enough to hear or read the Word of God or even to know it well.

We must also put what God is teaching us into practice.

How easy it is to listen to a sermon and forget what the preacher said.

How easy it is to read the Bible and not think about how to live differently.

How easy it is to debate what a passage means and not live out that meaning.

Exposure to God’s Word is not enough. It must lead to obedience.

(vv. 10-14) Are you getting along happily—being content—in any circumstances you face?

Paul knew how to be content whether he had plenty or whether he was in need.

The secret was drawing on Christ’s power for strength.

Do you have great needs, or are you discontent because you don’t have what you want?

Learn to rely on God’s promises and Christ’s power to help you be content.

If you always want more, ask God to remove that desire and teach you contentment in every circumstance.

Thank Him each day for all the blessings you do have.

He will meet all your needs, but in a way that He knows is best for you.

In 1 Corinthians 9:11-18, Paul wrote that he didn’t accept gifts from the Corinthian church because he didn’t want to be accused of preaching only to get money.

But Paul maintained that a church has the responsibility to support God’s ministers (1 Corinthians 9:14).

He accepted the Philippians’ gift because they gave it willingly and because he was in need.

(vv. 12-13) Paul was content because he could see life from God’s point of view.

He focused on what he was supposed to do, not what he felt he should have.

Paul had his priorities straight, and he was grateful for everything God had given him.

Paul had detached himself from the nonessential so that he could concentrate on the eternal.

Often the desire for something more or better indicates a longing to fill an empty place in a person’s life.

To what are you drawn when you feel empty inside?

How can you find true contentment?

The answer lies in your perspective, your priorities, and your source of power.

Can we really do everything?

We receive all the power we need in union with Christ when we do His will and face the challenges that arise from our doing it.

He does not grant us superhuman ability to accomplish anything we can imagine without regard to His interests.

As we contend for the faith, we will face troubles, pressures, and trials.

What does God want you to do?

Step out in faith and do it, trusting Him for the strength you will need.

(vv. 14-17) The Philippians shared in Paul’s financial support while he was in prison.

They provided the means for him to get food and likely the materials he needed to write his letters.

What makes money so magnetic and giving it away often so stressful?

Money insures we can get what we need.

It gives us stature and represents our day-to-day security.

Giving money away puts our work and our futures at risk.

Not every charity deserves your attention, and you’re wise to scrutinize missionary appeals as well.

But once you’ve determined that a project honors the Lord, don’t hold back—give generously and joyfully.

Like the Philippians, you’ll be establishing an eternal partnership.

(vv. 17-18) When we give to those in need, it not only benefits the recipients but benefits us as well.

It was not the Philippians’ gift, but their spirit of love and devotion that Paul appreciated most.

Paul was not referring to a sin offering but to a peace offering, “a sweet-smelling sacrifice that is acceptable and pleasing to God” (Leviticus 7:12-15 contains the instructions for such offerings of thanksgiving).

Although the Greek and Roman Christians were not Jews and had not offered sacrifices according to the Old Testament laws, they were well acquainted with the pagan rituals of offering sacrifices.

(vv. 19-20) We can trust that God will always meet our needs.

At those times when you find yourself pressing in against the trials and tribulations of life, make a mental list of how God has provided for you in the past.

And use that as the basis for recognizing how He will provide for your needs in the future.

Instead of complaining or worrying, take your requests directly to the Lord.

Sometimes however, God will stir our nest for further growth.

Sometimes God is like the mother eagle, who stirs up her nest intentionally, so that her baby eaglets can learn to fly.

Perhaps, God is stirring up your nest for that same reason.

Mating eagle pairs return to the same nest year after year. They repair it with branches and twigs until some nests will weigh over a ton.

Inside, they carefully line the nest with moss, feathers, and fur – a soft, warm home for their babies.

The parents care for the newly-hatched eaglets until, eventually, the mother begins to pull out the fur and feathers so that the babies become uncomfortable, unwilling to remain in their prickly home.

They perch on the edge of the nest and pluck up the courage to take their fledgling flight.

As the eaglet attempts its wobbly flight, the mother hovers protectively over it.

If it falls, she swoops it up on her wings to return it to the nest.

Repeatedly, she rescues her child until his wings are strong enough to take to the skies.

As we venture out to discover our new normal, in Jesus, we can likewise trust in our Abba-Father, who hides us under the shadow of His wings and Who faithfully leads us in the lessons that teach us to soar.

Selah (let us pause and calmly think about these things)
____

Monday, June 6th
God Calling
by Two Listeners

HOW MEN SEE ME

“But my God shall supply all your needs according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”
— Philippians 4:19

I came to help a world. And according to the varying needs of each so does each man see Me.

It is not necessary that you see Me as others see Me – the world, even the Church, My disciples, My followers, but it is necessary that you see Me, each of you, as supplying all that you personally need.

The weak need My Strength. The strong need My Tenderness. The tempted and fallen need My Salvation. The righteous need My Pity for sinners. The lonely need a Friend. The fighters need a Leader.

No man could be all these to men – only a God could be.

In each of these relations of Mine to man you must see the God.

The God-Friend, the God-Leader, the God-Savior.

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)
____

Come join the Adventure!

Skip 🕊️

God promises to open up the windows of Heaven for us…

The Coming Messenger…

The first part of Malachi (chpts 1-3:15) covers the Lord’s charges against Israel, their replies, and His threatened judgments

Israel had a history of waywardness—turning from God’s decrees (the law), but the LORD Almighty still loved His people and entreated them “to return to Me, and I will return to you” (Zech 1:3).

If they would repent of their sins, God’s special presence and blessing would come to rest on the nation as it had in times past.

Perhaps the people’s question, How are we to return? was sincere; but in light of the attitude expressed throughout the book, it was likely a cynical response.

Contrary to his usual pattern, Malachi did not follow the question with a specific explanation because in reality the whole book points the way for the people to get right with God.

Malachi 3

Starting in Chapter 2:17–3:6, we read that the people argued that God had neglected them.

In fact, it was the other way around. The people were neglecting God and then had the audacity to say that He was approving of their sinful lifestyles, or at the least excusing them.

God was making it clear that He was tired of the way the people had cynically twisted His truths, and He would send His messenger to set things right.

God would also punish those who professed a counterfeit faith while acting sinfully.

Verse 7:
“Yet from the days of your fathers You have gone away from My ordinances And have not kept them.

‘Return to Me, and I will return to you, Says the LORD of hosts. But you said, ‘In what way shall we return?’ ”

Verse 7 could stand alone, but most commentators connect it with verses 8-12, a transition from the general charge of disobedience to the specific charge of robbing God.

In verses 8-12 we have Malachi’s treatise on tithing, probably the most familiar passage in the book.

Malachi’s opening question is shocking—Will a man rob God?

Even most unbelievers would be too frightened (if merely out of superstition) to steal from God.

Yet, in addition to all their other offenses, the people were now charged with this heinous crime.

Understandably, they wanted God to explain, How do we rob you?

God replied, In tithes and offerings.

The word tithe (also v. 10) is a translation of the Hebrew word maʿaser, which literally means “tenth part,” defining the tithe as 10 percent of one’s material increase.

Offering is a more general term, specifying contributions for a sacred purpose.

Verse 3:10 says, “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this,
says the LORD of hosts, ‘If I will not open for you the windows of Heaven and pour out for you such a blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.’ “

Notice that He said to bring ALL the tithes into the STOREHOUSE.

The Old Testament tithing system required that there were a total of three tithes that were to be paid, in addition to offerings.

In Old Testament times there were actually three different kinds of tithes, each one with a definite purpose.

The three different types are as follows:

1. The Levitical, or sacred tithe (Num. 18: 21, 24).

Numbers 18:21, 24
New King James Version

Tithes for Support of the Levites
21 “Behold, I have given the children of Levi all the tithes in Israel as an inheritance in return for the work which they perform, the work of the tabernacle of meeting.

24 For the tithes of the children of Israel, which they offer up as a heave offering to the Lord, I have given to the Levites as an inheritance; therefore I have said to them, ‘Among the children of Israel they shall have no inheritance.’

The first tithe, the one we trace back to Abra­ham (Gen. 14:18-20), is the sacred tithe on the first part of all their increase (on the gross), given to the Levites and priests for their service to the temple and the congregation in the Old Testa­ment.

2. The tithe of the feasts (Deut. 14:22-27).

Deuteronomy 14:22-27
New King James Version

Tithing Principles
22 “You shall truly tithe all the increase of your grain that the field produces year by year.

23 And you shall eat before the Lord your God, in the place where He chooses to make His name abide, the tithe of your grain and your new wine and your oil, of the firstborn of your herds and your flocks, that you may learn to fear the Lord your God always.

24 But if the journey is too long for you, so that you are not able to carry the tithe, or if the place where the Lord your God chooses to put His name is too far from you, when the Lord your God has blessed you,

25 then you shall exchange it for money, take the money in your hand, and go to the place which the Lord your God chooses.

26 And you shall spend that money for whatever your heart desires: for oxen or sheep, for wine or similar drink, for whatever your heart desires; you shall eat there before the Lord your God, and you shall rejoice, you and your household.

27 You shall not forsake the Levite who is within your gates, for he has no part nor inheritance with you.

The second tithe had an entirely different aspect, and we would do well to contemplate its meaning and purposes, and it was given on the net.

The Levitical law required that a Jew had to go up to Jerusalem three times a year:

1. Pesach (Passover),

2. Shavuot (Weeks or Pentecost), and

3. Sukkot (Tabernacles, Tents or Booths)

In reality this religious ordinance included a definite social provision—periods of vacation for the family.

And how should the head of the household pro­vide for the vacation expense?

By setting aside a second tithe, the one described in Deuteronomy 14:22-27, the tithe for the feasts.

Thus the second tithe was dedicated to the good of man himself, for a vacation and specifically, a vaca­tion with a religious purpose, such as going to camp meeting.

3. The tithe for the poor (Deut. 14:28, 29).

Deuteronomy 14:28-29
New King James Version

28 “At the end of every third year you shall bring out the tithe of your produce of that year and store it up within your gates.

29 And the Levite, because he has no portion nor inheritance with you, and the stranger and the fatherless and the widow who are within your gates, may come and eat and be satisfied, that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hand which you do.

The third tithe was the tithe for the poor, and it was also given on the net.

According to our text in Deuteronomy 14:28, 29, this tithe was given only every third year.

As the text states, the produce had to be laid up in “your towns” for the Levite, sojourner, father­less, and the widow.

It suggests that the distribu­tion was not left to the individual but was a com­munity project to which everybody had to con­tribute.

This tithe, therefore, was for the neigh­bor.

Summarizing the three types of tithe in the Old Testament period, we find a much broader concept of giving than we generally assume.

In their giving, God was first; the second tithe was for man’s own physical and spiritual welfare; and third tithe was for the Levite, the sojourner, the father­less, and the widow.

In other words, it was a community chest for the poor.

God, you, and your neigh­bor is a good trinity in planning one’s giving.

Tithing can be a frightening commitment for all of us, but in the New Testament God owns it ALL, including our very lives.

We may think,

“How will we ever survive financially if we give so much to God?
Our children will starve!”

To allay such fears, God challenged Judah (and us) to test Him in this matter.

In other words, God says,

“Give tithing a try and see what happens.”

If the people would trust Him in the matter of tithing, God promised to lift the curse and send so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.

Rain would fall (heaven’s floodgates opened), and they would have bountiful crops (not room enough to store it all).

God would prevent pests (literally, “will rebuke the devourer”; probably locusts, Deut. 28:38) from destroying the grain, and the vines would produce abundantly.

Even pagan nations would observe God’s blessing on Judah and label it a delightful land (cp. Isa. 62:4).

No doubt God blesses people spiritually when they obey him, but here we see that God often blesses us economically as well.

So how do we look at all this from the New Testament perspective?

God tells us in the Psalms,

“The earth is the LORD’S, and all it contains,
The world, and those who dwell in it”
(Psalm 24:1).

So obviously in this verse God is saying that He owns it all, including our lives.

I have no need of a bull from your stall
or of goats from your pens,
for every animal of the forest is mine,
and the cattle on a thousand hills (see Psalm 50: 9-10).

The simple truth seems to say that it ALL belongs to God — and that He owns everything!

Designating a tenth of one’s harvest for the Lord was a reminder that, in fact, everything ultimately belongs to Him; and this remains true for those of us who aren’t farmers.

The produce of our lives—our income, our accomplishments, our artistic creations, our relationships, our children—ALL belong to God, even as WE ourselves belong completely to Him (see 1 Cor. 6:19-20).

We think differently about giving when we embrace this truth that God’s resources are in our care, and as such, we are to be stewards of His resources in the Earth.

We are stewards of all we have, and when the True Owner needs to use what has been put in our care, we must generously release it.

In Matthew 6:21 Jesus says,

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Giving ten percent or more instead of keeping it all shows that our heart isn’t tied to our money and that we love God more than our money.

The Bible says that God loves a cheerful giver (1 Cor 9:7).

The Bible also says David was a man after God’s own heart (1 Sam 13:14; Acts 13:22).

So let’s take a look at David’s giving:

By the end of his life, King David had wealth beyond measure. He had brought unity to Jerusalem and established it as the mightiest city in the ancient world.

Through conquest, he had amassed great national treasure, and his dying wish was to use some of that wealth to build a house for God.

Though he would not be the one to build it (his son, Solomon, would), David modeled generosity for the nation by giving enormous gifts to the construction of God’s house.

But then David went beyond those national reserves and gave from his own stores of silver and gold, apparently just for the joy of giving it.

His example was so great that the leaders of Israel were all compelled to give, not only their possessions, but even their lives, to God’s holy purposes.

The Hebrew text from 1 Chronicles 29 says they gave willingly, “with perfect heart.”

This public outpouring of generosity set off a sort of chain-reaction effect, and when the people of Israel saw it, they broke out in spontaneous and worshipful celebration.

When we stop and consider what all God has given for us, what should be our response?

Even though salvation comes to us free of charge, by grace through faith, it most certainly did not come cheap.

It cost God the Father everything, even the life of His only begotten Son Jesus!

God is the Founder and Creator of the heavens and the earth and all that is in them, and so God holds the rights to all of it.

That includes even us – our bodies, our minds, and our lives.

Even when we had become slaves to sin, He redeemed us, paying with his Son’s life — and so we are doubly owned.

When you consider all that God has done for us, it is our absolute privilege to be able to give tithes and offerings unto the Lord.

1 Chronicles 29:14
The Voice

14 But who am I and who are my people
that we can offer up anything to You so willingly?

All our offerings come from You,
so we can give You nothing that isn’t already Yours.

Selah (let us pause and calmly think about these things)
____

Sunday, June 05
The Spirit Filled Believer
Written by Dick Mills

Windows of Heaven

“I will open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it”
— Malachi 3:10

Windows of heaven! What a beautiful, illustrious, picturesque word!

Other translators use the words, “sluices,” “floodgates,” or “apertures.”

In any case, this is a promise of a deluge of blessings coming upon those who lead lives marked by generosity.

The windows of heaven are mentioned in two other places in the Bible:

One is negative and the other positive.

In 2 Kings 7:2 and 7:19, Elisha predicts that the famine is over and that the price of food will soon be incredibly reduced.

The king’s squire responds in disbelief

“If the Lord opened windows in heaven, this thing might be.”

Elisha’s reply is:

“You will see it, but never partake of it.”

When the news of the miraculous turn-around hits the streets, the famished people rush out of the city to gather up the much-needed supplies.

In their haste, they run over and accidentally trample to death the skeptical squire – just as the prophet had foretold.

The windows of heaven are also mentioned in Noah’s day when the Lord opened the skies and deluged the earth with rain for forty days (Gen. 7:11, 8:2).

Thus the windows of heaven are mentioned three times in Scripture with three different applications:

1) A deluge of rain (we can compare this to revival or spiritual renewal);

2) A miraculous supply following a great famine, and;

3) An overflowing provision of blessings in the lives of believers. What a promise!

Source: The Spirit-Filled Believer’s Daily Devotional by Dick Mills
____

Come join the Adventure!

Skip 🕊️

God is All-knowing, meaning He knows everything about everything and everyone, including you and I…

Psalm 139 is one of my favorite verses of scripture in all the Bible…

In it we find that David is absolutely overwhelmed that God knows him so well.

Psalm 139

This infinite God is intimately aware of each and every individual on the planet.

In the midst of over six billion persons on the earth, God knows each and every one perfectly.

The very hairs of their heads are numbered.

He knows what each person will say before he says it.

He is present everywhere, personally involved at even the most minute level.

Having created every life, God presides over every aspect of each of these lives.

Every thought, attitude, word, and deed is an open book before Him.

How can a God so immense be so immanent?

Such is the mind-boggling yet soul-comforting reality about our infinite yet intimate God.

David realized that nothing in his life was hidden from God’s all-seeing gaze.

He declared, O LORD, you have searched me, using a word meaning “to explore, spy out, to dig deeply into, to explore a country.”

God knew the very depths of his being, what no one else saw.

You know (yadah, “to know intimately, experientially”) me thoroughly (i.e., his character, being, his very heart).

You know when I sit and when I rise.

These two activities are intended to represent when David rests and rises to work during his day’s activities and everything in between.

He pondered how God knew his thoughts from afar.

Others saw his actions, but God saw into his heart.

God does discern—that is, “to sift through something, to winnow as grain, to sort out the good from the bad”—of his life.

He sees through his going out to labor and his lying down to sleep.

God saw David’s morning departure to work, his evening retiring at home, and, implied, all the other events of the day.

God was deeply familiar with ALL his ways.

He even knew what he was going to say before he said it.

David could only conclude, You know it completely.

God surrounded David like a city being besieged with no way of escape.

There was no way for him to escape his all-knowing thoughts.

God had laid His hand upon him so that He was always near.

Under this kind of close scrutiny, God saw the entirety of his life up close, inside out.

David’s response to all this is,

“Such knowledge is too wonderful and too high.”

God’s omniscience is both convicting and comforting.

And for David, it was humbling, beyond his human capacity to grasp.

Further, David understood that God is all-present, and he could never escape the divine presence.

Where can I go from Your Spirit? or Where can I flee from Your presence?

These two rhetorical questions imply a negative answer.

There is NOWHERE God is not present.

God’s “Spirit,” a reference to the Holy Spirit, is omnipresent.

If I go up to the heavens, David declared, God is there.

Heaven above is God’s eternal dwelling place.

Or if I make my bed in the depths of hell, the other extreme, God is there.

David would never be more face-to-face with God than after he died.

If I rise on the wings of the dawn and fly to the east, or if I settle on the far side of the sea (i.e., the Mediterranean Sea), God is there.

North, south, east, and west are represented here.

No matter where he goes in life or after death, your hand will guide me into the divine will and your right hand will hold me fast.

God is always in touch with his life, which is never beyond the divine reach.

If David says, The darkness will hide me, even then, God sees in the dark and is present there.

This darkness refers to the dark nights of the soul (i.e., dark trials).

Even the darkness will not be dark to you.

Dark times are light to God. He is present in them, knowing perfectly all that is transpiring and what His eternal purposes are.

David is astounded that God precisely created him and ordained the number of his days.

Moreover, David knows that God is all-powerful.

This is proven in that the Lord has made him skillfully in his mother’s womb.

God created his inmost being (i.e., his kidneys, symbolic of his vital organs, his heart, liver, lungs, even his innermost emotions and moral sensitivities).

God knit him like a skilled artisan would weave a beautiful tapestry.

This work of creation was done in his mother’s womb, beginning nine months before he was born.

David could only praise God for this display of wonderful omnipotence.

He understood he was fearfully and wonderfully made, producing awe and astonishment within him toward God who created him so perfectly.

My frame (i.e., bones and skeleton) was not hidden from God but in full view to divine eyes.

God made David in the secret place, a euphemism for the womb, that unseen place concealed from human eyes.

There he was woven together like a multicolored piece of cloth or fine needlepoint.

All these threads picture his veins, arteries, muscles, and tendons.

God saw his unformed body before he was made.

All his days were sovereignly ordained for David before he came into the world.

The span of his life was written by God in His Divine Book containing His eternal decree.

The precise length of his life was determined by God before he was born.

There could be no changing the number of his days (Job 14:5).

These divine truths were precious to David, vast and beyond his human comprehension.

If he tried to list these truths about God, they would outnumber the grains of sand on the beaches of the world, far past his ability to understand.

When he awakens, his thoughts are still dominated with God.

He cannot remove such towering thoughts about God from his mind.

Clearly the Bible is telling us, in verse 16b that God has choreographed each and every day of our life before we were born

What a comforting thought it is to know that God knows each of us intimately, in that same way, as He knew David.

This is not just a feel-good message, it is one of hope and strength and one that should bring us peace.

God speaking to the Prophet Jeremiah said,

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:5)

Let’s take a closer look at what God meant when He said “Before you were born I knew you” and why this is important to how we view ourselves.

It is easy, especially in these days and times, to get caught up in the craziness of everyday life.

Whether your “crazy” is joyful or full of fear and anxiety, it consumes your thoughts and influences your actions.

Let’s take a step back for a moment and look at a much bigger picture.

As humans, we are limited in our knowledge, time, perspective, and abilities.

We are born, live, and die usually within a span of 100 years.

100 years is nothing in the large expanse of time that surrounds our physical world.

Think about everyone that has lived before you.

Thousands of years of people on earth, working, playing, making good choices and poor ones.

Thousands of years of people falling in love, having children, losing those they care about.

And just think about this for a minute, that out of all of these tens of millions of people, all the descendants of Adam and Eve who ever lived, that God knew and knows each and everyone so intimately, even to the number of hairs in their head, and that includes you.

If that doesn’t blow your mind I don’t know what will!

Not only did God know us in our mother’s womb, but His thoughts toward us are precious.

Being the amazing creator that He is, He doesn’t stop there. He also has a plan and a destiny for each of our lives.

When Jesus said, “I came that you may have life and have it more abundantly,” that “Abundant Life” only happens as we line up with God’s plan and purpose for our life.

Jeremiah 1:5 talks about how God had chosen Jeremiah to be a prophet before he was even born.

His plan and purpose was established from the very beginning.

However Isaiah also speaks of God’s plan for his life that was established before he was born.

“And now the Lord says,
Who formed Me from the womb to be His Servant,

To bring Jacob back to Him,
So that Israel is gathered to Him
(For I shall be glorious in the eyes of the Lord, and My God shall be My strength) (Isaiah 49:5)

So if you are doubting that God is with you or doubting who you are in Christ, meditate on these truths.

God knew us before we were born.

We see this in the verses above.

God knew you and formed you in your mother’s womb.

He knew you before your mother did and His words to Joshua are relevant for you too.

He will never leave you or forsake you.

“No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you.” (Joshua 1:5)

God has a plan for your life. Not just a plan for next week or next month, but a purpose for your life.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.” (Ephesians 1:3-6)

God is working all things for your good.

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

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

Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified” (Romans 8:28-30)

We serve a personal God. One who hears us when we pray, comforts us when we cry, and rejoices with us when we are glad.

“Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.

For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:14-16)

God’s love and purpose for our lives do not end when we leave this earth.

His real plan is to bring you to salvation that you may live with Him for all eternity.

“In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” (John 14:2-3)

So let us find our rest in the knowledge that God knew us before we were born and is walking beside us through this journey we call life.

Selah (let us pause and calmly think about these things)
____

Saturday, June 4
Inspiration Ministries

GOD’S BOOK

“In Your book all the days [of my life] were written before ever they took shape.”
— Psalm 139:16 (AMPC)

Holding the reader’s attention can be a challenge for writers.

According to one study, fewer than 20% of readers read past the headline of articles.

The same principle is true for novels.

Readers may pay attention for a time but most quickly lose interest.

How would we approach our lives if they were written like a book?

Would we be intrigued by the situations we face?

Would we wonder what will happen next?

What will be the basis of our decisions?

What will be the conclusion of the story?

Will there be a happy ending?

The Bible tells us God has written a book about each of us.

As David wrote here,

“all the days [of my life] were written before ever they took shape.”

David realized that God had no doubts about the outcome of world events or the resolution of each life.

To Him, there are no mysteries about the obstacles or the problems.

The only question is whether we will trust Him or cooperate with Him.

Today, remember that God has written all your days in His book before they took shape.

He knows what will happen next. You do not need to worry or be afraid.

Instead of letting these emotions fill your heart, turn your thoughts toward God.

Seek Him in prayer. Fill your mind with His Word, and declare His promises to be true.

You can trust Him.

Reflection Question:
How will you show that you’re trusting God with your future?

Prayer
Father, thank You that every day of my life has been written in Your book. I trust in You and commit my life to You. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Today’s Bible Reading
Psalm 139
____

Come join the Adventure!

Skip 🕊️

Christianity is not a religion, it is a relationship…

Religion is our attempt to try to earn something which the Bible says cannot be earned through the efforts of our flesh or our works…

As God’s covenant children, it all starts with the love that God first bore towards us, through Jesus’ propitious sacrifice, and poured out blood and life on Calvary’s Cross.

The Apostle Paul lived a life of working his way to heaven before he met the Lord Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9).

Legalism is a terrible thing, a harsh taskmaster under which no one can succeed.

To be found in Jesus, Paul says, is worth more than all my religion, race, and ritual, all my Pharisee-ism and culture.

It’s not just knowledge of Jesus or fellowship with Jesus but righteousness through Jesus.

Paul said, “I’m tired of trying to work my way to Heaven.

I’m going to start trusting, not having my own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith” (Phil. 3:9).

It is my relationship with Jesus that is all important!

Liberty, not legalism, is what the Lord Jesus Christ offers.

Freedom, not bondage. Relationship, not religion.

We give up nothing for which Jesus will not abundantly offer more than we could ever hope or dream.

I remember hearing a story of an American Pastor who some time ago was in Mexico City, visiting the central square, where this huge paved square is surrounded by grand buildings on three sides.

On the fourth side is a great cathedral.

He said that he saw this peasant woman, who was crawling across the great square, palms and knees being gouged by the ancient stones which pave the square.

After she had crawled a while, she would stop, rise to her knees, pray a while, and then begin crawling a little farther.

The slow painful crawl seemed to take forever as she tried to appease God through her self-inflicted suffering.

He said that he saw a similar sight in Guatemala, where people were bringing gifts to the church and laying them on the altar.

They knocked on the wood of the altar, trying to get God to notice them.

They lit candles and poured wine as an offering, seeking to merit God’s favor.

These incidents are sad examples of how far people will go to win God’s favor and earn His grace.

Yet we often fall into similar bondages as we try to please God.

We fear that if we get irregular in our Bible reading and prayer God will punish us.

Or we feel that if we don’t give money to the church God will not bless us.

Or we get into the performance trap in our efforts to be accepted by God.

We volunteer for everything and never say no because we fear that God will not fully love and approve of us.

If you have trouble believing that God accepts you, if you have difficulty resting in the fact that God loves you, if you feel you have to do something to earn acceptance in God’s eyes, then you have something in common with the woman in Mexico.

You are crawling across painful, rocky, pavement, trying to earn God’s favor.

These performances are a terrible burden because you can never know if you have done enough to appease Him.

Today, if you are struggling with your acceptance with God, then read Philippians 3 and it will be a breath of fresh air for you.

In chapter 3, Paul encourages the Philippian Christians:

Have no confidence in gaining merit in God’s eyes through things that you do.

From this chapter we learn that we no longer have to perform to get God’s approval.

Rather, we will discover that it was Christ who appeased God through His death on the cross.

We also learn that in the midst of an unbelieving society, joy comes by our knowing Christ and by our doing His will.

The gospel message starts out by saying that “For God so loved the world…” (John 3:16).

And in John’s epistle we are told…

1 John 4:17-19
The Message

To Love, to Be Loved
17-18 God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us.

This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we’re free of worry on Judgment Day—our standing in the world is identical with Christ’s.

There is no room in love for fear.

Well-formed love banishes fear.

Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love.

19 We, though, are going to love—love and be loved.

First we were loved, now we love.

He loved us first.
____

Let’s look at what else the Bible says on this subject…

God was the initiator:

“You have not chosen Me, I have chosen you.” (John 15:16)

“No man can come to Me except the Father who sent Me draw Him.” (John 6:44)

And finally,

“But even though we were dead in our sins God, who is rich in mercy, because of the great love he had for us, gave us life together with Christ—it is, remember, by grace and not by achievement that you are saved—and has lifted us right out of the old life to take our place with him in Christ in the Heavens.

Thus he shows for all time the tremendous generosity of the grace and kindness he has expressed towards us in Christ Jesus.

It was nothing you could or did achieve—it was God’s gift to you.

No one can pride himself upon earning the love of God.

The fact is that what we are, we owe to the hand of God upon us.

We are born afresh in Christ, and born to do those good deeds which God planned for us to do.” (Eph. 2:4-6 – J.B. Phillips)

It is God, not us, who is the primary actor here, who enters into a personal relationship with us, setting us free from our bondage to sin and death and clothing us in righteousness.

Christianity is all about our following Jesus and our experiencing the joy of knowing Him.

“Joy is the serious business of heaven.” — C. S. Lewis

Righteousness is found only by faith in Christ.

I forsake all things just to know Him and press toward the goal of spiritual maturity.

Paul gave up everything—family, friendship, and freedom—in order to know Christ and His resurrection power.

We, too, have access to this knowledge and this power, but we may have to make sacrifices to enjoy it fully.

What are you willing to give up in order to know Christ?

A crowded schedule, in order to set aside a few minutes each day for prayer and Bible study?

A friend’s approval?

Some of your plans or pleasures?

Whatever you must change or give up, having Christ and becoming one with Him will be more than worth the sacrifice.

No amount of law keeping, self-improvement, discipline, or religious effort can make us right with God.

Righteousness comes only from God, and we are made righteous—receive right standing with Him—by trusting in Christ.

When we do this, He exchanges our sin and shortcomings for His complete righteousness.

When we become one with Christ by trusting in Him, we experience the power that raised Him from the dead.

That same mighty resurrection power helps us live morally renewed and regenerated lives.

But as we walk in our new life, we also share in His death by considering our old way of life and sinful desires as dead and unresponsive.

Just as the Resurrection gives us Christ’s power to live for Him, the Crucifixion marks the death of our old, sinful nature.

We can not know the victory of the Resurrection without personally experiencing the meaning of the cross.

Paul says for us to follow him, as we see that he is following Jesus (1 Cor 11:1); and we are not to follow those who have set their minds on earthly things.

The good works that we do for Christ are done only out of our deep love for Christ, and our appreciation for all that He has done for us.

Selah (let us pause and calmly think about these things)
____

Friday, June 3
The Winning Walk
by Dr Ed Young

The One Dimensional Man

“That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His suffering.”
— Philippians 3:10

What gets you out of bed every morning?

I’m not talking about an alarm, your spouse, your kids or your pets.

What is “IT” that gives you a passion for life and focus of purpose?

In our Scripture, Paul says he was all about “one thing” and he focused like a laser on that one thing: to know Christ.

From the highest of highs – the power of His resurrection – to the lowest of lows – the fellowship of His sufferings, Paul wanted to know Jesus Christ and be all the Lord had called him to be.

What is your one thing?

I encourage you to describe it in a sentence like Paul did.

Whatever it is, I trust it will reveal a heart focused on Christ and on becoming more like Him every day – because Jesus is our One Thing.
____

Come join the Adventure!

Skip 🕊️

Where do I go from here?—Discerning God’s Direction in our life…

Where do I go from here?

Lord give us direction, and teach us how to navigate through the various storms we face in life…

God’s will often feels like an elusive or confusing thing and people generally fall toward one extreme end of the spectrum or the other, in terms of what they believe.

A Distant Deity or A Minefield?

On one end of the spectrum there are some who do not think about God’s will at all.

He’s either not there or He doesn’t care—too busy being the Supreme Being of the universe to worry about our mundane lives.

But God isn’t a distant or cruel deity playing hide-and-seek or guessing games.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, there are others who obsess over God’s will to the point of being paralyzed with fear—scared to step out of bounds.

We sometimes think: if I make the wrong choice, God will punish me for being out of His will.

Life then is like walking through a field of landmines.

Each step becomes an act of faith you desperately hope doesn’t blow up in your face.

Paul described our relationship with God and His will for us in Romans 8:2:

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

God wants us to know His will.

In fact, He helps us know His will through the work of the Holy Spirit.

Paul wrote that sometimes we don’t even know what to pray for, but the Spirit of God, who knows our hearts and God’s heart, serves as the perfect intercessor between us (see Romans 8:26-27).

Too often, we overcomplicate God’s will for our lives.

We think of it as a dot requiring pinpoint accuracy.

But thinking of His will more like a circle fits the descriptions in Scripture.

God is a loving Father. And when we keep that in mind, His will isn’t something to be scared of but trusted.

Here’s what most people don’t know:

You can’t find God’s will for your life in your own strength.

Jesus is walking with you, doing the heavy lifting, so that you can experience the abundant life your Father desires for you.

Read Psalm 37:3-4:

“Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

Fathers have great joy in seeing their children filled with joy.

As the perfect Father, God wants you—His unique child—to grow and express yourself within the healthy boundaries He has provided in love and wisdom.

But it’s impossible to do those things on your own strength.

Jesus instructs us in Matthew 11:28-30…

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Doing God’s will is a natural part of being in His family (see Mark 3:35).

Like many Christians, I really like Psalms 37:4, where we are told that if we “DELIGHT” ourselves in the Lord that He will give us the desires of our heart.

What does it mean to delight one’s self in the Lord?

Does it mean to stand in the corner and think positive thoughts?

[In Strong’s Dictionary, the Greek word that is translated as ‘delight’ is (h6026) ‘ânag̱ – and it means to be soft or pliable]

In other words, God will give the desires of their heart to those who are teachable, who after having soaked in the water of God’s Word and Spirit, they become pliable in the Master Potter’s hands, where they allow Him to shape and form them after His will and purpose for their lives.

When your desires become the same as God’s, He gladly gives you what you want and need—more of Him.

He is what is best. He is what’s most satisfying.

When you want Him more than anything else, everything you do within the circle God has drawn becomes an act of worship.

There’s no more anxiety about the fine line between secular and sacred.

Paul put it this way: “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship” (Romans 12:1).

“Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3:17).

This “Abundant Life” that Jesus said He came to give us (John 10:10), can only happen as we align our will with the will of Our Father in Heaven.

God wants more for you. More joy. More freedom. More life.

But ultimately, He wants to make you more like Jesus (Rom 8:29-30).

Selah (let us pause and calmly think about these things)
____

Thursday, June 2
Thursday Treasures
from Two Listeners

“Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

DISCERNING THE WILL OF GOD

A Sermon by Leslie Weatherhead

[Leslie Dixon Weatherhead (1893-1976) was an English Christian theologian in the liberal Protestant tradition — noted for his preaching ministry at City Temple in London]

Having made the foregoing distinctions in regard to the will of God, we may inquire now whether it can be discerned by us and how.

My mental picture for you is that of a man lost in a wood. We need not decide whether it is his own fault that he is lost or whether he has been misdirected, or whether he has been the victim of some accident.

He is asking a question which has often been on people’s lips lately:

“Where do I go from here?”

He feels that there must be a path which is the path of God’s will for him in those circumstances, but how can he be sure it is God’s way, and how can he be certain that he won’t make a mistake?

Let me answer the last question first.

To be quite honest, he cannot be certain until he gets to the end that he won’t make a mistake, for he must travel by faith more than by sight.

But if he is willing to read the signposts and follow them, he will come out to the place where God wants him to be; and, fortunately, God deals with us where we are.

There is an amusing story of a motorist who leaned out of his car and asked a yokel the way to York.

The yokel replied “Well sir, if I were going to York, I shouldn’t start from here.”

Fortunately, God can start with us where we are and he has ways of showing us the path of his will.

I am quite sure that the greatest help available in discerning the will of God is reached when we deepen our friendship with him.

Those who know God are the quickest and surest of discerning his will.

Sometimes you will hear men and women in conference discussing a gift which they wish to make to an absent member.

Then perhaps someone will say, “Well, I have known him for fifty years.

I know what he would like us to do;” and I think, generally speaking the authority is recognized.

Sometimes in interpreting a dead man’s will we hear someone say, “I know what he would have liked best;” and knowledge and friendship and love become a qualification for deciding what would be the wishes of the person concerned.

Surely it was the friendship Jesus had with God – if we may call it by so simple a word – that made him so utterly certain at every twist and turn of the torturous road he trod as to which direction was the will of God.

He almost lost his way in the Garden; the night was very dark.

It was hard to find the way; but, kneeling there in agony of mind with his magic key – “Nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt” – he opened the door that led to death, believing in those circumstances he must take the path of the Cross.

But, friendship apart, there are numerous signposts which give us some direction, and I would like to speak of them briefly.

1. Conscience may be of lowly origin.

Some people think it is a kind of group wisdom gathered through the ages as men found out that some ways of living led to a precipice, and some to a dead end and some were truly thoroughfares.

I know that much scorn can be poured on this lowly voice within our hearts.

Men have done evil believing that they followed the dictates of conscience.

The voice is distorted by the spiritual level the race has reached and depends on the sensibility of the one who responds to it.

Even men of the same generation differ here.

One can do things without a qualm of conscience, while another, doing the same thing, would bring himself into a torment of remorse, and it may not necessarily be that either is justified by the facts.

For years slavery was uncondemned by the consciences of men, and centuries ahead it will be incredible that our consciences could sleep about slums and war.

But when all this has been said, we all recognize a voice that says, “This is right; that is wrong,” and that the path of God’s will is the former.

2. Then there is the lowly signpost we call “common sense.”

“I prayed for advice,” said a man once, “but nothing happened, and I got no answer to my prayers; so, I used my common sense.

”But who gave him his common sense and why was it given?

If God has placed the machinery for making a judgment within the mind of man, why should he not use it and why should man regard some uncanny way of receiving direction as more likely to be divine because it is unusual?

Surely insight based on a thoughtful appreciation of the situation is more reliable than impulse.

At the same time a warning must be uttered, in that sometimes the direction of the will of God is the opposite of that which common sense would dictate.

The will of God is sometimes what the world would call “madness.”

3. Let us not disregard the value of the advice of a friend.

I do not mean the counsel of a professional minister or consultant, but talking over one’s difficulties with a wise friend who, because he can see the matter from a different angle, can view the pros and cons dispassionately and, because he is outside the emotional setting of the problem, can often give us the most helpful advice.

Of course, there are some problems where God’s best way of helping us is through the advice of the expert.

In a difficult medical or psychological situation, we may not have enough knowledge to obtain the maximum wisdom without the expert who has made the field of our particular difficulty his own special study.

But here again let us think of the adviser as an instrument God can use, just as he can use our own judgment.

Remember two quotations from Browning:

“Hush, I pray you!

What if this friend happens to be God?

And again:

God teaches us to help each other so,
Lending our minds out.”

Get a friend with Christian insight to lend you his mind in your problem and God will direct you.

I don’t mean to imply a necessary identification of what the friend advises with what God wills, but a new angle on your problem will help you to see the latter more clearly.

1. There is another way of using the minds and wisdom of others.

We reach it as we read great literature, especially biography and history.

Again and again it has been to me of inexpressible comfort to read the biographies of great men.

Very few problems there are in our lives which great men and women have not had to face before us; and when we read the Bible, which is a library of every kind of literature, but literature all written from a unique point of voice – that of the will and purposes of God – then perhaps most clearly of all are we allowed to share in the guidance which God gives his children as they seek to discern his will.

2. Not enough is made, I feel, of the voice of the Church.

Jesus once strongly recommended to people to consult the Church (Matt 18:17).

I feel that it is not too strong a thing to say that no church is functioning as it ought to do unless there are fellowship groups in it to which the puzzled member may bring his own problem.

He may, indeed, disguise it, saying, “I know a man who …” when the man is himself.

But I can say from experience at the City Temple that sometimes direction to a troubled soul who seeks to discern the will of God has come with crystal clearness when the group of detached, thoughtful, loving Christian people has been asked what the mind of God is, and what the will of God is, in a certain situation laid before it.

3. Our Quaker friends make much of what they call “Inner Light” and I entirely support the claims they make.

They say that God can speak directly to the human soul and show his will to those who seek him.

This is undoubtedly true. I would utter only one word of caution.

To follow the practice of the Oxford Groups, to endeavor to blank the mind and then take whatever comes into the mind as the will of God, is fraught with a great danger.

We are liable to fall into the fallacy of supposing that the method by which we receive this “light” makes it divine, but the thought or impulse that comes to the blank mind is just as much the fruit of earlier mental processes as is for instance the thought that comes to the mind after a long argument.

Actually, one cannot blank the mind or disengage it at any point from all that has gone before.

It is as impossible as isolating a wave of the sea and supposing that it has no relation to the waves behind it and the waves before it.

Yet if the method is used with wisdom and caution and if what “comes” in the quiet time is tested by some other ways indicated above, or as the Groupers say “checked up” with others no one knows the facts would deny that God’s will is often discerned in this way.

In these ways the will of God at the point at which we need help, may be discerned.

Let me underline the last phrase – at the point at which we need help.

Sometimes I have made a mistake myself by trying to discern the will of God for years ahead.

I have come to the conclusion that God does not encourage us to see too far ahead.

One simply must accept the fact that one has no idea where the road one is treading is going to lead.

Suffice it to say that when one gets to the crossroads one will know which way to turn and although we like to think that is terribly important not to make a mistake – and I repeat one can never be certain that one has not made a mistake – yet I adhere earnestly to the view expressed in the section on the ultimate will of God.

Our mistakes, if made in good faith, will not result in our being lost.

“We shall not miss our providential way.”

God often wonderfully weaves mistakes into his plan, as he also weaves our suffering and our sins.

Let me end this section, however with two challenging questions which I put to myself and would pass on to you.

1 Do I really want to discern God’s will or do I want to get his sanction for my own?

An amusing story is told of a minister who was invited to a church at which the salary was four times what he was already receiving; and, being a devout man, he spent many hours in prayer seeking to discern the will of God.

One day a friend met the minister’s little boy in the street and said, “Well what is your father going to do?”

“Well,” said the little boy, “Father’s praying, but Mother’s packing.”

The father was saying to God, “What wilt thou have me to do?” and the mother, no less good intentioned, was saying to God, “This is what I am going to do.

I hope you will approve.”


Discerning the will of God does not really mean putting ourselves out of the picture – not choose a way as his because it is unpleasant (we have dealt already with this fallacy), but certainly not going to the other extreme and saying, “This is what I am going to do.

Please approve, because I want so badly to do it.”

2 The second challenging question is this: Have I got the courage to do God’s will when I discern it?

Many people ask a great many questions as to how they may find the will of God and every minister knows what it is to sit down with an inquiring person in order to find out the answer to the question.

But most ministers have also had experience of those people who, seeing clearly the will of God, say,

“No, anything but that.”

It is only because I see this weakness in myself that I would pass on to others the warning that usually what one needs is not discernment but grit.

For myself, more than I need discernment I need fortitude, courage, faith, determination, and perseverance.

Not to see merely, but to do.

As Drinkwater puts it:

Knowledge we ask not – knowledge Thou has lent,
But, Lord, thy will – there lies our bitter need,

Give us to build above the deep intent
The deed, the deed.

Fourth in a series of five sermons given by Leslie D. Weatherhead at the City

Temple in London after their church was reduced to rubble in World War II.

God’s Intentional Will
God’s Circumstantial Will
God’s Ultimate Will
Discerning the Will of God
In His Will Is Our Peace

Weatherhead was a Methodist preacher ordained in 1915, serving in India before serving the church City Temple in London.

He was a prominent figure in the Oxford Movement of the 1930’s.

He was born in 1893 and passed away in 1976 at the age of 82.
____

For more on the subject of discerning God’s will, please press on the following link:

How to Discern God’s Will – George Muller’s approach

Come join the Adventure! 

Skip 🕊️ 

The Gospel Message alone has the POWER to Deliver us from sin…

Through Christ, sin’s power has been broken…

“It is absurd… for those who are called to reign with Christ to choose to be captives to sin, as if one should throw down the crown from off his head and choose to be the slave of a hysterical woman who comes begging and covered in rags…

How is it that sin can reign in you?

It is not from any power of its own but only from your laziness.”
— Chrysostom

Having completed five chapters on the need for and basis of justification, Paul now turns to the power of the gospel to change lives.

The believer’s identification with the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, provided through justification, means the believer is no longer a slave to sin, but serves a new master— the righteousness of God.

The “Mad Monk” Who Lived Like the Devil

In his commentary on Romans, F. F. Bruce makes reference to a figure from church history who illustrated the problem of antinomianism—meaning the casting off of moral restraint in order to experience more of God’s grace and forgiveness (Bruce, p. 127).

This tragic character, dubbed the “Mad Monk” by many in his day, would be a chief contributor to the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution in Russia which ushered in seventy years of atheistic materialism.

A closer look at his life reveals the theological bankruptcy of antinomianism and why Paul responded so strongly to the charges against him in Romans 6:1-2.

Grigory Yefimovich Novykh (1872-1916) was born into a peasant family in Siberia, Russia.

Illiterate in spite of attending school, he acquired the nickname “Rasputin”—Russian for “debauched one”—because of his flagrantly licentious and immoral lifestyle.

Undergoing a religious conversion of some sort at age eighteen, he ended up at the monastery of the Khlysty (Flagellants) sect.

This group had historical roots of operating outside traditional ecclesiastical structures, but Rasputin perverted their teachings into pure antinomianism:

“One draws closest to God when feeling ‘holy passionless’ and arrives at that point through sexual exhaustion and prolonged debauchery.”

Leaving the monastery without becoming a monk, he wandered thousands of miles through Europe and the Middle East, arriving eventually at Jerusalem.

He gained a reputation as a holy mystic with the ability to heal the sick and tell the future.

Arriving back in St. Petersburg in 1903, he was welcomed by clerical leaders and eventually introduced into court circles (in spite of his odoriferous propensity for never bathing).

Emperor Nicholas II and his wife Alexandra were taken with Rasputin, especially because of his healing effects on their only son Alexey, the future czar of Russia.

The child was a hemophiliac, and Rasputin saved his life on one occasion by stopping his bleeding when doctors were unable to do so.

This “miracle” endeared Rasputin to the royal family and gave him increased powers of influence with them.

They saw him in the courts as a humble and holy religious peasant with powers from God.

Outside the court, he continued to earn his nickname, attending orgies and religious services with equal devotion.

Through his belief that physical contact with his body produced healing effects, Rasputin seduced young women repeatedly and continued in all manner of immoral behavior.

Rumors of an affair between Rasputin and the emperor’s wife, Alexandra, even circulated.

Counselors to the emperor insisted on Rasputin’s removal, but the emperor failed to do so under the influence of his wife.

When Nicholas II left St. Petersburg to command Russian troops at the beginning of World War I, Rasputin became chief advisor to Alexandra, who had been left in charge of Russia’s internal affairs.

His influence resulted in a series of disastrous clerical and governmental appointments, causing increasing dissent among Russians suffering at the hands of the autocracy.

A group of extreme conservatives, some related to the czar, and all holding influential positions, plotted in December 1916, to kill Rasputin as a way to end his deleterious influence on the Russian nation.

This they accomplished in late December, but it was too late.

The Bolsheviks, seizing the opportunity to capitalize on the negative perception of the emperor, revolted in 1917.

The God who was missing from the life of the Empress’ closest advisor in 1916 was officially driven completely out of Russia beginning in 1917.

Was antinomianism the cause of the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia?

No. But there can be no way to estimate the damage done to a government (irrespective of its other weaknesses) by a man who proffered spiritual power on one hand and lived like the devil on the other.

Romans 6

In Romans 6, Paul twice raises and refutes the charge of antinomianism (vv. 1, 15).

His answer is simple: a true Christian cannot live in sin because he or she is dead to sin.

The believer is no longer the servant of sin but the servant of righteousness.

The chapter is spent explaining how a believer in Jesus Christ can have died to sin and been made alive to righteousness.

In that explanation is the answer to the charge that Paul, or any other true believer in Christ, could possibly be an antinomian.

Now that the believer is justified through faith in Christ (Rom. 1-4), how then shall he or she live (Rom. 6-8)?

In this first of three chapters on the “making holy” (sanctification) of the believer (Rom. 6-8), Paul talks about how the believer is delivered from sin by the power of the gospel.

The first fourteen verses show how the grace of God has united us with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection, and the last nine verses reveal how we are made servants of righteousness.

When the believer in Christ is reckoned by faith to be dead, buried, and resurrected with Christ, he or she ceases to be the servant of sin and becomes the servant of righteousness.

Grace is not a license to sin because the recipient of grace has died to sin and can no longer live in it.

In verse 1, Paul asks the question,

“Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?”

The Greek word diatribe, from which derives our “diatribe,” is not a biblical word. But its parent, diatribo, occurs eight times in Acts, always with the meaning of “remain” or “spend time” (e.g., Acts 12:19; 14:3,28).

How did we get from “spending time” to “diatribe?”

Diatribo derives from dia (through, by means of, because of, for the sake of) and tribein (to rub hard, to make a path).

It referred to spending time at something or wearing away at something, and then was applied to spending time at discourse or study.

A diatribe, though having a negative connotation today of a bitter denunciation or discourse, was in the Greek world a respectable format for learning: spending considerable time at discourse and dialogue, wearing away a subject until it has been completely examined.

For his part, Paul upholds the classic definition of diatribe in Romans.

He uses the method of creating fictional opponents who raise one-verse objections to what he is teaching, then wears them down with a chapter-length answer (see Rom. 3:1,3,5-9, 27-31; 4:1-3,9-10).

He picks up the diatribe format again in verse 1, anticipating a question to something he has just written in 5:20: “But where sin increased, grace increased all the more.”

He can hear his detractors: “What kind of gospel is this you are proclaiming, Paul?

A gospel that requires us to do nothing to prove we are the chosen of God?

Nothing, that is, except believe?

If our good works count for nothing, and our sinful deeds cause the grace of God to be revealed more, then why do not we go on sinning so that grace may increase?”

It is not necessarily a bad question; rather, it is a question born out of ignorance.

It is a question that anyone who was having a mystery explained to him in detail for the first time would ask (Rom. 11:25; 16:25; Eph. 3:3-9; 6:19).

If anything, this chapter of Romans is about “knowing.”

Twice Paul affirms things “we know” (vv. 6, 9— though even here, there may be a slight dig by the apostle in the sense of “you do know, don’t you?”), and twice he asks them outright, “Don’t you know?” (vv. 3, 16).

Then a fifth instance “commands” that the Roman believers go further than just knowing—they must calculate and credit themselves as the possessors and beneficiaries of certain knowledge (logizomai, present middle imperative; v. 11).

So when Paul enters back into the diatribe mode in v. 1 (and again in v. 15), he does so not as a bitter denunciation.

He does so as one who, with the Thessalonian believers, was “like a mother caring for her little children” (1 Thess. 2:7).

As a mother would want her children to know—even possess and act on—the truth, so Paul wants that for the Roman church.

So in answer to Paul’s question, “Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?,” the answer in verse 2 is, “Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?”

No one ever accused Jewish mothers of not speaking the truth when it needed speaking, and here Paul plays that role.

Fourteen times in his epistles (ten times in Romans alone), he uses this phrase to separate truth from error.

In verse 3, Paul asks the question,

“Or do you not KNOW that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?”

The first key word in Paul’s presentation is KNOW.

Here he introduces the subject of baptism to show that it is morally incongruous for believers to go on in sin.

But the question immediately arises, “To which baptism is he referring?”

So an introductory word of explanation is necessary.

When a person is saved, he is baptized into Christ Jesus in the sense that he is identified with Christ in His death and resurrection.

This is not the same as the baptism in (or of) the Spirit, though both occur simultaneously.

The latter baptism places the believer in the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13); it is not a baptism into death.

The baptism into Christ means that in the reckoning of God, the believer has died with Christ and has risen with Him.

When Paul speaks of baptism here, he is thinking both of our spiritual identification with Christ and of its portrayal in water baptism.

But as the argument advances, he seems to shift his emphasis in a special way to water baptism as he reminds his readers how they were “buried” and “planted together” in the “likeness” of Christ’s death.

The NT never contemplates the abnormal situation of an unbaptized believer.

It assumes that those who are converted submit to baptism right away.

Thus our Lord could speak of faith and baptism in the same breath:

“he who believes and is baptized will be saved” (Mark 16:16).

Though baptism is not a requirement for salvation, it should be the invariable public sign of it.

Water baptism gives a visual demonstration of baptism into Christ.

It pictures the believer being immersed in death’s dark waters (in the person of the Lord Jesus), and it pictures the new man in Christ rising to walk in newness of life.

There is a sense in which a believer attends the funeral of his old self when he is baptized.

As he goes under the water he is saying,

“All that I was as a sinful son of Adam was put to death at the cross.”

As he comes up out of the water he is saying,

“It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me” (see Gal. 2:20).

Because sin brings death, we need new life through oneness with Christ.

The power of the Gospel Message in action…

In Romans 6, Paul assures his readers a second time that God has broken sin’s power.

We have joined Jesus Christ in baptism (6:3) and have been united with Him in His death (6:5).

Paul uses relational terms in describing how we grow closer to Christ as we transfer from the old life to the new.

When we were united with Christ in His death, our evil desires and slavery to sin died with Him.

Now, united by faith with Him in His resurrection life, we have unbroken fellowship with God and freedom from sin’s hold on us.

The power of sin over us, as well as the penalty for sin, died with Christ on the cross.

Our “old sinful selves,” our sinful nature, died once and for all, so we are freed from its power.

The “power of sin” refers to our rebellious, sin-loving nature inherited from Adam.

Though we often willingly cooperate with our sinful nature, the desire to do so comes from our old nature.

And it is this power of sin at work in our lives that is defeated.

Paul has already stated that through faith in Christ we stand ACQUITTED, having been declared NOT GUILTY before God.

Here Paul emphasizes that we need no longer live under sin’s power.

God does not take us out of the world or make us robots—we will still feel like sinning, and sometimes we will sin.

Since Christ’s righteousness brought us into a favored relationship with God, we should live by God’s standards.

The difference is that before we were saved we were slaves to our sinful nature, but now we can choose to live for Christ (see Galatians 2:20).

Christians are not slaves to sin any longer, but but through the gospel message we can now overcome sin by the power of God, through Jesus’ propitious sacrifice and poured out blood on Calvary’s Cross.

And so as born-again, covenant children of God, this is something we must CHOOSE to do every single day of our lives, as we each day choose to put on the mind of Christ (Php 2:5); hence this was what Paul meant when he said, “I die daily” (1 Cor 15:31) — and so must we!

From Life Lessons, by Max Lucado:

Inspiration

Think of it this way. Sin puts you in prison. Sin locked you behind the bars of guilt and shame and deception and fear.

Sin did nothing but shackle you to the wall of misery.

Then Jesus came and paid your bail. He served your time; He satisfied the penalty and set you free.

Christ died, and when you cast your lot with Him, your old self died too.

The only way to be set free from the prison of sin is to serve its penalty.

In this case the penalty is death.

Someone has to die, either you or a heaven-sent substitute.

You cannot leave prison unless there is a death.

But that death has occurred at Calvary.

And when Jesus died, you died to sin’s claim on your life.

You are free. . . . Christ has taken your place.

There is no need for you to remain in the cell.

Ever heard of a discharged prisoner who wanted to stay?

Nor have I.

When the doors open, prisoners leave.

The thought of a person preferring jail over freedom doesn’t compute.

Once the penalty is paid, why live under bondage?

You are discharged from the penitentiary of sin.

Why, in heaven’s name, would you ever want to set foot in that prison again?

Paul reminds us: “Our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.

For he who has died has been freed from sin” (Romans 6:6, 7).

He is not saying that it is impossible for believers to sin; he’s saying it is stupid for believers to sin.

“It’s not the literal impossibility . . . but the moral incongruity” of the saved returning to sin.

What does the prison have that you desire?

Do you miss the guilt? Are you homesick for dishonesty?

Do you have fond memories of being lied to and forgotten?

Was life better when you were dejected and rejected?

Do you have a longing to once again see a sinner in the mirror?

It makes no sense to go back to prison. (From In the Grip of Grace by Max Lucado)

Selah (let us pause and calmly think about these things)
____

Tuesday, May 31
From Faith to Faith
Daily Devotional

LIVE IN POWER
by Gloria Copeland

Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
— Romans 6:4

As a believer, you actually have residing in you the same new life God gave Jesus when He raised Him from the dead.

The old sinner you once were has died. You’ve become a new creation on the inside.

You are full of the resurrection life of God!

But sin, disobedience and living a selfish, carnal life will keep that resurrection life from flowing out.

Sin will separate you from the power of God, even though you’re born again.

Resurrection life will lay dormant in you if you walk in sin.

You can’t overcome sin by trying to stop sinning, however.

You overcome it by walking after the new life God has put within you, by spending time in the Word and in prayer.

As you do that, the Spirit of God will strengthen you and enable you to put that sin under your feet.

Remember, though, the Holy Spirit will not subdue those old fleshly habits of yours on His own.

He’ll wait on you to take the initiative. Then He will strengthen you to follow through with your decision.

He will teach you how to walk in the new life that is on the inside of you.

Take the first step today by asking for His help.

Say, “Lord, I desire to experience the power to live by this new life every day.

By a decision of my heart, I put down the dictates of sin. I declare myself dead to sin.

In Jesus’ Name, I will spend time in prayer and in the Word today.

As I do, I believe I’ll receive a Holy Ghost refreshing in my life.

I believe I’ll begin to live out the resurrection power that You’ve placed in me!”

Scripture Reading: Romans 7:1-6
____

Come join the Adventure!

Skip 🕊️

Jesus said, “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life”…

God calls His people to obedience…

Quote
“The humble heart is [God’s] throne in regard to his gracious presence, and heaven is his throne in regard to his glorious presence, and yet neither of these thrones will hold him, for the heaven of heavens cannot contain him.” — Thomas Watson

God appeals to Israel to recognize his uniqueness, to respond in loyal love on the basis of that uniqueness, and to serve Him faithfully and exclusively because of it.

It is in the interests of those who know Him well to cleave to Him only and exclude all other deities from their affections.

In the years between the writing of the Old Testament and the New Testament, the Roman Empire came into existence.

Built out of the disappointments of the old republic and its continuing civil wars, the Empire struggled to recruit troops to defend and expand its far-flung borders.

Eventually the Roman emperors, beginning with Augustus Caesar, offered special incentives to join the legions.

Those who served a full term would receive full Roman citizenship with all its rights and privileges.

In order to receive these privileges, however, the veterans were expected to settle into special cities called colonies.

By their presence on the Empire’s frontier, the retired citizen-soldiers would become a “little Rome” and represent the great city and its culture before the distant masses.

The purpose of such colonies was twofold: to preserve order on the frontiers and to extol the virtues of the homeland.

By the time of the New Testament, the city of Philippi had become such a Roman colony.

There the apostle Paul founded a church during his second missionary journey.

Eventually, the apostle would write to the little group of Christians there and describe their role in Philippi in terms they could appreciate:

“Our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Phil. 3:20).

The veterans must have nodded their heads at those words, because they had come to Philippi for a similar purpose.

Paul was calling them to a still-higher end, to represent their real homeland, heaven itself.

As one translator rendered Philippians 3:20, “We are a colony of heaven.”

As Israel drew near the promised land, Moses reminded them that their real purpose in that land was to serve as representatives of their God.

They could, by their behavior and devotion, appeal to the hearts of their neighbors; or, by their spiritual laxity and disobedience, they could abandon such a noble purpose and be drawn into useless and destructive pursuits.

Christian believers are to form, in effect, a little colony of heaven where they live.

By their godly conduct, they are to disarm critics and win friends and new citizens for their true homeland.

That process starts with the realization of the immense privileges and standing that they possess at the moment of their conversion.

Deuteronomy 4

Chapter 4 introduces Moses’ rehearsal of the law.

Here he dealt particularly with the worship of the one true God and with the penalties that would follow any turning to idolatry.

What is meant by adding to or subtracting from God’s commands?

These laws were the word of God, and they were complete.

How could any human being, with limited wisdom and knowledge, edit God’s perfect laws?

To add to the laws would make them a burden; to subtract from them would make them incomplete.

Thus, the laws were to remain unchanged.

To presume to make changes to them is to assume a position of authority over the God who gave them (Matthew 5:17-19; 15:3-9; Revelation 22:18-19).

The religious leaders at the time of Christ did exactly this; they elevated their own laws to the same level as God’s.

Jesus rebuked them for this (see Matthew 23:1-4).

Do the laws God gave to the Israelites still apply to Christians today?

God’s laws were designed to guide all people to live lives that are healthy, good, and devoted to God.

The purpose of the laws was to point out sin (or potential sin) and show the proper way to deal with it.

The Ten Commandments, the heart of God’s law, are just as applicable today as they were 3,000 years ago because they guide us to live in ways that demonstrate love and respect for God and for the people around us.

They are a perfect expression of who God is and how He wants people to live.

But God gave other laws besides the Ten Commandments.

Are those just as important?

God never issued a law that didn’t have a purpose. However, many of the laws we read in the Pentateuch (the five books of Moses) were directed specifically to people of this particular time and culture.

Although a specific law may not apply to us, the timeless truth or principle behind the law does.

For example, Christians do not practice animal sacrifice in worship, but the principles behind the sacrifices—forgiveness for sin and thankfulness to God—are still important for Christians today.

The sacrifices pointed to the ultimate sacrifice made for us by Jesus Christ.

The New Testament says that with the death and resurrection of Jesus the Old Testament laws were fulfilled.

This means that while the Old Testament laws help us recognize our sins and turn from them, it is Jesus Christ who takes our sins away.

He is now our primary example to follow because He alone perfectly obeyed the law and modeled its true intent.

It was our sins that separated us from God.

God is morally perfect, He hates sin and cannot accept those who are tainted by it.

Moses’ sin kept him from entering the Promised Land, and no sacrifice could remove that judgment.

Sin has kept us from entering God’s presence, but Jesus Christ has paid the penalty for our sin and removed God’s judgment forever by His death.

Moses, long after His earthly death, appeared with Jesus and Elijah on the mountain where Jesus was transfigured (Mark 9:2-4), so it’s clear that he was not banned from God’s presence.

To the contrary, Moses was welcomed into God’s presence for eternity because of his great love for God and Jesus’ payment for the penalty of his sin.

Trusting in Jesus Christ will save you from God’s anger and judgment and allow you to begin a personal, loving relationship with Him for eternity.

God is a “devouring fire.”

And jealousy is a demand for someone else’s exclusive affection or loyalty.

Some jealousy is bad. For a person to get upset when his or her spouse casually talks to someone of the opposite sex is usually a sign of excessive jealousy, which can be destructive to a relationship.

But other jealousy is good. A married person should expect their spouse to be faithful only to him or her.

Usually we use the word jealousy only for the bad reaction.

But God’s kind of jealousy is appropriate and good. He is defending His Word and guarding His high honor.

He makes a strong, exclusive demand on us:

We must treat only the Lord—and no one else in all the universe—as God.

Do you want to know God?

God promised the Israelites that they would find Him when they searched for Him with ALL their hearts and souls.

God is knowable and wants to be known—but we have to want to know Him.

Acts of service and worship must be accompanied by sincere love from the heart.

As Hebrews 11:6 says, “Anyone who wants to come to Him must believe that God exists and that He rewards those who sincerely seek Him.”

Those who pursue a relationship with God will most certainly gain one.

How tempted we are to look everywhere else but to God for our guidance and leadership!

We trust medical doctors, financial advisers, websites, and friends on social media, but do we trust God?

Get God’s advice first, and recognize His authority over every dimension of life (4:39-40).

Idolatry makes anything but God the highest priority in life.

Do you value your relationship with God more than anything else?

Or have you allowed money, leisure, friendships—or anything else—to rule your life?

Smash the idols in your life and make a fresh commitment to put God first.

He alone is worthy of this position! He alone died for you.

Jesus gave us prophecies regarding the last days, in order to prepare us so that we would not worry; but that we would know that when we see all these things come to pass that He is near even at the door.

However, one cannot be truly prepared to experience the end of days without knowing the Ancient of Days (Daniel 7:9).

This means placing one’s trust in God, believing in the resurrection of His Son, and confessing Jesus as Lord (Romans 10:9-13).

Even in the face of calamity and persecution, the believer has hope in the coming of Christ in His glory and spending an eternity with Him in a way that the non-believer does not.

In order to be free from the power of sin and death, be made in the newness of life, and hopeful of the resurrection to come, we must first take Jesus at His Word:

“Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away” (Matt. 24:35).

Selah (let us pause and calmly think about these things)
____

Monday, May 30
Worthy Brief

SEEK HIM NOW, AND DON’T FORGET ABOUT THE RESTORATION!

“When you are in distress, and all these things come upon you in the latter days, when you turn to the Lord your God and obey His voice (for the Lord your God is a merciful God), He will not forsake you nor destroy you, nor forget the covenant of your fathers which He swore to them.”
— Deuteronomy 4:30-31

We’re hearing a lot of talk lately, on the internet and elsewhere, about the “End of Days”.

The Hebrew phrase, “acharit hayamim”, often translated, “latter days” refers to the “end of days, or “last days”, mentioned in both the Old and New Testaments, and refers to a critical period late in human history which is characterized by a great “pandemic” crisis and an ensuing panoramic recovery.

First used in Deuteronomy 4:30, quoted above, “acharit hayamim” entails a prophecy of “tribulation” which eventuates in God’s people turning back to seek Him with all their hearts, bringing about their restoration.

This theme of “tribulation” and “restoration” may be the most significant in all of scripture.

The above passage, written to the people of Israel, prophetically encompasses their entire history and eventual recovery, salvation, and Kingdom restoration.

This theme of “tribulation” and “restoration” may be the most significant in all of scripture.

The above passage, written to the people of Israel, prophetically encompasses their entire history and eventual recovery, salvation, and Kingdom restoration.

At the present moment, we may well be focused on the “tribulation” part of “acharit hayamim”.

Yeshua (Jesus) prophesied specifically that famines, pestilences, and earthquakes would precede His coming, and were but the “beginnings of sorrows” [Matthew 24].

At this very moment many of us may be trembling at these developments and the “doom and gloom” which they portend…yet might we miss the significant fact that both testaments predicted exactly what we are seeing?

The sovereignty, omniscience, and revelation of the Creator have been downloaded to humanity through the Scriptures, clearly pointing to His existence and redemptive purpose.

There lies our opportunity and blessing. Yeshua, who knows all things from the beginning to the end, revealed all the relevant details of the “acharit hayamim” (Last Days).

Why?… so that we might quake in terror as they begin to transpire?

But He says, “…So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near—at the doors!” [Matthew 24:33]…the promise of His return!

That is where our focus must remain.

Our God will restore all things, both for Israel and for us according to the covenants He has made….when He returns!

Restoration is the unequivocal promise of Heaven.

The “tribulation”, “beginning of sorrows”, famine, pestilence, earthquakes, WHATEVER!…. All these are signs, portents, and even promises, that our God is real, true, and utterly faithful, and we must declare, encourage, and stand in the knowledge of Him.

The troubles themselves are a powerful testimony of the Messiah’s identity, His redemption, and His promises.

So, if the days are evil, make the most of the time! These are days of tremendous opportunity.

Remember His promise of restoration!

Your family in the Lord with much agape love,

George, Baht Rivka, Elianna & Obadiah
Baltimore, Maryland
____

Come join the Adventure!

Skip 🕊️