Jesus is fully human AND fully Divine. That is a concept easier said than understood. We’re only human, after all. It’s certainly no surprise that Christ’s followers needed a few more visual aids to get the point. Here at Mt. Tabor, Christ reveals his divinity to Peter, James and John.
When Peter, James and John fearfully fell to ground after seeing Christ transfigured, Jesus reached out to them and touched them, urging them to not be afraid.
Question: How have you experienced Christ’s Divine touch in your life?
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“For Everyone who tires to honor himself shall be humbled: and he who humbles himself shall be honored” Luke 14:11
At times I am respectfully amused at the repetition of certain themes in the Word of God – repeated over and over again so that you and I will not forget the importance of the message. This is one of those principles.
Many missionaries have given up honor, acclaim, and success at home in obedience to God’s call upon their lives. Perhaps to their surprise, God has honored them in many ways despite the fact that they purposely gave up all rights to such honor.
In every field of endeavor, the principle is true. Most men who seek genuine acclaim are thoroughly humbled along the way. Conversely, most people who humble themselves as a part of their commitment to Jesus Christ and His service are eventually honored.
I have seen this truth fulfilled on numerous occasions in the work of Campus Crusade for Christ to which the Lord has called me. Many young people have stepped into unsung roles of service for their Master. God has honored them not only with fruit for their hire, but also with a measure of acclaim they never would have achieved otherwise.
It is part of God’s plan to abase the proud and raise up the humble. Our goal should be committed service for the Savior. We should let Him take care of the honoring and the humbling.
Bible Reading: Matthew 23:5-12
Jesus called lowly fisherman to be his apostles. They weren’t esteemed, highly educated, or wealthy. They were regular people, much like you and me. Spending time in Nof Ginosar, looking at the 2,000-year-old “Jesus Boat” which locals believe to date back to the time of Christ Himself, it is striking to imagine that Jesus and his followers were also ordinary people who spent time at sea and lived a regular daily life.
While in the boat with a sleeping Jesus, the disciples cowered in fear because of the storm. They were quick to jump to conclusions that Jesus, though He was with them, did not care for their safety.
Question: How does your faith help you in difficult circumstances?
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“And he was saying, ‘Jesus, remember me when You come into your kingdom!’ And He said to him, ‘Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.’” (Luke 23:42-43)
A few days ago the United States executed a man who had been on death row for thirty-two years. He had been found guilty of murdering a young girl.
He was said to have found Christ while in prison and was seen on his knees asking for forgiveness. Only God knows how sincere he was, but his last statement was Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” It is never too late, nor is a life ever too filled with sin, to accept salvation.
Now I am not suggesting that one live a sinful life and then plan on a deathbed conversion. I am reminded of the old bumper sticker: ”If your plan is to turn to God at the 11th hour, pray you don’t die at 10:30.”
Remember Samson, blind and humbled at the end of his life? He finally realized his utter dependence upon God and was given a set of spiritual eyes. Ultimately, through his sacrificial death, Samson turned his mistakes into victory.
No matter how far you’ve fallen away from God, no matter how badly you’ve failed, it’s never too late to humble yourself and depend on God. Let Samson’s example persuade you; it’s never too late to turn to God and have Him redeem your past.
The most famous last-minute conversion to Christ in the Bible is the case of the criminal crucified alongside Jesus. (Luke 24:39-43) Only moments before his own death, this criminal had been an unbelieving mocker of Christ. However, at the last moment he repented and acknowledged Jesus as the heavenly King. The Lord gave him the blessed promise: “…Today you shall be with Me in Paradise….”
Some people feel they have sinned too long and too badly to ever be accepted by Christ. Don’t believe it. Your sin is never too great, and the hour is never too late. But why take a chance? Why wait? Living a Christian life on this side of heaven is a joyous experience you don’t want to miss.
None of us can go back and make a brand new start, but anyone can start right where they are and experience a brand new final season of life.
Lord, help me live each day as if it were my last, trusting You fully and keeping You at the centre of my life. I choose to embrace Your new mercies and Your abundant joy today.
Question: What would it take for you to make each day count significantly for the kingdom of God?
Take today’s next step: What legacy are you leaving?
“Whenever God slew them, they would seek him; they eagerly turned to him again.” (Psalm 78:34)
Psalm 78 tells the story of God’s faithfulness to the people of Israel. Written as a reminder for generations to come, it records Israel’s history. Though the people disobeyed and refused to listen, God continued to provide for them.
Asaph lists his forefathers’ behavior toward God in Psalm 78:
Here is the interesting twist in the story: the Lord’s miracles failed to produce thanksgiving and devotion in the hearts of His people. Instead, God’s wrath brought them to their knees:
“Whenever God slew them, they would seek him; they eagerly turned to him again. They remembered that God was their Rock, that God Most High was their Redeemer.” (Psalm 78:34-35)
Like the Israelites of old, we also grumble and complain. We fail to thank God for His blessings and, instead, point out the things we believe we still lack. Then, when trouble comes, we cry out to God. In chaos, distress, and persecution, we recognize the Lord as our only hope.
Psalm 78 calls us to repentance. At the same time, it reassures us of God’s faithfulness in spite of our rebellion:
“Yet he was merciful; he atoned for their iniquities and did not destroy them. Time after time he restrained his anger and did not stir up his full wrath. He remembered that they were but flesh, a passing breeze that does not return.” (Psalm 78:38-39)
Gracious God, please forgive my rebellion. Help me to remember Your great acts of love toward me and to not doubt Your power. Thank you for Your great faithfulness. I praise Your holy and mighty name, Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.
Questions: Why does it take trouble to make us turn to God? What stories can we tell our children so that they will trust God and not forget His deeds?
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“She looks good to me,” Samson answered. “Get her for me!” (Judges 14:3b, CEV)
There is a cultural phenomenon that most men in western society have to deal with annually. It’s the springtime ritual I call the Shedding of the Clothes. While this is practiced by both sexes in varying degrees, I believe when the ladies obey the call of the sun, the effect on their male counterparts is particularly strong.
Let’s admit it, guys: the feminine sex is attractive. Those of us who’ve been blessed with wives know that one of the first reasons that happened is because, “she looks good to me.” (Judges 14:3b)
Every spring I experience a sort of shock – as if I were 14 again. What marvelous creatures they are! Now my wife has been long aware of this occurrence, and when handled correctly, it needn’t damage a good marriage. But it is vital to do some mental “spring cleaning” to stay strong, faithful, and spiritually healthy when the annual cultural manifestation hits. Here are some hints that have helped me.
First, be prepared, not surprised. I admit I need improvement here. Why am I almost always blindsided by the inevitable? I haven’t cleaned my mind in readiness. King David was tempted when he saw Bathsheba. (2 Samuel 11) If his mind had been prepared and disciplined, the impact would have been much less. It is the same for me.
Second, refocus in the moment. Keep your mind clean. Temptation is not sin. Thank God for the beauty He has created. Let it go.
Third, if married, turn your clean mind toward your own Beloved. Thank God for the gift she is and for the beauty she has offered to you alone.
Fourth, if you’re single, thank God for this stage of your life. Ask Him to keep you clean and faithful to Him.
And remember, if you’ve sinned, confess and trust His promise to cleanse you from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9) Leave the past in the past and stride forward in faith and joy.
Father, Thank you for creating a world of beauty all around us. Teach us to appreciate that beauty in a way that honors You and honors the women around us. We want to be men of pure hearts. Help us to walk worthy of You and the calling You have placed on our lives. In your name we pray, Amen
Questions: What disciplines have helped you do mental spring cleaning each year? How can you help a brother who struggles in this area?
In the city of Jerusalem, we are given the incredible opportunity to retrace the footsteps of Christ. It is certainly a blessing to be able to visit places He has walked, dined, and lived in. Being in Israel is a poignant reminder of Christ’s life, His death and His resurrection. The city of Jerusalem, where tourists and historical sites abound, helps believers to consider the events in Scripture and how they may apply to our daily lives.
We can learn about the life of Jesus through a multitude of ways. Whether it is through Scripture or through holy places like Jerusalem, we are given a unique opportunity to get to know our God.
Question: What are some ways that you can help make Scripture come to life?
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“The Holy Spirit displays God’s power through each of us as a means of helping the entire church” (1 Corinthians 12:7).
A friend once asked me, “Are all the spiritual gifts for today?” and “How can I discern my spiritual gifts?”
He had been reading a number of books with conflicting views on gifts and had heard sermons – some encouraging him to discover his gifts and others saying the gifts are not for today. He was woefully confused.
I shared with this friend that I have been a Christian for more than 35 years and have known the reality of the fullness of the Spirit for more than 30 years. I explained that I have seen God do remarkable – even miraculous – things in and through my life throughout the years.
Yet, I have not felt the need to “discover” my gifts, because I believe that whatever God calls me to do He will enable me to do if I am willing to trust and obey Him, work hard and discipline myself.
The Holy Spirit obviously controls and distributes all the gifts. So when I am filled, controlled and empowered with the Holy Spirit I possess all of the gifts potentially. God will give me any gifts I need.
I went on to tell my young friend that some of the gifts of the Spirit are supernatural enhancements of abilities common to all men, wisdom for instance. Other gifts, such as healing, are granted by the Holy Spirit to only a select few.
But the gifts differ in another way, too. Some are instantaneous, and others are developmental in nature. Primarily, we need to remember that whatever God calls us to do, He will enable us to do. “For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13, NAS).
“Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3
It is amazing what you can see on bumper stickers. Some are funny and some not fit to print. One caught my eye recently. It said: “My take home pay won’t take me home.”
While I am sure the person was referring to their personal earthly residence, I thought of a spiritual parallel. Home is where we will spend eternity. No amount of money or human effort will get us there and if we go to other than heaven, no amount of money can bail us out.
Have you thought about your eternal home? Heaven is real and it is more beautiful than the greatest mansion on earth.
The Cross, along with its agony and ridicule, is made all the more precious for us because Jesus had the ability to stop it from happening, but instead, submitted his will to the will of God and the needs of sinners, like you and me.
His grace took my place, as He died on a cross to pay the price for my sin. Jesus was not born to live, but to die. He was born to go to the cross. He sacrificed His life for me. He substituted His death for me. He satisfied God’s justice for me.
The whole story of the Gospels is constructed upon the principle, and illustrates the fact, that our Lord’s life, as our Lord’s death, was a voluntary surrender of Himself for man’s sin, and that nothing led Him to, and fastened Him on, the Cross but His own will.
He willed to be born. He came into the world by His own choice. He took upon Him the form of a servant. He took part of the children’s flesh and blood. His birth was His own act, the first of the long series of the acts, by which for the sake of the love, which He bore us; He humbled Himself. Step by step He voluntarily journeyed towards the Cross, which stood clear before Him from the very beginning as the necessary end, made necessary by His love for all mankind.
Acceptance of Him as Lord and Savior is our ticket to our eternal home and its price of admission was fully paid at Calvary. All we have to do is accept.
Question: Is Jesus truly the Lord of your life or are you still claiming ownership in some areas? How can you release them to Christ today?
“Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words remain forever.” Matthew 24:35
In a day of change and turmoil, the promise is made that the word of God will stand forever. The significance of that guarantee is monumental, incredible. It is not just that a book shall remain in print; rather, it is that the multitudinous truths contained in that book likewise will remain in effect steadfast and true.
Long after heaven and earth have passed away God’s holy Word will continue to endure.
That should mean much to you and me in our daily walk. God’s promise, “All things work together for good,” to the believer is just as true today as it was when it was written centuries ago.
In fact, every one of the promises in the Word of God is bona fide, guaranteed by the God of the universe, the Creator of all things. That alone should strengthen our faith to know that we can trust him supremely with our lives and everything concerned with them.
When all else fails, when hope is almost gone, we can come back to the Word of God, which is “quick and powerful and sharper than a two – edged sword.” It will have the answer for every problem, every burden, every need we face.
Further Bible reading: Matthew 24:36-42
Lord, today I place my complete confidence in your unchanging Word and will rest upon your faithful promises to all believers for supernatural living.
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Love can be dangerous. When you aim high and love lets you down, the fall is far.>Watch