Daily Archives: March 30, 2015

Practice Holiness Toward God

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Holiness or Hardness Toward God?

From: Utmost.org

The reason many of us stop praying and become hard toward God is that we only have an emotional interest in prayer. It sounds good to say that we pray, and we read books on prayer which tell us that prayer is beneficial— that our minds are quieted and our souls are uplifted when we pray. But Isaiah implied in this verse that God is amazed at such thoughts about prayer.

Worship and intercession must go together; one is impossible without the other. Intercession means raising ourselves up to the point of getting the mind of Christ regarding the person for whom we are praying (see Philippians 2:5). Instead of worshiping God, we recite speeches to God about how prayer is supposed to work. Are we worshiping God or disputing Him when we say, “But God, I just don’t see how you are going to do this”? This is a sure sign that we are not worshiping. When we lose sight of God, we become hard and dogmatic. We throw our petitions at His throne and dictate to Him what we want Him to do. We don’t worship God, nor do we seek to conform our minds to the mind of Christ. And if we are hard toward God, we will become hard toward other people.

Are we worshiping God in a way that will raise us up to where we can take hold of Him, having such intimate contact with Him that we know His mind about the ones for whom we pray? Are we living in a holy relationship with God, or have we become hard and dogmatic?

Do you find yourself thinking that there is no one interceding properly? Then be that person yourself. Be a person who worships God and lives in a holy relationship with Him. Get involved in the real work of intercession, remembering that it truly is work— work that demands all your energy, but work which has no hidden pitfalls. Preaching the gospel has its share of pitfalls, but intercessory prayer has none whatsoever.

Hey, You Can’t Eat Ketchup In That

From: Getmorestrength.org

“You were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body” 1 Corinthians 6:20

My granddaughter, Mary Catherine, affectionately known to me as Cate the Great, is all-girl. Just put her in a princess outfit with glittering slippers, wand, and a crown, and she is in sheer ecstasy!  Which explains the recent blowout at Target.

She and her mom were passing the dress section when a beautiful short-sleeved white dress with a big yellow daisy smack dab in the middle of the dress caught Cate’s eye. Immediately taken with the dress, she begged her mom to buy it for her. Having recently bought Cate a new dress, my daughter Libby explained that since she had just gotten some new clothes, they wouldn’t be able to buy the dress. Libby tried to console her. Maybe they would wait to see if the dress would be on sale in the near future. Cate refused to be comforted, and for the next few aisles sobbed with a broken heart that the beautiful dress she wanted couldn’t be hers.

Her big brother Gabe, who is all of 11 years old, finally whispered in his mom’s ear, “Could I buy the dress for Cate with the money I’ve saved?” Libby said, “Sure if that’s what you’d like to do.”

And Cate got her dress.

It was the middle of winter in Grand Rapids, but that didn’t stop Cate. She wore her sleeveless dress indoors everyday. She loved how pretty she thought she looked in daisy-clad white! One day as she began dipping her lunchtime toasted cheese sandwich in a deep pile of ketchup, Gabe turned to her and said, “Hey, Cate, you can’t eat ketchup in that dress! I paid a lot of money for it!”

I have to tell you that this may be my best grandchild story to date! I love the thought of Gabe’s love for his little sister and how precious it is that he was willing to voluntarily sacrifice to bless her with the dress. But having paid a big price, he remains interested in taking good care of the dress.

After I got done laughing about the episode, it struck me that what Gabe did for Cate and what Jesus has done for us have a lot in common. Except that Jesus’ gift is far more significant. He paid a great and sacrificial price to bless us with far more than we deserve. Hopelessly lost and guilty before a holy God, we are condemned and can’t do a thing to help ourselves. So Jesus died to take our rap and cleanse us from all our sin. And Scripture tells us that we are then clothed in His righteousness, which in turn gives us access to our God in fellowship and prayer (Philippians 3:7-9). As the old hymn says, “Dressed in His righteousness alone, faultless to stand before the throne!”

Having invested deeply in our new look, I can just hear Jesus saying, “I paid a lot for you, don’t say that; don’t go there; don’t think that; don’t do that!”

Paul told the Corinthians, who were tempted to wallow in the muck of their pagan culture, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit? . . . you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.”

So, let’s not forget what we are wearing. It’s a thing of beauty, and Jesus paid a big price for it!

Israel at the Red Sea

Charles Spurgeon,  sermon

From: Biblegateway

“He rebuked the Red sea also, and it was dried up: so he led them through the depths, as through the wilderness.” Psalm 106:9

Suggested Further Reading: Psalm 136

How sweet is providence to a child of God, when he can reflect upon it! He can look out into this world, and say, “However great my troubles, they are not so great as my Father’s power; however difficult may be my circumstances, yet all things around me are working together for good. He who holds up the starry heavens can also support my soul without a single apparent prop; he who guides the stars in their well-ordered courses, even when they seem to move in mazy dances, surely he can overrule my trials in such a way that out of confusion he will bring order; and from seeming evil produce lasting good. He who bridles the storm, and puts the bit in the mouth of the tempest, surely he can restrain my trial, and keep my sorrows in subjection. I need not fear while the lightnings are in his hands, and the thunders sleep within his lips; while the oceans gurgle from his fist, and the clouds are in the hollow of his hands; while the rivers are turned by his foot, and while he digs the channels of the sea. Surely he whose might wings an angel, can furnish a worm with strength; he who guides a cherub will not be overcome by the trials of a worm like myself. He who makes the greatest star roll in dignity, and keeps its predestined orbit, can make a little atom like myself move in my proper course, and conduct me as he pleases.” Christian! There is no sweeter pillow than providence; and when providence seems adverse, believe it still, lay it under your head, for depend upon it there is comfort in its bosom. There is hope for you, child of God!

For meditation: You may find it easy to think like this when all seems to be going well. The Christian is still able to look up spiritually when circumstances would make him look down naturally (Romans 8:28,31,35-39).

Sermon no. 72
30 March (1856)

The old, old story

Charles Spurgeon, sermon

From: Biblegateway

‘In due time Christ died for the ungodly.’ Romans 5:6

Suggested Further Reading: John 5:39–47

Unbeliever, if God cannot and will not forgive the sins of penitent men without taking their punishment, rest assured he will surely bring you to judgment. If, when Christ, God’s Son, had imputed sin laid on him, God smote him, how will he smite you who are his enemy, and who have your own sins upon your head? God seemed at Calvary, as it were, to take an oath—sinner, hear it!—he seemed, as it were, to take an oath and say, ‘By the blood of my Son I swear that sin must be punished,’ and if it is not punished in Christ for you, it will be punished in you for yourselves. Is Christ yours, sinner? Did he die for you? Do you trust him? If you do, he died for you. Do you say, ‘No, I do not?’ Then remember that if you live and die without faith in Christ, for every idle word and for every ill act that you have done, stroke for stroke, and blow for blow, vengeance must chastise you. Again, to another class of you, this word. If God has in Christ made an atonement and opened a way of salvation, what must be your guilt who try to open another way; who say, ‘I will be good and virtuous; I will attend to ceremonies; I will save myself’? Fool that you are, you have insulted God in his tenderest point, for you have insulted his Son. You have said, ‘I can do it without that blood;’ you have, in fact, trampled on the blood of Christ, and said, ‘I need it not.’ Oh, if the sinner who repents not be damned, with what accumulated terrors shall he be damned, who, in addition to his impenitence, heaps affront upon the person of Christ by going about to establish his own righteousness. Leave it!

For meditation: The readings for most of the past week have concentrated on the shed blood and atoning sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ. Do these truths cause you relief, satisfaction and grateful thanksgiving in response to his love (1 John 4:10,19)? If not, you either hate him or couldn’t care less about him, which in God’s sight boils down to the same thing. ‘How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation?’ (Hebrews 2:3).

Sermon no. 446
30 March (1862)

How Does Jesus’ Gift of Salvation Benefit Believers? (1 Thessalonians 5:9–10)

From: Biblegateway

When humans sin, they create a barrier between themselves and God. The price for sin is death (see Romans 6:23); however, 1 Thessalonians 5:9–10 indicates that by his grace God provided a substitute for us: Jesus, who “died for us” to pay the penalty for our sin.

To better understand the salvation Jesus provides, we must view it in the broader context of the story of the Bible. Genesis details the creation and rebellion of the human species. Humankind’s rejection of God and God’s response is the theme of the remaining narrative of the Bible—it colors every page. Old Testament prophecies point to a time when the world as we know it will end and judgment will take place. However, these prophecies also point to the coming Messiah who will redeem the lives of those who trust in him.

Salvation is not only a future reality but also a present one. Jesus rewarded the faith of the bleeding woman and of the blind man and literally saved them from their afflictions, as the Greek word translated “healed” actually means “saved” (see Mark 5:34; 10:52). Faith has a reward dimension in this life, sometimes in tangible benefits like physical healing and sometimes in intangibles such as comfort, peace, security and freedom.

Salvation also has a spiritual quality that benefits believers—both now and in eternity. Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 5:9–10 that believers will live with Christ in this world (when we are “awake”) and in the next (when we are “asleep”). Because of Jesus’ salvation, believers can be confident about both the present and the future.

Taken from The Case for Christ Study Bible

©2014 HarperCollins Christian Publishing