John 4: 24-26
24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” 25 The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” 26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.”
What Is God Like?
From: Our Daily Bread
The Son is . . . the exact representation of [God’s] being. Hebrews 1:3
To celebrate a special occasion, my husband took me to a local art gallery and said I could choose a painting as a gift. I picked out a small picture of a brook flowing through a forest. The streambed took up most of the canvas, and because of this much of the sky was excluded from the picture. However, the stream’s reflection revealed the location of the sun, the treetops, and the hazy atmosphere. The only way to “see” the sky was to look at the surface of the water.
Jesus is like the stream, in a spiritual sense. When we want to see what God is like, we look at Jesus. The writer of Hebrews said He is “the exact representation of [God’s] being” (1:3). Although we can learn facts about God through direct statements in the Bible such as “God is love,” we can deepen our understanding by seeing the way God would act if He faced the same problems we have on Earth. Being God in human flesh, this is what Jesus has shown us.
In temptation, Jesus revealed God’s holiness. Confronting spiritual darkness, He demonstrated God’s authority. Wrestling with people problems, He showed us God’s wisdom. In His death, He illustrated God’s love.
Although we cannot grasp everything about God—He is limitless and we are limited in our thinking—we can be certain of His character when we look at Christ.
Dear God, thank You for making a way for us to know You. Help us to grow closer to You by looking at Jesus.
Looking at Jesus shows us God’s character.
Seeing is not believing, but believing is seeing
From: Charles Spurgeon
‘Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.’ 1 Peter 1:8
Suggested Further Reading: John 20:19–31
Carnal people will imagine that if there could be something to touch or smell they should get on, but mere believing and loving are too hard for them. Yet such thought is not reasonable, and I can show you so. Occasionally one meets with an illiterate working man who will say to those whose occupation is mental, ‘I work hard for my living,’ insinuating that the mind-worker does not work at all. Yet I ask any man who is engaged in a mental pursuit, whether he does not know that mental work is quite as real work—and some of us think more so—as working with the hand or the arm. The thing is mental, but is none the less real. Just transfer that thought. Coming into contact with Christ by touch looks to most people to be most real; that is because their animal nature is uppermost; coming into contact with Jesus by the spirit seems to them to be unreal, only because they know nothing of spiritual things. Mere animal men will often say, ‘I can understand the headache, I can understand the pain of having a leg cut off;’ but the pain of injured affection, or of receiving ingratitude from a trusted friend, this is by the rough mind thought to be no pain at all. ‘Oh,’ says he, ‘I could put up with that.’ But I ask you who have minds, is there any pain more real than mental pain? Is it not the sharpest when the iron enters into the soul? Just so the mental operation—for it is a mental operation—of coming into contact with Christ by loving him and trusting him is the most real thing in all the world, and no one will think it unreal who has once exercised it.
For meditation: Unlike Thomas we cannot touch the Lord to bolster our faith (John 20:27–29). Claiming that unscriptural religious acts are not articles of faith but visual aids to faith is carnal, not spiritual, in both origin and outcome (John 3:6). Finding it ‘helpful’ to confess sins to a human ‘priest’ ignores the existence of the Great High Priest in heaven who makes such a go-between surplus to requirements (Hebrews 4:14,16; 8:1).
The necessity of increased faith
By: Charles Spurgeon
“And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith.” Luke 17:5
Suggested Further Reading: Romans 4:13-25
The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” They went to the right person. They did not say to themselves, “I will increase my faith;” they did not cry to the minister, “Preach a comforting sermon, and increase my faith;” they did not say, “I will read such-and-such a book, and that will increase my faith.” No, they said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.” Faith’s author can alone increase it. I could inflate your faith till it turned into presumption, but I could not make it grow. It is God’s work to feed faith, as well as to give it life at first; and if any of you desire to have a growing faith, go and take your burden this morning to God’s throne, crying, “Lord, increase our faith!” If you feel that your troubles have been increased, go to the Lord, and say, “Increase our faith!” If your money is accumulating, go to the Lord, and say, “Increase our faith;” for you will want more faith as you get more prosperity. If your property is diminishing, go to him, and say, “Increase our faith,” so that what you lose in one scale you may gain in the other. Are you sickly and full of pain this morning? Go to your Master, and say, “Increase our faith, so that I may not be impatient, but be able to bear it well.” Are you tired and weary? Go and supplicate, “Increase our faith!” Have you little faith? Take it to God, and he will turn it into great faith. There is no hot-house for growing tender plants in like a house that is within the curtains—the tabernacle of God, where his glory dwells.
For meditation: The Christian has no need to undertake pilgrimages and to seek out so-called holy men to increase his faith. The expert in increasing faith is the very one in whom we have faith, who lives in us by his Spirit (Hebrews 12:2).
From: Cathy Irvin, Author
When you think about July 4th, what comes to mind?
Perhaps you think about a day off from work with picnics, fireworks, and those red, white, and blue flags displayed in front yards along your neighborhood.
This is all good, but the one word that comes to my mind is freedom.
It is a fact that we live in the United States of America where we can voice our opinions freely and can vote for the people of our choice. These are very good reasons why we should never take our freedom for granted.
Each year, I notice that some people really go all out decorating for every holiday. For the 4th of July, I display my flag in the yard for the entire month. The flag means a lot to me because of those in my family who have been in wars. I have also had friends who served our country, and I have known some who did not come home in the past and present war.
My father served in World War II. My mother was a Red Cross volunteer during that war. My niece and her husband served in Desert Storm. I also have had loved ones in the Vietnam War and a friend now in Afghanistan.
Because of their contributions in keeping us all free, I proudly display the flag.
Have you thought about the American flag and all that it stands for? This emblem of the greatest nation on earth is placed on graves of our honored dead who fought for us to remain a free nation, and it flies high during times of peace, as well as war. “Old Glory” is its name.
There is another real freedom we can have. We can display it every day of the year, and that is our freedom “In Christ” to live a life to glorify Him, so that His banner of love, truth, and peace can be seen by all.
It is a flag flown high in the castle of my heart (taken from a song). We can be free in our spirit to serve the Creator of the whole universe and that my friends, is True Freedom.
Romans 8:2 says,
“For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus made me free from the law of sin and of death.” (ASV)
Just like the flag that represents freedom, Jesus is a banner over us, protecting and shielding us. He is the “Glory and the Lifter of our heads” at all times. Let freedom ring out in your heart today.
Psalm 3:3 reads,
“But thou, O LORD, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head.” (KJV)