When Deng Jinjie saw people struggling in the water of the Sunshui River in the Hunan province of China, he didn’t just walk by. In an act of heroism, he jumped into the water and helped save four members of a family. Unfortunately, the family left the area while he was still in the water. Sadly, Jinjie, exhausted from his rescue efforts, was overwhelmed and swept away by the river current and drowned.
When we were drowning in our sin, Jesus Christ gave His life to come to our aid. We were the ones He came to rescue. He came down from heaven above and pulled us to safety. He did this by taking the punishment for all of our wrongdoing as He died on the cross (1 Peter 2:24) and 3 days later was resurrected. The Bible says, “By this we know love, because [Jesus] laid down His life for us” (1 John 3:16). Jesus’ sacrificial love for us now inspires us to show genuine love “in deed and in truth” (v.18) to others with whom we have relationships.
If we overlook Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice on our behalf, we’ll fail to see and experience His love. Today, consider the connection between His sacrifice and His love for you. He has come for your rescue.
Rescued: For life above;
Rescued: To serve my King;
Rescued: My praise to bring. —Verway
John, “the disciple whom Jesus loved” (John 13:23; 20:2; 21:7) and to whom Jesus entrusted the care of His mother, Mary (19:26-27), was well qualified to write about love. In 1 John 2, he described the quality and authenticity of the love expected of the children of God. Here in 1 John 3, he pointed to the death of Christ and directed us to Him as our standard of Christian love (v.16). True Christian love is sacrificial action and selfless generosity displayed both in speech and in actions (vv.16-18).
The Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath. —Joshua 2:11
Did you ever wonder why Rahab, the prostitute who lived in the pagan city of Jericho, opened her home to the Israelite spies? And what gave her the courage to name the God of Israel as her own?
This unlikeliest of conversions was prompted by the stories she had heard about the reality and power of God. Though thoroughly steeped in paganism and immorality, her heart was drawn to God. As she told the spies, “We have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites” (Josh. 2:10).
Under normal circumstances, the highly fortified city of Jericho would have been virtually unconquerable. Yet it became vulnerable because of the compelling stories of God’s power. Long before God’s people arrived, the self-sufficient pride of this hostile culture dissolved in fear when faced with those who belonged to the God they had heard so much about (v.11). And within the walls, one pagan heart turned to receive the God of Israel and played a strategic role in Israel’s stunning victory.
Let’s boldly tell the stories of God’s greatness. You never know whose heart may be ready to respond!
Christ is coming, over the world victorious—
Power and glory unto the Lord belong:
Praise Him! Praise Him! Tell of His excellent greatness!
Praise Him! Praise Him! Ever in joyful song. —Crosby
Don’t be shy; tell the stories of God’s greatness.
“As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God.” Psalm 42:1
From: Get More Strength
Several years ago my wife Martie and I had the unique experience of going on a camel safari in the desert of the United Arab Emirates. We rocked back and forth on top of those ugly beasts for an hour as we perused the quiet of the desert. In the course of describing the attributes of camels, our guide mentioned that they could live for 3 months without water. They are obviously built for the desert.
What a contrast to the sleek, “type A” gazelle the writer had in mind in Psalm 42:1-11. Bounding through the meadows and the forests, the deer is satisfied and sustained on a regular basis by water. He needs it and yearns for it in his fast-paced existence.
How easy it is in the midst of our abundance to be far more like the camel than the deer. Rarely sensing a need for God, some people can go for months without desiring Him. For some of us, life has been a long stretch of religious and secular activity without any sense of utter dependence on Him or sincere desire to know Him. The problem is that we weren’t built for life in a spiritual desert. We were built—redeemed, in fact—for regular, satisfying access to the refreshing presence of God in our souls.
So what is it that keeps us from really longing for and seeking Him? Of all the things that make us like the camel, none is so glaring as the sin of self-sufficiency. We have relegated Jesus to the sidelines, while we go about our business. Cultivating him as our soul mate and supreme necessity for life has somehow escaped us. But it hasn’t escaped Him. He still knocks at our heart’s door to offer the sweet fellowship that only He can bring (Revelation 3:20).
Let’s drink deeply, living in Jesus more like a deer and less like a camel.
From: Back To The Bible
Ezra 10:10-12 (NIV) 10Then Ezra the priest stood up and said to them, “You have been unfaithful; you have married foreign women, adding to Israel’s guilt. 11Now make confession to the LORD, the God of your fathers, and do his will. Separate yourselves from the peoples around you and from your foreign wives.” 12The whole assembly responded with a loud voice: “You are right! We must do as you say.
When Ezra had heard how the remnant had broken God’s law by marrying the women of the land, he tore his robes and wept and fasted. The people followed his lead and were convicted of sin. It was the people who encouraged him to tell them what to do to set things right with God. Ezra replied with the verses above; confess and do God’s will. Separate yourselves from the people and wives who had those horrible demonic religious practices.
We do not live in Israel and were never forbidden to marry a certain group of people, but the principle remains true. That is why the Apostle Paul told us not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers. That could apply to marriage or business. When we find we are with people of evil practices, we should not commit ourselves to any type of united endeavor with them. How can two walk together except they be agreed?
But there is a deeper principle. What fellowship does light have with darkness? If we are walking in the light, we will be repulsed by the sin and have a desire to show them the way to be freed from its bondage. Some Christians will play on the edge of the cliff of sin because the allurement is enticing them. Coach Bill McCartney said, “Draw a line where there is a danger of being caught by sin and stay ten yards back.” Don’t walk along the very edge of a cliff.
In this final chapter of Ezra, the men sent their foreign wives and children away. That seems very harsh of God, but the situation existed because of disobedience to God. It was the only remedy. Not dealing with the issue had caused the downfall of Israel in the past. We must cut off from our lives the thing that is enticing us to sin, and send it away from our lives if we are going to go on with God.
Consider: If you want God’s blessing, confess the sin. Do God’s will. Separate yourself from the sin.
1 Corinthians 10:31-33 (NIV) 31So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 32Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God-33even as I try to please everybody in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.
The Christian life is about living for another out of love. I’m referring to the One who died and conquered death that He might be with you. It is an all out, 100%, way of living. In everything that is done, we seek the glory of God, even in the little menial tasks of daily life. It isn’t a thing you do on Sunday morning and in the 5-minute daily devotion time. It is your whole life’s focus.
In living for the glory of God, we seek to share Him with others. One thing that must grieve God deeply is when we offend someone who knows we are a Christian. As a representative of Jesus, we have pushed them away from Jesus. That usually takes place because we are selfish and demanding our own preferences. We are being completely inconsiderate of the way they see and understand life and their need to find Jesus as Savior. We please ourselves but give up the greatest privilege we could have, sharing the love of Jesus with them.
Paul is telling us part of the reason he was so fruitful in his ministry. He did his very best to not to cause anyone to stumble. That does not mean that he compromised the truth. One look at his life tells you that is not the case. But he did consider others’ cultures and limited his actions so as not to unnecessarily offend them. He acted for their good and not his own, so that they might be saved.
Dear reader, remember that you are the only Jesus many will see. Do whatever you can to draw the lost to Christ, not repel them. Their salvation is worth more than any liberty that we might cling to. Take on Paul’s motto of trying to please everyone in everyway in order to win them to Jesus. Seek their good over your own that they might be saved.