Monday, May 17, 2021

His Ascension and Our Access / Oswald Chambers

 

His Ascension and Our Access

It came to pass, while He blessed them, that He was parted from them and carried up into heaven.  LUKE 24:51

We have no experiences in our lives that correspond to the events in our Lord’s life after the transfiguration. From that moment forward His life was altogether substitutionary. Up to the time of the transfiguration, He had exhibited the normal, perfect life of a man. But from the transfiguration forward— Gethsemane, the Cross, the resurrection— everything is unfamiliar to us. His Cross is the door by which every member of the human race can enter into the life of God; by His resurrection He has the right to give eternal life to anyone, and by His ascension our Lord entered heaven, keeping the door open for humanity.

The transfiguration was completed on the Mount of Ascension. If Jesus had gone to heaven directly from the Mount of Transfiguration, He would have gone alone. He would have been nothing more to us than a glorious Figure. But He turned His back on the glory, and came down from the mountain to identify Himself with fallen humanity.

The ascension is the complete fulfillment of the transfiguration. Our Lord returned to His original glory, but not simply as the Son of God— He returned to His father as the Son of Man as well. There is now freedom of access for anyone straight to the very throne of God because of the ascension of the Son of Man. As the Son of Man, Jesus Christ deliberately limited His omnipotence, omnipresence, and omniscience. But now they are His in absolute, full power. As the Son of Man, Jesus Christ now has all the power at the throne of God. From His ascension forward He is the King of kings and Lord of lords. From My Utmost for His Highest Updated Edition

WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS

It is perilously possible to make our conceptions of God like molten lead poured into a specially designed mould, and when it is cold and hard we fling it at the heads of the religious people who don’t agree with us.

Praying in a Crisis / Charles Stanley

Praying in a Crisis

When was the last time you cried out to God about something other than personal issues? Sometimes we’re so engrossed in our own life that we fail to see the crises others face. Whether circumstances involve total strangers or hit close to home, it may feel as if such matters are too big for one person’s prayer to make a difference.

Well, don’t believe it. James 5:16 assures us that “the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” (NIV). In order to accomplish His will in Israel, the Lord used Elijah’s prayers in a mighty way, even though the prophet was just a human being like us.   

Almighty God is able to heal, bring peace, and change circumstances, and He has chosen to let His children participate in the process through prayer. He instructs us to talk with Him about everything (Phil. 4:6) and promises to hear and answer our requests that align with His will (1 John 5:14-15). 

You can have an impact on the lives of others when you intercede on their behalf. So let news of a tragedy or problem—regardless of whether it affects you—become a catalyst to talk to God. 

Does God Want You Out of Financial Bondage? / Adrian Rogers

 Does God Want You Out of Financial Bondage?     

The Lord will open to you His good treasure, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season, and to bless all the work of your hand. You shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow. Deuteronomy 28:12 

Financial bondage is not God's plan for His people (Nor is it a good plan for any nation!). Whoever you are in debt to, you are the servant of.

God doesn't want you, His child, to be the borrower; He wants you to be the lender. God doesn't want you to be the tail; God wants you to be the head. 

God wants to bless His people above all the nations of the world, and He wants to give His people financial freedom. But so many people don't have financial freedom—they’re in financial bondage. The devil wants to keep you in bondage, and he doesn't care what kind of bondage you're in. 

Are you in financial bondage? God wants you out of that so you can serve Him freely. Today we are blessed to have a number of godly Christian ministries guiding believers to sound, biblical teaching and freedom from debt. If you are under financial stress, contact one of them today. The Lord Jesus said, “If the Son, therefore, shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” (John 8:36).

Guarding against Legalism / Chuck Swindoll

 Guarding against Legalism


Jesus said, "Get up, take your bedroll, start walking." The man was healed on the spot. He picked up his bedroll and walked off. That day happened to be the Sabbath. The Jews stopped the healed man and said, "It's the Sabbath. You can't carry your bedroll around. It's against the rules." . . . The man went back and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well. That is why the Jews were out to get Jesus—because he did this kind of thing on the Sabbath. (John 5:8–1015–16 MSG)

Heavenly Father, it is our deep desire to glorify Your name. We want to honor Your Word, even when it squares off against our own feelings or experiences. We thank You for being kind enough to teach us the basic things about grace. And we pray that teaching might result in freedom from the bondage that has held captive some of Your people far too long.

Now we ask for several things—that You would guard us from extremism; that You would guard us from misunderstanding; that You would guard Your children from foolish, licentious living; and that You would guard us from a misappropriation of freedom. And, Father, that You would guard those of us who keep lists from thinking that our lists make us more holy. Deal first with our attitude, our Father, then with our lives—whether it's for salvation, or for deliverance from the terrible plague of legalism, or simply for the joy of living free in Christ.

We ask it in the name that is above all names, Jesus Himself. Amen.

See also Matthew 23:23Galatians 5:11 Peter 2:16.


Pursued by Love / ODB

 

Pursued by Love

I will say, “Salvation comes from the Lord.”

Jonah 2:9

READ JONAH 2:1–9


“I fled Him, down the nights and down the days,” opens the famous poem “The Hound of Heaven” by English poet Francis Thompson. Thompson describes Jesus’ unceasing pursuit—despite his efforts to hide, or even run away, from God. The poet imagines God speaking to him and saying, “I am He whom thou seekest!”

The pursuing love of God is a central theme of the book of Jonah. The prophet received an assignment to tell the people of Nineveh (notorious enemies of Israel) about their need to turn to God, but instead “Jonah ran away from the Lord” (Jonah 1:3). He secured passage on a ship sailing in the opposite direction of Nineveh, but the vessel was soon overcome by a violent storm. To save the ship’s crew, Jonah was thrown overboard before being swallowed by a large fish (1:15-17).

In his own beautiful poem, Jonah recounted that despite his best efforts to run away from God, God pursued him. When Jonah was overcome by his situation and needed to be saved, he cried out to God in prayer and turned toward His love (2:2, 8). God answered and provided rescue not only for Jonah, but for his Assyrian enemies as well (3:10).

As described in both poems, there may be seasons of our lives when we try to run from God. Even then Jesus loves us and is at work guiding us back into restored relationship with Him (1 John 1:9). 

By Lisa M. Samra

Jesus, thank You for lovingly pursuing me to offer rescue.

When have you tried to run from God? How did He provide rescue?


SCRIPTURE INSIGHT

Prophets Jonah, Hosea, and Amos ministered to the Northern Kingdom of Israel when Jeroboam II was king (782-753 bc). Although Jeroboam was unfaithful, God still helped him to successfully push the Assyrians out of Israel (2 Kings 14:23-28). When God called Jonah to minister to Nineveh, a city in Assyria, Jewish nationalistic zeal was running high. Jonah initially refused to proclaim a message of salvation to an enemy nation (Jonah 1:1-3). When he finally obeyed, the Assyrians repented (3:6-10), and God relented from punishing them (4:1-2). But the repentance of the Assyrians was short-lived. Soon a resurgent Assyria attacked Israel (2 Kings 15:19-20, 29). Within three decades of Jonah, Assyria destroyed the Northern Kingdom of Israel (722 bc) and advanced menacingly towards Judah (2 Kings 17:1-6; 18:9-12). God then raised up Nahum who prophesied against Nineveh, proclaiming her inevitable downfall (Nahum 1:1; 2:3-10; 3:1-7).

Learn more about the prophet Jonah. K. T. Sim

Why Imitate Christ? / Alistair Begg

 

Why Imitate Christ? 

Whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. 

1 John 2:6

Why should Christians imitate Christ? They should do it for their own sakes. If they desire to be spiritually healthy—if they want to escape the sickness of sin and enjoy the vigor of growing grace, Jesus must be their model. For their own happiness’ sake, if they would drink deeply of His love, if they would enjoy holy and happy communion with Jesus, if they would be lifted up above the cares and troubles of this world, let them walk even as He walked. There is nothing that is able to assist you in walking directly toward heaven like wearing the image of Jesus on your heart to rule all its emotions. It is when, by the power of the Holy Spirit, you are enabled to walk with Jesus in His very footsteps that you are most happy and most known to be the sons of God. Peter at a distance is both unsafe and uneasy.

Next, for religion’s sake strive to be like Jesus. Poor religion, you have been fiercely attacked by cruel foes, but you have not been wounded half as much by your enemies as you have by your friends. Who made those wounds in the fair hand of godliness? The professing Christian who used the dagger of hypocrisy. The man who with disguises enters the fold, being nothing but a wolf in sheep’s clothing, worries the flock more than the lion outside. There is no weapon half so deadly as a Judas-kiss. Inconsistent professing Christians injure the Gospel more than the sneering critic or the heretic.

But especially for Christ’s own sake, imitate His example. Christian, do you love your Savior? Is His name precious to you? Is His cause dear to you? Would you see the kingdoms of the world become His? Is it your desire that He should be glorified? Are you longing that souls should be won to Him? If so, imitateJesus; be “a letter of Christ … known and read by all.”1

1) 2 Corinthians 3:2-3

Why? / David Jeremiah

 

Why?

But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.
Genesis 50:20 
 
When something bad happens in the life of a new Christian, they will often say, “Lord, why is this happening to me?” When something bad happens in the life of a mature Christian, they will often say, “Lord, why is this happening to me?” Same question, but different motivations. The new Christian may think it unreasonable that a bad thing happened. But the mature Christian knows problems are part of life in a fallen world. His “Why?” question is to discern from God what he can learn from the difficult situation—how he might grow in faith.

Recommended Reading:
Romans 8: 28 – 29
When the teenage Joseph was sold by his brothers into slavery, he no doubt asked the “Why?” question. At first, he may have thought, “What did I do to deserve this?” But later, his “Why?” likely turned into, “Oh, now I see why!” He realized God had sent him to Egypt to prepare a place for Jacob’s family to escape the famine in Canaan.

When you experience difficulties in life, it’s not wrong to ask “Why?” Just make sure you’re asking for the right reason.

There are no accidents in the life of a Christian. 
Rowland Bingham

Mindful of God's Leading / Billy Graham

 

Mindful of God's Leading

When God gave the law, He knew that man was incapable of keeping it. Many persons are confused as to why God gave the law, if He knew man could not possibly keep it. The Bible teaches that the law was given as a mirror; I look into the law and see my spiritual condition. I see how far short I come, and this drives me to the cross of Christ for forgiveness. The Bible teaches that this is why Christ came—to redeem them that were under the law. Man could not keep the law, he was condemned by the law.

Daily Prayer

How I need Your guidelines, Lord. Teach me to be always mindful of Your leading.

“Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith.”

‭‭Galatians‬ ‭3:24

Uniquely Designed to Be Mom / NKJV 365

 

Uniquely Designed to Be Mom

God has uniquely designed women to be mothers, and the greatest way a mother can love her children is to love their father. The Bible teaches that God has created a woman with an innate and special ability to nurture and care for her family.

Therefore, mothers are the primary people whom God designed to love, nurture, and mentor children. Without question, this is one of the reasons why God so often insists that children are to honor their mothers. So Leviticus 19:3 declares, “Every one of you shall revere his mother.”

We believe these crucial responsibilities of nurturing and caring for children should be met before a mother contemplates any other duties. This is more difficult today than it was a few decades ago, of course, because our culture has seriously devalued the role of a mother by placing greater significance on activities outside the home than on those inside the home.

Nevertheless, we ought to elevate motherhood to its rightfully high place by pointing out its exalted value in God’s economy of the family. In our culture we ought to encourage mothers to model love for God and His Word, to love their husband, and to love their children. It’s what they were designed for.

“Every one of you shall reverence his mother and his father, and you shall keep My sabbaths; I am the LORD your God.”

‭‭Leviticus‬ ‭19:3‬ 

How to Avoid Spiritual Stagnation / Greg Laurie

 How to Avoid Spiritual Stagnation

“Dear brothers and sisters, pattern your lives after mine, and learn from those who follow our example” (Philippians 3:17 NLT).

After I accepted Christ at the age of 17 on my high school campus, I was oblivious to what I had just done.

The school bell rang, lunch was over, and I didn’t realize what had actually happened to me. No one was there to say, “Hey, Greg, here’s a New Believer’s Bible. Why don’t you read this?” No one invited me to church that weekend. No one was there to do anything.

But thank God there was a guy named Mark who approached me a day or so later and introduced himself. He said, “Hey, I saw that you went forward and prayed to ask Christ into your life the other day at our lunchtime Bible study.”

Feeling a little defensive, I said, “Yeah, what of it?”

“Well, I think that’s great,” Mark said. “I want you to come to church with me.”

“I don’t want to do that.”

But Mark persisted, and the next thing I knew, he was at my house picking me up and taking me to church. Mark introduced me to the church and also introduced me to his Christian family. He took the time to explain the basics to me. In short, he began to disciple me.

I could have fallen through the cracks after I accepted Christ. And sadly, there are a lot of new Christians that do.

Would you be willing to be a Mark to one of those people? Not only will you be helping a brand-new Christian mature in the faith, but you will be doing yourself some good as well.

God has given us the blessings that we experience as Christians to share, not to hoard. If you only take in and never share your faith, you will stagnate spiritually.

Will you help fulfill the Great Commission and disciple someone?

Copyright © 2021 by Harvest Ministries. All rights reserved

May 17 / Daily Blessings

 Daily Blessings

“The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart—the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.” - Ps 19:8

As without a revelation of the doctrine of salvation we would not know how a sinner could be saved, and thus could not glorify God by our faith; so without a revelation of the precept we would not know how to serve God, and thus could not glorify him by our obedience. Look at this point, believing child of God. You long to glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are his (1 Cor. 6:20). You desire, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, to do all to the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31). There are times and seasons with you when you sigh and mourn over your barren, unprofitable heart and life, and earnestly long to think and speak and act to his honor and glory who has done so much for you in providence and grace. At least, if you have no such desires you are no Christian, and are at the best but a poor, worldly, dead professor.

When, then, and how far do you live to God’s glory? Only then, and only so far as your life, and walk, and conduct harmonize with, and are guided by the precepts of the word. For see the connection. We can only glorify God outwardly by doing his will; we can only know that will, as regards our practical obedience to it, by the express revelation which he has given of it. Where is that revelation? In his word, and chiefly in the preceptive part of it. It is this which makes it “a lamp unto our feet, and a light unto our path.” David therefore cried—“Order my steps in your word;” “Make me to go in the path of your commandments;” “O that my ways were directed to keep your statutes!” as feeling that it was only by walking in the word and by the word that he could please God and live to his praise.

We find thousands in this land who, as they think, are doing God service by plans and schemes of their own devising, priding themselves on their good works. But we may say of all these their duties and doings what Augustine said of the ancient Roman virtues, that they are but “splendid sins”, or, to use the language of the Church of England, entitled, Works before justification, “for that they are not done as God has willed and commanded them to be done, we doubt not but they have the nature of sin.”

Season of Waiting / Streams

 Season of Waiting

And when forty years were expired, there appeared to him in the wilderness...an angel of the Lord...saying....now come, I will send thee into Egypt - Acts 7:30-34

Often the Lord calls us aside from our work for a season, and bids us be still and learn ere we go forth again to minister. There is no time lost in such waiting hours.

Fleeing from his enemies, the ancient knight found that his horse needed to be re-shod. Prudence seemed to urge him on without delay, but higher wisdom taught him to halt a few minutes at the blacksmith’s forge by the way, to have the shoe replaced; and although he heard the feet of his pursuers galloping hard behind, yet he waited those minutes until his charger was refitted for his flight. And then, leaping into his saddle just as they appeared a hundred yards away, he dashed away from them with the fleetness of the wind, and knew that his halting had hastened his escape.

So often God bids us tarry ere we go, and fully recover ourselves for the next stage of the journey and work. —Days of Heaven upon Earth

Waiting! Yes, patiently waiting!  
Till next steps made plain shall be;  
To hear, with the inner hearing,  
The Voice that will call for me.  

Waiting! Yes, hopefully waiting!  
With hope that need not grow dim;  
The Master is pledged to guide me,  
And my eyes are unto Him.  

Waiting! Expectantly waiting!  
Perhaps it may be today  
The Master will quickly open  
The gate to my future way.  

Waiting! Yes, waiting! still waiting!  
I know, though I’ve waited long,  
That, while He withholds His purpose,  
His waiting cannot be wrong.  

Waiting! Yes, waiting! still waiting!  
The Master will not be late:  
He knoweth that I am waiting  
For Him to unlatch the gate.  
—J. D. Smith

What? Jesus? by Ryan Duncan

 What? Jesus?

by Ryan Duncan

After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him, and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased." – Matthew 3:16-17

It was Sunday morning, and I was making my way to my seat at church when I happened to glance at the program. The title of the sermon was short and to the point: “Jesus." What happened next embarrassed me more than I can say. I looked at the title again and said to myself,

“Jesus? Why are we talking about that?”

C.S. Lewis once cautioned readers about how easy it is to start using Christianity as a convenience. The center of our faith can easily slip from Jesus' sacrifice to preserving marriage, social justice, tithing, or a hundred other good things Satan can use to distract us from God. The truth is that everything written down in the Bible, everything we believe as Christians, can be summed up in John 14.

"If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him." Philip said to Him, "Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us." Jesus said to him, "Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, 'Show us the Father '? "Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works. "Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves." Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father. – John 14:7-13

Jesus wasn't just a great teacher; He wasn't some vague Jewish mystic; He was God. Through His life and death, we are finally reconciled with our Creator. Nothing else, no politics or policy, is more important than that. As long as we remember that, we will remember Jesus.

Intersecting Faith and Life: Have you allowed something comparatively minor to take your attention away from Christ? Take a moment to examine where the priorities of your faith lay.

Further Reading

The power of sharing your joy with others / Senior Living

 The power of sharing your joy with others

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. - >Galatians 5:22-23

Several years ago, an outdoor conference was held for a particular Christian denomination that discouraged expressions of joy in worship, like saying “Amen” or “Hallelujah.” So instead, attendees were given helium-filled balloons and told to release them when they felt like expressing joy.

Throughout the first day, balloons were released one by one as people wanted to express their joy. Yet, by the end of the day when the conference was over, more than a third of the balloons were unreleased.

It’s interesting how when expressing our joy is suppressed, we’re automatically less joyful. Imagine you’re having a great day when suddenly, you walk into a room full of people with somber faces. In that moment, your mood is very quickly going to change.

God gave us the ability to express joy not just for ourselves, but to show outwardly so we can spread that joy to others. So let the joy that’s inside of you be seen on the outside. Don’t be afraid to share a smile and a “hello” with someone today who needs it. Share joy with your expressions and acts and you’ll impart the fruit of God’s Spirit to others!

Prayer Challenge

Pray and ask God to help you express joy as a fruit of His Spirit inside of you.

Questions for Thought

Think of a time when you were having a bad day and someone expressed joy to you. How did it make you feel?

How can you be more intent on sharing God’s joy with others who need it?

His Ascension and Our Access / Oswald Chambers

  His Ascension and Our Access It came to pass, while He blessed them, that He was parted from them and carried up into heaven.    LUKE 24:5...