Thursday, March 23, 2017

Jesus Wept

John 11:30-37 (HCSB)
30 Jesus had not yet come into the village but was still in the place where Martha had met Him.
31 The Jews who were with her in the house consoling her saw that Mary got up quickly and went out. So they followed her, supposing that she was going to the tomb to cry there.
32 When Mary came to where Jesus was and saw Him, she fell at His feet and told Him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died!”
33 When Jesus saw her crying, and the Jews who had come with her crying, He was angry in His spirit and deeply moved.
34 “Where have you put him?” He asked. “Lord,” they told Him, “come and see.”
35 Jesus wept.
36 So the Jews said, “See how He loved him!”
37 But some of them said, “Couldn’t He who opened the blind man’s eyes also have kept this man from dying?”

Lazarus died and Jesus waited for three days before going to his home. He was very good friends with Lazarus, Mary and Martha. They had seen the miracles that Jesus had performed. Mary and Martha knew that if Jesus had been there he could have healed Lazarus so he would not have died.

Jesus might have been sorrowful for the death of Lazarus and that would have shown His human side. But if He knew that He was going to raise Lazarus from the dead why would He be so sorrowful as to weep? The verses above tell us that He was angry in spirit and deeply moved. Why is this? Why would He be angry in this case? This can be answered with one word:

UNBELIEF

These people did not fully believe in what Jesus could do. This at first made Him angry then made Him so sad that He wept.

Near the time of Jesus’ crucifixion He wept over Jerusalem because of the unbelief in that city. Many people there had seen what He had done but did not believe He was the Messiah.

Could Jesus be weeping now as he sees what is going on in this world at this time? Does he weep; when we say, “I know the Lord can do thus and so.” But don’t believe he will do it for us? Does he weep when he hears us say that you have to follow certain steps to have him do a miracle for you? We need to believe that Jesus Christ can work and does work in His time and in His way.

May we say, like the father of the demoniac:

Mark 9:24 (HCSB)
24 Immediately the father of the boy cried out, “I do believe! Help my unbelief.”

by Dean W. Masters

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

A Call for Anger

Ephesians 4:26

INTRODUCTION

Interestingly, the Lord actually commands His people to be angry! This may surprise or concern some believers who fail to study the entirety of scripture within context, but the Lord admonished believers at Ephesus to be angry. No doubt this was a call for a righteous anger with a cause, but nonetheless it was a call for anger. Why? The Bible points out that a godly anger can put a stop to sin. According to Proverbs 25:23, “The north wind driveth away rain: so doth an angry countenance a backbiting tongue.” This directly correlates to the context of Ephesians 4:26 as the surrounding passages speak of ceasing from sin. Simultaneous to the Lord admonishing believers to be angry, He also cautioned them not to let their righteous anger turn into sin.

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS

  • (For children): Nehemiah displayed a godly anger. He drove out Tobiah (an enemy) from the chamber in the house of God, restored the Levites and singers to their proper place in the temple, and stopped those who were working on the sabbath day (Nehemiah 13:7-22).
  • (For everyone): Why would God warn about anger in one verse and encourage anger in another? What kind of anger does God approve? What kind of anger does He disapprove?
  • How could righteous anger turn to sin (Ephesians 4:26)? How could righteous anger eventually give place to the Devil (Ephesians 4:27)?

PRAYER NEEDS

  • Ask God to help you be angry as He guides.
  • Ask the Lord for a scriptural balance on anger.

HYMN

I AM RESOLVED

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

One Thing Yet To Rise

by Pastor Carter Conlon

There seem to be so many things on the rise in our day. We think about the number of people needing food assistance. The hopeless feeling among so many of our teenagers. The cultural, the social and racial divides seem to be threatening everyday to increase. But the one thing that has yet to rise, has within it the power to change everything around it. It’s the sound of the voices of God’s people, you and I, calling out to Him, for the future of our nation.

For I still believe the words that are written in the word of God in 2 Chronicles 7:14, “If my people, who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from the heaven, I will forgive their sin, and I will heal their land.”

It’s time to pray.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Don’t Draw Back

by Pastor Carter Conlon

The book of Hebrews chapter 10:37-38 says these words “For yet a little while, and He who is coming will come and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith; but if anyone draws back, my soul has no pleasure in him.”

We all get tired. The human tendency is to take whatever victory that we have, to go home with it and say, “well this is enough.” But you and I live in a perilous time. We have people all around us who are facing today, tomorrow and eternity without God. It’s time for you and I to talk to God about them.

We must believe again that our victory might also become theirs. We must care. We must come back.

It’s time for you and I to pray.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Glorify God in Your Body

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

INTRODUCTION

Far too few believers consider the extent that God cares about what they do in, to, and through their bodies. The reality is that the believer is to glorify God in his body. Today’s passage instructs the saint of God to present his body to God as a living sacrifice. Amazingly, the Bible describes this spiritual sacrifice not as some great spiritual achievement but as a mere reasonable service (Romans 12:1). All true fellowship, consecration, and sanctification originate within one’s heart; however, it eventually works its way out to be visibly seen. A believer deceives himself if he claims to walk with God in sweet communion yet experiences no outward changes visible to mankind. A yielded Christian ensures that no part of his life is off limits to the Lord. He strives to ensure his life, including his body, is a testimony bringing glory to His Saviour.

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS

  • (For children): How wonderful it is that God chose to dwell in man. Therefore, we need to be careful with our bodies (1 Corinthians 3:16-17). Determine in your heart now that you will show forth His praise by obedience (Daniel 1:8; Genesis 39:8-9; 1 Corinthians 9:27).
  • (For everyone): Why is it important that your consecration be a matter of the heart? How can something that begins in your heart eventually work to change your outward behavior?
  • What has changed about you since you trusted Christ? Why have those things changed? Have you changed to please men or to glorify God?

PRAYER NEEDS

  • Ask God to work in your heart as you study this week.
  • Ask the Lord to help you ensure that nothing is off limits to Him.

HYMN

I GAVE MY LIFE FOR THEE

Saturday, March 18, 2017

BIBLE VERSE FOR THE DAY

“God has shown you his grace in many different ways. So be good servants and use whatever gift he has given you in a way that will best serve each other” (1 Peter 4:10 ERV).
******************
QUOTE FOR THE DAY
God may call you out of your comfort zone, but He does so to develop your unique gifts and personalities to serve His good purposes. You honor His creative nature when you permit Him to use you as you are. - Dave Branon

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PRAYER/ACTION FOR THE DAY
Help me, Lord, to be able to use the gifts You have given me to serve other people and for Your glory.

Friday, March 17, 2017

A People Given to Culture

2 Corinthians 6:17-18

INTRODUCTION

Believers are not to speak, look, think, or act like the world. In every way possible, believers are to remain separate and distinct. Believers saved for any length of time have noticed the drastic shift in what the world defines as acceptable and unacceptable behaviour. For instance, man in general once disdained the idea of tattoos, body piercings, and cuttings in the flesh (Leviticus 19:28). Yet, now these things are not only acceptable but even practiced by believers. The world used to distinguish between men and women, even taking note of one’s hair length (1 Corinthians 11:14-15). Yet these distinctions have been blurred and in some cases eliminated with men attempting to become women and women men. The people of God are not to follow along with cultural shifts, but abide rather in the unchangeable words of God.

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS

  • (For children): Read 1 John 2:15-17. The world loves and accepts tattoos and even thinks paper tattoo transfers are acceptable for children, but what does God say (1 Thessalonians 5:22)? God also does not accept the way the world dresses nor does He want the lines blurred (Deuteronomy 22:5; 1 Timothy 2:9-10).
  • (For everyone): What are some changes you have witnessed in your lifetime? Have these changes made men and women appear more godly or less? Why is it important for you to remain separate from the world and distinguishable?
  • How have the opinions in your home changed from those held by believers a few generations back? Why have they changed?

PRAYER NEEDS

  • Ask God to protect you from the carnality of this world.
  • Ask the Lord to give you a desire to be different from the world.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Beauty Is Vain

Proverbs 31:30

INTRODUCTION

Increasingly, the world is driven by the desire for more perceived outward beauty. Some people have gone so far as to change everything concerning their appearance in hopes of turning out more beautiful than previously perceived. Beauty, however, is an area where God and man think quite differently. God sees beauty as a matter of the heart, while man thinks beauty involves the putting on of more makeup (2 Kings 9:30), or changing hair color or hair style, or having some cosmetic alteration done to the teeth or body. In the end, the Lord says that man’s idea of beauty is actually quite vain. While men praise outward beauty, the Lord says that “a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.”

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS


  • (For children): God is not impressed by the way we beautify ourselves. He simply wants our hearts (1 Samuel 16:7; 1 Peter 3:1-4). The Devil was beautiful but rebellious (Ezekiel 28:12-17). So was Absalom (2 Samuel 14:25; 2 Samuel 15:1-12). So are so many in this world.
  • (For everyone): How can one find the proper balance in trying to look neat and clean for the Lord, yet not going to the extreme point of vanity? Have you found that balance?
  • How much of your emphasis concerns your outward appearance? Have you focused upon a change in order to please others? Are you overcome by the need to appear beautiful or handsome?

PRAYER NEEDS


  • Ask the Lord to help you find balance in this area.
  • Ask the Lord to show you what true beauty involves.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

IDOLS OF THE HEART

"You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God" (Exodus 20:4-5 NIV).
"Son of man, these men have set up idols in their hearts and put wicked stumbling blocks before their faces" (Ezekiel 14:3 NIV).
The primitive Africa was full of idolatry. The more I like the African culture, the more I hate its connection with idolatry. I thank God that I have been saved from all these ancestral idols. In Christ, I can be a true African without being idolatrous. However, while I have done away with all the physical idols, what of the unseen idols of the heart? Am I free from them?
God accused the exiled Israelites of idolatry of the heart. Though they were sent into exile because of this sin, they continued in it in the exile. Interestingly, these people still wanted to hear from God, which meant that they probably did not realize that they had set up idols in their hearts against God's will.
I doubt if you still have any physical idol that you are worshipping. Nevertheless, what are the idols in your heart? What are the things that have taken the place of God in your heart? Is it money, occupation, time, sports, pleasure, reputation, position, your children, your spouse, or even your life? Anything you like or love more than God is an idol of your heart. Remove them now and put God in His right position in your heart.
In His service,
Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).

Prayer Point: Pray that you will be able to remove all the idols that are taking the place of God in heart.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

It's All In the Bible

by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam

We couldn’t help hearing it! This woman had a voice that could be heard at considerable distance and we distinctly heard her say: “I doped it all out from the Bible.”
“Well, at least somebody’s interested in the Bible,” we said to each other.
But as she prattled on it turned out that she had used the records in an old family Bible to establish her claim to part of an estate. These records, introduced in court, had won the case for her.
There was, after all, no indication that she was interested in the Bible — only in those pages between the Old and New Testaments which, in some editions of the Bible, are kept for family records.
Actually she was no different from the masses about us who go about from day to day interested only in the things of this life and ignoring almost completely the things that really matter: God, heaven, hell and their own eternal destiny.
If these people only knew what treasures are to be found in the Bible! Among these are “riches of mercy” (Eph. 2:4), “riches of grace” (Eph. 1:7), “riches of glory” (Phil. 4:19), “riches of wisdom and knowledge” (Rom. 11:33), “the riches of the full assurance of understanding” (Col. 2:2), “the unsearchable riches of Christ” (Eph. 3:8). And the best part of it is that anyone may have these riches simply for the asking:
“For there is no difference… for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon Him,
“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Rom. 10:12,13).

Monday, March 13, 2017

The Cross of Christ

by Pastor Paul M. Sadler

Perhaps you are reading these lines but do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. We want you to know that life begins at Calvary! To illustrate consider for a moment the vertical beam of the Cross. It represents the way through which the broken relationship between God and the sinner can be restored. The way is the Lord Jesus Christ. The Savior Himself said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me” (John 14:6).
In your heart of hearts you know that you are not right with God. Sin has separated you from the Holy One of Heaven and has made a mess of your life! It’s left you living in fear of death and the judgment to come. I know, I’ve been there! Salvation is not found in what you can do to make yourself acceptable to God, but what He has already done for you at Calvary.
The only way to restore your broken relationship with God is to believe that Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose again the third day (I Cor. 15:3,4). As the song says, “When He was on the Cross, you were on His mind.” The moment you place your faith in Christ’s finished work, you will be forgiven of all your sins: past, present, and future. Keep in mind, too, that the day Christ died all of your sins were yet future.
Nothing in this life is free, someone paid for it! This is also true of God’s provision of salvation; Christ paid for it with His precious blood. Today, God is offering salvation as a free gift to all who place their trust in His Son. When you believe the gospel, the burden of your sins will be lifted. You will for the first time in your life experience “peace with God” through our Lord Jesus Christ (Rom. 5:1). Once this relationship is established, it is permanent because you are sealed by the Holy Spirit until the redemption of the purchased possession (Eph. 1:13,14).
We might liken the horizontal beam of the Cross to our relationship with those around us. Our lives touch the lives of others. God has believers in every walk of life so that those who are still outside of Christ might have the opportunity to hear the good news. This horizontal beam also represents the importance of reaching out to our brothers and sisters in Christ who have yet to see the revelation of the Mystery (Rom. 16:25; Eph. 3:8,9), which raises an important question: when was the last time you shared Paul’s gospel with a Christian friend?

Sunday, March 12, 2017

The Love Of Christ

by Pastor Paul M. Sadler

Scripture Reading:
“And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.” — Ephesians 3:19
The passage before us is a treasure chest of truth. Paul contrasts the spiritual knowledge of the believer (“to know”), with human knowledge (“passeth knowledge”). We are living in a time when a high premium has been placed on intellectualism. Technology is advancing so rapidly that a product is barely to the marketplace before it is obsolete. Human knowledge has progressed to the point where man has now created small micro chips, the size of a pencil eraser, that can store volumes of information. While man glories in his accomplishments in the area of high tech, God is still the infinite One in knowledge overall. I read recently that if man were to build a computer capable of performing the functions of the human brain (memory, reasoning, thinking, functional control, etc.) it would have to be the size of the Empire State Building. How would you like to carry that around on your shoulders? While human knowledge has benefited us all in areas of medicine, science, and travel, man through human wisdom can never know God nor understand the things of God (I Cor. 1:20,21).
Those who are saved, however, have at their disposal a spiritual knowledge that far surpasses human knowledge. Having the eyes of our spiritual understanding opened, we are now able to comprehend the Word of God. It is from God’s Word that we first learned of the love of Christ. It was Christ’s love for us that sent Him to Calvary to die for our sins, to redeem us back to God (Rom. 5:8). His love also keeps us secure, for as the Apostle says, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” (Rom. 8:35). The love of Christ constrains us or motivates us to serve Him. We can never repay what he has done for us, but out of gratitude for what He has accomplished for us we should desire to live for Him (II Cor. 5:14,15). With this knowledge of the love of Christ we can enjoy the fullness of God.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

More Than Conquerors

by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam

Two boys fight in a back alley. Fists fly. Shouts go up from the other youngsters standing by. “Give it to ‘im! Let ‘im have it!”
Finally one of the two struts away with an arrogant bearing, head and shoulders wagging. He has won!
But has he? Look at him. He has a bloody nose, a black eye and welts on his face and arms. And if looks could kill he wouldn’t even be alive, for while his friends shout his praises, the boy he has beaten gives him a look that says: “Just wait.” He has not won anything except, perhaps, a bitter and lasting enemy.
So it is with the wars that nations wage against each other. Necessary as it sometimes becomes to defend our liberties, our homes, our way of life, by force of arms, seldom does any nation actually win the war. Rather all lose, even the “victors,” as in their “victories” they sow the bitterness and hate which are the seeds of future wars.
It is different, however, with “the good fight of [the] faith,” for the Christian may come out of every battle stronger than when he went in. Only the Christian can say with regard to the heartaches and disappointments, the difficulties and obstacles, that cross his path: “In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us” (Rom. 8:37).
During Paul’s busy ministry for Christ he suffered a painful “thorn in the flesh,” and “besought the Lord thrice” that it might be taken away. The Lord did not see fit to remove the thorn, but answered Paul:
“My grace is sufficient for thee, for My strength is made perfect in weakness” (IICor. 12:9).
Paul’s response:
“Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me… for when I am weak, then am I strong” (Vers. 9,10).
Let all go well, and we are prone to grow careless in our Christian lives. Adversity, on the other hand, makes Christians lean the harder and pray the more — and therein lies their strength and their victory.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Rightly Dividing The Word

by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam

It is not enough to use the Bible as a grand book of wonderful sayings from which we may choose what we wish for our inspiration, nor will one who truly realizes that “God hath spoken” ever hold so shallow an opinion of the sacred Scriptures.
“The Word of truth” must be “rightly divided”; for while it is all given for our spiritual profit, it was not all addressed to us, or written about us. Thus one who truly desires to understand and obey God’s Word will seek first to determine what Scriptures are particularly related to him and will study all the rest in the light of these.
Sad to say, however, there are many who fail to give the Book of God the respect and reverence it deserves. They flip it open at random, let a finger light upon the open page and then read the verse indicated to see if perchance they may find leading from the Lord in that way. And if it doesn’t “work” the first time they try it again and again until it does “work.” They use “promise boxes” in the same way, on the basis that “every promise in the Book is mine.” They take passages out of their contexts, “spiritualize” them, and give them “private interpretations.” Finding “precious passages” anywhere at all, no matter to whom addressed or when or why, they place their own constructions upon them and claim them as promises of God to them! To take isolated statements from the writings of men and use them in such a manner would be considered dishonest, but even Bible teachers do it with the Word of God!
The Word, rightly divided, is of supreme importance to the Church at large as well as to the individual believer, and it is because this fact has not yet been sufficiently recognized that we have not experienced the true, heaven-sent revival that the Church so sorely needs.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

One Thing

by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam
Referring to the great Temple of God, which King David so earnestly hoped to build, he said:
“ONE THING HAVE I DESIRED of the Lord; that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in His temple” (Psa.27:4).
Similarly, when Martha of Bethany complained to Jesus that Mary “sat at [His] feet and heard His Word” while she was left to serve alone, the Lord answered:
“Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things, but ONE THING IS NEEDFUL, and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her” (Luke 10: 41,42).
Today, with regard to the message of grace from the ascended, glorified Lord, the Apostle Paul exhorts us: “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly”(Col.3:16). Wonderful results follow such a determination to know Christ through the Word.
When the Lord Jesus opened the eyes of the blind beggar, the poor man was immediately persecuted by the religious leaders of the day. He could not answer all of their questions but he could answer the one most important to himself:
“ONE THING I KNOW, that, whereas I was blind, now I see” (John 9:25).
The rest of the narrative relates how the blind beggar also received spiritual sight as, face to face with the Son of God, he exclaimed: “Lord, I believe! …and…worshipped Him” (Ver.38).
But what about our conduct after spiritual sight has been bestowed? The most consecrated believer will acknowledge that he often fails to live up to the light he has received. St. Paul, by inspiration, gives us the solution to this problem also, saying:
“THIS ONE THING I DO: forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press [strain] toward the goal for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil.3: 13,14).

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Determining What is Acceptable to God

by Pastor Paul M. Sadler
“Living the Christian life can be challenging at times. How do we determine what is acceptable to God when there is no direct command of Christ?”
The Word of God is always relevant—it transcends the ages! If a particular matter isn’t dealt with specifically in Paul’s writings, we are to defer to a broader principle. For example, you may want to ask yourself the question, will my action or participation in something glorify God? If you have any reservations whatsoever, you are probably skating on thin ice. Paul says, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God” (I Cor. 10:31).
Another principle to apply is to “prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil” (I Thes. 5:21,22). Proving has the sense of putting things to a test. If you are remodeling an old house and the steps going upstairs look unsafe, you naturally make sure that the steps will hold your weight before you attempt to ascend the stairs. We wouldn’t think of placing ourselves in harm’s way—the same should also be true of our spiritual life.
Test: Should we take possession of something that is not rightfully ours? To illustrate, what would you do if you came across a satchel of money sitting beside a park bench? Often, examining the conduct of a servant of God in such matters will help determine whether our actions will be acceptable to the Lord.
When the Apostle Paul won Onesimus to Christ at Rome he could have reasoned that since this runaway slave’s slate was wiped clean from past offenses he would claim him as his own. After all, think how profitable Onesimus could have been to Paul in the work of the ministry. But Onesimus rightfully belonged to Philemon, so the aged apostle returned him, along with a letter, to allow his coworker in the faith to make that decision. In other words, he didn’t simply assume his friend would understand, he did what was right. The Lord will handsomely reward Paul for his good deed at the Judgment Seat of Christ. What would you do if you found yourself in a similar set of circumstances?

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

A Servant to Pleasure

- Titus 3:3

INTRODUCTION

Though the testimony of each believer has its own unique circumstances, each stood guilty of sinning against a holy and righteous God. The apostle Paul testified that prior to his salvation, he too served divers lusts and pleasures. The apostle Paul, though he may have been oblivious to this fault, knew that he had been a slave or servant to his own desires. Unfortunately, the unending need for pleasure drives those who do not know the Lord as Saviour, just as it drove each believer before he or she was born again. For those blinded to the truth, this form of servitude brings plenty of distraction with no satisfaction. The individual who partakes in worldly pleasures does so only to find a greater need for additional pleasure. Apart from the Lord, he becomes pleasure’s servant with no hope of freedom.

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS

  • (For children): When we become a child of God, the Lord gives us the power and warns us to live differently from the world (Galatians 2:20; 2 Corinthians 5:17; 1 John 2:15-17). Solomon tried many pleasures (Ecclesiastes 2:1-11) but found they did not satisfy. God was angry that Solomon became a servant to pleasure (1 Kings 11:1, 2, 9-11).
  • (For everyone): What are some types of pleasure that have historically been able to enslave individuals? Have any of these pleasures been able to enslave you?
  • What things changed when you got saved? Did you forsake any former pleasures after you were born again? Are there any pleasures you need to forsake now?

PRAYER NEEDS

  • Thank the Lord that you do not have to be a servant of pleasure.
  • Ask the Lord to give you victory over pleasures.

HYMN

WONDERFUL GRACE OF JESUS

Monday, March 6, 2017

The Law And The Wrath Of God

by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam
Romans 4:15 clearly states that “the law worketh wrath,” but so many people, it seems, do not wish to see this. Even some clergymen tell us that God gave the Law to help us to be good, when God Himself says the very opposite; that it was given to show us that we are bad and need a Savior.
“The law worketh wrath.” Every criminal knows this and every sinner should know it, for the Bible has much to say on the subject. Rom. 3:19,20 declares that the Law was given “that every mouth may be stopped, and that all the world may be brought in guilty before God,” and this passage goes on to say:
“Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight; for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”
II Cor. 3:7,9 calls the Law “the ministration of condemnation” and “the ministration of death.” Gal. 3:10 says that those who are “of the works of the law,” i.e., who seek to make themselves acceptable to God by keeping the Law, “are under a curse,” because the Law can only condemn them.
Those who approach God, expecting eternal life in return for “good works” are offering Him their terms — which He will never accept. God will not sell justification to those already under condemnation for sin. But He does offer sinners complete justification by grace because:
“Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written; cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree” (Gal. 3:13).
Thank God, those who trust in Christ, “having redemption, through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Eph. 1:7), “being justified, freely by His [God’s] grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 3:24).

Sunday, March 5, 2017

The Kaiser’s Surprise

In his comments on Isaiah 57, Dr. Harry Ironside shares this story:

Years ago, before the First World War, Professor Stroeter, a well-known prophetic teacher in Germany, used to go through the country giving lectures, and using charts to unfold the dispensations. His lectures attracted the attention of the German Emperor, Kaiser Wilhelm, who in spite of his many idiosyncrasies, was quite a Bible student, and used to preach in the palace chapel on many occasions.
The Kaiser invited Professor Stroeter to his palace to give him an idea of what he was lecturing upon. The professor was taken into the library and spread a roll of his charts out on the table. The Kaiser followed him as he pointed out various things in the dispensations until the Second Coming of the Lord. After a lengthy conversation the Kaiser said, “Do I understand you aright? Do you mean to say that Jesus Christ is coming back literally, and that when He returns all the kingdoms of the world are going to be destroyed and He will set up His kingdom on the ruins of them all?”
And Professor Stroeter said, “Exactly, your Majesty….”
“Oh, no,” said the Kaiser, “I can’t have that! Why that would interfere with all my plans!”
We don’t know if Professor Stroeter understood the dispensations well enough to have expressed to the Kaiser that the coming of our Lord to rapture His church must come before the wrath of the Tribulation and the Second Coming of Christ (I Thes. 1:10; 5:9). Regardless, what a frank admission from a man who professed to be a student and teacher of the Word of God!
How about you, dear reader? If you are not saved, you will be left behind when the Body of Christ is “caught up” to meet the Lord in the air (I Thes. 4:17). While we believers will “ever be with the Lord” in heaven, the seven years of Great Tribulation that will follow on earth will surely interfere with all that you have planned. Why not trust the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior by believing that His death, burial and resurrection paid for all of your sins. Then you too can look forward to being a part of all that the Lord has planned for His saints.
But we close by asking Christians if the Rapture will interfere with your plans, or be the triumph of His grace in your life? When John Wesley was asked what he would do the following day if he knew the Lord were coming, he replied that he would rise at his usual hour, spend time in his regularly scheduled morning devotions, and arrive promptly at his first speaking engagement of the day. In other words, he wouldn’t have to change a thing in his life to prepare for the coming of the Lord. May this be true of us too!

To the Reader:

Some of our Two Minutes articles were written many years ago by Pastor C. R. Stam for publication in newspapers. When many of these articles were later compiled in book form, Pastor Stam wrote this word of explanation in the Preface:
"It should be borne in mind that the newspaper column, Two Minutes With the Bible, has now been published for many years, so that local, national and international events are discussed as if they occurred only recently. Rather than rewrite or date such articles, we have left them just as they were when first published. This, we felt, would add to the interest, especially since our readers understand that they first appeared as newspaper articles."
To this we would add that the same is true for the articles written by others that we continue to add, on a regular basis, to the Two Minutes library. We hope that you'll agree that while some of the references in these articles are dated, the spiritual truths taught therein are timeless.
Article printed from Berean Bible Society: https://www.bereanbiblesociety.org

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Thou That Art Given to Pleasure

- Isaiah 47:8-9

INTRODUCTION

Many of those who find joy in pleasure are eventually overcome by seeking out further pleasures. Eventually, they find themselves carelessly given to the seeking of those pleasures. Though the warning given in Isaiah chapter 47 was directed to the “virgin daughter of Babylon” (Isaiah 47:1), the principle applies to everyone. A man given to pleasure often dwells carelessly until he is consumed with self. He lives as though life is a game, void of future trials, difficulties, and judgments. This is sometimes done because he does not truly give thought to future things. For others, it happens in order to avoid thinking about future things. Nevertheless, each decision is based upon how much happiness it brings, rather than how it affects others or his future. The reality is that pleasure cannot stop the outcomes that a person wishes to avoid.

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS

  • (For children): Instead of helping others, the rich fool took care of himself and only focused upon how happy he was going to live. God reminded him of his real future (Luke 12:16-21).
  • (For everyone): To be given to something is to be under its control. How can the desire for pleasure eventually control an individual? How does this often lead to greater dangers?
  • Are you given to any particular pleasure? Does anything worldly control your money and consume your thoughts? Does it in any way hinder your ability to serve the Lord?

PRAYER NEEDS

  • Ask the Lord to protect you from the control of pleasure.
  • Ask God to help your first desire to be to please Him.

HYMN

TAKE TIME TO BE HOLY

Friday, March 3, 2017

He That Loveth Pleasure

- Proverbs 21:17


The Bible says that pleasure-seeking breeds poverty. The more men require amusement and seek pleasure, the more they are willing to carelessly spend to have both. Proverbs 21:17
says, “He that loveth pleasure shall be a poor man.” Proverbs 29:3
speaks of the desire for evil pleasure when it says, “he that keepeth company with harlots spendeth his substance.” The prodigal son, who left home with his inheritance, offers one of the most well-known cases. The Bible says of him that he “wasted his substance with riotous living” (Luke 15:13). All pleasure is not sinful, but all pleasure can become costly and sinful when not properly balanced with the right level of wisdom and discretion. There are other pleasures which are directly sinful and should be completely avoided.
DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS

(For children): Good moms and dads will never allow their children all the pleasures they desire. Too much money spent on toys, candy, amusements, eating out, etc., may not leave enough for the actual needs: food, clothing, monthly bills, emergencies. Learn to control your desires for pleasures and be content when you are young.
(For everyone): What does the Bible say about sin and pleasures in Hebrews 11:25
? How long do the pleasures of sin last? What happens when pleasure runs out?
What kind of things might be considered pleasure, but not necessarily sinful pleasure? How can those things, though not directly sinful, become sinful?

PRAYER NEEDS

Ask God to continue to protect you from violence.
Ask God for wisdom to know your heart toward pleasure.

HYMN

I AM RESOLVED

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Six Ways God’s at Work in You — At Work

Part 3

Article by Keith Welton


You showed up to work today, but it feels like God didn’t. He feels remote and absent from what you do all day long. There are temptations all around, opportunities for cutting corners. No one else cares one wit about serving God. Conversations are all banal. And yet you believe God is sovereign over all things, and that means sovereign over putting you in this job in the first place.
You grow doubtful about yourself and wonder what it must be like for businessmen who are giants in the faith, and who sail through meetings and private work carried along by the joy of serving God. And here you stand in a job where God feels so far away.
In reality, the workforce is not only how God works through you; it is a place where God works inside of you, conforming you to the image of Christ. He may feel distant, but he’s not. He is using the difficulties and pressures in your job right now to focus you in at least six areas. 

5. God is using your workplace to focus your mind.
If these things are true about your work and what you do every day, then the change most needed isn’t that of a different environment, but a change of how we think about it. We ought to pray to be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2). One of the greatest challenges we face is not buying into the thought that what we see is all that is there. When we think God is not at work or not interested in work, then we have bought into the naturalistic worldview and not the biblical one.

6. God is using your workplace to focus your witness.

The gospel moves us to have an area of influence (2 Corinthians 10:13–16). Perhaps the reason you are in an office with people who have little regard for God, the products they make, or the way they work is because they struggle with a motivation to work and with direction for how to work. Perhaps the reason there is so much pressure at work is because people don’t have anything other than work to trust in. And perhaps you are there not to be a thermometer that reflects the conditions, but a thermostat that adjusts the conditions.

You have a great message to share with other people, and it might stir them to make the most of work and life. If you need help seeing more of what God has called you to on the job, then share that with your coworkers — tell them what you read in the Bible and how you need help with it. Ask others for help and invite them into your journey to be a better worker and teammate. They might say no, but they might appreciate your noble desire to make yourself and the workplace better. And it just might be a profound way you see God work.
God is at work in you as much on Monday morning as he is at work in you on Sunday morning, you just need to see it. Most of us do work behind the scenes that very few people understand or appreciate. No one realizes how much goes into making the pizza, writing the program, or shipping the product. In a similar way, God is at work in our lives in all we do, and sometimes we don’t see it until we really press in and think about it. When we do, we see that God is working behind the scenes in what we do, why we do it, how we do it, and where we do it. Realizing this truth might transform your workplace experience.

is a pastor at Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, MD. He joined the staff after a stint in the corporate world. He’s the author of Working for Glory: A Theology for Doing Work that Matters. He and his wife Amanda have four children.