Archive for June 20, 2012

Live in Peace

Posted: June 20, 2012 in Max Lucado

Live in Peace.

“If you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness.” Isaiah 58:10

With e-mail and instant messages, the joy of letter writing—and, better yet, receiving letters—is almost a lost commodity. I love getting mail, especially from someone I deeply admire and appreciate. My dad used to write to me regularly, and at the bottom of each letter he would include his “life verses,” Isaiah 58:10-11.

In the broader context of this passage, the Israelites were feeling disconnected from God, although, in their minds, they were doing all the right things. So they filed a complaint. “Why have we fasted . . . and you have not seen it? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you have not noticed?” (Isaiah 58:3).

God replied to their self-righteous grumbling by pointing out that though they were into all the rituals, they had neglected the things that were dear to His heart. So He tells them, “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice . . . to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—when you see the naked to clothe him?” (Isaiah 58:6-7).

The point is clear. When we are actively doing what God really cares about, extending His love and compassion to the disadvantaged, we will find His favor and experience His presence. He assures us, “If you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness” (Isaiah 58:10)

These verses were more than just a footnote on my dad’s letters. They guided his life and ministry.  I watched him pour himself out for those who were hungry and homeless, caring for their physical needs as well as nurturing the hunger of their souls that were longing for an eternal home. Even on holidays, he would take the time to visit the widow who lived down the street. For my dad, ministering to the needs of people was not a job. It was his way of loving God and living out Isaiah 58:10-11.

If you wonder why God seems far away, could it be that you have ignored caring for those He cares about?

Your Journey…

  • Make a list of some things you do to feel connected to the Lord. How do those things compare to the list in Isaiah 58:1-14?
  • Are you actively involved in doing the things that God wants you to do? If not, ask Him to show you what to do. Then be sure to do it, and watch His light shine!
  • What is your “life verse”? If you don’t have one, choose one, memorize it, and be sure to live it out. It’s a great way to leave a lasting legacy!

The Lord restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his friends —Job 42:10

A pitiful, sickly, and self-centered kind of prayer and a determined effort and selfish desire to be right with God are never found in the New Testament. The fact that I am trying to be right with God is actually a sign that I am rebelling against the atonement by the Cross of Christ. I pray, “Lord, I will purify my heart if You will answer my prayer— I will walk rightly before You if You will help me.” But I cannot make myself right with God; I cannot make my life perfect. I can only be right with God if I accept the atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ as an absolute gift. Am I humble enough to accept it? I have to surrender all my rights and demands, and cease from every self-effort. I must leave myself completely alone in His hands, and then I can begin to pour my life out in the priestly work of intercession. There is a great deal of prayer that comes from actual disbelief in the atonement. Jesus is not just beginning to save us— He has already saved us completely. It is an accomplished fact, and it is an insult to Him for us to ask Him to do what He has already done.

If you are not now receiving the “hundredfold” which Jesus promised (see Matthew 19:29), and not getting insight into God’s Word, then start praying for your friends— enter into the ministry of the inner life. “The Lord restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his friends.” As a saved soul, the real business of your life is intercessory prayer. Whatever circumstances God may place you in, always pray immediately that His atonement may be recognized and as fully understood in the lives of others as it has been in yours. Pray for your friends now, and pray for those with whom you come in contact now.

“If another believer is overcome… help that person.”          Gal 6:1 NLT

It’s okay to confront somebody you believe is in the wrong, but not with a self-righteous attitude. When church leaders insisted a woman “caught in the act of adultery” be stoned (See Jn 8:4 NLT), Jesus replied, “Let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone” (v. 7 NLT). Ouch! One Christian author writes: “Are we aware of other people’s mistakes because they confided in us, or have we appointed ourselves the ‘moral police’ to justify examining the blemishes in everyone else’s behavior? Is your goal to restore prodigals…or do you have a hidden agenda to elevate yourself by condemning those around you? I’ve been confronted twice by other Christians. One…a red-faced stranger who was furious with me for wearing knee-high leather boots with a short skirt to her church. She called me a ‘Jezebel.’ The second was…a good friend who tenderly pointed out my pride in a specific situation. The name-calling left a bruise on my soul…the compassionate rebuke turned me toward the forgiving arms of our heavenly Father…God alone has the perfect combination of holiness and mercy to stand in judgment of the human heart. The Bible says, ‘If another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself.’ The only One who was worthy to condemn us, chose instead to pardon us…and in light of our own sinner-saved-by-grace [status]—when the Holy Spirit impresses you to confront someone who’s messed up, do it with honesty, compassion and humility.”

After Joseph and Mary had done all that the law commanded, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. And the boy Jesus grew and became strong in body and mind. And the blessing of God was upon him.

Now his parents went every year to Jerusalem to the Feast of the Passover, and when he was twelve years old they went up as usual. After they had stayed the full number of days and were returning, the boy Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know this; but, supposing him to be in the caravan, they travelled on for a whole day. Then they searched for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, still looking for him. After three days they found him in the Temple, sitting with the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. All who heard him were amazed at his intelligence and his answers.

When his parents saw him, they were astonished; and his mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously looking for you.” He said to them, “Why did you look for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what he meant.

Then he went down with them and came to Nazareth; and he was obedient to them; but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart. And Jesus grew in wisdom and body and in favor with God and man.

When Abraham returned from the slaughter of the kings, the priest of the Most High appeared to welcome him, and to prepare him for the still more subtle encounter which awaited him with the king of Sodom. As Abraham drew nigh to that battle the priest approached.

Whenever a battle is imminent, look out for the:

Priest. – Do not go to the war at your own charges, you cannot stand against the mighty power of your arch-adversary. Look around, and see the Priest stand. What Priest? The Apostle and High Priest of your confession. He will offer prayer for you, and anoint your shield with the precious oil, and put His hand upon your hand as you feebly draw the bow.

“What makes you so bold, my lad?” the captain asked of a stripling as he went into the fight. And the answer came quickly, “My mother put her hands on my head and blessed me ere I left our home.”

Whenever the Priest has been near, anticipate a battle. – The best hours come to prepare us for the worst. The clove descends that we may be able to stand for forty days against the devil. Do not be surprised at this. And whenever some experience of unusual radiance and helpfulness has visited you, say to yourself, “This is God‘s sweet way of preparing me against coming trial. Let me walk warily, for danger is near. The Priest has been with me; I am drawing nigh to the battle. I know not what lies before me: but He is acquainted with the difficulties I have to face and the fierceness of the adversary I have to encounter. He alone can equip me for the fight.”


The Perfect Unison of the Trinity

Posted: June 20, 2012 in J C Ryle

The Perfect Unison of the Trinity.