The Secret Of Joy

Sat, 22 June 2019

Though the fig tree may not blossom, ... yet I will rejoice in the Lord. —Habakkuk 3:17-18

One of the shortest books in the Old Testament is the book of Habakkuk. In its three brief chapters we see an amazing transformation in the prophet's outlook on life. His opening words express depths of despair, but at the close of the book he has risen to heights of joy. What caused this remarkable change? Why did Habakkuk begin with a complaint and end with a song of praise?

The answer lies in three verses in chapter 2. In addition to God’s message of judgment on the wicked, the Almighty told the troubled prophet, "The just shall live by his faith" (v.4). He also promised that someday the earth would "be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea" (v.14). Finally, He assured him that "the Lord is in His holy temple" (v.20). These wonderful truths were just what Habakkuk needed to lift him out of his deep depression. By fixing his eyes on God, he rose above his discouraging circumstances and found a source of lasting joy in the Lord.

Like the prophet, we too must walk by faith and look forward to that glorious time when Jesus will return to earth to set up His kingdom of peace and righteousness. Maintaining our confidence in Him is the secret of true joy!

The Sovereign Lord is my strength; He makes my feet like the feet of the deer, he enables me to go on the heights. Habakkuk 3:19

Through A New Lens

Sat, 15 June 2019

God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made. Romans1:20

"It must be amazing to look at a tree and see the individual leaves instead of just a blur of green!" my dad said. I couldn't have said it better. I was eighteen at the time and not a fan of my new need to wear glasses, but they changed the way I saw everything, making the blurry beautiful!

When reading Scripture, I view certain books like I do when I look at trees without my glasses. There doesn't seem to be much to see. But noticing details can reveal the beauty in what might seem to be a boring passage. This happened to me when I was reading Exodus. God's directions for building the tabernacle—His temporary dwelling place among the Israelites­—can seem like a blur of boring details. But I paused at the end of chapter 25 where God gave directions for the lampstand. It was to be hammered out "of pure gold," including its base and shaft and its flowerlike cups, buds, and blossoms (v. 31). The cups were to be "shaped like almond flowers" (v. 34). Almond trees are breath-taking. And God incorporated that same natural beauty into His tabernacle!

Paul wrote, "God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature" are seen and understood in creation (Romans 1:20). To see God's beauty, sometimes we must look at creation, and what might seem like uninteresting passages in the Bible, we must see through a new lens.

How can you look at Scripture in a new way to see God’s beauty in it? How has God’s beautiful creation drawn you closer to Him?

The Power Of Pentecost

Sat, 08 June 2019

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be witnesses. Acts 1:8

God's power was dramatically displayed when the Holy Spirit came upon a small band of Christ's followers on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:2-4). Those present heard a roaring sound like a strong driving wind. Flames like fiery tongues hovered above their heads, and they proclaimed God's wonderful works in languages they had never learned. Many of us wish we could have a similar experience today. But we tend to overlook the fact that the power of Pentecost was given so that we could be witnesses for Christ (1:8).

Since that great day, the Holy Spirit has been transforming lives through the witness of believers. The testimony of those first-century Christians led thousands to faith in Jesus Christ. Our problem is that we like the spectacular. But we don't need to see the phenomena depicted in Acts 2. God uses our witness to open the eyes of others to the truth of the gospel.

The same Holy Spirit who was revealed in the first century resides in us today. We are now living witnesses of the power displayed on the Day of Pentecost. Praise God for His Pentecostal power! But don't neglect the reason it was given. Instead, show the Lord your gratitude by using that power to share the gospel.

The power of our witness comes from the power of the Spirit.

The Fingerprint Of God

Sat, 01 June 2019

For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10

Lygon Stevens loved to climb mountains with her brother Nick. They were experienced climbers, and both had summitted Mt. McKinley (Denali), the highest point in North America. Then, in January 2008, they were swept off a Colorado mountain by an avalanche, injuring Nick and killing twenty-year-old Lygon. When Nick later discovered his sister's journal in one of her satchels, he was deeply comforted by its contents. It was filled with reflections, prayers, and praise to God as seen in this entry: "I am a work of art, signed by God. But He's not done; in fact, He has just begun... I have on me the fingerprint of God. Never will there ever be another person like me... I have a job to do in this life that no other can do."

Although Lygon is no longer physically present on earth, through the legacy of her life and her journal she inspires and challenges those she left behind. Because we are made in God's image (Genesis 1:26), each person is a "work of art, signed by God." As the apostle Paul says, "We are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do" (Ephesians 2:10).

Praise God that He uses each of us, in His own time and way, to help others. Each person is a unique expression of God’s loving design.

Ascension Day

Sat, 25 May 2019

But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the counsellor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. John 16:7

Four supernatural events have kept humanity from self-destructing. Like beacons of light across a storm-tossed sea, these miracles have shown the way of salvation to a world in despair. We celebrate them on Christmas, Good Friday, Easter, and Ascension Day. Most of us recognize the significance of Christ's birth, when God became flesh; the cross, when sin's penalty was paid; and the resurrection, when the power of death was broken.

But what about His ascension? Why is that event so important? Jesus' return to His Father affected the lives of everyone, believers and unbelievers alike. After returning to heaven, He sent the Spirit, who would show people their need for a Saviour (John 16:8). Jesus said that the Spirit would also be the believer's Helper (v.7) and Teacher (14:17; 16:13-15).

Had Christ remained on this earth following His resurrection, His continuing ministry would have been limited. He would not have accomplished what He is presently doing through the Holy Spirit. Ascension Day reminds us that our exalted Lord is not only continuing His ministry for us, but through the Spirit He is also calling sinners to Himself.

Christ the Lord has sent the Spirit to convict of sin and pride, and to lead us to the Saviour, who for us was crucified.

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