Daily Archives: March 10, 2018

March 10 Relying on God’s Character

“Alas, O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and lovingkindness for those who love Him and keep His commandments. … Righteousness belongs to Thee, O Lord. … To the Lord our God belong compassion and forgiveness” (Dan. 9:4, 7, 9).

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God’s attributes authenticate your prayers.

Prior to the Babylonian Captivity, God had warned His people not to adopt the idolatrous ways of their captors, whose gods were idols that could neither hear nor deliver from distress (Isa. 46:6–7).

In marked contrast, our God loves us and delivers us from evil. When we confess our sins and intercede for others, He hears and responds. In Isaiah 45:21–22 He says, “There is no other God besides Me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none except Me. Turn to Me, and be saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other.”

In his prayer Daniel mentions several attributes of God that have a direct bearing on answered prayer. In verse 4 he calls Him “the great and awesome God.” That speaks of His power and majesty. You can pray with confidence because God is powerful enough to change your circumstances when it serves His purposes.

God’s faithfulness is reflected in the phrase “who keeps His covenant” (v. 4). He always keeps His promises. He made a covenant with Israel that if they repented He would forgive them (Deut. 30:1–3). He promised never to forsake them (Deut. 31:6; cf. Heb. 13:5).

God’s love is seen in His acts of mercy toward those who love Him (v. 4). His justice and holiness are inherent in the phrase “righteousness belongs to Thee” (v. 7). God’s actions are always loving and righteous. He never makes a mistake (Gen. 18:25).

Verse 9 mentions two final attributes: compassion and forgiveness. “Compassion” is a synonym for mercy. “Forgiveness” means He pardons your wrongdoings by canceling the penalty that sin has charged to your account. He reconciles you to Himself in sweet communion.

What a gracious God we serve! Rejoice in His love, and lean on His promises. He will never fail you.

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Suggestions for Prayer:  Praise God for His attributes of power, majesty, faithfulness, love, holiness, compassion, and forgiveness.

For Further Study: Read Isaiah 44, which sternly warns Israel to avoid the idolatry of Babylon during the Babylonian Captivity. ✧ What promises did God make to Israel? ✧ How did God characterize idolaters?[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 82). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

Killing Sin Does Not Make You New

“Christian maturity is not only marked by sins that have been put to death, but by a deeper personal knowledge of and intimacy with God, and a deeper commitment to his people, the church (Ephesians 4:13). Yes, sexual immorality, anger, and deceit are being put off. But something breathtaking is being put on in their place: love.”

If we boil the Christian life down to simply killing sin, we rob ourselves of the deepest hope and highest joys.

Yes, every true Christian will be killing sin. Any other version or distortion of Christianity falls short of what Christ died for. “Put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires” (Ephesians 4:22). “If you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live” (Romans 8:13). If we do not kill sin, we will die in our sin. But if we wage war against our sin, in the power of the Spirit, we prove that Christ is alive in us, and that we will never die.

Killing sin is essential to the Christian life, but it’s not the essence of the Christian life. When Christ calls us to deny ourselves, take up our cross daily, and follow him — and he does summon us to deny ourselves — he does so that we “may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). What we put on is far greater than anything we put off or leave behind.

The New You

God has given us hit lists of sins to kill. For instance, Colossians 3:58–9: “Put to death what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. . . . Put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices.”

We cannot follow Christ without putting off something, but that doesn’t mean following Christ is only about what we put off.

Just keep reading in Colossians 3, next verse: “ . . . and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator” (Colossians 3:10). You have not only put off your old self. You have put on a new self. And your new self looks more and more like the one who created and sustains every corner of the universe. As horrible as we looked in our sin where God found us, we are now being rebuilt and refined in his spectacular image.

We find similar language in 2 Corinthians 4:16: “Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.” We are being made into the image of an infinitely big, perfectly holy God. That process happens painstakingly slow — one day at a time — from one precious degree of glory to another (2 Corinthians 3:18).

The Power of Knowing God

But how are we being changed? “[You] have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.” What does it mean to be renewed “in knowledge”?

This is not the first mention of “knowledge” in Colossians,

We have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. (Colossians 1:9–10)

Putting on the new man is not something first we do, but something we know — and in particular, someone we know. Notice how knowledge is the beginning and end of this kind of spiritual growth. Knowledge equips us to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord — “so as to walk . . . ” — and we walk in a manner worthy of the Lord because we want to know him more — “increasing in the knowledge of God.”

Christian maturity is not only marked by sins that have been put to death, but by a deeper personal knowledge of and intimacy with God, and a deeper commitment to his people, the church (Ephesians 4:13). Yes, sexual immorality, anger, and deceit are being put off. But something breathtaking is being put on in their place: love. Again, Paul prays, “It is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment” (Philippians 1:9).

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The post Killing Sin Does Not Make You New appeared first on The Aquila Report.

11 signs someone is lying to you

• The signs that someone is lying aren’t always easy to decipher.

• And, unfortunately, there’s no way to determine whether or not someone’s being honest with 100% certainty.

• But there are some obvious signs that someone might be lying to you that you can watch out for.

How can you to tell if someone is lying to you? It’s a question people have probably been asking themselves since lies were invented.

Research by Dr. Leanne ten Brinke, a forensic psychologist at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, and her collaborators, suggests that our instincts for judging liars are actually fairly strong — but our conscious minds sometimes fail us.

Luckily, there are signs we can look for when trying to detect a lie.

Dr. Lillian Glass, behavioral analyst, body language expert, and “The Body Language of Liars” author, said when trying to figure out if someone is lying, you first need to understand how the person normally acts.

With that in mind, here are some signs that someone is lying to you:

SEE ALSO: 15 signs your coworker is a psychopath

1. People who are lying tend to change their head position quickly

If you see someone suddenly make a head movement when you ask them a direct question, they may be lying to you about something.

“The head will be retracted or jerked back, bowed down, or cocked or tilted to the side,” wrote Glass.

This will often happen right before the person is expected to respond to a question.

2. Their breathing may also change

When someone is lying to you, they may begin to breathe heavily, Glass said. “It’s a reflex action.”

When their breathing changes, their shoulders will rise and their voice may get shallow, she adds. “In essence, they are out of breath because their heart rate and blood flow change. Your body experiences these types of changes when you’re nervous and feeling tense — when you lie.”

3. They tend to stand very still

It’s common knowledge that people fidget when they get nervous, but Glass said that you should also watch out for people who are not moving at all.

“This may be a sign of the primitive neurological ‘fight,’ rather than the ‘flight,’ response, as the body positions and readies itself for possible confrontation,” said Glass. “When you speak and engage in normal conversation, it is natural to move your body around in subtle, relaxed, and, for the most part, unconscious movements. So if you observe a rigid, catatonic stance devoid of movement, it is often a huge warning sign that something is off.”

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

In Spite of Evidence, CM&A Denomination Clears Ravi Zacharias on Cyber Adultery

(Pulpit & Pen News) We released the text messages from Ravi Zacharias that indisputably proved he carried on an affair via electronic communication, received illicit images of his paramour, begged her not to tell her husband, and ultimately insinuated he would kill himself if she confessed and repented openly. You can find that post, On the Adulterous Affair of Ravi Zacharias and the Cover-Uphere. Other press outlets were content to only report the spun words from Zacharias’ ministry.

Amidst a scandal related to Zacharias’ inflation of credentials (which included not only treating honorary doctorates as the real thing but more seriously, included fabricating jobs he never worked and education programs he never attended), the adultery evidence simply compiled upon an already embattled Christian celebrity. Sadly, because many of his critics are atheists – like the attorney Steve Baughman – evangelicals have been all-too-eager to act as though their evidence doesn’t matter.

In addition to the intentional rug-sweeping of Christian media of which they’re prone, it has been hypothesized that the couple intentionally “set-up” Zacharias and that they are of suspect character, trying to extort the apologist. While the scenario may be plausible, there is little to no doubt that Zacharias acted improperly, committed at least some form of tawdry, sexualized behavior, and attempted to cover it up. Those are facts that have been well-established. It is also reported and widely known that the woman in question received a settlement from Zacharias, which rarely means innocence.

Zacharias, who received his ministry credentials from the Christian and Missionary Alliance (CM&A), has been cleared from discipline by the denomination. The CM&A was founded 1897 as a loose affiliation, and more formally in 1974. The denomination has a little more than 400k members and 2k churches, and boasts notable Christian leaders like Mike Tomlin, A.W. Tozer, and Phil Vischer (the creator of Veggie Tales).

The CMA issued a statement defending Zacharias from disciplinary measures, stating:

Ravi Zacharias has maintained his licensing credentials through The Christian and Missionary Alliance (C&MA) for 45 years. Along with all C&MA licensed workers, he is subject to the Uniform Policy on Discipline, Restoration, and Appeal.

Recently Mr. Zacharias has been accused of exaggerating his academic credentials. Mr. Zacharias and his employer, Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, have revised and clarified their communications to address these concerns. The C&MA has determined that there is no basis for formal discipline regarding this matter.

Mr. Zacharias has also been accused of engaging in an immoral relationship with a woman through the use of electronic communications. The C&MA recently completed a thorough inquiry of these accusations, including interviews with those involved and a review of all available documentation and records. While it is not appropriate to publicly discuss the nuances of these allegations, the available evidence does not provide a basis for formal discipline under the C&MA policy.

That was the full statement. There was no further explanation for why clear evidence like text messages, a non-disclosure payout, and demonstrably false statements made by Zacharias’ ministry regarding his credentials do not meet the CM&A qualifications for censure.

The CM&A has a history of not taking seriously the abuses or sins of its licensed ministers. In 1995, more than 30 alumni from their children’s school in New Guinea, demanded restitution and resolution regarding abuse at the school that had been repeatedly reported since the 1980s. In spite of well more than a decade of complaints regarding abuse, the CM&A failed to act for similar reasons by which they have exonerated Zacharias. In 1998, the CM&A finally had to admit their error and ask for forgiveness for not taking the sins of their ministry professionals seriously.

Published with Pulpit & Pen’s permission (Source)

Related:

On Discerning Ravi Zacharias: It’s Time to Say What Needs to Be Said

Ravi Zacharias Responds to Sexting Allegations, Credentials Critique

Ravi Zacharias: Why I Don’t Think His Response at Christianity Today Cleared Things Up – See our Disclaimer

Source: In Spite of Evidence, CM&A Denomination Clears Ravi Zacharias on Cyber Adultery

MARCH 10 EFFECTIVE PRAYER: LETTING ALL OUR PRETENSES GO

Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.

MATTHEW 23:28

The basic artificiality of civilized human beings is hard to shake off. It gets into our very blood and conditions our thoughts, attitudes and relationships much more seriously than we imagine.

The desire to make a good impression has become one of the most powerful of all the factors determining human conduct. That gracious (and scriptural) social lubricant called courtesy has in our times degenerated into a completely false and phony etiquette that hides the true man under a shimmery surface as thin as the oil slick on a quiet pond. The only times some persons expose their real self is when they get mad.

With this perverted courtesy determining almost everything men and women say and do in human society, it is not surprising that it should be hard to be completely honest in our relations with God. It carries over as a kind of mental reflex and is present without our being aware of it.

Nevertheless, it is an attitude extremely hateful to God. Christ detested it and condemned it without mercy when He found it among the Pharisees. The artless little child is still the divine model for all of us. Prayer will increase in power and reality as we repudiate all pretense and learn to be utterly honest before God as well as before men![1]


[1] Tozer, A. W., & Smith, G. B. (2015). Evenings with tozer: daily devotional readings. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

Christian Bridal Shop Closes

After receiving death threats for refusing to sell wedding dresses to lesbians. Also afraid that the town council “will pass an ordinance banning stores and other places of public accommodation from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation no matter what their religious beliefs might be.” The intolerance of the left is mind-numbing.

The post Christian Bridal Shop Closes appeared first on LewRockwell.

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10 invalid arguments in defense of false teachers.

Latest post from our good friends and fellow polemicists at ‘Famine In The Land’.


Rick Becker writes:

Scripture warns us that in the last days some will depart from the faith, and be deceived by evil spirits and teachings of demons. Those who teach false doctrines are not on the fringes of christianity, they are in the center in the form of the Evangelical Industrial Complex.  Bethel, Hillsong and other NAR “churches” have infested the visible church like gangrene.  Those who are saved from this deception, try to warn their friends and family still caught up in the quagmire of celebrity teachers and false doctrines.  When we warn them of the precarious position they are in, they usually resort to arguments we are all familiar with. This post deals with some of those questions.

Do you know them personally ?

It is not necessary to know figures such as Brian Houston…

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The Young Roman Catholic Man Who Clenched His Fist

(Jordan Standridge – The Cripplegate) “So I asked him a third question, and I let him know that I ask this question in order to really get to the heart of what someone believes about how they are going to Heaven. I asked him, “If you were to die tonight, and were to stand before God, and He were to ask you why should I let you into Heaven?”

Let me tell you about a Gospel conversation I had recently that left an impression on my heart.

Tim was a very polite guy.

He was cordial and respectful. He listened carefully and was obviously raised well by his parents. He was well dressed and was very articulate. Tim was also very religious.

I start off every conversation with the same question I ask everyone, “If it applies, what are two reasons you stopped going to church?” Tim answered that he goes to Catholic mass every week.

So I asked him my second question, “Coming from a Catholic perspective, what would you say the Gospel is?” He said it was the Bible. When I asked him what the “good news” of the Gospel was, he said that it was the possibility to live a better life and to go to Heaven.

So I asked him a third question, and I let him know that I ask this question in order to really get to the heart of what someone believes about how they are going to Heaven. I asked him, “If you were to die tonight, and were to stand before God, and He were to ask you why should I let you into Heaven? What would you say?” He thought about it for a few seconds and said, “I don’t think I’d say anything. I would expect the Lord to know whether I deserve Heaven or not.”

So that began a 40 minute conversation. Back and forth we talked about the differences between what we were saying. I asked if I could share the Gospel with him, he agreed and listened as carefully as he could.

Overall I was incredibly thankful for the conversation, I thought it well really well. We smiled at each other and listened to each other respectfully. But what was obvious to both of us is that we clearly believed in two different salvations. He stated that he needed to take the mass every Sunday in order to, not only stay within the possibility of being saved, but to achieve salvation. He clearly understood the fact that his religion was performance-based and that mine was an instantaneous salvation.

At the end of our conversation, I gave him a tract and encouraged him to read some verses from Scripture. I also said what I always say, that death is around the corner for all of us, and that we must trust in Jesus Christ alone for our salvation. Then, we shook hands and he walked off.

And then something happened.

As he began walking away, holding the tract in his hand, all of a sudden, he clenched his fist and destroyed the tract. I was shocked. Our conversation was among the most respectful I may have ever had. I knew he was frustrated with the idea that our salvation doesn’t depend on us at all, and I could tell that he was super uncomfortable with it throughout our conversation, but I never expected that level of anger from him.

As I thought through our conversation over the last few months, I am reminded of so many truths from Scripture.  View article →

See our Research Paper on Roman Catholicism

Source: The Young Roman Catholic Man Who Clenched His Fist

March 10, 2018 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

Trouble and Triumph with the Devil

Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; (22:31–32a)

Jesus triumphed over trouble with a human enemy in Judas, and with His human friends, the apostles. He also triumphed over the trouble caused by His supernatural adversary Satan. The setting is still the upper room, as is John’s description of this conversation between the Lord and Peter (13:31–38). Matthew (26:30–35) and Mark (14:26–31) record a similar conversation that took place later on the Mount of Olives. Only Luke notes that Satan demanded permission to sift the disciples (the pronoun translated you is plural). Exaiteō (demanded) appears only here in the New Testament. It is an intensified form of the verb aiteō, which means “to ask.” The verb is reflexive, indicating that Satan was demanding Peter and the rest for himself.

Though he continually assaults believers (as he did Paul; cf. 2 Cor. 12:7; 1 Thess. 2:18; 2 Cor. 2:11), the devil can operate only within the parameters and limitations established by God, and hence needed His permission to attack the disciples (cf. Job 1:6–12; 2:1–6; Zech. 3:1–5).

What the devil intended to do with them was sift them like wheat. When wheat was harvested, the wheat and the chaff were shaken and tossed into the air. The wind would blow away the lighter chaff, leaving behind the good grain. Satan wanted to violently shake the disciples to see if their faith remained. He would assault them with a severe trial a short time later in Gethsemane, which, in fulfillment of Zechariah 13:7, would cause them to forsake Jesus and flee.

But the disciples’ defection would not be permanent. After Christ’s resurrection, they would be restored and meet Him in Galilee (Matt. 26:32). Their restoration from temporary fear was guaranteed by the Lord’s promise, “I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail” (or be eclipsed; cf. Luke 23:45). Jesus, their great high priest, continually intercedes for believers (Heb. 7:25; cf. Rom. 8:33–34; Jude 24–25 and the example of His intercessory praying in John 17:6–19), and His prayers are always answered, since He always prays according to God’s will. The saving faith of Peter and the other apostles was the genuine gift of God, and, like Job’s faith, Satan’s best efforts would not destroy it.

Trouble and Triumph with Peter

and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” But he said to Him, “Lord, with You I am ready to go both to prison and to death!” And He said, “I say to you, Peter, the rooster will not crow today until you have denied three times that you know Me.” (22:32b–34)

Satan had been assaulting Peter, at least as far back as his foolish attempt to dissuade Jesus from going to the cross (Matt. 16:22–23). Despite having given him the name Peter (Mark 3:16), Jesus almost always addressed him as Simon, the lone exception being here in verse 34. Since Peter so often acted like his old self, Jesus usually addressed him by his old name. The twofold intensive repetition, Simon, Simon, reveals pathos, disappointment, and sadness on the Lord’s part over his behavior.

Unfazed by Jesus’ warning, Peter brashly declared, “Lord, with You I am ready to go both to prison and to death!” His overconfident bravado expressed a sincere love for the Lord. But it was based on the assumption that Jesus would be present, as the prepositional phrase with You indicates. Since Peter had witnessed firsthand countless examples of Christ’s limitless power, he was sure he could withstand anything, as long as Jesus was there. That confidence was revealed a few hours later in Gethsemane, when he fearlessly took on the force sent to arrest Jesus. Confident in his Lord’s power to rescue him, Peter evidently intended to hack his way through the entire detachment, if necessary, beginning with the high priest’s slave (22:50).

Shortly afterward, however, away from Christ’s presence in the high priest’s courtyard, Peter would cringe in cowardly fear and deny his Lord (Luke 22:54–62), fulfilling Jesus’ warning, “I say to you, Peter, the rooster will not crow today until you have denied three times that you know Me.”

Peter eventually would be imprisoned (Acts 12:3–11) and later executed. According to tradition, he was crucified upside down because he declared himself unworthy to be crucified in the same manner as his Lord. Despite his denial under the threat of the events surrounding Jesus’ arrest, Peter’s faith would not ultimately fail. When he was turned around by divine grace, he would be able to strengthen his brothers. Having been through such an unusual temptation and trial and experienced the enduring character of saving faith, Peter would be able to strengthen and encourage others. He could gratefully tell them that Christ upheld, restored, and commissioned him (John 21:15–19; cf. 1 Peter 1:3–9). Peter would later write his first epistle as a revelation from the Holy Spirit to strengthen others in their trials. His recovery demonstrates the indestructible power of the saving faith that God graciously grants to His own.[1]


31–32 Only Luke records these words to Peter, at the same time omitting Jesus’ prediction of the disciples’ failure and their being scattered (Mt 26:30–32; Mk 14:26–28). He also omits any reference to Jesus’ postresurrection appearance in Galilee, likewise omitted in his resurrection narrative (see comments at 24:6). While Luke has stressed the faithfulness of the disciples and might not wish to mention their defection, he does refer forthrightly to Peter’s coming defection, where he attributes it to the direct activity of Satan. In Matthew and Mark there is a transition from the scene of the Last Supper to the Mount of Olives before the prediction of the disciples’ defection is given. In Luke, Jesus’ warning to Peter comes immediately after Jesus’ commendation for the disciples’ faithfulness and his promise concerning the kingdom. This makes a strong contrast. The repetition of Simon’s name adds weight to the warning. The metaphor of sifting implies separating what is desirable from what is undesirable. Here the thought is that Satan wants to prove that at least some of the disciples will fail under severe testing.

The first occurrence of “you” in v. 31 is in the plural (hymas). This refers to all the disciples in contrast to Peter, who is addressed (v. 32) by the singular “you” (sou). Notice the use of the name “Simon” for Peter, apparently characteristic of Luke or of his special source.

Jesus’ prayer that Simon’s faith would not fail (v. 32) has occasioned discussion over whether it was or was not answered. The verbal phrase “may not fail” (mē eklipē, GK 1722) probably means “may not give out” or “may not disappear completely” (as the sun in a total eclipse). If this is correct, then Jesus’ prayer was certainly answered. Peter’s denial, though serious and symptomatic of a low level of faith, did not mean that he had ceased within himself to believe in the Lord. Nevertheless, his denial was so contrary to his former spiritual state that he would need to “return” (epistrephō, GK 2188; NIV, “turn back”) to Christ. The whole experience, far from disqualifying Peter from Christian service, would actually issue in a responsibility for him to “strengthen [his] brothers.”[2]


22:32. Peter had an ally Job did not. Jesus was praying for him. This is a foretaste of Jesus’ heavenly role as our intercessor (Rom. 8:34; Heb. 7:25). Here is a prayer of Jesus that was not fulfilled. Faith did fail Peter. Jesus knew it would. So Jesus encouraged Peter to come back from failure. Failure does not have to be the last word. Satan can win a battle and lose the war. After giving in to temptation, Peter could become stronger and become a source of strength for others. Failure need not be complete. Forgiveness is readily available. Here is the good news of the gospel for everyone.[3]


31, 32. Simon, Simon, watch out! Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith may not utterly fail; and you, once you have returned (to me), strengthen your brothers.

As shown in the summary on p. 960, from The Twelve Luke now turns to Simon Peter. There are commentators who believe that this discussion between Jesus and Simon must have taken place after the group had left the upper room. They base this conclusion on Matt. 26:30–33 and on John 13:31–38. Others, however, hold that it is entirely possible that the Master started to warn Peter even while the group was still in the upper room, and that the discussion between that disciple and Jesus was continued afterward.

Note the following:

  1. Jesus calls this disciple Simon, not (that is, not until verse 34) Peter, the Rock. If any significance can be attached to this fact, it may well be that the Master wishes to fix the attention of this leader upon the fact that in himself he is a weak creature, not at all a man of stability, no rock.
  2. The repetition (“Simon, Simon”) indicates emphasis and deep concern. For other instances of this stylistic form see on 10:41.
  3. Jesus says, “Behold” or “Take note,” “Pay attention,” “Watch out,” whichever rendering one may prefer. Simon will never be able to say that he was not warned.
  4. Satan.

We seldom realize that beyond the struggle that goes on within the heart, and the conflict between opposing forces on earth, there is the probably even more intense encounter in the spiritual world. In the present case the ardent desire of Satan, his insistent demand, had been counteracted by the Savior’s prayer for Simon’s salvation. For other instances of this superterrestrial warfare see Job 1:6–12; 2:1–6; Zech. 3:1–5.

  • “Satan has desired to sift … as wheat.”

This sifting of wheat basically refers to the repeated, swift, and violent shaking of the wheat in a sieve. Someone—often a woman—grasps a sieve in both hands, and begins to shake it vigorously from side to side so that the chaff will rise to the surface. This is then thrown away. Next, she puts that sieve through a teeter-totter motion, raising now this and then that side, and blowing over it, so that what still remains of the chaff gathers in an easily removable pile. The purpose is, of course, to save the wheat, now separated from chaff and other unwanted materials.

What Jesus is saying, then, is this: the disciples too will be subjected to a severe trial. That trial is going to happen this very night, and probably often afterward in their lives. But the emphasis is upon the events of this night.

  1. Although Jesus is here addressing one individual, namely, Simon, he is predicting what is going to happen to the entire group: note “Satan has desired to sift you” (not “you”).
  2. Satan has desired … that is, has asked to have for himself. We are again reminded of the story of Job, how Satan demanded that he be given a free hand with respect to that eminent child of God.
  3. But I have prayed for you. Note here the singular you, namely Simon. Not as if Jesus did not also pray for the other disciples. He prayed for them this very night (John 17:6–19), and must have prayed for them many times previously. But in the present passage the reference is to the intercession of Jesus for Simon, for him alone. Why this was we do not know. Was it perhaps because Simon was the recognized leader, a man who could be expected to exert influence on the others? Other suggestions that have been made are: because Simon was very headstrong, impetuous, a hard case therefore.
  4. The substance of Christ’s prayer was “that your faith may not utterly fail,” in other words, that in the end your faith may prevail.
  5. This interpretation also harmonizes with the words “and you, once you have returned [or: have retraced your steps], strengthen your brothers.” To be sure, considered in and by itself, Simon’s fall was bad, very bad, tragic. Yet, once it had occurred, Simon must make good use of this bad fall. He must use it to strengthen his fellow disciples.[4]

[1] MacArthur, J. (2014). Luke 18–24 (pp. 294–296). Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[2] Liefeld, W. L., & Pao, D. W. (2007). Luke. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Luke–Acts (Revised Edition) (Vol. 10, pp. 317–318). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Butler, T. C. (2000). Luke (Vol. 3, p. 371). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[4] Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Gospel According to Luke (Vol. 11, pp. 973–974). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

Top Weekly Stories from ChristianNews.net for 03/10/2018

Glenn Beck Chokes Up Over His Recollection of When Billy Graham Defended Him, a Mormon, as Being Christian   Mar 03, 2018 03:32 pm

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Serial Homosexual Child Rapist With 300 Year Sentence Freed on Technicality, Won’t Have to Register as Sex Offender   Mar 03, 2018 10:39 am

(Newsweek) A convicted pedophile who was sentenced to 300 years for sexually assaulting six children has been freed from Arkansas Valley Correctional Facility in Colorado. Michael McFadden, 46, was released on Tuesday after the Colorado Court of Appeals decided his right to a speedy trial had been violated. McFadden’s trial, which was scheduled for 2015, was…

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‘Pope Francis’ Decrees New Feast Day on Liturgical Calendar for Mary, ‘Mother of the Church’   Mar 06, 2018 01:26 pm

Bergoglio in Fatima 2017 | Photo credit: CTV screenshot ROME —  Roman Catholic leader Jorge Bergoglio, also known as “Pope Francis,” has decreed that a new feast day be added to the liturgical calendar to honor Mary, called “Mother of the Church.” The announcement has been deemed unbiblical as the Catholic Church continues to place inordinate emphasis on…

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Board Overseeing Florida Condo Building Bans Bible Study, Christian Music in Commons Areas   Mar 08, 2018 11:59 am

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — The board overseeing a condominium building in Florida has adopted a resolution that prohibits religious gatherings from being held in the commons areas. A sign has now also been placed on a piano prohibiting residents from playing Christian music. According to reports, the board of Cambridge House, managed by Gateway Group, recently…

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Bridal Shop Threatened for Declining to Assist With Lesbian ‘Wedding’ Closing Its Doors   Mar 06, 2018 08:38 pm

Photo Credit: W.W. Bridal Facebook page BLOOMSBURG, Pa. — The Christian owners of a bridal shop in Pennsylvania who have been receiving threats since declining to assist a lesbian with her wedding last July have decided to close their business due to fears of an impending ordinance that would require them to violate their faith, as well as the inability to…

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Members of Pennsylvania ‘Unification Church’ Cult Bring AR-15s to ‘Perfection Level’ Blessing Ceremony   Mar 05, 2018 12:39 pm

Photo Credit: CBS News/screenshot NEWFOUNDLAND, Pa. — Members of a group in Pennsylvania that is stated to be a breakaway from the “Unification Church” but still follows the late Sun Myung Moon as the “Messiah” raised eyebrows on Wednesday after they brought AR-15s to a couples’ blessing ceremony as the “rod of iron” cited in the Book of Revelation and a…

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Atheist Group Takes Issue With Texas Sheriff’s Quotation of Romans 13:4 in Memo   Mar 05, 2018 09:27 pm

DENTON, Texas — One of the nation’s most conspicuous atheist activist groups has submitted a letter of complaint to a sheriff’s office in Texas to assert that the sheriff’s quotation of Romans 13:4 in a memo to officers violates the U.S. Constitution. The Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) says that a local resident alerted the organization…

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Washington State Lawmakers Pass Bill Requiring Insurance Companies to Cover Abortion   Mar 04, 2018 11:53 pm

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Lawmakers in Washington State have passed a bill that requires insurance companies to cover abortion and contraception. The Senate passed S.B. 6219, also known as the Reproductive Parity Act, on Saturday 27-22 after approving changes made by the House. It now moves to Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee, who is expected to sign the legislation into…

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Judge Rules Idaho Cannot Deny Amended Birth Certificates to Men Who Identify as Women   Mar 06, 2018 06:03 pm

BOISE, Idaho — A federal judge has ruled that the State of Idaho cannot legally decline to issue amended birth certificates to those who suffer from gender dysphoria, concluding that refusals violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. “Defendants … violate the Equal Protection Clause by failing to provide an avenue for transgender…

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MARCH 10 NORMAL—OR NOMINAL?

Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Luke 12:34

Is the Lord Jesus Christ your most precious treasure in the whole world? If so, count yourself among “normal” Christians, rather than among “nominal” Christians! My old dictionary gives this definition as the meaning of nominal:

Existing in name only, not real or actual; hence so small, slight, as to be hardly worth the name.

With that as a definition, those who know they are Christians “in name only” should never make the pretense of being normal Christians. Thankfully those who are “normal” are constantly being drawn to praise and worship, charmed by the moral beauty which is found only in Jesus.

I cannot understand how anyone can profess to be a follower and a disciple of our Lord Jesus Christ and not be overwhelmed by His attributes. Those divine attributes faithfully attest that He is indeed Lord of all, completely worthy of our worship and praise!

Heavenly Father, You are the Creator of heaven and earth. You are holy and righteous in all Your ways. You are my Treasure today and every day.[1]


[1] Tozer, A. W. (2015). Mornings with tozer: daily devotional readings. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

Weekend Snapshot — Top Stories This Week

Weekend Snapshot

Mar. 10, 2018
Top Stories This Week
Quote of the Week

“Despite the greater accessibility to guns in previous decades, why wasn’t there the kind of violence we see with today’s far more restricted access to guns? … We must own up to the fact that laws and regulations alone cannot produce a civilized society. Morality is society’s first line of defense against uncivilized behavior.” —Walter Williams

Don’t leave the Baby in the manger or the Man on the cross

The End Time

When Christmas comes around, everyone loves the thought of the baby in the manger. The story is so precious, and the swaddling cloths, and the animals milling around, and the Shepherds who came to see…

So cute!

But not cute.

This Grace To You essay brings the point home.

What do you think about when you see a nativity scene? We might recognize the baby in the manger as God in flesh. But seeing Christ as a helpless and vulnerable infant can delude us into thinking that the humility of the incarnation was not isolated to His physical form—that somehow, His deity was also diminished.
And it’s easy to read the birth narratives in the gospel accounts without gaining a full sense of Christ’s eternal glory and supremacy. Those attributes figure more prominently at the end of His earthly sojourn rather than the beginning.

Where can we see that glory…

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40 Days to the Cross: Week Three – Saturday

Confession: Psalm 143:7–11

Quickly answer me, O Yahweh;

my spirit fails.

Do not hide your face from me,

or I will become

like those descending to the pit.

Cause me to hear your loyal love in the morning,

for I trust you.

Cause me to know the way that I should go,

for I lift up my soul to you.

Deliver me from my enemies, O Yahweh.

I take refuge in you.

Teach me to do your will, for you are my God;

your Spirit is good.

Lead me onto level ground.

For your name’s sake, O Yahweh, preserve my life;

in your righteousness bring me out of trouble.

Reading: Mark 13:1–8

And as he was going out of the temple courts, one of his disciples said to him, “Teacher, look! What great stones and what wonderful buildings!” And Jesus said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left here on another stone that will not be thrown down!”

And as he was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately, “Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign when all these things are about to be accomplished?” So Jesus began to say to them, “Watch out that no one deceives you! Many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he,’ and they will deceive many. And when you hear about wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. This must happen, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise up against nation and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places. There will be famines. These things are the beginning of birth pains.”

Reflection

The great charge against Jesus—which His accusers brought forward—was that He said, “I am able to destroy the temple of God and to build it in three days” (Matt 26:61 nrsv). But in so saying, He spoke of the temple of His body. They thought, not being able to understand the meaning of the speaker, that His reference was to the temple of stone. This temple was treated by the Jews with greater respect than He was who ought to have been honored as the true temple of God—the Word, the sisdom, and the truth.

And who can say that “Jesus attempted to make His escape by disgracefully concealing Himself”? Let any one point to an act deserving to be called disgraceful. And when he adds, “He was taken prisoner,” I would say that—if to be taken prisoner implies an act done against one’s will—then Jesus was not taken prisoner. For at the fitting time, He did not prevent Himself falling into the hands of men as the Lamb of God—that He might take away the sin of the world.

—Origen

Origen Against Celsus

Response

Reflect on the sins in your life and how Christ’s willing payment of your debts frees you to serve God with thankfulness. What is your response to His sacrifice? How does the hope of His resurrection transform your life right now?[1]


[1] Van Noord, R., & Strong, J. (Eds.). (2014). 40 Days to the Cross: Reflections from Great Thinkers. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

March 10 Jesus’ Definition of Peace

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.—Matt. 5:9

One of the most obvious facts of world history is that peace does not characterize man’s earthly existence. Yet two thousand years ago Jesus instructed God’s people to be peacemakers. He gave us a special mission to help restore the peace lost at the Fall.

The peace of which Christ speaks is unlike anything the world knows or strives for. His peace is not concerned with resolving conflict between governments and nations, with righting the wrongs of human oppression. His peace is the inner, personal peace that only He can give to the soul of man, a peace that only His children can emulate.

What makes Jesus’ kind of peace different? Instead of focusing on the absence of conflict and strife, Jesus’ peace produces righteousness, for only righteousness can bring two antagonistic parties together. It is what brings the unsaved person to God. It is God who reconciles a person to Himself, imputes Christ’s righteousness to him, and makes peace with him or her.

Only righteousness can usher in harmony and true well-being. James confirms the nature of God’s peace when he writes, “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable” (James 3:17). Peace cannot be divorced from holiness. “Righteousness and peace have kissed each other” is the beautiful expression of Psalm 85:10. Where there is true peace, there is righteousness, holiness, and purity. May those things characterize you as you strive to be a peacemaker.

ASK YOURSELF

What situations in your own life are in desperate need of peace and restoration? How do you think God wants to use you as a peacemaker in the midst of it? You’ve surely tried. You’ve wanted to see righteousness and justice returned. Pray that the Lord would show you how to exhibit His brand of peace in fresh, new ways.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 78). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

March 10 Right Priorities

Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.

Colossians 3:2

Where are your priorities? Are you focused on things of this world, or on spiritual issues? Would the coming of Jesus Christ tomorrow mess up your plans? Unfortunately, many Christians hope He doesn’t show up for a while.

What a sad commentary! If you would rather stay on earth than be in Christ’s glorious home in heaven, then you don’t love His appearing. It grieves God when we don’t live in anticipation of His glorious presence and are more interested in the mundane passing things of this world.

Where is your heart? It’s time to take a close look at your priorities. When you’re truly grateful for the salvation God has given, then you’re living in the hope of the fullness of that salvation yet to come. Make John’s desire your own: “Even so, come, Lord Jesus” (Rev. 22:20).[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 83). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

March 10, 2018 Morning Verse Of The Day

Enoch Believed That God Is

And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is. (11:6a)

Absolutely nothing from men can please God apart from faith. Religion does not please God, because it is essentially a system developed by Satan to counteract the truth. Nationality and heritage do not please God (cf. Gal 3:28–29). The Jews thought they pleased God just because they were descendants of Abraham. But most of the time they were displeasing to Him. Good works in themselves do not please God, “because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight” (Rom. 3:20). Without faith it is impossible to please Him.

The first step of faith is simply to believe that He is. This Enoch did. God is pleased with those who believe in Him, even with the first step of believing that He exists. This belief alone is certainly not enough to save a person, but if it is a sincere conviction and is followed up, it will lead to full faith.

In his book, Your God is Too Small, J. B. Phillips describes some of the common gods that people manufacture. One is the grand old man god, the grandfatherly, white-haired, indulgent god who smiles down on men and winks at their adultery, stealing, cheating, and lying. Then there are the resident policeman god, whose primary job is to make life difficult and unenjoyable, and the god in a box, the private and exclusive sectarian god. The managing director god is the god of the deists, the god who designed and created the universe, started it spinning, and now stands by far away watching it run down. God is not pleased with belief in any of these idolatrous substitutes.

Believing that the true God exists is what is pleasing to Him. Mere recognition of a deity of some sort—the “ground of being,” the “man upstairs,” or any of the man-made gods just mentioned—is not the object of belief in mind here. Only belief in the existence of the true God, the God of Scripture, counts.

We cannot know God by sight. “No man has seen God at any time,” Jesus said (John 1:18). Nor can we know God by reason. Two chapters of the book of Job (38–39) are devoted to God’s forceful and colorful illustrations of how man cannot even fathom the operations of nature. How much less can we understand God Himself by our own observations and reasonings.

God gives much evidence of His existence, but it is not the kind of evidence that men often are looking for. He cannot be proved by science, for example. At best, scientific evidence is circumstantial. Paul Little wrote, “But it can be said with equal emphasis that you can’t prove Napoleon by the scientific method, either. The reason lies in the nature of history itself, and in the limitation of the scientific method. In order for something to be proven by science, it must be repeatable. One cannot announce a new finding to the world on the basis of a single experiment. But history is, by its very nature, unrepeatable. No one can rerun the beginning of the universe. Or bring Napoleon back. Or repeat the assassination of Lincoln or the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. But the fact that these events can’t be proved by repetition does not disprove their reality.”

The point he is making is that you cannot apply the scientific method to everything. It does not work. You cannot put love or justice or anger in a test tube either, but no sensible person doubts their existence. By the same reasoning, God’s existence should not be doubted merely because it cannot be scientifically proved.

Yet many things learned from science give evidence of His existence. The law of cause and effect, for example, holds that for every cause there must be an effect. If you keep pushing further and further back for causes, eventually you will end up with an uncaused cause. The only uncaused cause is God. This is the argument used previously by the writer of Hebrews: “For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God” (3:4).

Philosopher J. H. Stirling said, “If each link of the chain hangs on another, the whole will hang and only hang in eternity unsupported like some stark serpent unless you find a hook for it. You add weakness to weakness in any quantity and you never get strength.”

According to the law of entropy, the universe is running down. If it is running down, then it is not self-sustaining. If it is not self-sustaining, then it had to have a beginning. If it had a beginning, someone had to begin it, and we are back to the uncaused cause. There must be a first cause, for which only God qualifies.

The law of design also indicates that God is. When we look at plants and animals in all their marvelous intricacy, we see hundreds, thousands of amazingly complex designs that not only function beautifully but reproduce themselves perfectly. When we look at the stars, the planets, the asteroids, the comets, the meteors, the constellations, we see them kept precisely on their courses by centrifugal, centripetal, and gravitational forces. Such massive, marvelous, complex, and wonderfully operating design demands the existence of a designer.

We learn from science that water has a high specific heat, which is absolutely essential to stabilize chemical reactions within the human body. If water had a low specific heat, we would boil over with the least activity. Without this property of water, human and most animal life would hardly be possible.

The ocean is the world’s thermostat. It takes a large loss of heat for water to go from liquid to ice, and a large intake of heat for water to become steam. The oceans are a cushion against the heat of the sun and the freezing blasts of winter. Unless the temperatures of the earth’s surface were modulated by the ocean and kept within certain limits, we would either be cooked to death or frozen to death. How could such intricate, exacting, and absolutely necessary design come about by accident? It demands a designer.

Even the size of the earth gives evidence of design. If it were much smaller, there would be no atmosphere to sustain life. Earth would then be like our moon or Mars. On the other hand, if it were much larger, the atmosphere would contain free hydrogen, as do Jupiter and Saturn, which also prevents life. The earth’s distance from the sun is absolutely right. Even a small change would make it too hot or too cold. The tilt of the earth’s axis ensures the seasons. And so it goes.

Science cannot prove God, but it gives overwhelming evidence of a master designer and sustainer, which roles could only be filled by God.

Like science, reason cannot prove God. But also like science, it gives a great deal of evidence for Him. Man himself is personal, conscious, rational, creative, volitional. It is inconceivable that he could have become so by accident or that his Creator could be anything less than personal, conscious, rational, creative, and volitional. To think that personal, thinking, decision-making man somehow could have developed from slime to amoeba and on up the evolutionary chain does not make sense.

Studies by anthropologists show that man is universally God-conscious. This does not mean that there is no man who does not believe in some sort of god—much less in the true God—but that men in general do. The fact that some men do not believe does not disprove the rule, any more than a one-legged man proves that men are not two-legged creatures.

The very idea of God lends substance to the fact that He is. The fact that a man can conceive of God suggests that someone has given the possibility of such conception and that there is someone who corresponds to this conception.

But with all the many natural, scientific, and rational evidences of God, acknowledging Him is still a matter of faith. The proof comes after belief. “The one who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself” (1 John 5:10). Even the scientist receives proof after faith. When he develops a hypothesis, his faith becomes greater and greater as evidence for the hypothesis mounts. It is his commitment to the hypothesis, his faith in it, that eventually leads to proof, if the hypothesis is true. The witness of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of believers is infinitely greater proof of God’s existence than the conclusions of a laboratory experiment for the validity of a scientific theory ever could be.

Enoch Sought God’s Reward

He who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. (11:6b)

It is not enough simply to believe that God exists. In order to please Him it is also necessary to believe that He is moral and just, that He will reward faith in Him. We must recognize God as a personal, loving, gracious God to those who seek Him. Enoch believed this within the revelation he had. He did not believe God was merely a great impersonal cosmic force. He believed in and knew God in a personal, loving way. You cannot “walk” with a ground of being or a first mover or an ultimate cause. For three hundred years Enoch had fellowship with the true God, a God whom he knew to be just, merciful, forgiving, caring, and very personal.

It is not enough merely to postulate a God. Einstein said, “Certainly there is a God. Any man who doesn’t believe in a cosmic force is a fool, but we could never know Him.” Brilliant as he was, Einstein was wrong. We can know God. In fact, in order to please Him, we must believe that He is personal, knowable, loving, caring, moral, and responds graciously to those who come to Him. It is not enough even to believe in the right God. Many Jews to whom the letter of Hebrews was addressed acknowledged the true God, the God of Scripture. But they did not have faith in Him; they did not trust in Him. Enoch knew the true God and trusted the true God.

Both testaments are filled with teachings that God not only can be found but that it is His great desire to be found. David said to his son Solomon, “If you seek Him, He will let you find Him; but if you forsake Him, He will reject you forever” (1 Chron. 28:9). “Surely there is a reward for the righteous; surely there is a God who judges on earth!” (Ps. 58:11). “I love those who love me; and those who diligently seek me will find me” (Prov. 8:17). “And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart” (Jer. 29:13). Jesus was very explicit: “For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it shall be opened” (Luke 11:10). It is not enough just to believe that He is. We must also believe that He rewards those who seek Him.

The reward that God gives for faith is salvation. “Whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16). “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you” (Matt. 6:33). In other words, every good thing that God has, including eternal life, constitutes the reward for belief. For faith we receive forgiveness, a new heart, eternal life, joy, peace, love, heaven—everything! When we trust in Jesus Christ, we become mutual heirs with Him. All that God’s own Son has is ours as well.

Enoch Walked with God

Believing that God exists is the first step toward faith. Believing that he rewards those who trust in Him is the first step of faith. Trusting fully in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior is only the beginning of the faithful life in God. To continue pleasing God, we must fellowship with Him, commune with, “walk” with Him—just as Enoch did. In the four verses in Genesis (5:21–24) describing Enoch, he is twice spoken of as “walking with God.” In the Septuagint (Greek Old Testament) this phrase is translated “pleased God,” using the same Greek word (euaresteō, “to be well-pleasing”) that is used twice in Hebrews 11:5–6. Walking with God is pleasing God.

The term walk is used many times in the New Testament to represent faithful living. “Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, … so we too might walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:4). “For we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7). “Walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh” (Gal. 5:16). “Walk in love, just as Christ also loved you, and gave Himself up for us” (Eph. 5:2). Christ even speaks of our fellowship with Him in heaven as a walk: “They will walk with Me in white; for they are worthy” (Rev. 3:4). Like Enoch, every believer should walk with God every day he is on earth. When we get to heaven, we will walk with Him forever.

reconciliation

The first thing implied in Enoch’s walk with God is reconciliation. “Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so?” (Amos 3:3, niv). The point is obvious. Two people cannot really walk together in intimate fellowship unless they are agreed. Walking together, then, presupposes harmony. If Enoch walked with God, he obviously was in agreement with God. Rebellion was over for this man of faith. Since Adam fell, every person born into the world has been in rebellion against God. We do not grow into rebellion or fall into rebellion; we are born into rebellion. Our very nature, from before birth, is at enmity with God. We are all “by nature children of wrath” (Eph. 2:3). The purpose of salvation is to reconcile men to God, to restore the relationship broken by sin. Because of his faith, Enoch was reconciled with God; and because he was reconciled with God, he could walk with God.

a corresponding nature

The second truth implied in Enoch’s walk with God is that Enoch and God had corresponding natures. Some animals can become very good companions to men. They may have great loyalty and sensitivity to their owners, and a close relationship can develop over the years. But man cannot fellowship with even the smartest and most devoted animal. Our natures are far too different. Animals can offer companionship but not fellowship. We can take a walk with a dog, but we cannot “walk” with a dog, in the sense of having fellowship with him. It is just as impossible for an unbeliever to have fellowship with God (2 Cor. 6:14–16), and for the same reason—his nature is too different from God’s. Even an unbeliever is created in God’s image, but that image has been so shattered by sin, his nature so corrupted, that fellowship with his Creator is not possible—there is no common sphere in which he and God can be agreed.

When we are saved, we become citizens of a new domain. We are still on earth, but our true life, our real citizenship, is in heaven (Phil. 3:20). As Peter says, we “become partakers of the divine nature” (2 Pet. 1:4). In Christ we are given a heavenly nature, His own nature, and we can therefore have fellowship with God. Because Enoch walked with God, he must have had a nature corresponding to God’s.

moral fitness and a judicial dealing with sin

Walking with God implies moral fitness as well as a judicial dealing with sin. We could not have a new nature unless God took away sin. Because a person walks with God means that his sin has been forgiven and that he has been justified, counted righteous by God. Only when sin has been dealt with can we move into God’s presence and begin walking with Him. God will not walk in any way but the way of holiness. “If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:6–7). The only persons God walks with are those who are cleansed of sin. Since Enoch walked with God, he had to have been forgiven of his sin and declared righteous by God.

a surrendered will

Walking with God implies a surrendered will. God does not force His company on anyone. He only offers Himself. God must first will that a person come to Him, but that person must also will to come to God. Faith is impossible without willingness to believe. Just as walking with God presupposes faith it also presupposes willingness—a surrendered will.

A surrendered will is a surrender in love. Willing surrender is not abject submissiveness, a determined resignation to the Lord’s way and will. It is what might be called a willful willingness, a glad and free surrender. “And this is love, that we walk according to His commandments” (2 John 6).

Enoch walked with God for three hundred years! Small wonder that the Lord went for a walk with him one day and just took him on up to heaven. The New Testament refers to this sort of living as walking in the Spirit. We are to live continually in the atmosphere of the Spirit’s presence, power, direction, and teaching. The fruit of this walk in the Spirit are: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Gal. 5:22–23).

Walking in the Spirit is allowing Him to pervade your thoughts. It is saying, when you get up in the morning, “Holy Spirit, it is Your day, not mine. Use it as You see fit.” It is saying throughout the day, “Holy Spirit, continue to keep me from sin, direct my choices and my decisions, use me to glorify Jesus Christ.” It is putting each decision, each opportunity, each temptation, each desire before Him, and asking for His direction and His power. Walking in the Spirit is dynamic and practical. It is not passive resignation but active obedience.

The New Testament describes walking with God in many ways. Third John 4 says it is a truth walk; Romans 8:4 calls it a spiritual walk; Ephesians 5:2 describes it as a love walk, 5:8 as a light walk, and 5:15 as a wise walk.

It would have been wonderful to have had Enoch as an example—or Noah, Abraham, or any of the other faithful heroes of Hebrews 11. But we have an even greater example—our Lord Jesus Himself, the One who supremely walked with God. He did nothing, absolutely nothing, that was not the Father’s will. The beloved apostle reminds us that “the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked” (1 John 2:6). If we want to know how to walk, we need simply to look at Jesus. From childhood He was continually about His Father’s business, and only His Father’s business. He constantly walked with God.

continuing faith

Finally, a person cannot walk with God unless he has first come to God by faith. Just so, he cannot continue to walk without continuing to have faith. Walking with God is a walk in faith and a walk by faith. “For we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7). “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith” (Col. 2:6–7).

Enoch believed God, and he continued to believe God. He could not have walked with God for three hundred years without trusting in God for three hundred years. Enoch never saw God. He walked with Him, but he did not see Him. He just believed He was there. That is how He pleased God.

Enoch Preached for God

And about these also Enoch, in the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord came with many thousands of His holy ones, to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their ungodly deeds which they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.” (Jude 14–15)

That Enoch preached for God we learn only from the book of Jude. Judging from this account, his message on ungodliness was brief and perhaps repetitious, but it was inspired. We have no hint as to how effective it was, but Enoch’s purpose was to be faithful, not effective. He did what God required of him and left the results to Him. One thing is certain: because of his faithful preaching and faithful living, no one who heard Enoch or lived around him had any excuse for not believing in God. Whether any of these people believed or not, the influence Enoch had on them must have been powerful.

Jude’s report of Enoch’s preaching contradicts any notion that Enoch lived in an easy time for believing. He was surrounded by false teachers and false teaching. We do not know if he had the fellowship of any fellow believers, but we know that he lived in the midst of a host of unbelievers. He could not possibly have preached as strongly as he did without considerable opposition. He battled against his own generation in the same way that Noah would later battle against his. He let them know they were ungodly, and he let them know God was going to judge them. I believe God was pleased with Enoch because his faith was not just something he felt in his heart. It was heard on his lips and seen in his life. His faith was active and dynamic, vocal and fearless.[1]


Faith Pleasing God

Hebrews 11:5–6

By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. (Heb. 11:5–6)

The Westminster Shorter Catechism is famous for its first question, “What is the chief end of man?” and its answer, “The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” Of all the people depicted in Scripture, apart from our Lord Jesus Christ, there is no one whose description more closely attains this standard than that of Enoch, the seventh in the line from Adam. So dear was this man to the heart of God that he took Enoch to himself without demanding that he suffer the pains of death. It is no surprise, therefore, to find Enoch in this procession of heroes of the faith.

Interestingly, the account of Enoch’s life in Genesis 5 makes no mention of his faith. Yet his faith seems to motivate the statement of Hebrews 11:6, that without faith it is impossible to please God. The idea is that we can be sure Enoch was a man of faith, because otherwise he never could have pleased God the way he did.

Hebrews 11 presents its heroes of the faith in chronological order as they are found in the Bible, yet several commentators point out that there is probably more at work than a historical progression. Specifically, it appears that there is also a topical progression to the points their stories make about the life of faith. That is especially true of the three men who lived before the great flood—Abel, Enoch, and Noah.

Andrew Murray, for example, describes them as Abel, the sacrifice of faith; Enoch, the walk of faith; and Noah, the work of faith. Certainly that is a progression supported by the Bible: first we are brought into a right relationship with God by trusting the sacrifice he has provided in the blood of Christ; second, having been brought into relationship with God, we then walk with him by faith; and third, only then do we perform the works of faith, the practical good deeds that follow as a result of God’s grace.

Arthur Pink sees these three figures combining to provide “an outline of the life of faith”: “Abel is mentioned first not because he was born before Enoch and Noah, but because what is recorded of him in Genesis 4 illustrated and demonstrated where the life of faith begins. In like manner, Enoch is referred to next … because what was found in him … must precede that which was typified by the builder of the ark.” Pink’s outline traces faith’s worship in Abel, faith’s walk in Enoch, and faith’s witness in Noah.

It is hard to say whether the writer of Hebrews had this kind of explicit outline in mind, since he does not put it that way himself. It seems that he is mainly following the biblical order, with each portrait making a particular point about faith. However, it does seem that the Divine Author has placed them together in such a way as to build the progression of which Murray and Pink speak. Pink reminds us of the importance of a biblical ordering of the Christian life: “Witnessing and working (‘service’) is what are so much emphasized today. Yet dear reader, Heb. 11 does not begin with the example of Noah. No indeed. Noah was preceded by Enoch, and for this reason: There can be no Divinely-acceptable witness or work unless and until there is a walking with God!… And this, in turn, must be preceded by Abel’s worship of faith.”

Enoch, Who Walked with God

In the last chapter we saw that Abel was declared righteous by faith, since he came to God through the blood of Christ. Now we turn to the walk of faith with the life of Enoch. The Bible says very little about this man. All that we have comes from the genealogy in Genesis 5: “When Enoch had lived 65 years, he fathered Methuselah. Enoch walked with God after he fathered Methuselah 300 years and had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days of Enoch were 365 years. Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him” (Gen. 5:21–24).

What we know about Enoch, therefore, is that he was the seventh patriarch in the line of Adam through Seth. When he was 65 he had a son named Methuselah. He lived a total of 365 years, after which he mysteriously departed from the earth without dying. Considering all the information we do not know about this man, this doesn’t seem to be much of a biography. But the Bible tells us one vital fact that speaks volumes. Twice in these verses we are told, “Enoch walked with God.” This wouldn’t make a bad inscription on a gravestone. It tells us much about the character and the pattern of this man’s life. Far more important than the job titles he held or his attainments in life was his walk with God.

What does it mean to walk with God? First, this speaks of a living relationship, a companionship between a man or woman and God. It implies personal knowledge, an ever-increasing understanding of the one with whom we walk. It implies agreement of mind and heart. The prophet Amos rightly asked, “Do two walk together, unless they have agreed to meet?” (Amos 3:3). There are an intimacy, a fellowship, and a joy of company between two who walk together. When it is God with whom we walk, there is a hierarchy, just as when the disciples walked with our Lord Jesus Christ. One is Lord; the other is disciple. One is teacher; the other is student. One is Father; the other is child.

There can hardly be a more beautiful description of the Christian life than the idea of walking with God. The great Puritan Thomas Watson said:

To walk with God is to walk by faith. We are said to draw nigh to God (Heb. 10:22) and … to have fellowship with him. “Our fellowship is with the Father” (1 Jn. 1:3). Thus we may take a turn with him every day by faith.… “They shall walk in the light of thy countenance” (Ps. 138:5). “Yea, they shall sing in the ways of the Lord.” It is like walking among beds of spices, which send forth a fragrant perfume.

Peter Lewis tells the story of a Chinese pastor who was imprisoned in a labor camp for his faith. His captors put him in charge of cleaning and emptying the contents of the camp latrine. Every day he would take the foul excrement out and distribute it in a field as fertilizer. The smell was so bad that the guards drew away and gave him plenty of space as he did his work. For that reason, the pastor came to love his lowly occupation, because in the resulting solitude he could talk and sing to God aloud, both of which were otherwise forbidden. He joyfully named the dung-heap in which he worked his garden and sang:

I come to the garden alone,

while the dew is still on the roses.…

And he walks with me and he talks with me,

and he tells me I am his own,

and the joy we share as we tarry there,

none other has ever known.

This is what the Christian life is intended to be: a walk of faith, abiding fellowship with our loving God. His presence transforms even the worst circumstances into beds of roses, simply because he is there with us. What glory this is, that when God calls us to faith in him, he invites us to walk by his side! So every day—ordinary days, difficult days, joyful days—are days with God, a foretaste of heaven: to be with him, to know his love, to see his light and feel the warmth of his pleasure.

Walking with God is its own destination, yet at the same time we are indeed going somewhere! We are growing in our knowledge of the infinite and divine; we are growing more like him in character as he guides us; we are realizing progress in spiritual things. This is the Christian life! It is not a bare knowledge of facts, or a grim recitation of doctrines. To be a Christian is to walk with God, to know him and to live in the light of his presence.

Interestingly, Hebrews 11:5–6 does not focus on the idea of “walking with God” but rather on “pleasing God.” The explanation for this is that the writer of Hebrews is quoting from the Greek translation of the Old Testament (the Septuagint) and not from the Hebrew original. This Greek version, which so many apostolic writers used, is noted for its reluctance in using anthropomorphisms, that is, descriptions of God in human terms. The Bible speaks of God’s arm or God’s hand or the eyes of the Lord, all of which are anthropomorphisms. Literally, of course, God has no body and no hands, but his functions and activities are described in human terms for our benefit.

Because of its hostility to this way of speaking, the Septuagint often removed anthropomorphisms in its translation from Hebrew into Greek. The passage from Genesis 5 on Enoch’s life provides a classic example. Instead of saying that he walked with God, the Septuagint says, “Enoch pleased God.” Following that translation of Genesis 5, the writer of Hebrews comments that Enoch was pleasing to God and therefore must have lived by faith.

We need not be troubled by this human interference in the divine Word, for the New Testament, which is divinely inspired, sanctions this reasonable interpretation of Enoch’s life. We may rightly take this idea of pleasing God as a working definition of what it means to walk with him. If we want to enjoy God’s fellowship and to feel God’s pleasure, it is going to result from obedience to his Word. Jesus talked about this with his disciples shortly before his departure. “Abide in me,” he said, “and I in you.… If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love” (John 15:4, 10). While walking with God involves more than simple obedience to his commands, obedience is necessary and integral to any life lived in fellowship with God.

Two Elements of Faith

The main point of our passage is yet another proof of the necessity of faith. Enoch pleased God and therefore was taken by God even before he died, which surely would have been impossible without faith. The writer goes on to point out two vital components of genuine faith: “Whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him” (Heb. 11:6).

The first of these statements points out that faith must have an object. Today we often hear about the power of faith without anything being said about the object or content of that faith. Mainly we are told to believe in ourselves, and it is true that self-confidence will help you accomplish many things. A baseball player is more likely to hit a fastball if he thinks he can. A salesman is more likely to close the deal if he believes in his ability to do so.

But the faith the writer of Hebrews is describing differs greatly from that. At first glance it may seem that he is asking people to believe only that God exists, to hold at least some abstract assent to the idea of God. On closer study, however, he is being much more specific. A literal translation of the Greek would read this way: “It is necessary for anyone who comes to God to believe that he is.” This wording points to the confessional or doctrinal aspect of faith in a way the original Hebrew audience surely would have noticed. The wording here is reminiscent of the basic creed of Israel, called the Shema: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one” (Deut. 6:4). The Shema was the great confessional statement of the Jewish faith, as it still is, and the original Hebrew readers would have understood this as a way of saying, “Anyone who comes to God needs to have straight just who God is.”

At a minimum, the original Jewish-Christian audience could not help but see a connection to the great statement God made to Moses at the burning bush in Exodus 3:14. Having just been told to go down to Egypt and confront mighty Pharaoh, Moses asked God, “What is your name?” God answered him, saying, “I am who I am.… Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I am has sent me to you.’ ” Again, in the Greek translation used by the early church, the link is even more explicit. In the Septuagint, Exodus 3:14 says, “Tell them I am the one who exists.” Pointedly using that very language, our writer says, “Whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists.”

Therefore, this first element of faith has to do with its content and doctrine. Faith must identify the God of the Bible, the Lord who spoke to Moses from the burning bush, as the one true God. Faith must be in him if it is to be saving faith. Over and over he says, “I am God, and there is no other” (Isa. 46:9). Faith must first agree with God’s affirmation and turn to him as the only true God.

This element of faith also corresponds to the first of the Ten Commandments: “I am the Lord your God.… You shall have no other gods before me” (Ex. 20:2–3). This is a warning against all forms of idolatry, and especially philosophies and theologies that compete with the Bible. Whoever draws near to God, our passage says, must believe that the God of the Bible is the One and the true God, putting no others in his place.

First, then, we have the content or object of faith. Second comes the motivation of faith: “Whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him” (Heb. 11:6). We must believe not only that this is the true God, but also that we have to deal with him, that he is the Judge and Arbiter of our destiny and fortune.

As soon as we speak of God giving out rewards, some people get upset; they perceive a threat to the clear biblical teaching of salvation by grace alone. “If salvation is a matter of getting your reward, then we must be talking about works-salvation,” they reason. However, that is very far from the case. This particular statement simply asserts the reality that God is the One who determines blessing versus condemnation. To have faith, we must realize and accept that we have to deal with this God, that his judgment about us is the vital one, and that we had better seek him; that is, that we had better gain his favor.

By calling this second element the motivation of faith, I mean that faith must turn to God as the One who saves; it must come to him seeking reward, seeking favor, seeking his grace. The alternative is to ignore him, to think that it doesn’t matter what God thinks of us, what he intends for our future. This is what unbelief is all about. Few people deny the existence of God, but many deny the relevance of God, the need to seek him for salvation. This is demonstrably true in our own day. The vast majority of people agree that God must exist, yet they are not seeking him. Instead, they are serving other worldly gods as the source of the rewards they so highly covet.

This begs a vital question: “Do I have to deal with God? Do I need to pay attention to him, to listen as he speaks, to open my heart to a relationship with him, to let him change the way I live, to make him the great hope for the whole of my life? The answer, according to God’s own revelation in the Bible, is Yes!

Although there are many reasons why we must come to God in faith, I will give just two. First, God tells us that he is a holy judge who will surely punish every sinner. God says that at the end of days he will bring everyone to stand before him for judgment. Revelation 20:12 paints the picture: “And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened.… And the dead were judged by what was written in the books.”

People deceive themselves that they will fare well on that day, since they are by their own assessment “basically good people.” But the Bible renders a far different verdict, according to God’s standard of perfect holiness. Romans 3:23 puts it directly: “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 6:23 tells us the consequences: “The wages of sin is death.” Every person who stands guilty of sin—and that includes every one of us—is in dire peril of this condemnation. For this reason, we had better seek God, to find out how we might gain his favor.

This is one reason why we must deal with, as Francis Schaeffer put it, “the God who is there.” A related and positive reason, and one we are confronted within the record of Enoch, is that there is a life after this one, with a God to be known and enjoyed with awe. There is a life after death, where God himself awaits us.

Perhaps the most interesting point about Enoch is one that we have not yet considered. Enoch never died. The writer of Hebrews puts it this way: “Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him.” One day this godly man was there and the next he could not be found. People looked for him, but he simply wasn’t there. They may never have known what happened to Enoch, but we do. God took him out from this life and into the next without having to die. There are only two people of whom this is recorded: Enoch and the prophet Elijah, the latter of whom God swept up in a chariot of fire. The amount of speculation devoted to these matters has literally filled books, but these are the bare facts Scripture tells us, and further speculation is useless.

The point is that Enoch’s record tells us of a life after death, and of God’s ability to reward his own with everlasting life. Indeed, this is the way we should think about rewards from God—namely, what he himself said to Abraham: “I am your shield, your very great reward” (Gen. 15:1 niv). What greater reward could we ever desire than God himself? F. F. Bruce rightly observes, “The reward desired by those who seek him is the joy of finding him; he himself proves to be their ‘exceeding joy’ (Ps. 43:4).”

Our reward is the one Enoch received, namely, everlasting life with God—his free gift to all who turn to him in faith. Earlier I quoted Paul’s statement in Romans 6:23, which begins with the first reason we should seek after God: “The wages of sin is death.” But that sentence is completed with the second reason: “The free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” We see this gift in the experience of Enoch, the man who pleased God by faith, and that is the greatest motive for seeking the Lord. Just as in Abel we saw the power of Christ’s death to restore us to God, so in Enoch we see the power of his resurrection life, the new life we too may enter by faith in him.

Seeking and Finding God

God is a rewarder of those who seek him. What, then, does it mean to seek God? It does not mean that we search him out the way a scientist seeks out knowledge. We are not left to follow an obscure trail of clues, eagerly seeking to piece together a workable theory. No, God is all around us; the evidence of his being is before our eyes this very second. The whole universe is a display, as Paul says, of “his eternal power and divine nature.” God is, Paul concludes, “clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made” (Rom. 1:20).

Seeking God therefore means seeking his favor, seeking a relationship with him. For sinners it means seeking forgiveness. It means coming to him, confessing that we are sinners, the way David did in Psalm 51: “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love.… For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.… Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow” (Ps. 51:1–7). Hyssop was a plant the priests used as a brush to sprinkle the sacrificial blood. “Purge me with hyssop” is David’s way of saying that he was coming to God, seeking forgiveness through the blood of Christ, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of all who come through faith in him.

But seeking God means more than seeking his favor and forgiveness, which he freely gives in Jesus Christ. It also involves a relationship with him. It means making him the God of your life: your King, your teacher, and your Lord. It means, as Enoch shows us, to walk with God and to offer your life for his pleasure. It means seeking that which is the chief end for our lives, the purpose for which we were made, namely the glory of God and the enjoyment of him.

Seeking God is just another expression for living by faith, which is what this great chapter in Hebrews is all about. Andrew Murray says this:

Faith seeks for God; it believes that He is; it keeps the heart open towards Him; it bows in humility and hope for Him to make Himself known. To know God, to see God in everything and everywhere, in our daily life to be conscious of His presence so that we always walk with Him—this is the true nobility of man; this is the life that faith lives; this is the blessedness Jesus has now fully revealed in the rending of the veil. Faith can walk with God.

What, then, will you find if you do seek after him? Enoch gives the answer. You will find life. Eternal life. That means a life that goes beyond the grave, a life in heaven. But it also means heaven in this life, in this world. It means the answer to the problem of death. God spared Enoch death because by faith he was pleasing to God. For us it means a similar triumph over death; it means that death will lose its sting. Death shall be an open door to the fullness of the life we begin here by faith. Death will mean the perfection of what here is only imperfectly attained, to walk with God, to rest in him, to delight in him, and to know his pleasure, which is faith’s greatest reward.

This leaves but one last question: If you seek, can you be sure to find him? The answer is obvious, isn’t it? Our passage says God “rewards those who seek him,” not that you have to find him on your own. If you seek God, he will respond to your seeking. “No one can come to me,” Jesus said, “unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:44). This means that if you seek God, he has in fact been seeking you, and therefore you will find him. God is drawing you into the arms of his love for the purpose of the eternal life that comes through faith in Christ. Those who seek him he rewards with himself, and those who walk with him in this life he brings to himself in the next, conquering the grave, for a fellowship of joy that will last forever.[2]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1983). Hebrews (pp. 306–314). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Phillips, R. D. (2006). Hebrews. (R. D. Phillips, P. G. Ryken, & D. M. Doriani, Eds.) (pp. 413–423). Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing.

MARCH 10 I SEE THE GLORY OF GOD

But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD.

—Numbers 14:21

Let us learn to admire God in all things, great and small—in the soft play of a kitten on the rug as well as in the vast and breath-taking sweep of some galaxy around a point so remote as to stun the imagination and make language dumb….

Two men stood on the shore watching the sun come up out of the sea. One was a merchant from London, the other was the poet, William Blake. As the bright yellow disk of the sun emerged into view, gilding the water and painting the sky with a thousand colors, the poet turned to the merchant and asked, “What do you see?” “Ah! I see gold,” replied the merchant. “The sun looks like a great gold piece. What do you see?” “I see the glory of God,” Blake answered, “and I hear a multitude of the heavenly host crying ‘Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty. The whole earth is full of His glory’” (see Isaiah 6:5). OGM147-148

Lord, as I go about my day may I not just see nature for what it is, but as a majestic expression of Your holiness. Amen.[1]


[1] Tozer, A. W., & Eggert, R. (2015). Tozer on the almighty god: a 365-day devotional. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

March 10 Humility on Display

“Walk … with all humility.”

Ephesians 4:1–2

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Christ showed us humility by becoming a man and living as a servant.

Humility is not a very popular concept in our society, is it? We are taught to pursue honor and recognition from a young age. When my children were young, they stacked up trophies to the point of absurdity. Award shows are commonplace on television. We seem to have prizes for everything.

Humility is an elusive quality. The moment you think you are humble is the moment you forfeit it. But humility is the heart of the worthy walk; that’s why Paul listed it here first. No matter how elusive it is, we must keep striving for it.

The Greek word for  humility is a compound word. The first part means “low.” In a metaphorical sense it was used to mean “poor” or “unimportant.” The second part of the word means “to think” or “to judge.” The combined meaning is to think of yourself as lowly or unimportant.

Did you know this word never appears in classical Greek? It had to be coined by Christians. The Greeks and Romans had no word for humility because they despised that attitude. They mocked and looked down on anyone who thought of himself as lowly.

In contrast, Christ taught the importance of humility and was our greatest example of that virtue. The exalted Lord Jesus was born in a stable. During His ministry He never had a place to lay His head. He owned only the garments on His body. He washed His disciples’ feet, doing the job of a slave (John 13:3–11). When He died, He was buried in a borrowed tomb.

When the evangelical Moravian Brethren of Germany heard about slavery in the West Indies, they were told it was impossible to reach the slave population there because the slaves were separated from the ruling classes. In 1732 two Moravians offered to go and be slaves on the plantations and teach other slaves about Christ. They toiled at the sides of their fellow slaves, and the slaves listened because the two Moravians had humbled themselves. In a small way, that illustrates what Christ did for us: He humbled Himself by becoming a man so we could be saved.

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Suggestions for Prayer: Ask God to help you walk in Christlike humility.

For Further Study: Read about Christ’s example of humility in Philippians 2:5–11. What was His attitude toward Himself, and how can you emulate His humility?[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (1997). Strength for today. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

March 9 Daily Help

IT will not save me to know that Christ is a Saviour; but it will save me to trust him to be my Saviour. I shall not be delivered from the wrath to come, by believing that his atonement is sufficient; but I shall be saved by making that atonement my trust, my refuge, and my all. The pith, the essence of faith lies in this—a casting oneself on the promise. It is not the life-buoy on board the ship that saves the man when he is drowning, nor is it his belief that it is an excellent and successful invention. No! he must have it around his loins, or his hand upon it, or else he will sink.[1]


[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1892). Daily Help (p. 72). Baltimore: R. H. Woodward & Company.