Daily Archives: May 24, 2018

May 24: On a Mission

1 Chronicles 14:1–15:29; 2 Timothy 1:1–2; Psalm 83

“We’re on a mission from God.” Whenever the Blues Brothers delivered this line, they were met with a less-than-enthusiastic reception. While they had a different “mission” in mind, their famous line summarizes Paul’s ministry, and their reception is strangely related to a pressing problem in our Christian communities today: we’re hesitant to receive those who tell us they’re on God’s mission.

When we hear this “line,” we immediately begin to ask questions inside our heads: Are they offering a critique? Making a threat? Telling us they’re pursuing a ministry role in accordance with the gifts God has given them, or that they want to be directed toward such a role?

Nearly all the godly people in the Bible were appointed directly by God or His messengers to a mission, and they were given very particular (and often unique) gifts to fulfill those missions. So when someone says they’re on a mission from God, we should respond with, “Tell me about it!” Consider passages like 2 Tim 1:1, where Paul addresses Timothy and the community he leads, many of whom never met Paul:

“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God according to the promise of the life that is in Christ Jesus.”

Apostle means “sent one.” Paul was on a mission from God, and it’s because of Christ, the anointed one’s promises, that he embraces this calling. God called and gifted him to do His work and share His message. Who are we to say that God doesn’t commission people today? Of course, we should always be cautious and discerning; those in leadership must have proven their godly character and their ability to be used by God. They must also be confirmed by other godly leaders. Once this has been confirmed, we should encourage those called to a special mission. We, as believers, are called to work alongside them—to encourage them and help them serve what God, specifically, has appointed them to do.

We stumble when we think the Church is ours to lead; it is Christ’s. He is our leader and guide, and it’s by His Spirit that we will have the discernment necessary to do what He has appointed us to do.

How can you help those who are on a mission from God?

John D. Barry[1]


[1] Barry, J. D., & Kruyswijk, R. (2012). Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

May 24 Saluting an Unknown Soldier (James, son of Alphaeus)

The twelve apostles included “James the son of Alphaeus” (Matt. 10:3).

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God often uses ordinary people to accomplish great things.

Like most Christians, James the son of Alphaeus is an unknown and unsung soldier of the cross. His distinguishing characteristic is obscurity. Nothing he did or said is recorded in Scripture—only his name.

In Mark 15:40 he is called “James the Less,” which literally means “Little James.” That could refer to his stature (he might have been short), his age (he might have been younger than James the son of Zebedee), or his influence (he might have had relatively little influence among the disciples).

In Mark 2:14 Matthew (Levi) is called “the son of Alphaeus.” Alphaeus was a common name, but it’s possible that James and Matthew were brothers, since their fathers had the same first name. Also, James’s mother is mentioned in Mark 15:40 as being present at Christ’s crucifixion, along with other women. She is referred to as the wife of Clopas in John 19:25. Since Clopas was a form of Alphaeus, that further supports the possibility that James and Matthew were related.

From those references we might conclude that James was a small, young man whose personality was not particularly powerful. If he was Matthew’s brother, perhaps he was as humble as Matthew, willing to serve the Lord without any applause or notice. Whichever the case, be encouraged that God uses obscure people like James and rewards them accordingly. Someday James will sit on a throne in Christ’s millennial Kingdom, judging the twelve tribes of Israel—just like the other, more prominent disciples (Luke 22:30).

No matter how obscure or prominent you are from a human perspective, God can use you and will reward you with a glorious eternal inheritance.

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Suggestions for Prayer:  Thank the Lord for all those people unknown to you whom He has used to shape your life for His glory. ✧ Seek to be more like James, serving Christ faithfully without applause or glory.

For Further Study: Read Luke 9:23–25. What did Jesus say is necessary to be His disciple? ✧ Read Luke 9:57–62. What were those men unwilling to give up to follow Christ?[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 157). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

May 24 Learning Meekness

After many days had gone by, there was a conspiracy among the Jews to kill him, but Saul learned of their plan. Day and night they kept close watch on the city gates in order to kill him. But his followers took him by night and lowered him in a basket through an opening in the wall. Acts 9:23-25

What humiliation! Here Paul was, equipped to win the day for Jesus Christ. He was going to show the world how much he could do for this new Master that he had found. But instead he finds himself humiliated, cast off, rejected, repudiated. His own friends finally have to take him at night and let him down over a wall. He walks away into the darkness in utter, abject failure and defeat.

The amazing thing is that many years later, as he is writing to the Corinthians and looking back over his life, he recounts this episode. He says, “You ask me to boast about the most important event in my life? The greatest event in my life was when they took me at night and let me down over the wall of Damascus in a basket. That was the most meaningful experience I have ever had since that day when I met Christ…” (2 Corinthians 11:32-33).

Is that not amazing? Why would this be so? Because then and there the apostle began to learn the truths which he records for us in the third chapter of Philippians, where he says, “Whatever gain I had, I learned to count as loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus…” (Philippians 3:7-8 RSV). That is, “All the things that I felt were so necessary to do what God wanted I had to learn were absolutely useless, worthless. I did not need them at all. Everything that I thought I had and needed to serve him I had to learn I didn’t need at all. The beginning of that great lesson was the night they let me down over the wall in a basket. There I began to learn something. It took me a long time to catch on. But there I began to learn that God didn’t need my abilities; he needed only my availability. He just needed me, as a person. He didn’t need my background, he didn’t need my ancestry. He didn’t need my knowledge of Hebrew. He didn’t need my knowledge of the Law. He didn’t need these at all. In fact, he didn’t have any particular intention of using them to reach the Jews, he was going to send me to the Gentiles.” And though he did not understand it fully then, he began to assume the yoke of Christ and to learn that which Jesus Christ says every one of us must learn if we are going to be useful to him.

Jesus tells us what the curriculum is: “I am meek and lowly in heart…” (Matthew 11:29b KJV). Ambition and pride must die. We learn that we do not live to aggrandize ourselves any longer. We do not live to be a big shot, either religiously or secularly. We live only to be an instrument of the working of Jesus Christ. And we must learn the truth which Jesus taught his own disciples when he was here in the flesh, “Without me you can do nothing…” (John 15:5b). You can do what? “Nothing!” You may do a lot in the eyes of the world. What you do might be esteemed there. But in the eyes of God, without him it is nothing. If you are depending on yourself, God evaluates all you do as worth nothing. This is what Paul began to learn. Through this experience his pride began to die.

Lord, I pray that I will learn the lesson, and that I will be willing to be a person no longer holding onto control of the program myself but quite willing to follow where you lead, and to trust in your life in me to be all that it takes to do all that needs to be done.

Life Application

Are we learning the liberty and beauty of humility, or are we still counting on our personal resources, real or imagined, to accomplish God’s work in us or through us?

Related Message

For more on this portion of Scripture read the message:

The Yoke of Christ

May 24 Thursday: God Is My Fortress

By James Boice on May 24, 2018 12:00 am

In the psalmist’s first appeal (vv. 1-5), the emphasis seemed to be on David’s danger and therefore on the bloodthirsty men who had been set against him. In this second parallel appeal (vv. 10-13), David’s description of the danger shifts to what he is asking God to do to these enemies.

Read more…

Why Apostles are NOT for today, Part 1 – Berean Research

If you’re looking for a simple definition of the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR), I’ve come up with this:

The NAR is a fast-growing Dominionist movement of new Apostles and Prophets who will lead God’s end-times army in establishing His kingdom on earth, by taking authority over earthly and spiritual realms.

Proponents of the NAR believe that the governing offices of Apostle and Prophet have been re-established by God. There are nuances within this movement of course, and you’ll want to check out our New Apostolic Reformation White Paper for further study.

Recently, author Elliott Nesch completed a four-part series titled, Apostles Today, in which he explains the Scriptural qualifications for these offices, and why it is impossible for Apostles to govern Christian churches in our time:

By Elliott Nesch

In his article, “Understanding How Apostles Minister in Different Spheres,” the late modern Apostle C. Peter Wagner defines an apostles as a “Christian leader gifted, taught, commissioned, and sent by God with the authority to establish the foundational government of the church within an assigned sphere of ministry by hearing what the Spirit is saying to the churches and by setting things in order accordingly for the growth and maturity of the church.” Based upon the text of Ephesians 4:11, Wagner argues for what he calls the foundational or governmental gift or office of apostle. This is the teaching of the teaching of the apostolic and prophetic movement, sometimes known as the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR). But what does the Bible say about apostles today?
— Read on bereanresearch.org/why-apostles-are-not-for-today-part-1/

MAY 24 UNHOLY, UNRIGHTEOUS, UNHAPPY

And so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.

Romans 5:12

All of history and the daily newspaper testify that the human race lies in ruin—spiritually, morally and physically.

The long parade of gods, both virtuous and obscene, and a thousand varieties of vain and meaningless religious practices declare our spiritual degeneration, while disease, old age and death testify sadly to the completeness of our physical decay.

By nature, men and women are unholy; and by practice we are unrighteous. That we are also unhappy is of small consequence.

But it is of overwhelming importance to us that we should seek the favor of God while it is possible to find it, and that we should bring ourselves under the plenary authority of Jesus Christ in complete and voluntary obedience.

To do this is to invite trouble from a hostile world and to incur such unhappiness as may naturally follow. Add the temptation of the devil and a lifelong struggle with the flesh, and it will be obvious that we will need to defer most of our enjoyments to a more appropriate time!

Loving Father, there is nothing more important to do while we are alive than to accept You as our Savior. I pray especially today for believers in hostile countries, that their inner joy in knowing You will override any pain that is inflicted upon them or their families.[1]


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

Guest Commentary: Spiritual Discernment What It Is and How to Get It — Lighthouse Trails Inc

By Dr. Shelton Smith*

Used with permission.

Spiritual discernment! What is it? Where do you learn about it? Is it something we need? If so, how do we get it? Okay, let’s see if we can find the answers to these questions. There are many things that we can do without spiritual discernment. We can … [Read more…]

via Guest Commentary: Spiritual Discernment What It Is and How to Get It — Lighthouse Trails Inc

May 24, 2018 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

Reliability

For the Son of God, Christ Jesus, who was preached among you by us—by me and Silvanus and Timothy—was not yes and no, but is yes in Him. For as many as are the promises of God, in Him they are yes; therefore also through Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us. (1:19–20)

Throughout the history of the church, heretics have always assaulted the nature of Christ, and the false apostles at Corinth appear to be no exception in their effort to diminish Him. Having slanderously accused Paul of being untrustworthy because of his change in travel plans, they also alleged that his teaching on the Lord Jesus was untrustworthy. Responding to their attack on his Lord, Paul emphasized Christ’s nature as the God-man by using the full, rich title the Son of God, Christ Jesus.

Paul was not the only one who preached the truths of the Son of God to the Corinthians; Silvanus and Timothy had preached the message to them. Silvanus (Silas) was a prominent leader in the Jerusalem church. The Jerusalem Council entrusted him to carry its decision to the church at Antioch (Acts 15:22). He later became Paul’s companion on the apostle’s second missionary journey, replacing Barnabas (Acts 15:39–40). Timothy was Paul’s beloved son in the faith. As the son of a Jewish Christian mother and a pagan Gentile father (Acts 16:1), he was uniquely qualified to minister alongside the apostle. Both Silvanus and Timothy had ministered with Paul at Corinth (Acts 18:5). Their preaching was not untrustworthy, it was not yes and no, but was a firm, unwavering, resounding yes to God’s truth in Jesus Christ.

Then Paul sums up the glory of Christ by reminding the Corinthians that as many as are the promises of God, in Him they are yes. All of God’s salvation promises—of blessing, peace, joy, goodness, fellowship, forgiveness, strength, and hope of eternal life—are yes, meaning they all come true, in Christ. They are all made possible by His person and work. After His resurrection, Jesus told His disciples, “All things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled” (Luke 24:44). In 1 Corinthians 1:30 Paul declared that “Christ Jesus … became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption.” To the Colossians he wrote, “For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him.… For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form” (Col. 1:19; 2:9). It was the realization of “the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus [as his] Lord” that made Paul willing to suffer “the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that [he might] gain Christ” (Phil. 3:8).

Then Paul drove home the point of his argument by reminding the Corinthians, Therefore also through Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us. Amen is a solemn affirmation of the truthfulness of a statement (cf. Rom. 1:25; 9:5; 11:36; 15:33; 16:27; Gal. 1:5; Eph. 3:21; Phil. 4:20; 1 Tim. 1:17; 6:16; 2 Tim. 4:18; Heb. 13:21; 1 Peter 4:11; 5:11; 2 Peter 3:18; Jude 25; Rev. 1:6; 7:12). When Paul, Silas, and Timothy preached the gospel, it was all about Christ, who by His glorious work brings to pass all salvation realities. The Corinthians probably even had joined in saying Amen to the glory of God. The congregation had affirmed that the preachers reliably spoke God’s truth about Christ when they believed the gospel message Paul and his companions preached, and it transformed their lives. How utterly absurd, Paul argued, to accept and experience the gospel message as reliable, but consider those who preached it unreliable. How ridiculous to trust Paul’s word about eternal things, but not about mundane things like travel plans.

The apostle who was exacting in communicating the true gospel of Christ was also exacting in the lesser matters of life. God did not choose an unstable, unreliable apostle to preach His truth.[1]


1:20 / In verse 20a Paul explains (For, gar) why his message of Jesus Christ as Son of God was unequivocally confirmed to the Corinthians. Just as in verse 18 the faithfulness of God substantiates the veracity of Paul’s general apostolic “word” (including statements about his travel plans), so also here divine promises substantiate Paul’s more specific apostolic message of the gospel.

As Paul has mentioned repeatedly and in various ways in the previous context, the Corinthians are sons of God and thus brothers with Paul (cf. vv. 1, 2, 3). Hence, when Paul refers here to the “promises” that have already been confirmed to the Corinthians, he may have in view particularly the divine adoption of sons (cf. 2 Cor. 6:18, quoting 2 Sam. 7:14) that the Corinthians enjoy in Christ, the messianic Son of God promised beforehand through the ot prophets (Rom. 1:2–4). The only other use of the term in the letter comes at 2 Corinthians 7:1 and refers to an ot messianic adoption text (2 Sam. 7:14) as among the promises that Paul and the Corinthians already have. This does not, of course, exclude other promises from resonating with the text, especially since divine adoptive sonship includes Abrahamic heirship (cf. Gal. 3:26, 29; 4:1–7; Rom. 8:15, 17). Paul’s message of Jesus Christ as Son of God was unequivocally confirmed to the Corinthians, for the latter participate in the sonship of the Son of God, in whom the promises are affirmed by their fulfillment (“Yes”).

In verse 20b Paul draws an inference (And so, dio kai) from the fact that in Christ the Corinthians participate in the promises through Paul’s preaching. Whatever this line may mean in particular, it seems clear that Paul portrays himself as a revelatory mediator. Amen is a transliteration of a Hebrew word that serves to confirm what has been said before. The Corinthians were familiar with this use of Amen (cf. 1 Cor. 14:16). Here, the Amen is spoken by Christ (through him) in that the promises spoken beforehand are fulfilled in him. That affirmation is, in turn, communicated by Paul (by us) to others, including the Corinthians. All of this has a doxological purpose (to the glory of God).[2]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2003). 2 Corinthians (pp. 43–44). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

[2] Scott, J. M. (2011). 2 Corinthians (pp. 40–41). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

Trump Quotes Bible Prophet As Proof Life Begins in the Womb — Christian Research Network

(Randy DeSoto – The Western Journal) President Donald Trump quoted the biblical prophet Jeremiah as proof that life begins in the womb at a pro-life event Tuesday night in Washington, D.C.

Trump was well-received by the several hundred in attendance at the annual Susan B. Anthony List Campaign of Life gala, as he became the first president ever on-hand for the occasion.

“When I ran for office, I pledged to stand for life. And as president, that’s exactly what I’ve done. And I have kept my promise, and I think everybody here understands that fully,” Trump said to hearty applause from the audience.

“We celebrate all lives,” he added. “[E]very life is sacred and that every child is a precious gift from God.”

Trump then quoted from the Bible. “As the Lord says in Jeremiah, ‘Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you … Before you were born, I set you apart,” he said.

See Shannon Bream’s tweet on the site

The president said there is really nothing like the feeling a mother and father have when they hold their baby for the first time.

“When we look into the eyes of a newborn child, there is no doubt we see the beauty of the human soul and the mystery of God’s great creation,” he stated.

Trump listed some of the pro-life accomplishments of his administration including reinstituting the Mexico City Policy (banning federal dollars from being used to fund abortions overseas), overturning a federal rule forcing states to fund abortion providers, appointing a record number of pro-life judges, standing up for the religious liberty rights of groups life Little Sisters of the Poor in relation to Obamacare’s mandates, and earlier this month proposing a new rule that would defund clinics that provide abortions.  View article →

via Trump Quotes Bible Prophet As Proof Life Begins in the Womb — Christian Research Network