“But we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:23-24 (NASB)
“Those who have been called by God’s grace, and who have responded by faith realize that Christ is God’s power and God’s wisdom. Not the Christ of the manger, or the temple, or the marketplace — but the Christ of the cross. It is in the death of Christ that God has revealed the foolishness of man’s wisdom and the weakness of man’s power.
We are called into a fellowship because of our union with Jesus Christ: He died for us; we were baptized in His name; we are identified with His cross. What a wonderful basis for spiritual unity!”
Warren W. Wiersby. Be Wise, p. 22
Jesus Said, “What I say to you I say to all, ‘Be on the alert!'” (Mark 13:37). In John 14:2-3, He promised, “. . .I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, you may be also.” At the ascension of Jesus as the disciples gazed after Him into the heavens, the heavenly messengers said to them, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come again in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11).
Knowing that He will return as He promised, we should never be caught off guard, we should never sleep on duty; we should be alert at all times, we should “occupy until He comes” (Luke 19:13). The day of grace is sure to end. The day of the Gospel opportunity has its limit, and one day the Gospel of grace will be preached no more. Therefore, Christians should be active, alert, alive, busy in the service of the Lord so that when He does come “that day will not come upon you suddenly like a trap” (Luke 21:34).
The multitudes of unbelievers are sleeping, walking in darkness, thoughtless, careless, unconcerned about their eternal destiny. Apostate church members are slumbering. They are of the night. True believers, children of the day, should always hear the echo of the words of Jesus: “Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour when the Son of Man comes” (Matthew 25:13).
If you live close to God
and His infinite grace,
you don’t have to tell;
it shows on your face.
Where there is love the heart is light,
Where there is love the day is bright,
Where there is love there is a song
To help when things
are going wrong. . .
And where the home
is filled with love
You’ll always find God spoken of,
And when a family prays together,
That family stays together.
Helen Steiner Rice
“Then he began to curse and swear, ‘I do not know the man!’ And immediately a rooster crowed. And Peter remembered the word which Jesus had said, ‘Before a rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.’ And he went out and wept bitterly.” Matthew 26:74-75 (NASB)
“But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen wrappings only; and he went away to his home, marveling at what had happened.” Luke 24:12 (NASB)
Jesus’ love does not fail no matter how much we fail Him. Interestingly though, we often fail Him though we genuinely love Him. Still, what we learn from it all is what Peter discovered: our relationship with Him does not depend on our ability but on His faithfulness.
Peter was not the only one to ever fail the Jesus. James and John had declared their ability to earn the places of leadership in the kingdom of God that they so ambitiously sought (Mark 10:38). Time after time, they had all failed.
Still , they were the first ones Jesus wanted to see after His resurrection. Scattered, fearful, and despondent though they were, He wanted them to gather together. Failures, weakness, and all — they were the ones He would use to take on the world in the power of the resurrection.
It could be the best day of your life when you learn to accept certain limitations and inabilities. Indeed, there is so much about yourself and your circumstances that you are powerless to change. And that is the reason for the cross and the promise of the resurrection. What you are not able to do, He always can.
When I cannot understand my Father’s leading,
And it seems to be but hard and cruel fate,
Still I hear that gentle whisper ever pleading.
God is working, God is faithful — only wait.
A. B. Simpson
“Phillip found Nathanael and said to him, ‘We have found Him of whom Moses in the Law and also the Prophets wrote–Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.’ Nathanael said to him, ‘Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?’ Phillip said to him, ‘Come and see.'” John 1:45-46 (NASB)
There is no way we can learn enough theological arguments to convince someone to enter into a relationship with Jesus Christ. The best we can do is to introduce someone to Him. People who have studied what makes churches grow have taken surveys and discovered that it is not the particular doctrine of a church that make people join. It is not their high-profile advertising. Its not even the sermons of the pastor. Seventy to ninety percent of the people who join a church do so because a friend or relative invited them. Those friends didn’t have seminary degrees nor did they consider themselves biblical scholars. All they did was give an invitation–something as simple as saying, “Come and see.”
“Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of His understanding. He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:28-31 (NLT)
This text from Isaiah 40 does not promise everything. It provides no instant solutions, no easy resolutions to problems, no shining light during the darkest night, no instant reversal, no final answers to life’s mysteries.
What is promised here is what is needed most: the renewal of strength for the crises ahead. Here is comfort: the promise of strength to endure, the strength to hold on until it is time for a new chapter in life. One can take new heart for the struggle.
Here is the promise: that the people of God can renew their strength to do the right thing because it is right.
Here is the promise: that those who are oppressed, denied justice, starved, and marginalized can renew their strength to sing the praises of God.
There is no hope in human beings, no hope in plans or councils, no hope in institutions. These all fail and disappoint. But the everlasting God never grows weary. God gives power to the faint.
When dreams are blasted, when hopes seem denied, when there seems to be no reason to endure, get ready. Get ready for the new thing God is about to do to you.
“And He was saying to them all, ‘If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.'” Luke 9:23 (NASB)
The call to follow Jesus is a demand for daily self-denial. Jesus’ call is to a sacrificial way of living. It is a summons to a continuous denial of self-centeredness. The call to follow Him is not just a one-time commitment to Christ in a moment and its all over. Christ’s summons to discipleship is a call to begin living the Christlike way of life everyday. To take up your cross daily.
Jesus has called us to a way of life that demands sacrificial living, and when we begin to realize that the cross is supposed to be a way of life, it is even more offensive to us today than it was to the people of Jesus’ day. Few of us really live a sacrificial kind of life. But Jesus has called and commanded us to the cross-like way of life. He has called us to a different way of living. It is a call to live sacrificially in ministry for Him.
“And He was saying, ‘That which proceeds out of the man, that is what defiles the man.'” Mark 7:20 (NASB)
The Greek word translated “defiles” means “to make common.” That is, to reduce to the same condition as the rest of mankind. Believers are not to be as other men are. This is not a holier-than-thou attitude or spirit. It is a Bible fact, because believers belong to the family of God, while unbelievers belong to the family of the devil, and certainly these two families do not have anything in common. They are as different as daylight is from midnight.
Any respectable father wants his children to be honest, upright, clean and pure. How much more does God want His children to be respectable because we bear the name of Christ. We belong to God, the Father of our Savior Jesus Christ. We are children of God through the miracle of the new birth made possible through the sacrificial death, burial, and resurrection of the Son of God. Therefore God does not want His children to sin (1 John 1:2). He wants us to be living examples of faith.