A Fresh Pair of Eyes

Immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he received his sight at once; and he arose and was baptized.
Acts 9:18
When we think of things out of focus, we think of pictures and videos. But what about eyesight? Many people in biblical days were nearsighted or farsighted, and there was nothing they could do about it. It was like watching an out-of-focus film every waking moment. The earliest attempts to create eyeglasses didn’t occur until the 1200s. What if we had to go through life with everything out of focus?
Going through life without worship is like living with blurred vision. We can neither see nor understand things clearly. Our wisdom is indistinct, and our perspective is fuzzy.

When we acknowledge God for Who He is, find Him through Jesus Christ as our Savior, and begin to worship Him, it’s like scales falling from our eyes. That’s how Luke described the conversion of Saul of Tarsus in Acts 9.

Worshiping God each day means focusing on Him, letting Him give us the vision and perspective we need. Turn your mind toward Jesus and learn to think on Scripture as you go to sleep, wake up, and go through your day.

Take time to focus your heart and your thoughts on the Lord.
Ray Pritchard

  • David Jeemiah

Truth for Trails and Trials

Search the Scriptures, for…these are they which testify of Me.
John 5:39
A. W. Tozer seldom used an unnecessary word. His sentences were plain and vivid, connecting with readers like an electrical circuit. Listen to this Tozer paragraph: “One great concern I have is that many of today’s Christians are not taking the Word of God seriously. For whatever reason, the Scriptures do not have authority in the Christian’s life in the way that is necessary for him or her to live a life to the glory of God.”[1]
We must take the Scriptures seriously because the Scriptures take the Lord seriously. We learn about Jesus through His Word: His eternal glory, His remarkable humanity, His infinite wisdom, His glorious resurrection, His current enthronement, His swift coming, and His everlasting reign. By turning our eyes to the Bible, we’re turning our gaze to Him, and that changes the way we view the trails and trials of earth.

When you take the Bible seriously, you’ll grow closer to Christ—becoming stronger in Him and more joyful whatever befalls you. Ask the Lord to give you a love for His Word—and for His Son!

If we are going to be empowered by the Holy Spirit, we must start by taking the Bible seriously.
A. W. Tozer

  • David Jeremiah

Sing to One Another

Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.
Ephesians 5:19 
Paul wrote two parallel verses about the use of songs and hymns for the edification of believers: Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16. In Ephesians, Paul wrote, “Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs.” But in Colossians, he used the stronger word “admonish”—“admonishing one another.” “Speaking” in Ephesians, but “admonishing” in Colossians. One thing is the same in both: “one another.” There is great power in spiritual hymns and songs that contain biblical truth. When we sing (speak) together and give attention to the words, they can instruct and admonish us just as they can when we read them in the Bible or biblically-based books.
This is yet another reason to be a singer of spiritual songs, especially when worshiping with others. Let your heart follow the words and be shaped by them.

A debtor to mercy alone, of covenant mercy I sing.
Augustus M. Toplady

  • David Jeremiah

My Child Free!

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.
Romans 8:2

An inmate in Louisiana was freed after serving twelve years of a murder sentence because of DNA evidence. As the man was released, his mother cried out, “My child free!”[1]
Whenever we hear of a miscarriage of justice, we inwardly groan. The thought that some in prison have been wrongfully convicted breaks our hearts, and we rejoice when they are freed.

When it comes to our own guilt, however, there is no doubt. We have all sinned against God and face eternal condemnation. Yet because of His great love for us, God sent Jesus Christ, His own Son, to take our punishment and set us free. It might help us appreciate this more if we’d take a moment to imagine how we’d feel if we actually saw the prison doors open and heard the Lord Jesus shout, “My child is free!”

Don’t underestimate the euphoria that should fill our hearts every day because of what Jesus has done for us. Let’s shout, “Praise the Lord!”

Living by grace means liberty, not bondage…depending on the Spirit…not the flesh; living for others, not for self…and living for the glory of God, not for man’s approval. Warren Wiersbe

  • David Jeremiah

Change Your World

Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.
Colossians 3:2

Think about how focused our mind is on “things on the earth.” Besides our vocation and family life, our mind is occupied with fear-inducing headlines. Even when we sleep, our mind rehearses and consolidates all the thoughts we have had during the day. The mind is continually active, always seeking a focus which we must provide for it.
Paul acknowledged the struggle we have to keep our mind “set on things above, not on things on the earth.” He wrote in Romans 12:2 of the need to renew the mind and, therefore, be transformed from an earthly-centered life to a heavenly-centered life. Jesus admonished His followers to “seek first the kingdom of God” and allow God to order our earthly concerns according to His will (Matthew 6:33). Think how the world would be different if every person centered their mind on the values of the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-12) and the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).

Take the challenge: Keep your mind centered, one day at a time, on heavenly things. You may just change your world.

Focus on giants—you stumble. Focus on God—your giants tumble.
Max Lucado

  • David Jeremiah

Spiritual Dress

Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another.
Colossians 3:12-13

In the first century, getting dressed was a bit simpler for the average person than it is for us today. The apostle Paul likely wore a knee-length tunic, perhaps a kind of undergarment, a robe or cloak, and sandals for his feet—and maybe a belt around his waist. Still, that small number of items was enough to stimulate his thinking when it came to describing the Christian’s spiritual wardrobe.
In Colossians 3:12-14, Paul described at least eight different articles of spiritual clothing that the Christian should “put on” daily: tender mercies (compassion), kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering, patience, forgiveness, and love which is “the bond of perfection” (that which ties the others together in unity). In a world where many people strive to be fashion forward, imagine the impact of a person dressed in Paul’s eight spiritual qualities. Which would change the world more—being dressed in the latest fashions or being dressed in the likeness of Christ?

As you get dressed each morning, imagine putting on love and the other traits Paul mentions. Being dressed in Christlikeness will set you apart in the world.

To be much like Christ, be much with Christ. – Unknown

  • David Jeremiah

Through and Through

May God himself, the God of peace sanctify you through and through.
1 Thessalonians 5:23, NIV
A man in Colorado was fed up with all the cobwebs under his mother’s house. He crawled under the house with a blowtorch and proceeded to incinerate them. However, he also set the house on fire. The man and his mother were rescued, but the house sustained $100,000 in damages.[1]
There are a lot of cobwebs in the corners and crevices of our lives—areas of imperfection and sin—attitudes that are unfit for a believer, habits that are defective, thoughts that need disinfecting. Our own efforts at improvement are inadequate.

The only real way to combat temptation is with the power of the Word and in the strength of the Spirit. Lean on Jesus and let Him work in and through you as you grow in personal holiness and grace.

[God] cuts short our old, self-willed nature to make way for our new nature in Christ, which works in willing cooperation with Him.
Watchman Nee

  • David Jeremiah

Castaways

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear.
1 John 4:18
A. W. Tozer wrote, “Fear is the painful emotion that arises at the thought that we may be harmed or made to suffer. This fear persists while we are subject to the will of someone who does not desire our well-being. The moment we come under the protection of one of good will, fear is cast out.”[1]
Fear is a powerful force. It makes us afraid of something that hasn’t happened yet. But when we call on the power of God to intervene on our behalf, He replaces that fear with His comfort in the knowledge of His presence with us. We know His nearness; we read His promises; we lean on His supporting arms. We know He will work all things for our good.

The same Bible that tells us to cast our burdens on the Lord (Psalm 55:22), to cast “off the works of darkness” (Romans 13:12), and to cast all our cares on Him (1 Peter 5:7) also tells us to cast out our fear.

If the Lord be with us, we have no cause of fear.
John Newton

  • David Jeremiah

Lead Us Not

And do not lead us into temptation.
Matthew 6:13 
We’ve all heard the timeless question, “Which came first—the chicken or the egg?” Since one leads to another in a never-ending cycle, the question is hard to answer. We might ask a similar question in the spiritual realm: “Which comes first—a test or a temptation?” Asked another way, “What is the difference between a test and a temptation?”
Grammatically, there is no difference. The same Greek word can be translated either “temptation” or “test” or “trial” (as in James 1:2 and 1:13 where the same Greek word is translated differently). A trial can lead to a temptation; a temptation can become a test. And temptations and tests can become, if they are prolonged, trials. When Jesus taught His disciples to pray that God would not “lead us into temptation,” context is needed. James 1:13-15 says that God cannot be tempted, nor does He tempt anyone. So the prayer in Matthew 6:13 must be read as a prayer to be spared from circumstances—trials, tests, temptations—that might lead us to sin.

When we do find ourselves tempted, God always provides a way of escape (1 Corinthians 10:13). Finding that way is at the heart of our prayer.

He who avoids the temptation avoids the sin.
Anonymous

  • David Jeremiah

Forgive and Be Forgiven

Forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.
Ephesians 4:32 

The Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13) contains universal requests (God’s rule, God’s will) and personal requests: physical provision (daily bread), spiritual provision (forgiveness), and protection (deliverance from evil). But forgiveness has a caveat: God’s forgiveness of our “debts” (sins) is tied to our forgiveness of our “debtors” (those who sin against us). In fact, Jesus said, “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matthew 6:14-15).

The forgiveness of which Jesus spoke is not eternal forgiveness for salvation. That forgiveness comes only through faith in Christ, not through anything we do to earn it. Rather, the forgiveness Jesus spoke of is that which maintains fellowship with God. If we want to live in intimate fellowship with God, we must forgive others as He has forgiven us. The apostle Paul expressed this same truth in Ephesians 4:32.

Forgiving others and being forgiven by God go hand in hand.

In these days of guilt complexes, perhaps the most glorious word in the English language is “forgiveness.”
Billy Graham 

 

  • David Jeremiah