Psalm 63:1 NKJV - "O God, You are my God; early will I seek You; my soul thirsts for You; my flesh longs for You in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water."
How much do I thirst after God? How desperate do I feel I need God in my life? Do I really long after God? Do I feel I'm in a dry and thirsty land without Him?
May my heart seek fellowship with my Creator like the Psalmist had!. May I find my refreshment in His presence. May I hunger after Him until I am filled.
Mark 10:27 NKJV - "But looking at them, Jesus said, 'With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.'"
I know I've asked this before, but listen to this again, please. Do you ever wish you could "crawl" into someone's heart or mind and think for them and lead them to do something? I watch Christians go through difficulties and all they can do is worry. And sometimes they seem to think they haven't worried enough, so they intensify their worry, hoping that will somehow show just how desperate they feel trying to deal with a seemingly insurmountable problem. And if you try to encourage them they either shrug you off or they may even complain that you're not worrying with them!
Now, I'm no different than any other Christian. I've been in situations that were overwhelming and seemed to "crush" my spirit and make me feel absolutely helpless. Furthermore, I couldn't imagine any scenario that would come close to bringing about a remedy. And I meet with so many people who are dealing with the same emotional trauma. What can be said to help them? How about our Daily Verse today?
Jesus was clear when He said there are times when people are helpless. "...with men it is impossible..." Some things people just can't do. And that might lead some Christians to quote 1 Corinthians 10:13, "No temptation [or testing] has overtaken you except such as is common to man..." How can an impossible situation be seen as "common"? What does God expect when that happens? Well, how about the fact that He already knew there would be things that would come into people's lives that were "impossible"? He knew that and He also knew "...for with God all things are possible." In these instances that is the "way out" mentioned in 1 Cor. 10:13. The "way out" of an impossible situation is to rely on the God of the impossible!
1 Corinthians 11:1 NKJV - "Imitate me, as I also imitate Christ."
The Power of One! Perhaps other verses and passages from the Bible come to your heart, but this Daily Verse recognizes the influence one person can have, not only on one other individual, but on a LOT of people. Paul knew God had set him forth to be an example to others. And that certainly has happened as you look down the centuries how many Christians have used Paul as their model of what a true Christian should be like!
When I read of Elijah and Elisha, or look at David or Daniel, I see individuals God has used to "set the pace" and "show others how it's done." One person can do a lot if they allow the Holy Spirit to fill them and use them as He would. Not everyone has an influence over 100's, but almost all have an influence over at least one other person. You saw that with your parents, with your siblings and other relatives, with your friends, teachers, pastors, etc. One of those individuals made a difference in your life and you're grateful to God for that.
Don't underestimate your influence. I like to tell Christians that you already have an influence. The issue is, is that influence for good or for evil? Remember what Jesus said in Luke 11:23, "He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters." That's powerful! One person is either helping the Lord or their hindering Him! If a Christian is not walking with the Lord then they are walking "out of step" with Christ and that action influences others.
So Christian, do you recognize the "Power of One?" You may not think you matter in the grand scheme of things. But remember your Savior is interested in sparrows and how many hairs are on your head. Don't think for a moment that your life doesn't matter to Christ or that your life doesn't influence others. You are one and Christ can do wonders with just one person. Take a look again at the men I mentioned above. Elijah, Elisha, David, Daniel, and Paul were all individual men, but God impacted the world through them! He can do the same with you with whoever you meet.
2 Timothy 2:15 NKJV - "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."
Most of us remember the King James Version of this verse how it starts, "But study to show thyself approved unto God..." The word "study" made most everyone think about "studying the Word of God." We thought that was the primary message of our Daily Verse. Now, I won't disagree entirely, but I think we didn't read the wording carefully. It doesn't say that we are to study the Bible! It says that we should make it a study to be sure that we are living lives that are approved by God. Now, yes, the Word of God is essential for that to happen, and, yes, it is necessary to study the Bible to see what God approves. But still don't miss the point that God wants us to make it our desire to live lives that honor Him and lives that don't bring shame on us or on our Savior!
Now, the end of the verse speaks of "rightly dividing the word of truth." I often wondered what "dividing" meant. Were we somehow of "cut up the Bible into pieces?" That didn't sound reasonable. And it isn't, because that's not what is meant. "Dividing" recognizes the various divisions of the Bible, in Old and New Testaments; in old covenant versus new covenant; in recognizing that everything God said He didn't say it directly to everyone. There are some things God said meant only for the Jewish people. An example of that is God's promise to give them the land of Israel as their permanent possession. They haven't seen that happen yet. But God will do that, especially in the Millennial reign of Christ. And the Gentile Christian doesn't apply that promise to themselves. Our home is in Heaven, Philippians 3:20. We are "pilgrims and strangers" on this earth. (More about this to be said in another study).
But also note the word, "workman." We are workers for the Lord; servants to our King. We got saved to serve, as the old saying goes. Every Christian should see themselves as a worker for God. Sad, too many think that doesn't apply to them. Too often in churches you have two kinds of people: those who work and those who let them! Every Christian needs to know they are called upon by God to work for Him. Do you see that about yourself? Do you seek God's approval of the way you live? Do you seek to understand the Bible better, yes, do you seek to study it more?
Let this familiar verse become a verse to meditate on today. Ask God to make its truths a reality in your life. Be approved workmen who are not ashamed. That's the thought, by the way, behind the word AWANA!
Luke 12:34 NKJV - "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
I want to put a different focus on this verse than you might normally have. Most of us are aware that Jesus' wants us to "store our treasures in heaven" rather than think of banks or hidden caves here on earth. I don't want to take away from that but please think of this. What do you hold valuable here? When you think of your wealth, what or who do you think of? What or who really "has your heart" here?
Think of Jesus. Think about what He owned as a man on this earth. Sure, as God He owned everything! But when He started out on His public ministry He would tell people He had no home of His own. When it came time to pay the temple tax He sent Peter fishing! Peter caught a fish with a coin in its mouth! When we read of anything He owned only His coat was mentioned. What or who did Jesus find valuable? Think about that.
Let me ask you the question, "Where is your wealth?" Sure, you've "sent much already on ahead" and you can say "My wealth is in Heaven." Good. But what do you value here? You may have noticed I kept asking "what" or "who." Reason for that is that my wealth is not the stuff or the money I might have. It's the people I know, the people I love who are of greater value than any other riches I might possess. And the best Person I have is Jesus! And with Jesus comes the whole Godhead, as I mentioned in an earlier Daily Verse this week. Then, after Jesus comes my wife, Ellen, my children, Liz, Steve, and Becca, then my extended family, my church family including my many Christian friends, my neighbors and regular acquaintances I see often. It's PEOPLE! Sure, I know how valuable is the written Word of God, and that is included in Jesus and my salvation. But people are of more value to me than any item I can think of.
And that's where Jesus' treasure was. How can I say that? Listen to Him, "Where your treasure is there your heart will be also." His treasure was US! And His heart reached out to us to show it! He valued people far more than anything else! He loved this world of people and He gave His heart, Himself, to reach this world for Him!
Now, our Daily Verse speaks of where my treasure is there will be my heart as
well. I don't have a problem saying my heart is rich with all the dear ones I've mentioned above. My heart's devotion and dedication isn't to money! What money I have I use for what is my responsibility but then I give most of it away. And it goes to help those I love and meet their needs to help them more readily serve the Lord.
My earthly "treasure" is in my earthly home where my family resides. But my spiritual treasure, including the countless people I've seem come to the Lord, is settled in the vaults of Heaven! My heart is there too. And it's not a divided heart because all those mentioned above are headed in the same direction (or I pray and am working hard towards seeing that happen with those who are yet to be saved!)
Consider your wealth. Who is it? Where is it? I hope both Heaven and your home find your heart's love and devotion!
2 Chronicles 20:12b NKJV - "...nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You."
One of the most common questions I get from Christians is, "How do I know what God wants me to do?" Or, "How do I know the will of God for my life?" or some other similarly worded question. Probably everyone who is reading this, including myself, have asked this question far more than just once. We all want to have an answer.
My response over the years as been about the same to each person. What I share with you here is what I practice myself for I have sought God's guidance almost every day, if not, every hour!
1. Do now what you know you should be doing. Read His Word daily, pray daily, seek Christian fellowship, worship God with other believers, and keep at it. God has plenty to say about what He wants from us and it's laid out pretty clear in Scripture. Someday I'll share all the passages that speak of the "will of God" but let me share a few with you.
- 1 Thessalonians 4:3 - "For this is the will of God, your sanctification, that you should abstain from sexual immorality." Pretty clear isn't it?! Living a moral life is God's will. Are you? Am I?
- 1 Thessalonians 5:18 - "In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." Being thankful is what God wants. That's why it is included in Philippians 4:6 when we bring our requests to God. We are also to bring our thanksgiving too. Do you? Do I?
- 1 Peter 2:15 - "For this is the will of God that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men." Doing good is God's will, not just once in a while but all the time. Do you? Do I?
2. If you're not doing God's will that you already know you should do, why do you expect God Him to show you more?
3. If you are doing what God wants and He doesn't make clear what else you should do, then keep doing what you're doing, wait on the Lord, and trust Him to make things clear when He knows the time is right.
4. Pray and ask others to pray with you and for you. In our Daily Verse, King Jehoshaphat was finishing a prayer for God's guidance. He had asked all the people to join him in prayer. See verse 3 and 4 of the same chapter. God will make His will known, in His time.
5. Seek Christian counsel - some of your closest Christian friends can already see what God is doing in your life and God may use them to make His will clear to you. Be sensitive to the Spirit working though believers.
God answered Jehoshaphat which is recorded in verses 14-18. Note that the king worshiped the Lord when the answer was clear. Be sure you do the same.
1 John 1:7 NKJV - "But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin."
God wants fellowship with you and me more than we want it with Him. It's always started with God. He loved us first, according to 1 John 4:19, and He chose us first, John 15:16. So it's no wonder that He chose us for Himself because He loved us. And it's God's delight to sit down with us and talk with us through His Word and through our prayers. He enjoys us!
And He has made it possible for us to "walk in the light" because that's where His Spirit will naturally lead us! And He also deals with the issues of our daily sins by always taking the effective work of the blood of the cross and constantly cleansing us from each transgression.
There's an old hymn that spoke about not letting anything between our soul and the Savior. The song encourages us to "keep the way clean, let nothing between." That's not only our responsibility but God keeps us on the "straight and narrow" by His work in our lives, rebuking us when we need it, disciplining us, and the correcting us. That's part of the purpose of the Scriptures according to 2 Timothy 3:16,17.
Thank God for His delight in you and thank Him for working hard to make it possible for us to enjoy fellowship with Him every day!
1 John 1:3 NKJV - "That which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ."
I spoke with you yesterday about being filled with the "fullness of God" and Jesus' own statement and He and His Father would dwell in us. The Daily Verse for today is another testimony to the very personal relationship the Triune God has with His children. Through the Apostle John, God is offering for us to enjoy fellowship with Him on the most intimate level! He wants us to "sit down with Him" and enjoy His company and feel completely welcome in His presence! That is pretty much what John speaks of in other passages as our "abiding in Christ" and His "abiding in us."
Most every Christian has felt the insecurity that Satan tries to plant in our lives. The feeling that somehow we just don't measure up to what God expects, and therefore, God keeps us somewhat distant from Him. We feel we have to strive harder to have God "accept us". Nothing could be further from the truth.
When John speaks of our having fellowship with God, he meant it! And our fellowship isn't based on how well we measure up to Christ. The truth of the matter is that we are "in Christ" and He always measures up to being in His Father's Presence! And we enjoy the status Christ has because we are "in Him." He is the One who measures up to the Father's strictest standards. And He brings us into his status with God. God accepts us because He accepts His Son!
Enjoy the fellowship God wants you to have with Him. Know that He abides in you and wants you to abide in Him - feeling completely at home with your God!
Ephesians 3:19 NKJV - "To know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God."
I've chosen this verse to present a doctrinal truth that should bless your hearts immensely! This Daily Verse is part of Paul's 2nd prayer he reveals to the Ephesian believers 3:14-21. (The first prayer is revealed in 1:15-18).
In this verse we read that the love of Christ is beyond our ability to know fully. That's the thought behind the words, "...beyond knowledge." We certainly can know something of that love and we need only look to the Cross of Calvary to see it vividly revealed. But I want to focus on the last part of this verse: "...be filled with all the fullness of God."
The doctrinal truth of this statement is revealing nothing less than that you and I, as believers in Jesus Christ and children of God, have God living in us in all His fullness! God is seen not just up there in Heaven looking down on us. He is living in your life and in mine! To what extent is that true? Look at the promises Jesus makes in John 14.
In John 14:15-18 Jesus promised the Holy Spirit, referred to as the "Comforter" or "Helper" who would be send by God after Jesus rose from the dead and ascended to Heaven. In 14:16 Jesus said the Helper would "...abide with you forever," and in verse 17, "...He dwells with you and will be in you." God's Holy Spirit came to live in each believer at the moment of their salvation and the promise is that He would never leave!
But note John 14:23 where Jesus said, "...If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him and We will come to him and make Our home with Him." God the Father and God the Son will also come to live within each believer! Along with the Holy Spirit, you have the Triune God living in your life! Don't let that pass you by as just more "Bible talk!" This is a wonderful truth that a lot of believers have never been told. And this is what Paul is referring to in our Daily Verse.
We are "filled with all the fullness of God"! No believer has more of God than another believer. The problem is that so many believers are just ignorant of this truth and miss the joy of the fellowship God loves to have with each one of His children! I'll seek to expand on this tomorrow, but pray that the Spirit of God will overwhelm you today with the joy of GOD'S PRESENCE IN YOU!
1 Corinthians 1:27 NKJV - "But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty."
This passage has more to it than this one verse. Take time to read 1 Corinthians 1:18-31. It will reveal an important lesson for Christians. We live in a world where intelligence and strength are admired and often what we seek to achieve and acquire. To be smart and strong seems to be the focus of many a young person as they pursue their careers and seek to do something worthwhile with their lives. And we Christians get caught up in the same pursuits and we find ourselves trying to compete with others to see which one would "get ahead" in life and prove their worth.
God sees things so differently than us. In our Daily Verse and the context in which it is located, Paul makes clear that God isn't looking for the smart and strong to accomplish His work. It's not that God doesn't use these traits in our lives, but they are not the primary reason why God may use us. Actually, God is looking for people who aren't "much in their own eyes" but who are impressed with how smart and strong their God is!
It's often been said that the reason why the Spirit of God doesn't seem to show His power through many believers is because they are so full of themselves that there's no room for the Spirit to work! God is looking for people who are "small" in their own eyes and, therefore, give plenty of room for God to show how mighty He is. The story of Gideon and his 300 men is a great study! Read that in Judges 6 and 7. The primary focus was that Israel was facing a great enemy and God was going to defeat that enemy with a small number of Israelites to show His power.
God wants to use us, but not because we're so great. He wants to use us to show how great and powerful He is. Is there room in your life for God to work through you?
Daily commentary and insight from Pastor Eckardt.
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Mt Ephraim Baptist Church | 25 S. Black Horse Pike | Mt Ephraim, NJ 08059
Senior Pastor, Stephen A. Eckardt | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Phone: 856.981.7288