according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. — Philippians 4:19
By Charles H. Spurgeon
‘And the Lord smelled a sweet savour; and the Lord said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done.’ Genesis 8:21
Suggested Further Reading: John 3:1–15
I cannot give myself a new nature. A crab tree cannot transform itself into an apple tree; if I am a wolf I cannot make myself a sheep; water can rise to its own proper level, but it cannot go beyond it without pressure. I must have, then, something wrought in me more than I can work in myself, and this indeed is good scriptural doctrine. ‘That which is born of the flesh’—what is it? When the flesh has done its very best—what is it? ‘That which is born of the flesh is flesh’—it is filthy to begin with and filth comes of it. Only ‘that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.’ My soul must come under the hand of the Spirit; just as a piece of clay is on the potter’s wheel and is made to revolve and is touched by the fingers of the potter and moulded into what he wishes it to be, so must I lie passively in the hand of the Spirit of God, and he must work in me to will and to do of his own good pleasure, and then I shall begin to work out my own salvation with fear and trembling, but never, never till then. I must have more than nature can give me, more than my mother gave me, more than my father gave me, more than flesh and blood can produce under the most favourable circumstances. I must have the Spirit of God from heaven. Then comes this enquiry, ‘Have I received him? What is the best evidence of it?’ The best evidence of it is this: am I resting upon Christ Jesus alone for salvation?
A bee flew into the bus and began buzzing menacingly against the window next to me and the man seated ahead of me.
For several unnerving minutes I debated what I should do until my fellow passenger decided to dispatch the insect with the paperback book he’d been reading.
After several unsuccessful swats, one blow hit its mark.
“I’m glad you got it,” I told the man.
He smiled sheepishly as he showed me the title of the book he had used— “Random Acts of Kindness.”
“Dad, I think the Smiths next door are angry at us.”
“Why is that?”
“They’re probably mad because our dog can retrieve the newspaper, and theirs can’t.”
“How could you possibly know that? We don’t even subscribe to the paper.”
“Yeah, that’s probably got something to do with it, too.
An elderly man lay dying in his bed. In death’s agony, he suddenly smelled the aroma of his favorite chocolate chip cookies wafting up the stairs. He gathered his remaining strength, and lifted himself from the bed. Leaning against the wall, he slowly made his way out of the bedroom and with even greater effort forced himself down the stairs, gripping the railing with both hands. With labored breath, he leaned against the doorframe, gazing into the kitchen. Were it not for death’s agony, he would have thought himself already in heaven: there, spread out upon the kitchen table was literally hundreds of his favorite chocolate chip cookies.
Was it heaven? Or, was it one final act of heroic love from his devoted wife, seeing to it that he left this world a happy man? Mustering one great final effort, he threw himself toward the table, landing on his knees in a rumpled posture. His parched lips parted; the wondrous taste of the cookie was already in his mouth; seemingly bringing him back to life. The aged and withered hand shakily made its way to a cookie at the edge of the
table, when it was suddenly smacked with a spatula by his wife.
“Stay out of those,” she said, “they’re for the funeral.”
The following statement was found in the belongings of a young African Christian martyred for his faith.
Do you share this same commitment to Christ?
“I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotions, plaudits, or popularity. I don’t have to be right, first, tops, recognized, praised, regarded or rewarded. I now live by faith, lean on His presence, walk by patience, lifted by prayer and labor by His power.
“My past is redeemed. My present makes sense. My future is secure. I’m finished and done with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, lamed visions, mundane talking, cheap living and dwarfed goals.
“My face is set. My gait is fast. My goal is Heaven. My road is narrow; my way rough; my companions few; my Guide reliable; my vision clear. I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the face of an adversary, negotiate at the table of an enemy, and ponder at the pool of popularity or meander in the maze of mediocrity.
“I won’t give up, shut up, or let up, until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up and preached up for the cause of Christ. I am a disciple of Jesus. I must go till He comes, give till I drop, preach till all know and work till He stops me. And when He comes for His own, HE WILL HAVE NO PROBLEM RECOGNIZING ME… MY BANNER WILL BE CLEAR!”
Thankful for His loving touch! KI
Nothing Like His Touch
Nothing like His touch calms the raging sea,
By His compassion, His voice speaks Peace;
He comes where are in everything we face,
Nothing is bigger than God’s loving grace!
Nothing like His touch makes the sick whole,
In all situations, God’s hand is in control;
He’s never perplexed or caught by surprise,
And walks beside us, every step of our life!
Nothing like His touch keeps us all in tune,
His Word reminds us He’ll be coming soon;
Even in these unprecedented days we see,
His love is there, meeting all our needs!
Nothing like His touch comforts the heart,
His presence is in us, never to depart;
He hears every prayer, loving us so much,
There’s nothing to fear if it has His touch!
TRICKY SCRIBES MARK 14:1
Passover is the most holy and joyous festival that commemorates Israel’s deliverance from bondage in Egypt. The Jews had cried out to God in their oppression, and God delivered them. But this did not stop the enemies of Jesus from plotting to have him killed. The word “craft” refers to “a trick”. They are trying to devise a plot to trap Jesus so they can have Him executed.
TUMULTUOS SCENE MARK 14:2
In consequence of the vast influx of strangers, embracing all the male population of the land who had reached a certain age, there were within the walls of Jerusalem at this festival some two million people; and in their excited state, the danger of tumult and bloodshed among “the people,” who for the most part took Jesus for a prophet, was extreme. See Josephus [Antiquities, 20.5.3].
Just as they though t their plan would not work the proposal of Judas changed all that. Bengel remarks, “then did the divine counsel take effect.”
TRUE WORSHIP MARK 14:3
True worship never comes cheap and will always cost us something.
A Christian businessman was traveling in Korea. In a field by the side of the road was a young man pulling a rude plow while an old man held the handles. The businessman was amused and took a snapshot of the scene. “I suppose these people are very poor,’ he said to the missionary who was interpreter and guide to the party.
“‘Yes,’ was the quiet reply, ‘those two men happen to be Christians. When their church was being built, they were eager to give something toward it, but they had no money. So they decided to sell their one and only ox and give the proceeds to the church. This spring they are pulling the plow themselves.’
“The businessman was silent for some moments. Then he said, ‘That must have been a real sacrifice.’
“‘They did not call it that,’ said the missionary. ‘They thought themselves fortunate that they had an ox to sell!’
TANTRUM MADE MARK 14:4
When it comes to money even the closest followers of Jesus can lose perception, here it says some of the disciples were complaining, the mastermind behind all this was Judas. (John 12:4-5).
TOTAL MANIPULATION MARK 14:5
“This he said,” remarks John (John 12:6), and the remark is of exceeding importance, “not that he cared for the poor but because he was a thief, and had the bag”
TO BE PRAISED MARK 14:6
It was good in itself, and so was acceptable to Christ; it was reasonable and it was “what she could,” and so most acceptable of all. As the song writer puts it “If just a cup of water I place within your hand, then just a cup of water is all that I’ll demand”.
TIME FOR EVERYTHING MARK 14:7
Jesus is not saying that we should not help the poor. We should help them and we should do our best to meet the needs of those around us. Jesus is simply saying that Mary seized the moment! The poor would always be there, but she knew that Jesus was going to the cross to die for sin and sinners. She took advantage of the opportunity she was afforded and she gave Him extravagant love and worship.
TOOK OPPORTUNITY MARK 14:8
There was a lot that Mary could not do. She could not prepare Him a meal, there just wasn’t time, she could not make Him a garment, and again, there just wasn’t time. She could not take His place in Gethsemane or at Calvary. She could not take away the shame, the rejection, the hatred or any of the other pains Jesus experienced. There was a lot that she could not do. But, there was one thing she could do! She had a flask of expensive anointing ointment. She was saving it for herself, but she chose in that moment to take what she did have and to use it for the glory of God!
TRIBUTE GIVEN MARK 14:9
God is teaching us that everything that represents true service to Him will never be forgotten. He notes those things and they possess lasting, eternal value. There will come a day when He will reward His servants for their service of extravagant worship for His glory. Mark 9:41, “For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward.” (Ill. Matt. 25:34-40.) (Ill. Paul – 2 Tim. 4:6-8!)
We live in a mixed-up kind of world in which many people are not at all sure of what they believe or what they ought to believe. Some churches advertise that way-you do not have to believe anything: “just be a seeker after truth.” Some actually settle for poetry, siding with Edwin Markham who “saw his bright hand sending signals from the sun.” I, for one, never had any such signals from God. We have Bibles everywhere and the gospel is preached faithfully. Yet men and women seek God in old altars and tombs-in dark and dusty places, and finally wind up believing that God is sending signals from the sun. Some folks get mad at me when I say that this kind of “seeking after truth” needs to be exposed. We need to double our efforts in telling the world that God is spirit and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth.It must be the Truth of God and the Spirit of God! Far from being an optional luxury in our Christian lives, the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit is a necessity!
READING THE BIBLE
J. C. Ryle
1. READ THE BIBLE WITH AN EARNEST DESIRE TO UNDERSTAND IT.
1. READ THE BIBLE WITH AN EARNEST DESIRE TO UNDERSTAND IT.
Do not be content to just read the words of Scripture. Seek to grasp the message they contain.
2. READ THE SCRIPTURES WITH A SIMPLE, CHILDLIKE FAITH AND HUMILITY.
Believe what God reveals. Reason must bow to God’s revelation.
3. READ THE WORD WITH A SPIRIT OF OBEDIENCE AND SELF-APPLICATION.
Apply what God says to yourself and obey His will in all things.
4. READ THE HOLY SCRIPTURES EVERY DAY.
We quickly lose the nourishment and strength of yesterday’s bread. We must feed our souls daily upon the manna God has given us.
5. READ THE WHOLE BIBLE AND READ IT IN AN ORDERLY WAY.
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable.” I know of no better way to read the Bible than to start at the beginning and read straight through to the end, a portion every day, comparing Scripture with Scripture.
6. READ THE WORD OF GOD FAIRLY AND HONESTLY.
As a general rule, any passage of Scripture means what it appears to mean. interpret every passage in this simple manner, in its context.
7. READ THE BIBLE WITH CHRIST CONSTANTLY IN VIEW.
The whole Book is about Him. Look for Him on every page. He is there. If you fail to see Him there, you need to read that page again.
A business was opening in a new location and one of the owner’s friends wanted to send flowers for the occasion.
They arrived at the new business site and the owner read the card. It said, “Rest in Peace.”
The owner was angry and called the florist to complain. After he told the florist of the obvious mistake and how angry he was,
the florist said, “Sir, I’m really sorry for the mistake, but rather than getting angry you should imagine this: somewhere there is a funeral taking place today, and they have flowers with a note saying, ‘Congratulations on your new location.'”
After years of scrimping and saving, a husband told his wife the good news: “Honey, we’ve finally got enough money to buy what we started saving for in 2009.” “You mean a brand-new Cadillac?” she asked eagerly. “No,” said the husband, “a 2009 Cadillac.”
A man being mugged by two thugs put up a tremendous fight! Finally, the thugs subdued him and took his wallet. Upon finding only two dollars in the wallet, the surprised thug said “Why did you put up such a fight?” To which the man promptly replied “I was afraid that you would find the $200 hidden in my shoe!”
One day a lady took her pot belly pig to the veterinarian. The doctor looked at the pig and shook his head. “I’m sorry your pig is dead” said the doctor. “How could you be so sure” the lady said.
So the man left the room and come back with a Labrador Retriever. It stood up on its hind legs and sniffed the pig and shook its head. The doctor left the room again and come back with a cat. The cat also sniffed the pig and shook its head. The doctor said that the pig was 100% dead.
With the lady still in shock, the doctor handed the bill to the lady. “$200, why $200?”.
The doctor replied “If you had’ve believed me first it would of been $60”.
“But why still, why so much?” the lady insists. To which the doctor says “Because you insisted on had a lab report and a cat scan!”
When a visitor to a small town in Georgia came upon a wild dog attacking a young boy, he quickly grabbed the animal and saved the boy.
A local journalist saw this happen, congratulated the man and told him he wanted to write a story called, “Valiant Local Man Saves Child by Killing Vicious Animal.”
The hero told the journalist that he wasn’t from that town. “Well, then,” the journalist said, “the story will be called, ‘Georgia Man Saves Child by Killing Dog’.”
“Actually,” the man said, “I’m from Connecticut.”
“In that case,” the journalist said in a huff, “the story will be called, ‘Yankee Attacks Family Pet’.
1. We Will Love The Lord – Ephesians 6:24 Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen.
a. It Is A Submissive Love – John 14:21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.
John 14:23-24 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.
b. It Is A Serving Love – 1 Corinthians 5:14-15 For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again
c. It Is A Sacrificial Love – 2 Corinthians 8:8-9 I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to prove the sincerity of your love. For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.
d. It Is A Surpassing Love – John 21:15 So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.
2. We Will Love One Another – John 13:34-35 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
1 Thessalonians 4:9 But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another.
a. It Is A Witnessing Love – John 13:35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
b. It Is An Assuring Love – 1 John 3:14 We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.
c. It Is A Forgiving Love – Ephesians 4:31-32 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.
d. It Is A Compassionate Love – John 15:12-13 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
1 John 3:17 But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?
e. It Is A Sincere Love – Romans 12:9-10 Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
Galatians 5:13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.
3. We Will Love Sinners
Romans 13:9-10 For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
4. We Will Love God’s Word
a. We will highly esteem it – Job 23:12 Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.
b. We will meditate in it – Psalms 1:1-2 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
c. We will obey it – 1 John 5:1-3 Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.
c. Shown through participation – How often do you attend extra-curricular activities
5. We Will Love God’s House
a. Shown through faithfulness – If the everyone came as often as you, what kind of church would we have?
b. Shown through willingness to help and work – If everyone did as much as you do, would the work of the Lord get done?