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  • 07 Dec 2020
    Community, Not Communism By David Guzik on Dec 06, 2020 08:09 pm Click Here for a Free Christmas E-Book by Inga-Lill Guzik – Light, Peace, and Hope for Your Christmas Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. (Acts 2:44-45) There was something special about the early church. They certainly were not perfect, but there was a spiritual life, courage, and true sense of community among them that gives a powerful pattern for believers since their time. These two verses are a great description of this. We read, all who believed were together. There was an impressive unity and community among believers. We read in Acts 2:41 that among the Jewish people gathered at that Pentecost, some 3,000 responded to Peter’s preaching. Many of those 3,000 new believers came from far away to Jerusalem for Pentecost as pilgrims. These visitors repented, believed, and were baptized. Afterwards, they didn’t just go their own way – they wanted to grow in their faith and following of Jesus, so all who believed stayed together. The Jewish people of that day had a tremendous custom of hospitality during any major feast such as Pentecost. Visitors were received into private homes, and no one could charge for giving a bed or a room to a visitor, or for supplying their basic needs. The first Christians took this tremendous feast-time hospitality and made it an everyday thing. They didn’t just share their lives; they also shared their material possessions. We read that they had all things in common. With so many visitors among the first 3,000 believers, many of them didn’t have jobs. But Christians shared and provided for each other. The early family of Christians had to share if they were to survive. There have been more than a few people who claim that this was an early expression of communism, or “Christian Communism.” I think that this a misleading and dangerous claim. This was different from communism in at least two important ways. First, it was voluntary. No one forced believers to share their material possessions. No one made them sell their possessions and their goods and to divide them among all. This was voluntary and led by the Holy Spirit. Forced collectivism – in the form of communism or many forms of socialism – has been a great evil in the world. The goal of a better world through forced collectivism was the claimed justification of the murder of up to 100 million people in the 20th century. The other difference is that this was temporary. We don’t have any evidence that this continued very long. Instead, it was the spontaneous response to an immediate need. Yet, there is something wonderful in that they sold their possessions and their goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. The power of God was evident among because Jesus became much more important to them than their possessions. It was true community. We all want this kind of community – it sounds wonderful! So today, pray that God would begin with you and give you a sharing heart.
    33 Posted by Faith M
  • By Faith M
    Community, Not Communism By David Guzik on Dec 06, 2020 08:09 pm Click Here for a Free Christmas E-Book by Inga-Lill Guzik – Light, Peace, and Hope for Your Christmas Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. (Acts 2:44-45) There was something special about the early church. They certainly were not perfect, but there was a spiritual life, courage, and true sense of community among them that gives a powerful pattern for believers since their time. These two verses are a great description of this. We read, all who believed were together. There was an impressive unity and community among believers. We read in Acts 2:41 that among the Jewish people gathered at that Pentecost, some 3,000 responded to Peter’s preaching. Many of those 3,000 new believers came from far away to Jerusalem for Pentecost as pilgrims. These visitors repented, believed, and were baptized. Afterwards, they didn’t just go their own way – they wanted to grow in their faith and following of Jesus, so all who believed stayed together. The Jewish people of that day had a tremendous custom of hospitality during any major feast such as Pentecost. Visitors were received into private homes, and no one could charge for giving a bed or a room to a visitor, or for supplying their basic needs. The first Christians took this tremendous feast-time hospitality and made it an everyday thing. They didn’t just share their lives; they also shared their material possessions. We read that they had all things in common. With so many visitors among the first 3,000 believers, many of them didn’t have jobs. But Christians shared and provided for each other. The early family of Christians had to share if they were to survive. There have been more than a few people who claim that this was an early expression of communism, or “Christian Communism.” I think that this a misleading and dangerous claim. This was different from communism in at least two important ways. First, it was voluntary. No one forced believers to share their material possessions. No one made them sell their possessions and their goods and to divide them among all. This was voluntary and led by the Holy Spirit. Forced collectivism – in the form of communism or many forms of socialism – has been a great evil in the world. The goal of a better world through forced collectivism was the claimed justification of the murder of up to 100 million people in the 20th century. The other difference is that this was temporary. We don’t have any evidence that this continued very long. Instead, it was the spontaneous response to an immediate need. Yet, there is something wonderful in that they sold their possessions and their goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. The power of God was evident among because Jesus became much more important to them than their possessions. It was true community. We all want this kind of community – it sounds wonderful! So today, pray that God would begin with you and give you a sharing heart.
    Dec 07, 2020 33
  • 16 Nov 2020
    To All Who Are Afar Off By David Guzik on Nov 15, 2020 07:07 pm Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.” (Acts 2:38-39) Preaching Jesus to a massive crowd of people, Peter told them all what they needed to do: Repent and be baptized. After telling them to repent and be baptized, Peter then told them what they could expect: you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. In other words, the same wonderful outpouring of the Holy Spirit seen among the 120 disciples of Jesus could also be theirs. They saw the glorious work of the Holy Spirit among the disciples, and Peter told them that it was something that these people could take part in; they didn’t only have to be observers. This was part of the new covenant, promised in passages like Ezekiel 36:27: I will put My Spirit within you. This was truly the gift of the Holy Spirit. It’s a remarkable promise – but was it only for those who heard Peter preach on that day? Not every promise in the Bible is for us. We have to be careful that we don’t become arrogant or presumptuous, thinking that promises are for us when they are not. The good news is that Peter, speaking by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, specifically told us that this promise is for us today. The promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off. When Peter made that promise you were afar off. You were far off in geography, far off in culture, and far off in time. Since the promise is for all who are afar off, it can include people up to the present time. It can be true for you. If you will come to God through Jesus Christ, coming in repentance and faith (true faith that will be expressed in actions such as baptism), you become part of God’s new covenant. Peter did not say that the unbelieving, unaware children of his listeners should be baptized. He simply said that the promise of the remission of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit were for all who would repent and believe with active faith, even to coming generations and all who are afar off. How many are there afar off who will receive this promise of salvation and the Holy Spirit? As many as the Lord God will call. This doesn’t give a specific number, but John saw an uncountable multitude around God’s throne (Revelation 7:9). Anyone who will answer God’s call can receive this promise – and no longer be afar off, but now be brought near (Ephesians 2:13). Today, thank God that though you were once afar off, you have been brought near!
    62 Posted by Faith M
  • By Faith M
    To All Who Are Afar Off By David Guzik on Nov 15, 2020 07:07 pm Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.” (Acts 2:38-39) Preaching Jesus to a massive crowd of people, Peter told them all what they needed to do: Repent and be baptized. After telling them to repent and be baptized, Peter then told them what they could expect: you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. In other words, the same wonderful outpouring of the Holy Spirit seen among the 120 disciples of Jesus could also be theirs. They saw the glorious work of the Holy Spirit among the disciples, and Peter told them that it was something that these people could take part in; they didn’t only have to be observers. This was part of the new covenant, promised in passages like Ezekiel 36:27: I will put My Spirit within you. This was truly the gift of the Holy Spirit. It’s a remarkable promise – but was it only for those who heard Peter preach on that day? Not every promise in the Bible is for us. We have to be careful that we don’t become arrogant or presumptuous, thinking that promises are for us when they are not. The good news is that Peter, speaking by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, specifically told us that this promise is for us today. The promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off. When Peter made that promise you were afar off. You were far off in geography, far off in culture, and far off in time. Since the promise is for all who are afar off, it can include people up to the present time. It can be true for you. If you will come to God through Jesus Christ, coming in repentance and faith (true faith that will be expressed in actions such as baptism), you become part of God’s new covenant. Peter did not say that the unbelieving, unaware children of his listeners should be baptized. He simply said that the promise of the remission of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit were for all who would repent and believe with active faith, even to coming generations and all who are afar off. How many are there afar off who will receive this promise of salvation and the Holy Spirit? As many as the Lord God will call. This doesn’t give a specific number, but John saw an uncountable multitude around God’s throne (Revelation 7:9). Anyone who will answer God’s call can receive this promise – and no longer be afar off, but now be brought near (Ephesians 2:13). Today, thank God that though you were once afar off, you have been brought near!
    Nov 16, 2020 62
  • 29 Sep 2020
    Tongues of Fire By David Guzik on Sep 27, 2020 08:15 pm Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:3-4a) As the 120 disciples of Jesus gathered in the upper room, a remarkable thing happened. First, there was an unusual sound, something that sounded like a strong wind, and the sound filled the whole house (Acts 2:2). Then, after the sound of the wind had started, they saw another remarkable thing: there appeared to them divided tongues as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. A flame appeared above the head of every disciple. Probably, the description divided tongues, as of fire has the sense that the flames were active and flickering – appearing as if they were burning, but leaving no mark, even as one sat upon each of them. This amazing occurrence probably should be connected with John the Baptist’s prophecy that Jesus would baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire (Matthew 3:11). Through the Bible, the idea behind the picture of fire is usually purification, as a refiner uses fire to make pure gold; or fire can burn away what is temporary, leaving only what will last. This is an excellent illustration of the principle that the filling of the Holy Spirit is not just for abstract power, but for purity. In certain places in the Old Testament, God showed His special pleasure with a sacrifice by lighting the fire for it Himself – that is, fire from heaven came down and consumed the sacrifice. The experience of the followers of Jesus on Pentecost is another example of God sending fire from heaven to show His pleasure and power, but this time, it descended upon living sacrifices (Romans 12:1). The Holy Spirit sat upon each of them. One commentator (A.T. Pierson) said there was a deliberate meaning behind that word sat – that it has the idea of permanence of position and a lasting condition. That idea is important. Under the Old Covenant, the Holy Spirit rested on God’s people more as a nation, that is, Israel. But under the New Covenant, the Holy Spirit rests upon God’s people as individuals – the tongues of fire sat upon each of them. This strange phenomenon had never happened before and would never happen again in the pages of the Bible, but was given to emphasize this point: that the Spirit of God was present with and in and upon each individual. Most important of all, they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. Essentially, the sound of the wind and the tongues, as of fire, were only unusual, temporary phenomenon, which accompanied the true gift – being filled with the Holy Spirit. Today, we shouldn’t expect to hear the sound of the wind or see a tongue of fire when the Holy Spirit moves among God’s people. But we can and should expect to be filled with the Spirit as we receive in faith and let Him refine and purify us.
    54 Posted by Faith M
  • By Faith M
    Tongues of Fire By David Guzik on Sep 27, 2020 08:15 pm Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:3-4a) As the 120 disciples of Jesus gathered in the upper room, a remarkable thing happened. First, there was an unusual sound, something that sounded like a strong wind, and the sound filled the whole house (Acts 2:2). Then, after the sound of the wind had started, they saw another remarkable thing: there appeared to them divided tongues as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. A flame appeared above the head of every disciple. Probably, the description divided tongues, as of fire has the sense that the flames were active and flickering – appearing as if they were burning, but leaving no mark, even as one sat upon each of them. This amazing occurrence probably should be connected with John the Baptist’s prophecy that Jesus would baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire (Matthew 3:11). Through the Bible, the idea behind the picture of fire is usually purification, as a refiner uses fire to make pure gold; or fire can burn away what is temporary, leaving only what will last. This is an excellent illustration of the principle that the filling of the Holy Spirit is not just for abstract power, but for purity. In certain places in the Old Testament, God showed His special pleasure with a sacrifice by lighting the fire for it Himself – that is, fire from heaven came down and consumed the sacrifice. The experience of the followers of Jesus on Pentecost is another example of God sending fire from heaven to show His pleasure and power, but this time, it descended upon living sacrifices (Romans 12:1). The Holy Spirit sat upon each of them. One commentator (A.T. Pierson) said there was a deliberate meaning behind that word sat – that it has the idea of permanence of position and a lasting condition. That idea is important. Under the Old Covenant, the Holy Spirit rested on God’s people more as a nation, that is, Israel. But under the New Covenant, the Holy Spirit rests upon God’s people as individuals – the tongues of fire sat upon each of them. This strange phenomenon had never happened before and would never happen again in the pages of the Bible, but was given to emphasize this point: that the Spirit of God was present with and in and upon each individual. Most important of all, they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. Essentially, the sound of the wind and the tongues, as of fire, were only unusual, temporary phenomenon, which accompanied the true gift – being filled with the Holy Spirit. Today, we shouldn’t expect to hear the sound of the wind or see a tongue of fire when the Holy Spirit moves among God’s people. But we can and should expect to be filled with the Spirit as we receive in faith and let Him refine and purify us.
    Sep 29, 2020 54
  • 21 Sep 2020
    A Rushing Mighty Wind By David Guzik on Sep 20, 2020 10:13 pm And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:3-4a) After Jesus ascended to heaven, the disciples met to pray and seek God, waiting for the promised gift of the Holy Spirit. God kept His promise, and these words from Acts 2 tell how the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples on Pentecost. This outpouring of the Holy Spirit came with some strange things: a strange sound and a strange sight. Notice the strange sound: suddenly there came a sound from heaven. The association of the sound of a rushing mighty wind, filling the whole house, with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit probably has connection with the fact that in both the Hebrew and Greek languages, the word for spirit is the same word for breath or wind. Here, the sound from heaven was the sound of the Holy Spirit being poured out on the disciples. The sound of this fast, mighty wind would make any of these disciples who knew the Hebrew Scriptures think of the presence of the Holy Spirit. – In Genesis 1:1-2, it is the Spirit of God as the breath/wind of God, blowing over the waters of the newly created earth.– In Genesis 2:7, it is the Spirit of God as the breath/wind of God, blowing life into newly created man.– In Ezekiel 37:9-10, it is the Spirit of God as the breath/wind of God, moving over the dry bones of Israel bringing them life and strength. This single line tells us much about how the Holy Spirit moves. – Suddenly: Sometimes God moves suddenly.– Sound: It was real, though it could not be touched; it was something real that came through their ears.– From heaven: It wasn’t of earth; it was not created, manipulated, or fashioned here.– Mighty: It was full of force, coming with great power. Notice that this happened nowhere else in Acts when the Spirit was poured out. Several other times the Holy Spirit powerfully filled the people of God (Acts 4:8, 4:31, 13:9, 13:52, 19:6). Those were wonderful and valid works of the Spirit, yet on none of those other occasions did they hear a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind. The strange sound was for that particular day, but not of lasting importance. Sometimes, God does “one-offs” – a special something for a single occasion. Can you imagine if, on a later occasion the disciples said, “Today we weren’t really filled with the Spirit because we never heard that sound”? Or, if they said, “Next time we must hear the same sound – and hear it even louder!” That kind of thinking is a trap. Give God the credit to know when a special experience is necessary, and when it is not.
    75 Posted by Faith M
  • By Faith M
    A Rushing Mighty Wind By David Guzik on Sep 20, 2020 10:13 pm And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:3-4a) After Jesus ascended to heaven, the disciples met to pray and seek God, waiting for the promised gift of the Holy Spirit. God kept His promise, and these words from Acts 2 tell how the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples on Pentecost. This outpouring of the Holy Spirit came with some strange things: a strange sound and a strange sight. Notice the strange sound: suddenly there came a sound from heaven. The association of the sound of a rushing mighty wind, filling the whole house, with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit probably has connection with the fact that in both the Hebrew and Greek languages, the word for spirit is the same word for breath or wind. Here, the sound from heaven was the sound of the Holy Spirit being poured out on the disciples. The sound of this fast, mighty wind would make any of these disciples who knew the Hebrew Scriptures think of the presence of the Holy Spirit. – In Genesis 1:1-2, it is the Spirit of God as the breath/wind of God, blowing over the waters of the newly created earth.– In Genesis 2:7, it is the Spirit of God as the breath/wind of God, blowing life into newly created man.– In Ezekiel 37:9-10, it is the Spirit of God as the breath/wind of God, moving over the dry bones of Israel bringing them life and strength. This single line tells us much about how the Holy Spirit moves. – Suddenly: Sometimes God moves suddenly.– Sound: It was real, though it could not be touched; it was something real that came through their ears.– From heaven: It wasn’t of earth; it was not created, manipulated, or fashioned here.– Mighty: It was full of force, coming with great power. Notice that this happened nowhere else in Acts when the Spirit was poured out. Several other times the Holy Spirit powerfully filled the people of God (Acts 4:8, 4:31, 13:9, 13:52, 19:6). Those were wonderful and valid works of the Spirit, yet on none of those other occasions did they hear a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind. The strange sound was for that particular day, but not of lasting importance. Sometimes, God does “one-offs” – a special something for a single occasion. Can you imagine if, on a later occasion the disciples said, “Today we weren’t really filled with the Spirit because we never heard that sound”? Or, if they said, “Next time we must hear the same sound – and hear it even louder!” That kind of thinking is a trap. Give God the credit to know when a special experience is necessary, and when it is not.
    Sep 21, 2020 75
  • 17 Sep 2020
    All Filled With the Holy Spirit September 13, 2020/0 Comments/in Weekly Devotional /by David Guzik And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:2-4a) As the 120 followers of Jesus gathered according to the command of their Savior, something remarkable happened. The “baptism with the Holy Spirit” that Jesus promised in Acts 1:5 came upon them. We read they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. It’s important to remember that this was not the first experience the disciples of Jesus had with the Holy Spirit. They were not strangers to the person and work of the Holy Spirit. – The disciples continually saw the Holy Spirit at work in the ministry of Jesus.– The disciples experienced something of the power of the Holy Spirit as they stepped out and served God (Luke 10:1-20).– The disciples heard Jesus promise a new, coming work of the Holy Spirit (John 14:15-18).– The disciples received the Holy Spirit in a new way after Jesus finished His work on the cross and instituted the New Covenant in His blood (John 20:19-23). With all of that, there was still more for them to receive and experience in regard to the work of the Holy Spirit – and they received more here in Acts 2. Acts 2 tells us a lot about the filling of the Holy Spirit. – The filling of the Holy Spirit is promised to us.– The filling of the Holy Spirit is worth waiting for.– The filling of the Holy Spirit comes as He wills, often not according to our expectation.– The filling of the Holy Spirit can come upon not only individuals, but also upon groups (see also Acts 2:4, 4:31, and 10:44).– The filling of the Holy Spirit is often given as God deals with our flesh and there is a dying to self. It’s also important to see what Acts 2 does not tell us about the filling of the Holy Spirit. – The filling of the Holy Spirit is not given according to formula.– The filling of the Holy Spirit is not earned by seeking it. It is always God’s freely given gift. No one can deny that this was a good thing. In the gospels we see a lot of weakness and wavering in these disciples as they followed Jesus. After this filling of the Holy Spirit, they were different people. They were not perfect; but they were different. This coming and filling of the Holy Spirit was so good, so essential for the work of the community of early Christians, that Jesus actually said that it was better for Him to leave the earth bodily so He could send the Holy Spirit (John 16:7). This filling of the Holy Spirit is for you (Luke 11:9-13). Ask God for it today.
    68 Posted by Faith M
  • By Faith M
    All Filled With the Holy Spirit September 13, 2020/0 Comments/in Weekly Devotional /by David Guzik And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:2-4a) As the 120 followers of Jesus gathered according to the command of their Savior, something remarkable happened. The “baptism with the Holy Spirit” that Jesus promised in Acts 1:5 came upon them. We read they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. It’s important to remember that this was not the first experience the disciples of Jesus had with the Holy Spirit. They were not strangers to the person and work of the Holy Spirit. – The disciples continually saw the Holy Spirit at work in the ministry of Jesus.– The disciples experienced something of the power of the Holy Spirit as they stepped out and served God (Luke 10:1-20).– The disciples heard Jesus promise a new, coming work of the Holy Spirit (John 14:15-18).– The disciples received the Holy Spirit in a new way after Jesus finished His work on the cross and instituted the New Covenant in His blood (John 20:19-23). With all of that, there was still more for them to receive and experience in regard to the work of the Holy Spirit – and they received more here in Acts 2. Acts 2 tells us a lot about the filling of the Holy Spirit. – The filling of the Holy Spirit is promised to us.– The filling of the Holy Spirit is worth waiting for.– The filling of the Holy Spirit comes as He wills, often not according to our expectation.– The filling of the Holy Spirit can come upon not only individuals, but also upon groups (see also Acts 2:4, 4:31, and 10:44).– The filling of the Holy Spirit is often given as God deals with our flesh and there is a dying to self. It’s also important to see what Acts 2 does not tell us about the filling of the Holy Spirit. – The filling of the Holy Spirit is not given according to formula.– The filling of the Holy Spirit is not earned by seeking it. It is always God’s freely given gift. No one can deny that this was a good thing. In the gospels we see a lot of weakness and wavering in these disciples as they followed Jesus. After this filling of the Holy Spirit, they were different people. They were not perfect; but they were different. This coming and filling of the Holy Spirit was so good, so essential for the work of the community of early Christians, that Jesus actually said that it was better for Him to leave the earth bodily so He could send the Holy Spirit (John 16:7). This filling of the Holy Spirit is for you (Luke 11:9-13). Ask God for it today.
    Sep 17, 2020 68
  • 12 Mar 2019
    Filling Empty Vessels By David Guzik on Mar 10, 2019 04:00 pm Then he said, “Go, borrow vessels from everywhere, from all your neighbors—empty vessels; do not gather just a few. And when you have come in, you shall shut the door behind you and your sons; then pour it into all those vessels, and set aside the full ones.” (2 Kings 4:3-4) This was the word from the prophet Elisha to a widow who was so poor and in debt that she and her son were about to be sold into slavery for the money they owed. In the kind of faith that desperation brings, she asked all her neighbors for whatever container she could borrow from them. Gathering the containers together in her home, she took the last small remaining bottle of oil and began to pour it into the assembled vessels. The prophet would not do this for her; she had to step out in faith herself. I’m sure her heart beat fast as she began to pour. The oil flowed out of the small battle and into one of the borrowed containers, and it kept on flowing. By a miracle, through the promise of God, the laws of physics were temporarily suspended and a small bottle of oil filled many larger containers. The widow gathered the vessels in faith, and the measure of the miracle was determined by the measure of her faith in gathering. In this case, the only limit was the limit of what she made available to God. When one container was filled she set it aside and went on to the next empty vessel, until they were all filled. The oil miraculously flowed as long as the vessels were gathered, assembled, and ready. When the people of God are gathered in faith, assembled in order, and ready to receive, they will see God work among them. One more thing to consider: all those borrowed vessels also had to be emptybefore they could be filled with oil. We can be too full of ourselves, too strong in ourselves, for God to really do His work in. Charles Spurgeon said, “A full Christ is for empty sinners, and for empty sinners only… It is not our emptiness, but our fullness which can hinder the outgoings of free grace.” God can work miracles through our emptiness – as long as faith is ready to receive His filling. His strength is perfected in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).
    280 Posted by Faith M
  • By Faith M
    Filling Empty Vessels By David Guzik on Mar 10, 2019 04:00 pm Then he said, “Go, borrow vessels from everywhere, from all your neighbors—empty vessels; do not gather just a few. And when you have come in, you shall shut the door behind you and your sons; then pour it into all those vessels, and set aside the full ones.” (2 Kings 4:3-4) This was the word from the prophet Elisha to a widow who was so poor and in debt that she and her son were about to be sold into slavery for the money they owed. In the kind of faith that desperation brings, she asked all her neighbors for whatever container she could borrow from them. Gathering the containers together in her home, she took the last small remaining bottle of oil and began to pour it into the assembled vessels. The prophet would not do this for her; she had to step out in faith herself. I’m sure her heart beat fast as she began to pour. The oil flowed out of the small battle and into one of the borrowed containers, and it kept on flowing. By a miracle, through the promise of God, the laws of physics were temporarily suspended and a small bottle of oil filled many larger containers. The widow gathered the vessels in faith, and the measure of the miracle was determined by the measure of her faith in gathering. In this case, the only limit was the limit of what she made available to God. When one container was filled she set it aside and went on to the next empty vessel, until they were all filled. The oil miraculously flowed as long as the vessels were gathered, assembled, and ready. When the people of God are gathered in faith, assembled in order, and ready to receive, they will see God work among them. One more thing to consider: all those borrowed vessels also had to be emptybefore they could be filled with oil. We can be too full of ourselves, too strong in ourselves, for God to really do His work in. Charles Spurgeon said, “A full Christ is for empty sinners, and for empty sinners only… It is not our emptiness, but our fullness which can hinder the outgoings of free grace.” God can work miracles through our emptiness – as long as faith is ready to receive His filling. His strength is perfected in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).
    Mar 12, 2019 280
  • 05 Mar 2019
    Digging Ditches By David Guzik on Mar 04, 2019 06:42 am And he said, “Thus says the LORD: ‘Make this valley full of ditches.’” (2 Kings 3:16) This was an unusual word from God in an unusual situation. The armies of Israel, Judah, and Edom were stuck in the hot desert and dying of thirst. The three kings went to the prophet Elisha and asked for a word from God. This was the start of God’s answer: “Go dig many ditches in the desert.” That was strange advice to soldiers dying of thirst in the desert. It seemed that all the hot, hard, seemingly useless work of digging in the desert would make the problem worse. But God gave more than this command. God also promised they would conquer their enemy (2 Kings 3:17-19). It happened just as God said it would. They dug ditches, a flash flood wept across the desert, the water was saved in the ditches, and they were saved from thirst. Then their enemies saw the light reflected off the water and for some reason they thought it was blood of the three armies fighting each other. Thinking the battle was over, the Moabites walked right into the camp of the three kings and the Moabites were destroyed. The armies of the three kings were delivered from death in the desert. They won a miraculous victory over their enemy. All because they obeyed the strange command to dig ditches in the desert. Serving God and His people is sometimes a lot like digging ditches. Like digging ditches, Christian service is often hard work.Like digging ditches, Christian service must be guided by God’s revelation.Like digging ditches, Christian service might seem crazy to some people.Like digging ditches, Christian service is done in faith.Like digging ditches, Christian service is blessed beyond expectation.Like digging ditches, Christian service needs God’s miracle to do any good.Like digging ditches, Christian service often feels like work without reward. If living for God and serving His people seems as dry and meaningless as digging a ditch, don’t despair. Keep aligned with God’s word, and see what great things God will do.
    302 Posted by Faith M
  • By Faith M
    Digging Ditches By David Guzik on Mar 04, 2019 06:42 am And he said, “Thus says the LORD: ‘Make this valley full of ditches.’” (2 Kings 3:16) This was an unusual word from God in an unusual situation. The armies of Israel, Judah, and Edom were stuck in the hot desert and dying of thirst. The three kings went to the prophet Elisha and asked for a word from God. This was the start of God’s answer: “Go dig many ditches in the desert.” That was strange advice to soldiers dying of thirst in the desert. It seemed that all the hot, hard, seemingly useless work of digging in the desert would make the problem worse. But God gave more than this command. God also promised they would conquer their enemy (2 Kings 3:17-19). It happened just as God said it would. They dug ditches, a flash flood wept across the desert, the water was saved in the ditches, and they were saved from thirst. Then their enemies saw the light reflected off the water and for some reason they thought it was blood of the three armies fighting each other. Thinking the battle was over, the Moabites walked right into the camp of the three kings and the Moabites were destroyed. The armies of the three kings were delivered from death in the desert. They won a miraculous victory over their enemy. All because they obeyed the strange command to dig ditches in the desert. Serving God and His people is sometimes a lot like digging ditches. Like digging ditches, Christian service is often hard work.Like digging ditches, Christian service must be guided by God’s revelation.Like digging ditches, Christian service might seem crazy to some people.Like digging ditches, Christian service is done in faith.Like digging ditches, Christian service is blessed beyond expectation.Like digging ditches, Christian service needs God’s miracle to do any good.Like digging ditches, Christian service often feels like work without reward. If living for God and serving His people seems as dry and meaningless as digging a ditch, don’t despair. Keep aligned with God’s word, and see what great things God will do.
    Mar 05, 2019 302
  • 07 Oct 2017
    October 7 Enjoying God's Blessings A A A A "Blessed are those who hear the word of God, and observe it" (Luke 11:28). Obeying Scripture brings spiritual blessing. When Scripture speaks of a person's being blessed, it usually refers to the reception of some temporal or spiritual benefit. It also includes the joy and sense of well-being that comes with knowing that God is at work on your behalf. The psalmist wrote, "How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. And he will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers" (Ps. 1:1-2). Those who know and obey God's Word will be blessed. The psalmist likened them to a strong, productive, prosperous tree. James added, "One who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty [God's Word], and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man shall be blessed in what he does" (James 1:25). Again, the very act of obedience brings blessing. John opens the book of Revelation with this promise: "Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it" (Rev. 1:3). Jesus closed the Revelation with the same promise: "Blessed is he who heeds the words of the prophecy of this book" (Rev. 22:7). Obedience and blessing always go hand-in-hand. As a Christian, you've been blessed "with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ" (Eph. 1:3). Every spiritual resource is yours. Even in times of sorrow and persecution, God's blessing rests on you (1 Pet. 4:14). But you can forfeit His blessings by neglecting His Word or committing other sinful acts. So guard your heart carefully and continue in the Word. As you do, your joy will be boundless! Suggestions for Prayer Make a list of specific ways in which the Lord has blessed you in recent days. Praise Him for each one. For Further Study Read James 1:12, 1 Peter 3:14, and 1 Peter 4:14. How does God's blessing apply when you're suffering unjustly?
    319 Posted by Faith M
  • By Faith M
    October 7 Enjoying God's Blessings A A A A "Blessed are those who hear the word of God, and observe it" (Luke 11:28). Obeying Scripture brings spiritual blessing. When Scripture speaks of a person's being blessed, it usually refers to the reception of some temporal or spiritual benefit. It also includes the joy and sense of well-being that comes with knowing that God is at work on your behalf. The psalmist wrote, "How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. And he will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers" (Ps. 1:1-2). Those who know and obey God's Word will be blessed. The psalmist likened them to a strong, productive, prosperous tree. James added, "One who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty [God's Word], and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man shall be blessed in what he does" (James 1:25). Again, the very act of obedience brings blessing. John opens the book of Revelation with this promise: "Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it" (Rev. 1:3). Jesus closed the Revelation with the same promise: "Blessed is he who heeds the words of the prophecy of this book" (Rev. 22:7). Obedience and blessing always go hand-in-hand. As a Christian, you've been blessed "with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ" (Eph. 1:3). Every spiritual resource is yours. Even in times of sorrow and persecution, God's blessing rests on you (1 Pet. 4:14). But you can forfeit His blessings by neglecting His Word or committing other sinful acts. So guard your heart carefully and continue in the Word. As you do, your joy will be boundless! Suggestions for Prayer Make a list of specific ways in which the Lord has blessed you in recent days. Praise Him for each one. For Further Study Read James 1:12, 1 Peter 3:14, and 1 Peter 4:14. How does God's blessing apply when you're suffering unjustly?
    Oct 07, 2017 319
  • 07 Oct 2017
    Amos the Farmer October 1, 2017/0 Comments/in Weekly Devotional /by David Guzik “The words of Amos, who was among the sheepbreeders of Tekoa, which he saw concerning Israel in the days of Uzziah king of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel, two years before the earthquake.” (Amos 1:1) What kind of person does God use? We sometimes think God uses the brightest and the best. He must choose the most holy and talented to deliver His message or to advance His kingdom. The writings of the prophet Amos show us that this isn’t true. The name Amos means burden or burden bearer. Since most of the prophecies of Amos concern coming judgment on either the nations surrounding Israel or judgment on Israel itself, he was a man with a burden. The man God chose to carry this burden was among the sheepbreeders of Tekoa. It seems that Amos had no formal theological or prophetic training, though there was a “school of the prophets,” whose members were known as the sons of the prophets at that time (for example, see 1 Kings 20:35 or 2 Kings 2:3-15). Amos was a simple man, a farmer, who had been uniquely called to ministry. He was not a priest, a Levite, or a professional pastor, but just among the sheepbreeders of Tekoa. Amos spoke of his background and calling in Amos 7:14-15: “I was no prophet, nor was I a son of a prophet, but I was a sheepbreeder and a tender of sycamore fruit. Then the Lord took me as I followed the flock, and the Lord said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to My people Israel.'” Amos used an unusual word to describe his occupation. Instead of calling himself a “shepherd,” the literal ancient Hebrew used here called Amos a “sheep raiser.” Amos probably chose this title to emphasize the fact that he really was a shepherd, and that he did not mean “shepherd” in a symbolic, spiritual sense. The way God used Amos reminds us of the way He used the twelve disciples of Jesus, who were common working men God used to do great things. God gave this simple man a big job to do. Amos was a prophet to the 10 northern tribes, the kingdom of Israel. In the days of Amos Israel had one wicked king after another. Yet because of the weakness of their larger neighbors, this was a time of peace and prosperity. Do you see the picture? God called a simple farmer to preach to a prosperous nation who had forgotten Him. We might think that the successful times needed a sophisticated preacher, a smooth talker who graduated from a top theological academy. Yet God had another plan. God knew He could use this unlikely man in a great way. Perhaps it is time for you start thinking outside the box. Perhaps you have thought that God could only use you in ways that seem logical and reasonable. God can and will use you in ways that makes sense; but you need to also think outside that box, considering that the most important qualification is the call of God. Not only can God use humble people like Amos, He specializes in it. Remember the principle: God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble (1 Peter 5:5).
    1213 Posted by Faith M
  • By Faith M
    Amos the Farmer October 1, 2017/0 Comments/in Weekly Devotional /by David Guzik “The words of Amos, who was among the sheepbreeders of Tekoa, which he saw concerning Israel in the days of Uzziah king of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel, two years before the earthquake.” (Amos 1:1) What kind of person does God use? We sometimes think God uses the brightest and the best. He must choose the most holy and talented to deliver His message or to advance His kingdom. The writings of the prophet Amos show us that this isn’t true. The name Amos means burden or burden bearer. Since most of the prophecies of Amos concern coming judgment on either the nations surrounding Israel or judgment on Israel itself, he was a man with a burden. The man God chose to carry this burden was among the sheepbreeders of Tekoa. It seems that Amos had no formal theological or prophetic training, though there was a “school of the prophets,” whose members were known as the sons of the prophets at that time (for example, see 1 Kings 20:35 or 2 Kings 2:3-15). Amos was a simple man, a farmer, who had been uniquely called to ministry. He was not a priest, a Levite, or a professional pastor, but just among the sheepbreeders of Tekoa. Amos spoke of his background and calling in Amos 7:14-15: “I was no prophet, nor was I a son of a prophet, but I was a sheepbreeder and a tender of sycamore fruit. Then the Lord took me as I followed the flock, and the Lord said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to My people Israel.'” Amos used an unusual word to describe his occupation. Instead of calling himself a “shepherd,” the literal ancient Hebrew used here called Amos a “sheep raiser.” Amos probably chose this title to emphasize the fact that he really was a shepherd, and that he did not mean “shepherd” in a symbolic, spiritual sense. The way God used Amos reminds us of the way He used the twelve disciples of Jesus, who were common working men God used to do great things. God gave this simple man a big job to do. Amos was a prophet to the 10 northern tribes, the kingdom of Israel. In the days of Amos Israel had one wicked king after another. Yet because of the weakness of their larger neighbors, this was a time of peace and prosperity. Do you see the picture? God called a simple farmer to preach to a prosperous nation who had forgotten Him. We might think that the successful times needed a sophisticated preacher, a smooth talker who graduated from a top theological academy. Yet God had another plan. God knew He could use this unlikely man in a great way. Perhaps it is time for you start thinking outside the box. Perhaps you have thought that God could only use you in ways that seem logical and reasonable. God can and will use you in ways that makes sense; but you need to also think outside that box, considering that the most important qualification is the call of God. Not only can God use humble people like Amos, He specializes in it. Remember the principle: God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble (1 Peter 5:5).
    Oct 07, 2017 1213
  • 07 Oct 2017
    STRAIGHTEN UP AND LIFT UP YOUR HEADS When these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.–Luke 21:28 Open Doors USA, an organization that studies and helps persecuted Christians, said 2016 was the “worst year yet” in terms of persecution around the world. We hear horrific stories of ISIS committing atrocities such as beheading Christians. That kind of evil is being perpetrated by radical Islam against people of faith, and we are seeing it begin to escalate. Christians are not only being persecuted around the world, but the seeds of persecution against Christians in this country are being planted right now. Liberal websites have ridiculed me for equating the persecution of Christians around the world with the persecution that Christians are facing in America. I will be the first to acknowledge that having your business bankrupted because you refuse to bake a cake for a gay wedding is not the same thing as having your head chopped off, but the attitude that allows both acts of persecution is the same. And that is what we are seeing in this country. The seeds are being sown for the persecution of Christians. Let me remind you of something from history. The Nazis in Germany did not take the Jewish people to the crematoriums and concentration camps immediately. They couldn’t have gotten away with it. The German people would not have stood for that. The Nazis did not go immediately from A to Z. Instead, they went from A to B. And the way they gradually changed the attitude of Germans toward the Jews was by marginalizing the Jews. The Nazis begin to treat Jews as objects of disdain and contempt. They began convincing the German people that the Jews were different by saying, “They are not like the rest of us. They are an inferior group. They have strange beliefs. They deserve to have their rights taken away.” Once you have successfully marginalized a group in society, then society doesn’t mind if you take away their rights. That is what is happening right now in America to Christians. People say, “Why, these people who won’t serve a gay couple, they are not like us. They are bigots. They’re hate-mongers. They don’t deserve the First Amendment protections that the rest of us enjoy. They deserve to have their businesses go bankrupt.” That’s the attitude that is being sown in our society. And once you have marginalized conservative Christians like that, it’s easy to see where that attitude is headed. “They are an inferior group. They deserve to be persecuted and imprisoned.” I believe that is coming to America quicker than any of us could imagine. In Luke 21:28, Jesus said, “When these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” I believe we are beginning to see the things take place that Jesus talked about. The countdown to the apocalypse has begun. *** Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Who Do We Forgive?” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2015. Open Doors USA 2017 World Watch List, cited in Jeremy Weber, “‘Worst Year Yet’: The Top 50 Countries Where It’s Hardest to Be a Christian,” Christianity Today, January 1, 2017. Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.  
    335 Posted by Faith M
  • By Faith M
    STRAIGHTEN UP AND LIFT UP YOUR HEADS When these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.–Luke 21:28 Open Doors USA, an organization that studies and helps persecuted Christians, said 2016 was the “worst year yet” in terms of persecution around the world. We hear horrific stories of ISIS committing atrocities such as beheading Christians. That kind of evil is being perpetrated by radical Islam against people of faith, and we are seeing it begin to escalate. Christians are not only being persecuted around the world, but the seeds of persecution against Christians in this country are being planted right now. Liberal websites have ridiculed me for equating the persecution of Christians around the world with the persecution that Christians are facing in America. I will be the first to acknowledge that having your business bankrupted because you refuse to bake a cake for a gay wedding is not the same thing as having your head chopped off, but the attitude that allows both acts of persecution is the same. And that is what we are seeing in this country. The seeds are being sown for the persecution of Christians. Let me remind you of something from history. The Nazis in Germany did not take the Jewish people to the crematoriums and concentration camps immediately. They couldn’t have gotten away with it. The German people would not have stood for that. The Nazis did not go immediately from A to Z. Instead, they went from A to B. And the way they gradually changed the attitude of Germans toward the Jews was by marginalizing the Jews. The Nazis begin to treat Jews as objects of disdain and contempt. They began convincing the German people that the Jews were different by saying, “They are not like the rest of us. They are an inferior group. They have strange beliefs. They deserve to have their rights taken away.” Once you have successfully marginalized a group in society, then society doesn’t mind if you take away their rights. That is what is happening right now in America to Christians. People say, “Why, these people who won’t serve a gay couple, they are not like us. They are bigots. They’re hate-mongers. They don’t deserve the First Amendment protections that the rest of us enjoy. They deserve to have their businesses go bankrupt.” That’s the attitude that is being sown in our society. And once you have marginalized conservative Christians like that, it’s easy to see where that attitude is headed. “They are an inferior group. They deserve to be persecuted and imprisoned.” I believe that is coming to America quicker than any of us could imagine. In Luke 21:28, Jesus said, “When these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” I believe we are beginning to see the things take place that Jesus talked about. The countdown to the apocalypse has begun. *** Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Who Do We Forgive?” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2015. Open Doors USA 2017 World Watch List, cited in Jeremy Weber, “‘Worst Year Yet’: The Top 50 Countries Where It’s Hardest to Be a Christian,” Christianity Today, January 1, 2017. Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.  
    Oct 07, 2017 335