2 John 2 For the truths sake, which dwelleth in us, and shall be with us for ever.  

Once let the truth of God obtain an entrance into the human heart and subdue the whole man unto itself, no power human or infernal can dislodge it. We entertain it not as a guest but as the master of the house-this is a Christian necessity, he is no Christian who doth not thus believe. Those who feel the vital power of the gospel, and know the might of the Holy Ghost as He opens, applies, and seals the Lord’s Word, would sooner be torn to pieces than be rent away from the gospel of theirsalvation. What a thousand mercies are wrapt up in the assurance that the truth will be with us for ever; will be our living support, our dying comfort, our rising song, our eternal glory; this is Christian privilege, without it our faith were little worth. Some truths we outgrow and leave behind, for they are but rudiments and lessons for beginners, but we cannot thus deal with Divine truth, for though it is sweet food for babes, it is in the highest sense strong meat for men. The truth that we are sinners is painfully with us to humble and make us watchful; the more blessed truth that whosoever believeth on the Lord Jesus shall be saved, abides with us as our hope and joy. Experience, so far from loosening our hold of the doctrines of grace, has knit us to them more and more firmly; our grounds and motives for believing are now more strong, more numerous than ever, and we have reason to expect that it will be so till in death we clasp the Saviour in our arms. Wherever this abiding love of truth can be discovered, we are bound to exercise our love. No narrow circle can contain our gracious sympathies, wide as the election of grace must be our communion of heart. Much of error may be mingled with truth received, let us war with the error but still love the brother for the measure of truth which we see in Him; above all let us love and spread the truth ourselves.

Brokenness

Not my will, but yours be done.” Lk 22:42 NIV

If your goal is to be used by God, don’t be surprised when He permits seasons of adversity and brokenness. Jesus experienced it, and He said, “A servant is not greater than his master” (Jn 15:20 NKJV). One Bible teacher points out: “God’s intent isn’t to hurt us, but to expand our capacity to carry His love to a world in need of compassion…Sorrow clarifies our thinking. In the school of Christ, brokenness is a good thing. It’s impossible to become intimate with God unless we’re broken of independence, pride, and our insistence that our way is better than God’s. Brokenness is the last stop before we finally confess, ‘I can’t; God can.’ It’s Paul confessing, ‘What a wretched man I am. Who will rescue me from this body of death?’ (Ro 7:24 NIV). It’s the Prodigal fighting with the pigs over food (Lk15:11-32). It’s Joseph, still in prison, forgotten by the cupbearer (Ge 40:23). It’s Jonah in the whale’s belly confessing the consequences of running from God (Jnh 2:1-9). It’s Peter weeping bitterly outside Jesus’ trial (Lk 22:62). It’s Jesus abandoning everything to God, praying, ‘Father…not my will but yours be done’ (Lk 22:42 NIV)…God in His ruthless, loving pursuit will break us of pride, sin, folly, and independence (Mt 21:44). Like Jesus serving bread at the Last Supper, God takes us, breaks us, blesses us, and uses us.” Are you going through a season of brokenness? Be encouraged; in God’s kingdom brokenness is the path to blessing. Watchman Nee put it this way: “To have God do His own work through us, even once, is better than a lifetime of human striving.”

Kindness Is the Key

In a surge of anger
      I hid my face from you for a moment,
but with everlasting kindness
      I will have compassion on you,”
      says the LORD your Redeemer.

“To me this is like the days of Noah,
      when I swore that the waters of Noah would never again cover the earth.
So now I have sworn not to be angry with you,
      never to rebuke you again.
Though the mountains be shaken
      and the hills be removed,
yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken
      nor my covenant of peace be removed,”
      says the LORD, who has compassion on you. — Isaiah 54:8-10

The  portion for this week is , from the name of the main character, Noah. It is from Genesis 6:9 –11:32, and the Haftorah is from Isaiah 54:1–55:5.

On a sunny August morning in Florida, one woman had an idea. As she drove to her local Starbucks drive-thru, the woman decided that she would pay for her own drink and for the order of the person behind her. Thus began a ten-hour pay-it-forward chain with over 450 patrons paying for the next person’s drink.

This may seem like nothing more than a nice heart-warming story, but to me, it is so much more. Kindness, in various shapes and sizes, is popping up more and more in our culture as people begin to realize that they gain more when they give than when focusing only on receiving. And this idea — giving can be more fulfilling than getting — is the key to changing the world.

In this week’s Haftorah reading, we learn about the messianic era from the prophet Isaiah. In Chapter 54 of Isaiah, a stunning connection is made between the flood of Noah’s time and the coming redemption. God told the people, “To me this is like the days of Noah, when I swore that the waters of Noah would never again cover the earth. So now I have sworn not to be angry with you, never to rebuke you again.” God was saying that once Israel returned to the Promised Land at the onset of the messianic era, they would never be thrown out again. What is the connection between the beginning of messianic times and the “days of Noah”?

The pre-flood time in which Noah lived was an age of human self-destruction. The world had turned toward robbery and theft as the norm. People were only focused on their own personal and selfish needs. This is why God had to destroy them and begin again. However, on the ark, Noah and his family had the opposite approach. The Sages teach that Shem, Noah’s son, once remarked that he never fully slept during the entire time on the ark because he was so busy (as was the rest of his family) taking care of all God’s creatures.

There, on Noah’s ark, the culture was kindness. And that, say the Sages, is the merit that saved Noah and his family. It’s also the force behind God’s promise never to destroy the world again. It’s as if God was saying, “Just as Noah was kind unconditionally, so, too, will I treat the world with unfailing love and everlasting kindness.”

Just as kindness brought about a new era in Noah’s time, so, too, will it unlock the door for a better era today. Let’s create a culture of kindness where acts of generosity and compassion permeate our days. These small acts of kindness are the force that will change the world. How might you contribute to that change in your “world” today?

Psalm 104:16 The trees of the Lord are full of sap.

Without sap the tree cannot flourish or even exist. Vitality is essential to a Christian. There must be life–a vital principle infused into us by God the Holy Ghost, or we cannot be trees of the Lord. The mere name of being a Christian is but a dead thing, we must be filled with the spirit of divine life. This life is mysterious. We do not understand the circulation of the sap, by what force it rises, and by what power it descends again. So the life within us is a sacred mystery. Regeneration is wrought by the Holy Ghost entering into man and becoming man’s life; and this divine life in a believer afterwards feeds upon the flesh and blood of Christ and is thus sustained by divine food, but whence it cometh and whither it goeth who shall explain to us? What a secret thing the sap is! The roots go searching through the soil with their little spongioles, but we cannot see them suck out the various gases, or transmute the mineral into the vegetable; this work is done down in the dark. Our root is Christ Jesus, an d our life is hid in Him; this is the secret of the Lord. The radix of the Christian life is as secret as the life itself. How permanently active is the sap in the cedar! In the Christian the divine life is always full of energy-not always in fruit-bearing, but in inward operations. The believer’s graces, are not every one of them in constant motion? but his life never ceases to palpitate within. He is not always working for God, but his heart is always living upon Him. As the sap manifests itself in producing the foliage and fruit of the tree, so with a truly healthy Christian, his grace is externally manifested in his walk and conversation. If you talk with him, he cannot help speaking about Jesus. If you notice his actions you will see that he has been with Jesus. He has so much sap within, that it must fill his conduct and conversation with life.

Friendship (2)

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” Pr 17:17 NKJV

In life you’ll have many acquaintances, but few friends. And that’s okay, especially if you value quality over quantity. Just because you have good social skills doesn’t mean you’ll have good friends. Sometimes people who are “the life of the party” are the loneliest because they live with a core fear that says, “If you really knew me you wouldn’t want me.” Sadly, they’re often the ones who become workaholics and try to lose themselves in achievement. Or their unmet needs drive them into multiple affairs. Or they get into mood-altering substances that lead to addiction. In the parable of the prodigal son we read these words: “When he had spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land, and he began to be in want…and no one gave him anything” (Lk 15:14-16 NKJV). It’s time you reconsidered what true friendship is. It’s not what some of your business buddies spout when they vent their ego concerning their latest success. If you read between the lines, chances are what they’re really saying is, “See how wonderful I am. And as long as you’re in my league you can be my friend.” That’s fickle! “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” In Old Testament times friends entered into a covenant by exchanging a shoe and a sword. The shoe meant, “I’ll go to wherever you are and I’ll stand with you.” The sword meant, “I’ll fight for you and lay down my life for you.” The question is: Are you willing to become that kind of friend?