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Archive for the ‘Christ Like.’ Category

Number four…


By Pastor Bobby Schuller

“Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.”
-Genesis 2:3

One day, my wife put together the Ten Commandments on this big piece of butcher paper. It was huge! She fastened it to the wall opposite our bed so that when I came into our bedroom, it was like whoa, okay! Hi, Moses!

So, we’re sitting in bed, talking at night before we go to bed. We’re praying with one another. Couples who pray together, stay together. Don’t forget that. And we were talking about these Ten Commandments. She’s staring at the scripture. We’re both looking at it. It’s a bit daunting because it’s the law, but she says, “Which one of these Ten Commandments do you think is most often broken?” So, I went through them all, examined them, and you can make a debate for many of them, but I said, “I’m going to go with number four: Honor the Sabbath and keep it holy.”

Now that is something that has been forgotten, not as much in Judaism, of course, but in large part, it has been forgotten in Christianity, this idea that God calls us to have a holy, tranquil, sweet rest on the Sabbath. There is this idea that we’re supposed to cease, to yield, to quit, to stop every once in awhile. There’s something about that which is built into our very nature.

Prayer: Dear Lord, my soul calls out for rest. Amidst the busyness of life, I need time with you that is quiet and time with my loved ones that is not rushed. Thank you for the gift of the Sabbath. Amen.

Reflection: How do you normally spend the Sabbath day?

The Approval Process: Act Out.


Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
Galatians 6:2

Recommended Reading
Galatians 6:1-10 [ http://iz3.me/O9MW1z3Fe1A1 ]

Last October two puppies, brothers Jeffrey and Jermaine, were found wandering the streets of Philadelphia. Though both dogs were frightened and sick, Jeffrey had the greater challenge — he was blind. Determined to care for his brother, Jermaine literally became a guide dog. He constantly stayed within touching distance of his disabled brother, and Jeffrey leaned on Jermaine for support. Without any training, Jermaine became a guide dog. The puppies were always seen touching each other and even slept holding each other. Their story melted the hearts of Philadelphians, and the brothers had no trouble finding a home.

Watch This Week’s TV Broadcast [ http://iz3.me/P9MW1z3Fe1A1 ]

If animals can be that devoted to each other, shouldn’t we be the same? Galatians 6 tells us, as we have opportunity, to bear the burdens of others, especially to those who are of the household of faith. We can affirm, appreciate, and approve of others by the way we treat them. We can bear their burdens. Love is worthless unless it acts out, unless it’s expressed in deed and behavior.

That’s not just puppy love; it’s agape love.

Love is seen in what it does.
Gladys Aylward

Read-Thru-the-Bible
1 Samuel 1-7

By David Jeremiah.

How to Assert Your Faith in Controversial Conversations.


Whitney Hopler

Editor’s Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of John Stott’s republished work Christ in Conflict: Lessons from Jesus and His Controversies (IVP Books, 2013).

Although Jesus is often portrayed today as someone who made peace at any cost, he was actually quite controversial during his time on Earth. Jesus didn’t hesitate to disagree with people on issues or engage in vigorous debate with them.

Evangelical Christians today sometimes shy away from Jesus’ call to follow his example of asserting the truth about faith – especially when talking about controversial issues. But if you boldly do so, you’ll inspire others to discover more about God and seek closer relationships with him.

Here’s how you can assert your faith in controversial conversations:

Understand the forces you need to overcome to inspire people to talk about spiritual truth. Certain cultural forces undermine the importance of discussing the nature of truth in faith: dislike of dogmatism, hatred of controversy, love of tolerance, anxiety about the church’s decreasing popularity, and the spirit of ecumenism. Pray for the ability to engage people in conversations successfully despite these forces.

Recognize what the call to express “evangelical” Christianity entails. Keep in mind that evangelical Christianity is: theological in its character, biblical in its substance, original in its history, and fundamental in its emphasis.

Discuss whether the Christian religion is natural or supernatural. Christianity is not natural, but supernatural, because it’s a life lived by the power of God. Yet in our culture today, people often get confused because religion is frequently presented stripped of its miracles, as if it was just a system of merely human effort. Talk with people about how God, the Creator, is always at work within the natural order he set up for the universe, but that He occasionally works in beyond it in supernatural ways to accomplish specific purposes related to salvation, revelation, and judgment. Discuss how Christianity is much more than just a natural list of religious rules and rituals; it’s actually a journey in which people rely on God’s supernatural power to gain new life that transforms who they are and how they live.

Discuss which has more authority: tradition or Scripture. Authority is found not in tradition but in Scripture, because tradition is human while the Bible is divinely inspired Scripture. People today often debate by what authority Christians believe what we believe and by what authority churches teach what they teach. They wonder whether there is a final, objective standard by which Christians’ beliefs and teaching may be assessed and judged. So we need to clearly submit church traditions (which differ between Christian denominations) to the higher authority of the Bible (which presents the core truths of the faith).

Discuss whether the Bible is an end in itself or a means to something else. Scripture is not an end in itself, but a means to an end (pointing us to Jesus Christ so that we may find eternal life in him). When discussing Scripture with religious leaders during his time on Earth, Jesus asserted that Scripture was designed by God to point people to him, so they could then believe in him and go to him for the eternal life they need. So think of the Bible as a love letter that testifies about Jesus, just as a husband or wife’s love letter speaks to a spouse who reads it about his or her beloved. The love letter itself isn’t the object of devotion; instead, it’s the person to whom it points. Discuss with people how there is a two-way testimony between Jesus (the living Word) and the Bible (the written Word), with each bearing witness to each other: Because Jesus bears witness to the Bible, we believe it. Because the Bible bears witness to Jesus, we go to him to find true life.

Discuss how people experience salvation: through merit or mercy. Salvation is possible for people due to God’s mercy, not human merit. People often mistakenly think that they can somehow earn salvation. All of the world’s religions other than Christianity teach merit systems that supposedly can make it possible for sinful human beings to earn salvation. But Christianity stands alone by announcing that God has freely given salvation to sinful people who don’t deserve his mercy, simply because of His great love for us. Talk with people about how God accepts us sinners when we place our trust in Jesus, not because of anything we do or any quality we possess, but because of his mercy.

Discuss whether morality comes from outward or inward changes. What makes us either clean or unclean from God’s perspective is what comes out of us, rather than what goes into us. Real moral change happens inside of us, as a result of the Holy Spirit’s work inside our souls. Converse with people about how the evidence of our morality isn’t found in our external behavior (which is superficial and can be faked), but the growth that happens inside our minds and spirits, which motivates us to make the decisions we make about what to say and do.

Discuss how people can express true worship that pleases God: with their lips or with their hearts. God seeks people who will worship him with their hearts (devoting themselves entirely to worship), not just with their lips (speaking words of worship without really having their hearts in it). Discuss with people how true worship is rational (involving the mind), spiritual (involving both God’s spirit and ours), and moral (involving the conscience and decisions made in every part of life).

Discuss Christians’ responsibility to nonbelievers and whether they should withdraw from them or get involved with their lives. Christians should serve those who don’t currently have relationships with Jesus, because by doing so, God’s love working through us can inspire them to seek Jesus. Jesus calls us to follow the example he set during his earthly lifetime of being involved with sinful, faithless people without being contaminated by their unhealthy attitudes and behaviors, but instead influencing them for the better. Converse with people about the importance of serving nonbelievers with compassion rather than despising, fearing, shunning, condemning, or tolerating them.

Discuss how people should direct their ambition: for their own glory, or for God’s glory. The driving force of Christians’ lives should be the ambition to bring glory to God through how we choose to live. When discussing your faith with people, talk about how selfish ambitions contaminate people’s motives and lead to unhealthy results, while sincere efforts to glorify God bring about good results in people’s lives while also honoring God.

Adapted from Christ in Conflict: Lessons from Jesus and His Controversies, copyright 2013 by John Stott’s literary executors. Published by IVP Books, an imprint of InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, Ill., www.ivpress.com.

John R. W. Stott (1921-2011) has been known worldwide as a preacher, evangelist and communicator of Scripture. For many years he served as rector of All Souls Church in London, where he carried out an effective urban pastoral ministry. A leader among evangelicals in Britain, the United States and around the world, Stott was a principal framer of the landmark Lausanne Covenant (1974). His many books, including Why I Am a Christian and The Cross of Christ, have sold millions of copies around the world and in dozens of languages. Whether in the West or in the Two-Thirds World, a hallmark of Stott’s ministry has been expository preaching that addresses the hearts and minds of contemporary men and women. Stott was honored by Time magazine in 2005 as one of the “100 Most Influential People in the World.”

Whitney Hopler, who has served as a Crosswalk.com contributing writer for many years, is author of the Christian novel Dream Factory, which is set during Hollywood’s golden age. Visit her website at: whitneyhopler.naiwe.com.

It’s my chance…


By Pastor Bobby Schuller

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
-John 13:34-35

Jesus is calling you to stop being so much a talker and, instead, become much more a doer. It’s time to do something this week. Some situation is going to present itself to you where you will have a chance to do the next right thing, something Jesus told you to do.

There will be a couple in your neighborhood that’s struggling financially and needs babysitting and money for movies and dinner, and you are going to say? “This is my chance.” You’re going to be at the pharmacy waiting for your medication, some guy cuts in line in front of you, and you are going to say to yourself, “This is my chance.” Yes! It’s your chance to love that guy and encourage him. He’s sick and he needs help! You’re going to have a dear friend in the hospital and, even though you’re going to be busy and not know how to find the time, you’re going to say to yourself, “This is my chance.” That’s right. Somebody’s going to lash out at you in anger and you’re going to say, “This is my chance.” That’s right. You’re going to see your husband doing the dishes. You get it. “This is my chance!”

Jesus wants us to be the lights of the world. Take that chance today!

Prayer: Dear Lord, I have been a talker about so many things, but now I want to be a doer. Lead me to those who need my help. Show me the way to the next right thing to do. Amen.

Reflection: What have you’ve been talking about for quite sometime? What are you going to do about it?

Choosing a Seat.


I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.
Isaiah 14:14

Recommended Reading
Luke 14:7-11 [ http://iz3.me/5OiV1z3Fe1A1 ]

We’ve all seen it — and perhaps been guilty of it: The doors open at a concert venue and everyone makes a dash for the front row seats. Or the doors open for a department store sale and the shoppers shove and push each other in order to get first dibs on the merchandise. Our fleshly nature tempts us to put ourselves above others or seek a position or place for ourselves instead of allowing others to have it.

Listen to Today’s Radio Message [ http://iz3.me/6OiV1z3Fe1A1 ]

Satan, as God’s angelic, highly-anointed minister, made the mistake of seeking a place reserved for God alone. In five different ways — “I will …” — he expressed his desire to “be like the Most High” (Isaiah 14:13-14). He wanted to exalt himself from his rightful place to a place equal with God Himself. Interestingly, Jesus related a parable with the antidote to pride of place. When attending a banquet, He said, take the lowest seat. It’s better to be invited to move up than to be told to move down for being in someone else’s place (Luke 14:7-11). That was a lesson Satan failed to learn, but one we can take to heart.

Humility seeks to advance others rather than advancing self. But the promise is, we reap what we sow (Galatians 6:7).

Other sins are against God’s law, but pride is against God’s sovereignty.
Thomas Manton

Read-Thru-the-Bible
Judges 14-16

By David Jeremiah.

Building on the rock…


By Pastor Bobby Schuller

“He will call out to me, ‘You are my Father, my God, the Rock my Savior.'”
-Psalm 89:26

I am picturing a bunch of settlers arriving on an island, and most choose to build their homes down by the river where they don’t have to walk far to fish, hunt, and get fresh water. Nevertheless, one smart settler puts his house upon the hill where it’s solid rock. Unlike the other settlers, he has to walk far every day carrying buckets of water up and down the hill. He has to go a long way to get his food – all of the game lives along the river and the fish are in the water. The wise settler tells the people living down near the water, “You have settled in a rainy, windy place. You are too close to that river.”

The people ignored his warnings, saying, “Oh you fool, look how easy our life is and look how hard your life is up there on the rock.”

“My friends,” he says, “the winds are a-coming, the rains are a-coming, and the streams will be a-rising.” Sure enough the storm comes and all of the people who had built that easy life down by the river found it was all for nothing. It was all destroyed. That’s what life is like.

Like that wise settler, one of the three little pigs knew he needed to build his home in brick, not straw. This story just had to be inspired by this Bible passage. The wolf’s a-coming. Are you ready? He’s a-coming. If you’ve built a house of brick and you’ve built it on the rock, you can mock that wolf until you’re blue in the face and he isn’t going to harm you. You don’t have to worry because you’ve taken the time to build your life the right way – on the life of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Prayer: Dear Lord, help me to be wise and not always look for the easy way out. I want to build my life on your life to prepare me for whatever will come my way. Amen.

Reflection: Is there a time when you chose the easy way out and regretted it? Have you ever chosen the harder but wiser way of dealing with something and learned from it?

How the Mighty Have Fallen.


You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering: the sardius, topaz, and diamond, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold. The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes was prepared for you on the day you were created.
Ezekiel 28:13

Recommended Reading
1 Timothy 3:5-7 [ http://iz3.me/T2aV1z3Fe1A1 ]

One of the most timeless warnings in all the Bible is illustrated by an ancient event: “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18). In the uncharted time before creation, Satan was Lucifer, the most beautiful and honored of God’s created angelic beings. But his pride — his belief in his beauty — brought him down.

Listen to Today’s Radio Message [ http://iz3.me/U2aV1z3Fe1A1 ]

Two passages in the Old Testament — Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28 — are considered by many scholars to be personifications of events in Satan’s story. Both passages refer to earthly kings, but in language that can only typify heavenly events. And because all godless kings draw their prideful inspiration from Satan, they serve as a type of Lucifer himself. Ezekiel 28:17 says, “Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty.” And the apostle Paul echoes that verse when talking about the pride that led to Satan’s fall (1 Timothy 3:6).

Beware of pride and self-exaltation (James 4:6).

Pride of gifts robs us of God’s blessing in the use of them.
William Gurnall

Read-Thru-the-Bible
Judges 11-13

By David Jeremiah.

Immovable, unshakable…


By Pastor Bobby Schuller

“The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”
-Psalm 18:2

Jesus says, “Therefore, everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, yet it did not fall because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

The rains are a-coming. The wind will be a-blowing. The streams will be a-rising. Are you ready? Whether you’re religious or not, whether you’re Christian or not, there is going to be wind, there is going to be rain, there is going to be rising streams. And the only way you will make it, the only way your life will be of something of true value, the only way it will actually have meaning is if you follow the master of living who is Jesus.

If you do what Jesus says, your life will be strong, steadfast, cleaved to the rock, immovable, unshakable.

Prayer: Dear Lord, I am building my life on you. My faith is preparing me for whatever life throws my way. I will follow you, the master of living, all of my days and nights. Amen.

Reflection: What do you consider the greatest storm in you life? How did Jesus help you to weather that hard time and grow?

Life in a storm…


By Pastor Bobby Schuller

“When the storm has swept by, the wicked are gone, but the righteous stand firm forever.”
-Proverbs 10:25

I still remember the first time I saw a tornado.

I was this California boy really scared of extreme weather staying at a home in Oklahoma before I was to speak at a local Baptist College. This pastor, his family, and another guy traveling with me were with me at the dinner table when we heard, “Boom, boom, boom, boom, boom!” The thunder outside sounded like bombs falling. But when I looked around, I could see that nobody else was even paying attention. Then all of a sudden, the thunder stopped. That’s when the pastor looked up and said, “Uh oh.” He went outside to check out the situation and came back in saying, “You know what, don’t worry about it. There isn’t going to be any tornado.” Tornado? “There are no sirens.” Then, almost as if on cue, the siren sounded its alarm and a cop car flew by down the road as the wind howled. Then, what do we three wise gentlemen do? We walk out onto the porch to watch the tornado, a little finger of spinning wind and debris moving quickly, whirling off into the distance eventually to disappear.

But my host wasn’t afraid of the tornado and he wasn’t afraid of the storm. Why? I discovered it was because he was prepared. We might say that he anticipated the rains a-coming, the winds a-blowing, the streams a-rising. And because, as an Oklahoman, he was ready for it, his stuff wasn’t destroyed, his house wasn’t thrashed, and his life was not in danger because he was ready for the storm.

What does it mean to build your life in a storm? It’s very simple. Building your life in the storm means that you do what Jesus tells you to do.

Prayer: Dear Lord, help me to prepare for all of life’s storms through your word and witness in the life of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Reflection: How has the life and love of Christ helped you to weather life’s storms?

The Approval Process: Pen Pal.


The Approval Process: Pen Pal

See with what large letters I have written to you with my own hand!
Galatians 6:11

Recommended Reading
2 Thessalonians 3:16-18 [ http://iz3.me/6DVV1z3Fe1A1 ]

God spoke through the sermons of the prophets, the poetry of the psalmist, the history of the kings, and the biography of the Savior. But when He wanted to encourage Christians to live godly lives, He chose the simple medium of personal correspondence. Hence we have the New Testament letters.

Watch This Week’s TV Broadcast [ http://iz3.me/7DVV1z3Fe1A1 ]

Maybe we can take a page from God’s Book. Parade Magazine carried the story of a Vermont nursing student cramming for a rigorous exam. Returning to her table in the coffee shop, she found a note tucked inside her textbook. “I’m assuming if you’re thumbing through [ this textbook ] you’re probably nearing the end of nursing school,” said the note. “You should be so proud of yourself. You’ve worked so hard to get here, and … it’s so worth it. I’ve been a nurse for twelve years and can’t imagine doing anything else.” The note, which is now widely circulated online, contained a pep talk — and a ten-dollar gift card for coffee.

People crave encouragement, and sometimes the greatest encouragement is the writing of words that endure. Perhaps you can pen a note of affirmation and approval to someone today.

The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.
William James

Read-Thru-the-Bible
Judges 6-10

By David Jeremiah.

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