An intimate portrait of the influential missionary’s life and legacy.
A striking docudrama filmed on location in China and the UK. James Hudson Taylor was one of the most influential missionaries of the nineteenth century. Founder of China Inland Mission, he spent a total of 51 years spreading the gospel in China. Taylor was unique in his time; he adopted the dress and customs of the Chinese people, showing great respect for their culture, and his organization was strictly non-denominational. Generations of Christian evangelists have followed in his footsteps.
Today’s Bible reading from the Five Day Bible Reading Plan: Leviticus 1-3; Psalm 27; Hebrews 2
Leviticus is the book where many who try to read through the Bible in a year spin out. The perceived irrelevance of this book to our modern day makes many lose interest quickly. Yet, I would say there is much to be gained from an understanding of this book.
This shows God’s holiness. The amount of offerings and laws shows that God is holy and seeks the holiness of His people. We must not allow the concept of grace to deter us from an understanding of His holiness–or the pursuit of our own holiness before God. These offerings sought to cover outward sins–but they could never give anyone a new heart. Thus, the holy One of God, Jesus Christ, came to do what those sacrifices could not–give us a heart of flesh that is sensitive to the Spirit’s leading.
This book shows how God’s people are in the world but distinct from the world. Many of the practices God commands His people to do are because the surrounding nations engage in worship that is detestable to Him. So, distinguishing ourselves as God’s people from the world around us–even as we occupy the world God made as a witness to those around us–is an important understanding for followers of Jesus. As Christ lives in us, He makes us less like the world and more like Himself. Thankfully!
So, recognizing Leviticus’ role in Scripture and in our lives will, hopefully, allow you to approach this with less trepidation and more jubilation.
Today’s Bible reading from the Five Day Bible Reading Plan: Exodus 38-40; Hebrews 1
Our Bible reading plan that we utilize for these devotionals takes us into the Epistle to the Hebrews. If we were to put this into a theme or title a sermon series, we would title this, “Jesus is Better Than…” Better than what? The angels. Moses. Melchizedek. The priests. The sacrifices. For those who came out of the Jewish faith and embraced Christ, yet the persecution tempted them to leave Him and return to their former walk–Hebrews begged them to stay true to Christ. Christ is the fulfillment. Christ is better. Christ is enough.
Reading the first four verses of Hebrews 1, you see that the author wastes no time showing the excellencies of Christ. This, along with John 1:1-18, Philippians 2:5-11, and Colossians 1:15-23 are the passages that show best the true nature of Christ. This is important. We can spend so much time trying to live as a Christian that we tend to forget Christ Himself.
Below is a sermon by my friend and fellow Denver pastor John Moreland who preached recently at our church on Christ, Our Only Hope–a sermon based out of Hebrews 1. Take time to listen and behold the wondrous person of Jesus Christ
All of us have places that serve as retreats, especially when times become difficult. I remember that my refuge was shooting basketball. Yes, I would listen to music to make myself feel better or hang out with a buddy of mine up the road. My mom would tell you that she could tell the type of day I had by the amount of time I would shoot ball. Well, modesty forbids usually, but my kids will tell you that I can shoot ball well—but sadly that came from really difficult days at school. We all have a refuge.
David had a refuge—and his refuge was not in his kingdom or in his reputation nor in his musical skill nor in his toughness as a shepherd and as the one who struck down the nine-foot-plus giant Goliath. The Lord was his refuge. Yet, was this doing him any good?
This Psalm is centered around a question found in verse 3: “If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” Here me out: every generation has a narrative, a script that the press or educators or politicians or Hollywood are trying to get us to believe and speak. They have their worldviews, their ideologies, their foundations. In this passage, the word foundation is that of social order. And so the culture, the “world” to use biblical language, struggles with the design and foundation God has laid, so they begin to craft a narrative, a script to which everyone bows the knee. That’s the salvation, that’s the refuge—and anyone who does not subscribe to this will receive blow after blow on social media and the like.
For we as believers, we have a foundation: Christ, our True Foundation; God the Son, who showed us by the Spirit God’s design for the world. Through Him, we can understand the script, the redemptive narrative. We know that the “world,” the culture will do all they can to undermine the foundations. May we as the Church of Jesus Christ continue to reinforce and build on them for this generation and the one to come.
During our Christmas Eve service, I mentioned that so many hard things were happening to our people this week. This week has brought about even more harrowing issues that will tinge future holidays for themselves and family.
My former dean from seminary reminded us of these precious words from Edmund Sears, writer of It Came Upon the Midnight Clear. This stanza applies so well.
“And ye, beneath life’s crushing load, whose forms are bending low, who toil along the climbing way with painful steps and slow, look now! for glad and golden hours come swiftly on the wing. O rest beside the weary road, and hear the angels sing!”
Good morning! Endurance only comes one way and that is through suffering.
Romans 5 starts off about the peace of God that comes through our Lord Jesus Christ. Every Christian wants that peace, but is every Christian willing to go through what it takes to arrive at the place Christ would have them?
The peace we possess comes through the justifying work of Christ who took the penalty of our sin on our behalf. Christ secured our peace, our reconciliation between us and God. This provides us access into the grace in which we stand.
Standing in Christ means suffering for Christ! That’s bad, right? No, that’s ultimately good because the “suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Romans 5:3-5). Suffering to endurance, endurance to character, character to hope–all through the love of God poured into us in the Holy Spirit.
Do you want to endure? Then rejoice in the sufferings for Christ that come your way. Living for Christ means losing your ‘self’ in the process. Is your joy found in Christ? Are you ready to endure for Him? Then you know what it takes. He will give you the strength to persevere.
Good morning! We sow bountifully and abundantly, knowing that God loves a cheerful giver–a cheerfulness instilled in us thanks to the Spirit who applied Christ’s work to our hearts. That freedom gives us cheerfulness. Now, will we merely receive that and go on our merry way? No, we are the conduit.
We give based on the grace God gave us through Christ and the gospel. Paul sought to connect the giving as a basis for the giving nature of Christ toward us. Paul by the Spirit makes it clear: there’s a connection between sowing and reaping Not trying to be funny when I ask this, but “Sow what?” In this case, this is a sowing of acts of giving in and toward Kingdom work. The acts of sowing in these acts of grace (8:6) with reap a harvest of righteous that leads to thanksgiving and glorifying God. Thankfulness for what God has given you leads to a generosity with what God has given you.
Are you sowing what God has given you (resources, time, giftings, talents, etc.) in order to reap a harvest of thanksgivings in yourself and others? If not, why not? The acts of grace we give physicially result from the act of grace Christ gave you spiritually through his death and resurrection?
Good morning! If we have been in church world for most of our lives, we often hear or speak of “getting saved.” As is prone to happen, those phrases lose their luster over the years due to an assumption that everyone understands the implications.
To help us out, Paul uses the Word “rescue.” Outside of Christ, we exist in a dominion of darkness–so dark that we have no hope of finding our way out to escape. Thus, our need for the Father to bring us into the His Kingly Son who is the Light of the World (John 8:12).
“Rescue” implies that we are in a dire situation. Do you believe that outside of Christ is a dire situation? If not, you should. Those outside His kingdom need rescuing. That is what we should think of when we hear of salvation in all its varying phraseology. Praise God He provides that rescue through His Son, Jesus Christ.
Good morning! In the late 1520s, Martin Luther (1483-1546) penned a hymn that was known as the “Battle Hymn of the Reformation.” Pulled from Psalm 91, Luther sought to reform the church by reminding them that it was Christ and His Word that is our refuge and fortress. Read this last stanza:
That word above all earthly powers— No thanks to them—abideth; The Spirit and the gifts are ours Through him who with us sideth. Let goods and kindred go, This mortal life also: The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still, His kingdom is for ever.
Christ is on our side. The Spirit resides in us. Our bodies are metal; He, His Word, and His Kingdom are immortal.
Are we holding on tightly to something in this world that brings us security? That serves as a flimsy fortress. Christ is our Mighty Fortress. Run to Him, and be saved.
Good morning! I have just one quick question for you: where is your treasure? Let’s read the entire paragraph:
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Jesus Christ, Matthew 6:19-21 (ESV)
Businesses work every day to provide products that you may like in order to part you from your money. The ease by which some companies, like Amazon, provide a wide ranges of products at low prices with free two-day shipping (if you’re an Amazon Prime member who pays around $120 per year for this) to arrive at your door with as little energy as typing in the order would allow.
Then, when you purchase something (or consider purchasing something), ads pop up on your social media for those very items or something like it, thus piquing your interest for those items–and on, and on, and on. Tech giants seem to know where our treasure lies.
Christ comes along and tells us where our treasure should lie. All of these items that serve as our treasure will fade away. Or, as we saw with movies like Toy Story, we may grow bored with many of these items over time. Christ tells us to lay up treasures in heaven where nothing can touch them. Our treasure is not only with Christ, but Christ is our treasure.
Is that the case with you? Is that the case with me? Christ must be our treasure, for He rescued us from those “treasures” and idols that seek to displace Him and take us down a destructive path. Seek that which lasts! Seek Christ!