Good morning! Psalm 121 is my wife’s favorite psalm for a myriad of reasons–and since this is my wife’s favorite, I pay special attention to its message.
This psalm begins, “I lift my eyes to the hills; where does my help come from?” Those hills contained the high places where idolatry commenced. This worship of false gods and an embracing of worldviews untethered to God and His law was a betrayal of all the good things and the goodness of God from where their help should and must come. Why would they ever opt to find their help elsewhere?
Sadly, we find our help from people and ideas that affirm who we are rather than from the Person of Christ and His Word that transform us into what He would have us to be. Yet ask yourself: has your “self” or anything that this world offers ever brought you complete peace and joy?
Your ultimate help comes from Christ, who rescued you from your sin and brokenness through His work on the cross and His resurrection. Our culture tries but is not equipped to provide the help our heart, mind, and soul need. Only our Creator (both of the first creation and the second one) can provide that. It’s not enough to be born, but to be born again (John 3:3-7).
Have you been born again? Then you have that help from the Lord, maker of heaven, earth–and you!
14 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Good morning! God calls us to be merciful as He is merciful. How is that possible, since we are fallible, frail, and faulty imagebearers?
Let’s read the full paragraph:
32 “If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. 35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. 36 Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.
Jesus Christ, Luke 6:32-36
In our flesh, we love those like us, lend to those who are friends and who will repay us–yet, Christ calls us to love our enemies sacrificially, knowing that our reward will come not necessarily in the “here” but in the hereafter.
God extended mercy to us when we didn’t deserve it. Now, we as imagebearers and covenant bearers of Christ behave as Christ on earth–which is what the church is, the body of Christ.
It’s not just Christ in you but Christ through you. Don’t be a reservoir–be a conduit of His grace and mercy to others.
Good morning! Perfect love is that which is fueled by and tethered to God our Father through our Lord Jesus Christ. If we are in Him who is love, then we have no reason to fear any punishment (4:18b) because Christ has taken our punishment on our behalf.
Too many Christians live in fear because they do not understand nor have they received the full import of the gospel. The great doctrine of substitutionary atonement–Christ atoned for our sins (paid for them) on our behalf (our substitute). The gravity of understanding this doctrine will bring about a gladness in our hearts and minds for Christ’s sake. I’m thankful for Nick Batzig’s insight here:
Whatever other dimensions belong to the work of Christ crucified, on this much we must be settled: The principal work of Jesus on the cross was atoning for the sins of His people by standing in their place and bearing the consequences and judgment of their sins. Jesus was constituted a sinner—though without any sin of His own—by the imputation of the sins of God’s people to His own person so that He might bear that sin in His body on the tree and receive the just punishment for those sins. In doing so, Jesus atones for the sins of all those for whom He died, removing their guilt and providing the basis of forgiveness for their sin. When we come to understand this in our hearts, we sing: “Bearing shame and scoffing rude, in my place condemned he stood. Sealed my pardon with his blood. Hallelujah! What a Savior!”
Have you received Christ, who died on your behalf for your sins? Are you walking in the light, in love, in power, and in sound mind (2 Tim 1:7)? Look to the cross and the empty tomb and see what Christ accomplished for you!
Matthew Perry, Ph.D. is Lead Pastor of Arapahoe Road Baptist Church, Centennial, CO
Good morning! The Gospel of John presents seven “I AM” statements describing Jesus’ nature and work. Here, Jesus connects the bread that came down from heaven to sustain God’s people as they sojourned in the wilderness (manna), but that only sustained them for the day. The manna was a shadow of the reality to come.
In the previous paragraph, Jesus had this encounter with the Jewish leaders:
“Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. 27 Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.” 28 Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” 29 Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”
When the leaders noted that Moses provided a sign in the wilderness (manna), they asked for a sign from Jesus, who then told them about a bread that comes down from heaven that will give life to the world. A promising prospect to the Jewish leaders!
The Son of Man would give them this bread–He Himself was that bread. Christ gave of Himself to provide the spiritual sustenance needed both here and in the hereafter. Christ is our everlasting manna!
No material item can bring any sort of sustaining satisfaction. Jesus is enough to bring that sustaining sustenance! Look to the cross and the empty tomb for that promise!
Good morning! The evil that transpires in the culture can, to the human eye, look as it is the true overcomer. The culture rejects that which is of God’s design in regards to the nature of humanity, sex, marriage, gender roles, gender identity, abortion, justice issues, authority, and on and on–and receives (embraces even) that which is against God’s design, even celebrating others who practice these matters (Romans 1:32).
Yet, the Spirit through the apostle Paul calls the church not to be overcome by evil, but to overcome evil with good. Here, churches have choices to make. How do some churches define “good?” They define this as not rejecting anyone for any reason who wishes to become a part of that church. So, even if some reject God’s design, churches will receive them because of their understanding that this is “good” because God is “love.”
Isaiah 5:20 warns God’s people about calling “evil, good and good, evil.” God is love and since God has His design and standard, then that is good! Calling others to something other than this design is not a sign of love but a sign of hatred. God is good and His design is good. We do not let what the culture deems “good” overcome God’s “good.”
Do you have trouble with this? Read your Scriptures and ask God to change your hearts and minds to align with His. And by the Spirit, He will. It all starts with receiving Christ as Lord and Savior of your life. Have you turned to Him and away from your sin and brokenness? Have you looked at the cross for forgiveness and restoration?
Christ has overcome the evil in you with the good of Himself. He will give you the strength to overcome the evil in this culture with His good.