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The boy Samuel is called by God during a time when the nation of Israel practiced idolatry and did not value God’s word. Our own generation is prone to ignore the word of God or invent its own version of truth. Like Samuel let us respond to God’s personal intimate call own our lives by saying “Speak Lord, for your servant is listening.”
Psalm 119, the longest psalm, focuses on God’s word as the supremely valuable message from and about God that leads to blessedness. We are encouraged to pray through and meditate upon the scriptures, asking God to instruct us and to incline our hearts to obey.
Jesus wept in anguish over the city of Jerusalem because its residents had rejected Him. He was honest about the judgement which was imminent for Jerusalem. It is biblical to weep and be burdened over those who have rejected the refuge that God offers. If you need reconciliation with God in your own life, remember that God said, “I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked,” Ezekiel 33:11 (ESV) and seek His forgiveness and peace.
As Jesus hangs on the cross in darkness, He cries out, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” He is quoting from Psalm 22:1, a psalm which foretells the future suffering of the Messiah. Jesus is not only enduring the agonies of the crucifixion, but is also experiencing being abandoned by God the Father as He bears the sin of the world. Jesus is absorbing the judgement of God we deserve.
Exodus 3:1-6 describes the calling of Moses in an extraordinary event. God reveals Himself as omnipotent over creation as He speaks to Moses from a burning bush which is never consumed. God calls “Moses, Moses” with the repetition of the name signifying affection. He instructs Moses to remove his sandals because the holy God (without equal / without sin) is in this place. Moses responds in fear and humility; God responds with reassurance and sends Moses out to serve him.
“Jacob, Jacob.” God spoke with affection to Jacob in a moment of deep spiritual significance and tells Jacob not to fear as he prepares to enter the land of Egypt. God reassures Jacob that He will keep His promises and prove His faithfulness. Like Jacob, we need a faithful God and God is faithful. Our response must be to embrace God’s promises and act in obedience.
The person who only hears the Word of God soon forgets what he reads and its truths do not penetrate his life. The one who is both a hearer and a doer of the Word perseveres in the study of God’s word and acts upon it. The filling/control of the Holy Spirit enables the doer to live out the truths of the Word of God.
God is always worthy of our trust and obedience, even when His dealings with us are baffling from our perspective. Abraham believed the promises of God in spite of the perplexity of God’s command to sacrifice his son, Isaac. The Lord responded to the obedience of Abraham by calling out “Abraham, Abraham,” and providing a substitute sacrifice. Like Abraham, let us be reminded that no one ever trusted God in vain.
The repetition of a name indicates great urgency paired with affection and intimacy. Jesus gently reminds Martha that our first duty and highest privilege is to humbly listen to Him. We often live shallow lives because we neglect the discipline of listening to Jesus through His word. Like Joshua, let us say to the Lord, “What does my lord say to his servant” Joshua 5:14 (ESV)
Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not…
God’s love gift of His son: It is free: we cannot earn God’s love. It is unending: a certain promise of eternal life. It is sacrificial and boundless: It is available to all, no matter the depth of our sin or the frailty of our faith.
Faith is the essential spiritual requirement to receive eternal life, according to John 3:16. But what exactly is saving faith? We must know and agree with the facts of the gospel that are explained in the Bible. Additionally, we must commit ourselves to Christ, asking Him for His gift of love and mercy, entrusting ourselves to Him. Although we may only have a “scrap of faith” mixed with some unbelief, God invites us to put our faith in Christ and find forgiveness and grace.
John 3:16 is the story of story of: The Greatest Danger: Our greatest danger is perishing, being condemned to eternal ruin, separated from the goodness of Christ after we die. The Greatest Rescue: Our greatest rescue is by God who so loved the world, the world that was hostile to Him and that rebelled against Him, that He sent His only Son to die for our rebellion that we might not perish, but have eternal life. The Greatest Promise: Our greatest promise is the that we can have eternal life and it can be our present possession that cannot be taken away.
God lovingly and freely gives the gift of eternal life to all who believe in His Son. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. John 6:40 (ESV) Eternal life is a present reality that we possess now, an eternal relationship that will be fully realized in the resurrection when we will enjoy Him forever. Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift! 2 Corinthians 9:15 (ESV)
John 3:16 expresses the depth of God’s great love for us. The holy self-existent God who holds us accountable loved the world: all of humanity. In love He gave His Son, Emmanuel, God with us, to die as a substitutionary sacrifice and pay the penalty for our sins. Jesus calls us to trust and believe in Him so that we might not perish but find everlasting life.
Hebrews 3:3 reminds us to pray for out persecuted brothers and sisters. Continue to remember those in prison, as if you were together with them prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering. Here are a few ways we can pray: Pray that the persecuted church (and we as well) will be unafraid and faithful (Revelation 2:8-11). Pray for God to fill them with the Holy Spirit and enable them to speak and act boldly with clarity, wisdom, and courage (Acts 4:31). Pray that they will be joyful, rejoicing that Jesus and His name are worthy of any cost (Acts 5:41).
Faith alone is the key to forgiveness and salvation. We all know and feel our guilt and brokenness before a holy God. Jesus Christ alone must be the object of our faith that brings justification and peace with God. Faith is a gift of the Holy Spirit, not a feeling. It can be increased through prayer and the study scripture. Faith is not a work, but spurs us on to good works as we serve as the representatives of Christ.
It is impossible to live a life of Christian holiness without the filling of the Holy Spirit. This is accomplished by letting God’s Word saturate our lives (cf. Colossians 3:16-27) and by asking the Spirit to control us. Lives filled with the Holy Spirit are characterized by worship form the heart, gratitude for God’s presence, and sovereignty, and submission to one another out of reverence for Christ.
What does it mean to grieve the Holy Spirit? Ephesians 4:25-32 gives examples of how believers can grieve the Hoy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, co-equal with God in Deity and in love for us. Whenever a person participates in lies, sinful anger, stealing, corrupt speech, and animosity we fail to live up to our confession of faith and we grieve the Holy Spirit. Instead, let us pursue truthfulness, generosity, encouragement and compassion.
The Holy Spirit is a person, not a vague spiritual force, co-equal with God in the Trinity. The Holy Spirit lives in believers, a forever present Helper who reveals the truths of Scripture to us. It is important to follow the command of Jesus to ask the Father for the Holy Spirit to increasingly fill us and work in our lives.