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The Good News

For he has made with me an everlasting covenant.
2 Samuel 23:5

This covenant is divine in its origin. "He has made with me an everlasting covenant." Oh, that great word "he"! My soul, consider--God, the everlasting Father, has positively made a covenant with you; yes, the God who spoke the world into existence by a word; He, stooping from His majesty, takes hold of your hand and makes a covenant with you. Isn't this act so stupendous and such an example of condescension that it would overwhelm us forever if we could really understand it? "He has made with me an everlasting covenant."

A king has not made a covenant with me--that would be something; but the Prince of the kings of the earth, Shaddai, the Lord All-sufficient, the Jehovah of ages, the everlasting Elohim--"He has made with me an everlasting covenant."

But notice, it is particular in its application. "For he has made with me an everlasting covenant." Here is the sweetness of it to each believer. It is nothing for me that He made peace for the world; I want to know whether He made peace for me! It is a small matter that He has made a covenant; I want to know whether He has made a covenant with me.

Blessed is the assurance that He has made a covenant with me! If God the Holy Spirit gives me assurance of this, then His salvation is mine, His heart is mine, He Himself is mine--He is my God.

This covenant is everlasting in its duration. An everlasting covenant means a covenant that had no beginning and that will never, ever end. How sweet in all the uncertainties of life to know that "God's foundation stands firm,"1 and to have God's own promise, "I will not violate my covenant or alter the word that went forth from my lips."2 I will sing of this through all my days and at their ending and forever.

Do not grieve the Holy Spirit.
Ephesians 4:30

All that the believer has must come from Christ, but it comes solely through the channel of the Spirit of grace. Just as all blessings flow to you through the Holy Spirit, so also no good thing can come out of you in holy thought, devout worship, or gracious act apart from the sanctifying operation of the same Spirit.

Even if the good seed is sown in you, it still lies dormant until He works in you to will and to do of His own good pleasure.

Do you desire to speak for Jesus--how can you unless the Holy Spirit touches your lips?

Do you desire to pray? Sadly, what dull work it is unless the Spirit makes intercession for you!

Do you desire to subdue sin? Would you be holy? Would you imitate your Master? Do you desire to rise to superlative heights of spirituality? Are you looking to be made like the angels of God, full of zeal and love for the Master's cause? You cannot without the Spirit--"Apart from me you can do nothing."1

O branch of the vine, you can have no fruit without the sap! O child of God, you have no life within you apart from the life that God gives you through His Spirit!

So let us not grieve Him or provoke Him to anger by our sin. Let us not quench Him even in one of His faintest motions in our soul; let us foster every suggestion and be ready to obey every prompting.

If the Holy Spirit is indeed so mighty, let us attempt nothing without Him; let us begin no project and carry on no enterprise and conclude no transaction without seeking His blessing.

Let us give Him the due homage of feeling our entire weakness apart from Him, and then depend alone upon Him, having this for our prayer: "Open my heart and my whole being to Your fullness, and uphold me with Your Spirit when I have received that Spirit in my inward parts."

For the love of Christ controls us.
2 Corinthians 5:14

How much do you owe to my Lord? Has He ever done anything for you? Has He forgiven your sins? Has He covered you with a robe of righteousness? Has He set your feet upon a rock? Has He established your goings? Has He prepared heaven for you? Has He prepared you for heaven? Has He written your name in His Book of Life? Has He given you countless blessings? Has He laid up for you a store of mercies, which eye has not seen nor ear heard?

Then do something for Jesus that is worthy of His love. Do not give a mere wordy offering to a dying Redeemer. How will you feel when your Master comes if you have to confess that you did nothing for Him but kept your love shut up, like a stagnant pool, neither flowing out to the poor nor to His work? Be done with that kind of love! What do men think of a love that never shows itself in action? Why, they say, "Better is open rebuke than hidden love."1Who will accept a love so weak that it does not stir you to a single act of self-denial, generosity, heroism, or zeal?

Consider how He has loved you and given Himself for you! Do you know the power of that love? Then let it be like a rushing, mighty wind to your soul to sweep out the clouds of your worldliness and clear away the mists of sin. For Christ's sake let this be the tongue of fire that sits upon you: For Christ's sake let this be the divine excitement, the heavenly empowerment to bear you up from earth, the divine spirit that will make you bold as lions and swift as eagles in your Lord's service. Love should give wings to the feet of service and strength to the arms of industry. Fixed on God with a constancy that is not to be shaken, determined to honor Him with a zeal that is not to be turned aside, and pressing on with a passion that doesn't waver, let us display the constraints of love for Jesus. May the divine magnet draw us toward heaven itself.

I Will Be Their God
Jeremiah 31:33

Christian, here is all you require. To make you happy you want something that shall satisfy you, and is this not enough? If you can pour your promise into your cup, will you not say, with David, “My cup overflows.” When this is fulfilled, “I am your God,” are you not the possessor of all things? Desire is insatiable as death, but He who fills all in can fill it. The capacity of your wishes who can measure? But the immeasurable wealth of God can more than overflow it. I ask you if you are not complete when God is yours? Do you want anything but God? Is not His all-sufficiency enough to satisfy you if all else should fail? But you want more than quiet satisfaction; you desire rapturous delight. Come, soul, here is music fit for heaven in this your portion, for God is the Maker of heaven. Not all the music blown from sweet instruments or drawn from living strings can yield such melody as this sweet promise, “I will be their God”. Here is a deep sea of bliss, a shoreless ocean of delight: come, bathe your spirit in it; swim an age, and you shall find no shore; dive throughout eternity, and you shall find no bottom. “I will be their God.” If this does not make your eyes sparkle, and your heart beat fast with bliss, then assuredly your soul is not in a healthy state. But you want more than present delights—you crave something concerning which you may exercise hope; and what more can you hope for than the fulfillment of this great promise, “I will be their God”? This is the masterpiece of all promises; its enjoyment makes a heaven below and will makes heaven above. Dwell in the light of your Lord, and let you soul be always be ravished with his love. Get out the marrow and fatness that this portion yields you. Live up to your privileges, and rejoice with unspeakable joy.

Good News
The Greatest Invitation

     During a recent week, I received several invitations in the mail. Those inviting me to attend "free" seminars on retirement, real estate, and life insurance were immediately thrown away. But the  invitation to a gathering honoring a longtime friend caused me to reply immediately, "Yes! I accept". Invitation +Desire = Acceptance.

     Isaiah 55:1 is one of the great invitations in the Bible. The Lord said to his people who were in difficult circumstances, "Come,  all of you who are thirsty, come to these waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money or other cost." This is God's remarkable offer of inner nourishment, deep spiritual satisfaction, and everlasting life (vv. 2-3)

     Jesus's invitation is repeated in the last chapter of the Bible: "The Spirit and the bride say 'Come!' And let the  one who hears say, "Come!" Let the the one who is thirsty come;  and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life" (Rev. 22-17)

     We often think of eternal life as beginning when we die. In reality, it begins when we receive Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord.

     God's invitation to find eternal life in Him is the greatest invitation of all! Invitation + Desire = Acceptance.

    Lord Jesus, thank You for Your promise of mercy, pardon, and eternal life. I acknowledge my failures and receive Jesus Christ as my Savior today.

     When we accept Jesus's invitation to follow Him, our whole life changes direction.                    

 

Weight Control
by Regina Gardner

The majority of us have a weight issue and with fast food, an assortment of restaurants in every city, and microwave foods, we are surrounded with quick access to food. Oh the temptation! So we start a diet but soon we’re off track. It’s just one slice of cake. It won’t matter that much. Next week it’s a whole pie. My family will help me eat it. Wrong! Now you have more pounds to lose.

The struggle is real and it’s not easy. It takes more than a made up mind. It requires a plan of action to lose weight and keep it off. There are a multitude of programs to count calories or points, fitness trackers, even with the convenience of your phone and watch, fitness gyms, and fitness videos you can do in your own home.

The temptation to keep the weight of the world off is just as real and just as hard. We are surrounded with worldly entertainment in every city, on the shelves in our stores, on the TV in our homes, and on our devices we carry in our pockets. When we first came to God, we had such determination to say no to temptation. But then we would say, oh, it’s just one little lie; just one movie; just one drink; just one time with these people that have bad influence, I will win them. Then one leads to another then another and the guilt is pushed farther and farther away until the weight of the world is heavier and heavier and the program to remove the weight is harder and harder.

Our plan of action to remove the weight of the world has been set for us. Repentance and renewal of the Holy Ghost, that’s easy enough, right? Not entirely. We have to commit to a plan in our daily lives that will decrease the times we say yes to temptation. The Bible is our Fitness guide that’s chunked full of all we need. Prayer is our Fitness tracker that’s available anytime, anywhere. The Holy Ghost is our Fitness Reminder that provides that gnawing feeling inside that says, this is wrong, say no. Church attendance is our Fitness Workout that keeps us motivated, reminded, and encouraged.

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us (Hebrews 12:1)

Join this Weight Control Program today! The more weight of this world we control, the more powerful we are in God’s kingdom. Let’s do this together and become fit in God and recruit more people in this program and turn our church and our community upside down!

He Understands and Cares

When asked if he thought that ignorance and apathy were problems in modern society, a man joked, “I don’t know and I don’t care.

     I suppose many discouraged people feel that way about the world today and the people in it. But when it comes to the perplexities and concerns of our lives, Jesus fully understands,  and he deeply cares. Isaiah 53, an Old Testament prophecy of the crucifixion of Jesus, gives us a glimpse of what he went through for us. “He was oppressed and afflicted...led like a lamb to the slaughter”(v.7). “For the transgression of my people he was punished”(v.8). “It was the Lord’s will to crush him and to cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand”(v.10).

      On the cross Jesus willingly bore our sin and  guilt. No one suffered more than our Lord did for us. He knew what it would cost to save us from our sins and, in love, he willing paid it(vv4-6).

     Because of Jesus’s resurrection from the dead, he is alive and present with us today. Whatever situation we face, Jesus understands and cares. And he will carry us through.

                                                                           David McCasland

 

     Lord, we give thanks for Your knowledge of our circumstances and Your care for us. He is alive and present with us today. Today we want to walk with You and honor You in all we do.

 

He is not here; He has rise! Luke 24:6

Jesus Christ is Himself the sum and substance of the covenant, and as one of its gifts he is the property of every believer. Believer, can you estimate what you have received in Christ? “In him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily.” Consider the word “God” and its infinity; and then meditate upon ‘’perfect man’’ and all his beauty; for all that Christ, as God and man, ever had, or  can have, is yours—out od pure free favor, given to you to be your entailed property forever. Our Blessed Jesus, as God, is omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent. Will it not console you to know that all these great and glorious attributes are altogether yours? Has he power? That power is yours to support and strengthen you, to overcome your enemies, and to preserve you even to the end. Has He love? Well, there is not a drop of lohttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vm1ColmI1-give in His heart that is not yours; you may dive into the immense ocean of His love, and you may say of it all, “It is mine.’ Has he justice? It may seem a stern attribute, but even that is yours, for he will by His justice see to it that all that is promised to you in the covenant of grace shall be most certainty secured to you. And all that He has as perfect man is yours. As perfect man the Father’s delight was upon him. He stood accepted by the Most High, O  believer, God’s acceptance of Christ is your acceptance; for the love that the Father set on a perfect Christ, He sets on you now. For all that Christ did is yours. That perfect righteousness which Jesus worked out, when through His stainless life He kept the law and made it honorable, is yours and is imputed to you, Christ is in the covenant.

 

My God I am Thine------what a comfort devine!

What a blessing to know the Savior is mine!

In the heavenly Lamb Thrice happy I am,

And my heart it doth dance at the sound of His name.

 

Charles H. Spurgeon / Alistair Begg

It was a dark morning. Low, steel-colored clouds filled the skys, and the atmosphere was so dim that I needed to turn on the lights in order to read a book. I had just settled in when the room suddenly filled with light. I looked up and saw that the wind was pushing the clouds to the east, clearing the sky and revealing the sun.

   As I went to the window to get a better look at the drama, a thought came to mind. “The darkness is passing and the true light is already shining” (l John 2:8). The apostle John wrote these words to believers as a message of encouragement. He went on to say “Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble”(V. 10). By contrast, he equated hating people with roaming around in darkness; it takes away our sense of moral direction.

    Loving people is not always easy. Yet I was reminded as I looked out the window that frustration, forgiveness, and faithfulness are all part of maintaining a deep connection with the love and light of God. When we choose love instead of hate, we are showing our relationship with Him and reflecting  His radiance to the world around us. “God is light; in him there is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5)

 

Jennifer  Benson  Schuldt    

 

Dear God, help me to experience Your love more fully so that I can share it with others. I want to live in the light of Your grace and mercy. 

 

Choosing to love people well shows the world what God is like.

Ephesians 1-14

Oh, what enlightenment, what joys, what consolation, what delight of heart is experienced by that man who has learned to feed on Jesus, and Jesus alone. Yet the realization that we have of Christ’s preciousness is, in this life, imperfect at best. As the old writer says, “Tis but a taste!” We have tasted “that the Lord is good, “ but we do not yet know how good and gracious He is, although what we know of his sweetness makes us long for more. We have enjoyed the firstfruits  of the Spirit, and they have set us hungering and thirsting for the fullness of the heavenly vintage. We groan within ourselves, waiting for the  adoption. Here we are like Israel in the wilderness, who had but one cluster from the vine, there we shall be in the vineyard. Here we see the manna falling small, like coriander seed; but there shall we eat the bread of heaven and the old corn of the kingdom. We are but beginners now in spiritual education, for although we have learned the first letters of the alphabet, we cannot read words yet, much less can we put sentences together. But as one says, “He that has been in heaven but five minutes  knows more than the general assembly of divines on earth.” We have many unfulfilled desires at present, but soon every wish shall be satisfied, and all our powers shall find the sweetness employment in that eternal world of joy.  O Christian anticipate heaven for a few years. Within a very little time you will be rid of all your trials and your troubles. Your eyes now suffused with tears shall weep no longer.You will gaze in ineffable rapture upon the splendor of Him who sits upon the throne. Better still, you shall sit upon His throne. The triumph of his glory shall be shared by you; His crown. His joy, His  paradise---these will be yours, and you will be co-heir with Him who is the heir of all things.

 

Charles H. Spurgeon/Alistair Begg

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