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Finding new meaning in a familiar Bible passage
Lost to the Past
Upset with the corruption and extravagance plaguing his kingdom, Korea’s King Yeongjo (1694–1776) decided to change things. In a classic case of throwing out the baby with the bathwater, he banned the traditional art of gold-thread embroidery as excessively opulent. Soon, knowledge of that intricate process vanished into the past.
In 2011, Professor Sim Yeon-ok wanted to reclaim that long-lost tradition. Surmising that gold leaf had been glued onto mulberry paper and then hand-cut into slender strands, she was able to recreate the process, reviving an ancient art form.
In the book of Exodus, we learn of the extravagant measures employed to…
The Right Words
In the past year or so, a number of authors have urged believers to take a fresh look at the “vocabulary” of our faith. One writer, for example, emphasized that even theologically rich words of faith can lose their impact when, through overfamiliarity and overuse, we lose touch with the depths of the gospel and our need for God. When that happens, he suggested, we may need to relearn the language of faith “from scratch,” letting go of our assumptions until we can see the good news for the first time.
The invitation to learn to “speak God from scratch” reminds…
The Right Kind of Help
And I, if I am lifted up . . . will draw all peoples to Myself —John 12:32
Very few of us have any understanding of the reason why Jesus Christ died. If sympathy is all that human beings need, then the Cross …
The Focus Of Our Message
I did not come to bring peace but a sword —Matthew 10:34
Never be sympathetic with a person whose situation causes you to conclude that God is dealing harshly with him. God can be more tender than …
“Not by Might nor by Power”
My speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power . . . —1 Corinthians 2:4
If in preaching the gospel you substitute your knowledge of the way of salvation for confidence in the power of the gospel, you hinder people …
The Consecration of Spiritual Power
. . . by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world —Galatians 6:14
If I dwell on the Cross of Christ, I do not simply become inwardly devout and solely interested in my own holiness— I become strongly …
The Focal Point of Spiritual Power
If you want to know the power of God (that is, the resurrection life of Jesus) in your human flesh, you must dwell on the tragedy of God. Break away from your personal concern over your own spiritual condition, and with a completely open spirit consider the tragedy of God. Instantly the power of God will be in you. “Look to Me. . .” (Isaiah 45:22). Pay attention to the external Source and the internal power will be there. We lose power because we don’t focus on the right thing. The effect of the Cross is salvation, sanctification, healing, etc., but we are not to preach any of these. We are to preach “Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2). The proclaiming of Jesus will do its own work.
The Secret of Spiritual Consistency
God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ . . . —Galatians 6:14
When a person is newly born again, he seems inconsistent due to his unrelated emotions and the state of the external things or circumstances in …
Direction of Focus
Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their masters . . . , so our eyes look to the Lord our God . . . —Psalm 123:2
This verse is a description of total reliance on God. Just as the eyes of a servant are riveted on his master, our eyes should …
Winning into Freedom
If the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed —John 8:36
If there is even a trace of individual self-satisfaction left in us, it always says, “I can’t surrender,” or “I can’t be free.” But the …
The Eternal Goal
By Myself I have sworn, says the Lord, because you have done this thing . . . I will bless you . . . —Genesis 22:16-17
Abraham, at this point, has reached where he is in touch with the very nature of God. He now understands the reality of God.
Fellowship in the Gospel
…fellow laborer in the gospel of Christ… —1 Thessalonians 3:2
After sanctification, it is difficult to state what your purpose in life is, because God has moved you into His purpose through the Holy Spirit. He is using you now for His purposes throughout the world as He used His Son for the purpose of our salvation. If you seek…
The Method of Missions
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations… —Matthew 28:19
Jesus Christ did not say, “Go and save souls” (the salvation of souls is the supernatural work of God), but He said, “Go…make disciples of all the nations….” Yet you cannot make disciples unless you are a disciple yourself. When the disciples returned from their first mission, they were filled…
What is a Missionary?
Jesus said to them again, “…As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” —John 20:21
A missionary is someone sent by Jesus Christ just as He was sent by God. The great controlling factor is not the needs of people, but the command of Jesus. The source of our inspiration in our service for God is behind us, not ahead of us. The tendency today…
Submitting to God’s Purpose
I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. —1 Corinthians 9:22
A Christian worker has to learn how to be God’s man or woman of great worth and excellence in the midst of a multitude of meager and worthless things. Never protest by saying, “If only I were somewhere else!” All of God’s people are ordinary people who have been made…