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    Encountering the resurrected Christ

    Before his name was changed to Paul, Saul was a religious zealot bent on protecting Jewish law from the heretical influence of Christianity by persecuting—and even killing—Christians. Today on “Discover the Word,” we contrast the “before” and “after” of the apostle Paul. How exactly did his life change after encountering the resurrected Christ?

    All His Benefits

    A recurring difficulty on our journey of life is becoming so focused on what we need at the moment that we forget what we already have. I was reminded of that when our church choir sang a beautiful anthem based on Psalm 103. “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits” (v. 2 nkjv). The Lord is our forgiver, healer, redeemer, provider, satisfier, and renewer (vv. 4-5). How could we forget that? And yet we often do when the events of daily life shift our attention to pressing needs, recurring failures, and circumstances that seem out…

    God’s Total Surrender to Us

    For God so loved the world that He gave… —John 3:16

    Salvation does not mean merely deliverance from sin or the experience of personal holiness. The salvation which comes from God means being completely delivered from myself, and being placed into perfect union with Him. When I think of my salvation experience, I think of being delivered from sin and gaining…

    How Could Someone So Persecute Jesus!

    Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? —Acts 26:14

    Are you determined to have your own way in living for God? We will never be free from this trap until we are brought into the experience of the baptism of “the Holy Spirit and fire” (Matthew 3:11). Stubbornness and self-will will always stab Jesus Christ. It may hurt no…

    Look Again and Consecrate

    If God so clothes the grass of the field…, will He not much more clothe you…? —Matthew 6:30

    A simple statement of Jesus is always a puzzle to us because we will not be simple. How can we maintain the simplicity of Jesus so that we may understand Him? By receiving His Spirit, recognizing and relying on Him, and obeying Him as He brings us the truth of…

    Recall What God Remembers

    Am I as spontaneously kind to God as I used to be, or am I only expecting God to be kind to me? Does everything in my life fill His heart with gladness, or do I constantly complain because things don’t seem to be going my way? A person who has forgotten what God treasures will not be filled with joy. It is wonderful to remember that Jesus Christ has needs which we can meet— “Give Me a drink” (John 4:7). How much kindness have I shown Him in the past week? Has my life been a good reflection on His reputation?

    "It Is the Lord!"

    Jesus said to her, ’Give Me a drink’ ” (John 4:7). How many of us are expecting Jesus Christ to quench our thirst when we should be satisfying Him! We should be pouring out our lives, investing our total beings, not drawing on Him to satisfy us. “You shall be witnesses to Me . . .” (Acts 1:8). That means lives of pure, uncompromising, and unrestrained devotion to the Lord Jesus, which will be satisfying to Him wherever He may send us.

    The Voice of the Nature of God

    When we talk about the call of God, we often forget the most important thing, namely, the nature of Him who calls. There are many things calling each of us today. Some of these calls will be answered, and others will not even be heard. The call is the expression of the nature of the One who calls, and we can only recognize the call if that same nature is in us. The call of God is the expression of God’s nature, not ours. God providentially weaves the threads of His call through our lives, and only we can distinguish them. It is the threading of God’s voice directly to us over a certain concern, and it is useless to seek another person’s opinion of it.

    Have You Ever Been Alone with God? (2)

    His Solitude with Us. When God gets us alone through suffering, heartbreak, temptation, disappointment, sickness, or by thwarted desires, a broken friendship, or a new friendship— when He gets us absolutely alone, and we are totally speechless, unable to ask even one question, then He begins to teach us. Notice Jesus Christ’s training of the Twelve. It was the disciples, not the crowd outside, who were confused. His disciples constantly asked Him questions, and He constantly explained things to them, but they didn’t understand until after they received the Holy Spirit (see John 14:26).

    Is My Sacrifice Living?

    This event is a picture of the mistake we make in thinking that the ultimate God wants of us is the sacrifice of death. What God wants is the sacrifice through death which enables us to do what Jesus did, that is, sacrifice our lives. Not— “Lord, I am ready to go with You . . . to death” (Luke 22:33). But— “I am willing to be identified with Your death so that I may sacrifice my life to God.”

    Intimate With Jesus

    These words were not spoken as a rebuke, nor even with surprise; Jesus was encouraging Philip to draw closer. Yet the last person we get intimate with is Jesus. Before Pentecost the disciples knew Jesus as the One who gave them power to conquer demons and to bring about a revival (see Luke 10:18-20). It was a wonderful intimacy, but there was a much closer intimacy to come: “. . . I have called you friends . . .” (John 15:15). True friendship is rare on earth. It means identifying with someone in thought, heart, and spirit. The whole experience of life is designed to enable us to enter into this closest relationship with Jesus Christ.

    The Life of Power to Follow

    “And when He had spoken this, He said to him, ’Follow Me’ ” (John 21:19). Three years earlier Jesus had said, “Follow Me” (Matthew 4:19), and Peter followed with no hesitation. The irresistible attraction of Jesus was upon him and he did not need the Holy Spirit to help him do it. Later he came to the place where he denied Jesus, and his heart broke. Then he received the Holy Spirit and Jesus said again, “Follow Me” (John 21:19).

    No Comparison

    When we watch TV or engage in social media, we’re bombarded with images of individuals doing things we disagree with. Sometimes their actions are even illegal or immoral, and we may find ourselves thinking, I’d never do a thing like that! or, How can anyone even consider doing such a thing?

    Sacred Service

    I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ . . . —Colossians 1:24

    The Christian worker has to be a sacred “go-between.” He must be so closely identified with his Lord and the reality of His redemption that …

    More Than Knowing

    Many believers in Jesus are well acquainted with the traditional Christmas carol “We Three Kings of Orient Are” by John Henry Hopkins, Jr. What many might not realize is that the book of Matthew never specifies how many “wise men” there were—only that there were “some” (Matthew 2:1). The idea that there were three wise men developed over the course of church history, but that number isn’t universally accepted. In fact, Syriac Christian churches celebrate no less than twelve visitors from the east!