For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified…. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power. 1 Corinthians 2:2-4.
It had been Paul’s custom to adopt an oratorical style in his preaching. He was a man fitted to speak before kings, before the great and learned men of Athens, and his intellectual acquirements were often of value to him in preparing the way for the gospel. He tried to do this in Athens, meeting eloquence with eloquence, philosophy with philosophy, and logic with logic; but he failed to meet with the success he had hoped for. His aftersight led him to understand that there was something needed above human wisdom…. He must receive his power from a higher source. In order to convict and convert sinners, the Spirit of God must come into his work and sanctify every spiritual development.
To Paul the cross was the one object of supreme interest. Ever since he had been arrested in his career of persecution against the followers of the crucified Nazarene he had never ceased to glory in the cross…. He knew by personal experience that when a sinner once beholds the love of the Father, as seen in the sacrifice of His Son, and yields to the divine influence, a change of heart takes place, and henceforth Christ is all and in all.
At the time of his conversion, Paul was inspired with a longing desire to help his fellow men to behold Jesus of Nazareth as the Son of the living God, mighty to transform and to save. Henceforth his life was wholly devoted to an effort to portray the love and power of the Crucified One…. The apostle’s efforts were not confined to public speaking; there were many who could not have been reached in that way…. He visited the sick and the sorrowing, comforted the afflicted, and lifted up the oppressed. And in all that he said and did he magnified the name of Jesus….
Paul realized that his sufficiency was not in himself, but in the presence of the Holy Spirit, whose gracious influence filled his heart…. Self was hidden; Christ was revealed and exalted.
Conflict and Courage p. 341
—–Buddy had a stent done a couple of weeks ago and they put him on aspirin for at least a month. He was concerned about taking it because of all of his recent bleeding events. To date he has received 26 units of blood for his different episodes of bleeding. Sabbath after church he discovered blood and by last night he went to the ER and was admitted. This morning they tried to go in and find the bleed but the procedure dragged on and they felt they had to quit for the time being and regroup. He is getting more blood transfusions this morning and they may take him back to try to find the bleed this afternoon. He is once again in a very precarious position and I would ask you to please lift him up every time you think of it during the day or during your prayer time. He does not ever leave home without his bag of books that he takes to the hospital. He has had several divine appointments while there. Thanks, Donna
—–I sent the other day for our friends’ baby. So far to my knowledge the tests for infection have come back negative. But they can’t get the baby’s glucose level to stay up consistently without IV’s/ tube feedings, and the IV’s are very painful and problematic for the baby– not lasting in one place for more than a day. Prayers are needed for the baby to be able to eat well and sugar levels to stay up without supplementation. Kristina
—–Please pray for my brother, Mike. He was diagnosed with cancer today. He is not saved but has recently been listening to the Bible while driving to and from work. I pray God uses this a time for him to see his need of a savior. Tricia
—–Please pray for an important unspoken request I have. Mary
Since tomorrow is Emma’s birthday, I thought I’d share something that I wrote some years ago that included a poem Esther wrote as a teenager. At that time she hoped that someday she would become a loving mother. And so she has.
How deep is the love of a mother for her child. From the moment that little one is born, there is a bond that ties them together in love. To her that babe is the most beautiful child in all the world. No one can take its place in her heart. As the days and weeks go by, she tenderly watches for the first signs of recognition, the first smile, the first laugh, the first baby kiss, the first step, the first….. She wants only what is best for her small one, envisioning a future filled with happiness and fulfillment. She realizes that discipline will have its part in molding and shaping the character of the one in her arms as well as her own. She will fight to the death if necessary to protect her precious one.
*A mother’s arms holding her child. Her tender voice warmed by her smile. A mother’s eyes brightened with her tears. She gives her wants and hopes and all her fears to God.
A mother’s strength is found in our God. He gives her hope and faith to lead her children on. She holds her child’s hands gently in her own. She shows the tiny feet the long pathway home to God.
A mother’s love is sent from our God. He gives her strength and peace to carry on. With a gentle smile and arms open wide She welcomes love from her child, then gives it back to God.
Deeper than the love between mother and child is the love of God for us. Indeed, He loves us more than He loves His Own Life. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” John 3:16,17 Tenderly, He assures us, “I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.” Jer 31:3 “Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.” Isa 49:15,16
Think of it! When our Dear Saviour looks at the nailprints in His hands, He thinks of us. His Great Heart of Love swells with tenderness and compassion toward us. He yearns for our love in return and with longing watches for our first “baby steps” toward Him. With joy, He puts His Loving Arms around us, leading us, guiding us to Himself. There are times that He must discipline us to keep our feet from straying, but His greatest desire is for our happiness and fulfillment. In addition, the Perfect Carpenter is making a Heavenly reward for us that is suited for our eternal joy. (John 14:1-3)
May we ever look unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, our Great Creator and Redeemer; Who for the joy of having us in Heaven with Himself, suffered all that the evil one and wicked men could heap upon Him, endured the agony of separation from His Father in the garden and the cross, and is even now ministering in the Heavenly Sanctuary for us. (Heb 8:1,2; 9:11,12) May our greatest joy be in pleasing Him. (1 Thes 4:1) May we continually “praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!” Ps 107:8
*A Mother’s Love by Esther Marie