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Easter

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"[Christians] arrange things so that we can get on well enough without divine aid, while at the same time ostensibly seeking it. We boast in the Lord but watch carefully that we never get caught depending on Him."
—A.W. Tozer

14-Feb-20


Divine Providence (Part Two)

In Part One, we stuck a toe into the waters of divine providence and found that the subject is far deeper than we may have imagined it to be. God's care for us goes well beyond fulfilling our basic physical needs like food, water, clothing, and shelter. In fact, He is far more interested in providing our spiritual needs, as it is those things that aid us in our walk toward being His sons and daughters in His Kingdom (see Matthew 6:25-33).

A glorious inheritance awaits us if we endure to the end (Matthew 24:13). Jesus relates the goal of Christians in the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats: "Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world'" (Matthew 25:34).

John 14:2-3 adds some detail about this Kingdom, mentioning—as in Matthew 25:34—the preparatory work the resurrected Jesus Christ is doing to make sure that we will both be there and fill a high position, working by His side: "In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also."

In Hebrews 11:16, the author of Hebrews comes at the subject from a slightly different perspective: "But now they [the faithful] desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them." He calls our inheritance "a heavenly country" and "a city." In Revelation 21:1-2, this city is called "New Jerusalem" (described in verses 9-21), "prepared as a bride adorned for her husband."

The most important feature is that the Father will be there (verse 3), and He will freely give His victorious children all things (verse 7). Jesus says something similar in Matthew 19:29, "And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name's sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life."

These verses suggest that, when our Savior said that His Father has been at work (John 5:17), it was a bit of an understatement! He is continually working to provide us with what we need to attain this fantastic future. We also realize that His prodigious amount of work is not for everyone's benefit but strictly for the faithful flock.

The apostle John writes in I John 2:4-6:

He who says, "I know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.

Revelation 21:8 says much the same as verse 4: "But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death." Those who wish to partake of the amazing life of God in His Kingdom must abide by His rules now and forever. The apostle Paul agrees in I Corinthians 15:50: "Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption." There will be no corruption of sin in the New Heavens and New Earth, which is why we must be putting it to death in our lives.

The inheritance God has waiting for us is far beyond our current understanding or even our imagination. The prophet Isaiah writes, "For since the beginning of the world men have not heard nor perceived by the ear, nor has the eye seen any God besides You, who acts for the one who waits for Him" (Isaiah 64:4). We are probably more familiar with Paul's quotation of this in I Corinthians 2:9: "But as it is written: ‘Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.'" We just cannot fathom what the wonderful World Tomorrow will be like.

However, it is up to us to remain worthy of all this providence offered by God and grow in character. Paul exhorts us in Philippians 2:12, "Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling." We need to keep ourselves spiritually refreshed through prayer, Bible study, fasting, meditation, and good works focused on the brethren (see Ephesians 2:10).

God is not slack in His work ethic or His promises, and He expects the same from us. Paul tells Timothy, "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" (II Timothy 2:15). Jesus instructs His disciples, "Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is" (Mark 13:33).

We should know by now what our job is: "[W]hat does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul" (Deuteronomy 10:12). The prophet Micah pens something similar: "He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?" (Micah 6:8). And perhaps the most succinct of all is Jesus' command in John 6:29: "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent."

Paul sums up our Christian walk for us in I Corinthians 15:58: "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord." We know that God promises to reward even the smallest of labors we do for others (Matthew 10:42), but through His providence—especially His providence of spiritual aid—He has made it possible for us to do far more significant things in His name as we pursue holiness, the pure character of our Lord.

So, knowing that we are already part of the household of God (Ephesians 2:19), we, like Jesus during His physical life, need to be about our Father's business (Luke 2:49).


World News Highlights

Why People With Student Debt Are Refusing to Repay It
CNBC   12-Feb-20

Demanding Answers: Business Owners in Grand Central Terminal Say Homeless Population Is Taking Over
CBS New York   13-Feb-20

'Most Devastating Plague of Locusts' in Recent History Could Come Within Weeks, U.N. Warns
NBC News   09-Feb-20

When the Church Apologizes for Biblical Morality
Prophecy News Watch/Ask Dr Brown   03-Feb-20

Parents Fight Back Against Kids Trans Surgeries Without Their Knowledge
Prophecy News Watch/Family Research Council   11-Feb-20

A Global Catastrophe: '260 Million Christians Experience High Levels of Persecution'
The Gatestone Institute   02-Feb-20

Air Force Updates Its Dress Code Policy to Include Turbans, Beards and Hijabs
CNN   13-Feb-20

Nearly 1 in 3 American Workers Run Out of Money Before Payday—even Those Earning Over $100,000
CNBC   12-Feb-20

School District Scraps Traditional 'A-F' Grading System for Kinder, Gentler Model
The College Fix   12-Feb-20

Federal Taxes and Spending Set Records Through January
CNS News   12-Feb-20

Duterte to Scrap U.S. Military Agreement in Rebuke of Trump
Yahoo/Bloomberg   11-Feb-20

Iran: Women Protest the Hijab - Sweden: Hijab Is 'Look of the Year'
Prophecy News Watch/Gatestone Institute   03-Feb-20

Cia Secretly Owned World's Top Encryption Supplier, Read Enemy and Ally Messages for Decades
BoingBoing   11-Feb-20

Trump's $4.8 Trillion Budget Proposal Revisits Rejected Cuts
Associated Press   10-Feb-20

Half-A-Million Insect Species Face Extinction: Scientists
Yahoo/AFP   10-Feb-20

Polygamists May Not Face Jail Time Under Utah Bill
Fox 5 New York   11-Feb-20


New Transcripts

1307: Malachi's Appeal to Backsliders (Part Two)
Given by Martin G. Collins on 06-Feb-16

1309: Malachi's Appeal to Backsliders (Part Three)
Given by Martin G. Collins on 20-Feb-16

1397: Leadership and Covenants (Part Twenty-Two)
Given by John W. Ritenbaugh on 16-Sep-17

1528c: What's Wrong with Leadership Today?
Given by Martin G. Collins on 08-Feb-20

BS-MA10: Matthew (Part 10)
Given by John W. Ritenbaugh on 18-Nov-81


Prayer Requests

New prayer request updates have been posted for the following people:
 

Claude Biles
Lucile Brown
Lucile Brown
Dan Elmore
Dan Elmore
David Grabbe
Emma Morse
Musonda Sakala
Musonda Sakala
Jeff Wilhelm
Carney Williams



From the Archives: Featured Sermon

Themes of Ruth (Part Two): God's Providence
by Richard T. Ritenbaugh

As we count the 50 days toward Pentecost, we should reconsider the events of our lives (whether life-changing ones or those we might regard as incidental), coming to understand that they reveal God's on-going maintenance of our spiritual lives. As we study the Megilloth Ruth, we see Naomi, described as a pleasant, attractive personality, a God-fearing, common-sense individual who put others before herself. Yet, for all that, she exhibits the negative trait of bitterness as she responds to a series of experiences which she initially defines as curses. Like Moses, Elijah, and nearly all of God's called-out ones, Naomi found it difficult to see God's hand at work in the "big picture" of things. Naomi's pessimism disappeared once she perceived God's hand behind apparently 'accidental' events, including Ruth gleaning in Boaz's field, or 'circumstantial' ones, such as the attention he showered upon her. Naomi soon realized that God had meticulously orchestrated, towards the accomplishment of His own purposes, the famine, the death of her husband and sons, the loyalty of Ruth, the gleaning episodes, the marriage of Ruth to Boaz and the birth of Obed. Naomi's blessings, the result of God's providence, were far greater than her earlier losses. Let us emulate Naomi in her awakening realization that God choreographs even horrible incidents in our lives in order to fulfill His purposes. Yielding to His purpose will give us the desire of our hearts.


From the Archives: Featured Article

The Beatitudes, Part Four: Hungering and Thirsting After Righteousness
by John W. Ritenbaugh

It is quite rare to see a person who truly hungers and thirsts after God's way, but this is the kind of desire God wants us to have. John Ritenbaugh explains what Jesus means in this fourth beatitude.


Featured Audio Schedule

Friday Night Bible Study
The next Bible Study will be John (Part 13), given by John W. Ritenbaugh on Friday 14-Feb-20. The Bible Study will be continuously available from 6:00 pm Friday until 12:00 pm Saturday (EST).


Daily Audio Programs
Hear previous sermons, sermonettes, and Feast of Tabernacles messages, Sunday through Friday. Available from the homepage.

Date Title
Sunday 16-Feb-20 Almost Persuaded
Monday 17-Feb-20 Authority: Why So Many Resent It
Tuesday 18-Feb-20 The Feast of Tabernacles and Unleavened Bread
Wednesday 19-Feb-20 Warfare and Obedience
Thursday 20-Feb-20 Why Are We Here?
Friday 21-Feb-20 Spiritual Blindness: Choosing a Curse

 


 
 

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Further Reading

Start of this series

Divine Providence (Part One)