May 25

Today's Bible Readings:
     Numbers 34
     Psalms 78:38-72
     Isaiah 26
     I John 4
''Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love." ''By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit."  (I John 4:7-8; 13)
       John continues to reveal to us ways that we can know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that we are indeed a Child of God. One of these is the compassionate love that is placed in the heart of every believer. We know from I John 2:9-11 that a Child of God will love his brother. The fighting and feuding that goes on in most of our churches proves that they are filled with liars and hypocrites. Now we are told that a true believer will not only love his brother, but as agape love placed Jesus on the Cross, believers will also have a deep love for the lost, and a desire to see them saved.
       My ministry has taken me all over the world to preach the Gospel. As a result, God has given me a deep love for missionaries. A missionary physician went to a remote part of Africa and opened a clinic. One of his first patients was a man with cataracts, and there had been no one to remove them. As a result, this man had been blind for some time. When the doctor removed the bandages following the surgery, the man could see for the first time in several years. Without a word of thanks, he jumped from the table and ran out in the bush.  The  doctor  began  to feel  sorry  for himself, feeling he  deserved  at least a thank you. After two days, there was a knock on the clinic door, and there again was this man who had been healed. He had a rope in his hand and, clinging to the rope, were 14 blind friends. It is clear from Scripture that when a person has been blind, and now he can see, he wants other blind people to see. When a person has been lost, and now is truly saved, he wants other lost people to be saved.
       It is easy to love the loveable, but the real test is when we are called upon to love the unlovely. Jesus loved even the publicans and sinners. If we are Christians, we have been given the Spirit of Christ. Since Christ came into my life, I am not capable of hating anyone. He has replaced hate with love.
       Another birthmark of the believer is the confirming witness of the Spirit of God. We know we are saved because He has given us of His Spirit. (I John 4:13)
       Now John is not talking about feelings here. Your feelings can be deceptive. One fellow went to a psychiatrist and said, ''I feel like I'm a dog." The doctor asked, 'How long have you felt this way”? He said, “Since I was a puppy.” Let me illustrate it this way. What if your wife had cleaned the house meticulously on a certain day. On the way home from work that day, you find an old, dirty, mangy dog on the side of the road. Your heart of compassion reached out and you took the dirty dog home. You let him loose in the house where he tracked dirt in your wife's freshly clean house. What would you know for sure if your wife did not protest loudly? You would know for sure she is not home. When a person brings dirty things into his heart and no one protests, what do you know for sure?  You know for sure no one is home.
       When one is truly born again, there will be a witness of the Spirit of God which will cry out against that which is unclean. This is another birthmark of the believer - another way you can have that glorious assurance that you have been    saved.
       Our prayer focus for today is on the Republic of Iraq. Many American soldiers have given their lives to free this country from an evil dictator, Saddam Hussien. Still there is bloodshed there as different factions of Islam continue their ancient hatred and feuding. More than 90% of the 25 million inhabitants are Moslem. The remaining Christians are severely persecuted and many have been martyred. It is a desperate situation for the church in Iraq. The only answer is a great move of God in that country that will strengthen the church and draw thousands of Moslems to Christ.
This country is an example of many other places - if we had sent an army of missionaries there many years ago, the military army would have been unnecessary. Pray for God to give a supernatural activity of the Spirit in Iraq.
''When I preach, I am not master of myself, but obey Him who commands me to speak plain and to flatter no flesh upon the face of the earth."
John Knox