"Grieve not the Holy Spirit."
All that the believer has must come from Christ, but it comes solely through the channel of the Spirit of grace. Moreover, as all blessings thus flow to you through the Holy Spirit, so also no good thing can come out of you in holy thought, devout worship, or gracious act, apart from the sanctifying operation of the same Spirit. Even if the good seed be sown in you, yet it lies dormant except he worketh in you to will and to do of his own good pleasure. Do you desire to speak for Jesus--how can you unless the Holy Ghost touch your tongue? Do you desire to pray? Alas! what dull work it is unless the Spirit maketh intercession for you! Do you desire to subdue sin? Would you be holy? Would you imitate your Master? Do you desire to rise to superlative heights of spirituality? Are you wanting to be made like the angels of God, full of zeal and ardour for the Master's cause? You cannot without the Spirit--"Without me ye can do nothing." O branch of the vine, thou canst have no fruit without the sap! O child of God, thou hast no life within thee apart from the life which God gives thee through his Spirit! Then let us not grieve him or provoke him to anger by our sin. Let us not quench him in one of his faintest motions in our soul; let us foster every suggestion, and be ready to obey every prompting. If the Holy Spirit be indeed so mighty, let us attempt nothing without him; let us begin no project, and carry on no enterprise, and conclude no transaction, without imploring his blessing. Let us do him the due homage of feeling our entire weakness apart from him, and then depending alone upon him, having this for our prayer, "Open thou my heart and my whole being to thine incoming, and uphold me with thy free Spirit when I shall have received that Spirit in my inward parts."
"Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with him."
He is to be envied. It was well to be Martha and serve, but better to be Lazarus and commune. There are times for each purpose, and each is comely in its season, but none of the trees of the garden yield such clusters as the vine of fellowship. To sit with Jesus, to hear his words, to mark his acts, and receive his smiles, was such a favour as must have made Lazarus as happy as the angels. When it has been our happy lot to feast with our Beloved in his banqueting-hall, we would not have given half a sigh for all the kingdoms of the world, if so much breath could have bought them.
He is to be imitated. It would have been a strange thing if Lazarus had not been at the table where Jesus was, for he had been dead, and Jesus had raised him. For the risen one to be absent when the Lord who gave him life was at his house, would have been ungrateful indeed. We too were once dead, yea, and like Lazarus stinking in the grave of sin; Jesus raised us, and by his life we live--can we be content to live at a distance from him? Do we omit to remember him at his table, where he deigns to feast with his brethren? Oh, this is cruel! It behoves us to repent, and do as he has bidden us, for his least wish should be law to us. To have lived without constant intercourse with one of whom the Jews said, "Behold how he loved him," would have been disgraceful to Lazarus; is it excusable in us whom Jesus has loved with an everlasting love? To have been cold to him who wept over his lifeless corpse, would have argued great brutishness in Lazarus. What does it argue in us over whom the Saviour has not only wept, but bled? Come, brethren, who read this portion, let us return unto our heavenly Bridegroom, and ask for his Spirit that we may be on terms of closer intimacy with him, and henceforth sit at the table with him.
Today's reading: Ezekiel 16-17, James 3 (NIV)View today's reading on Bible Gateway
Today's Old Testament reading: Ezekiel 16-17
Jerusalem as an Adulterous Wife
1 The word of the LORD came to me: 2 “Son of man, confront Jerusalem with her detestable practices 3 and say, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says to Jerusalem: Your ancestry and birth were in the land of the Canaanites; your father was an Amorite and your mother a Hittite. 4 On the day you were born your cord was not cut, nor were you washed with water to make you clean, nor were you rubbed with salt or wrapped in cloths. 5 No one looked on you with pity or had compassion enough to do any of these things for you. Rather, you were thrown out into the open field, for on the day you were born you were despised.6 “‘Then I passed by and saw you kicking about in your blood, and as you lay there in your blood I said to you, “Live!”
Today's New Testament reading: James 3
Taming the Tongue
1 Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. 2 We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check.
3 When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 4 Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. 5 Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6 The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell....
Melchisedec, Melchizedek[Mĕlchĭs'e dĕc, Mĕl chĭz'e dĕk]—king of righteousness or justice. The priest and king of Salem, who met Abraham and blessed him (Gen. 14:18; Ps. 110:4; Heb. 5:6, 10; 6:20; 7:1-21). His pedigree is not recorded ( Ezra 2:59,62).
The Man Who Prefigured Christ’s Priesthood
Although a mysterious figure, Melchisedec is yet a figure of great importance. His biography is short. He comes before us in history (Gen. 14); in prophecy (Ps. 110); in doctrine (Heb. 7), and prefigures Christ’s priesthood. He is King of Righteousness, and King of Peace—cause and effect. Christ alone can bring us peace since He is our righteousness (Isa. 32:17 ). In a book consisting of genealogies, Melchisedec has no record of father, mother, birth or death. Such silence is part of the divine plan to make him typify more strikingly the mystery of Christ’s birth and the eternity of His priesthood.
The priesthood of this mysterious man was not based on what he was, or on any inherited right. Christ was without father on earth as to His humanity, and without mother as to His deity. He was the only-begotten of the Father, and without pedigree as to His priesthood. The greatness of Melchisedec is seen in that Abraham gave him tithes, and was blessed of him. Christ being greater, deserves and demands our all.
In Christ we have an unchallengeable priesthood, for He was made Priest by the solemnity of a divine oath. His is also an uninterrupted priesthood, for death cannot overtake Him. His priesthood is likewise nontransferable—it cannot be delegated to anyone on earth. Christ, like Melchisedec, had in His office as Priest, no ancestor, no associate, no descendant. With the Aaronic priesthood it was different.
Tradition identifies Melchisedec as Shem, the son of Noah (Gen. 11:11), or as Philitis, the builder of the great Pyramid of Egypt.
The Woman Who Fell Out With Her Friend
Name Meaning - Euodias is actually a man's name. Euodia is its right form here ( Philippians 4:2, rv). Euodias means "prosperous journey" - Euodia, "fragrant." Wilkinson has the note, "Euodia is 'a good journey,' and was used in the colloquial Attic Greek as the French use the expression bon voyage." Euodia is coupled with another female, Syntyche, and both may have been among the women who resorted to prayer at the river bank (Acts 16:13-15), and among the honorable women who believed ( Acts 17:12). Scripture is silent on the genealogy and family association of these two women who, after their conversion became colaborers with Paul in the Gospel (Philippians 4:3). Belonging to a class bespeaking prosperity they doubtless ministered unto Paul of their substances.
At Philippi women were the first hearers of the Gospel and Lydia the first convert. If Euodias and Syntyche were also brought to the Lord there, they naturally took a leading part in teaching the Gospel to other women in a private sphere of labor once the Church had been formed there (1 Timothy 2:11, 12).
When Paul exhorted these two prominent workers to "be of the same mind in the Lord," he implied that they had been previously at variance. What caused the breach between these two deaconesses in the Philippian Church we are not told. Perhaps one had a more dominant personality than the other and received more attention. Whatever the dispute was, it became serious and hindered the work of the Lord, so Paul besought the two women to give up their differences and live at peace in the Lord. The lack of harmony between Euodias and Syntyche disturbed the Apostle, so he urged a reconciliation, for as those professing to be redeemed their whole life should be lived in peace and in an endeavor to please Him who had saved them.
A humorist has suggested that because of the strife between these sisters in Christ they should have been called Odiousand Soon-touchy . It was sad that there was this difference of opinion, and more tragic still that divisions have kept Christians apart all down the ages. "How can two walk together except they be agreed?" is an old adage we have lost sight of. We like to believe that Paul did not plead in vain, and that Euodias and Syntyche were completely reconciled and went on unitedly to serve the God of peace. Is there any need of such a reconciliation in your life as a Christian? If so, for the sake of your own peace of heart and your influence in the world, go out and put wrong things right.