Turning Point

God’s presence gives us assurance as we face an unknown future, a new responsibility, a situation of abundance, or a moment of fear. But God’s presence also assures us during times of need—as the writer to the Hebrews reminded his readers by quoting a classic verse from the Old Testament.

Hebrews appears to have been written to Jews who had put their faith in Christ but were tempted to revert to life under the law and temple worship. Perhaps, given the persecution of first-century Christians, their material resources had become limited and they had begun to covet the possessions of others. In Hebrews 13:5, the author of Hebrews warned his readers against covetousness, to be content with what they had. Why? Because God has promised, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Why would we covet something material when we know the God of all creation?
If you have a need today, tell God what it is. He has promised to meet our needs (Philippians 4:19) and to give us peace as we await His provision (Philippians 4:6-7).

God’s purposes always have God’s provision.
~ John Blanchard

Turning Point

John 8:31-36 [NKJV]

The Truth Shall Make You Free

31 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

33 They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can You say, ‘You will be made free’?”

34 Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. 35 And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever.36 Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.

Turning Point

The Prophet Is Called

Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying:

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you;Before you were born I sanctified you;I ordained you a prophet to the nations.”

~ Jeremiah 1:4-5 [NKJV]

Our English word purpose derives from an old Anglo-French verb meaning “to propose.” When a man proposes marriage to a woman he says, “It is my purpose to spend my life with you and with none other.” The advantage of such a proposal, as it transitions to a life purpose, is that it eliminates a multitude of decisions that might present themselves. Anything that conflicts with one’s purpose in life is not even considered—or shouldn’t be.

When young Daniel was taken as a captive to Babylon, he purposed in his heart not to defile himself in that pagan land. So he proposed to the one in charge an alternative to the diet he was offered. He didn’t have to wonder, “What should I do?” That decision had been made before God many years before. His purpose was to live a life of purity and obedience to God.

How would you describe your purpose in life? Make your future easier by declaring a clear purpose today.

Man forgets his purpose, and thus he forgets who he is and what life means. 

~ Francis Schaeffer

Turning Point

The Hours of Jesus

Recommended Reading: John17:1-5

Jesus Christ entered into time so that we might enter into eternity. As God, Jesus is infinite, timeless, eternal, and from everlasting to everlasting. But when He descended into our world through the virgin birth, He subjected Himself to the limitations of time. He often spoke in John’s Gospel of “His hour.” He passed most of His years in the small town of Nazareth, then devoted about three years to ministry. The six hours He spent on the cross is a period of torturous death we can’t even imagine, despite all the pictures we have seen and sermons we have heard. Then He spent three days in the grave, followed by forty days on earth following His resurrection.

These years, days, and hours provided our gateway into eternal life. He prayed in John 12:27: “Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour.” And in John 17:1 as He was about to be arrested, Jesus prayed, “Father, the hour has come.”

Because Christ came to earth for a specific time, we can be with Him in heaven for ages unlimited. What an incredible thought! Treasure every moment as you prepare for your eternal home with Him one day.

Turning Point

Romans 10:14-15 [NKJV]

Israel Rejects the Gospel

14 How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written:

“How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace,Who bring glad tidings of good things!”

When John the Baptist began his ministry: He preached (Matthew 3:1). And when Jesus followed on John’s heels, He did the same thing: He preached (Matthew 4:17). After Jesus ascended to heaven, His followers in Jerusalem did what they had been taught: They preached (Acts 4:2; 5:42). And after Stephen’s martyrdom, when the Church was driven from Jerusalem, Acts 8 is evidence of their single-minded focus on preaching (verses 4-5, 12, 35, 40). Then Paul was converted and “immediately he preached the Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God” (Acts 9:20).

Regardless of who, when, or where, the early followers of Jesus preached! In the early stages, John and Jesus declared or announced that the Kingdom of God was at hand. After the resurrection, preaching became more focused: proclaiming the Good News of Christ’s identity, death, burial, and resurrection for the sins of the world (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). Why was there such a focus on preaching? Paul answered that question with another question: “And how shall they hear [and call and believe] without a preacher?” (Romans 10:14)

Wherever you go today, be ready to preach the Good News (2 Timothy 4:2)!

Preaching is the chariot that carries Christ up and down the world. 

~ Richard Sibbes

Turning Point

A funnel has a wide end and a narrow end. Those two ends can represent how different people find their life’s purpose. Some enter early in life at the narrow end, knowing exactly what they want to be or do. Others enter at the wide end and narrow their focus and activity over time. People are different and progress through life in various ways.

The apostle Paul took a mixed path. He was a tentmaker by trade (Acts 18:3), but that trade was only to support his true passion: understanding and teaching the laws of God. He was on a literal road—the road from Jerusalem to Damascus—in pursuit of that passion when God changed his focus, and thus his life. Instead of living as a teacher of the law, he became a preacher of grace. And it was not an easy transition (Acts 9:1), taking years to realize (Galatians 2:1).
Don’t despair about your life’s focus or purpose. Walk faithfully in the light God has given you today, trusting that more light will be revealed as it is needed.
Man, made in the image of God, has a purpose—to be in relationship to God, who is there. 

~ Francis Schaeffer

Turning Point

2 Timothy 4:9-18 [NKJV]

The Abandoned Apostle

Be diligent to come to me quickly; 10 for Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world, and has departed for Thessalonica—Crescens for Galatia, Titus for Dalmatia. 11 Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for ministry. 12 And Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus. 13 Bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas when you come—and the books, especially the parchments.

14 Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm. May the Lord repay him according to his works. 15 You also must beware of him, for he has greatly resisted our words.

16 At my first defense no one stood with me, but all forsook me. May it not be charged against them.

The Lord Is Faithful

17 But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that the message might be preached fully through me, and that all the Gentiles might hear. Also I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. 18 And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen!

A few years before he died, the Free Will Baptist evangelist John Colby was feeling the effects of poor health. He didn’t want to end his ministry, but he was sometimes too tired to continue. On Thursday, February 25, 1813, he wrote in his journal: “I preached at Esquire Green’s. The house was much crowded, and I was under the necessity of speaking louder than usual, in order that the people might hear in the different apartments. The Lord strengthened me far beyond my expectations, and as a dying man, I spake to dying creatures. Many of the dear youth wept and mourned, and I humbly trust, that day will not be soon forgotten. When I closed the meeting, I felt as though I had come about to the close of life. I retired to my chamber, and lay down where I continued till the next day.”

The next day, he got up and kept going. 

We often become tired in the service of the Lord, but not of the service of the Lord. The apostle Paul, also near death, spoke of how the Lord stood with him and strengthened him. Our Lord will do the same with us. Let’s get up and keep going—in His strength!

God’s strength can only work in weakness.

~ Andrew Murray

Turning Point

John 1:40-42 [NKJV]
40 One of the two who heard John speak, and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41 He first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated, the Christ). 42 And he brought him to Jesus.

Now when Jesus looked at him, He said, “You are Simon the son of Jonah. You shall be called Cephas” (which is translated, A Stone).

One of the most helpful aspects of a social media platform is connectivity. Many neighborhoods have online groups that allow members to ask and share information like, “Does anyone know of a good plumber/electrician/landscaper/remodeler that you would recommend?” In other words, the most valuable form of advertisement is a satisfied customer who will recommend a service provider to others.

When the prophet Zechariah ministered in the post-exilic world of the Jews who had returned from captivity, he saw an amazing development: The day would come when people from all over the world would ask a Jew to lead them to the house of God. That kingdom vision hasn’t happened yet, but will, likely during the Millennium when Christ rules over all the earth. And it can certainly happen when people discover our hope in an eternity with God.

Are you excited about heaven? Let your excitement be an open invitation for others to ask, “Would you tell me how I can get there?”
All true theology has an evangelistic thrust, and all true evangelism is theology in action. 
~ J. I. Packer