Happy New Year
Every year gives birth to blessings, little acts of thoughtfulness,
devotion, courage and self–sacrifice.
On this final day of the year, why not leave some small blessing for
those who will follow after you?
Call up a forgotten friend. Share a funny story with someone whose
spirits are dragging. A good laugh can be very good medicine. Make a
genuine effort to stay in closer touch with family and good friends.
Be kind. Apologize when you realize you are wrong. An apology never
diminishes a person. It elevates him. Don't blow your own horn. If
you've done something praiseworthy, someone will notice eventually.
Walk tall, and smile more. You'll look 10 years younger. Don't be afraid to say, "I love you". Say it again. They are the sweetest words in the world.
Be energetic in your life of salvation, reverent and sensitive before God. ~ Philippians 2:12, The Message
Jesus used many methods to get people to think about coming to Him for salvation. Here are two. He would sometimes describe the way that things should be, hoping that people would curiously ask Him how to get there (e.g., Sermon on the Mount). He would sometimes describe the way things are, hoping that people would curiously ask Him how to get to a better place (e.g., the woman at the well). Both worked.
Witnessing and ministering are spiritual activities which take spiritual sensitivity and the spiritual power of Holy Spirit. In that wonderful, one-chapter book of Jude, we find at least three ways to minister: “Be merciful to those who doubt; snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh” (v. 22-23).
Be sensitive. Be prayerful. Be faithful to witness and minister, realizing that God loves working through you to bring Him glory.
Our hearts are much distressed and burdened,
so we go to prayer and maybe spend much time pouring out our petitions
before the throne. And too many times we get up immediately, rush out of
His presence and often try to answer the prayer by some efforts of our
The Spirit of God
Who can fathom the Spirit of the Lord, or instruct the Lord as his
counselor? Whom did the Lord consult to enlighten him, and who taught
him the right way? Who was it that taught him knowledge, or showed him
the path of understanding? Surely the nations are like a drop in a
bucket; they are regarded as dust on the scales; he weighs the islands
as though they were fine dust. Isaiah 40:13-15
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is,
there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the
Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing
glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians
However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has
heard, and what no human mind has conceived"—the things God has prepared
for those who love him—these are the things God has revealed to us by
his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.
For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them?
In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of
God. What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the
Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely
given us. 1 Corinthians 2:9-12
Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. 2 Corinthians 5:5
God will not let you go. The big news of the Bible is not that you
love God but that God loves you! He tattooed your name on the palm of
his hand. His thoughts of you outnumber the sand on the shore. You never
leave his mind, escape his sight, flee his thoughts. You need not win
his love. You already have it. He sees the worst of you and loves you
still. Your sins of tomorrow and failings of the future will not
surprise him; he sees them now. Every day and deed of your life has
passed before his eyes and been calculated in his decision.
He knows you better than you know you and has reached this verdict: he loves you still! No discovery will disillusion him. No rebellion will dissuade him. He loves you with an everlasting love. God’s love– never failing, never ending.
It is God who has made my heart faint, And the Almighty who has
dismayed me, But I am not silenced by the darkness, Nor deep gloom which
God always has a purpose for being silent. I learned this lesson—and its corollary—in college.
One day during my senior year, I prepared to pray over a situation that would impact my future. But as I got on my knees, I felt as if God was suddenly gone. For three days and nights, His presence seemed miles away. The fourth evening, some friends gathered to intercede on my behalf, but to no avail. Nearly defeated, I was headed back to my room when I saw my buddy Don’s light. I climbed through his open window (the dorms were locked), and we prayed until dawn. Still nothing.
I beseeched the Father all week. Then, at last, He dramatically intervened in my life to clearly dictate my next steps. The corollary is this: When God is silent, keep on praying!
Far too many times, I’ve heard people say they quit praying about a need because there was no answer. Matthew 17:20 says faith the size of a mustard seed can move mountains—imagine how tiny our trust must be when we give up on the Lord! Believers cannot treat prayers like quarters fed into a vending machine giving an instant response. Talking to God is a long-term investment in the intimate friendship we have with Him.
Though God may be silent for a time, He never ceases working on our behalf. When the time is right, He provides an outcome aligning with His perfect plan. Giving up before the Lord responds to your call is a grave mistake. So pray on, friends. Pray on!
I admire those who can focus on a promise and not waver; I admire those who don’t let the voice of doubt and the sneers of others deter them. But don’t let your determination and faithfulness look down on those who are still struggling. You went through a process and God was patient with you, so show that same patience and kindness to others. God rewards Faith, but FAITH THAT WORKS BY LOVE. Every act of faith that Jesus did, He did through the instrument of Love. Love ADDS patience but SUBTRACTS arrogance. YOUR FAITH brings your breakthrough but YOUR LOVE helps others with theirs!!.....BE ENCOURAGED
He Came; He Is Coming
This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. (Acts 1:11)
Many are celebrating our Lord's first coming this day; let us turn our thoughts to the promise of His second coming. This is as sure as the first advent and derives a great measure of its certainty from it. He who came as a lowly man to serve will assuredly come to take the reward of His service. He who came to suffer will not be slow in coming to reign.
This is our glorious hope, for we shall share His joy. Today we are in our concealment and humiliation, even as He was while here below; but when He cometh it will be our manifestation, even as it will be His revelation. Dead saints shall live at His appearing. The slandered and despised shall shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Then shall the saints appear as kings and priests, and the days of their mourning shall be ended. The long rest and inconceivable splendor of the millennial reign will be an abundant recompense for the ages of witnessing and warring.
Oh, that the Lord would come! He is coming! He is on the road and traveling quickly. The sound of His approach should be as music to our hearts! Ring out, ye bells of hope!
The Unspeakable Gift
Long ago, there ruled in Persia a wise and good king. He loved his people. He wanted to know how they lived. He wanted to know about their hardships. Often he dressed in the clothes of a working man or a beggar, and went to the communities of the poor. No one whom he visited suspected that he was a wealthy, educated man, let alone their ruler.
One time he visited a very poor man who lived in a cellar. He ate the simple, spare food the poor man ate. He spoke cheerful, kind words to him. Then he left. Later he came back to visit the poor man again, this time dressed in his finest. "I am your king!" he said, and waited. He thought the man would surely ask for some gift or favor.
Instead, the poor man fell to his knees and said, "You left your palace
and your glory to visit me in this dark, dreary place. You ate the
course food I ate. You brought gladness to my heart! To others you have
given your rich gifts. To me you have given yourself!"
"[Herod] sent them to Bethlehem and said, 'Go and search carefully for the Child; and when you have found Him, report to me, so that I too may come and worship Him.' After hearing the king, they went their way; and the star, which they had seen in the east, went on before them until it came and stood over the place where the Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy." ~ Matthew 2:8-10
Are you exchanging gifts with family & friends this Christmas? Remember, the most precious thing you can give is yourself. Just as Jesus did. Share God's love with everyone around you today. God bless you!
1 and 2 Peter
As we live our daily lives, we are to be inspired by the assurance of our future, “an inheritance which is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:4). Because of such hope, we are to “be holy yourselves in all your conduct” (v. 15). Peter shows us that we who trust in Christ now hold the privileged position once held by the people of the Old Testament: “you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people” (2:9). This is a description similar to that in Exodus 19:5-6. Again, the privileged position is to motivate us to live godly lives and “maintain good conduct” (v. 12).
Like Paul, Peter teaches us to respect the government. He tells servants to serve their masters faithfully. He tells husbands and wives to treat each other well “since you are joint heirs of the grace of life, in order that your prayers may not be hindered” (3:7). You cannot expect your prayers to be heard if you are not treating your spouse lovingly!
In the second letter, Peter urges us to let faith produce a number of qualities culminating in godliness, brotherly affection, and love (2 Peter 1:7). The sudden return of Christ is to be a powerful motive for personal godliness. “Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of persons ought you to be in living lives of holiness and godliness” (3:11).
Father, in the midst of an immoral world, give us the strength to live godly lives. Amen.
WAS MARY GUILTY?
This time of year we often read or hear the Christmas story from the book of Luke. There is so much meaning written there and so many different messages. We often miss some of the obvious by getting caught up in the niceties of Christmas. We see this in verse 5. Luke 2:5 (NIV); “He (Joseph) went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.”
I believe Mary was from a good Christian Jewish family. Think for a minute about the time when she told her parents that she was engaged. Their excitement soon disappeared when she told them she was pregnant. In Biblical times, being pregnant outside of wedlock was punishable by stoning to death. But Mary had an explanation. She was pregnant, however she had not committed any wrong. She told her parents she was still a virgin and was pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Not only was this hard to believe, but may have bordered on blasphemy. Her claim could have been interpreted as defying the being and sovereignty of God; this also punishable by death.
Mary was most likely around 13 years old. This was the age of accountability under Jewish tradition. What an awesome display of faith and obedience.
1 Timothy 4:12 (NIV); “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.”
And of Joseph he said, Blessed of the Lord be his land, for the
precious things of heaven, for the dew, and for the deep that coucheth
beneath. (Deuteronomy 33:13)
We may be rich in such things as Joseph obtained, and we may have
them in a higher sense. Oh, for "the precious things of heaven"!
Power with God and the manifestation of power from God are most
precious. We would enjoy the peace of God, the joy of the Lord, the
glory of our God. The benediction of the three divine Persons in love,
and grace, and fellowship we prize beyond the most fine gold. The things
of earth are as nothing in preciousness compared with the things in
"The dew." How precious is this! How we pray and praise when we have
the dew! What refreshing, what growth, what perfume, what life there is
in us when the dew is about. Above all things else, as plants of the
Lord's own right hand planting, we need the dew of His Holy Spirit.
"The deep that coucheth beneath." Surely this refers to that unseen ocean underground which supplies all the fresh springs which make glad the earth. Oh, to tap the eternal fountains! This is an unspeakable boon; let no believer rest till he possesses it. The all-sufficiency of Jehovah is ours forever. Let us resort to it now.
Christ In Us
The virgin birth is more, much more, than a Christmas story. It’s a
story of how close Christ will come to you! The first stop on His
itinerary was a womb. Where will God go to touch the world? Look deep
inside Mary for an answer. Better still—look deep within yourself.
“Christ in you, the hope of glory!” the scripture says (Col. 1:27). Christ grew in Mary until He had to come out. Christ will grow in you until the same occurs. He will come out in your speech, in your actions, in your decisions. Every place you live will be a Bethlehem. And every day you live will be a Christmas. Deliver Christ into the world…your world.
Revelation 3:20 "I
Stand At The Door And Knock"
Some of the saddest words on earth are “We don’t have room for you.”
Jesus knew the sound of those words. He was still in Mary’s womb when
the innkeeper said, “We don’t have room for you.” And when He hung on
the cross, wasn’t the message one of utter rejection? “We don’t have
room for you in this world.”
Today Jesus is given the same treatment. He goes from heart to heart, asking if He might enter. Every so often, He’s welcomed. Someone throws open the door of his or her heart and invites Him to stay. And to that person Jesus gives this great promise, “In my Father’s house are many rooms” (John. 14:2). We make room for Him in our hearts, and Jesus makes room for us in His house!
If something or someone is putting pressure on you this holiday season—to show up, to be better, to create peace where there is chaos—look to God’s Word for encouragement. You can read through these verses when the pressure feels overwhelming:
The righteous call to the Lord, and he listens; he rescues them from all their troubles. The Lord is near to those who are discouraged; he saves those who have lost all hope.
For I am certain that nothing can separate us from his love: neither death nor life, neither angels nor other heavenly rulers or powers, neither the present nor the future, neither the world above nor the world below—there is nothing in all creation that will ever be able to separate us from the love of God which is ours through Christ Jesus our Lord.
Even though the fig trees have no fruit and no grapes grow on the vines, even though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no grain, even though the sheep all die and the cattle stalls are empty, I will still be joyful and glad, because the Lord God is my savior. The Sovereign Lord gives me strength. He makes me sure-footed as a deer and keeps me safe on the mountains.
Would you do
what Jesus did?
He exchanged the worship of angels for the company of killers. If you
were God, would you? I wouldn’t, but Christ did! Jesus humbled Himself.
He went from commanding angels to sleeping in the straw. Why? Because
that is what love does. It puts the loved before itself. Your place in
heaven was more important to Him than His place in heaven, so He gave up
His so you could have yours.
It’s time to let His love cover all things in your life. Every promise broken, every cross word, and harsh word. His love covers all things. Let it! Do it for His sake. For the peace of your heart. And do it for their sake. For the people in your life. Let His love fall on you so yours can fall on them.
"People often think of Christian morality as a kind of bargain in which God says, 'If you keep a lot of rules, I'll reward you.' That's not the best way of looking at it; instead, every time you make a choice you are turning the central part of you into something different. You are slowly turning into a Heaven creature or into a hellish creature: either into a creature who is in harmony with God and neighbor, or else into a creature who is in a state of hatred with God and neighbor. To be a creature of Heaven means joy and peace, knowledge and power. To be the opposite creature means madness, and eternal loneliness."
We Have The Answer
For this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity, but now has been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle and a teacher. For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day. ~ 2 Timothy 1:6-12
The apostle Paul understood the awesome responsibility of being entrusted with the gospel of Jesus Christ. He considered this calling a stewardship for which he would one day give an account to the Lord, and he was willing to suffer for Christ’s sake to complete the task. As believers, we have this same obligation to share the gospel with whomever God places in our lives. But we must ask ourselves if we have a similar level of commitment.
Paul felt compelled to tell people about Christ. In fact, he said, “Woe is me if I do not” (1 Cor. 9:16). No matter how anyone treated him, he wasn’t ashamed of the message of Christ. The prophet Jeremiah had a similar experience. He became a laughingstock and was persecuted for delivering the Lord’s message of the coming judgment. Yet he discovered that not speaking created a far worse feeling in his heart—like fire shut up in his bones (Jer. 20:7-9).
We may not want to warn people about God’s judgment for fear of driving them away from Him. But in reality, the lost are already far from the Lord and need to hear about His offer of forgiveness. Paul was willing to die to get the message out, yet too often we’re not even willing to face a little discomfort to share our faith.
We are surrounded by people who are desperately hungry for something, and they don’t even know what. Yet we have the answer—and the responsibility to share it. Never be ashamed of the best news ever offered to mankind. It can change someone’s eternal destiny.
God Has A Better
“When my daughter was a toddler, I used to take her to a park not far
from our apartment. One day as she was playing in a sandbox, an
ice-cream salesman approached us. I purchased her a treat, and when I
turned to give it to her, I saw her mouth was full of sand. Where I had
intended to put a delicacy, she had put dirt.
Did I love her with dirt in her mouth? Absolutely. Was she any less
of my daughter with dirt in her mouth? Of course not. Was I going to
allow her to keep the dirt in her mouth? No way. I loved her right where
she was, but I refused to leave her there. I carried her over to the
water fountain and washed out her mouth. Why? Because I love her.
God does the same for us. He holds us over the fountain. "Spit out the dirt, honey," our Father urges. "I've got something better for you." And so he cleanses us of filth; immorality, dishonesty, prejudice, bitterness, greed. We don't enjoy the cleansing; sometimes we even opt for the dirt over the ice cream. "I can eat dirt if I want to!" we pout and proclaim. Which is true—we can. But if we do, the loss is ours. God has a better offer.”
Understanding God's Plan
It’s impossible not to be inspired by the Christian country music duo
Joey + Rory. Joey Feek has been the picture of courage and strength as
she has battled cervical cancer for the past year and a half. While
doctors have tried everything to heal her -- from a radical hysterectomy
to continued aggressive treatments -- nothing has been able to stop the
cancer. And as Joey’s time on this earth appears to be drawing to a
close, the incredible couple continues to inspire with their unwavering
faith in God’s plan.
Understanding God’s plan is not always something we can do in this
life. We don’t know why God brings miraculous healing to some and not
others. But Joey recognizes that even though she has not yet received
the healing for which we’ve all hoped and prayed, God has still provided
her with many miracles.
In a statement to People, the couple acknowledges that the outpouring
of love and prayers they have received is a miracle itself. But amidst
Joey’s rapidly declining health, there’s a prayer God recently answered
that she says makes all of the suffering worth it. Joey says, Her father
just accepted Christ. Joey says,
“I just cried. Now all of my family believes. And all of my family, when we die, we’re going to see each other again. I told my dad, ‘I would go through all of this again, if that meant one person came to Christ because of it. The fact that my daddy did, Dad, I would do it all over. I’m so proud of you. When I die, I’m going to be looking for you. And I want you to know, that after you hug my brother (Justin, who died in a car accident in 1994), I’m going to be next in line.' ”
A man walking along a California beach was deep in prayer. All of a
sudden he said out loud, "Lord, grant me one wish."
Suddenly the sky clouded above his head, and in a booming voice the
Lord said, "Because you have TRIED to be faithful to me in all ways, I
will grant you one wish."
The man said, "Build a bridge to Hawaii so I can drive over anytime I
The Lord said, "Your request is very materialistic. Think of the
logistics of that kind of undertaking. The supports required to reach
the bottom of the Pacific! The concrete and steel it would take! I can
do it, but it is hard for me to justify your desire for worldly things.
Take a little more time and think of another wish, a wish you think
would honor and glorify me."
The man thought about it for a long time. Finally he said, "Lord, I
wish that I could understand women. I want to know how they feel inside,
what they are thinking when they give me the silent treatment, why they
cry, what they mean when they say 'nothing,' and how I can make a woman
After a few minutes God said, "You want two or four lanes on that bridge?"
Not much has changed
One’s imagination is kindled thinking about the conversation of the innkeeper and his family. Did anyone mention the arrival of the young couple the night before? Did anyone ask about the pregnancy of the girl on the donkey? The innkeeper and his family were so busy. The day was upon them. The day’s bread had to be made. The morning’s chores had to be done. There was too much to do to imagine that the impossible had occurred. God had entered the world as a baby.
Meanwhile the city hummed. Merchants were unaware that God had visited their planet. The innkeeper would never believe that he’d just sent God into the cold. Those who missed His Majesty’s arrival—missed it not because of evil acts or malice; no, they missed it simply because they weren’t looking. Not much has changed in the last two thousand years, has it?
Would You Be content
What if God’s only gift to you were his grace to save you. Would you
“What’s contentment? A better job than the one I have, that’s for
sure!” replies a man.
“Money. And lots of it!” says another.
” An education for my kids—I could be content with that.” a third one
But would you be content? You beg him to save the life of your child.
You plead with him to keep your business afloat. You implore him to
remove the cancer from your body. What if his answer is, “My grace is
enough!” Would you be content?
From heaven’s perspective, grace is enough. If God did nothing more than save us from hell, could anyone complain? Having been given eternal life, dare we grumble at an aching body? Having been given heavenly riches, dare we moan about what we don’t have?
I may never see tomorrow; There's no written guarantee, And things that happened yesterday belong to history. I cannot predict the future, I cannot change the past, I have just the present moment, I must treat it as my last. I must use this moment wisely for it soon will pass away & be lost to me forever as part of yesterday. I must exercise compassion, Help the fallen to their feet, Be a friend unto the friendless, Make an empty life complete. The unkind things I do today may never be undone, And friendships that I fail to win may nevermore be won. I may not have another chance on bended knee to pray, And thank God with humble heart for giving me this day.
We Are Not Made Of
Steel, We Are Made Of Dust
Why all the effort to stay fit…to stay alive? We pop pills, pump
pecks, pass on the pie and pursue the polyunsaturates! Why? Because
we’re worried about staying alive.
In heaven—that will not be a worry! In fact, you won’t be worrying at
all. You won’t worry about your kids getting hurt. In heaven, there will
be no pain. You won’t worry about getting old. We will all be
ceaselessly strong! Scripture describes heaven as a place where God will
wipe away every tear from our eyes. There will be no more death,
sadness, crying, or pain.
We are not made of steel, we are made of dust. And this life is not crowned with life, it is crowned with death. The next life, however, is different! Jesus urges us to “be faithful, even if you have to die, and I will give you the crown of life!” (Revelation 2:10).
KNOW HIS INTENTION
We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard,
so that we do not drift away. ~ Hebrews 2:1
One does not “drift” toward God, toward righteousness, and toward eternal truth. The drift is always away from those. In our drifting, Holy Spirit will intervene to lead us to Christ or to turn us back to Christ. Charles Spurgeon said, “Men go astray from God by nature, but they only return to God by grace.”
For over 15 years, I had drifted beyond the horizon when Holy Spirit intervened in my life in 1985. Since then, many have been the times when, through a scripture, a song, or a sermon, etc., Holy Spirit opened my eyes to realize that I had drifted. It is always a surprise, for I was never aware during the drifting; I thought I was on the right track. Then, repentance is the only way back.
Oh, God, give me more awareness. If only I could constantly and completely obey Jesus’ directive to “watch and pray” (Matthew 26:41; Mark 14:38; Luke 21:35), then I would drift less. I need to pay more careful attention to what I have heard from your Word, bathed in constant prayer and humility, with more grace, never less.
Life Was Meant To Be
A cute cartoon has Charlie Brown and Snoopy looking into the night
sky. Charlie says, "Someday we will die." Snoopy says, "True, but on all
the other days, we won't."
Life is meant to be lived, moment by moment, day by day. Life is lived to the fullest in Jesus Christ, Who said, "The thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy; but I have come that they may have life, and life to the full" (John 10:10).
How often do we worry about uncontrollable situations? Even now, as I've grown deep into my faith, the devil tries to sneak worry in the back door. BUT, HE CAN'T! Because I NOW recognize it!
Worry is one of his greatest weapons against us! Worry drains you emotionally, physically, and spiritually, and eventually makes you afraid - OR WORSE, believing that God is no longer in charge. BUT HE STILL IS! And He is meticulously taking care of everything, even in our darkest hour. For proof of this, look to the Cross.
Jesus said, "How can you add an hour to your life by worrying?" (Matt 6:27) YOU CAN'T. Instead, worrying REMOVES the hours. So begin to TRUST GOD TODAY, pray, do your very best, and then no matter what, DON'T WORRY!
And the answer is...
We live in a time when nearly all of the values that have made
nations great throughout history are crumbling, begging the psalmist's
question, "When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the
righteous do?" (Psalm 11:3). The answer is that a person's, family's,
and nation's anchor had better be in Christ.
Hebrews 6:16-20 GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)16 When people take oaths, they base their oaths on someone greater than themselves. Their oaths guarantee what they say and end all arguments. 17 God wouldn’t change his plan. He wanted to make this perfectly clear to those who would receive his promise, so he took an oath. 18 God did this so that we would be encouraged. God cannot lie when he takes an oath or makes a promise. These two things can never be changed. Those of us who have taken refuge in him hold on to the confidence we have been given. 19 We have this confidence as a sure and strong anchor for our lives. This confidence goes into the holy place behind the curtain 20 where Jesus went before us on our behalf. He has become the chief priest forever in the way Melchizedek was a priest.
MOMENT OF TRUTH
(a message from Chuck Bassett posted 12/4/15)
For he says, "In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day
of salvation I helped you." I tell you, now is the time of God's
favor, now is the day of salvation. ~ 2 Corinthians 6:2
As physics tells us, matter is made of such building blocks as atoms
and molecules. As instinct tells us, life is made of such building
blocks as moments. The other day, I heard the phrase “the moment of
truth,” and it set me pondering.
The Gospel, the most important fact in this world, is available
during all of our moments, but we must hear it or read it and then
consider it. This is the “moment of Truth,” in the highest sense of this
life. We must respond with either “yes” or “no” (and please understand:
“no response” is a response of “no”). We should be thankful that God
gives us this opportunity of having our moment of Truth in this life.
However, there are two types of moments of Truth ahead for each soul.
Those who persist in choosing the response of “no” have the bitterest
moment of Truth ahead of them: an eternity separated from God and
anything that is good: “I never knew you. Away from Me, you evildoers!”
(Matthew 7:23). The reason that there will be wailing and gnashing of
teeth is that they will forever remember their negative response in
their moment of Truth in their earthly lives (Matthew 13:42, 50).
For those who accept Christ as Savior, their eternally joyful moment
of Truth is ahead of them: an eternity with God and everything that is
good: “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more
death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has
passed away" (Revelation 21:4). This is the chorus of gratitude in
Heaven: “To Him Who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and
honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!” (Revelation 5:13).
Say “yes” to Jesus in your earthly moment of Truth if you want your story to have a happy eternity.
HOW JESUS DID THINGS
Jesus: “By Myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and My
judgment is just, for I seek not to please Myself but Him Who sent Me.”
~ John 5:30
Here is Jesus, using eight first-person pronouns in one sentence, without one iota of ego. How can the King of kings and Lord of Lords (Revelation 19:16), through Whom the entire universe was created (John 1:3), say “By Myself I can do nothing”?
He did it through perfect, selfless, loving submission: Christ Jesus, “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:5-8). Though we cannot live by such perfect, constant, and conscious reliance, Jesus will shock us with just how much more we can live that way than we think we can, for the Philippians passage is preceded with this: “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.”
Jesus “did” very much, but He so dedicated Himself submissively to His Father’s will that He imposed self-paralysis of action apart from Him. Though Paul said, “I can do all things through Christ, Who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13, NKJV), Jesus said “apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).
Covered and Protected
He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou
trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. (Psalm 91:4)
A condescending simile indeed! Just as a hen protects her brood and
allows them to nestle under her wings, so will the Lord defend His
people and permit them to hide away in Him. Have we not seen the little
chicks peeping out from under the mother's feathers? Have we not heard
their little cry of contented joy? In this way let us shelter ourselves
in our God and feel overflowing peace in knowing that He is guarding us.
While the Lord covers us, we trust. It would be strange if we did
not. How can we distrust when Jehovah Himself becomes house and home,
refuge and rest to us?
This done, we go out to war in His name and enjoy the same guardian
care. We need shield and buckler, and when we implicitly trust God,
even as the chick trusts the hen, we find His truth arming us from
head to foot. The Lord cannot lie; He must be faithful to His people;
His promise must stand. This sure truth is all the shield we need.
Behind it we defy the fiery darts of the enemy.
Come, my soul, hide under those great wings, lose thyself among those soft feathers! How happy thou art!
It all happened in a moment
(a message from Max Lucado posted 12/4/15)
It all happened in a moment, a most remarkable moment. God became a
man! Heaven opened herself and placed her most precious one in a human
womb. Jesus came, not as a flash of light or as an unapproachable
conqueror, but as one whose first cries were heard by a peasant girl and
a sleepy carpenter. The hands that first held him were un-manicured,
calloused, and dirty. For thirty-three years he would feel everything
you and I have ever felt. Weak and weary; and afraid of failure. His
feelings got hurt.
To think of Jesus in such a light seems almost irreverent. There’s something about keeping him divine that keeps him distant and predictable. But don’t do it! For heaven’s sake, don’t! Let him be as human as he intended to be. Let him into the mire and muck of our world. For only if we let him in can he pull us out!
Take A Look at Daniel
(author unknown posted 12/3/15)
Daniel (remember- the guy in the lion's den?) He knew how to really
listen to God throughout the day. Daniel 6:10 says: Now when Daniel knew
that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows
being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees
three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did
Three times a day, Daniel paused to pray and give thanks to God. He
was focused on God and listening; that's what a Bible devotion is
designed to help us do. They're short, concise and don't take long to
read, but they give us a thought that will carry us through the day with
our focus on God.
Now, in Daniel 9:2: "During the first year of his reign, I, Daniel,
was studying the writings of the prophets. I learned from the word of
the LORD, as recorded by Jeremiah the prophet, that Jerusalem must lie
desolate for seventy years."
What was he doing? Studying the writings of the prophets? That would
be the Bible, right? Yes, Daniel also did some serious Bible study. We
can't just live on snacks all the time. We need to take time to sit down
and enjoy a full meal too.
God was able to do amazing things in the life of Daniel. Much of it
was because Daniel was willing to seek God's face and take time to
listen to His will. Daniel kept his focus on the eternal.
Father, please help me to be like Daniel and seek your face daily.
Help me to learn to hear your voice even above the "noise" of the
busyness of life and see what's really important. Thank you that You
walk with me each and every day and have rescued me from the lion's den.
Read one of Daniel's prayers - Daniel 9:3-19
By the way, did you realize you just read a Bible devotion? It didn't
take but a minute - but I hope the idea sticks with you all day.
How about you? Do you need a spiritual telescope to help you keep your focus on the eternal throughout your busy day? Try taking a few minutes every day (maybe even three times a day!) to snack on tidbits of the Good News with daily Bible devotions. I promise it won't make you gain weight! (well, maybe "spiritual" weight and that's a positive thing!)
else is saying something you need to hear!
When you take time to notice your blessings, then you will be truly
The most powerful life is the most simple life. The most powerful
life is the life that knows where it’s going, that knows where the
source of strength is; it is the life that stays free of clutter and
happenstance and hurriedness.
I held a moment in my hand, brilliant as a star, fragile as a flower,
a shiny sliver out of one hour. I dropped it carelessly, O God! I knew
not I held an opportunity.
WHO IS WORTHY?
“Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy
place? The one who has clean hands and a pure heart...”
Our God is holy. In order to see Him, we must be holy, too. The good
news is that Jesus makes us clean and new when we surrender our lives to
Him. The old is gone; the new has come. But the job of keeping our
hearts pure, that’s up to us. We have to guard our hearts against strife
and bitterness. We have to make sure we don’t allow temptations to
contaminate us and take us down the wrong path. We have to be careful
about what we watch, what we listen to and who we hang around. All of
those outside influences affect us and our decisions. Always remember,
what you give your attention to will shape your heart and character.
Make sure to give your attention to the Word of God. Give your attention to worship. Choose forgiveness and keep your heart pure before the Lord. Draw close to Him and rise higher and higher to the place where God is. He will bless you more, Amen.
On Your Knees
(a message from Max Lucado posted 12/1/15)
A small cathedral outside Bethlehem marks the supposed birthplace of
Jesus. Behind a high altar in the church is a cave, a little cavern lit
by silver lamps. You can enter the main edifice and admire the ancient
church. You can also enter the quiet cave, where a star embedded in the
floor recognizes the birth of the King. There is one stipulation,
however. You have to stoop. The door is so low you can’t enter standing
up., at the birth of Jesus. . .while the theologians were sleeping and
the elite were dreaming and the successful were snoring…the meek were
kneeling. They were kneeling before the One only the meek will see. They
were kneeling in front of Jesus!
The same is true of the Christ. You can see the world standing tall, but to witness the Savior, you have to get on your knees! So, at the birth of Jesus. . .while the theologians were sleeping and the elite were dreaming and the successful were snoring…the meek were kneeling. They were kneeling before the One only the meek will see. They were kneeling in front of Jesus!
A Declaration of Truth
(a message from Max Lucado posted 11/29/15)
As our high priest, Jesus offers our prayers to God. His prayers are always heard. John 16:23 says, “Truly, truly, I say to you, if you ask the Father for anything in My name, He will give it to you.” The phrase, “In Jesus’ name” is not an empty motto or talisman. It is a declaration of truth! The cancer is not in charge, Jesus is. The grumpy neighbor doesn’t rule the world; Jesus, you do! Just speak the word, Jesus.
Since God works, prayer works. Since you matter to God, your prayers matter in heaven. And on the occasions you can’t find the words to say, pull out this “pocket prayer.” “Father, you are good. I need help. Heal me and forgive me. They need help. Thank you. In Jesus’ name, amen!”
A Thanksgiving Message
(from Max Lucado posted 11/26/15)
A person never runs out of reasons to say “thanks.” Just the word lifts the spirit! To say, “thanks” is to celebrate a gift. Something. Anything. In Scripture the idea of giving thanks is not a suggestion or a recommendation. It’s a command. It carries the same weight as “love your neighbor” and “give to the poor.” More than a hundred times, either by imperative or example, the Bible commands us to be thankful.
If quantity implies gravity, God takes thanksgiving seriously. Ingratitude
is the original sin. Adam and Eve had a million reasons to give thanks.
They lived in a perfect world. Then Satan slithered into the garden and,
just like that, Eden wasn’t enough. Oh, the hissing we hear. “Don’t you
The Holy Spirit is moving us into a new realm in these very last days. It started within this past month. Listen with your spiritual ears and see with your spiritual eyes. He is calling “Wake Up” and stop playing church. He is calling His true believers to “Anguish” over the condition of the church and the fact that souls are being lost at an unprecedented rate. The Holy Spirit is pleading with us that time is very short. The spread of Islam is knocking at our very doors. We have to stop being worried about the football and sport’s scores and start being concerned with what is happening to the dying world around us.
“What is that, you don’t hear it?” Now I am pleading, “Get right with the Lord before it is too late.” Oh, you say you go to church and are busy doing mighty works for the Lord! I will then ask you these questions: “When was the last time you were in anguish over lost souls?” “When was the last time your church and its leaders were in anguish and literally weeping over the lost?” “When was the last time you took action to lead a pure holy life of separation?” “When was the last time you felt the fire of the Lord raging inside of you?” “When was the last time you were totally broken so the Lord could use you according to His purposes, not yours?”
A Mind Transformed by the Word
The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes. The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever. The decrees of the Lord are firm, and all of them are righteous. They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb. By them your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward. ~ Psalm 19:7-11
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking,
correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may
be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
(a message from Max Lucado posted 11/24/15)
You will never have a problem-free life. Pigs might fly. A kangaroo might swim. Men might surrender the remote control. Women might quit buying purses. It’s not likely, but it’s possible. But a problem-free, no-hassle existence of smooth sailing? Don’t hold your breath. All people have problems, but not all people see problems the same way. Some are left bitter; others are left better. Some face their challenges with fear, others with faith. What about you?
The Psalmist asked, ”Why are you downcast, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me?” The struggles of life threatened to pull him under. But at just the right time, the writer made this decision: “Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him!” A deliberate decision to treat his downcast soul with thoughts of God. When troubles come, we can be stressed and upset…or we can trust God!
God's Remodeling Work
(a message from Charles Stanley posted 11/21/15)
For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? ~ Romans 8:29-31
How tempting it is to think we need very little improvement. Ask around, and you’ll hear many people concede they could probably use a little bit of “maintenance” on one or two problem areas, but preferably without being caused any discomfort. Yet most will add, “But I’m a good person.” Don’t be fooled—the Father refuses to settle for humanity’s meager vision of “good enough.”
We could say that God is our “interior designer.” God sees each believer as the person he or she will be when fully yielded to Jesus Christ. He then sets about achieving that complete renovation by transforming the individual’s present self into the image of His Son.
An essential step in God’s remodeling work involves removing whatever is unnecessary, damaged, or outmoded. In our case, what must go are the areas of self-will. I can tell you from experience that being a man under construction is uncomfortable! God targets habits, attitudes, and even relationships wherein we act independently of His purposes. He applies pressure to direct our attention to those places so we will surrender them to Him. Then the Lord even takes hold of interests that are dear to us. He does so until we ask a humbling question: “What would You have me submit to You, Father?”
Conforming our will to God’s changes who we are. In the midst of our transformation, pain from His tools may temporarily obscure the beauty of His design. But nothing is more splendid to God than a committed, obey-at- all-costs follower. Submit to Him so that He might remake you into the son or daughter He desires.
For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness. (Psalm 107:9)
It is well to have longings, and the more intense they are the better. The Lord will satisfy soul-longings, however great and all-absorbing they may be. Let us greatly long, for God will greatly give. We are never in a right state of mind when we are contented with ourselves and are free from longings. Desires for more grace and groanings which cannot be uttered are growing pains, and we should wish to feel them more and more. Blessed Spirit, make us sigh and cry after better things and for more of the best things!
Hunger is by no means a pleasant sensation. Yet blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness. Such persons shall not only have their hunger relieved with a little food, but they shall be filled. They shall not be filled with any sort of rough stuff, but their diet shall be worthy of their good Lord, for they shall be filled with goodness by Jehovah Himself.
Come, let us not fret because we long and hunger, but let us hear the voice of the psalmist as he also longs and hungers to see God magnified. "Oh, that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men."
Jesus Builds the Bridge
(a message from Max Lucado posted 11/19/15)
People came to Jesus. My, how they came to Him! They touched Him as He walked down the street; they followed Him around the sea; they invited Him into their homes and placed their children at His feet. Why? Because He refused to be a statue in a cathedral or a priest in an elevated pulpit. He chose instead to be—Jesus.
There’s not a hint of one person who was afraid to draw near Him.
There were those who mocked Him. Those who were envious of Him. There
were those who misunderstood Him. There was not one person who was
reluctant to approach Him for fear of being rejected.
Remember. It’s man who creates the distance. It is Jesus who builds the bridge!
From Obedience to Blessing
(a message from Charles Spurgeon posted 11/19/15)
From this day will I bless you. (Haggai 2:19)
Future things are hidden from us. Yet here is a glass in which we may see
the unborn years. The Lord says, "From this day will I bless you."
Lord, I am resolved to be more true to Thee and more exact in my following of Thy doctrine and Thy precept; and I pray Thee, therefore, by Christ Jesus, to increase the blessedness of my daily life henceforth and forever.
What You Were Made to Do
(a message from Max Lucado posted 11/17/15)
Many people stop short of their destiny. They settle for someone else’s story. Grandpa was a butcher, Dad was a butcher, so I guess I’ll be a butcher. Everyone I know is in farming, so I guess I’m supposed to farm. Consequently, they risk leading dull, joyless, and fruitless lives. They never sing the song God wrote for their voices. They never cross a finish line with heavenward-stretched arms and declare, I was made to do this! They fit in, settle in, and blend in. But they never find their call.
Don’t make the same mistake. Ephesians 2:10 says: “It is God himself who has made us what we are and given us new lives from Christ Jesus; and long ages ago planned that we should spend these lives in helping others.” Your existence is not accidental. Your skills are not incidental. God shaped each person in turn!
A message from Charles Stanley
How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Your word. With all my heart I have sought You; Do not let me wander from Your commandments. Your word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against You. Blessed are You, O LORD; Teach me Your statutes. With my lips I have told of All the ordinances of Your mouth. I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies, As much as in all riches. I will meditate on Your precepts And regard Your ways. I shall delight in Your statutes; I shall not forget Your word. ~ Psalms 119:9-16
Jim bought his grandchildren a new toy. After a brief glance at the directions, he set the booklet aside and got busy building. A few frustrating hours later, Jim humbly opened the instructions again and followed the steps to put the toy together. Soon he was done, and the grandkids were playing happily.
Jim knew that the manufacturer had a plan for assembling the toy. But he’s a smart fellow and assumed he could figure it out on his own. Many people take the same approach to Scripture that Jim took with those directions. Instead of treating God’s Word like a manual to live by, they glance at it only when they aren’t sure what to do next.
The Bible is like the Father’s diagram of Himself. He teaches believers who He is, what He thinks, and how He acts. Knowing the ways of the Lord ensures that we can make wise decisions that honor Him.
The Bible is also God’s instruction book for living. I emphasize that it should be read every day because believers cannot be spiritually successful or victorious without it. In today’s passage, we read that if a person wants to be righteous, his or her life must comply with scriptural principles. Of course, the only way to know what those principles are is to read, study, and meditate upon the Word.
God’s Word is our most valuable possession. Casting it aside is as foolish as tossing away a wallet full of money. Among the Bible’s riches are stories teaching us how to serve the Lord and principles about pleasing Him. It also contains a wealth of instruction for building a righteous and meaningful life.
"The difference between judgment and discernment: judgment says,
"you're bad, you're going to hell!" ... discernment says, "what you're
doing is wrong, you need to repent." Judgment is condemnation....
discernment allows for correction and restoration."
Either we are adrift in chaos or we are individuals, created, loved,
upheld and placed purposefully, exactly where we are. Can you believe
that? Can you trust God for that?
"If we cooperate with him in loving obedience, God will manifest
himself to us, and that manifestation will be the difference between a
nominal Christian life and a life radiant with the light of his face."
Trouble and distress have come upon me,
It costs you nothing to be grateful & appreciative, yet it has a
considerable impact on the quality of your life. So, don't waste another
minute. Every day, reflect on the priceless gifts you've been enjoying.
Openly share your gratitude with others. And, the next time somebody
asks if anything great happened to you today, you'll have plenty to say!
[Let your] conversation [be] without covetousness; [and be] content
with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave
thee, nor forsake thee. (Hebrews 13:5)
Content yourself in the riches of God's mercy. Unceasing are His gifts and constant is His loving presence. This world is but a passing frame—it is not your home, for you, as a believer, are a child to the great kingdom victorious! Heavenly are the rewards you seek! Eternal are the treasures you gain! Therefore, trust in the kingly majesty of the Lord and ever shall you be pleased!
Take Me Out to The
Did you know that at one time, my father Billy Graham thought he wanted to be a professional baseball player? Even though God had a different plan for his life, he did get to travel to a lot of baseball stadiums—not to play, but to preach the Gospel. To me, every time he shared the Gospel, he hit a home run!
A message from
In yesterday’s New York Times, a liberal columnist wrote: “There is a darkness spreading over part of our society. And we don’t really understand why.” I agree 100%, and I can tell him why. It’s a spiritual darkness caused by sin and the anti-God attitude that has permeated our society. This country is in deep moral and spiritual trouble. The author also said he didn’t know if things like universal health care and higher minimum wages would be “enough to cure existential despair” for Americans. They are definitely not enough. The answer for our nation and for all people in despair is found in God’s Son, Jesus Christ. He is our Living Hope--for this life and for the next.
Praying the Book
(a message posted 11/9/15)
Did you know that the phrase Peter uses to begin his letter is not original to him? He is actually borrowing a phrase from the Sabbath liturgy of the Jewish synagogue. The main section of prayers in the liturgy of the synagogue was called the Shemoneh Esrei, which literally means "eighteen," and refers to the eighteen blessings that were offered for the gifts that God had lavished on his people. Thanksgiving blessings included prayers for the coming of the kingdom, for daily bread, for forgiveness, and for freedom from the tempter—and all of them were derived from prayers actually offered in the Psalms.
And if all of this sounds strangely familiar, it should, because Jesus taught us to pray this way. Being Jewish, Jesus offered what we know as "The Lord's Prayer" from his deep experience in the synagogue. Isn't that remarkable? When Jesus prayed he did not merely draw upon his own heart, though his heart was a river of love, but he relied upon the Scripture. While the human heart is necessary for falling in love, admiring a sunset, or writing a poem, it is too fickle to build a life of prayer on. We need the sure foundation of the Word of God. Literally, when you pray just open the Book and pray away. If you will pray the Book you will pray for a lifetime!
Thus shall they know that I the Lord their God am with them, and that they, even the house of Israel, are my people, saith the Lord God. (Ezekiel 34:30)
To be the Lord's own people is a choice blessing, but to know that we are such is a comfortable blessing. It is one thing to hope that God is with us and another thing to know that He is so. Faith saves us, but assurance satisfies us. We take God to be our God when we believe in Him; but we get the joy of Him when we know that He is ours and that we are His. No believer should be content with hoping and trusting; he should ask the Lord to lead him on to full assurance, so that matters of hope may become matters of certainty.
It is when we enjoy covenant blessings and see our Lord Jesus raised up for us as a plant of renown that we come to a clear knowledge of the favor of God toward us. Not by law, but by grace do we learn that we are the Lord's people. Let us always turn our eyes in the direction of free grace. Assurance of faith can never come by the works of the law. It is an evangelical virtue and can only reach us in a gospel way. Let us not look within. Let us look to the Lord alone. As we see Jesus we shall see our salvation.
Ask, He Will Guide
How bold are your prayers? Boldness in prayer is an uncomfortable thought for many. We think of humbling ourselves before God or having a chat with God. But agonizing before God…or storming heaven with our prayers…or pounding on the door of the Most High…or wrestling with God? Isn’t such prayer irreverent and presumptuous? It would be had God not invited us to pray as such.
The writer of Hebrews says in Hebrews 4:16, “So let us come boldly to the very throne of God and stay there to receive his mercy and to find grace to help us in our times of need.” Paul warns in 2 Corinthians 11:14 that “Satan masquerades himself as an angel of light.” He’s crafty, so it is essential that we consult God in everything! Is this opportunity from you, God? Are you in this venture, God? Acknowledge Him, heed Him, and ask Him. He will guide you.
Oh How True
It ought not to be difficult for us to humble ourselves, for what
have we to be proud of? We ought to take the lowest place without
being told to do so. If we are sensible and honest, we shall be little
in our own eyes. Especially before the Lord in prayer we shall shrink
to nothing. There we cannot speak of merit, for we have none; our one
and only appeal must be to mercy: "God be merciful to me a sinner."
Here is a cheering word from the throne. We shall be exalted by the
Lord if we humble ourselves. For us the way upward is downhill. When
we are stripped of self we are clothed with humility, and this is the
best of wear. The Lord will exalt us in peace and happiness of mind;
He will exalt us into knowledge of His Word and fellowship with
Himself; He will exalt us in the enjoyment of sure pardon and
justification. The Lord puts His honors upon those who can wear them
to the honor of the Giver. He gives usefulness, acceptance, and
influence to those who will not be puffed up by them but will be
abased by a sense of greater responsibility. Neither God nor man will
care to lift up a man who lifts up himself; but both God and good men
unite to honor modest worth.
O Lord, sink me in self that I may rise in Thee.
God Knows What He
So many feel God hasn't answered their prayer simply because it wasn't as they expected it to be .
God sees the big picture and knows what is best for us! Even though it may look like things are a bigger mess, It may have to be completely broken so that God can put it back together in the way it should be .........when we LET HIM ! Trust Him ! He loves them and wants them saved and abundantly blessed more than we do ! He also cares about every detail of our lives and always is looking over His word to perform it .
Our job is to give it to HIm, Agree with His word (scriptures) Praise and Thank Him for it ! Don't take it back by questioning the when and how it will be done! He is GOD and He knows what He is doing !
Time to get our
priorities straight wouldn't ya say?
"We have bigger houses but smaller families; more conveniences, but less time; We have more degrees, but less sense; more knowledge, but less judgment; more experts, but more problems; more medicines, but less healthiness; We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet the new neighbor. We’ve built more computers to hold more information to produce more copies than ever, but have less communications; We have become long on quantity, but short on quality. These times are times of fast foods; but slow digestion; Tall man but short character; Steep profits but shallow relationships. It is time when there is much in the window, but nothing in the room.” - Dalai Lama
A man in Phoenix calls his son in New York the day before Thanksgiving and says, "I hate to ruin your day, but I have to tell you that your mother and I are divorcing; forty-five years of misery is enough. "Pop, what are you talking about?" the son screams. We can't stand the sight of each other any longer," the father says. "We're sick of each other, and I'm sick of talking about this, so you call your sister in Chicago and tell her." Frantic, the son calls his sister, who explodes on the phone. "Like heck they're getting divorced," she shouts, "I'll take care of this," She calls Phoenix immediately, and screams at her father, "You are NOT getting divorced. Don't do a single thing until I get there. I'm calling my brother back, and we'll both be there tomorrow. Until then, don't do a thing, DO YOU HEAR ME?" and hangs up. The old man hangs up his phone and turns to his wife. "Okay," he says, "they're coming for Thanksgiving and paying their own way."
As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named
Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus. Going to Pilate,
he asked for Jesus' body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him.
Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and placed it
in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big
stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away. ~ Matthew
God provided and prepared men named Joseph to help Jesus from womb
to tomb. God made Arimathean Joseph materially and spiritually rich so
that he could provide “his own new tomb” for Jesus. He did what he
could with what he had, then “went away,” even as Christ’s
foster-father helped deliver a son into the world, raised Jesus to
young adulthood, and then disappeared from Scripture.
What has God prepared you to do? Pray intently, take inventory, then “watch and pray.” The time will come. The circumstances will arise. Then you have the privilege and duty to come forward to serve and then to step away for others to link with you in this great mosaic of God’s Big Plan, called His will.
Obedience leads to blessing. Disobedience leads to trouble. Remember
Jesus’ parable of two builders who each built a house? One built on
cheap, easy-to-access sand. The other built on costly,
difficult-to-reach rock. The second construction project demanded more
time and expense, but when spring rains turned the creek into a gulley
washer, guess which builder enjoyed a blessing and which experienced
According to Jesus in Matthew 7:24, the wise builder is “whoever hears these sayings of mine and does them.” Both builders heard the teachings. The difference between the two wasn’t knowledge and ignorance, but obedience and disobedience. Security comes as we put God’s precepts into practice. We’re only as strong as our obedience.
STORMS OF LIFE
We all have crises in our life. They seem to come on us when we least
expect it and they occur whether we like it or not. They can easily
uproot us and threaten our stability and security. Often, we compare the
crises of life to a stormy sea. The story of Jesus calming the storm in
Mark 4:35-39 reflects such a situation. The main lesson in the story is
obvious; Jesus has power over the storms of life. Let’s look a little
deeper. In verse 35, Jesus says:
"Let us go over to the other side.”
Have you ever asked yourself how could Jesus be sleeping if there was
a storm raging around Him? It wasn't just a little storm, it was a
squall, a hurricane.
Mark 4:37 (NIV); "A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over
the boat, so that it was nearly swamped."
The disciples woke Jesus out of dread fear for their own life. Jesus calmly rebukes the wind and the waves. All is peaceful. But why was He sleeping? The answer is really rather easy and certainly reassuring. Storms don’t worry Jesus. He is there through the little ones and the big ones. He knows He is in total control of all our storms. All we have to do is call on Him and believe.
THANK HIM ALWAYS!
(a message from Facebook posted 11/2/15)
“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live
in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you
were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”
Are you overflowing with thankfulness? Is your thankfulness spilling
out on to the people around you? Don’t just think your thanks, show it.
Don’t let the kindness of others go unnoticed. Sometimes it’s easy to
take for granted the people who are closest to us, but those are the
people we should thank the most. Your family, your friends, the ones who
love and support you are the ones who should feel your thankfulness the
And notice this verse says to live in Christ and be built up in Him.
When you build yourself up by studying the Word and praying in the
Spirit, then the second part of the verse will just come naturally — you
will be strengthened in your faith, and your heart will be filled with
Take a step of faith today and begin to show your thankfulness to those around you. Let it overflow. Sow seeds of gratitude and blessing so you can reap an abundant harvest of blessing in return. AMEN.
A message from Charles Spurgeon
Christian men are but men. They may have a bad liver or an attack of bile, or some trial, and then they get depressed if they have ever so much grace. But what then? Well, then you can get joy and peace through believing. I am the subject of depressions of spirit so fearful that I hope none of you ever gets to such extremes of wretchedness as I go to. But I always get back again by this: I know I trust Christ. I have no reliance but in Him. Because He lives, I shall live also, and I spring to my legs again and fight with my depressions of spirit and my downcast soul and get the victory through it. So may you do, and so you must, for there is no other way of escaping from it. In your most depressed seasons, you are to get joy and peace through believing.
A Difficult Season
A difficult season,
So I walked into church
So I fell to my knees,
So I waited and waited
In the book of John,
Praise to You, my Lord and Savior,
E. P. Shagott
Some Assembly Required
(a message from Max Lucado posted 10/31/15)
Do you want to see a father’s face go ashen? Position yourself nearby as he discovers three words on the box of a just-bought toy: “Some assembly required!” What follows are hours of squeezing A into B, bolting D into F, sliding R over Z, and hoping no one notices if steps four, five, and six were skipped altogether. I’m convinced the devil indwells the details of toy assembly. Somewhere in perdition is a warehouse of stolen toy parts.
“Some assembly required.” Not the most welcome sentence but an honest one. Life is a gift, albeit unassembled. The pieces don’t fit. When they don’t, take your problem to Jesus. He says, “Bring your problems to Me!” In prayer, state them simply. Present them faithfully, and trust Him reverently!
A true message
So they come to you as people do, they sit before you as My people, and they hear your words, but they do not do them; for with their mouth they show much love, but their hearts pursue their own gain. Indeed you are to them as a very lovely song of one who has a pleasant voice and can play well on an instrument; for they hear your words, but they do not do them. ~ Ez 33:31-32:
There was nothing wrong with the prophet’s preaching—the problem lay
solely in his listeners! They were interested in how he preached—not in
what he preached.
If all those who attend popular preaching were to go out and live as they are told in the preachers’ messages—even for one week—what a difference it would make!
Truth must be mixed with faith, and faith with obedience.
Obedience is a lost concept today in some circles. All one must do to
grow by grace is to listen to and contemplate the Gospel. This
quasi-mystical and quazi-monastic viewpoint is dangerous. It also leads
to listening to preachers “sing!”
Think about why you go to hear preaching. It may be because the preaching you hear doesn’t demand much of you. But even if it does—as in Ezekiel’s case—you must come in the right attitude. Listening to love songs won’t cut it.
(a message from Adrian Rogers posted 10/30/15)
"The Bible is not the book of the month. It is the book of the ages.
No book has ever had as much opposition as the Bible. Men have laughed at it, scorned it, ridiculed it, burned it, and made laws against it. Many a man has preached the funeral for the Bible. The only problem is that the corpse has outlived the pallbearers.
The Bible has survived and it is applicable today. Any child of God can open the Bible and know more about what is going on in this world than all those in the Pentagon and White House put together.
Psalm 119:89 says, “For ever, O LORD, Thy word is settled in heaven.” I have preached this book long enough to know it’s not like any other book. We read other books, but this book reads us.
The Bible has power in it. What kind of power? Saving power for the sinner. You will not be saved and you will not get anybody else saved apart from the Word of God, because we are “born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever” ~ 1 Peter 1:23.
Your Life Is Your Time
(a message from Charles Stanley posted 10//30/15)
For this reason it says, “Awake, sleeper, And arise from the dead, And Christ will shine on you.” Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. ~Ephesians 5:14-17
Our lives are governed by time. That's why we're surrounded by clocks and calendars that dictate our activities. As the minutes tick by, we wonder where the day went. When responsibilities and pressures mount, we complain, "I just don't have time to get it all done!" But the reality is that God has given us enough time to do exactly what He's planned for our lives. Perhaps the bigger issue is whether we are using our time to do our will or the Lord's.
Time is a gift from God, and He has allotted each of us a measure in which to live and accomplish His purposes. We have only two options—to spend it temporally on our own interests or invest it eternally. Since time can never be retrieved or reversed, it's critical that we make the most of every opportunity the Lord provides.
The key to investing in eternity is following God's plan for your life, not just filling your days with activities. Jesus was allocated just thirty-three years of life on earth, but only the last three were spent in fulfilling His Messianic ministry. To us that seems like a waste of time. Yet Christ accomplished everything His Father gave Him to do. That's why on the cross He could say, "It is finished" (John 19:30).
Scripture compares earthly life to "a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes" (James 4:14), but eternal life never ends. It's foolish to spend your life on a vapor when you can reap everlasting benefits by following God's will for your time here. Each day is an opportunity to choose.
A message from Max Lucado
The moment you sense a problem, however large or small, take it to Christ“ Max, if I take my problems to Jesus every time I have one, I’m going to be talking to Jesus all day long.”
Now you’re getting the point! An un-prayed for problem is an embedded
thorn. It festers and infects the finger, then the hand, then the entire
arm. Best to go straight to the person who has the tweezers. We can only
wonder how many disasters would be averted if we would go first to
A wonderful message
from Charles Stanley
For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him
the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus EVERY
KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the
earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
When Christ has first place in our lives, we will experience many
blessings. These include . . .
A quiet spirit. As we turn our attention to the Lord and meditate
on His Word, He “leads [us] beside quiet waters,” where we find rest
for our souls (Ps. 23:2). The Holy Spirit will help us shut out the
noise of worldly distractions so He can provide assurance of our
Father’s love and support. With a quieted heart and mind, we will be
able to discern what God is saying to us.
A stronger faith. Studying Scripture will enlarge our view of God
and give us insight and direction. Reading how the Lord has helped
others, we will gain confidence that He is at our side, enabling us to
meet life’s demands. Our faith will grow as we follow His direction
and watch how He works on our behalf.
A purified heart. Like a mirror, the Bible reflects back to us who
we truly are and reveals where we need to change. When we confess our
sin, God promises to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).
A prepared mind. We don’t know what’s in our tomorrows, but God
does. He wants to prepare us for the future—both the joyous times and
the hard ones. Through the Holy Spirit’s ministry, we will be equipped
for whatever life brings (2 Pet. 1:3).
Paul’s life demonstrates what it means to give Jesus first place. Because the apostle made Christ the Lord of his life (Gal. 2:20), he knew joy amid trials and received the strength to face turmoil and difficulty. These blessings will also be ours when we give highest priority to our relationship with Jesus.
God’s grace is
greater than your failures!
One stumble does not define or break a person. Though you failed, God’s love does not. Face your failures with faith in God’s goodness. Like Joshua, when he stood on the eastern side of the Jordan, God could see the upcoming mishap. Still, he tells you what he told Joshua: “Arise, go. . .you and all this people, to the land which I am giving” (Joshua 1:2).
There’s no condition in that covenant. God’s Promise Land offer does not depend on your perfection. It depends on his. In God’s hands no defeat is a crushing defeat. Psalm 37:23-24 reminds us the steps of good men are directed by the Lord. He delights in each step they take. If they fall, it isn’t fatal, for the Lord holds them with his hand. It’s essential you understand this— God’s grace is greater than your failures!
You have everything God needs!
God found Gideon in a hole. He found Joseph in a prison. He found Daniel in a lion's den. He has a curious habit of showing up in the midst of trouble, not the absence. Where the world sees failure, God sees future. Next time you feel unqualified to be used by God remember this, He tends to recruit from the pit, not the pedestal.
All That I Possess For Him!
(a message from Charles Spurgeon posted 10/24/15)
I should doubt whether I were a follower of Christ if I had not in my very soul given up to him all that I am and all that I have, to be for ever his. He has bought us with a price, and it is not surely meet for us to give him one arm, and one eye, and one foot, and half a heart. He that is a true Christian is a Christian through and through.
Whatever he possesses of talent, whatever of substance he owns, he looks upon nothing as being his own, but as all belonging to his Master, and he is prepared to use all for his Master’s glory, and to part with all if so it were needful for the maintenance of his Master’s kingdom.
A woman in a supermarket is following a grandfather and his badly-behaved grandson.
He has his hands full with the child screaming for sweets, biscuits, all sorts of things. The grandad is saying in a controlled voice: "Easy, William, we won't be long . . . easy boy."
Another outburst and she hears the grandad calmly say : "It's okay William. Just a couple more minutes and we'll be out of here. Hang in there, boy."
At the checkout the little horror is throwing items out of the trolley. Grandad says again in a controlled voice : "William, William, relax buddy, don't get upset. We'll be home in five minutes, stay cool William."
Very impressed, she goes outside to where the grandfather is loading his
groceries and the boy into the car. She says :
"Thanks," says the grandpa. "But I am William. The little brat's name is Tommy."
The fact that there’s a highway to hell and only a stairway to Heaven says a lot about anticipated traffic patterns!
Have you answered
God's call to be reconciled to Him?
The presence of sin disrupts relationships, divides nations, and separates us from God. In the life of the first human family, the consequences of rebellion against God are clearly seen. The sin of disobedience and disbelief hurt Adam and Eve's relationship with their Creator and caused them to live apart from Him. Later, their son Cain became so angry that he murdered his brother Abel. This pattern of alienation from God, jealousy, hatred, and violence continues today.
Despite humanity's rebellion, God provided a way to reconcile
mankind to Himself and enable us to live at peace with each other. He
sent His Son Jesus to carry our sins and die in our place, thereby
making it possible for each of us to be reunited with Him. When we
accept His offer of salvation, we move from a state of estrangement to
permanent adoption as His children (John 1:12; Ephesians 1:5).
Have you answered God's call to be reconciled to Him? If not, cry out to Jesus for forgiveness. If you are already a child of God, then make living in unity with your fellow Christians a priority (Romans 12:18).
Give Us More Faith!
(a message from C. H. Spurgeon posted 10/21/15)
The mighty deeds of heroes and the obedient acts of pilgrim fathers are only told to us because they spring out of faith. It is to commend the root that the fruits are mentioned. The children are named one by one that the mother may have the praise, for faith is the mother of all virtues. According to this book God estimates men by their faith, and “without faith it is impossible to please God.”
Faith is well pleasing to the Most High, but it is in proportion to its strength, for there are cases in which weakness of faith has evidently been followed by chastisement, and other cases in which strength of faith has been abundantly honored. The more thou believest the more doth God bless thee. If thou believest with faith as small as a grain of mustard seed thou shalt be saved, for where there is faith there is salvation; but if thy faith be weak thou shalt miss many comforts, and only as thy faith shall grow and become strong through divine grace shalt thou be a receiver of the greater, deeper, and higher things of the covenant of grace.
More faith is what we want, and the Lord is willing to give it, grace upon grace; he delights, especially, to strengthen the faith which we already possess by trying it, by sustaining it under the trial, and thus rooting and grounding it, and causing it to become firm and vigorous, Oh that we might so live evermore that the Lord might see in all our actions that they spring from faith.
II Cor 10:5: Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ”
Men cannot find God in their imaginations. Only he who seeks for Him apart from their imaginations can find Him. The imagination is spoken of as a “vain thing” in scripture that can weaken or usurp the effectiveness of the word of God. The word “imaginations” here could be translated “reasonings of natural men.” The worlds reasonings are foolishness to God. So we must cast down false reasoning for truth.
Promised Land people
Romans 6:11 says, “Consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God.” When the devil draws near, stand against him. Don’t take his lies. When he dredges up your past, tell him whose you are. He has no recourse to this truth. He knows who you are. He just hopes that you don’t, or that you will forget.
A message from Charles Haddon
We are afraid to lean too hard on God. To be careful not to encroach on a friend is a very proper disposition. Do not spoil a generous friend by drawing upon him so heavily that he will dread to see you again. I wish some people had a little more of that disposition, as far as I am concerned; but this is not a right feeling when you have to deal with the Lord. Never fear that you will weary your God; never say to yourself, “I will ask as little as I can.” Why, he says, “Open thy mouth wide and I will fill it.”
Never say “I will trust him a little, take him a part of my cares and rest a portion of my trials upon him.” No, lean with your whole weight. Do not keep a spare ounce for your own carrying. That will break your back. Bring all the tons and the pounds and the ounces and the pennyweights, and cast them all on God. He loves his children to treat him with entire confidence. All your weight will not trouble him.
You know Aesop’s fable of the polite little gnat which apologised to the ox for burdening him when he alighted on his horn, and the ox replied that he really did not know he was there. Your God will not tell you that, for he counts the very hairs of your head, but he will tell you that your load is no burden to him. Why, if you had fifty kingdoms burdening your brain and if you carried the politics of a hundred nations in your mind, or were loaded with all the cares of a thousand worlds, you might safely leave them with the Wonderful Counsellor and go your way rejoicing. Lean hard, brothers, lean hard, sisters, for underneath you are the everlasting arms.
I Cor 10:13: No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
No matter what happens in my life–good or bad–God will take me through it. Paul did not say that God would build a detour around temptations. God will never curb human desires. He will give us power to control them. God promises us that He will give us strength to overcome temptation and open a door whereby we may escape.
Temptations is only an invitation to sin. Within itself it is neither good nor evil. It brings neither honor nor shame. Temptations often test the strength of ones soul, or reveal its weaknesses. Temptation is a battleground upon which mans selfishness challenges Gods divine will. Temptation is a conflict between that which I want to do and that which I know to do.
There is no need for us to fail. Trials and tests will come—and they will be common tests. They will not be something so unusual that our situation will be absolutely unique. But God is faithful in that He promises to provide us a way out of it—not avoiding it, but through it.
Good poem, not mine!
I've never made a fortune, and it's probably too late
Haven't got a lot of riches, and sometimes the going's
I remember times when things went wrong, my faith wore
If God gives me strength and courage, when the way grows
steep and rough.
Drinking From My Saucer by John Paul Moore 1970.
This much is sure: God will teach you to pray. Don’t think for a minute that he is glaring at you from a distance with crossed arms and a scowl, waiting for you to get your prayer life together. Just the opposite!
In Revelation 3:20 Jesus says, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in and eat with you, and you will eat with Me.”
Jesus waits on the porch. He taps. . .and calls. He waits for you to open the door. To pray is the hand of faith on the door handle of your heart. The happy welcome to Jesus that says, Come in, O King, come in! The kitchen is messy, but come in. I’m not much of a conversationalist, but come in. Before amen—comes the power of a simple prayer! God changes His people through such moments.
(a message from Max Lucado posted 10/9/15)
"As I look around, I find more and more things that I’d labeled, “To be expected” that deserve to be labeled, “Well what do you know!"
Every day I have the honor of sitting down with a book that contains the words of the One who created me. Every day I have the opportunity to let Him give me a thought or two on how to live. If I don’t understand what He says, He doesn’t call me a dummy. In fact, He calls me “son,” and on a different page explains what I don’t understand! Remarkable!
I’m discovering many things. Traffic jams eventually clear up. Sunsets are for free. I’m learning that if I look .... if I open my eyes and observe, there are many reasons to take off my hat, look at the Source of it all, and just say thanks!"
God is with us
For the ways of a man are before the eyes of the Lord,
There is no place you can go, no path you can take, where God cannot see. This ought to serve as both a warning and an encouragement. Throughout my day, God sees me. Even more convicting, God is with me.
Yet if this were the only knowledge of God I had, I suppose it would mean little. If I didn’t know His holiness, the fact that He sees my sin would not terrify me. If I didn’t know His love, the fact that He sees my trouble would be of no comfort. But in all things He is perfect, He is present, He is near, He is approachable.
Talk with God
Prayer is to a privilege for the pious, nor the art of a chosen few. Prayer is simply a heartfelt conversation between God and His child. When we invite God into our world, He brings a host of gifts: joy, patience, resilience. Anxieties come, but they don’t stick. Fears surface and then depart. I’m completing my sixth decade, yet I’m wired with energy. Happier, healthier, and more hopeful! Struggles come, for sure. But so does God.
My friend, He wants to talk with you. Even now as you hear these words, He taps at the door. Open it. Welcome Him in…and let the conversation begin!
True Character Matters
(Author known only to God posted 10/6/15)
When William McKinley was President of the United States, he had to make a decision about the appointment of an ambassador to a foreign country. Two candidates were equally qualified, so the president took time to think about their character.
When McKinley was still a Congressman, he had observed an inconsiderate action by one of the men. He recalled boarding a streetcar at the rush hour and getting the last vacant seat. Soon an elderly woman got on, carrying a heavy clothes basket. No one got up to offer her a seat, so she walked the length of the car and stood in the aisle, hardly able to keep her balance as the vehicle swayed from side to side.
One of the men McKinley was later to consider for ambassador was sitting next to where the woman was standing. Instead of getting up and helping her, he deliberately shifted his newspaper so it would look like he hadn’t seen her.
McKinley walked down the aisle, took her basket, and offered her his seat. The man was unaware that anyone was watching, but that one little act of selfishness would later deprive him of perhaps the crowning honor of his lifetime. President McKinley named the other candidate to the ambassador’s position.
"In all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God: in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses, by purity, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by sincere love." ~ 2 Corinthians 6:4-6
One of God’s characteristics is kindness. Are you a kind person? Ask the Holy Spirit to supply you with the motivation and power to be kind to those around you today!
Troublers of the Fellowship
(a message from Chuck Bassett posted 10/6/15)
How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity. It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron's beard, down upon the collar of his robes. It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there the Lord bestows His blessing, even life evermore. ~ Psalm 133
The psalmist is speaking about the "good and pleasant" realm of the spirit. Of course, there is also the twisted "good and pleasant" realm of the flesh.
We have all seen it. Some professing Christians, for various reasons, find great fleshly pleasure in disrupting the unity within a fellowship—gossip, judgmentalism, factions, grudges, criticism, etc. Of course, they justify all of it and will argue their self-righteous acts until blue in the face. This fleshly pleasure is impure and addictive, like a drug. The only curative medicine is repentance, which the flesh hates.
They do not care that Jesus said unity was a powerful witness to His being Who He said He is (John 17:23). All they want is selfish satisfaction and their own way, even if it means hurting people.
Dear Lord, grant Your people repentance from damaging the unity in Your body, Your family, Your Blood-bought church. Enable us to bless you and glorify You, as described in this beautiful psalm. In Jesus, I pray, amen.
God Is Good
(a message from Max Lucado 10/4/15)
At some point, we all stand at an intersection and ask this question: Is God good when the outcome is not?
The definitive answer to the goodness of God comes in the person of Jesus Christ. He’s the only picture of God ever taken. He pressed his fingers into the sore of the leper. He inclined his ear to the cry of the hungry. He didn’t retreat at the sight of pain. Just the opposite. Cruel accusations of jealous men? Jesus knows their sting.
Is it possible that the wonder of heaven will make the most difficult life a good bargain? This was Paul’s opinion. He said, “Our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” (2 Corinthians 4:17)
Your pain won’t last forever, my friend, but you will. Whatever we go through now is less than nothing compared with the magnificent future God has planned for us! You’ll get through this! God is good even when the outcome is different. Hang onto this promise!
Praise the Lord!
An elderly lady was well-known for her faith and for her boldness in talking about it. She would stand on her front porch and shout "Praise the Lord!"
Next door to her lived an atheist who would get so angry at her proclamations he would shout back, "There ain't no Lord!!"
Hard times set in on the elderly lady, and she prayed for God to send her some assistance. She stood on her porch and shouted "Praise the Lord. God, I need food! I am having a hard time. Please, Lord, send me some groceries!"
The next morning the lady went out and discovered a large bag of groceries on her porch! As expected, she shouted, "Praise the Lord!"
Just then her angry neighbor jumped from behind a bush! "Aha! I told you there was no Lord. I bought those groceries! God didn't!"
But the faithful old lady just grinned and started clapping her hands. "Praise the Lord," she said. "He not only sent me groceries, but He made the devil pay for them!"
~ Author known only to God
A Message from Max Lucado
God promises, “When you pass through the waters, I’ll be with you; and through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned, nor will the flame scorch you.” (Isaiah 43:2).
Will your unhappy marriage become happy in a heartbeat? Not likely. Does God guarantee the absence of struggle? Not in this life. But He does pledge to reweave your pain for a higher purpose.
It won’t be quick. Joseph was 17 years old when his brothers abandoned him. He was 37 when he saw them again. Another year passed before he saw his father. Sometimes God takes His time. But remember this: You are a version of Joseph in your generation. His story is in the Bible for this reason: To teach us to trust God to trump evil. What Satan intends for evil, God redeems for good.
A Message from Charles Hadden Spurgeon
Our help is in the name of the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.
~ Psalm 124:8
Our Creator is our preserver. He is immensely great in his creating work; he has not fashioned a few little things alone, but all heaven and the whole round earth are the works of his hands. When we worship the Creator let us increase our trust in our Comforter. Did he create all that we see, and can he not preserve us from evils which we cannot see? Blessed be his name, he that has fashioned us will watch over us; yea, he has done so, and rendered us help in the moment of jeopardy.
He is our help and our shield, even he alone. He will to the end break every snare. He made heaven for us, and he will keep us for heaven; he made the earth, and he will succour us ripen it until the hour cometh for our departure. Every work of his hand preaches to us the duty and the delight of reposing upon him only. All nature cries, "Trust ye in the Lord for ever, for in the Lord Jehovah there is everlasting strength." "Wherefore comfort one another with these words."
(a message from Susan Davis posted 9/30/15)
Do you understand that God may take away your comports and privileges in order to make you a stronger Christian? Do you see why the Lord always trains His soldiers not by allowing them to lie on beds of ease but by calling them to difficult marches and service? He makes them wade through streams, swim across rivers, climb steep mountains, and walk many long marches carrying heavy backpacks of sorrow. This is how He develops soldiers-- not by dressing them up in fine uniforms to strut at the gates of the barracks or to appear as handsome gentlemen to those who are strolling through the park. No, God knows that soldiers can only be made in battle and are not developed in times of peace.
So dear Christian, could this account for your situation? Is the Lord uncovering your gifts and causing them to grow? Is He developing in you the qualities of a soldier by shoving you into battle? Should you not them use every gift and weapon He has given you to become a conqueror?
Raise em up Lord, Raise up your army!!!!!!
What Grace Means
(a message from Max Lucado posted 9/29/15)
Confession admits wrong and seeks forgiveness. Amnesty denies wrong and claims innocence! Many mouth a prayer for forgiveness while in reality claiming amnesty. Consequently our worship is cold—why thank God for a grace we don’t need? . . .and our faith is weak—I’ll handle my mistakes myself, thank you.
We are better at keeping God out than we are at inviting God in. Sunday mornings are full of preparing the body for worship, preparing the hair for worship, preparing the clothes for worship—but preparing the soul? Am I missing the mark when I say that many of us attend church on the run? Am I out of line when I say many of us spend life on the run? Am I overstating the case when I announce, “Grace means you don’t have to run anymore?” It’s the truth! Grace means it’s safe to turn ourselves in.
A Spiritual Garden
(a message from C. H. Spurgeon posted 9/29/15)
We, too, expect, unless special circumstances should intervene, that these bodies of ours will lie in their narrow beds beneath the greensward, and slumber till the resurrection. Nor need we be afraid of the tomb, for Jesus has been there. Sitting over against his sepulcher we grow brave, and are ready, like knights of the holy sepulcher, to hurl defiance at death. At times we almost long for evening to undress that we may rest with God, in the chamber where he giveth to his beloved sleep.
Now, note that our Lord’s tomb was in a garden; for this is typically the testimony of his grave to the hope of better things. Just a little beyond the garden wall you would see a little knoll, of grim name and character... Golgotha, the place of a skull, and there stood the cross. That rising ground was given up to horror and barrenness; but around the actual tomb of our Savior there grew herbs and plants and flowers. A spiritual garden still blooms around his tomb; the wilderness and the solitary place are glad for him, and the desert rejoices and blossoms as the rose. He hath made another Paradise for us, and he himself is the sweetest flower therein. The first Adam sinned in a garden and spoiled our nature; the second Adam slept in a garden and restored our loss. The Savior buried in the earth hath removed the curse from the soil; henceforth blessed is the ground for his sake. He died for us that we ourselves might become in heart and life fruitful gardens of the Lord.
Let but his tomb, and all the facts which surround it, have due influence upon the minds of men, and this poor blighted earth shall again yield her increase: instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree, and it shall be to the Lord for a name.
SIMPLE, LOVING OBEDIENCE
(A message posted 9/28/15)
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. ~ Hebrews 11:1
We mortals put so much emphasis on understanding before we do something. Certainly this is not the definition of—and might be the antithesis of—faith. However, for the one who prefers New Testament examples, go no further than Jesus' words in the gospel to see that God often expects us to do first before we understand.
I think that it was in his book LETTERS TO MALCOM that C. S. Lewis pointed out that, at the so-called Last Supper, our Lord commanded, "Take and eat," not "Take and understand." The disciples would more fully understand after they obeyed and ate, after the Cross, the Resurrection, and the Pentecost's miracle.
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. Acknowledge Him in all your ways, and He will guide your paths" (Proverbs 3: 5-6).
(a message from Max Lucado posted 9/26/15)
Let God’s Word be the authoritative word in your world! It’s a decision that rubs against the skin of our culture. We prefer the authority of the voting booth, pollster, or whatever feels good.
Paul reminded the young pastor, Timothy, in 2 Timothy 3:15: “Since you were a child you have known the Holy Scriptures which are able to make you wise.” And in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 Paul states the power of Scripture against any stronghold. “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
Don’t chart your course according to the opinions of people or suggestions of culture. If you do, you’ll make the mistake the farmer’s son made. He sent the boy to prepare a field, reminding him to till straight lines.
“Select an object on the far side of the field, and plow straight to it,” the father said.
Later when the father checked on the boy’s progress, every row was uneven and wavy. He said, “I thought I told you to select an object and plow toward it.”
“I did,” the boy answered, “but the rabbit kept hopping,”
A straight line, like a good life, requires an unmoving target. Set your sights on the unchanging principles of God. Let God’s Word be the authoritative word in your world.
How Are You Living?
(a message posted 9/26/15)
“We ought to be living as if Jesus died yesterday, rose this morning, and is coming back this afternoon.” – Adrian Rogers
As if Just Crucified
The first century church lived this way. They lived as if Jesus had just died yesterday, and, relatively speaking, He did. How did they live in such a way as if Christ died yesterday? The apostles kept reminding them that they murdered the Author of Life (Acts 3:15), and their conclusion was “… turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord” (Acts 3:19). That’s the way we ought to be living, just as the 1st century church did, as if Jesus had just died yesterday.
As if Just Resurrected
Once again we turn to the 1st century church because news of the resurrection was still fresh in their minds. In fact, Paul testified that Christ “… appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep” (1 Cor. 15:6). It was easy for the first century church to live as if Christ had just been raised from the dead because there were so many eyewitnesses still alive. But Jesus reminded Thomas, who doubted, and He reminds us in the 21st century, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29b). That would be you and I who have believed without ever seeing Him, so we should live as if He just rose this morning from the grave.
As if Returning Today
We ought to be living life as if He is coming back today because He might! The Apostle John gave us a very serious verse to ponder when he wrote, “And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming” (1 John 2:28). Why would John write such a thing? Because he knew human nature and our tendency to slack off in the Christian faith. That’s why Jesus warned in Matthew 24:36, “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come” (Matt. 24:42). “But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, ‘My master is staying away a long time,’ and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards. The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matt. 24:48-51). Therefore, we must live as if He’s coming back today!
Sadly, many put off their decision to trust in Christ and are “on the fence,” but the fence and all who sit on it and on the other side will be cast into the lake of fire (Rev. 21:8), so truly we must be witnessing to the lost before it is too late (Rev. 20:12-15). Therefore, we “ought to be living as if Jesus died yesterday, rose this morning, and is coming back this afternoon” because He might!
A quote by Crystal Shepherd
"You will have good days and bad days. We all do. Take the bad days as a learning adventure and the good days as time to breathe."
What God Has Done For Us
(a message from Max Lucado posted 9/19/15)
As a monk and his apprentice walked back to the abbey, the younger man was unusually quiet. But when asked if anything was wrong the student responded, “What business is it of yours?” When the abbey came in sight, the monk asked, “Tell me my son. What troubles your soul?” “I’ve sinned greatly,” he sobbed. I’m not worthy to enter the abbey at your side.” The teacher putting his arm around the student said, “We’ll enter the abbey together. And together we’ll confess your sin. No one but God will know which of the two of us fell.”
Doesn’t that describe what God has done for us? When we kept our silence, we withdrew from him. But our confession of faults alters our perception. Romans 5:1 says, “Since we have been made right with God by our faith, we have peace with God.” God is no longer a foe, but a friend!
"O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear, All because we do not carry Everything to God in prayer." -Scriven
Prayer is the place where burdens change shoulders.
( 2 messages from Max Lucado posted 9/18/15)
How do I deal with the debt I owe to God? Deny it? My conscience won’t let me. Find worse sins in others? God won’t fall for that. Try to pay it off? I could, but we don’t know the cost of sin. We don’t even know how much we owe. What do we do?
Listen to Paul’s answer in what one scholar says is possibly the single most important paragraph ever written. Romans 3:24-25 says, “All need to be made right with God by his grace, which is a free gift. They need to be made free from sin through Jesus Christ. God gave him as a way to forgive sin through faith in the blood of Jesus.”
Simply put. The cost of your sins is more than you can pay. The gift of your God is more than you can imagine. We are made right with God, by grace, through faith!
The key to spiritual growth isn’t increased church attendance or involvement in spiritual activities. People don’t grow in Christ because they’re busy at church. They grow in Christ when they read and trust their Bibles.
Desire some “Glory Days?” Engage with the Bible. Think and re-think God’s Word. Let it be your guide. Set your sights on the unchanging principles of God. Let God’s Word be the authoritative word in your world.
Like Palm and Cedar
(a message from C. H. Spurgeon) posted 9/17/15)
The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. (Psalm 92:12)
These trees are not trained and pruned by man: palms and cedars are "trees of the Lord," and it is by His care that they flourish. Even so it is with the saints of the Lord: they are His own care. These trees are evergreen and are beautiful objects at all seasons of the year. Believers are not sometimes holy and sometimes ungodly: they stand in the beauty of the Lord under all weathers. Everywhere these trees are noteworthy: no one can gaze upon a landscape in which there are either palms or cedars without his attention being fixed upon these royal growths. The followers of Jesus are the observed of all observers: like a city set on a hill, they cannot be hid.
The child of God flourishes like a palm tree, which pushes all its strength upward in one erect column without a single branch. It is a pillar with a glorious capital. It has no growth to the right or to the left but sends all its force heavenward and bears its fruit as near the sky as possible. Lord, fulfill this type in me.
The cedar braves all storms and grows near the eternal snows, the Lord Himself filling it with a sap which keeps its heart warm and its bough strong. Lord, so let it be with me, I pray Thee. Amen.
9 things you may not know about the Constitution
September 17th marks National Constitution Day and Citizenship Day. The day commemorates the formation and signing on Sept. 17, 1787, of the Constitution and recognize all who, by coming of age or by naturalization, have become citizens.
1. The Constitution contains 4,543 words, including the signatures and has four sheets, 28-3/4 inches by 23-5/8 inches each. It contains 7,591 words including the 27 amendments. It is the oldest and shortest written Constitution of any major government in the world.
2. Of the spelling errors in the Constitution, "Pensylvania" above the signers' names is probably the most glaring.
3. Thomas Jefferson did not sign the Constitution. He was in France during the Convention, where he served as the U.S. minister. John Adams was serving as the U.S. minister to Great Britain during the Constitutional Convention and did not attend either.
4. Since 1952, the Constitution has been on display in the National Archives Building in Washington, DC. Currently, all four pages are displayed behind protective glass framed with titanium. To preserve the parchment's quality, the cases contain argon gas and are kept at 67 degrees Fahrenheit with a relative humidity of 40 percent.
5. Because of his poor health, Benjamin Franklin needed help to sign the Constitution. As he did so, tears streamed down his face. He was 81 when he signed the document - making him the oldest person to sign it.
6. When the Constitution was signed, the United States' population was 4 million. It is now more than 321 million. Philadelphia was the nation's largest city, with 40,000 inhabitants.
7. George Washington and James Madison were the only presidents who signed the Constitution.
8. The word "democracy" does not appear once in the Constitution.
9. Patrick Henry, a prominent figure in the American Revolution ("Give me liberty, or give me death"), was offered a role in the drafting of the country's constitution, but he decided not to participate. He later explained his refusal by saying he "smelt a rat."
Carried in His Arms
(a message from Joyce Meyer posted 9/17/15)
I will say of the Lord, He is my Refuge and my Fortress, my God; on Him I lean and rely, and in Him I [confidently] trust!
- Psalm 91:2
At various points in our lives, all of us feel we’re getting “out of our depth” or “in over our heads.” There are problems all around: A job is lost, someone dies, there is strife in the family, or a bad report comes from the doctor. When these things happen, our temptation is to panic because we feel we’ve lost control.
But think about it: The truth is that we’ve never been in control when it comes to life’s most crucial elements. The only thing that holds us up—and the thing we can be most grateful for—is the grace of God, our Father, and that won’t change. God is never out of His depth, and therefore, we’re safe when we’re in life’s “deep end” because we can trust that He will always carry us in His arms.
Prayer of Thanks
Thank You, Father, that You are a refuge for me. I know that because You are with me, I can feel safe and secure. Thank You that no matter how difficult life may seem, I can be at peace because You will never let me go.
(a message from Charles Stanley posted 9/14/15)
But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For prior to the coming of certain men from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he began to withdraw and hold himself aloof, fearing the party of the circumcision. The rest of the Jews joined him in hypocrisy, with the result that even Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy. But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in the presence of all, If you, being a Jew, live like the Gentiles and not like the Jews, how is it that you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews? We are Jews by nature and not sinners from among the Gentiles; nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified. ~ Galatians 2:11-16
The Scriptures record many instances of conflict between nations, among friends, and in families. Today we see the same types of problems. While fighting, people can say harsh and even unfair words. Their accusations create turmoil and emotional pain. What we believe will determine the way we respond to such difficulties.
God’s Word proclaims His sovereignty over nature (Ps. 135:6), government (Job 12:23), and mankind (Acts 17:25). Nothing in heaven or on earth is hidden from Him or outside of His control. So, how does this help us in a conflict? First, our Father knows when people verbally attack us, and He has promised to protect us. Nothing can touch His children apart from His permissive will. Second, He has the power to work the painful times we endure into something beneficial (Rom. 8:28). We can have hope because His will cannot be thwarted, even in bad circumstances. Finally, we are His beloved children. He is a loving Father who understands what we are going through and always remains by our side. As His sons and daughters, we are not on our own.
When we believe in the Lord’s sovereign rule, our perspective on hard times changes. Instead of responding with fear, anger, or resentment, we will turn to Him in prayer and ask for guidance.
Conflict is inevitable. When we, or something we have done, is the source of the turmoil, we are to apologize. If others are at fault, we may have to confront them the way Paul did with Peter. But we are also called to forgive without exception. As Christ’s ambassadors, the way we respond really matters.
"I wish, brothers and sisters, that we could all imitate "the pearl oyster"
A hurtful particle intrudes itself into its shell, and this vexes and grieves it. It cannot reject the evil, but what does it do but "cover" it with a precious substance extracted out of its own life, by which it turns the intruder into a pearl! Oh, that we could do so with the provocations we receive from our fellow Christians, so that pearls of patience, gentleness, and forgiveness might be bred within us by that which otherwise would have harmed us."
C. H. Spurgeon
What of My House?
(posted 9/12/15 a message from C. H. Spurgeon)
Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. (Acts 16:31)
This gospel for a man with a sword at his throat is the gospel for me. This would suit me if I were dying, and it is all that I need while I am living. I look away from self, and sin, and all idea of personal merit, and I trust the Lord Jesus as the Savior whom God has given. I believe in Him, I rest on Him, I accept Him to be my all in all. Lord, I am saved, and I shall be saved to all eternity, for I believe in Jesus. Blessed be Thy name for this. May I daily prove by my life that I am saved from selfishness, and worldliness, and every form of evil.
But those last words about my "house": Lord, I would not run away with half a promise when Thou dost give a whole one. I beseech Thee, save all my family. Save the nearest and dearest. Convert the children and the grandchildren, if I have any. Be gracious to my servants and all who dwell under my roof or work for me. Thou makest this promise to me personally if I believe in the Lord Jesus; I beseech Thee to do as Thou hast said.
I would go over in my prayer every day the names of all my brothers and sisters, parents, children, friends, relatives, servants, and give Thee no rest till that word is fulfilled, "and thy house."
(posted 9/12/15 a message by Charles Stanley)
1 Samuel 17:1-53
David’s short battle with Goliath was more than a fight between Israelites and Philistines. It was a defense of Jehovah’s name against those who doubted His supremacy. As David pointed out, the only way a boy with a sling could defeat a giant warrior like Goliath was by the Lord’s hand. And that’s exactly what happened.
In confronting Goliath, David showed real courage and faith. But we see that what drove him to face the giant was righteous indignation: “For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should taunt the armies of the living God?” (1 Sam. 17:26). David believed that someone had to wipe away from Israel the reproach caused by Goliath’s insults. Since no one else would step forward, he volunteered to defend Yahweh’s name.
Modern audiences often read this story merely as a battle scene wherein an inexperienced underdog toppled an ancient superhero. We comfort ourselves that we will probably never have to deal with such a scenario. But the real story is that David stood up for God. Given how our culture scoffs at both the Father and Jesus Christ, believers will certainly spend some time in David’s sandals. The question is whether we will listen to our own flesh and silently remain in fear, or stand and represent God’s name in the way for which He’s called and equipped us.
You don’t need a theology degree to combat those who would mock God. Your “smooth stones” (1 Sam. 17:40) are the truths you have pulled from the Bible. No enemy can win an argument against Scripture. Whatever the outcome seems to be, the battle is the Lord’s, and He gives victory to the faithful.
trials God is shaping us for higher things.”
Being Shaped Into Christ’s Image
God’s Word says, “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son” (Rom. 8:29), “and we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit” (2 Cor. 3:18). These two verses are clear that God’s goal for us is the higher purpose of being shaped into the image of Christ.
Tests the Genuineness of Our Faith
I believe that 1 Peter 1:6-7 proves what trials are to do: “In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” Gold is made more precious when it is refined by fire because it burns away all the impurities and makes the gold all the more genuine and valuable. In the same way, trials refine our faith, and this testing by fire purifies our faith and makes it actually “more precious” than gold.
A good definition of steadfastness is something (or someone, as in this case) firmly fixed in place, immovable, and not subject to change. That is what James writes about: “When you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:2-4). The test of trials produces steadfastness, and this same steadfastness allows us to be complete in Him and lack nothing, which is most certainly shaping us for His higher purposes. Truly, “blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him” (James 1:12).
Produces Obedience and Longing
It was said about Christ that “although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered” (Heb. 5:8). Then how much more so does suffering help us learn obedience but also reliance upon God. God’s higher purpose for us is always obedience and reliance upon Him so He receives the glory. Paul wrote, “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Rom. 8:18), so the suffering we endure today cannot be compared with the glory that’s going to be revealed someday to us. Suffering from trials makes us all the more eager for His return.
A.W. Tozer was right by saying–and I paraphrase here–that God cannot use a man (or woman) greatly until He has first wounded them deeply because trials tenderize our heart and make us more open to correction and perfection, and this shaping is achieving God’s higher purposes for us.
Fear Has Its Place
(a message from C.H. Spurgeon 9/9/15)
Happy is the man that feareth alway. (Proverbs 28:14)
The fear of the Lord is the beginning and the foundation of all true religion. Without a solemn awe and reverence of God there is no foothold for the more brilliant virtues. He whose soul does not worship will never live in holiness.
He is happy who feels a jealous fear of doing wrong. Holy fear looks not only before it leaps, but even before it moves. It is afraid of error, afraid of neglecting duty, afraid of committing sin. It fears ill company, loose talk, and questionable policy, This does not make a man wretched, but it brings him happiness. The watchful sentinel is happier than the soldier who sleeps at his post. He who foreseeth evil and escapes it is happier than he who walks carelessly on and is destroyed.
Fear of God is a quiet grace which leads a man along a choice road, of which it is written, "No lion shall be there, neither shall any ravenous beast go up thereon." Fear of the very appearance of evil is a purifying principle, which enables a man, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to keep his garments unspotted from the world. Solomon had tried both worldliness and holy fear: in the one he found vanity, in the other happiness. Let us not repeat his trial but abide by his verdict.
The Holy Spirit
(a message from Charles Stanley posted 9/8/15)
I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you. ~ John 14:16-17
Following the Last Supper, Jesus took time to teach the disciples more about His mission and what would happen after He left the earth. He knew their darkest times lay ahead. They would experience despair at the death of their beloved Teacher, great joy at His resurrection, and sorrow at His departure. He was also aware that bearing witness to His life would challenge their faith. So, in John 14:16-31, He promised a Helper who would stand alongside them in the coming trials.
We often face life with a stiff upper lip, trusting our own ingenuity and skills to get us through. In choosing to follow the Lord, however, we agree to adopt a totally different mindset: We’re weaker than we could have imagined, but through the Holy Spirit, we are stronger than we dared to hope.
Whether our struggle is spiritual, emotional, or physical, we can rely on the Holy Spirit to help us. Paul gives us an example of what this looks like. When dealing with pain from a physical condition, the apostle prayed that the Lord would take away what he referred to as a “thorn in the flesh.” Instead, God said His power would be “perfected in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Too many Christians operate under the misconception that God helps us only when we have gone as far as we can go. In reality, His Spirit doesn’t add to our strength, like some kind of spiritual steroid. Instead, when we admit we are powerless to help ourselves, the Holy Spirit gives us the strength we need to face any challenge with absolute confidence in God.
Peace does not mean the end of all our
~ Geoffrey A. S. Kennedy
Ask God to lead the way!
What do you want your servant to do? ~ Joshua 5:14
An army officer may have an overall plan, but before each battle he has to receive and give out new instructions. Joshua, a leader of the Israelites, had to learn this lesson. After God’s people spent 40 years in the wilderness, God chose Joshua to lead them into the land He had promised to them.
The first stronghold they faced was the city of Jericho. Before the battle, Joshua saw the “commander of the Lord’s army” (probably the Lord Himself) standing opposite him with His sword drawn in His hand. Joshua fell on his face and worshiped. In other words, he recognized God’s greatness and his own smallness. Then he asked, “What message does my Lord have for his servant?” (Josh. 5:14). Joshua experienced victory at Jericho because he followed the Lord’s instructions.
On another occasion, however, Joshua and his people “did not inquire of the Lord” (9:14). As a result, they were deceived into making a peace treaty with the people of Gibeon, enemies in the land of Canaan. This displeased the Lord (vv. 3-26).
We too are dependent on the Lord as we face life’s struggles. He longs for us to come near to Him today in humility. And He’ll be there again for us tomorrow.
In what area do you need God’s guidance today? Ask God to lead the way.
Are You Still Alive?
A new Pastor in a small Oklahoma town spent the first four days making personal visits to each of the members, inviting them to come to his first services.
The following Sunday the church was all but empty. Accordingly, the Pastor placed a notice in the local newspapers, stating that, because the church was dead, it was everyone's duty to give it a decent Christian burial. The funeral would be held the following Sunday afternoon, the notice said.
Morbidly curious, a large crowd turned out for the "funeral." In front of the pulpit, they saw a closed coffin, smothered in flowers. After the Pastor delivered the eulogy, he opened the coffin and invited his congregation to come forward and pay their final respects to their dead church.
Filled with curiosity as to what would represent the corpse of a "dead church," all the people eagerly lined up to look in the coffin. Each "mourner" peeped into the coffin then quickly turned away with a guilty, sheepish look.
In the coffin, tilted at the correct angle, was a large mirror.
A Promised Land
(a message by Max Lucado posted 9/3/15)
God spoke. Joshua listened and Israel’s Glory Days began. The Jordan River opened up and Jericho’s walls fell down. Evil was booted, and hope was rebooted. Joshua 21:43 says, “So the Lord gave to Israel all the land of which He had sworn to give to their fathers, and they took possession of it. The Lord gave them rest all around…not a man of all their enemies stood against them!”
Perhaps you need a new season. You don’t need to cross the Jordan River, but you need to get through the week. You aren’t facing Jericho, but you are facing rejection or heartache. The story of Joshua dares us to believe God has a Promised Land for us to take! It’s not real estate, but a real state of the heart and mind! A Promised Land…a promised land life!
A Step Of Faith
(a message from Charles Stanley posted 9/3/15)
Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.
~ Colossians 2:6-7
Once we have made up our minds to obey God, we gather courage around us like a cloak and proceed. That is, until something causes us to hesitate and question the wisdom of this decision. Our faith is wavering. What do we do now?
Ask yourself questions about God. Has God promised to meet all my needs? Has He sent the Holy Spirit to dwell in me, guide me, and equip me to obey Him? Did God promise to be with me at all times? Is anything too hard for Him? Search the Scriptures for answers, and let truth fill your mind.
Meditate on God's Word. Ask the Lord to help you find Bible verses that relate to what you are facing. Then study the passage and apply its lessons to your personal situation.
Recall the Lord's past faithfulness. God by His very nature is faithful, and He always acts true to His character. The enemy would have us forget all that God has done for us.
Assess the situation. Ask, How critical is this decision, and whom might it affect? Is this one of those forks in the road in which my unbelief could cause me or another person a lifetime of regret?
Choose to trust the Lord. Make the decision to believe God and obey, no matter how you feel.
As you take a step of faith, God will strengthen you through His Spirit and enable you to continue on. Before you know it, your faith will become steady, joy will return, and you will be moving ahead once again.
You'll Get Through This
(a message from Max Lucado posted 9/3/15)
You’ll get through this! You fear you won’t. We all do. We feel stuck, trapped, locked in. Will we ever exit this pit? Yes! Deliverance is to the Bible what jazz music is to Mardi Gras: bold, brassy, and everywhere. Out of the lion’s den for Daniel, the whale’s belly for Jonah, and the prison for Paul.
Through the Red Sea onto dry ground. Through the wilderness, through the valley of the shadow of death. Through! It’s a favorite word of God’s. Isaiah 43:2 says, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you… when you walk through the fire, you will not be burned.”
It won’t be painless. Have you wept your final tear, received your last round of chemotherapy? Not necessarily. Does God guarantee the absence of struggle? Not in this life. We see Satan’s tricks and ploys, but God sees Satan tripped and foiled. You’ll get through this!
God always gives His best to those who leave the choice with him.” – Jim Elliot
Trust in God, Not in Self
Jeremiah wrote, “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength” (Jer. 17:5). We can trust God to make things happen for us by praying for His will, seeking His will through good biblical counseling, and regularly studying the Bible. The key point here is to “trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding” (Prov. 3:5) because “those who trust in themselves are fools, but those who walk in wisdom are kept safe” (Prov. 28:26).
Seek God’s Wisdom
I think it’s always a good idea to ask God for His wisdom when making decisions, which is what James meant when he wrote “if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him” (James 1:5). King Solomon asked for wisdom, and God gave him great wisdom but so much more, as 2 Chronicles 1:11 says, “Because this was in your heart, and you have not asked for possessions, wealth, honor, or the life of those who hate you, and have not even asked for long life, but have asked for wisdom and knowledge for yourself that you may govern my people over whom I have made you king.” “Therefore wisdom and knowledge will be given you … such as no king who was before you ever had and none after you will have” (2 Chron. 1:12).
Let Go and Let God
There comes a time to let go and let God. What this means is sort of what Peter wrote in 1 Peter 5:7, to cast “all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” That sounds easy enough, but is it really? No. I find it hard to let go of things that I am anxious about, but that is exactly the time to let go because we should “not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Phil. 4:6). There is wisdom in knowing when to let go and then praying to God about it. That release allows us to “not be anxious about anything.”
Jim Elliot was exactly right when he said “God always gives His best to those who leave the choice with him” because this means that we’ve not trusted in ourselves but in God; we’ve sought God’s wisdom, not ours; and we’ve learned to let go and let God do as He pleases, which always brings about the best possible result.
~ Jack Wellman
God has a promised land for you to take!
(a message from Max Lucado posted 9/1/15)
I sat across the table from a man in midlife misery. He described his life with words like stuck, rut, and stalled. He’s a Christian. But he can’t tell you the last time he defeated a temptation or experienced an answered prayer. Twenty years into his faith he fights the same battles he was fighting the day he came to Christ. It’s as if the door to spiritual growth has a lock and everyone has the key but him.
Joshua 21:43 says, “So the Lord gave Israel all the land of which He had sworn to give. . .and they took possession of it and dwelt in it.”
The promised land! God’s vision for your life. Yours for the taking. Expect to be challenged. The enemy won’t go down without a fight. But your glory days await you!
Our Soul's Garden
(posted 8/29/15 a message by C. H. Spurgeon)
Their soul shall be as a watered garden. (Jeremiah 31:12)
Oh, to have one's soul under heavenly cultivation; no longer a wilderness but a garden of the Lord! Enclosed from the waste, walled around by grace, planted by instruction, visited by love, weeded by heavenly discipline, and guarded by divine power, one's favored soul is prepared to yield fruit unto the Lord.
But a garden may become parched for want of water, and then all its herbs decline and are ready to die. O my soul, how soon would this be the case were the Lord to leave thee! In the East, a garden without water soon ceases to be a garden at all: nothing can come to perfection, grow, or even live. When irrigation is kept up, the result is charming. Oh, to have one's soul watered by the Holy Spirit uniformly—every part of the garden having its own stream; plentifully—a sufficient refreshment coming to every tree and herb, however thirsty by nature it may be; continually—each hour bringing not only its heat, but its refreshment; wisely—each plant receiving just what it needs. In a garden you can see by the verdure where the water flows, and you can soon perceive when the Spirit of God comes.
O Lord, water me this day and cause me to yield Thee a full reward for Jesus' sake. Amen.
Never Look Back!
(posted 8/29/15 by Max Lucado)
We come to Christ in an hour of deep need. We realize that all the good works in the world are puny when laid before the Perfect One. So we beg for help. Then we hear his voice; and step out in fear, hoping that our little faith will be enough. With precious, wobbly steps, we draw close to him.
We stand upon his promises. It doesn’t make sense that we’re able to do this. We don’t claim to be worthy of such an incredible gift. When people ask how in the world we can keep our balance during such stormy times, we don’t boast. We point to the One who makes it possible. “Nothing in my hand I bring; Simply to They cross I cling,” we sing. “Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved,” we declare. And we never look back! May that be the anthem of your life.
God Is Love
(posted 8/28/15 an article by Rick Collins)
Is Jesus Christ about 50% love, 25% judgmental, 25% wrath? Is Christians in the hands of an angry God? No way! Jesus Christ is a 100% love and acts out of that love toward us at all times.
The problem is the way we perceive God. Would you like for your love to be perfect for God like His love is toward us? This is the way most people see God. Most Christians believe the lie that God favors them when they do well and turns His back away from them when they do bad. So, as a result of this deceptive way of thinking. It put Christians on an endless work release program to do good (self righteousness) that never ends and keeps them in bondage.
If we got to work for God's love, we are in big trouble. That would mean no, "Grace." Try telling your wife, kids, or friends if they worked really hard for you. You will love them more. Gods love in us most of the time treats other people better than we see God toward us. You can have prefect love toward God if you understand there is no judgment, punishment, torment or wrath waiting on you now or later. Why? You have already been judged, and the sentence was death. Jesus loved us so much that He took our judgment, punishment, torment and wrath and paid it all at the cross and was fulfilled at the end of the Old Covenant in 70 AD. There is no more work to be done, and it is called Grace. His work is finished, and your Grace benefits are endless.
Under the New Covenant, Christ now lives in us as our exchanged life. If you are a Christian, He is there whether you know it or not. But if you don't know His faultless love, you can't fully enjoy it. However, if you do you can get a glimpse of how God sees us with complete love. Then we are free to love Him back more perfectly.
1Johnn 4:8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
1Johnn 4:17 Herein is our love made PERFECT, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.
1Johnn 4:18 There is no fear in love; but PERFECT LOVE casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made PERFECT IN LOVE.
1Johnn 4:19 We love him, because he first loved us.
Are All Prayers Answered?
(Posted 8/28/15 a story by William Sirls)
I was sitting in a federal courtroom back in October of 2007, waiting for the judge to sentence me on charges of wire fraud and money laundering. At the time, I had pretty much restricted my relationship with God exclusively to those times when I needed something, and right there, I was certainly a “friend in need.”
Even though my plea agreement had a sentencing range of 46-57 months, I remember closing my eyes and Prayer asking God to somehow keep me out of prison … to keep me out and give me just one chance to fix the mess that I had created. I promised him that if he would do just that one thing for me, I would be a be a better father, a better friend, a better man … whatever he wanted … but he had to give me just that one chance.
Through His incredible grace and power, it only took God around ten seconds to answer my prayer.
His answer was no.
So in December of 2007, I was off to the US Penitentiary-Hazelton in the beautiful and snowy mountains of West Virginia to begin a 52-month sentence away from my children, family, friends, and the life I knew.
I ended up serving 29 months in prison and another 6 months in a halfway house. I deserved to be there. More importantly, I know God wanted me there. Just like a little kid doing “timeout,” I was there to learn some lessons and realize what’s truly important. It ended up being the best thing that ever happened to me.
I still think about that prayer to keep me out of prison. I don’t believe that there is such a thing as an unanswered prayer. God knows what’s best for us. Maybe we just need to realize that sometimes we think we are getting the answers we want … when in reality … we are always getting the answers we truly need.
You do make a difference to God!
(posted 8/27/15 words by Steven Travis)
Noah was the first of many individuals who, apparently single-handed, have been used by God to carry out his purpose and to make a crucial difference to the world. Even today people famous and people unknown are making a difference in the world simply by trying to obey God. They have refused to be bullied into believing that what they do makes no difference.
God uses the common!
(posted 8/27/15 a devotional by Max Lucado)
When God announced Moses was to deliver the Israelites, Moses wasn’t convinced! God demonstrated that who Moses was didn’t matter. What mattered was who God was.
“Moses,” spoke the voice from the bush, “throw down your staff” (Exodus 4:3).
God you may not know…well, you don’t go around throwing down your staff. You never know when. . .
“Throw it down.”
When the rod became a snake, Moses began to run.
“Moses! Pick it up by the tail.”
God, out here, well, you don’t pick up snakes too often and never by the tail.
As Moses touched the squirmy scales, it hardened. Moses lifted up the rod—the same rod he would lift up to divide the water and guide two million people through the desert. If God can do something with stubborn hearts and a stiff-necked people. . .he can do something with the common!
A message from Charles Stanley
Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.' Behold, all those who are angered at you will be shamed and dishonored; Those who contend with you will be as nothing and will perish.
~ Isaiah 41:10-11
Our almighty God desires that we reach His goals for our lives. But we also have an enemy who would love to prevent our progress. Scripture identifies obstacles that can impede achievement. However, if we know what the roadblocks are, it is easier to identify and overcome them.
• First, when we experience fear, our focus shifts from Jesus to the very thing we want to avoid. Such apprehension can become bondage. The antidote is to bring our focus back to the Lord.
• Second, doubt is a lack of assurance that God will help us to succeed. Past failures, negative influences, and ignorance of His Word can all lead to this obstacle.
• Third, excuses are an effort to make disobedience more comfortable. “I haven’t had the same opportunities others have” or “I am too busy” are false justifications, as was Adam’s attempt to blame Eve for his bad decision. God always gives us what we need in order to obey Him.
• Fourth, procrastination—or delaying an action that causes discomfort—also inhibits success. Related to that is a fifth roadblock: laziness. This ungodly behavior can, for obvious reasons, prevent us from achieving God’s purpose for our lives.
Wise people check their habits and behavior to identify anything that inhibits following Christ fully. If any of these roadblocks are hindering you, push them aside. Find scriptures to help battle temptations. And ask God for strength so you can live freely and purposefully in the way He has planned.
A message from C. H. Spurgeon
I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction. (Isaiah 48:10)
This has long been the motto fixed before our eye upon the wall of our bedroom, and in many ways it has also been written on our heart. It is no mean thing to be chosen of God. God's choice makes chosen men choice men. Better to be the elect of God than the elect of a whole nation. So eminent is this privilege, that whatever drawback may be joined to it we very joyfully accept it, even as the Jew ate the bitter herbs for the sake of the Paschal Lamb. We choose the furnace, since God chooses us in it.
We are chosen as an afflicted people and not as a prosperous people, chosen not in the palace but in the furnace. In the furnace beauty is marred, fashion is destroyed, strength is melted, glory is consumed, and yet here eternal love reveals its secrets and declares its choice. So has it been in our case. In times of severest trial God has made to us our calling and election plain, and we have made it sure: then have we chosen the Lord to be our God, and He has shown that we are assuredly His chosen. Therefore, if today the furnace be heated seven times hotter, we will not dread it, for the glorious Son of God will walk with us amid the glowing coals.
Good words by Charles Allen!
God reveals Himself through people. Through Moses we glimpse God’s law, Amos showed us His justice, Hosea His love, and Micah His ethical standards. Someone was kind when we were sick, helped in time of trouble, was friendly when we were lonely. Someone we had wronged forgave in a spirit of love. In all such acts a little bit of God is revealed unto us.
True and worth the read!
A man came home from work and found his three children outside, still in their pajamas, playing in the mud, with empty food boxes and wrappers strewn all around the front yard. The door of his wife’s car was open, as was the front door to the house and there was no sign of the dog.
Proceeding into the entry, he found an even bigger mess. A lamp had been
knocked over, and the throw rug was wadded against one wall. In the front room
the TV was loudly blaring a cartoon channel, and the family room was strewn
with toys and various items of clothing. In the kitchen, dishes filled the
sink, breakfast food was spilled on the counter, the fridge door was open
wide, dog food was spilled on the floor, a broken glass lay under the table,
and a small pile of sand was spread by the back door.
he rushed to the bedroom, he found his wife still curled up in the bed in her
pajamas, reading a novel. She looked up at him, smiled, and asked how his day
went. He looked at her bewildered and asked, ‘What happened here today?’
“Yes,” was his incredulous reply.
(posted 5/23/15 a C. H. Spurgeon devotional)
The Lord GOD has given Me the tongue of disciples, That I may know how to sustain the weary one with a word. He awakens Me morning by morning, He awakens My ear to listen as a disciple. The Lord GOD has opened My ear; And I was not disobedient Nor did I turn back. ~ Isaiah 50:4-5
Most of us are better at talking than listening, but communicating with the Lord involves both. God intends for His children to hear His voice. His goal is the same today as it has always been—to be certain that we comprehend the truth about Him, to conform us to His ways, and to equip us for communicating His truth to others.
One of the main instruments God uses to speak to modern-day believers is His Word. For this reason, studying the Bible is more important than getting breakfast, lunch, and dinner each day. We can easily live on one daily meal, but we cannot survive in this wicked world unless we feast on Scripture. The result of regular consumption of God’s Word is a discerning spirit. When a Christian shares something the Lord has laid on his heart to tell us, our spirit verifies the truth of the message.
Regardless of how loudly God speaks, we won’t hear unless listening is a priority. We must ask the Lord to teach us to hear and then work at having a quiet attitude. An internal “receiver” tuned to the Father develops only through committed prayer, meditation, and practice at listening. In addition, we need a spirit of submission to obey His commands.
God’s goal for us is a lifestyle of sensitivity so we can hear Him in noisy or calm situations. Listening is a critical skill for ensuring that our hearts are open to divine guidance in every circumstance. In addition to the nourishment provided by our feast of Scripture, there is also “dessert”—recognition of our Father’s voice.
Recipe For A Happy Home
(Posted 8/21/15 from Facebook)
To one half cup of Thoughtfulness, add one cup of Understanding.
Cream together with a pinch of powdered Tenderness.
Very lightly beat in a bowl of Loyalty.
With a cup of Faith, one of Hope and one of Charity.
Be sure to add a spoonful each of Gaiety that sings.
And also the ability to Laugh at little things.
Moisten with the sudden tears of heartfelt Sympathy.
Bake in a Good Natured pan, and sprinkle generously with Love.
And serve repeatedly.
It Is Your Option
(posted 8/20/15 Max Lucado devotional)
As long as Jesus is one of many options, He is no option. As long as you can carry your burdens alone, you don’t need a burden bearer. As long as your situation brings you no grief, you will receive no comfort. As long as you can take him or leave him, you might as well leave him because Jesus won’t be taken half-heartedly.
Jesus said, “Blessed are those who mourn. . .” (Matthew 5:4). When you get to the point of sorrow for your sins, when you admit that you have no other option but to cast all your cares on him, and when there is truly no other name that you can call, then do as Jesus said to do. “Cast all your cares on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). And he’s waiting for you in the midst of the storm!
(posted 8/20/15 C. H. Spurgeon devotional)
"He that watereth shall be watered also himself." ~ Proverbs 11:25.
We are here taught the great lesson, that to get, we must give; that to accumulate, we must scatter; that to make ourselves happy, we must make others happy; and that in order to become spiritually vigorous, we must seek the spiritual good of others. In watering others, we are ourselves watered. How? Our efforts to be useful, bring out our powers for usefulness. We have latent talents and dormant faculties, which are brought to light by exercise. Our strength for labour is hidden even from ourselves, until we venture forth to fight the Lord's battles, or to climb the mountains of difficulty. We do not know what tender sympathies we possess until we try to dry the widow's tears, and soothe the orphan's grief. We often find in attempting to teach others, that we gain instruction for ourselves. Oh, what gracious lessons some of us have learned at sick beds! We went to teach the Scriptures, we came away blushing that we knew so little of them. In our converse with poor saints, we are taught the way of God more perfectly for ourselves and get a deeper insight into divine truth. So that watering others makes us humble. We discover how much grace there is where we had not looked for it; and how much the poor saint may outstrip us in knowledge. Our own comfort is also increased by our working for others. We endeavour to cheer them, and the consolation gladdens our own heart. Like the two men in the snow; one chafed the other's limbs to keep him from dying, and in so doing kept his own blood in circulation, and saved his own life. The poor widow of Sarepta gave from her scanty store a supply for the prophet's wants, and from that day she never again knew what want was. Give then, and it shall be given unto you, good measure, pressed down, and running over.
I Shall Know Him
(posted 8/17 from Facebook)
Composer of over 9,000 hymns and songs, Fanny Crosby, wrote:
"It seemed intended by the blessed providence of God that I should be blind all my life, and I thank him for the dispensation. If perfect earthly sight were offered me tomorrow I would not accept it. I might not have sung hymns to the praise of God if I had been distracted by the beautiful and interesting things about me."
One of her hymns...
When my lifework is ended and I cross the swelling tide,
When the bright and glorious morning I shall see,
I shall know my Redeemer when I reach the other side,
And His smile will be the first to welcome me.
I shall know Him, I shall know Him,
And redeemed by His side I shall stand!
I shall know Him, I shall know Him
By the print of the nails in His hand.
~Fanny Crosby, 1820-1915
The Good News Gospel
(posted 8/17 from Facebook)
Rom 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
What I love about Gods Grace no matter what our situations or circumstances are or how you feel or what kind of political climate we live in. The world may change and come at you in fast forward, and we may change many different ways ourselves but Gods Grace never changes or wavers, one way or the other, with or without our knowing. However, if we know our ID In Christ, it makes our trip a lot smoother and more enjoyable putting our trust and hope in Him.
You can lock in a few things about your ID, "In Christ." Christ lives in the believer and has become our righteousness, holiness, glory and salvation through faith. I have read it in the Word, studied it, understand it, believe it and own it by faith and my ID it set on a solid unchangeable foundation on these matters. We can rest in this knowing no matter what the trials and tribulations are in life. That is, "The Good News Gospel!"
WE Need Jesus!
"Sometimes it’s difficult to deal with quiet. For most people, chaos, deadlines, managing multiple schedules, and being “so busy” are a way of life. And if we’re honest with ourselves, we like it. Busyness implies we are special and valued and the work we’re doing is necessary. And we have a desperate need to be valued.When others failed to recognize Martha’s work—when Mary didn’t hold to the same values—she complained to Jesus. He responded by rebuking her: “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things! But few things are necessary, or only one thing, for Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:41–42).
What is the “better part”? Mary “sat at the feet of Jesus and was listening to his teaching” (Luke 10:39), and Jesus praised her desire to listen and learn. Mary was captivated by the “one thing” that would change the world: Jesus and the kingdom He was ushering in. Jesus showed Martha that she should also give Him this reception—being willing to learn, not anxious about her busy schedule. He asked her to shift her perspective.
Choosing the “better part” doesn’t invalidate the things we’re busy with; indeed, Martha’s work served the needs of others. But the things we do shouldn’t shape our identity. The “one thing” that should shape our identity—the one thing we really need—is Jesus."
Do not let this be you!
If you have come to the point that you don't care what His Word says and you have decided to do whatever you please, being conformed to this world, I pray you will read this from Isaiah 6 and reconsider!!!
(8) Then I heard the voice of the Lord inquiring, “Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I, send me.”
(9) He said, “Go and tell this people, ‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand. Keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’ (10) Cause the heart of this people to become callous. Cause their ears to become closed, and shut their eyes; so that they may not see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and return to me and be healed.” (11) Then I asked, “Lord, how long must I do this?” He answered, ‘Until their cities lie in ruins without any inhabitants; until their houses are left deserted and their land is utterly desolate—(12) until Jehovah has removed the people to a distant country and the abandoned places are numerous throughout the land. (13) And if there be a tenth of the population left in the land, it also will be consumed. But just as the terebinth and the oak leave stumps when they are chopped down, so the holy seed will be ‘the stump’ in the land.
Isaiah is given the following commission by the Lord: “He said, ‘Go and tell this people, Keep on hearing, but do not understand. Keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’” The people are instructed to continue to hear the Word of God, but without understanding; they are instructed to see the work of God, but without perception. Consider the commission the Lord here gives to Isaiah (verse 10), and its bearing upon our own souls: “Cause the heart of this people to become callous. Cause their ears to become closed, and shut their eyes; so that they may not see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and return to me and be healed.” Isaiah’s continual preaching of the Word of God, following upon all the preaching done by all the previous prophets, would have the effect of making the people insensitive and unresponsive by virtue of the repetition of the message, especially in light of their present habit of unresponsiveness.
5. Why do you suppose the Lord gave Isaiah this particular ministry?
Isaiah’s ministry was a ministry of judgment, a ministry designed to produce hardening in the lives of a people who had refused to respond. Ironically, the very message that was originally intended for salvation would now become to them an instrument of judgment. How else could they be saved except by the preaching of God’s Word, declaring their sin and directing them to the Lord as their Savior? Yet, the continued exposure to that Word—without the response of faith and obedience—would result in the people becoming callous to that life-giving Word. What is presented here is a very mysterious and sobering phenomenon. It is a form of judgment enacted by God against those who have the privilege of hearing His Word, but who passively ignore or actively resist that sacred Word—and do so consistently and constantly.
I pray that God will open the eyes of the hearts that are waxed cold!!!!!!!
Are you a blessing?
The Lord is close to the broken hearted. He rescues those whose spirits have been crushed." God does have a Plan, for each of our Lives. "For it is written: I know the plans that I have for you, Says the Lord; and they are plans for good, and not disaster, I will give you a future, and a brand new Kingdom Hope. For God does hear, our hearts cry. " for I do love the Lord, because He always hears our voices, and our prayers for His Mercy. So may we continue to pray as long as He gives us a breath. Now If there is anyone, who would start to give out even more freely, then know this: You will start to gain back even more from the Lord; but to the one who is withholding these things from another person will only end up, finding themselves in a place of poverty. See it is the generous kind hearted person, who will be the one who begins to prosper; and whoever starts to be refreshing to another persons needs. Will be the ones who are being refreshed by the very hand of the Lord, and all of those who are showing His kindness to the poor, so be the one who is giving it all back to the LORD, and God will be the one who rewards you for everything, you have ever done for another person in need. See it is the person who is meeting the needs of others, and many are still in such need. These kind of people will not be in lack, of any good thing from the Lord. Now we should not expect the Lord to be a Blessing, unless we are willing to become a Blessing!!!
Inspired after Reading;
Proverbs 11:24-25, Proverbs 19:17, Proverbs 28:27, Psalm 34:4, Jeremiah 29:11, Psalm 116:1-2
Some of my thoughts!
(posted 8/12/15 by Ed Shagott)
What the Lord has pressed on my heart about church is too many people get caught up in “it’s my way or the highway theory”. About 10 years ago I was asked to present a sermon on a Sunday when the pastor was away. The sermon title was called “You’re going the wrong way!” I will always remember that from “Trains, Planes and Automobiles”. See, once we get our eyes off of Him and on ourselves, sometimes with what we think are good things such as programs to make our church grow, we lose the relationship with God and the leading of the Holy Spirit. We start going the wrong way. I have seen good people come and go and they are for me still good people.
I am just like all the others, “trying to be good”. “Trying the best I can”. I pray what people see in me is Christ. My eyes have not been taken off of Him. We are One. When I speak, He speaks. When I sing, He sings. When I reach out in love, it is Our love that is reaching out. Now I know what you might be thinking, “Wow”! But, I choose to live this way. The “wow” goes to Him!
Church is not about the people coming or leaving but all about God. It is not about what the pastor is doing but what we are hearing the Spirit speak through him to us, through the Word of God. During the month of August I am singing the song, "The City On The Hill" by Casting Crowns. This song speaks volumes I think, about churches today. Here are some of the lyrics:
Did you hear of the city on the hill
Now what is important to understand is this part of the song;
But it was the rhythm of the dancers
See just as in life we
must all understand we "each" have a purpose and that is why God created us.
Be a living message!
(posted 8/12/15 a message from Charles Stanley)
Why do you call Me, `Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say? Everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and acts on them, I will show you whom he is like he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation on the rock; and when a flood occurred, the torrent burst against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who has heard and has not acted accordingly, is like a man who built a house on the ground without any foundation; and the torrent burst against it and immediately it collapsed, and the ruin of that house was great."
~ Luke 6:46-49
The Lord has ways of shaking the world when He is at work. He literally caused the ground to quake when Jesus died on the cross, and Hebrews 12:26 describes a time to come when the earth will undergo a similar display of His power and presence.
Likewise in our day, God often lets the foundations of our world be shaken—whether political alliances, financial systems, or other forms of human security. Then we can see the flimsiness of the structures on which we’ve based our pride and hopes. Individual lives are also often shaken when a family experiences crisis or a marriage begins to unravel. If we have built upon the fragile foundation of human wisdom, pride, and conditional love, things may look good for a while, but everything collapses when storms hit.
Though adversity affects everyone, we can have peace in knowing that God always has a greater purpose when He allows upheaval in our world. Hard times can also shake believers out of apathy and self-focus, reminding us not to trust in ourselves or the temporary structures of this world. There is only one secure foundation: a genuine, deep relationship with Jesus Christ, which will carry you through any and all turmoil. No matter what storms are raging all around, you’ll have a solid footing if you stand on His love.
It’s not enough for believers to simply enjoy the security of knowing that our “house” is built on a solid foundation. As God’s ambassadors on earth, we have a responsibility to extend His compassion to people whose lives are crumbling. Be a living message of hope to those around you today.
(posted 8/11/15 a message by Charles Stanley)
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. ~ James 1:2-4
Are you wasting your troubles? Any time God allows trials to enter your life, He has a purpose for them. He wants you to squeeze out every ounce of spiritual growth instead of letting difficulties force you into despair and discouragement. If you’ll just respond in the right manner, the trial that looks as if it could destroy you becomes an instrument of blessing.
The most natural response to adversity is to groan and plead with the Lord to remove it. If that doesn’t work, we might get angry or try to find our own way out of the difficulty or pain. Sometimes we resort to blaming others for the trouble. And in truth, someone else might have caused the problem, but ultimately God allowed it. No matter where affliction originates, who is involved, or how evil their intentions, by the time it reaches you, it’s been dipped in the Father’s love and shaped to accomplish His good purpose. The question is, will you cooperate with Him, or will you resist?
Perhaps the key word is found in verse 4 of today’s reading. God wants to use our trial to develop spiritual maturity, but unless you let it do its work, that opportunity will be lost. If we could foresee every benefit the Lord designed our trials to accomplish, maybe we’d be more cooperative.
Although we can’t see all the specifics of God’s plan, we know that His goal is to use our adversity to supply something we lack so we can be mature and complete. Even though the experience is painful, rest in the Father’s comforting arms, and let Him do His perfect work in you.
Is Christ Your Life?
(posted 8/11/15 a message by C. H. Spurgeon)
Christ, who is our life."—Colossians 3:4.
Paul's marvellously rich expression indicates, that Christ is the source of our life. "You hath He quickened who were dead in trespasses and sins." That same voice which brought Lazarus out of the tomb raised us to newness of life. He is now the substance of our spiritual life. It is by His life that we live; He is in us, the hope of glory, the spring of our actions, the central thought which moves every other thought. Christ is the sustenance of our life. What can the Christian feed upon but Jesus' flesh and blood? "This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die." O wayworn pilgrims in this wilderness of sin, you never get a morsel to satisfy the hunger of your spirits, except ye find it in Him! Christ is the solace of our life. All our true joys come from Him; and in times of trouble, His presence is our consolation. There is nothing worth living for but Him; and His lovingkindness is better than life! Christ is the object of our life. As speeds the ship towards the port, so hastes the believer towards the haven of his Saviour's bosom. As flies the arrow to its goal, so flies the Christian towards the perfecting of his fellowship with Christ Jesus. As the soldier fights for his captain, and is crowned in his captain's victory, so the believer contends for Christ, and gets his triumph out of the triumphs of his Master. "For him to live is Christ." Christ is the exemplar of our life. Where there is the same life within, there will, there must be, to a great extent, the same developments without; and if we live in near fellowship with the Lord Jesus we shall grow like Him. We shall set Him before us as our Divine copy, and we shall seek to tread in His footsteps, until He shall become the crown of our life in glory. Oh! how safe, how honoured, how happy is the Christian, since Christ is our life!
Who is working and who is resting?
(posted 8/11/15 a message by Rick Collins)
Christ delivered us from the long to do list of working to be right with Him when He became our rest/sabbath and our righteousness 2 Cor 5:21. He has a new operating system now under the new covenant where He lives in us through faith and operates out of us through the fruits of His Spirit. The fruit of His Spirit is in nine different flavors according to Gal 5:22,23. I don't have to work on love, peace, joy, etc. to have more of it because all the fruit is a person named Jesus Christ living in us and our of us. This knowing helps us rest from our labors and struggles of trying to make the Christian life work. You should be able to see who is doing the living here and who is getting to rest. That's the point! It is impossible for you to live the Christian life so give up trying and let Jesus live and watch your labor of love increase all aspects of His works.
Do you have everything?
(a message from Max Lucado posted 8/10/15)
Robert had cerebral palsy. The disease kept him from riding a bike, or going for a walk. But it didn’t keep him from graduating from high school or attending university. Having cerebral palsy didn’t keep him from teaching at a Junior College or from venturing overseas on five missions trips. And Robert’s disease didn’t prevent him from becoming a missionary in Portugal.
He moved to Lisbon, alone. He rented a room, found a restaurant owner who fed him after the rush hour and a tutor who instructed him in the language. And daily in the park, he passed out booklets about Christ. Within six years he led seventy people to the Lord. I heard Robert speak. He could’ve asked for sympathy or pity. He did just the opposite. A Bible in his lap, he held his bent hand up in the air and boasted, “I have everything I need for joy.” So do we.
A preacher transformed himself into a homeless person and went to the church that he was to be introduced as the head pastor at that morning. He walked around his soon to be church for 30 minutes while it was filling with people for service....only 3 people said hello to him. He asked people for change to buy food....NO ONE in the church gave him change. He went into the sanctuary to sit down in the front of the church and was told the ushers he would sit n the back. He greeted people to be greeted back with stares and dirty looks, with people looking down on him and judging him.
As he sat in the back of the church, he listened to the church announcements and such. When all that was done, the elders went up and were excited to introduce the new pastor of the church to the congregation........"We would like to introduce to you our new Pastor"....The congregation looked around clapping with joy and anticipation.....The homeless man sitting in the back stood up.....and started walking down the aisle.....the clapping stopped with ALL eyes on him....he walked up the altar and took the microphone from the elders (who were in on this) and paused for a moment....then he recited
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
After he recited this, he looked towards the congregation and told them all what he had experienced that morning...many began to cry and many heads were bowed in shame.... he then said....Today I see a gathering of people......not a church of Jesus Christ. The world has enough people, but not enough disciples...when will YOU decide to become disciples? He then dismissed service until next week.......Being a Christian is more than something you claim. It's something you live by and share with others.
2 Timothy 2:15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.
The Value of a person is not measured by what they do for themselves to make their life easier, But, measured by what they do for others to make their lives easier.
“Restlessness and impatience change nothing except our peace and joy. Peace does not dwell in outward things, but in the heart prepared to wait trustfully and quietly on Him who has all things safely in His hands.”
~ Elisabeth Elliot
"May the sense of Jesus' presence be especially tangible to you today. May the reality of His love sink deep into your bones. May His voice ring true amidst the chaos of the culture. May you refuse worry, fear, and insecurity because you belong to Him. Jesus has made promises to you that He intends to keep. May the promise of His return compel you to look up and live accordingly. You are precious, honored, and loved by One who saved you."
~ Susie Larson
Confidence Not Misplaced
(Message from C. H. Spurgeon posted 8/7/15)
The Lord God will help me. (Isaiah 50:7)
These are in prophecy the words of Messiah in the day of His obedience unto death, when He gave His back to the smiters and His cheeks to them that plucked off the hair. He was confident in divine support and trusted in Jehovah.
O my soul, thy sorrows are as the small dust of the balance compared with thy Lord's! Canst thou not believe that the Lord God will help thee? Thy Lord was in a peculiar position; for as the representative of sinful men—their substitute and sacrifice—it was needful that the Father should leave Him and cause Him to come under desertion of soul. No such necessity is laid upon thee: thou art not bound to cry, "Why hast thou forsaken me?" Did thy Savior even in such a case still rely upon God, and canst not thou? He died for thee and thus made it impossible that thou shouldst be left alone; wherefore, be of good cheer.
In this day's labors or trials say, "The Lord God will help me." Go forth boldly. Set your face like a flint and resolve that no faintness or shamefacedness shall come near you. If God helps, who can hinder? If you are sure of omnipotent aid, what can be too heavy for you? Begin the day joyously, and let no shade of doubt come between thee and the eternal sunshine.
Obey The Lord
(Message from C. H. Spurgeon posted 8/6/15)
Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest. (Joshua 1:7)
Yes, the Lord will be with us in our holy war, but He demands of us that we strictly follow His rules. Our victories will very much depend upon our obeying Him with all our heart, throwing strength and courage into the actions of our faith. If we are halfhearted we cannot expect more than half a blessing.
We must obey the Lord with care and thoughtfulness. "Observe to do" is the phrase used, and it is full of meaning. This is referred to every part of the divine will; we must obey with universal readiness. Our rule of conduct is "according to all the law." We may not pick and choose, but we must take the Lord's commands as they come, one and all. In all this we must go on with exactness and constancy. Ours is to be a straightforward course which bends neither to the right nor to the left. We are not to err by being more rigid than the law, nor turn out of levity to a more See and easy way. With such obedience there will come spiritual prosperity. O Lord, help us to see if it be not even so! We shall not test Thy promise in vain.
The Cross of Jesus Christ
(a message posted from Charles Stanley 8/5/15)
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith. ~ Romans 3:23-27 The cross of Jesus Christ presents us with a dilemma. If the heavenly Father is good and loving, why would He let His Son endure the agony of crucifixion? From our human perspective, there’s nothing loving in this scene. But by looking beyond the obvious, we’ll see an awesome demonstration of love. To grasp what took place at the cross, we first need to understand that the Lord is absolutely righteous and just. He always does what’s right and never acts contrary to His nature or His Word. On the other hand, mankind is sinful and deserving of eternal punishment. God couldn’t simply decide to forgive us, because He would then cease to be just—justice requires that a penalty be paid for sin. Either the Lord had to condemn us all to suffer His wrath, or He needed to devise a plan that would satisfy His justice yet allow Him to show mercy. Before the foundation of the world, God already had a plan in place for His sinless Son to come to earth in human flesh to bear our sins (Revelation 13:8). The Father placed upon Him all our guilt and punishment. Because the Savior’s payment fully satisfied divine justice, sinful man could now be declared righteous. Justice punished sin, and mercy rescued sinners. No matter who you are or what you’ve done, if you accept Christ’s payment on your behalf, you will be saved. God’s goodness and love are proved by the very act that looked cruel and hateful. This was the sole plan that could save us, and God’s perfect Son was the only one qualified to give His life in our place. What’s more, Jesus did it willingly.
(a message from C. H. Spurgeon 8/5/15)
The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide. ~Psalm 37:31 Put the law into the heart, and the whole man is right. This is where the law should be; for then it lies, like the tables of stone in the ark, in the place appointed for it. In the head it puzzles, on the back it burdens, in the heart it upholds. What a choice word is here used, "the law of his God"! When we know the Lord as our own God His law becomes liberty to us. God with us in covenant makes us eager to obey His will and walk in His commands. Is the precept my Father's precept? Then I delight in it. We are here guaranteed that obedient-hearted man shall be sustained in every step that he takes. He will do that which is right, and he shall therefore do that which is wise. Holy action is always the most prudent, though it may not at the time seem to be so. We are moving along the great high road of God's providence and grace when we keep to the way of His law. The Word of God has never misled a single soul yet; its plain directions to walk humbly, justly, lovingly, and in the fear of the Lord are as much words of wisdom to make our way prosperous as rules of holiness to keep our garments clean. He walks surely who walks righteously.
God’s Gift of Grace
(posted 8/3/15 by Ed Shagott)
A Good Story
(posted 8/3/15 by Ed Shagott)
A NYC Taxi driver wrote:
I arrived at the address and honked the horn. After waiting a few minutes I honked again. Since this was going to be my last ride of my shift I thought about just driving away, but instead I put the car in park and walked up to the door and knocked.. 'Just a minute', answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor.
After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 90's stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940's movie.
By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets.
There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard
box filled with photos and glassware.
'Would you carry my bag out to the car?' she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman.
She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb.
She kept thanking me for my kindness. 'It's nothing', I told her.. 'I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother to be treated.'
'Oh, you're such a good boy, she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address and then asked, 'Could you drive
'It's not the shortest way,' I answered quickly..
'Oh, I don't mind,' she said. 'I'm in no hurry. I'm on my way to a hospice.
I looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening. 'I don't have any family left,' she continued in a soft voice. 'The doctor says I don't have very long.' I quietly reached over and shut off the meter.
'What route would you like me to take?' I asked.
For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator.
We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl.
Sometimes she'd ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.
As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, 'I'm tired. Let's go now'. We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico.
Two orderlies came
out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent,
watching her every move.
I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.
'How much do I owe you?' She asked, reaching into her purse.
'Nothing,' I said
'You have to make a living,' she answered.
'There are other passengers,' I responded.
Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held onto me tightly.
'You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,' she said. 'Thank you.'
I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim morning light.. Behind me, a door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life..
I didn't pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly lost in thought. For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk. What if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?
On a quick review, I don't think that I have done anything more important in my life.
We're conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments.
But great moments often catch us unaware-beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.
A Chosen Race
(posted 8/2/15 a message by Charles Stanley)
But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God's OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were NOT A PEOPLE, but now you are THE PEOPLE OF GOD; you had NOT RECEIVED MERCY, but now you have RECEIVED MERCY. ~ 1 Peter 2:9-10
How often do we evaluate ourselves on the basis of our feelings rather than what God says? The problem is, our feelings are always changing. From one moment to the next, we never know what circumstances will arise to test our faith.
Maybe today is “one of those days”—the car didn’t start, the boss has been breathing down your neck, the mortgage payment is due, and money is short. During such times, it can be difficult to think of yourself with “sober judgment” (Romans 12:3 NIV). But remember, Satan will do whatever he can to divert your attention from the Lord. When we direct our focus toward circumstances instead of the Word of God, we accept what the situation seems to indicate or what others say, instead of what the Lord tells us.
So what do the Scriptures say about us? Today’s passage calls believers “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, [and] . . . God’s own possession.” And our purpose is to “proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called [us] out of darkness into His marvelous light.”
How encouraging it is to know that we’ve been called into God’s “marvelous light.” Yet unless we have help, we are unable to escape the “darkness” of our circumstances. As believers, we’re empowered by the Holy Spirit, who enables us to overcome Satan’s manipulative tactics.
When circumstances seem unbearable, remember the Lord paid a price to purchase you (1 Corinthians 6:20). Wake up each morning with the knowledge that you are valuable to your Father. Trust in His Word, not your feelings, and allow the Holy Spirit to change your self-perception.
Speak What He Teaches
(posted 8/2/15 a message by C. H. Spurgeon)
Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say. (Exodus 4:12)
Many a true servant of the Lord is slow of speech, and when called upon to plead for his Lord, he is in great confusion lest he should spoil a good cause by his bad advocacy. In such a case it is well to remember that the Lord made the tongue which is so slow, and we must take care that we do not blame our maker. It may be that a slow tongue is not so great an evil as a fast one, and fewness of words may be more of a blessing than floods of verbiage. It is also quite certain that real saving power does not lie in human rhetoric, with its tropes, and pretty phrases, and grand displays. Lack of fluency is not so great a lack as it looks.
If God be with our mouth, and with our mind, we shall have something better than the sounding brass of eloquence or the tinkling cymbal of persuasion. God's teaching is wisdom; His presence is power. Pharaoh had more reason to be afraid of stammering Moses than of the most fluent talker in Egypt; for what he said had power in it; he spoke plagues and deaths. If the Lord be with us in our natural weakness we shall be girt with supernatural power. Therefore, let us speak for Jesus boldly, as we ought to speak.
Let God handle it!
(posted 7/29/15 a message from Max Lucado)
It’s one thing to give grace to friends, but to give grace to those who give us grief? Most of us find it hard to forgive. Leave your enemies in God’s hands. You are not endorsing their misbehavior when you do. You can hate what someone did without letting hatred consume you. Forgiveness is not excusing. Give grace, but if need be, keep your distance. You can forgive the abusive husband without living with him. Be quick to give mercy to the immoral pastor, but be slow to give him a pulpit.
Society can dispense grace and prison terms at the same time. To forgive is to move on, not to think about the offense anymore. You don’t excuse him, endorse her, or embrace them. You just route your thoughts about them through heaven. In Romans 12:19 God says, “I will take care of it!” Let Him!
THE WEIGHT OF GUILT
(posted 7/29/15 a message from Charles Stanley)
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.
~ John 3:16-17
False guilt can be an intolerable weight for the believer to bear. The nagging sense of shame can lead us to doubt the Lord’s love and goodness; we might even start to wonder if our salvation is real. Thankfully, though, we can have relief.
First of all, it’s helpful to identify the root cause of our guilt. (Check yesterday’s devotion for a description of several potential causes.) Next, we must affirm three truths:
I am special. Any reason we give to “prove” otherwise is a lie from Satan. We are each a one-of-a-kind creation. The Lord chose to create us and endow us with specific talents and abilities meant to be used for His glory (Ephesians 2:10).
I am loved. The heavenly Father sent His Son Jesus Christ to die for our sins so we could live with Him eternally. We don’t have to do anything to earn His love; it is already ours for the receiving. All we must do is believe that He died in our place, was buried, and rose again.
I am forgiven. If we confess our sins, the Lord forgives. The Bible promises the process is as simple as that (1 John 1:9).
Since it’s Satan who stimulates false guilt, the final step is to renounce his lies. Make a declaration to this effect: “In the name of Jesus Christ, I reject these feelings of guilt, because they have absolutely no scriptural basis. They are false, and I refuse to acknowledge them.” The result will be that the heavy weight of guilt lifts from the heart.
Quotes About Church
“If the Holy Spirit was withdrawn from the church today, 95 percent of what we do would go on and no one would know the difference. If the Holy Spirit had been withdrawn from the New Testament church, 95 percent of what they did would stop, and everybody would know the difference.” A.W. Tozer
“Oh for radically Bible-saturated, God-centered, Christ-exalting, self-sacrificing, mission-mobilizing, soul-saving, culture-confronting pastors!” John Piper
“When the church is absolutely different from the world, she invariably attracts it. It is then that the world is made to listen to her message, though it may hate it at first.” Martyn Lloyd-Jones
“The church has lost her testimony. She has no longer anything to say to the world. Her once robust shout of assurance has faded away to an apologetic whisper. She who one time went out to declare now goes out to inquire. Her dogmatic declaration has become a respectful suggestion, a word of religious advice, given with the understanding that it is after all only an opinion and not meant to sound bigoted.” A.W. Tozer
“The Church is looking for better methods; God is looking for better men. The Holy Ghost does not flow through methods, but through men. He does not come on machinery, but on men. He does not anoint plans, but men…Men of prayer.” E. M. Bounds
HE WILL NEVER FAIL!
(A message posted from Facebook 7/27/15)
Return to the stronghold, O prisoners who have the hope; this very day I am declaring that I will restore double to you.(Zechariah 9:12)
Are you a prisoner of hope? A prisoner of hope is someone who has an attitude of faith and expectancy even when things aren’t going their way. They know that God has a plan to get them through difficulty, a plan to restore their health, finances, dreams, and relationships. You may not be where you want to be today but have hope because all things are subject to change.
In this scripture, God promises to restore double to those who hope in Him. When God restores something, He doesn’t just set things back the way they were before, He goes above and beyond. He makes things better than they were before. That’s a reason to have hope today. That’s a reason to rejoice today! Don’t let circumstances drag you down, instead, choose to be a prisoner of hope and watch what God will do to restore every area of your life.You are blessed.
(A message by Max Lucado posted 7/27/15)
Forgiveness is not foolishness. Forgiveness, at its core, is choosing to see your offender with different eyes. By the way, how can we grace-recipients do anything less? Dare we ask God for grace when we refuse to give it? This is a huge issue in Scripture! Jesus was tough on sinners who refused to forgive other sinners. Remember his story in Matthew 18, about the servant freshly forgiven a debt of millions who refused to forgive a debt equal to a few dollars? He stirred the wrath of God. “You evil servant! I forgave you that tremendous debt. Shouldn’t you have mercy just as I had mercy on you?” (Matthew 18:32).
In the final sum, we give grace because we’ve been given grace. And we’ve been given grace so we can freely give it. See your enemies as God’s child and revenge as God’s job.
A Little Goes a Long Way
(a message posted on Facebook 7/27/15)
Ezra 9:8 And now for a little space grace hath been shewed from the Lord our God, to leave us a remnant to escape, and to give us a nail in his holy place, that our God may lighten our eyes, and give us a little reviving in our bondage.
Remnants. Useless by most standards, but God is in the business of using tiny slivers of what's left to do mighty things. Nehemiah rebuilt the fallen walls of Jerusalem with a remnant of Israel;
Noah's three sons populated the earth after the flood; four slave boys - Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego--kept faith alive for an entire nation.
When it feels as if bits and pieces are all that has survived of your hope, remember how much God can accomplish with remnants!
Do you sometimes feel like just one little remnant? Has your hope diminished to nearly nothing? Do you sometimes think God has forgotten about you?
Well, there is hope my friend, what He did for Noah and his family, what he did for Daniel and the three Hebrew boys who were slaves and even thrown into a fiery furnace but came out not even with the smell of smoke upon them; You are just as precious to God as they were.
Just think of what they went through. Daniel was thrown in a lion's den, but spent the night there & was sound as a dollar the next morning when the King came to check on him. Paul and Silas were thrown in the deepest part of the jail but came out singing praises and causing the guards to be converted.
Yes, Child of God, you are an important remnant. Don't allow the enemy to tell you different. God loves you just as He did all of these men in the bible. Hold on! Your redemption draweth nigh. Amen!
You Are Not Alone
(posted 7/22/15 from an article by Joyce Meyers)
And even he who is brave, whose heart is as the heart of a lion, will utterly melt.
—2 Samuel 17:10
We are all brave in some areas and fearful in others. The pendulum may swing one way or the other, but we all have some of both. For example, a woman we will call Theresa was timid and shy, and yet was very brave when it came to facing pain and tragedy. She had cancer at the age of thirty-two and endured surgery and painful radiation and chemotherapy treatments. Theresa also had three miscarriages before she finally gave birth to a healthy child. She bore these difficulties graciously, bravely, and with little complaint.
Janice, a friend of Theresa's, was bold and aggressive and appeared to be fearless until she suddenly lost her job of twenty years and her 401(k) retirement program to corporate fraud. She faced tragedy but did not handle it graciously. She displayed fear that amazed those who knew her.
It's important for us to realize that we are not alone in our battles with fear. The devil wants nothing better than to convince you that there is something really wrong with you and that other normal people don't have the same kinds of problems. Don't let him do it; all of us experience fear.
Lord, You know me inside and out. You see my strengths and weaknesses. I trust You to be working and equipping me to face the challenges of today and tomorrow. Help me to be brave, knowing that You are with me. Amen.
Tip to help with anxiety attack!
(posted 7/22/15 from Facebook posting)
Look around you.
Find (5) things you can see.
(4) things you can touch.
(3) things you can hear.
(2) things you can smell.
(1) thing you can taste.
This is called grounding. It can help when you feel like you have lost all control of your surroundings.
(posted 7/22/15 an article by Max Lucado)
Refuge is a favorite word of David’s. You will count as many as forty-plus appearances in some Bible versions. But never did David use the word more poignantly than in Psalm 57. The introduction to the passage explains its background: “A song of David when he fled from Saul into the cave.” Lost in shadows and thought, he has nowhere to turn. Go home, he endangers his family; to the tabernacle, he imperils the priests. Saul will kill him. Here he sits. All alone. But then he remembers he’s not. And from the recesses of the cave a sweet voice floats:
“Be merciful to me, O God!
For my soul trusts in You; and in the shadow of Your wings I make my refuge.” (Psalm 57:1)
Make God your refuge. Let Him be the foundation on which you stand!
(posted 7/21/15 an article by Charles Stanley)
This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you. ~ John 15:12-15
In all of God’s creation, just one thing did not meet with His approval. He beheld Adam, who was the only being of his kind, and said, “It is not good for the man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18). The Creator designed people for emotional, mental, and physical intimacy so they’d be able to share their innermost selves with one another.
Jesus explained this to His disciples, saying they should love each other as He had loved them. In a God-honoring friendship, two people build each other up and spur one another toward Christlikeness. Many people, however, fall far short of making and maintaining relationships that sharpen their faith (Proverbs 27:17). They instead welcome the trivial talk of casual acquaintances: The weather, tough bosses, and world affairs are safe topics. Sadly, believers often shy away from the penetrating conversations about sin, accountability, and biblical living that would serve to enrich their faith.
Strong relationships begin with men and women who decide to risk their pride and comfort in order to love as Jesus does. They recognize that one of the reasons we have friends is so we can motivate one another toward holiness. In a friendship of mutual trust and submission, two people will confess sin, offer gentle reproof, and share burdens.
The walls we build to keep people at a distance are often defenses against God as well: We don’t want Him too close to our most personal business. But as believers learn to share openly and freely with a brother or sister in Christ, they develop the capacity to be more honest with God.
A Wise And Faithful Wife
You may recall that Jesus warns us numerous times in the Bible that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to get into Heaven (Matthew 19:24, Mark 10:25, Luke 18:25). This does not mean that God does not want us to be prosperous in our finances. He just does not want us to place money before Him and His works.
Unfortunately for the woman in our fictionalized story below, this was a lesson that escaped her husband. He was consumed with greed and considered his money to be the most important thing in his life.
The Bible also says that wives are to honor their husbands (Ephesians 5:22). So what was a faithful woman to do when her husband’s last wish was that he be buried with all of his money -- every cent? Well, this smart cookie certainly figured it out!
Like many inspiring movies and books, this short story may be fictional. However, the impact that this work will have on its readers is very real. Enjoy!
“There was a man who had worked all of his life and has saved all of his money. He was a real cheapskate when it came to his money. He loved money more than just about anything, and just before he died, he said to his wife,
‘Now listen, when I die I want you to take all my money and place it in the casket with me. Because I want to take all my money to the afterlife.’
So he got his wife to promise him with all her heart that when he died she would put all the money in the casket with him. Then one day he died.
He was stretched out in the casket, and the wife was sitting there in black next to their best friend. When they finished the ceremony, just before the undertakers got ready to close the casket, the wife said,
‘Wait a minute!’
She had a shoebox with her, she came over with the box and placed it in the casket. Then the undertakers locked the casket and rolled it away.
Her friend said, ‘I hope you weren’t crazy enough to put all that money in there with that stingy old man.’
She said, ‘Yes, I promised. I’m a good Christian, I can’t lie. I promised him that I was to put that money in that casket with him.’
‘You mean to tell me you put every cent of his money in the casket with him?’
‘I sure did,’ said the wife. ‘I got it all together, put it into my account and I wrote him a check.’ ”
I hope this story gave you a good chuckle, but also served as a reminder to keep your eyes fixed on the Lord!
“No man is able to be a servant to two masters: for he will have hate for the one and love for the other, or he will keep to one and have no respect for the other. You may not be servants of God and of wealth.” Matthew 6:24".
Focus First and Most on God
(posted 7/17/15 an article by Max Lucado)
Giants. We must face them. Yet we need not face them alone. Focus first, and most, on God. Read 1 Samuel 17 and list the observations David made about Goliath. I find only two. One to Saul and one to Goliath’s face, “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God” (1 Samuel 17:26). David asks nothing about Goliath’s skill, age, or the weight of the spear, the size of his shield. But he gives much thought to God. The armies of the living God; The Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel. In all, the God-thoughts outnumber Goliath-thoughts nine to two.
How does this ratio compare with yours? Is your list of blessings four times as long as your list of complaints? Are you four times as likely to describe the strength of God as you are the demands of your day? That’s how you face a giant.
It doesn’t seem fair, does it?
(posted 7/17/15 an article by Charles Stanley)
It doesn’t seem fair, does it? Paul spent the second half of his life serving Christ, and yet he experienced continual suffering. Why would God let one of His most faithful servants go through so much pain? This isn’t a question just about Paul; it’s an issue we face today. In our minds, the Lord should protect His loyal followers from hardships, but He doesn’t necessarily do so.
Maybe our reasoning is backwards. We think faithful Christians don’t deserve to suffer, but from God’s perspective, suffering is what produces faithful Christians. If we all had lives of ease without opposition, trials, or pain, we’d never really know God, because we’d never need Him. Like it or not, adversity teaches us more about the Lord than simply reading the Bible ever will.
I’m not saying we don’t need to know Scripture; that’s our foundation for faith. But if what we believe is never tested by adversity, it remains head knowledge. How will we ever know that God can be trusted in the midst of trouble if we’ve never been challenged by hardship? The Lord gives us opportunities to apply scriptural truths to the difficulties facing us, and in the process, we find Him faithful. For example, how would Paul ever have known the strength of Christ if he had never been weakened by persecution, pain, and adversity?
Depending on your response, trials can be God’s greatest means of building faith or an avenue to discouragement and self-pity. If you’ll believe what Scripture says and apply its principles to your situation, your trust in God will grow, and your faith will be strengthened through adversity.
Word to Him Who Halts
(posted 7/16/15 an article by C. H. Spurgeon)
I will save her that halteth. (Zephaniah 3:19)
There are plenty of these lame ones, both male and female. You may meet "her that halteth" twenty times in an hour. They are in the right road and exceedingly anxious to run in it with diligence, but they are lame and make a sorry walk of it. On the heavenly road there are many cripples. It may be that they say in their hearts—What will become of us? Sin will overtake us; Satan will throw us down. Ready-to-halt is our name and our nature; the Lord can never make good soldiers of us, nor even nimble messengers to go on His errands. Well, well! He will save us, and that is no small thing. He says, "I will save her that halteth." In saving us He will greatly glorify Himself. Everybody will ask—How came this lame woman to run the race and win the crown? And then the praise will all be given to almighty grace.
Lord, though I halt in faith, in prayer, in praise, in service, and in patience, save me, I beseech Thee! Only Thou canst save such a cripple as I am. Lord, let me not perish because I am among the hindmost, but gather up by Thy grace the slowest of Thy pilgrims—even me. Behold He hath said it shall be so, and therefore, like Jacob, prevailing in prayer, I go forward though my sinew be shrunk.
Focus on God—your giants tumble!
(posted 7/16/15 an article by Max Lucado)
You could read David’s story in the Bible and wonder what God saw in him. He fell as often as he stood, he stumbled as often as he conquered. Yet, for those who know the sound of a Goliath, David gives us this reminder: Focus on giants—you stumble. Focus on God—your giants tumble.
You know Goliath. You recognize his walk, his talk. David saw and heard more. David showed up and raised the subject of the living God. He saw the giant, mind you; he just saw God more so. Listen carefully to David’s battle cry: “You come to me with a sword, with a spear and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel” (1 Samuel 17:45).
Lift your eyes, giant-slayer. The God who made a miracle out of David stands ready to make one out of you!
THE SOURCE OF OUR ADVERSITY
(posted 7/15/15 an article by Charles Stanley)
I am the LORD, and there is no other; Besides Me there is no God. I will gird you, though you have not known Me; That men may know from the rising to the setting of the sun That there is no one besides Me. I am the LORD, and there is no other, The One forming light and creating darkness, Causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the LORD who does all these. Drip down, O heavens, from above, And let the clouds pour down righteousness; Let the earth open up and salvation bear fruit, And righteousness spring up with it. I, the LORD, have created it. Woe to the one who quarrels with his Maker-- An earthenware vessel among the vessels of earth! Will the clay say to the potter, `What are you doing?' Or the thing you are making say, `He has no hands'? Woe to him who says to a father, `What are you begetting?' Or to a woman, `To what are you giving birth?'" ~ Isaiah 45:5-10
When experiencing hardship, we usually wonder why God allows painful situations to come our way. In our minds, this just doesn’t fit with His role as our loving heavenly Father. We also struggle to reconcile our suffering with the realization that an omnipotent God could have prevented it. To understand what’s going on, we must consider the possible sources of adversity.
• A Fallen World. When sin entered the world, suffering came with it. God could have protected us from these harmful effects by making us like puppets who couldn’t choose sin, but that would mean we’d also be unable to choose to love Him, since love, by its very nature, is voluntary.
• Our Own Doing. Sometimes we get ourselves into trouble with foolish or sinful choices. If the Lord stepped in and rescued us from every negative consequence, we’d never grow into mature believers.
• Satanic Attack. The devil is our enemy. To hinder anything God wants to do in and through believers, Satan will never cease to harass us. His goal is to destroy our lives and our testimonies, thereby making us weak and useless for the Lord’s purposes.
• God’s Sovereignty. Ultimately, the Lord is in charge of all adversity that comes our way. To deny His involvement contradicts His power and sovereignty over creation.
For us to accept that God allows—or even sends—affliction, we must see adversity from His perspective. Is your focus on the pain of your experience or on God and His faithfulness? As believers, we’re assured that no adversity comes our way unless He can use it for our benefit and His good purposes.
How Should Christians Comment Online?
(posted 7/15/15 an article from Desiring God)
Reading people’s comments online is an interesting and sometimes troubling study in human nature. And reading comments by professing Christians on Christian sites (as well as other sites) can be a discouraging study in applied theology.
The immediate, shoot-from-the-hip nature of comments on websites and social media is what can often make them minimally helpful or even destructive. Comments can easily be careless. That’s why we must heed Jesus’ warning: “on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak” (Matthew 12:36). This caution makes commenting serious business to God.
How Should We Comment?
The Bible counsels us to restrain our lips (which in the twenty-first century includes thumbs) because a fool has many words (Ecclesiastes 5:3). We are wise to heed this counsel. It’s also helpful to remember that our sin nature gives us all an exaggerated sense of self-importance. But gospel humility leads us to esteem others higher than ourselves (Philippians 2:3). Perhaps our opinions aren’t needed after all.
If an article or post makes us angry, we should almost never write in the heat of irritation. In that frame of mind it is very difficult to “be gentle [and] show perfect courtesy toward all people” (Titus 3:2). It is best to wait and pray. An hour or a day will likely yield a more gracious comment, if one is needed at all.
All things that are said outside of the Bible by fallen humans, especially quickly written social media updates, are limited, deficient, and defective. And all of us read things through the filters of our experience and perspective. We all say and interpret things wrongly. Therefore, we can be gracious and patient, seeking to assume the best of people.
When Should We Comment?
For the Christian, the purpose for speaking anything to anyone at anytime, whether with lips or hands, is “that it may give grace to those who hear” (Ephesians 4:29). So if we discern that we should comment on someone’s post, our motive should be to . When we do decide it would be good to comment, here are a few suggestions of ways to give grace:
1 Thessalonians 5:11). Look for and identify the grace in an article or post.: We humans generally find it easier to criticize each other than to encourage each other. Often this response is sinful pride infecting our critical thinking skills. There are easily a hundred critics for every encouraging person. As gospel people who seek to give grace, Christians can use comments to encourage and build up a writer and other readers (
Authentic humility in heart and tone is essential. Wait and pray until you can comment in a way that matches Paul’s exhortation. And do not be sucked into time-consuming “irreverent babble” with other commenters (2 Timothy 2:16). Leave the comment in faith and don’t take offense if it doesn’t receive a response. If you know the author personally, avoid correcting them with a public comment. Write or call them privately.
Do Not Start Fires
In closing, let us remember this sober word from the apostle James:
James wrote this warning to Christians. Christians set fires in comment threads. Let us not set fires through careless words for which we will be held accountable. Rather, let us restrain our lips/fingers, and when we do speak, may it only be to give grace to those who hear.
Speaking the good news!
(posted 7/14/15 from Facebook)
The Gospel is the good news, News is only news when it is communicated. An un-preached Gospel is no Gospel at all. Its like a bottle of medicine with a lid on top and unless you remove the lid, the patient will die even if the medicine is next to his bed. there is a working principle between the work of God and the work of the Holy Spirit mentioned in Genesis 1. In the beginning the spirit was hovering over the waters, the thick darkness, the dense matter – it must have been absolutely frightening. The holy Spirit was hovering, hovering. How long must have been the holy spirit hovering – a billion years, a million years, a thousand years. I don’t know. But I know one thing nothing happened. Absolutely nothing happened, until verse 3. And God said let there be light. And there was light. And there.. you know what The Holy Spirit was waiting for the word. He cannot operate without the spoken word. That is the principle.
Our nation will be saved, our children will be saved, our relatives will be saved, but somebody has to go and speak the word of God. And when I say the word of God, I mean the word of God, because the Holy Spirit is not obliged to confirm political speeches nor explanations or arguments. The Holy Spirit confirms only the word of God spoken. We got to affirm Gods words in our situations not negative words. If you have to say to your child you are stupid, chances are they will turn out stupid, because words have power. If you want to see the original results, we got to preach the original message. Do what the apostles did and you will get what the apostles got. It is a tragedy Christians only preach the Gospel within the church – making it an evangelized piece of real estate. Because the worst of sinners are not inside the church and prayer group, yes maybe a handful – if you want to catch fish don’t throw the net into the bath tub. There is no fish there, if you want to catch fish you need to put the net out into deep waters.
(posted 7/12/15 from Our Daily Bread)
Read: Isaiah 48:16-22
"They did not thirst when He led them through the deserts." —Isaiah 48:21
Dry. Dusty. Dangerous. A desert. A place where there is little water, a place hostile to life. It’s not surprising, then, that the word deserted describes a place that is uninhabited. Life there is hard. Few people choose it. But sometimes we can’t avoid it.
In Scripture, God’s people were familiar with desert life. Much of the Middle East, including Israel, is desert. But there are lush exceptions, like the Jordan Valley and areas surrounding the Sea of Galilee. God chose to “raise His family” in a place surrounded by wilderness, a place where He could make His goodness known to His children as they trusted Him for protection and daily provision (Isa. 48:17-19).
Today, most of us don’t live in literal deserts, but we often go through desert-like places. Sometimes we go as an act of obedience. Other times we find ourselves there through no conscious choice or action. When someone abandons us, or disease invades our bodies, we end up in desert-like circumstances where resources are scarce and life is hard to sustain.
But the point of going through a desert, whether literally or figuratively, is to remind us that we are dependent on God to sustain us—a lesson we need to remember even when we’re living in a place of plenty. —Julie Ackerman Link
Are you living in a place of plenty or of need? In what ways is God sustaining you?
In every desert, God has an oasis of grace.
The other side of John 3:16
(A message posted 7/12/15 on Facebook)
Saints it's time to face some truths,Some people love Wickedness so much, they are willing to risk Hell for it,but thank God, some will get saved. Joh 3:19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
John 3:20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
John 3:21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God. /The other side of John 3:16
Never Separated from God
(posted 7/12/15 a message from Charles Spurgeon)
And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believeth thou this? (John 11:26)
Yes, Lord, we believe it; we shall never die. Our soul may be separated from our body, and this is death of a kind; but our soul shall never be separated from God, which is the true death—the death which was threatened to sin—the death penalty which is the worst that can happen. We believe this most assuredly, for who shall separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord? We are members of the Body of Christ; will Christ lose parts of His Body? We are married to Jesus; will He be bereaved and widowed? It is not possible. There is a life within us which is not capable of being divided from God: yea, and the Holy Spirit dwells within us, and how then can we die? Jesus, Himself, is our life, and therefore there is no dying for us, for He cannot die again, In Him we died unto sin once, and the capital sentence cannot a second time be executed. Now we live, and live forever. The reward of righteousness is life everlasting, and we have nothing less than the righteousness of God, and therefore can claim the very highest reward.
Living and believing, we believe that we shall live and enjoy. Wherefore we press forward with full assurance that our life is secure in our living Head.
(posted 7/11/15 and excerpt from John Dickson's article)
Obedience to God is not a formula for health, wealth, and happiness; often it brings suffering and pain. But the benefits of living God’s way in God’s world are real, as believers will usually testify.
To offer an analogy: I recently crossed a threshold in my skiing. For years I have been too proud to take lessons, content to carve up the slopes in my own effective but not exactly pretty style. In convincing my son to take a lesson last season, I somehow convinced myself it was my time, too. The lesson was a little frustrating at first. The technical way in which the instructor broke down the turn felt onerous—he had me concentrating on timing, edging, weight distribution on each foot, and so on, all at the same time. About halfway through the lesson something clicked. Turns began to take care of themselves. I was no longer fighting the boots, the skis, or the snow. I was free. It turns out the instructor’s directives were not “restrictions,” but paths to liberty in my favorite pastime.
Surfers say the same thing: there’s a moment when you do things just right and you become free on the wave. Singers echo the sentiment — only when you’re in time and in tune are you free. The analogies could be multiplied. The point is the same. God’s ways, embodied in his commandments to love him and those around us, are what we’re made for, and when we follow them, we are free in the true sense.
(posted 7/10/15 an article from Charles Stanley)
The Scriptures distinguish between two kinds of fear: healthy and unhealthy. For example, a protective type of anxiety helps prevent avoidable harm by warning us not to touch a hot stove or walk on thin ice. And we are commanded to have a proper fear of God. This includes an overwhelming sense of awe because of who He is—namely, Judge and sovereign King. It also involves a lifestyle of respectful obedience that honors Him.
Unhealthy fear causes us to feel tense, uncomfortable, or threatened. Its source may be a childhood experience or an authority figure’s repeated negative words. The feeling of distress becomes rooted in our thinking and colors our decision-making. Even when there’s no longer any basis for this anxiety, it may continue to inhibit us.
The imagination is also a source of fear. We can get caught up in “what if” thinking, such as, What if something goes wrong? or What if the outcome I want doesn’t come about?
This kind of agitation can block God’s best in our life. His purposes often require that we move beyond where we feel most comfortable. Learning new skills, changing jobs, or trying a different way of ministering to others could be part of what He expects. Such challenges present the opportunity to trust the Lord and obey Him.
Fear doesn’t come from God (2 Timothy 1:7). Let the Holy Spirit guide you from a place of disquiet into the freedom that is ours in Christ. There you will discover the ability to follow His plan without being hindered by overwhelming fear.
Faith is the victory!
(posted 7/10/15 from an article on Facebook)
The fight is a fight of faith. The struggle is a struggle to believe in Jesus and to trust in the power of the Spirit. All other struggles are doomed to failure without faith first. Faith is the victory. "Fight the good fight of faith," exhorted Paul (1 Timothy 6:12). He urged faith as our operational top priority: "Above all, [take] the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one" (Ephesians 6:16).
Faith puts you in the driver’s seat and it makes your Inner Mess shut up and go for the ride. Faith puts you in full possession of your faculties. It activates the power of Christ, responds to his Lordship, and puts you in fellowship with the Spirit. Exercise that muscular, yielded, mature faith, no matter how you feel. No matter what the outcomes. No matter what evidence to the contrary you may face.
(posted 7/9/15 from an article on Facebook)
"It was our loving Heavenly Father who said:
Gen 9:14 And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud:
He did not hide the fact that it was He who brought the cloud as well as the bow. The sorrow, the pain, the suffering, the parting, the difficulty are all from the hand of Him who loves us and gave Himself for us.
Though our frail hearts may cry out “why” the answer is clear from Him who loves us so - “Because it is best for you, my child.” For the heart that aches, for the one bowed down with grief, the bow in the cloud is there - He gave Himself for us. He knows the end from the beginning, and He alone knows what is good for us.
For the one who seeks and hears, He has spoken marvelous words of comfort. He said of His people in Egypt “I know their sorrows” and in the word He chose for “know” He tells us He knows by experience, by being there with us.
Think of it, He has never asked us to go where He has not gone, where He will not go with us. In deepest pain and sorrow we hear with the ears of faith, “fear not my child for I am with you.”
He is the author and finisher of our faith, He is working in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure, He promised absolutely never to leave us or cease to sustain us and uphold us, He knows the way we take and when He has proven us we shall come forth as nothing less than gold.
He is the one on whom we cast all our care for He careth for us, He who began a good work in us will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ, He lights our candle, He puts our tears in His bottle, and He has branded our names on the palms of His hands.
Dear one you are cuddled in the arms of the God of all comfort. He has never allowed anything to touch you that has not gone through His loving hands. Oh that we might say with Job, “though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.” Think of the words of Habakkuk:
Hab 3:17 Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls:
Hab 3:18 Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength. and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places. To the chief singer on my stringed instruments.
The text says that the Lord God is my strength, He makes my walk sure, and He is the overseer of my song. To trust in my strength is defeat, to rest in Him who does all things well is surety and song.
Rest in the greatness of our loving Father, think of it:
Numbers 23:19 God [is] not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do [it]? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?
Job 23:10 But he knoweth the way that I take: [when] he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.
Psalms 18:28 For thou wilt light my candle: the LORD my God will enlighten my darkness.
Psalms 18:30 [As for] God, his way [is] perfect: the word of the LORD is
tried: he [is] a buckler to all those that trust in him.
Ps 23:4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Psalms 56:8 Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle: [are they] not in thy book?
Ps 71:21 Thou shalt increase my greatness, and comfort me on every side.
Isa 26:3 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength:
Isa 40:28 Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
Isaiah 49:15 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.
Isaiah 49:16 Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of [my] hands; thy walls [are] continually before me.
John 14:1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
John 14:2 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.
John 14:3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, [there] ye may be also.
Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [his] purpose.
Romans 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? [shall] tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
I Corinthians 15:57 But thanks [be] to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
I Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
2Co 1:3 ¶ Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;
2Co 1:4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.
2Co 2:14 Now thanks [be] unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.
Eph 3:20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.
Philippians 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform [it] until the day of Jesus Christ:
Philippians 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Do all things without murmurings and disputings:
Philippians 4:6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
II Timothy 1:12 For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.
Hebrews 13:5 [Let your] conversation [be] without covetousness; [and be] content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
Hebrews 13:6 So that we may boldly say, The Lord [is] my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.
1Pe 1:7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
1 Pet 5:6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:
I Peter 5:7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
I Peter 5:10 But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle [you].
2 Pe 1:2 Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, according as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
2 Pe 1:4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust."
THE LANDMINE OF FEAR
(Posted 7/9/15 Charles Stanley)
The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the defense of my life; Whom shall I dread? When evildoers came upon me to devour my flesh, My adversaries and my enemies, they stumbled and fell. Though a host encamp against me, My heart will not fear; Though war arise against me, In spite of this I shall be confident. One thing I have asked from the LORD, that I shall seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the LORD And to meditate in His temple. ~ Psalms 27:1-4
Fear has been a part of man’s emotional makeup since the fall. When Adam and Eve rebelled against the Lord, they hid themselves from Him and were afraid (Genesis 3:10). Things haven’t changed much. Anxiety often affects our thinking and controls our actions. It can keep us boxed in and unwilling to venture into unknown territory.
Let truth help you defeat fear. Remember that God is . . .
Almighty. Through the Savior’s perfect life and His sacrifice on the cross, our two greatest enemies have been defeated—Satan and death. Jesus set us free from slavery to sin; the devil has lost control over our lives. What’s more, we no longer face eternal separation from God. Jesus’ physical death has become the gateway to heaven, where we can live with the Father forever.
Always with us. Though He called Abraham to move away from all that was familiar, the Lord Himself promised to remain nearby. In Matthew 28:20, Jesus gives us similar reassurance. Through the indwelling Holy Spirit, we as believers have God not only near us but also in us. Nothing can ever separate us from His love—not past mistakes, present circumstances, or difficult people (Romans 8:38-39).
Actively involved. God promises His help, and He always keeps His word. He knows what is happening in our lives and can turn hardships into a time of spiritual growth and ultimate blessing.
God Himself is the reason we should not be afraid. Grasp the truth of His power, presence, and involvement, and use them to disarm the landmine of fear.
Revisiting "Experiencing God" again!
(posted 7/8/15 by Ed Shagott)
His Love; His Gift; His
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. (John 3:16)
Knowing You Are Loved
As a boy I was always small for my age. I
was also five years younger than one of my brothers and seven years younger than
the other. As a result I often felt left out when their friends came over to
play. I was either too small or too young for whatever they were doing and they
didn’t want their younger brother listening in on their conversations either.
More often than not I found myself outside playing alone and feeling forgotten.
A quote from Charles
That man is no Christian who is not the
subject of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit; he may talk well, he may
understand theology and be a sound Calvinist; he will be the child of nature
finely dressed, but not the living child. He may be a man of so profound an
intellect, so gigantic a soul, so comprehensive a mind, and so lofty an
imagination, that he may dive into all the secrets of nature; may know the path
which the eagles eye hath not seen, and go into depths where the ken of mortals
reacheth not; but he shall not be a Christian with all his knowledge, he shall
not be a son of God with all his researches, unless he understands what it is to
have the Holy Ghost dwelling in him, and abiding in him, yea, and that for ever.
The most important
words you read in your whole life...
Are we listening?
Once there was a man who dared God to
speak, burn the bush like you did for Moses, God and I will follow. Collapse the
walls like you did for Joshua, God, and I will fight. Still the waters like you
did on Galilee, God, and I will listen. So the man sat by a bush, near a wall,
close to the sea and waited for God to speak. God heard the man, so God
answered, He sent spiritual fire not for a bush but for a church, He brought
down a wall not of brick but of sin, He stilled a storm not of the sea but of
souls. God waited for the man to respond and He waited and waited. But because
the man was looking at bushes, not hearts, bricks and not lives, seas and not
souls, he decided that God had done nothing. Finally he looked to God and asked
"Have you lost your power?" and God looked at him and said "Have you lost your
Women of God
We are already royalty as Daughters of The King, my prayer for all my sisters is that they will take more time to know our Wonderful, loving, Papa God, who alone knows our hearts and what is best for each one of us. I have too many times taken my own life in my hands, and not waited on Papa God and it never worked out right! Today I am content to wait upon Papa God, each day trusting Him! I've been looking over the course of my life and even when my choices were wrong...when I turned back to Him, drew closer, He redeemed even these! I've learned to turn away from this world, and keep my focus on the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness, for He is all the provision I need! He is loyal to us, and I want to be known for being loyal to Him! He loves us so much, and He is more than enough. The things of this world will never satisfy the longing in our heart that only He can fill!
Happy Birthday America!
America is celebrating her 239th birthday!
Our unprecedented freedom was the result of specific ideas, many of which were
drawn directly from the Bible. In fact, at the 150th anniversary celebration of
the Declaration of Independence, President Calvin Coolidge affirmed:
So enjoy the fireworks and parades and
celebration – but also make sure to honor and thank God – make it a day
celebrated "with solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty."
Good words to hear this 4th of July!
(posted 7/3/15 Facebook by James Rombough)
Those who love me, I will deliver; I will
protect those who know my name. When they call to me, I will answer them; I will
be with them in trouble, I will rescue them and honor them. With long life I
will satisfy them, and show them my salvation. (Psalm 91:14-16)
Is Christ in you?
You who live in the shelter of the Most High, who abide in the shadow of the
Almighty, will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress; my God in whom I
trust.” You will not fear the terror of the night, or the arrow that flies by
day, or the pestilence that stalks in darkness, or the destruction that wastes
at noonday. Because you have made the Lord your refuge, the Most High your
dwelling place, no evil shall befall you, no scourge come near your tent. For he
will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. On their
hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a
stone. (Psalm 91:1-2,5-6,9-12)
Those who love me, I will deliver; I will
protect those who know my name. When they call to me, I will answer them; I will
be with them in trouble, I will rescue them and honor them. With long life I
will satisfy them, and show them my salvation. (Psalm 91:14-16)
A message from Max
In 1882 in New York City, Joseph Richardson
owned a narrow strip of land 5 feet wide and 104 feet long. Next door was a
normal-sized lot owned by a man who wanted to erect an apartment building. He
offered Richardson $1,000 for his plot. Deeply offended, Richardson demanded
$5,000 which the builder refused to pay. The builder built the apartment
building, assuming the slender lot would remain vacant and the view exposed. But
Richardson built a house instead—blocking the view! Dubbed the “Spite House”,
Richardson spent the last fourteen years of his life in the narrow residence
that seemed to fit his narrow state of mind.
Revenge builds a lonely, narrow house.
Space enough for one person. No wonder God insists we “keep a sharp eye out for
the weeds of bitter discontent!” (Heb. 12:14-17).
A Word About Faith
A message from Franklin Graham
(posted from his Facebook page 6-29-15)
The President had the White House lit up in rainbow colors to celebrate the Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage. This is outrageous—a real slap in the face to the millions of Americans who do not support same-sex marriage and whose voice is being ignored. God is the one who gave the rainbow, and it was associated with His judgment. God sent a flood to wipe out the entire world because mankind had become so wicked and violent. One man, Noah, was found righteous and escaped God’s judgment with his family. The rainbow was a sign to Noah that God would not use the flood again to judge the world. But one day God is going to judge sin—all sin. Only those who are found righteous will be able to escape His judgment. That righteousness comes through faith, believing on the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ who took our sins and shed His blood on the cross for each and every one. So, when we see the gay pride rainbow splashed on business advertisements and many people’s Facebook pages, may it remind all of us of God’s judgment to come. Are you ready? Are your sins forgiven?
CONSIDER LOT AND
REMEMBER HIS WIFE
Another message from Franklin Graham
(posted from his Facebook page 6-26-15)
The Supreme Court of the United States has ruled today that same-sex marriage is legal in all 50 states. With all due respect to the court, it did not define marriage, and therefore is not entitled to re-define it.
To hear what Anne Graham Lotz said about it click here: http://www.annegrahamlotz.org/2015/06/26/is-same-sex-marriage-the-trigger/
A message from Franklin Graham
(posted from his Facebook page 6-25-15)
President Barack Obama was right about one thing in the speech he gave at a Gay Pride event he hosted in the White House yesterday. He said, “There has been an incredible shift in attitudes across the country.” That’s true—but it is definitely not a shift for the good of America. The shift in attitudes he refers to is the moral decline we are seeing manifest daily around us. Accepting wrong as right—accepting sin as something to be proud of. Yes, that’s definitely a shift. Should we be surprised that he thanked the LGBT community for all that they had helped him accomplish during his time as president? He said, “A lot of what we’ve accomplished over these last six and a half years has been because of you.” He also noted there were two states where gay marriage was legal when he took office, but now there are 37. The President is leading this nation on a sinful course, and God will judge him and us as a nation if we don’t repent.
A Christian's Life
I found this article on the Bible Gateway website. While reading it I thought it would be worthwhile to post on our church website for all to see. It was written by Andy Rau in reference to Colossians 3:1-17. I thought this really describes what a Christian's life should be.
God bless. Ed Shagott
Do habits and impulses from that “old self”
still tempt you—and if so, how do you respond when they do?
What do you think the phrase “your life is
hidden with Christ in God” means?
Is the final paragraph in this passage a description of your life and attitude right now?
What needs to happen in order for this
joyful peace to become real in your life?
A Healing Prayer for
Heavenly Father, we thank you for your living Word. You said that your word is life to those who find it and medicine to all their flesh. Today, by our confession we apply your Word to our bodys by giving voice to it.
You said in Psalm 139:14 that we are fearfully made and that your works are marvelous. We declare that we are created by you and we are marvelous creations.
We speak to sickness and disease today and proclaim that according to Philippians 2:10 that they must bow down to the mighty name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Every name in heaven, on earth and under the earth bows its knee to Jesus' name.
We speak to our bodys today and declare that we have authority over it. We command it to receive the Word of God. Matthew 8:17 proclaims that Jesus bore our sicknesses and took our infirmities.
Heavenly Father, we thank you that the same spirit that raised Jesus from the dead dwells in us and makes alive our mortal body.
We speak to our immune system and command it to line up with the Word of God. Our immune system will destroy sickness and disease in our body’s and perform its job; for this is what God created it to do.
We thank you Father that every cell in our body responds to Your Word. Your Word permeates our body from the top of our head to the bottom of our feet. We confess that the Word of God is being made flesh in us.
Psalm 103:3 declares that You Father, forgave all our iniquities and healed all of our diseases. Father, that is Your confession and we make it our confession also. We don't judge by the sight of our eyes, we judge by Your living Word. It is your Word that lives in us and brings health and healing to every part of our body.
Healing is ours because Jesus paid the price two thousand years ago. God so loved us that he gave His Son to die on the cross so that we could experience life on God's terms. His abundant life manifesting in us, making us whole--body, soul and spirit. Amen.
Dear Heavenly Father,
I thank You for Your Word. Because of it I know I don't have to be anxious or worry about anything because in everything by prayer and humbleness, of course with thanksgiving, I can come to You with all my needs and concerns. (Phil 4:6) I know I can more than conquer through Christ Jesus that loves me. (Rom 8:37) I know all things work out for the best for those who love You and that are called for Your purpose (Rom 8:28) and I can do all things through Your Son Jesus who strengthens me. (Phil 4:13)
Father how awesome it is to know that before I was formed (Jer 1:5), You knew me, and that You will never leave me or forsake me. (Heb 13:5) Thank You that because of Jesus I am a new creature (2Cor 5:17) being not conformed to this world, for I want to be good, pleasing to Your perfect will. (Rom 12:2)
May I always walk by faith and not by sight (2Cor 5:7) through these worldly eyes. For it is this faith that it is written in Your Word that can move any mountains (Mat 17:20) that keep me from You, for You supply all my needs to Your riches and glory! (Phil 4:19)
May I always strive to love my brother and sister and not pass judgment on them (Rom 14:10) for I know one day every knee shall bow and every tongue confess to Jesus (Rom 14:11) and all will give an account about ourselves to You. (Rom 14:12)
Finally Father I pray that all may come to know You, because of the Precious Blood of Your Son, so that they will not hear Jesus say, I never knew you! Depart from Me! (Mat 17:23)
I pray all this in Jesus Holy Name,
The Holy Spirit and the Word
"When it comes to the Holy Spirit,
Christians tend to gravitate toward one of two extremes. Some pursue experience
in the Spirit apart from the inscripturated Word of God. They listen for voices
in their hearts or seek "signs" from God in the heavens. Others, however, seek
to know and obey the Word without any tangible interaction with the Spirit.
These Christians believe in the Spirit, but they relate to Him the way I relate
to my pituitary gland: I'm really grateful that it's there; I know it's
essential for something; I would never want to lose it...but I don't really
interact with it. For these Christians, the Holy Spirit is not a moving, dynamic
person. He's more of a theory.
THE SILENT SERMON
Fullness of God
. . . and to know the Love of CHRIST which
surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the FULLNESS of GOD.
And He (Jesus) withdrew himself into the
wilderness, and prayed. John 5:16
The Essence of Redeeming Time
There is enough going on in our personal
lives to keep us from engaging in any serious Kingdom business. Granted, we are
living in very difficult and challenging times and only the gravely insensitive
can fail to register the seriousness of the circumstances that surround us. But
if all we do is preoccupy ourselves with our day to day challenges and
difficulties, we will be doing just what the devil would have us do at the
expense of attending to serious life and death issues. There are far too many
souls severely bound, blinded, abused, confused and misguided by the enemy and
altogether headed for death and destruction for us to remain distracted by our
personal interests. No one knows better than the devil how short the time to the
end is. As the light of the world, we ought to redeem time by reaching out to
the lost and going about our Father’s business fully conscious of the fact that
the time remaining is very short indeed. Let us do the works of Him that sent us
while it is still day, for the night cometh when we won’t be able to work again.
Let us work fast and redeem the time we have already lost!
SOMEONE’S IN THE KITCHEN WITH MARTHA
Martha has gotten a bad rap. Remember, she
was the one who complained to Jesus that her sister, Mary, was not helping with
the kitchen duties and serving the guests like she was. Martha was working hard
and Mary was just sitting at the feet of Jesus. (John 10). But, Martha must have
been paying attention to what Jesus was saying, because later when her brother,
Lazarus died, she made some outstanding statements to the Lord.
WHATEVER HAPPENED TO DISCERNMENT?
We have lost sight of what the first
Christians seemed to know so well, that it is important for believers to
exercise discernment. Indeed, it is of such importance that the apostle Paul
understood “spiritual discernment” as a spiritual gift in itself (1 Cor. 12:10).
Discernment is a Bible MANDATE that cannot be ignored by Christians claiming to
walk in the light of the faith.
The Surrendered Will
Years ago I had a vision in which I saw a dam. On
one side was a mighty river,
I knew instinctively that those cracks in the wall
represented “broken” men and
This is exactly what Jesus demonstrated when He was on
earth. “Not my will, but
First, the kingdom was inside of Him because He was
perfectly submitted to His
The Greek term seek is an action word. It is ongoing and
continuous. This is
As we travel on the journey of discovering God’s will,
the narrow road cuts
When God told Gideon he would become a mighty deliverer
of Israel—and Gideon
Paul, speaking about the power of God, says in 2
Corinthians 4:7, “But we have
Living and working under the
fullness of the Holy Spirit!
What profit is it to tell men that they may be filled with the Spirit of God, if, when they ask us, “Has God done it for you?” we have to answer, “No, He has not done it”? What profit is it for me to tell men that Jesus Christ can dwell within us every moment, and keep us from sin and actual transgression, and that the abiding presence of God can be our portion all the day, if I wait not upon God first to do it truly and full day by day?
I can only communicate to others what God has imparted to me. If my life as a minister be a life in which the flesh still greatly prevails—if my life be a life in which I grieve the Spirit of God, I cannot expect but that my people will receive through me a very mingled kind of life. But if the life of God dwell in me, and I am filled with His power, then I can hope that the life that goes out from me may be infused into my hearers too.
The first business of a clergyman, when he sees men awakened and brought to Christ, is to lead them on to know the Holy Spirit. The first duty of every clergyman is to humbly ask God that all that he wants done in his hearers may be first fully and truly done in himself.” And the second thing is his duty towards those who are awakened and brought to Christ, to lead them on to the full knowledge of the presence and indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
Now, if we are indeed to come into full harmony with these two great principles,
then there come to us some further questions of the very deepest importance. And
the first questions is:—“Why is it that there is in the church of Christ so
little practical acknowledgment of the power of the Holy Ghost?” I am not
speaking to you, brethren, as if I thought you were not sound in doctrine on
this point. I speak to you as believing in the Holy Ghost as the third person in
the ever-blessed Trinity.
Beloved, for God’s sake, be content with nothing less than full health and full spiritual life. “Be filled with the Spirit.” Eph. 5:18
Return to the beginning statement: The first duty of every clergyman is humbly
to ask of God that all that he wants done in those who hear his preaching may be
first truly and fully done in himself.” Brethren, I ask you, is it not the
longing of your hearts to have a congregation of believers filled with the Holy