Daily Archives: March 21, 2015

Be Faithful As God Is Faithful

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1 Corinthians 10:12-13

Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall. No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.

Hebrews 4:14-16

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Identified or Simply Interested?

From: Utmost.org

The inescapable spiritual need each of us has is the need to sign the death certificate of our sin nature. I must take my emotional opinions and intellectual beliefs and be willing to turn them into a moral verdict against the nature of sin; that is, against any claim I have to my right to myself. Paul said, “I have been crucified with Christ….” He did not say, “I have made a determination to imitate Jesus Christ,” or, “I will really make an effort to follow Him” —but— “I have been identified with Him in His death.” Once I reach this moral decision and act on it, all that Christ accomplished for me on the Cross is accomplished in me. My unrestrained commitment of myself to God gives the Holy Spirit the opportunity to grant to me the holiness of Jesus Christ.

“…it is no longer I who live….” My individuality remains, but my primary motivation for living and the nature that rules me are radically changed. I have the same human body, but the old satanic right to myself has been destroyed.

“…and the life which I now live in the flesh,” not the life which I long to live or even pray that I live, but the life I now live in my mortal flesh— the life which others can see, “I live by faith in the Son of God….” This faith was not Paul’s own faith in Jesus Christ, but the faith the Son God had given to him (see Ephesians 2:8). It is no longer a faith in faith, but a faith that transcends all imaginable limits— a faith that comes only from the Son of God.

Your Faithful Friend?

From: Getmorestrength.org

“For great is your love, reaching to the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies” Psalm 57:10

Junior high school can be one long intensive seminar on drama in relationships. I am convinced that any psychological malfunction in my life today is directly traceable to those two years of school. Okay, maybe it’s not quite that dramatic, but junior high did teach me a little about fickle friendships.

I was minding my own business when one of Nancy’s friends came up to me and announced, “Hey, did you know that Nancy likes you?” To be honest, I had never given Nancy a second thought until that moment, but suddenly I was intrigued. My male ego was suddenly stirred and I liked the idea of being liked! So I passed my message back through the string of friends that had conveyed the message to me. That is, of course, how junior high romance works. I told my friend, who told another friend, who told Nancy’s friend, who then passed the message back to her.

“Joe says that he likes you too!”

But by the time my message got back to Nancy, she no longer liked me! For the first time I was singed by the fickle flames of romance.

A lot of our friendships are like that, aren’t they? We look back across the landscape of life and see different friends popping up here and there—our buddies from junior high, the girl we took to the prom in high school, the college roommates, the co-worker from the cubicle next to us. We realize quickly that many of those friendships, often consumingly important at the time, fade into dim memories leaving us thinking, “I wonder what happened to…”

Even more disconcerting is realizing how fickle we are in friendships. In honest moments, we could list the people we no longer get in touch with, or the phone calls we don’t return. In life, solid, faithful-to-the-core friendships are few and far between.

I wonder if you and I bring that same dynamic into our relationship with Jesus? When we first meet Jesus, He is everything to us! But as time wears on, we tend to drift away. When was the last time He heard from you? When was the last time you sat down to hear His voice and fellowship with Him?  As the old saying goes: ”If God seems far away, guess who moved!” You may have gone on to other interests, but thankfully He hasn’t lost interest in you. He, more than anyone else, remains there waiting for you as your faithful friend!

The psalmist often sings of God’s undying love for us. And I need to tell you that it’s not the kind of love that rides on emotions or favors. It is an expression of God’s enduring, rock-solid commitment to you as His beloved, and it is often linked, as it is here in Psalm 57:10, with His unfailing faithfulness. In fact, the psalmist literally cannot get his mind around the extensiveness of God’s love and faithfulness, conceding finally that God’s love “reaches to the heavens” and His faithfulness “reaches to the skies.” In other words, it is without limit and without end.

So when you receive word that God loves you, please know that it is not a junior high school fickle, fleeting kind of love. It is a life-changing, eternally satisfying offer of a fulfilling friendship with your Creator. Today He stands knocking at your door wanting to come in and spend some quality time with you (Revelation 3:20). Go ahead, open the door of your heart—it’s your faithful friend!

 

MARCH 20, 2015From: Crosswalk.comDon’t Miss the Glory
LEAH DIPASCAL

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge.” Psalm 19:1-2 (NIV)

When I was a little girl, on lazy days my mother would spread an old, worn blanket in our small front yard. I’d lie there for what seemed like hours, daydreaming about all sorts of wonderful things.

Surrounded by a blended fragrance of honeysuckle and fresh-cut grass, I’d close my eyes as the gentle breeze blew through my strawberry blonde bangs. The summer heat would sizzle my forehead as I aimlessly swatted at the garden gnats that were stirred up because of my unannounced intrusion.

Gazing at the skies, I’d count the clouds and watch them slowly glide across the blue canopy stretched out above me. One by one, I’d imagine those enormous puffy shapes to be all the things I loved: birthday balloons, fluffy stuffed animals and heart-shaped boxes.

When I reminisce about those days on the front lawn, it brings back such sweet memories. Peaceful moments that felt simple and carefree. No place to go and no reason to rush. I was content to just rest and take in the beauty of God’s creation.

My days look quite different now. Maybe yours do, too. Let’s face the facts: there will always be errands to run, commitments to fill and good reasons to rush. If we’re not intentional, we will miss the opportunities to experience the beauty of God’s creation.

So let me ask you … when was the last time you paused for a moment and noticed the clouds above you? Or watched the sky explode with color as the sun gently sank into the horizon? When was the last time you noticed birds singing first thing in the morning or counted the stars at night?

I know. It sounds like a luxury, doesn’t it? After all, who has time for that sort of thing? Life is busy. There’s so much to do.

Sky gazing is for children who have all the time in the world, or for teenagers who zone out in English class as they stare out the window, right? Well, not exactly …

Today’s key verses tells a different story: “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge” (Psalm 19:1-2).

When we look at the skies above, we can clearly see evidence of God’s glory as written in the Scriptures. God alone created the heavens and earth so that all living things would rejoice in His splendor.

But many of us rarely take time to notice. To pause and marvel at the vast beauty of His creation. What could be more important than experiencing the revelation of God’s glory?

The sun illuminates at His spoken command, and the stars are formed with magnificent perfection. The galaxies were created by His grand approval. Not a single cloud moves without His direction.

The Lord takes pleasure in all He has made, so let us marvel at the greatness of His creation. Let’s be sure to give God all the glory He deserves.

Let the earth rejoice and be glad! Let the heavens sing out His praises! Let the sea bow before Him as the waves reveal His wonder! Let every voice lift high the holy name of our Lord Almighty! For He is worthy!

Dear God, thank You for creating the heavens to declare Your glory and the skies to proclaim the work of Your almighty hands. Help me to have a greater awareness of Your creation and to pause throughout my day to celebrate the grandeur of it all. For You are worthy of all glory. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

The glorious gospel

From: Biblegateway.com

“This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” 1 Timothy 1:15

Suggested Further Reading: Luke 5:17-32

Do you see that spirit yonder—foremost among the ranks, most sweetly singing the praises of God? Do you mark it robed in white, an emblem of its purity? Do you see it as it casts its crown before the feet of Jesus, and acknowledges him the Lord of all? Hark! Do you hear it as it sings the sweetest song that ever charmed Paradise itself? Listen to it, its song is this:

“I, the chief of sinners am,
But Jesus died for me.”

“Unto him that loved me, and washed me from my sins in his blood, unto him be glory and honour, and majesty, and power, and dominion, world without end.” And who is that whose song thus emulates the seraph’s strain? The same person who a little while ago was so frightfully depraved, the self-same man! But he has been washed, he has been sanctified, he has been justified. If you ask me, then, what is meant by salvation, I tell you that it reaches all the way from that poor, desperately fallen piece of humanity, to that high-soaring spirit up yonder, praising God. That is to be saved—to have our old thoughts made into new ones; to have our old habits broken off, and to have new habits given; to have our old sins pardoned, and to have righteousness imputed; to have peace in the conscience, peace to man, and peace with God; to have the spotless robe of imputed righteousness cast about our loins, and ourselves healed and cleansed. To be saved is to be rescued from the gulf of perdition; to be raised to the throne of heaven; to be delivered from the wrath, and curse, and the thunders of an angry God, and brought to feel and taste the love, the approval, and applause of Jehovah, our Father and our Friend. And all this Christ gives to sinners.

For meditation: Do you get tired of the simple Gospel? Are you saved?

Sermon no. 184
21 March (1858)

 

Work

From: Biblegateway.com

‘I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.’ John 9:4

Suggested Further Reading: 1 Peter 4:7–11

There are ten thousand actions good in themselves, which it might not be right for me to choose as my vocation in life. I know a great many persons who think it is their business to preach, but who had much better make it their business to hear for a little while longer. We know some who think it is their business to take the headship of a class, but who might be amazingly useful by giving away some tracts, or by taking a seat in a class themselves for a little while. The fact is, that we are not to pick and choose the path of Christian service which we are to walk in, but we are to do the work of him that sent us; and our object should be, as there is so much work to be done, to find out what part of the work the Master would have us to do. Our prayer should be, ‘Show me what thou wouldst have me to do’—have me to do in particular; not what is generally right, but what is particularly right for me to do. My servant might, perhaps, think it a very proper thing for her to arrange my papers for me in my study, but I should feel but a very slender amount of gratitude to her. If, however, she will have a cup of coffee ready for me early in the morning, when I have to go out to a distant country town to preach, I shall be much more likely to appreciate her services. So, some friends think, ‘How I could get on if I were in such-and-such a position, if I were made a deacon, if I were elevated to such a post.’ Go your way, and work as your Master would have you. You will do better where he puts you than you will where you put yourself. You are no servant, indeed, at all, when you pick and choose your service.

For meditation: No Christian should try to be a square peg in a round hole. God must decide who does what and who goes where (Mark 10:37, 40). But no Christian is to be a peg without a hole. Each has received a gift and should be using it (1 Peter 4:10).