Category Archives: Inspiration

Jesus Is Alive

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him.”

For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.

 

Image result for Pictures of the resurrectionImage result for Pictures of the resurrection
Image result for Pictures of the resurrectionImage result for Pictures of the resurrection
Image result for Pictures of the resurrectionImage result for Pictures of the resurrection

His Resurrection Destiny

From: Utmost.org

His Resurrection Destiny

Our Lord’s Cross is the gateway into His life. His resurrection means that He has the power to convey His life to me. When I was born again, I received the very life of the risen Lord from Jesus Himself.

Christ’s resurrection destiny— His foreordained purpose— was to bring “many sons to glory” (Hebrews 2:10). The fulfilling of His destiny gives Him the right to make us sons and daughters of God. We never have exactly the same relationship to God that the Son of God has, but we are brought by the Son into the relation of sonship. When our Lord rose from the dead, He rose to an absolutely new life— a life He had never lived before He was God Incarnate. He rose to a life that had never been before. And what His resurrection means for us is that we are raised to His risen life, not to our old life. One day we will have a body like His glorious body, but we can know here and now the power and effectiveness of His resurrection and can “walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4). Paul’s determined purpose was to “know Him and the power of His resurrection” (Philippians 3:10).

Jesus prayed, “…as You have given Him authority over all flesh that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him” (John 17:2). The term Holy Spirit is actually another name for the experience of eternal life working in human beings here and now. The Holy Spirit is the deity of God who continues to apply the power of the atonement by the Cross of Christ to our lives. Thank God for the glorious and majestic truth that His Spirit can work the very nature of Jesus into us, if we will only obey Him.

“For God’s Sake!”

From: Our Daily Journey

“For God’s Sake!”

Read:

Joel 1:1-20
Lord, help us! . . . Even the wild animals cry out to you (Joel 1:19-20).

As I read the news account of the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that rocked Ecuador in 2016, the exclamation of one young man stood out: “For God’s sake, help me find my family!”

“For God’s sake . . .”

Those words can certainly be used wrongly—taking the Lord’s name in vain. Yet, while I have no way of knowing if the young man has a relationship with God, it occurred to me that we so often invoke His name when calamity strikes. And since we’re made in His image (Genesis 1:27), to cry out for the sake of others can truly be for His sake.

The plaintive cry of the young man reminds me of an exclamation from the lips of Joel: “Lord, help us!” (Joel 1:19). Judah, the prophet’s nation, had been decimated by two natural disasters—an overwhelming swarm of locusts had eaten everything in their path and a drought had turned what remained to dust (Joel 1:6,12). The physical destruction—mirroring the nation’s spiritual condition—was devastating (Joel 1:14-15).

Joel, whose name means “the Lord (Yahweh) is God,” had been called to deliver God’s solemn message to the people of Judah (Joel 1:1-2). A two-pronged response was prescribed: Cry in grief and call out to God for relief.

These two reactions can lead to help and restoration when we confront pain. Perhaps someone close to us has taken her last breath. Or we’ve witnessed the ruthless slaughter of innocents. Or the disease has returned . . .

In genuine mourning and heartfelt prayer, we can draw close to God whose love “never ends.” But we may need to “lie face down in the dust” to once again find “hope at last” (Lamentations 3:22,29). For our sake, God meets us in our suffering and leads us through the fire and rubble to the joy that lies ahead.

 

A Shepherd for Life

From: Our Daily Bread

A Shepherd for Life

God . . . has been my shepherd all my life to this day. Genesis 48:15

When my son changed grades in school he cried, “I want my teacher for life!” We had to help him realize that changing teachers is a part of life. We may wonder: Is there any relationship that can last a lifetime?

Jacob, the patriarch, found out there is one. After living through many dramatic changes and losing loved ones along the way, he realized there had been a constant presence in his life. He prayed, “May the God . . . who has been my shepherd all my life to this day . . . bless these boys” (Gen. 48:15–16).

Jacob had been a shepherd, so he compared his relationship to God as that of a shepherd and his sheep. From the time a sheep is born through its growth to old age the shepherd cares for it day and night. He guides it during the day and protects it during the night. David, also a shepherd, had the same conviction, but he highlighted the eternal dimension to it when he said, “I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever” (Ps. 23:6).

Changing teachers is a part of life. But how good it is to know that we can have a relationship for life. The Shepherd has promised to be with us every day of our earthly existence (Matt. 28:20). And when life here ends, we will be closer to Him than ever.

Father, I thank You for being the Shepherd of my life. I praise Your faithfulness.

God never abandons us.

Get Rid Of Painful Baggage

 

Rest for the Weary     Matthew 11:28
27  All things have been entrusted to Me by My Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him.

28  Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

29  Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.…

 

(People carrying luggage or baggage).

Image result for pictures of people and suitcasesImage result for pictures of people and suitcases
Image result for pictures of people and suitcasesImage result for pictures of people and suitcases
Image result for pictures of people and suitcasesImage result for pictures of people and suitcases
Image result for pictures of people and suitcasesImage result for pictures of people and suitcases

Unloading the Baggage

From: Get More Strength

“Throw off anything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.” Hebrews 12:1

I boarded the plane in Chicago with too much baggage. Not the kind of baggage you stow in the overhead compartment or squash under the seat in front of you. Not even the kind you check in at the airline desk. This was the kind of baggage that weighs your heart down and that, if carried around, leaves you emotionally and spiritually exhausted. An unexpected attack from a trusted friend had left me deeply upset and really confused about how to respond.

As the flight attendants went through their pre-flight checklist, I was lost in thought world thinking through all my options. Feeling betrayed and unjustly wronged, I had a long list of possibilities—the kind of responses that seemed very natural to my fallen heart—but they were the types of choices that were wrapped in the old revenge, self-protection, and “I don’t get mad, I just get even” kind of stuff.

As we taxied out to the runway, I knew I needed a second opinion. So I simply prayed, “God, I need you to talk to me. I desperately need your wisdom. You brought this into my life for a purpose, but I don’t know what to do next.”

As the plane climbed, I began to feel closer to God. Not physically closer (although praying above the clouds at 35,000 feet does lend a different perspective), but spiritually closer as He began to share His wisdom with me from Matthew 5. My natural thoughts and desires to fight back and demand my rights were replaced with Jesus’ instruction to “turn the other cheek,” to “go the extra mile,” to “bless those who curse me” (Matthew 5:38-48).

Of course, my human nature continued to argue for a while. “But, God, I’ll feel so weak. I’ll feel like a pushover, a weakling. I need to fight for myself.” The reality is, my pride wanted to keep the baggage. My ego wanted to hang on to the situation and try to deal with it through human, natural, flawed means. Trusting the Lord’s wisdom would mean that I no longer had control of the situation.

But God in His grace reminded me of the surrender of Christ on the cross. He drew me to the fact that, for Jesus, the path to glory was the path of surrender and letting go. The one who is the Lion of Judah is also the Lamb that was slain. And God drew me to that point of decision once again. Was I going to manage this situation to my advantage or was I going to release it, in trust and obedience, to Him?

I am thankful to say that when the plane landed in New York, I left some baggage on it. I walked through the terminal without the heaviness of heart that comes from fighting for my own rights. I headed for my hotel free of the weight of bitterness that the enemy was trying to stir up in my soul. God had renewed my strength and the weariness was gone.

Let me invite you to the privilege of waiting on the Lord. As Isaiah 40:28 reminds us, God never grows weary. His wisdom never runs out. His power, His might, and His truth are available and accessible to His children. You don’t need to walk another step with that load of fear, guilt, anger, bitterness, or confusion.

Check your carry-on baggage. Surrender it to Him and then seek His wisdom to strengthen and direct you.

It makes the journey so much more enjoyable!

 

Why We Lack Understanding

From: Utmost.org

Why We Lack Understanding

As the disciples were commanded, you should also say nothing until the Son of Man has risen in you— until the life of the risen Christ so dominates you that you truly understand what He taught while here on earth. When you grow and develop the right condition inwardly, the words Jesus spoke become so clear that you are amazed you did not grasp them before. In fact, you were not able to understand them before because you had not yet developed the proper spiritual condition to deal with them.

Our Lord doesn’t hide these things from us, but we are not prepared to receive them until we are in the right condition in our spiritual life. Jesus said, “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now” (John 16:12). We must have a oneness with His risen life before we are prepared to bear any particular truth from Him. Do we really know anything about the indwelling of the risen life of Jesus? The evidence that we do is that His Word is becoming understandable to us. God cannot reveal anything to us if we don’t have His Spirit. And our own unyielding and headstrong opinions will effectively prevent God from revealing anything to us. But our insensible thinking will end immediately once His resurrection life has its way with us.

“…tell no one….” But so many people do tell what they saw on the Mount of Transfiguration— their mountaintop experience. They have seen a vision and they testify to it, but there is no connection between what they say and how they live. Their lives don’t add up because the Son of Man has not yet risen in them. How long will it be before His resurrection life is formed and evident in you and in me?

 

Good Words

From: Our Daily Journey

Good Words

Read:

Romans 12:9-16
You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak (James 1:19).

In the summer of 2016, a two-year-old was snatched by an alligator as he waded into a lagoon at an amusement park resort. His father tried desperately, without success, to rescue the boy from the alligator. A frantic search for the child ensued, but tragically, a few days later, divers recovered the toddler’s lifeless body.

When news of what happened became public, some immediately took to social media to express sorrow and to offer condolences to the grieving family. But others accused the parents of irresponsibility and expressed cruel sentiments such as, “I would never let that happen to my child.” I was taken aback by the mean-spiritedness of some of those who commented on social media. They wasted no time in finding fault and in heaping scorn upon parents who were in the midst of grief and agony over the loss of their little one.

Since I’m on the care staff at my church, I’m often at the bedside of those who are sick or dying. I also visit those who have experienced other kinds of personal and familial crises. Even if the person or one of the family members I’m visiting is clearly at fault for a tragedy that occurred, I’ve learned that there’s a “time to be quiet and a time to speak” (Ecclesiastes 3:7). It goes hand in hand with James 1:19 where we’re told to be “quick to listen, slow to speak.”

I’m continually reminded that our attitudes and behaviors are to reflect those of Jesus—the One who does not “crush the weakest reed or put out a flickering candle” (Matthew 12:20). There’s a right time and a wrong time to dole out advice. In the meantime, may God give us the wisdom to “be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15).

 

Sitting Still

Streams in the Desert

Their strength is to sit still. (Isa. 30:7).

In order really to know God, inward stillness is absolutely necessary. I remember when I first learned this. A time of great emergency had risen in my life, when every part of my being seemed to throb with anxiety, and when the necessity for immediate and vigorous action seemed overpowering; and yet circumstances were such that I could do nothing, and the person who could, would not stir.

For a little while it seemed as if I must fly to pieces with the inward turmoil, when suddenly the still small voice whispered in the depths of my soul, “Be still, and know that I am God.” The word was with power, and I hearkened. I composed my body to perfect stillness, and I constrained my troubled spirit into quietness, and looked up and waited; and then I did “know” that it was God, God even in the very emergency and in my helplessness to meet it; and I rested in Him.

It was an experience that I would not have missed for worlds; and I may add also, that out of this stillness seemed to arise a power to deal with the emergency, that very soon brought it to a successful issue. I learned then effectually that my “strength was to sit still.”
–Hannah Whitall Smith

There is a perfect passivity which is not indolence. It is a living stillness born of trust. Quiet tension is not trust. It is simply compressed anxiety.

Not in the tumult of the rending storm,
Not in the earthquake or devouring flame;
But in the hush that could all fear transform,
The still, small whisper to the prophet came.
0 Soul, keep silence on the mount of God,
Though cares and needs throb around thee like a sea;
From supplications and desires unshod,
Be still, and hear what God shall say to thee.
All fellowship hath interludes of rest,
New strength maturing in each poise of power;
The sweetest Alleluias of the blest
Are silent, for the space of half an hour.
0 rest, in utter quietude of soul,
Abandon words, leave prayer and praise awhile;
Let thy whole being, hushed in His control,
Learn the full meaning of His voice and smile.
Not as an athlete wrestling for a crown,
Not taking Heaven by violence of will;
But with thy Father as a child sit down,

And know the bliss that follows His “Be Still!”
–Mary Rowles Jarvis

Peace With God gives Satisfaction

(True satisfaction come from a heart that is at peace with God. This allows us to know the peace of God).
Stand Firm in the Lord    Philippians 4:7
6   Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
8   Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think on these things.
Image result for pictures of people looking satisfiedImage result for pictures of people looking satisfied
Image result for pictures of people looking satisfiedImage result for pictures of people looking satisfied

300 × 450 – 123rf.com
Image result for pictures of people looking satisfiedImage result for pictures of people looking satisfied
Image result for pictures of people looking satisfiedImage result for pictures of people looking satisfied

The Search For Satisfaction

[Written by Joe Stowell for Our Daily Bread.]

Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? —Isaiah 55:2

When it comes to jigsaw puzzles, we all know that to enjoy a satisfying outcome you need all the pieces. In many ways, life is like that. We spend our days putting it together, hoping to create a complete picture out of all the scattered parts.

Yet sometimes it seems like a piece is missing. Perhaps we’ve been pursuing the wrong pieces to the puzzle. Even though we may know that life without God at the center is a life that has lost the most important piece, do we live as though He isn’t particularly relevant? And even though we may attend church regularly, is He the throbbing center of our lives? Sometimes we grow accustomed to feeling distant from God. This makes it easier to sin, complicating the sense that something important is missing.

But no matter how far we may drift from God, He wants us near. He appealed to His people through the prophet Isaiah: “Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance” (Isa. 55:2).

If something is missing in your life, remember that God is the only One who can fully and abundantly satisfy you. Let Him complete the picture of your life.

The God-shaped void within our heart
Cannot be filled by treasure;
It’s only God who satisfies
In ways we cannot measure. —Sper

There’s a longing in every heart that only Jesus can satisfy.

 

What Lasts Forever?

From: Our Daily Bread

What Lasts Forever?

You remain the same, and your years will never end. Psalm 102:27

My friend, who had gone through many difficulties recently, wrote, “As I reflect on the past four semesters of student life, so many things have changed . . . . It is scary, really scary. Nothing stays forever.”

Indeed, many things can happen in two years—a career change, newfound friendship, illness, death. Good or bad, a life-altering experience may be lurking just around the corner, waiting to pounce! We simply don’t know. What great comfort, then, to know that our loving heavenly Father does not change.

The psalmist says, “You remain the same, and your years will never end” (Ps. 102:27). The implication of this truth is immense. It means that God is forever loving, just, and wise. As Bible teacher Arthur W. Pink so wonderfully states: “Whatever the attributes of God were before the universe was called into existence, they are precisely the same now, and will remain so forever.”

In the New Testament, James writes, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:17). In our changing circumstances, we can be assured that our good God will always be consistent to His character. He is the source of everything good, and everything He does is good.

It may seem that nothing lasts forever, but our God will remain consistently good to those who are His own.

Lord, You are the One who never changes, and You are so good to us. Calm our hearts today with the grace and peace that come only from You.

The One who holds the universe together will not let go of you.

 

Into the Dark Unknown

From: Our Daily Journey.org

Into the Dark Unknown

Read:

Job 4:12-15
Fear gripped me, and my bones trembled (Job 4:14).

At the outset of World War II, a man—who would eventually rescue 669 children from Nazi slaughter—helped two Jewish boys secure passage on a train escaping Czechoslovakia. After the war, the boys received a final letter from their parents who had died in a concentration camp.

Here are a few lines: The time has therefore come . . . for us to ask you to become good men. . . . You took a piece of your poor parents’ hearts with you. . . . [You have heard] about the hard fate of all our loved ones. We too will not be spared and will go bravely into the unknown, with the hope that we shall yet see you again when God wills. Don’t forget us, and be good.

We can only imagine the agony the parents experienced as they penned those lines and the boys’ convulsing sorrow as they read them. I have no words to assuage this grief.

I do know, however, that the Bible doesn’t ignore this kind of anguish. In a most distressing narrative, Scripture recounts how Job lost his children, his wealth, and his reputation as a God-fearing man (Job 1:14-19, 22:4-5). His ruin was so immense that when his friends came to visit him, they hardly recognized him (Job 2:12).

Though he endured much confusion and grief, Job refused to turn from his Creator. Although he would “curse the day of his birth,” he would not reject God even when his wife prodded him to do exactly that—to “curse God and die” (Job 2:9). Job believed God was present in the ruins as much as in the blessings (Job 1:21).

Like Job, many of us will face terrible sorrows, but God will be with us even there. We may face hardship and despair, and we may have no answers or consolation. But God is with us, even in the dark unknown (Romans 8:38-39).

God Is With Us

 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. —Galatians 2:20

God is like a co-pilot. Except, He is with us always and loves us eternally.

  • The cockpit of modern jet airplane. Aircraft flies above the city landscape and river. Pilots at work.
  • Italy, female pilot in an airplane's cockpit
  • Flight Deck of modern aircraft. Pilots at work. Sunset view from the plane cockpit.
  • Pilots in an airplane cockpit

Our Co-Pilot?

[Written by Joe Stowell for Our Daily Bread.]

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. —Galatians 2:20

The bumper sticker “Jesus is my co-pilot” may be a well-intentioned sentiment, but it has always troubled me. Whenever I’m in the driver’s seat of my life, the destination is nowhere good. Jesus is not meant to be just a spiritual “co-pilot” giving directions every now and then. He is always meant to be in the driver’s seat. Period!

We often say that Jesus died for us, which of course is true. But there’s more to it than that. Because Jesus died on the cross, something inside of us died—the power of sin. It’s what Paul meant when he said, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me” (Gal. 2:20). We were essentially co-crucified with Him. With Jesus in the driver’s seat, the old destinations are off-limits. No more turning down the streets of self-centeredness, greed, or lust. No more off-road ventures into the swamp of pride or the ditch of bitterness. We were crucified with Him and He is at the wheel now! He died so that He alone can drive and define us.

So, if you’ve died and Christ lives in you, He’s not your co-pilot. Your joy is to let Him drive and define your life. There may be a few bumps in the road, but you can count on it—He’ll take you somewhere good.

Lord, I thank You for salvation,
For Your mercy, full and free;
Take my all in consecration,
Glorify Yourself in me. —Codner

Still at the wheel of your life? It’s time to let Jesus drive.

Kossi’s Courage

From: Our Daily Bread

Kossi’s Courage

You shall have no other gods before me. . . . You shall not bow down to them or worship them. Exodus 20:3, 5

As he awaited his baptism in Togo’s Mono River, Kossi stooped to pick up a worn wooden carving. His family had worshiped the object for generations. Now they watched as he tossed the grotesque figure into a fire prepared for the occasion. No longer would their choicest chickens be sacrificed to this god.

In the West, most Christians think of idols as metaphors for what they put in place of God. In Togo, West Africa, idols represent literal gods that must be appeased with sacrifice. Idol burning and baptism make a courageous statement about a new believer’s allegiance to the one true God.

As an eight-year-old, King Josiah came to power in an idol-worshiping, sex-obsessed culture. His father and grandfather had been two of the worst kings in all of Judah’s sordid history. Then the high priest discovered the book of the law. When the young king heard its words, he took them to heart (2 Kings 22:8–13). Josiah destroyed the pagan altars, burned the vile items dedicated to the goddess Asherah, and stopped the ritual prostitution (ch. 23). In place of these practices, he celebrated the Passover (23:21–23).

Whenever we look for answers apart from God—consciously or subconsciously—we pursue a false god. It would be wise to ask ourselves: What idols, literal or figurative, do we need to throw on the fire?

Lord, forgive us for those things we turn to that show our hearts are not focused on You. Show us what we need to give up, and replace it with the presence of Your Holy Spirit.

Dear children, keep yourselves from idols. 1 John 5:21

Living Proverbially

From: Our Daily Journey

Living Proverbially

Read:

Proverbs 17:1-28
A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength (Proverbs 17:22).

Deep in the African bush lives a missionary couple named Bob and Martha, who have served in Namalu (a village in Karomoja, Uganda) for more than fifteen years. Despite formidable challenges such as surrounding tribal conflicts, it is here that they’ve chosen to raise their children and joyfully lead a vibrant ministry.

In addition to their deep faith in Jesus, I believe some other reasons for their ability to persevere are their rich sense of humor and overall positive outlook on life. The remarkable duo live “proverbially,” with the type of good cheer, even temperament, sensibility, and loyalty described in Proverbs 17:22: “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.”

A recent post from Martha captures the spirit with which the couple faces challenges. Martha wrote from the capital city of Uganda, where she and her family had gone to stock up on groceries before returning to the bush, “Beautiful morning in Kampala, but it looks like Bob is down with malaria again, so the girls get to sleep in after all. Maybe I’ll catch up with a few pals around town.” She could see the silver lining even in her husband’s illness!

For more than a decade, the couple has loyally helped their Karamojong friends in their “time[s] of need” (Proverbs 17:17), providing love, support, and true compassion. They’ve maintained sensibility by keeping “their eyes glued on wisdom” (Proverbs 17:24), rather than letting the suffering they’ve witnessed cause them to lose heart.

Bob and Martha truly epitomize the beauty of serving God and others with passion and grace. Consider today how you can serve God and others with a “cheerful heart,” in the love and power He provides.

Jesus Christ Is God

Jesus Calms the Storm    Matthew 8:27
26  “You of little faith,” Jesus replied, “why are you so afraid?” Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and it was perfectly calm.
28   When Jesus arrived on the other side in the region of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men met Him on their way from the tombs. They were so violent that no one could pass that way.…
What is the true identity of Jesus Christ? He is the Son of God. He is God the Son. He is God.
Image result for pictures of policed line upImage result for pictures of policed line up

570 × 380 – etsy.com
Image result for pictures of policed line upImage result for pictures of policed line up
Image result for pictures of policed line upImage result for pictures of policed line up

Who Are You?

[Written by Joe Stowell for Our Daily Bread.]

Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men. —Matthew 4:19

If someone were to ask, “Who are you?” my guess is that you would tell a little about yourself and what you do—“I’m an electrician” or “I’m a nurse.” But that’s not really who you are—it’s what you do. Which leads to the question, If what you do is who you are, who will you be when you stop doing what you’re doing?!

Who you are is found in your relationship to Jesus. And this sense of identity will drive your behavior. Take Matthew, for example. As a tax collector during the reign of the Roman Empire, his life was driven by greed. But everything changed the day Jesus showed up and invited Matthew to follow Him (Matt. 9:9). Suddenly Matthew had a whole new identity as a follower of Christ! And he wasn’t the only one. We also read about four fishermen in Matthew 4:18-25, Peter, Andrew, James, and John, who left their nets to follow Him.

Jesus is a compelling Person, and He is still looking for followers. He wants to make something of your life by giving you the identity of a follower of Jesus. It doesn’t mean giving up your career, but it does mean that you will do your work—and all of life—according to His will and ways.

So next time someone asks, “Who are you?” I hope you’ll answer, “I’m a follower of Jesus”!

If you are a follower of Jesus, that’s all the identity you need

 

His Word the Last Word

From: Our Daily Bread

His Word the Last Word

On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night. Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. Psalm 63:6–7

Dawson Trotman, a dynamic Christian leader of the mid-twentieth century and founder of The Navigators, emphasized the importance of the Bible in the life of every Christian. Trotman ended each day with a practice he called “His Word the last word.” Before going to sleep he meditated on a memorized Bible verse or passage, then prayed about its place and influence in his life. He wanted the last words he thought about each day to be God’s words.

The psalmist David wrote, “On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night. Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings”  (Ps. 63:6–7). Whether we are in great difficulty or enjoying a time of peace, our last thought at night can ease our minds with the rest and comfort God gives. It may also set the tone for our first thought the next morning.

A friend and his wife conclude each day by reading aloud a Bible passage and daily devotional with their four children. They welcome questions and thoughts from each child and talk about what it means to follow Jesus at home and school. They call it their version of “His Word the last word” for each day.

What better way to end our day!

Thank You Father, for Your Word in our hearts and our minds—our last thought at night as we rest securely in You.

The Spirit of God renews our minds when we meditate on the Word of God.

 

Envy and Humility

From: Our Daily Journey

Envy and Humility

Read:

Acts 11:19-30
Barnabas went on to Tarsus to look for Saul. When he found him, he brought him back to Antioch (Acts 11:25-26).

The movie Amadeus depicts Antonio Salieri as a composer who couldn’t enjoy his gift because he happened to live at the same time as the great Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Salieri worked diligently to create a decent musical work, only to watch the impish Mozart sit down at the piano and play soaring music, seemingly off the top of his head. Salieri begged God for Mozart’s gift, but he believed that God gave him just enough talent to recognize the many ways he didn’t measure up.

Salieri’s jealousy had turned to envy. Jealousy says, “I want what you have.” Envy says, “If I can’t have what you have, then I don’t want you to have it.” Envy rejoices at others’ failures.

The book of Acts depicts Joseph as a gifted leader in the early church. Loved by all, the other apostles nicknamed him “Barnabas (which means ‘Son of Encouragement’)” (Acts 4:36). He happened to live at the same time as the greatest church leader of all time, the apostle Paul. Rather than feel threatened by this talented leader, Barnabas humbly served by his side.

When the Christians in Jerusalem weren’t sure they could trust the newly converted Saul, Barnabas “brought him to the apostles” and vouched for his story (Acts 9:26-27). When Barnabas was sent to encourage the believers in Antioch, he went and found Saul so they could lead together (Acts 11:22-26). And when Paul refused to take another chance on Mark, Barnabas decided to let Paul go on and lead without him. Barnabas saw potential in Mark and was willing to risk his reputation to lift him up (Acts 15:36-40).

How do we react when we see people who are better at whatever it is we do? May we seize the opportunity to praise God for their abilities and pray for their success.

Don’t Keep God’s Word A Secret

 If you had known…in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. —Luke 19:42

Image result for pictures of girls telling secretsImage result for pictures of girls telling secrets
Image result for pictures of girls telling secretsImage result for pictures of girls telling secrets
Image result for pictures of girls telling secretsImage result for pictures of girls telling secrets
Image result for pictures of girls telling secretsImage result for pictures of girls telling secrets

“If You Had Known!”

From: Utmost.org

Jesus entered Jerusalem triumphantly and the city was stirred to its very foundations, but a strange god was there– the pride of the Pharisees. It was a god that seemed religious and upright, but Jesus compared it to “whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness” (Matthew 23:27).

What is it that blinds you to the peace of God “in this your day”? Do you have a strange god– not a disgusting monster but perhaps an unholy nature that controls your life? More than once God has brought me face to face with a strange god in my life, and I knew that I should have given it up, but I didn’t do it. I got through the crisis “by the skin of my teeth,” only to find myself still under the control of that strange god. I am blind to the very things that make for my own peace. It is a shocking thing that we can be in the exact place where the Spirit of God should be having His completely unhindered way with us, and yet we only make matters worse, increasing our blame in God’s eyes.

“If you had known….” God’s words here cut directly to the heart, with the tears of Jesus behind them. These words imply responsibility for our own faults. God holds us accountable for what we refuse to see or are unable to see because of our sin. And “now they are hidden from your eyes” because you have never completely yielded your nature to Him. Oh, the deep, unending sadness for what might have been! God never again opens the doors that have been closed. He opens other doors, but He reminds us that there are doors which we have shut– doors which had no need to be shut. Never be afraid when God brings back your past. Let your memory have its way with you. It is a minister of God bringing its rebuke and sorrow to you. God will turn what might have been into a wonderful lesson of growth for the future.

A Heart of Compassion

From: Our Daily Bread

A Heart of Compassion

Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Colossians 3:12

Seven of us were attending a musical production at a crowded amusement park. Wanting to sit together, we tried to squeeze into one row. But as we did, a woman rushed between us. My wife mentioned to her that we wanted to stay together, but the woman quickly said, “Too bad,” as she and her two companions pushed on into the row.

As three of us sat one row behind the other four, my wife, Sue, noticed that the woman had an adult with her who appeared to have special needs. She had been trying to keep her little group together so she could take care of her friend. Suddenly, our irritation faded. Sue said, “Imagine how tough things are for her in a crowded place like this.” Yes, perhaps the woman did respond rudely. But we could respond with compassion rather than anger.

Wherever we go, we will encounter people who need compassion. Perhaps these words from the apostle Paul can help us view everyone around us in a different light—as people who need the gentle touch of grace. “As God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (Col. 3:12). He also suggests that we “bear with each other and forgive one another” (v. 13).

As we show compassion, we will be pointing others to the One who poured out His heart of grace and compassion on us.

Your compassions never fail, Father. May we mirror Your heart by showing compassion to others.

Compassion is understanding the troubles of others.

 

We Are at War

From: Our Daily Journey

We Are at War

Read:

Ephesians 6:10-20
Put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm (Ephesians 6:13).

My great-grandfather was a Romanian sailor on the King Carol I warship during World War II. On October 10, 1941, he was one of twenty-one sailors who lost their lives when the ship hit a mine and sank near Varna, Bulgaria. Until the beginning of World War I, King Carol I had served as a cruise ship. Once the war started, the ship was transformed into a warship with guns and special armor for launching mines and grenades. While I’m proud and thankful for the legacy my great-grandfather left, I know that I am also engaged in war. It is a different kind of war—a spiritual one. Just as King Carol I was especially armored for war, I need to arm myself for the spiritual battles I face.

When we answered the call of Jesus to follow Him, we were transferred from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light. Obviously, this infuriated the evil one. So it should be no surprise to us when Satan wants to steal our joy and peace and attempt to destroy God’s plan for our lives. The apostle Paul alerted the Ephesians that “we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against . . . mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12).

Nevertheless, we don’t need to worry! God has already told us how to get ready for battle. Paul said to “put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil” (Ephesians 6:13). This verse does not imply that the time of evil might come, but states that it will come. We must expect it and be prepared so that “after the battle [we] will still be standing firm” (Ephesians 6:13).

 

Has God Chosen You?

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ . . . . For he chose us in him before the creation of the world.” Ephesians 1:3-4
There is great honor in being chosen of God. The rewards are great for those chosen of God.
( Pictures of children choosing things).
Image result for picture of little girl choosing somethingImage result for picture of little girl choosing something
608 × 342 – depositphotos.com
Image result for picture of little girl choosing somethingImage result for picture of little girl choosing something
Image result for picture of little girl choosing somethingImage result for picture of little girl choosing something
Image result for picture of little girl choosing somethingImage result for picture of little girl choosing something

Chosen

From: Get More Strength.org

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ . . . . For he chose us in him before the creation of the world.” Ephesians 1:3-4

A recent journey through the book of Genesis got me thinking about Abraham. Ever stop to realize how significant Abraham is to literally billions of people around the world? Jews claim him as their national, cultural, and spiritual father. Muslims revere and respect him as a great prophet. And Christians realize that through Abraham, God provided the seed of the Messiah.

So as I was reading about Abraham—specifically about God’s call and Abraham’s response in Genesis 12:1-20—the question struck me. Why Abraham? Out of all of the people on the globe at that moment, why did God choose him?

It wasn’t because of his spiritual merits or extraordinary abilities. God didn’t hold some kind of “Ur of the Chaldeans Idol” competition in which early patriarchs lined up for the chance to strut their spiritual stuff before the Almighty and a few celebrity judges. On the contrary, from what we know of Ur, Abraham was living in a sophisticated, yet pagan, idolatrous society, and, most likely, he himself was an idolater. So why on earth did God choose him?

Here’s my stunning, biblically educated answer: I don’t have a clue.

It’s just one of God’s mysterious ways.  He chooses people. The pages of biblical history are packed with stories of God’s choices—people like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and David—all handpicked by God, for reasons known only to Him.

God’s choice had huge ramifications. They became the recipients of some phenomenal promises—spelled out in the covenants that God made with them. To Abraham and his heirs, God promised land, a national heritage, and the blessing of countless descendants. God’s choice of Moses included the promise of His presence and the revelation of His holiness and character through the law. And David, chosen out of the seeming obscurity of wandering the hills of Bethlehem as a shepherd, was promised an eternal kingdom in which his descendants would reign forever! Why would God do that? It’s just His way.

God’s choice also gave them the phenomenal privilege of participating in His plans. Think about it. God could have created a nation, revealed His law, and provided a Messiah entirely independent of man’s assistance or participation. And yet God chooses Abraham to be the father of a nation. He picks Moses to meet Him on top of Mount Sinai, returning to the Israelites with God’s law. And He selects David and his descendants to lay the groundwork for the Son of God’s appearance in this world.

Which brings us to this amazing promise in the opening verses of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. He stuns those of us who are followers of Christ with the revelation that, before the creation of the world, we were chosen by God—just like Abraham. Just like Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and David. That’s very elite company!

And, just like them, our chosen status makes us recipients of His covenant promises—the forgiveness of sins, the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, and hope and meaning for this life and the promise of eternity in heaven for the next. Like the patriarchs, we’re given the privilege of participation in His plans. We become His messengers and ambassadors—agents of reconciliation as we share His good news. He doesn’t need us, but He willingly chooses us! He actually desires us—desires us to join Him in the advance of His cause.

Which brings me back to the same question I had about God’s choice of Abraham: Why? Why would God choose little ole’ me? Actually, I don’t need to know. All I know is, it’s just His way. Which should make all of us humble, grateful, and happily obedient for the rest of our days!

 

The Details of Love

The Details of Love

Read:

Exodus 25:8–26:14
You must build this Tabernacle and its furnishings exactly according to the pattern I will show you (Exodus 25:9).

When my wife and I chose her engagement ring, I suggested she pick out whatever setting she wanted. But I asked her if I could select the center stone, so that I could personally choose a special representation of my love for her. I wanted to demonstrate my commitment to her with a beautiful symbol of our life together that she would cherish—just as we both celebrate the relationship God has given us.

Thinking about the meaning of her engagement ring helped me understand the meticulous detail with which God described the blueprint for building the tabernacle. He said, “You must build this Tabernacle and its furnishings exactly according to the pattern I will show you” (Exodus 25:9). Although those details might at first seem to have no relevance to us today, they would have been very meaningful to an ancient Israelite—pointing towards a deep relationship with God.

The words, “so I can live among them” in verse 8 make clear that the relational character of God is at the heart of the tabernacle’s design. For example, the ark of the covenant containing the Ten Commandments would always remind Israel of their covenant with God and the way He revealed Himself to them on Mount Sinai. The rings on the side of the ark, making it portable, would remind them that God’s presence would move with them. The lid of the ark, called the “mercy seat,” would remind Israel of their need for God’s forgiveness.

With the coming of Jesus, Immanuel (“God with us”), we no longer require the tabernacle to experience God’s presence (Matthew 1:23). But there are countless signposts in the world reminding us of the God who loves us and is with us.

 

Behind the Scenes

Behind the Scenes

Your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. Daniel 10:12

My daughter sent a text message to a friend, in hopes of having a question answered quickly. Her phone’s messaging service showed that the recipient had read the message, so she waited anxiously for a reply. Mere moments passed, yet she grew frustrated, groaning her annoyance at the delay. Irritation eroded into worry; she wondered whether the lack of response meant there was a problem between them. Eventually a reply came and my daughter was relieved to see their relationship was fine. Her friend had simply been sorting out the details needed to answer the question.

The Old Testament prophet Daniel also anxiously awaited a reply. After receiving a frightening vision of great war, Daniel fasted and sought God through humble prayer (10:3, 12). For three weeks, he received no reply (vv. 2, 13). Finally, an angel arrived and assured Daniel his prayers had been heard “since the first day.” In the meantime, the angel had been battling on behalf of those prayers. Though Daniel didn’t know it at first, God was at work during each of the twenty-one days that elapsed between his first prayer and the angel’s coming.

The confidence that God hears our prayers can cause us to become anxious when His reply doesn’t come when we want it to. We are prone to wonder whether He cares. Yet Daniel’s experience reminds us that God is at work on behalf of those He loves even when it isn’t obvious to us.

Lord, help me to trust Your care for me even when I can’t see it.

God is always at work on behalf of His people.

Saying No Can Save Heartache

Drawing Near to God           James 4:7
6    But He gives us more grace. This is why it says: “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
8    Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.…
Image result for picture of girl saying noImage result for picture of girl saying noImage result for picture of girl saying noImage result for picture of girl saying no
Image result for picture of girl saying noImage result for picture of girl saying no

Image result for picture of girl saying noImage result for picture of girl saying no

When Yes Means No

From: Our Daily Bread

When Yes Means No

I call on the Lord in my distress, and he answers me. Psalm 120:1

I thanked God for the privilege of serving as my mom’s live-in caregiver during her battle against leukemia. When medicines began to hurt more than help, she decided to stop treatment. “I don’t want to suffer anymore,” she said. “I want to enjoy my last days with family. God knows I’m ready to go home.”

I pleaded with our loving heavenly Father—the Great Physician—confident He could work miracles. But to say yes to my mom’s prayers, He would have to say no to mine. Sobbing, I surrendered, “Your will be done, Lord.”

Soon after, Jesus welcomed my mama into a pain-free eternity.

In this fallen world, we’ll experience suffering until Jesus returns (Rom. 8:22–25). Our sinful nature, limited vision, and fear of pain can distort our ability to pray. Thankfully, “the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God” (v. 27). He reminds us that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him (v. 28), even when His yes to someone else means a heartbreaking no for us.

When we accept our small part in His greater purpose, we can echo my mom’s watchword: “God is good, and that’s all there is to it. Whatever He decides, I’m at peace.” With confidence in the Lord’s goodness, we can trust Him to answer every prayer according to His will and for His glory.

Our Daily Bread welcomes writer Xochitl Dixon!

Meet Xochitl and all our authors at odb.org/all-authors.

God’s answers are wiser than our prayers.

 

I Trust God

From: Streams in the Desert

Though he slay me, yet will I trust him (Job 13:15).

For I know whom I have believed (2 Tim. 1:12).

I will not doubt, though all my ships at sea
Come drifting home with broken masts and sails;
I will believe the Hand which never fails,
From seeming evil worketh good for me.
And though I weep because those sails are tattered,
Still will I cry, while my best hopes lie shattered:
‘I trust in Thee.’

I will not doubt, though all my prayers return
Unanswered from the still, white realm above;
I will believe it is an all-wise love
Which has refused these things for which I yearn;
And though at times I cannot keep from grieving,
Yet the pure ardor of my fixed believing
Undimmed shall burn.

I will not doubt, though sorrows fall like rain,
And troubles swarm like bees about a hive.
I will believe the heights for which I strive
Are only reached by anguish and by pain;
And though I groan and writhe beneath my crosses.
I yet shall see through my severest losses
The greater gain.

I will not doubt. Well anchored is this faith,
Like some staunch ship, my soul braves every gale;
So strong its courage that it will not quail
To breast the mighty unknown sea of death.
Oh, may I cry, though body parts with spirit,
‘I do not doubt,’ so listening worlds may hear it,
With my last breath.

“In fierce storms,” said an old seaman, “we must do one thing; there is only one way: we must put the ship in a certain position and keep her there.” This, Christian, is what you must do.

Sometimes, like Paul, you can see neither sun nor stars, and no small tempest lies on you; and then you can do but one thing; there is only one way. Reason cannot help you; past experiences give you no light. Even prayer fetches no consolation. Only a single course is left. You must put your soul in one position and keep it there.

You must stay upon the Lord; and come what may–winds, waves, cross-seas, thunder, lightning, frowning rocks, roaring breakers–no matter what, you must lash yourself to the helm, and hold fast your confidence in God’s faithfulness, His covenant engagement, His everlasting love in Christ Jesus.
–Richard Fuller

 

 

Helpful or Heartless Toward Others?

From: Utmost.org

Helpful or Heartless Toward Others?

Do we need any more arguments than these to become intercessors– that Christ “always lives to make intercession” (Hebrews 7:25), and that the Holy Spirit “makes intercession for the saints”? Are we living in such a relationship with others that we do the work of intercession as a result of being the children of God who are taught by His Spirit? We should take a look at our current circumstances. Do crises which affect us or others in our home, business, country, or elsewhere, seem to be crushing in on us? Are we being pushed out of the presence of God and left with no time for worship? If so, we must put a stop to such distractions and get into such a living relationship with God that our relationship with others is maintained through the work of intercession, where God works His miracles.

Beware of getting ahead of God by your very desire to do His will. We run ahead of Him in a thousand and one activities, becoming so burdened with people and problems that we don’t worship God, and we fail to intercede. If a burden and its resulting pressure come upon us while we are not in an attitude of worship, it will only produce a hardness toward God and despair in our own souls. God continually introduces us to people in whom we have no interest, and unless we are worshiping God the natural tendency is to be heartless toward them. We give them a quick verse of Scripture, like jabbing them with a spear, or leave them with a hurried, uncaring word of counsel before we go. A heartless Christian must be a terrible grief to our Lord.

Are our lives in the proper place so that we may participate in the intercession of our Lord and the Holy Spirit?

Go Toward God And Safety

 Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” —John 6:68

Image result for pictures of the right directionImage result for pictures of the right direction
Image result for pictures of the right directionImage result for pictures of the right direction
Image result for pictures of the right directionImage result for pictures of the right directionImage result for pictures of the right directionImage result for pictures of the right direction

Running In The Right Direction

.[Written by Joe Stowell for Our Daily Bread.]

Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” —John 6:68

One of the most difficult experiences in my years as a pastor was telling a member of our church that her husband, her son, and her father-in-law had all drowned in a boating accident. I knew the news would shatter her life.

In the days following their tragic loss, I was amazed as she and her family responded with unusual faith. Sure, there was deep brokenness, haunting doubt, and confusion. But when nothing else made sense, they still had Jesus. Rather than deserting Him in the midst of their desperately difficult days, they ran to Him as the only source of hope and confidence.

This reminds me of the reaction of the disciples to Jesus. After some of them “went back and walked with Him no more” because He was hard to understand (John 6:66), Jesus turned to His inner circle, and asked, “Do you also want to go away?” (John 6:67). Peter got it right when he responded, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:68).

Whatever you face today, be encouraged by the words of Peter and by the example of a family who went through the fire with their faith intact. As long as you’re running in the right direction—to Jesus—you’ll find the grace and strength you will need.

Jesus is the One to run to
When our lives bring grief and pain;
He provides His strength and guidance
With a peace we can’t explain. —Sper

When all is lost, remember that you haven’t lost Jesus. Run to Him.

Heedfulness or Hypocrisy in Ourselves?

From: Utmost.org

Heedfulness or Hypocrisy in Ourselves?

If we are not heedful and pay no attention to the way the Spirit of God works in us, we will become spiritual hypocrites. We see where other people are failing, and then we take our discernment and turn it into comments of ridicule and criticism, instead of turning it into intercession on their behalf. God reveals this truth about others to us not through the sharpness of our minds but through the direct penetration of His Spirit. If we are not attentive, we will be completely unaware of the source of the discernment God has given us, becoming critical of others and forgetting that God says, “…he will ask, and He will give him life for those who commit sin not leading to death.” Be careful that you don’t become a hypocrite by spending all your time trying to get others right with God before you worship Him yourself.

One of the most subtle and illusive burdens God ever places on us as saints is this burden of discernment concerning others. He gives us discernment so that we may accept the responsibility for those souls before Him and form the mind of Christ about them (see Philippians 2:5). We should intercede in accordance with what God says He will give us, namely, “life for those who commit sin not leading to death.” It is not that we are able to bring God into contact with our minds, but that we awaken ourselves to the point where God is able to convey His mind to us regarding the people for whom we intercede.

Can Jesus Christ see the agony of His soul in us? He can’t unless we are so closely identified with Him that we have His view concerning the people for whom we pray. May we learn to intercede so wholeheartedly that Jesus Christ will be completely and overwhelmingly satisfied with us as intercessors.

 

Protected and Safe

From: Our Daily Journey

Protected and Safe

Read:

Genesis 3:1-15
He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel (Genesis 3:15).

Molly DeLuca was playing in her backyard with the German shepherd her family had recently adopted. Suddenly, the canine leaped in front of her and began jumping up and down. He was protecting Molly from a rattlesnake that had slithered onto the scene. Later, the dog was rushed to the veterinarian where the family learned that he’d been bitten three times by the reptile. Amazingly, he made a complete recovery.

When Eve encountered Satan disguised as a snake in the garden of Eden (Genesis 3:1), her body wasn’t poisoned by venom, but her mind was infected by Satan’s lies. She became convinced that satisfaction awaited her if she ignored what God said and ate the forbidden fruit.

Eve took a bite and Adam followed her example (Genesis 3:6). Later, when God confronted their sin, He spoke prophetically. To the snake, He said, “I will cause hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will strike your head and you will strike his heel” (Genesis 3:15). Thousands of years later, this prophecy came true when Jesus was crucified. He suffered temporarily, but His resurrection permanently broke “the power of the devil, who had the power of death” (Hebrews 2:14).

Unfortunately, Satan still has some power. Like a snake in the grass, he strikes by tempting us. If he’s successful, he swaggers up in front of God and accuses us of our sin. Jesus, however, intervenes and stands up for His followers (1 John 2:1-2). He comes to our rescue, declaring that His blood has already paid for our sin.

Satan’s accusations are dispelled by God and His power. We’re safe forever in Him—our Protector who is alive and well!

God Comes To Our Aid

Like the faithful ambulance, God comes to our rescue. God is faithful and true. He is full of love and compassion.
Image result for pictures of ambulance loading peopleImage result for pictures of ambulance loading people
Image result for pictures of ambulance loading peopleImage result for pictures of ambulance loading people

Image result for pictures of ambulance loading peopleImage result for pictures of ambulance loading people
Image result for pictures of ambulance loading peopleImage result for pictures of ambulance loading people

Life and Death

From: Our Daily Bread

Life and Death

I am about to die. But God will surely come to your aid. Genesis 50:24

I will never forget sitting at the bedside of my friend’s brother when he died; the scene was one of the ordinary visited by the extraordinary. Three of us were talking quietly when we realized that Richard’s breathing was becoming more labored. We gathered around him, watching, waiting, and praying. When he took his last breath, it felt like a holy moment; the presence of God enveloped us in the midst of our tears over a wonderful man dying in his forties.

Many of the heroes of our faith experienced God’s faithfulness when they died. For instance, Jacob announced he would soon be “gathered to [his] people” (Gen. 49:29–33). Jacob’s son Joseph also announced his impending death: “I am about to die,” he said to his brothers while instructing them how to hold firm in their faith. He seems to be at peace, yet eager that his brothers trust the Lord (50:24).

None of us knows when or how we will breathe our last breath, but we can ask God to help us trust that He will be with us. We can believe the promise that Jesus will prepare a place for us in His Father’s house (John 14:2–3).

Lord God, Your dwelling place will be with Your people, and You will be our God, wiping away our tears and banishing death. May it be so!

The Lord will never abandon us, especially at the time of our death.

 

Lysa TerKeurst March 30, 2017
Her Success Doesn’t Threaten Mine
LYSA TERKEURST

From: Crosswalk.com

“These were his instructions to them: ‘The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.’” Luke 10:2 (NLT)

Have you ever wondered if there’s any need for you and the dreams tucked in your heart, when there are already so many successful people out there in the world?

I totally understand.

Several years ago, I remember pouring out all the best words I had through a pixelated letters-turned-pages-turned-book proposal. I tucked my heart and dreams into a purple Office Max binder and hoped for the best.

That summer, I gave my proposal to several acquisitions editors. For months after sending out my proposal, I would dream about the day some publishing house would say yes.

I can’t tell you the number of afternoons I’d stand at my mailbox, holding my breath, praying there would be good news inside. When the rejection letters started coming, I tried to keep up the hope that surely there would be one positive answer. I just needed one publisher to say yes.

Soon, I’d received a “no” answer from all but one. And when I got that final rejection, I felt so foolish for thinking I could actually write a book. My dream was nothing but a sham. I had no writing skills. And I must have heard God all wrong.

At the same time, I had other writer friends who were getting different letters from the publishers.

Amazing letters.

Dreams-come-true letters.

Letters that turned into book contracts.

In my better moments, I did the right thing and authentically celebrated with them. But then there were other moments. Hard moments.

Moments where I felt my friends’ lives were rushing past me in a flurry of met goals, new opportunities and affirmations of their callings from God. It seemed the world was literally passing me by. And in those moments I said on the outside, “Good for them.”

But on the inside, I just kept thinking, Ouch … that means less and less opportunity for me. The raw essence of honest hurting rarely produces pretty thoughts.

I wrestled and I processed.

And I decided to get still. Refusing to believe I’d been left out and left behind. And starving my scarcity thinking.

Those times of being still are good and necessary when your thinking needs to be swept all into one pile. Then it’s much easier to identify treasures to keep, from the trash that should be tossed.

Then I could see new and life-giving realities. Her success does not threaten yours, nor mine. When she does well, we all do well. All tides rise when we see a sister making this world a better place with her gifts.

When I finally started believing this, my stillness turned into readiness. And that was 20 published books ago.

This is what Jesus reminds us: “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields” (Luke 10:2b).

And this is where we have a choice to make today.

We can look out and see the unlimited, abundant opportunities God has placed before us. To create. To write. To serve. To sing. To be and become.

Or we can stare at another person’s opportunity and get entangled in the enemy’s lie that everything is scarce. Scarce opportunities. Scarce supply. Scarce possibilities. And we start seeing another person’s creations as a threat to our own opportunities.

Oh, sweet sister, there is an abundant need in this world for your contributions to the Kingdom … your thoughts and words and artistic expressions … your exact brand of beautiful.

Know it. Believe it. Live it.

Lord, thank You for reminding me how You created me on purpose and with purpose. I don’t have to live this life feeling threatened by the success of others. Today, I’m asking You to bless the women around me doing what I long to do. Stir even more hearts with a deep passion to make You known. And continue to settle my heart with the truth that this world really does need my exact brand of beautiful. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

Connecting the Dots

From: Our Daily Journey

Connecting the Dots

Read:

Joshua 3:14-17
Meanwhile, the priests who were carrying the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant stood on dry ground in the middle of the riverbed as the people passed by (Joshua 3:17).

In the 1850s, cholera was a global scourge capable of devastating entire cities. When a particularly terrible outbreak hit the Soho neighborhood of London, Dr. John Snow realized that the outbreak centered around a certain water pump. Snow then noticed that rather than this being an isolated case, the fiercest outbreaks always seemed to focus around these water sources. By connecting the outbreaks to infected pumps, Dr. Snow was able to establish that cholera was spread by contaminated water—a landmark step towards eradicating its terrible effects.

Connecting the dots resulted in something good by helping to thwart a disease. We can also connect the dots to see the work of our good God.

As the Israelites crossed the Jordan River into the Promised Land, they could have perceived it as an extraordinary but isolated miracle—a one-time example of God’s intervention (Joshua 3:17). But as they passed through the water, they surely were reminded of their earlier crossing through the Red Sea (Exodus 14:21-22). God’s providence could no longer be seen as an isolated occurrence but part of a long history of faithfulness. And after they passed through, they erected a monument of twelve stones as a reminder of that faithfulness (Joshua 4:19-23).

Often I perceive God’s work in my life as nothing more than isolated and disconnected occurrences—random situations where things work out in a way I could have never imagined. But as with the Israelites, this isn’t the case at all. God’s faithfulness in my present is connected to all the moments of His faithfulness in my past. And connecting these experiences, one to another, helps remind me that God isn’t just faithful in the here and now. He can be trusted to be faithful in the future and forever!