Category Archives: Trust

Reaching Beyond Our Grasp

 

Where there is no revelation [or prophetic vision], the people cast off restraint… —Proverbs 29:18

(Pictures of things that are just out of their grasp).

Image result for pictures of things just out of reachImage result for pictures of things just out of reach

Image result for pictures of things just out of reachImage result for pictures of things just out of reach

Image result for pictures of things just out of reachImage result for pictures of things just out of reach

Reaching Beyond Our Grasp

From: Utmost.org

Reaching Beyond Our Grasp

There is a difference between holding on to a principle and having a vision. A principle does not come from moral inspiration, but a vision does. People who are totally consumed with idealistic principles rarely do anything. A person’s own idea of God and His attributes may actually be used to justify and rationalize his deliberate neglect of his duty. Jonah tried to excuse his disobedience by saying to God, “…I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm” (Jonah 4:2). I too may have the right idea of God and His attributes, but that may be the very reason why I do not do my duty. But wherever there is vision, there is also a life of honesty and integrity, because the vision gives me the moral incentive.

Our own idealistic principles may actually lull us into ruin. Examine yourself spiritually to see if you have vision, or only principles.

Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp,
Or what’s a heaven for?

“Where there is no revelation [or prophetic vision]….” Once we lose sight of God, we begin to be reckless. We cast off certain restraints from activities we know are wrong. We set prayer aside as well and cease having God’s vision in the little things of life. We simply begin to act on our own initiative. If we are eating only out of our own hand, and doing things solely on our own initiative without expecting God to come in, we are on a downward path. We have lost the vision. Is our attitude today an attitude that flows from our vision of God? Are we expecting God to do greater things than He has ever done before? Is there a freshness and a vitality in our spiritual outlook?

 

Too Good Not to Share

From: Our Daily Bread

Too Good Not to Share

[John] came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. John 1:7

During court proceedings, witnesses are more than onlookers or spectators. They are active participants who help determine the outcome of a case. The same is true of our witness for Christ. We are to be active participants in a matter of absolute importance—the truth of Jesus’s death and resurrection.

When John the Baptist came to tell people about Jesus, the light of the world, he did so by declaring his knowledge of Jesus. And John the disciple, who recorded the events, testified of his experience with Jesus: “We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). The apostle Paul would elaborate on this idea as he told young Timothy, “The things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others” (2 Tim. 2:2).

All Christians have been summoned before the courtroom of the world. The Bible says we are not mere spectators but active participants. We testify to the truth about Jesus’s death and resurrection. John the Baptist was the voice of one calling in the desert. Our voices can be heard in our workplace, neighborhood, church, and among our family and friends. We can be active witnesses, telling them about the reality of Jesus in our lives.

Do our actions enable us to witness for Jesus? In what creative ways might we witness today?

The gospel is too good not to share.

 

Foreigners and Nomads

From: Our Daily Journey

Foreigners and Nomads

Read:

Hebrews 11:1-16
These people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they . . . agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth (Hebrews 11:13).

Born in Jakarta, Indonesia, I maintained Nigerian citizenship because of my parents’ diplomatic status. I once met a lady from Indonesia who excitedly launched into her native tongue after learning my birthplace. Embarrassed, I informed her that I was only there briefly and had no knowledge of the language. I was born in the country—but am not of it.

Likewise, the Bible refers to believers as foreigners and nomads on the earth—not of it (Hebrews 11:13). Our identity isn’t created by the secular world; we live out God’s heavenly perspective. The heroes of faith profiled in Hebrews 11 were described as “looking forward to a country they [could] call their own” (Hebrews 11:14). This didn’t mean their birthplace or place of origin, “but they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them” (Hebrews 11:16).

It’s for this reason that Jesus urged His followers to store up treasures in heaven, rather than on earth, for our hearts tend to be centered wherever we have our treasure (Matthew 6:19-21). He went on to describe those who hoard material things in this life as fools who don’t have “a rich relationship with God” (Luke 12:16-21).

Whenever I take a trip for work I focus on the tasks that need to be accomplished, but never lose sight of the fact that my home awaits me. This prompts me to be efficient with my time, so as not to delay or jeopardize my trip back there.

In the same way, we must strive to accomplish the earthly purpose for which we’ve been created in God’s power and leading. He’s the One who will one day renew the earth—uniting it with all that is heaven (Revelation 21:1).

Waiting Can Be A Burden

 

Luke 12:35-40

 

“Be dressed in readiness, and keep your lamps lit. “Be like men who are waiting for their master when he returns from the wedding feast, so that they may immediately open the door to him when he comes and knocks. “Blessed are those slaves whom the master will find on the alert when he comes; truly I say to you, that he will gird himself to serve, and have them recline at the table, and will come up and wait on them.

Image result for pictures of waitingImage result for pictures of waiting

Image result for pictures of waitingImage result for pictures of waiting

Image result for pictures of waitingImage result for pictures of waiting

 

The Burden of Waiting

From: Our Daily Bread

The Burden of Waiting
Read: Psalm 90 | Bible in a Year: 2 Kings 4–6; Luke 24:36–53

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12

Over the last few years, two members of my family have faced life-threatening diagnoses. For me, the hardest part of supporting them through their treatments has been the constant uncertainty. I am always desperate for a definitive word from a doctor, but things are rarely that straightforward. Instead of being given clarity, we are often asked to wait.

It’s hard to bear the burden of uncertainty, always wondering what the next test will reveal. Will we have weeks, months, years, or decades before death separates us? But regardless of disease and diagnosis, each of us will die one day—things like cancer just bring our mortality to the forefront instead of letting it hide in the recesses of our minds.

Faced with sobering reminders of our mortality, I find myself praying words that Moses once prayed. Psalm 90 tells us that though our lives are like grass that withers and fades (vv. 5–6), we have an eternal home with God (v. 1). Like Moses, we can ask God to teach us to number our days so we can make wise decisions (v. 12), and to make our brief lives fruitful by making what we do for Him count (v. 17). Ultimately, the psalm reminds us that our hope is not in a doctor’s diagnosis, but in a God who is “from everlasting to everlasting.”

How can we best spend the time we’ve been given?

We can face the reality of our own mortality because we trust in God.

 

 

Lynn Cowell May 8, 2017
Seeing With My Heart
LYNN COWELLFrom: Crosswalk.com

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” Hebrews 10:24 (NIV)

Growing up in a home swimming with female hormones, I was blessed to have not one “mother,” but four. I was the youngest of five daughters, and there was always a feminine perspective around … ready and willing to point me in the right direction. Sometimes they used their words, but more often, their guidance was subtle: Their actions spoke.

These women taught me how to keep going when life isn’t what you expect. They modeled staying true to yourself, your family and God even when “true” was not given to you. They showed me how to love even when love costs dearly.

The women of my family, both the one I was born into and the one I married into, have all, in one way or another, shaped me into the woman I am becoming.

God has intersected my life with still more women through friendship, who have spurred me on when I struggled to keep moving forward. These women, some whose names I can’t remember, were so crazy in love with Jesus, they drew me to fall in love with Him, too.

They practiced the wisdom found in Hebrews 10:24“… spur one another on toward love and good deeds.”

These women in my past, who impacted my whole life, have come in all ages, all shapes and all sizes … all women who taught me to see with my heart.

Today, the women teaching me to see with my heart include my daughters. At one point I was the one doing all the teaching. But today, I am daily challenged by them. Seeing the world in a way I haven’t before, I learn from their love for people and their desire for everyone to know their true value. While it was once a one-way teaching, now we spur each other on.

This growing, this learning to see with my heart and not with my natural eyes, has not always been easy. The Lord in His kindness and graciousness has sent those who’ve been bold enough to confront me, showing me the error of my ways. And I know, as I continue to desire to grow, He’ll continue to send more who will challenge me.

Mother’s Day is just around the corner, and while it honors those who brought us into this world, it is also a day to celebrate women. To say “thank you” to those in our lives who have helped us grow, challenged us and taught us to see with more than our natural eyes.

Lord, thank You so much for the many women You have brought into my life who’ve helped me become the woman I am today. Help me not just receive, but also to be one who spurs on others to good works as well. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

Getting On with Your Life

From: CBN.com

thumbs-up-girl_si.jpg

Our lives are filled with good and bad memories. The impressions of the past live in our minds, and we can look at them over and over again. The scenes we recall are like snapshots, forever stopped in time. Still, they evoke strong feelings that have the power to influence our thinking. Ironically, most of these lifeless pictures determine who and what we are right now although they captured moments many years and places ago. Our present attitude, as well as our behavior, depends on which events we choose to relive.

Our human nature is to dwell on the negative – what we regret or what injured us. Our divine nature, on the other hand, looks forward to and focuses on what lies ahead in the kingdom. We can easily become obsessed by the former and forget about the latter, even though we know heaven should come first. That is precisely why we have so much trouble “getting on with our life” once we have been offended or wounded. We look so long at reflections that make us unhappy we cannot see what is there to make us happy.

“I can’t do it,” you might be thinking. “There is too much for me to forget and too much for me to forgive. The pain and the anger won’t go away. I am still suffering. It’s impossible for me to get over what happened.” For the most part, you are right. You can’t get over the past. You can’t put it behind, at least not on your own. But Jesus can. He can make you forget and forgive. He can give you the strength to move on without the hurt and the anxiety. He can heal the wounds completely if you let him.

It is time for us to get rid of what prevents us from being ourselves: the wonderful child that God created, not the person the world has molded. Take all of the many pictures of your life that you hold in your mind. Put them all together on the table in front of you. Look at each one carefully, and then choose the ones you want to keep and the ones you want to forget. Throw away the images not worth keeping and showing to others. What value or purpose can there be in sharing situations that remind us who we were long ago? We are not that person anymore. We have changed.

“Forget the former things,” the Lord told Isaiah. “Do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!” You, my friend, are that “new thing!” If those around you do not recognize you today it is because they do not realize who you are now; they are seeing the old thing of years ago. They perceive only what they saw then, nothing more and nothing less. What do you think would happen, for example, if you suddenly went back to the same people who hurt you? Would they welcome you back? Probably not. They cannot forget the past because they are living in it. Why, then, would you want to keep looking at dark memories of what is done and over?

You and I are made for today, not yesterday. Our future depends on the present, and nothing is more important than what we do right now. This moment is the perfect time to start moving forward again and stop letting guilt stop us. “He whom the Son sets free, is free indeed.” There is no reason for anything (or anyone) to hold us back. No person on earth can keep us captive because we have been released from bondage. Get rid of those old pictures of you being beaten and bruised. The only one you need to keep is that of Jesus on the cross.

Have You Invested In Heaven?

Which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it… —Luke 14:28

Image result for pictures of heavenImage result for pictures of heaven

Image result for pictures of heavenImage result for pictures of heaven

Image result for pictures of heavenImage result for pictures of heaven

Building For Eternity

From: Utmost.org

Building For Eternity

Our Lord was not referring here to a cost which we have to count, but to a cost which He has already counted. The cost was those thirty years in Nazareth, those three years of popularity, scandal, and hatred, the unfathomable agony He experienced in Gethsemane, and the assault upon Him at Calvary— the central point upon which all of time and eternity turn. Jesus Christ has counted the cost. In the final analysis, people are not going to laugh at Him and say, “This man began to build and was not able to finish” (Luke 14:30).

The conditions of discipleship given to us by our Lord in verses 26, 27, and 33 mean that the men and women He is going to use in His mighty building enterprises are those in whom He has done everything. “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple ” (Luke 14:26). This verse teaches us that the only men and women our Lord will use in His building enterprises are those who love Him personally, passionately, and with great devotion— those who have a love for Him that goes far beyond any of the closest relationships on earth. The conditions are strict, but they are glorious.

All that we build is going to be inspected by God. When God inspects us with His searching and refining fire, will He detect that we have built enterprises of our own on the foundation of Jesus? (see 1 Corinthians 3:10-15). We are living in a time of tremendous enterprises, a time when we are trying to work for God, and that is where the trap is. Profoundly speaking, we can never work for God. Jesus, as the Master Builder, takes us over so that He may direct and control us completely for His enterprises and His building plans; and no one has any right to demand where he will be put to work.

Praise in the Dark

From: Our Daily Bread

Praise in the Dark

Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. Hebrews 13:15

Even though my friend Mickey was losing his eyesight, he told me, “I’m going to keep praising God every day, because He’s done so much for me.”

Jesus gave Mickey, and us, the ultimate reason for such never-ending praise. The twenty-sixth chapter of Matthew tells us about how Jesus shared the Passover meal with His disciples the night before He went to the cross. Verse 30 shows us how they concluded the meal: “When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.”

It wasn’t just any hymn they sang that night—it was a hymn of praise. For millennia, Jews have sung a group of Psalms called “The Hallel” at Passover (hallel is the Hebrew word for “praise”). The last of these prayers and songs of praise, found in Psalms 113–118, honors the God who has become our salvation (118:21). It refers to a rejected stone that became a cornerstone (v. 22) and one who comes in the name of the Lord (v. 26). They may very well have sung, “The Lord has done it this very day; let us rejoice today and be glad” (v. 24).

As Jesus sang with His disciples on this Passover night, He was giving us the ultimate reason to lift our eyes above our immediate circumstances. He was leading us in praise of the never-ending love and faithfulness of our God.

You are always worthy of praise, Lord, even when I don’t feel like praising You! Help me to learn to praise You more and more.

Praising God helps us recall His goodness that never ends.

Facing Life’s Temptations

From: Our Daily Journey

Facing Life’s Temptations

Read:

Genesis 4:1-10
If you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master (Genesis 4:7).

Bill battled drug and alcohol addiction for years before gaining victory. From his experience, he’s identified four warning signs of impending relapse: isolation, internal feelings of discontent, frustration and anger, and delusional thinking.

Not all of us are recovering addicts, but we all face temptation in life. Thankfully, “when you are tempted, [God] will show you a way out so that you can endure” (1 Corinthians 10:13). There are times, however, when we don’t take His wise path.

Cain battled the temptation to sin. One of Adam and Eve’s sons, he grew to be a farmer while his brother Abel was a shepherd (Genesis 4:1-2). At harvest time, both brothers gave a sacrifice to the Lord, Cain from the crops he grew and Abel from the flock he tended. But something about Cain’s sacrifice offended God; perhaps he gave grudgingly or less than he could have. God accepted Abel and his sacrifice, but rejected Cain and his offering. This filled him with rage and despair (Genesis 4:3-5).

God told Cain that he and his sacrifice would have been accepted if he had been obedient. The Lord cautioned: “If you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master” (Genesis 4:7). This was God’s “way out” for Cain, but he refused to take it, gave in to temptation, and killed his brother (Genesis 4:8).

When we humble ourselves before God, we become aware of the sin that can trip us up (Hebrews 12:1). We can’t master sinful desires in our own strength—only by the power of the Holy Spirit can we can resist them (Romans 8:5). May we pray and ask for the Spirit to give us what we need to resist temptation today.

 

Forgiveness Brings Healing To You

Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Colossians 3:13

 Image result for pictures of forgivenessImage result for pictures of forgivenessImage result for pictures of forgivenessImage result for pictures of forgiveness

 Image result for pictures of forgivenessImage result for pictures of forgiveness Image result for pictures of forgivenessImage result for pictures of forgiveness

Should I Forgive?

From: Our Daily Bread

Should I Forgive?

 

I arrived early at my church to help set up for an event. A woman stood crying at the opposite end of the sanctuary. She’d been cruel and gossiped about me in the past, so I quickly drowned out her sobs with a vacuum cleaner. Why should I care about someone who didn’t like me?

When the Holy Spirit reminded me how much God had forgiven me, I crossed the room. The woman shared that her baby had been in the hospital for months. We cried, embraced, and prayed for her daughter. After working through our differences, we’re now good friends.

In Matthew 18, Jesus compares the kingdom of heaven to a king who decided to settle his accounts. A servant who owed a staggering amount of money pleaded for mercy. Soon after the king canceled his debt, that servant tracked down and condemned a man who owed him far less than what he’d owed the king. When word got back to the king, the wicked servant was imprisoned because of his own unforgiving spirit (vv. 23–34).

Choosing to forgive doesn’t condone sin, excuse the wrongs done to us, or minimize our hurts. Offering forgiveness simply frees us to enjoy God’s undeserved gift of mercy, as we invite Him to accomplish beautiful works of peace-restoring grace in our lives and our relationships.

Lord, help us give our grievances to You so that You may turn them into something good. Make us ready to forgive completely and earnestly. Give us Your spirit of unity.

Forgiving others expresses our trust in God’s right to judge according to His perfection and goodness.

 

Party On?

From: Our Daily Journey

Party On?

Read:

Amos 4:1-13
Still you would not return to me (Amos 4:6).

I recently read of the plight of “370,000 . . . ordinary middle-class people” forced to rummage “in stinking piles of rubbish for rotten cabbage leaves.” Hundreds of thousands of people in the country were scavenging for food while members of the political upper crust were “enjoying lavish parties and gourmet cuisine.” The article revealed unjust conditions and the failure of governmental leaders to do the right thing to help their people.

The prophet Amos similarly brought strong words to Israel and its upper crust for “partying on” while the poor suffered. He described the corrupt wealthy as “fat cows” who called out, “Bring us another drink!” even as they “[oppressed] the poor and [crushed] the needy” (Amos 4:1).

It’s interesting to note that the very people Amos condemned were offering sacrifices. The problem? They were giving offerings to Yahweh, but their purpose in doing so was simply for themselves (Amos 4:4-5). Worship that’s offered with complete indifference to the suffering of others is deeply offensive to God.

God in His holiness (His perfect nature) lovingly disciplined His erring people so that they would turn to Him and pursue justice. But the haunting refrain found five times in chapter 4 reveals their stone-cold hearts: “But still you would not return to me” (Amos 4:6,8,9,10,11).

Scripture reveals that God loves all people and wants us to care for those in need (Jeremiah 22:3; 1 John 3:17). If we’ve grown cold in our compassion for the poor and oppressed—partying on while they remain in misery—it’s time to repent and return to Him. And as our all-powerful God provides (Amos 4:13), may we share sacrificially with others today.

 

Liberty and the Standards of Jesus

From: Utmost.org

Liberty and the Standards of Jesus

A spiritually-minded person will never come to you with the demand— “Believe this and that”; a spiritually-minded person will demand that you align your life with the standards of Jesus. We are not asked to believe the Bible, but to believe the One whom the Bible reveals (see John 5:39-40). We are called to present liberty for the conscience of others, not to bring them liberty for their thoughts and opinions. And if we ourselves are free with the liberty of Christ, others will be brought into that same liberty— the liberty that comes from realizing the absolute control and authority of Jesus Christ.

Always measure your life solely by the standards of Jesus. Submit yourself to His yoke, and His alone; and always be careful never to place a yoke on others that is not of Jesus Christ. It takes God a long time to get us to stop thinking that unless everyone sees things exactly as we do, they must be wrong. That is never God’s view. There is only one true liberty— the liberty of Jesus at work in our conscience enabling us to do what is right.

Don’t get impatient with others. Remember how God dealt with you— with patience and with gentleness. But never water down the truth of God. Let it have its way and never apologize for it. Jesus said, “Go…and make disciples…” (Matthew 28:19), not, “Make converts to your own thoughts and opinions.”

Be A Blessing Through God

Be a blessing to others through God’s work in you.

 “I will bless those who bless you, . . . and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” Genesis 12:3

 Image result for pictures of people in high school bands playing drumsImage result for pictures of people in high school bands playing drums

Image result for pictures of people in high school bands playing drumsImage result for pictures of people in high school bands playing drums

Drumroll, Please . . .

From: Get More Strength.org

“I will bless those who bless you, . . . and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” Genesis 12:3

There are some moments in Scripture that I would have choreographed a little differently if it had been up to me. Now, before you start writing in to tell me I’m a heretic, please know that I believe wholeheartedly in the final authority of Scripture and the sovereignty of God. I don’t want to risk a lightning bolt and am not slacking off in my theology!

But if you or I were consulted about some of these moments in Scripture, we might have orchestrated them with a little more fanfare. For instance, the moment when Adam woke up to find Eve before him had to be a “fireworks, roses, and violins” kind of moment! Or what about the birth of Christ? Though God had a purpose in it, we probably would have chosen something a little more dramatic than a dingy stable and a few shepherds.

I have the same kinds of thoughts when I read through Genesis 12:1-3. This conversation between Abraham and God occurs in the middle of nowhere. I think of Abraham as a great patriarch, but in this moment he is an uninitiated nomad with no doubt an idolatrous background. And yet, here in this conversation between God and a rather unlikely person, God makes an earth-shattering promise. God shows up and tells Abraham that he would become a great nation. Then God promises—this is the moment we would cue the drum roll and a thousand-trumpet fanfare—that through him, “All peoples on earth will be blessed.”

This is one of the first prophecies of the coming of Jesus Christ through the seed of Abraham. Take it personally—you and I, who are followers of Jesus today, are recipients of the phenomenal benefits of that promise.

Both genealogies of Jesus in the Gospels trace His lineage back to Abraham. Through the entire Old Testament, even when it seemed that the promise had been jeopardized by the unfaithfulness of Israel, God was faithfully preparing to keep His promise to Abraham. And then the moment arrived when the promise was fulfilled. On the hill of Calvary, it was a descendant of Abraham hanging on the cross, giving His life for us so that, as the promise predicted, you and I could be “blessed” in massive proportion. And it all started with a promise made to a wandering nomad over 4,000 years ago. No cheering crowds or angelic choirs—just God, His promise, and an unlikely recipient.

And here is the good news. God still shows up to speak to rather unassuming people like you and me. Every time we read His promises to us it is a profound moment. Behind every promise and plan He lays out for us in His Word, there are ramifications of strategic proportions. You may not hear a lot of fanfare, but the God who was faithful to Abraham will be faithful to His promises to you! So strike up the band—drum roll, please—God still speaks and delivers on His promises! Are you listening? Do you believe?

 

The Ministry of Memory

From: Our Daily Bread

The Ministry of Memory

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

Our experiences of loss and disappointment may leave us feeling angry, guilty, and confused. Whether our choices have closed some doors that will never reopen or, through no fault of our own, tragedy has invaded our lives, the result is often what Oswald Chambers called “the unfathomable sadness of ‘the might have been.’ ” We may try to suppress the painful memory, but discover we can’t.

Chambers reminds us that the Lord is still active in our lives. “Never be afraid when God brings back the past,” he said. “Let memory have its way. It is a minister of God with its rebuke and chastisement and sorrow. God will turn the ‘might have been’ into a wonderful [place of growth] for the future.”

In Old Testament days when God sent the people of Israel into exile in Babylon, He told them to serve Him in that foreign land and grow in faith until He brought them back to their home. “ ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’ ” (Jer. 29:11).

God urged them not to ignore or be trapped by events of the past but instead to focus on Him and look ahead. The Lord’s forgiveness can transform the memory of our sorrow into confidence in His everlasting love.

Father, thank You for Your plans for us, and for the future that awaits us in Your love.

For more insight from Oswald Chambers, visit utmost.org.

God can use our deepest disappointments to nurture our faith in Him.

 

Amazing Grace, Amazing Faith

From: Our Daily Journal

Amazing Grace, Amazing Faith

Read:

Matthew 8:5-13
When Jesus heard this, He was amazed (Matthew 8:10).

If I asked you to hum the melody of Amazing Grace, it’s likely you would know it. It’s a well-known song that reminds us about God’s astonishing forgiveness. His grace gave us spiritual sight when we were blind—allowing us to draw near to Him. God’s grace makes us shiver in reverence of Him, but it also eases our fears. As the song says, God’s grace is truly amazing!

While we marvel at the wonders of God, it’s interesting that Jesus once marveled at a person’s faith. In one instance, a Roman officer approached Jesus and explained that his servant was bedridden and in severe pain. Jesus volunteered to visit the soldier’s house and heal the man. But the centurion felt he wasn’t worthy of Jesus’ visit, and believed He could heal his servant without being present (Matthew 8:8). “When Jesus heard this, He was amazed” (Matthew 8:10). Then He commended the solider for his great faith, and confirmed that He had made the patient well.

What keeps us from amazing Jesus with our faith? Without even knowing it, we sometimes believe that the laws of nature and time limit His power. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. Jesus is the One who created time and the scientific constants that help us understand our world. “Through [Christ] God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we . . . can’t see . . . and He holds all creation together” (Colossians 1:16-17).

According to the Bible, Jesus can do whatever He wants, whenever He wants. He has the power to heal us physically and give us spiritual life. God has revealed His incredible grace through His Son (2 Timothy 1:9-10). If He’s amazed you with His grace, will you amaze Him with your faith?

Pray For One Another

The Prayer of Faith   James 5:16
15  And the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick. The Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven.

16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man has great power to prevail.

17 Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years.…

Image result for pictures of people praying at a disasterImage result for pictures of people praying at a disaster

Image result for pictures of people praying at a disasterImage result for pictures of people praying at a disaster

Image result for pictures of people praying at a disasterImage result for pictures of people praying at a disaster

Vicarious Intercession

Vicarious Intercession

Beware of thinking that intercession means bringing our own personal sympathies and concerns into the presence of God, and then demanding that He do whatever we ask. Our ability to approach God is due entirely to the vicarious, or substitutionary, identification of our Lord with sin. We have “boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus.”

Spiritual stubbornness is the most effective hindrance to intercession, because it is based on a sympathetic “understanding” of things we see in ourselves and others that we think needs no atonement. We have the idea that there are certain good and virtuous things in each of us that do not need to be based on the atonement by the Cross of Christ. Just the sluggishness and lack of interest produced by this kind of thinking makes us unable to intercede. We do not identify ourselves with God’s interests and concerns for others, and we get irritated with Him. Yet we are always ready with our own ideas, and our intercession becomes only the glorification of our own natural sympathies. We have to realize that the identification of Jesus with sin means a radical change of all of our sympathies and interests. Vicarious intercession means that we deliberately substitute God’s interests in others for our natural sympathy with them.

Am I stubborn or substituted? Am I spoiled or complete in my relationship to God? Am I irritable or spiritual? Am I determined to have my own way or determined to be identified with Him?

Vicarious Intercession

From: Utmost,org

Vicarious Intercession

Beware of thinking that intercession means bringing our own personal sympathies and concerns into the presence of God, and then demanding that He do whatever we ask. Our ability to approach God is due entirely to the vicarious, or substitutionary, identification of our Lord with sin. We have “boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus.”

Spiritual stubbornness is the most effective hindrance to intercession, because it is based on a sympathetic “understanding” of things we see in ourselves and others that we think needs no atonement. We have the idea that there are certain good and virtuous things in each of us that do not need to be based on the atonement by the Cross of Christ. Just the sluggishness and lack of interest produced by this kind of thinking makes us unable to intercede. We do not identify ourselves with God’s interests and concerns for others, and we get irritated with Him. Yet we are always ready with our own ideas, and our intercession becomes only the glorification of our own natural sympathies. We have to realize that the identification of Jesus with sin means a radical change of all of our sympathies and interests. Vicarious intercession means that we deliberately substitute God’s interests in others for our natural sympathy with them.

Am I stubborn or substituted? Am I spoiled or complete in my relationship to God? Am I irritable or spiritual? Am I determined to have my own way or determined to be identified with Him?

 

Five-Minute Rule

From: Our Daily Bread

Five-Minute Rule

He will respond to the prayer of the destitute; he will not despise their plea. Psalm 102:17

I read about a five-minute rule that a mother had for her children. They had to be ready for school and gather together five minutes before it was time to leave each day.

They would gather around Mom, and she would pray for each one by name, asking for the Lord’s blessing on their day. Then she’d give them a kiss and off they’d run. Even neighborhood kids would be included in the prayer circle if they happened to stop by. One of the children said many years later that she learned from this experience how crucial prayer is to her day.

The writer of Psalm 102 knew the importance of prayer. This psalm is labeled, “A prayer of an afflicted person who has grown weak and pours out a lament before the Lord.” He cried out, “Hear my prayer, Lord; . . .  when I call, answer me quickly” (vv. 1–2). God looks down “from his sanctuary on high, from heaven he [views] the earth” (v. 19).

God cares for you and wants to hear from you. Whether you follow the five-minute rule asking for blessings on the day, or need to spend more time crying out to Him in deep distress, talk to the Lord each day. Your example may have a big impact on your family or someone close to you.

 

Encouraging Leaders

From: Our Daily Journey

Encouraging Leaders

Read:

Exodus 32:1-22
My dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless (1 Corinthians 15:58).

A pastor friend told my husband and me that he’s considering leaving the ministry because he feels as if his efforts haven’t resulted in heart change for any of his congregants—that their priorities remained out of step with God’s. After my husband and I prayed for him, he told us that we had encouraged him. Even so, I’m not confident that he’ll remain in fulltime pastoral ministry.

This pastor’s anger and lament over the spiritual state of some believers in Jesus reminded me of Moses’ anger and discouragement with the Israelites. When Moses descended Mount Sinai holding the two stone tablets with the Ten Commandments engraved on them, he saw the Israelites worshiping the golden calf. In his anger, he smashed the tablets at the foot of the mountain (Exodus 32:19). He then approached his brother Aaron and demanded to know how such idolatry came about. Aaron wouldn’t take even part of the blame, saying, “You yourself know how evil these people are” (Exodus 32:22).

We complain about those we consider to be inept and ungodly leaders in the church. And of course, there are some leaders we should approach with genuine questions or concerns. Matthew 18:15-20 calls us to go to those with whom we have issues. Sometimes, however, we can be the source of the problem—people who fill our leaders with grief. We discourage them with our complaints, critical spirits, and mean-spiritedness.

Today, as the Holy Spirit guides us, may we try to encourage our pastors and other church leaders—letting them know that their work is of great value: “Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless” (1 Corinthians 15:58).

God Is With You

 

You have Searched Me and Know Me   Psalm 139:8

7    Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?

8    If I ascend to heaven,You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold,You are there.

9    If I take the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,…

Image result for pictures of spaceshipImage result for pictures of spaceship

Image result for pictures of man tethered from space shipImage result for pictures of man tethered from space ship
Image result for pictures of man tethered from space shipImage result for pictures of man tethered from space ship
Whether underground or in space, God is with me.
 We are never alone.

Alone in Space

From: Our Daily Bread

Alone in Space

Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it. Genesis 28:16

Apollo 15 astronaut Al Worden knew what it felt like to be on the far side of the moon. For three days back in 1971, he flew alone in his command module, Endeavor, while two crewmates worked thousands of miles below on the surface of the moon. His only companions were the stars overhead that he remembers as being so thick they seemed to wrap him in a sheet of light.

As the sun went down on the Old Testament character Jacob’s first night away from home, he too was profoundly alone, but for a different reason. He was on the run from his older brother—who wanted to kill him for stealing the family blessing normally given to the firstborn son. Yet on falling asleep, Jacob had a dream of a staircase joining heaven and earth. As he watched angels ascending and descending, he heard the voice of God promising to be with him and to bless the whole earth through his children. When Jacob woke he said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it” (Gen. 28:16).

Jacob had isolated himself because of his deceit. Yet as real as his failures, and as dark as the night, he was in the presence of the One whose plans are always better and more far-reaching than our own. Heaven is closer than we think, and the “God of Jacob” is with us.

Father, thank You for using the story of Jacob to show us that the glory of Your unseen presence and goodness is far greater than we could imagine.

God is nearer than we think.

 

Trica Lott Williford May 3, 2017
Break Out the Crayons
TRICIA LOTT WILLIFORD

From: Crosswalk.com

“Instead you thrill to GOD’S Word, you chew on Scripture day and night. You’re a tree replanted in Eden, bearing fresh fruit every month, Never dropping a leaf, always in blossom.” Psalm 1:2-3 (MSG)

I could write songs and sonnets about my affection for crayons. I’m smitten, and I have been since before kindergarten.

There’s a special place in my heart for a new box of crayons. The cleverly named colors, even the waxy smell … the endless possibilities very nearly intoxicate me.

The great news for girls like me is that coloring isn’t just for kids anymore — and even simple coloring can be an act of worship. I recently dove into a new readable coloring Bible, and it’s changing the way I read Scripture. As I opened the pages, I found a beautiful invitation to meditate on the Word of God.

The words of Scripture are the living words of God (Hebrews 4:12), and they hold eternal wisdom. God wants us to dive into His Word, to discover the rich treasures of truth about Him and guidance for our daily lives.

The problem I’ve found, and maybe you have too, is that it’s so hard for me to actually slow down. Meditation simply can’t be done in a hurry.

Meditation takes time.

Meditation is a blend of studying, rereading, repeating, thinking, analyzing, investigating and enjoying the Word of God. It’s a physical, intellectual and emotional activity that welcomes every part of our being. The practice of meditation doesn’t fit well into the pace of our culture, let alone my busy life. It’s a challenge to overcome the obstacles of busyness and distraction to welcome the space meditation requires. Enter coloring.

The psalmist writes in today’s key verse that to meditate is similar to how one would “chew on” something — letting God’s truth into our lives and digesting it into our system. “Instead you thrill to GOD’S Word, you chew on Scripture day and night. You’re a tree replanted in Eden, bearing fresh fruit every month, Never dropping a leaf, always in blossom” (Psalm 1:2-3).

Coloring is an activity often associated with children, so as we grow older, it’s easy to set aside our crayons and colored pencils in lieu of more sophisticated tools, like pens and highlighters — especially for Bible study. But I’ve learned coloring can be beneficial for adults, creating a sense of wellness, quietness and even meditation.

The reason? Coloring has a natural de-stressing effect. When I focus on what my hands are doing, I lift my focus away from busyness and worry. The same is true when I focus on the words of God.

The end result is meditating on Scripture helps me quiet my mind and my spirit. When I settle into a book of the Bible, a page or even a single verse, I can find stillness, meditation, trust, peace and creativity, all centered on the Word of God.

There’s no way to avoid the strife and turmoil in the world around us, and it’s so very difficult to step away from the busyness of everyday life to focus on God and His Word. But, the Lord promises to meet us there, restore our peace and give us a steadiness and sense of stability that only comes from Him.

Dear Lord, thank You for gifts of color and beauty in the world you’ve created. Thank You for giving us Your Holy Word, a book that gives us every truth we need. Please, Lord, help me to slow down to create the space that meditation requires, so I can fix my thoughts on You. Grant us Your perfect peace. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

Vital Intercession

From: Utmost.org

Vital Intercession

As we continue on in our intercession for others, we may find that our obedience to God in interceding is going to cost those for whom we intercede more than we ever thought. The danger in this is that we begin to intercede in sympathy with those whom God was gradually lifting up to a totally different level in direct answer to our prayers. Whenever we step back from our close identification with God’s interest and concern for others and step into having emotional sympathy with them, the vital connection with God is gone. We have then put our sympathy and concern for them in the way, and this is a deliberate rebuke to God.

It is impossible for us to have living and vital intercession unless we are perfectly and completely sure of God. And the greatest destroyer of that confident relationship to God, so necessary for intercession, is our own personal sympathy and preconceived bias. Identification with God is the key to intercession, and whenever we stop being identified with Him it is because of our sympathy with others, not because of sin. It is not likely that sin will interfere with our intercessory relationship with God, but sympathy will. It is sympathy with ourselves or with others that makes us say, “I will not allow that thing to happen.” And instantly we are out of that vital connection with God.

Vital intercession leaves you with neither the time nor the inclination to pray for your own “sad and pitiful self.” You do not have to struggle to keep thoughts of yourself out, because they are not even there to be kept out of your thinking. You are completely and entirely identified with God’s interests and concerns in other lives. God gives us discernment in the lives of others to call us to intercession for them, never so that we may find fault with them.

Jesus Is The Bread Of Life

34    “Sir,” they said, “give us this bread at all times.”
36   But as I told you, you have seen Me and still you do not believe.…
Image result for pictures of people eating breadImage result for pictures of people eating bread
Image result for pictures of people eating breadImage result for pictures of people eating bread
Image result for pictures of people eating breadImage result for pictures of people eating bread
Image result for pictures of people eating breadImage result for pictures of people eating bread

A Boy’s Lunch

[Written by Joe Stowell for Our Daily Bread.]

I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger. —John 6:35

Once I made the mistake of thinking I could single-handedly finish a 28-ounce steak at a restaurant. I had the remainder boxed up to take home. I thought, At least it will give me another feast to look forward to.

As I left the restaurant, a homeless man approached me, asking for money. At first I refused. But struck by sudden guilt, I called him back, gave him $5, and blessed him in Jesus’ name. Having done my Christian duty, I was happy to go on my way, boxed-up steak in hand, until he asked, “What about the box?” I have to admit, I had a hard time parting with my steak.

One of my favorite stories in the New Testament is about the little boy who brown-bagged it to a revival service (John 6:1-14). If he was like most boys, his lunch was a very important commodity. Yet he was willing to give his lunch of five barley loaves and two small fish to the Lord. I think he may have known that by putting his lunch in the hands of Jesus, He could do something extraordinary with it. And He did. He fed thousands of hungry people.

Jesus is still looking for a few common folk like you and me who are willing to commit out-of-the-ordinary, intentional acts of selfless sacrifice so that He can turn our offering into His glory. Commit such an act today!

Let me give of myself, dear Lord,
Always ready to sacrifice,
Willing to share what I hold dear,
Never deterred by the price. —Hess

Let Jesus share with others what you want to keep for yourself.

 

 

Just a Touch

From: Our Daily Bread

Just a Touch

Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. Matthew 8:3

Kiley leaped at the chance to go to a remote area of East Africa to assist a medical mission, yet she felt uneasy. She didn’t have any medical experience. Still, she could provide basic care.

While there, she met a woman with a horrible but treatable disease. The woman’s distorted leg repulsed her, but Kiley knew she had to do something. As she cleaned and bandaged the leg, her patient began crying. Concerned, Kiley asked if she was hurting her. “No,” she replied. “It’s the first time anyone has touched me in nine years.”

Leprosy is another disease that can render its victims repulsive to others, and ancient Jewish culture had strict guidelines to prevent its spread: “They must live alone,” the law declared. “They must live outside the camp” (Lev. 13:46).

That’s why it’s so remarkable that a leper approached Jesus to say, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean” (Matt. 8:2). “Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. ‘I am willing,’ he said. ‘Be clean!’ ” (v. 3).

In touching a lonely woman’s diseased leg, Kiley began to show the fearless, bridge-building love of Jesus. A single touch made a difference.

Lord, we want to show the fearless love You showed when You walked this earth.

What difference might we make if we overcome our fears and trust God to use us?

 

 

In Hiding?

From: Our Daily Journey

In Hiding?

Read:

Genesis 3:8-13
People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy (Proverbs 28:13).

My parents didn’t have much money, so when Dad gave me a small pocketknife, I treasured it. The gift came with one caveat though. Because I was only eight years old, I couldn’t use it—I could only carry it in my pocket!

You might guess how that went. Soon I found a place to hide and opened the knife to admire the edge. It wasn’t long before I began to whittle sticks with it. One day the blade slipped and cut my finger. Now I had to hide the wound from my parents! It wasn’t long until my mother noticed and quickly guessed the cause of the cut. At first, I engaged in hardline denial. But after what seemed like weeks of “interrogation” (actually only a few minutes), I admitted my crime. Dad took the knife and forgave me. Eventually, he gave it back—much later.

When we do something we know is wrong, our instinct is to hide. That’s what Adam and Eve did when they did the one thing that God told them not to do. God came looking for them, but His motive wasn’t to destroy them in anger. Instead He asked, “Where are you?” (Genesis 3:9)—not because He didn’t know, but because He knew Adam and Eve had to confront what they had done.

Both the man and the woman engaged in blame-shifting (Genesis 3:12-13), neither of them owning up to their disobedience. Still, God provided for them and made a way forward. He never stopped loving them.

In my case, my dad felt more sadness than anger over my disobedience. That’s a small picture of God. We’re ashamed of our failures and sin, and so we hide from Him. Yet He already knows us intimately, and He always comes looking for us. That’s the kind of God we serve. He offers us a place to belong—one with other forgiven sinners. Today, will we hide or step inside?

Work Hard For Jesus

Colossians 3:23-24 “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.”

Image result for pictures of people with shovelsImage result for pictures of people with shovels
450 × 320 – shutterstock.com
Image result for pictures of people with shovelsImage result for pictures of people with shovels
Image result for pictures of people with shovelsImage result for pictures of people with shovels
Image result for pictures of people with shovelsImage result for pictures of people with shovels

A Bigger Shovel

From: Get More Strength.org

“Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.” 2 Corinthians 9:6

It’s interesting to me that Jesus taught more about money than any other subject. He consistently talked about the importance of generosity and the deadly danger of greed. To the man who asked Jesus to tell his brother to divide the inheritance with him, Jesus responded by warning, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions” (Luke 12:15). And in Luke 6:38 Jesus taught, “Give, and it will be given to you . . . pressed down, shaken together and running over.” To disciples distracted by financial needs, Jesus assured them that the Father knows they need such things as food and clothes: “But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well” (Luke 12:22-31).

God’s plan is simple—give to gain. In other words, give to the kingdom and God will take care of your needs.

The great British preacher Charles H. Spurgeon once learned about this kind of trust while trying to raise money for poor children in London. He went to Bristol hoping to collect £300 (which in those days was a huge amount of money) for London’s homeless children. At the end of the week of meetings, many lives had been changed and his financial goal had been reached. That night, as he bowed in prayer, Spurgeon was clearly prompted to give the money to a co-laborer of Christ named George Mueller.

“Oh no, Lord,” answered Spurgeon, “I need it for my own dear orphans.” Yet Spurgeon couldn’t shake the idea that God wanted him to part with it. Only when he said, “Yes, Lord, I will,” could he find rest.

With great peace, he made his way the next morning to Mueller’s orphanage and found the great man of prayer on his knees. The famous minister placed his hand on Mueller’s shoulder and said, “George, God has told me to give you the £300 I’ve collected.”

“Oh, my dear brother,” exclaimed Mueller,” I’ve just been asking him for exactly that amount!” The two servants of the Lord wept and rejoiced together.

When Spurgeon returned to London, he found an envelope on his desk containing more than £300. The Lord had returned the £300 he had obediently given to Mueller, with 300 shillings of interest!

Spurgeon learned what another generous believer once said: “I shovel out, and God shovels in, and he has a bigger shovel than I do.” And while the return may or may not be monetary, you can be sure that your heart will overflow with the joy of giving generously and seeing His kingdom prosper.

And you don’t have to look back a hundred plus years to discover stories about the overflowing generosity of God to people who cheerfully give their money to the needs of others and God’s work. Just ask those who have discovered the joy of giving. They’ve got plenty of stories to prove the point. Let me invite you to get a few stories of your own!

 

Jennifer Rothschild May 1, 2017
Choosing to See Beyond Your Grief
JENNIFER ROTHSCHILD

From: Crosswalk.com

“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people.” Ephesians 1:18 (NIV)

I remember when I heard the news. I was elated and squealed and cried! I hugged our kids, my husband, the dog and anyone else close enough to grab!

I asked my son and daughter-in-law a million questions. And then, hours later, alone in my bed, I processed the news … alone in the reality of fresh loss. The sadness closed in like the final curtain after a beautiful play. Elation was replaced by reality — a reality that brought feelings I never expected.

The reality is, I’m blind. I am about to become a grandma, and I won’t see my grandbaby’s eyes. I won’t know if he has Clayton’s nose or Caroline’s mouth. I won’t see his smile. I won’t see his tiny hands balled into fists as he toddles on chunky little legs taking his first steps. I was deflated. I wept. I asked God a million questions as I hugged my pillow.

Lord, I won’t be able to care for him or take him to the park or color with him or even play peek-a-boo.

Will he think of me as the grandma who isn’t fun? Will he feel safe with me? Will I be the grandma he’s unsure of until he’s old enough to understand?

As I tossed and turned and prayed and cried, I thought of how much I wanted to feel gratitude, not grief. Joy, like when I first heard the news … before sorrow clouded my vision.

I lost my sight at 15, but now at 53, becoming a grandma is forcing me to grieve blindness in new and unexpected ways.

Grief and gratefulness can share the same heartbeat, but they don’t always share the same viewpoint. I want to see beyond grief and fix my eyes only on gratefulness.

That’s why I need to see with my heart. And, sister, I have a strong feeling I’m not the only one. But we can’t unless God opens the eyes of our hearts, as our key verse says:

“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people” (Ephesians 1:18).

When God opens the eyes of our hearts, we can see the hope to which we are called. We’re not called to despair or constant grief; we are called to hope.

God wants to open our spiritual eyes so we can see hope with our hearts. When we see with our hearts, we see blessing and potential tucked within loss and disappointment.

When we see with our hearts, we focus on what we have, not what we’ve lost. We view our situations, our whole lives, through the eyes of gratefulness. And grateful eyes will always see hope.

Seeing with our hearts doesn’t mean we won’t still hurt. It doesn’t mean we see everything through rose-colored filters. Grief is still real, and grief still hurts. But when we ask God to open our spiritual eyes, we see beyond the loss.

I may not see little dimples and dancing brown eyes with my eyes, but I can feel wonder when I touch that satiny skin. I may not see that baby’s sweet face, but I can hear a thousand anthems of praise in his giggle. I can caress infant skin bearing the fingerprint of God and feel gratefulness and hope radiate through my grief. I can and will see that baby with my heart.

You may hold unexpected grief in your heart today. Maybe you carry a burden that makes you grateful or a gift that makes you cry. No matter what life looks like for you today, God can help you see it with the eyes of your heart.

I know He can, my sister, because that’s what He’s doing for me. When we see with our hearts, hope bursts on the horizon, no matter how cloudy or dark the day.

God is the one who opens eyes. He opens eyes of the blind and those who see perfectly but are blinded by disappointment, loss or grief.

So, if what you see discourages you, ask God to open the eyes of your heart and fix them on what is unseen. Because what is seen is temporary, and what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:18)

Dear Lord, focus my spiritual eyes so I can see Your hand, Your heart and Your purpose in all I experience. Let me see with my heart today and every day, so I can see hope. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

Faith— Not Emotion

From: Utmost.org

Faith— Not Emotion

For a while, we are fully aware of God’s concern for us. But then, when God begins to use us in His work, we begin to take on a pitiful look and talk only of our trials and difficulties. And all the while God is trying to make us do our work as hidden people who are not in the spotlight. None of us would be hidden spiritually if we could help it. Can we do our work when it seems that God has sealed up heaven? Some of us always want to be brightly illuminated saints with golden halos and with the continual glow of inspiration, and to have other saints of God dealing with us all the time. A self-assured saint is of no value to God. He is abnormal, unfit for daily life, and completely unlike God. We are here, not as immature angels, but as men and women, to do the work of this world. And we are to do it with an infinitely greater power to withstand the struggle because we have been born from above.

If we continually try to bring back those exceptional moments of inspiration, it is a sign that it is not God we want. We are becoming obsessed with the moments when God did come and speak with us, and we are insisting that He do it again. But what God wants us to do is to “walk by faith.” How many of us have set ourselves aside as if to say, “I cannot do anything else until God appears to me”? He will never do it. We will have to get up on our own, without any inspiration and without any sudden touch from God. Then comes our surprise and we find ourselves exclaiming, “Why, He was there all the time, and I never knew it!” Never live for those exceptional moments— they are surprises. God will give us His touches of inspiration only when He sees that we are not in danger of being led away by them. We must never consider our moments of inspiration as the standard way of life— our work is our standard.

May We Always Love Jesus Christ

Image result for pictures of loved foreverImage result for pictures of loved forever

Jeremiah 31:3 “The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.”

Image result for pictures of loved foreverImage result for pictures of loved forever

Romans 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?

Image result for pictures of loved foreverImage result for picture of jesus on cross

 

Forever Loved

From: Our Daily Bread

Forever Loved

Know that the Lord has set apart his faithful servant for himself. Psalm 4:3

It’s almost impossible for us to get through a day without being snubbed, ignored, or put down in some way. Sometimes we even do it to ourselves.

David’s enemies were talking smack—bullying, threatening, pummeling him with insults. His sense of self-worth and well-being had plummeted (Ps. 4:1–2). He asked for relief “from my distress.”

Then David remembered, “Know that the Lord has set apart his faithful servant for himself” (v. 3). Various English versions try to capture the full essence of David’s bold statement by translating “faithful servant” as “godly.” The Hebrew word here, hesed, literally refers to God’s covenant love and might well be rendered “those whom God will love forever and ever and ever.”

Here’s what we too must remember: We are loved forever, set apart in a special way, as dear to God as His own Son. He has called us to be His children for all eternity.

Instead of despairing, we can remind ourselves of the love we freely receive from our Father. We are His dearly beloved children. The end is not despair but peace and joy (vv. 7–8). He never gives up on us, and He never ever stops loving us.

Father in heaven, the words of others can wound us deeply. Your words to us heal and comfort, and You assure us that we are loved forever.

The true measure of God’s love is that He loves without measure. Bernard of Clairvaux

Don’t Forget

From: Get More Strength.org

“Be careful that you do not forget the LORD, who brought you out of Egypt.” Deuteronomy 6:12

We all have little slips in our memory once in a while, right? I love the story about the guy who decided to do something about his increasing forgetfulness. This poor chap decided to attend a seminar on how to increase his ability to remember things. And, to his great delight, the seminar worked! A few weeks later he sat in his living room, chatting with a friend about his newly improved recall ability.

“You won’t believe it,” he gushed, “This memory seminar really has helped me remember things better. I have a whole new lease on life!”

“That’s great,” his friend replied. “How does it work?”

“Well, you simply think of a common object that helps you build a link to whatever you need to remember. If you can remember the common object, then you’ll remember the other object.”

“Wow!” said his friend. “You know, to be honest, my memory’s slipping a little. What’s the name of the seminar? I think I might sign up for it.”

“Okay,” the guy replied. “Let’s see, think of a flower with red petals . . . long stem . . .  thorns . . .  rose.” Then he yelled to his wife in the next room, “Hey, Rose, what was the name of that seminar I went to?”

In Deuteronomy 6:12, Moses is talking to the Israelites about the danger of memory loss when it comes to forgetting God. God’s people were standing on the edge of the Promised Land, ready to enter a land with great cities they did not build, houses full of good things they did not fill, and vast and lush vineyards they didn’t plant. And, as good as the prospect of all this prosperity was, there was a danger lurking under the blessing. Moses knew that in good times it’s easy to forget God. The people were in danger of forgetting that it was God who had given them this land flowing with milk and honey; forgetting that it was God who went before them in each battle; forgetting, in fact, that it was only through God’s gracious choice of them as His people that they were enjoying the blessings of their new home and country. And, when we forget God, we become unthankful, proud, and self-sufficient—the kinds of things that are offensive to the Giver of every good and perfect gift.

So the solution for Israel—and for that matter, for us—is keeping God in mind! The book of Deuteronomy is actually a memory seminar about God’s goodness to His people. Moses reminds the Israelites of the law that was given on Mount Sinai. He tracks the Israelites back over the ways God miraculously provided for them—battles won, food given, shoes that didn’t wear out—the list of God’s providing work is long.

So, here’s the lesson. Beware! When God is abundantly good to us we are in great danger. We are in danger because in good times it’s easy to forget God. It’s easy to be so consumed with the gifts that we forget the Giver! And if we do that, we end up worshiping the blessings and not the One who in His amazing grace has blessed us.

The benefit of keeping God in mind is that it keeps our hearts grateful, appropriately humble, and delighted in our God for His goodness to us. Believe me, delighting in Him beats being consumed by the stuff that He has given us.

Memory lapses in our daily routines may be normal for us. But remembering God’s goodness in our lives is something we can’t afford to forget!

 

Spontaneous Love

From: Utmost.org

Spontaneous Love

Love is not premeditated– it is spontaneous; that is, it bursts forth in extraordinary ways. There is nothing of precise certainty in Paul’s description of love. We cannot predetermine our thoughts and actions by saying, “Now I will never think any evil thoughts, and I will believe everything that Jesus would have me to believe.” No, the characteristic of love is spontaneity. We don’t deliberately set the statements of Jesus before us as our standard, but when His Spirit is having His way with us, we live according to His standard without even realizing it. And when we look back, we are amazed at how unconcerned we have been over our emotions, which is the very evidence that real spontaneous love was there. The nature of everything involved in the life of God in us is only discerned when we have been through it and it is in our past.

The fountains from which love flows are in God, not in us. It is absurd to think that the love of God is naturally in our hearts, as a result of our own nature. His love is there only because it “has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit…” (Romans 5:5).

If we try to prove to God how much we love Him, it is a sure sign that we really don’t love Him. The evidence of our love for Him is the absolute spontaneity of our love, which flows naturally from His nature within us. And when we look back, we will not be able to determine why we did certain things, but we can know that we did them according to the spontaneous nature of His love in us. The life of God exhibits itself in this spontaneous way because the fountains of His love are in the Holy Spirit.