The Link To Life

 

The Link To Life

According to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit. —Titus 3:5
Bible in a Year:
Judges 1-3; Luke 4:1-30

By the time he was 16, Morris Frank (1908–1980) had lost his sight in both eyes. Several years later, he traveled to Switzerland where he met Buddy, the canine who would help to inspire Frank’s involvement with the Seeing Eye guide-dog school.

With Buddy leading the way, Frank learned to navigate busy sidewalks and intersections. Describing the freedom his guide provided, Frank said, “It was glorious: just [Buddy] and a leather strap, linking me to life.” Buddy gave Morris Frank a new kind of access to the world around him.

God’s Holy Spirit gives us access to abundant spiritual life in Christ. When we accept Christ as Lord, God washes our sins away and renews us “by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior” (Titus 3:5-6 niv). Once we know Christ, the Holy Spirit helps us experience God’s love (Rom. 5:5), understand God’s Word (John 14:26), pray (Rom. 8:26), and abound in hope (Rom. 15:13).

Today, as you think about your relationship with God, remember that the Spirit is your guide to life in Christ (Rom. 8:14).

Holy Spirit, Light divine,
Shine upon this heart of mine.
Chase the shades of night away;
Turn my darkness into day. —Reed
The Holy Spirit guides us into knowledge and spiritual growth.

Luke 11:1-13
For everyone who asks, receives (Luke 11:10).

Read Matthew 6:9-13 for the longer version of the Lord’s Prayer.

How will the Lord’s Prayer guide you in your prayers as you go through troubling times? What does it mean for you to know God as your heavenly Father?

I tossed and turned on my bed. My heart was troubled and my mind disturbed. I was deliberating a decision that could set my life on a whole new course. In this scary time, I found myself praying: Lord, teach me how to pray!

The disciples made a similar request to Jesus (though for a different reason). Jesus’ answer is recorded for us in Luke 11:2-4.

It never fails to amaze me that Jesus taught us to address God as Father. He could have picked “Lord” or “Almighty God,” but He didn’t. This is significant. The term “Father” contains the intimacy and love found in a personal relationship with the Sovereign Creator of the universe.

Of this reality Martyn Lloyd-Jones said, “If you should ask me to state in one phrase what I regard as the greatest defect in most Christian lives, I would say that it is our failure to know God as our Father as we should know Him. . . . Ah yes, we say; we do know that and believe it. But do we know it in our daily life and living? Is it something of which we are always conscious? If only we got hold of this, we could smile in the face of every possibility and eventuality that lies ahead of us.”

Jesus gave us an illustration to help us know our Father better (Luke 11:11-13). In essence, He said, “Whatever is for your spiritual benefit, your heavenly Father will surely give you.” As I continued to deliberate over my big decision, I’m glad that I could commune with my Father and seek His heart and wisdom.

So, as His child who desires to love Him, I pray that His name may be praised, His interest be advanced, and His will be done!

Time For A Change

 From: Strength For The Journey
This Man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner. —Luke 7:39

A friend once told me, “In my lifetime I’ve seen a lot of things change, and I’ve been against them all!” Perhaps he overstated the point, but many of us would agree that we don’t like change—especially if it involves altering our habits and attitudes.

That’s one reason Jesus was so unpopular among the Pharisees. He challenged their long-established system of good works and self-righteous living. Consider the incident when the town “sinner” entered the home of the town “saint” in Luke 7:36-50. Simon the Pharisee wasn’t impressed with the woman’s lavish display of affection for Jesus. Reading Simon’s self-righteous thoughts, Jesus immediately challenged his flawed perception of his own goodness by telling the story of two debtors—one who owed much to his master and one who owed less. “Which of them will love him more?” Jesus asked (Luke 7:42). Obviously, the one who had been forgiven more. Speaking to Simon’s I-feel-pretty-good-about-myself attitude, Jesus said, “to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little” (Luke 7:47).

The challenge is clear. Lulled into thinking how good we are, our love for Jesus wanes because we have forgotten that we too are among the ones “forgiven much.” And when that happens, ready or not, it’s time for a change!

Forgive us, Lord, for failures past,
Then help us start anew
With strength and courage to obey
And closely follow You. —Sper

When God starts changing things, He usually begins with changing us.

 

How Much Will This Choice Really Cost Me?
Lysa TerKeurst

From: Crosswalk.com

“… in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.” 2 Corinthians 2:11 (NIV)

A few years ago I sat at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) with my daughter Ashley while an officer told her the importance of good choices. Ashley was getting her learner’s permit and entering the scary world of teenage drivers.

“We’ve had 320 teens killed this year in fatal car accidents so we want to do everything possible to keep you safe,” the officer said sternly as she highlighted for Ashley all the many rules for new drivers. Then she suggested signing a contract with her parents incorporating these rules.

I’ve never wanted to hug a DMV officer. But, it was all I could do not to reach across the desk and throw my arms around her. For you see, my husband and I had already created a driving contract that we’ve made each of our teenagers sign.

I’m sure our kids have thought our contract was a bit over the top. After all, none of their friends have had to sign such a document with their parents. So, it was good to hear another adult speak truth into the life of my child.

And what I loved most about the officer’s sermonette on safe driving was her emphasis on the cost of wrong choices.

How I wish we could all see the cost of our choices as clearly as a price tag on items in a store. If I know how much something is going to cost me, I make much wiser choices. But we have an enemy who schemes against us to keep the cost of dumb decisions concealed until it’s too late.

Satan wants to defeat, discourage and destroy our families. His attacks are not just willy-nilly attempts to trip us up or knock us down. He wants to take us out.

That’s why, as parents, we’ve got to boldly fight for our families. We must get intentional with teaching our kids to think through their choices. And we must get intentional about modeling good choices as well.

Do you know why Satan’s tactics are called schemes in 2 Corinthians 2:11? A scheme is a plan, design or program of action. Satan’s schemes are well-crafted plans specifically targeted to do three things:

1. Increase your desire for something outside the will of God.
2. Make you think giving in to a weakness is no big deal.
3. Minimize your ability to think through the consequences of falling to this temptation.

Satan is a master of keeping that cost hidden until it’s too late.

Sweet sisters, this is something worth thinking about. And it is something worth talking about with our kids. Consider age-appropriate examples of how costly wrong choices can be. Be real, raw and bold as you walk them through different scenarios of temptations they might face.

That DMV officer was certainly bold in her explanation of the cost when a teen driver gets distracted by their iPod, cell phone or friends acting silly. Hearing her explain to my daughter how costly others’ poor choices have been made these “rules” seem more like life-saving gifts.

Think how different life might be if we all paused and asked ourselves this crucial question: How much will this choice really cost me? If we teach ourselves and our kids nothing else this week than to ask this one question, we will have invested wisely. So, so very wisely.

Dear Lord, I am reminded that boldly following You is so much better than any short-term experience that’s not pleasing to You. Give me Your eyes so that I can see temptation and its many different faces. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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