Tag Archives: Children

God Is All Powerful

 

The Great Commission          Matthew 28: 18
17   When they saw Him, they worshiped Him, but some doubted.

18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me.

19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,…

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The Greatest Source of Power

From: Utmost.org

The Greatest Source of Power

Am I fulfilling this ministry of intercession deep within the hidden recesses of my life? There is no trap nor any danger at all of being deceived or of showing pride in true intercession. It is a hidden ministry that brings forth fruit through which the Father is glorified. Am I allowing my spiritual life to waste away, or am I focused, bringing everything to one central point— the atonement of my Lord? Is Jesus Christ more and more dominating every interest of my life? If the central point, or the most powerful influence, of my life is the atonement of the Lord, then every aspect of my life will bear fruit for Him.

However, I must take the time to realize what this central point of power is. Am I willing to give one minute out of every hour to concentrate on it? “If you abide in Me…”— that is, if you continue to act, and think, and work from that central point— “you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you” (John 15:7). Am I abiding? Am I taking the time to abide? What is the greatest source of power in my life? Is it my work, service, and sacrifice for others, or is it my striving to work for God? It should be none of these— what ought to exert the greatest power in my life is the atonement of the Lord. It is not on what we spend the greatest amount of time that molds us the most, but whatever exerts the most power over us. We must make a determination to limit and concentrate our desires and interests on the atonement by the Cross of Christ.

“Whatever you ask in My name, that I will do….” The disciple who abides in Jesus is the will of God, and what appears to be his free choices are actually God’s foreordained decrees. Is this mysterious? Does it appear to contradict sound logic or seem totally absurd? Yes, but what a glorious truth it is to a saint of God.

When the Going Gets Tough

From: Get More Strength

“Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial.” James 1:12

There I was driving along, half hypnotized by the steady flow of traffic. I glanced at the car ahead of me. The bumper sticker read, “When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping!” I chuckled. But then I thought: Could you really call yourself “tough” if you headed for the mall every time life went sour? As I drove, I pondered how to really finish that sentence, “When the going gets tough, the tough . . . do what?”

A quick Internet search on the phrase returned endless possibilities for completing the thought. Here are some of the wackiest endings: “When the going gets tough, the tough “go to Asia,” or, the tough “start knitting.” One even said, “The tough lighten up!”

All of these alternative endings are humorous in their own way. But, they also represent ways to deal with “tough going.” For example, shopping could symbolize immediate gratification. Racing off to Asia might mean you’re running away from the problem. Starting to knit is a picture of distracting yourself from the trouble at hand. And if you simply lighten up, or laugh it off—that’s kind of like denial.

I don’t think any of us would get very far in life if we repeatedly chose those responses to trouble. They all contradict the traditional ending to the phrase. “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” The tough hang in there; they persevere. James 1:12 says: “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life.”

In the Greek language, the word perseverance is literally made up of two words. One means “to remain.” The other word means “under.” That tells us that perseverance is the ability to remain under the pressure of difficulty with a good spirit. As Christians, we have a responsibility to bear the stress until God accomplishes His purposes. This gives us the assurance that our suffering has meaning.

In fact, God intends that we, in time, will blossom under the pressure. That’s why James exhorts us to submit to the trial and let perseverance finish its job of sanctification. In James 1:4, the text tells us, “Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” And, check out Romans 5:1-21 where Paul says that perseverance produces character!

In addition to the blessings that God brings to us when we persevere, perseverance also allows others to see Christ at work in our lives. With the growing interest in spirituality today, people are watching us more than ever before. They are looking to see if there is anything of value in our walk with Jesus. Or, are we just like anyone else when the going gets tough? They want to know, would a Christian use a string of four-letter words if she lost the big sale? Would a Christian booze it up after a crazy stressful day at the office? What would it take for a Christian to throw in the towel on his marriage? When we invite God to help us through situations like these, He furnishes the power to persevere so that onlookers can see that our Jesus is worth being faithful to regardless of the stress.

The next time a problem comes up and you’re tempted to go shopping, gallivant off to Asia, or knit yourself into oblivion, remember: Since God has a purpose in your problem, it’s worth hanging in there! So, if you are a follower of Jesus, your bumper sticker announces, “When the going gets tough, the tough hang in there!”

 

What Comes First

From: Our Daily Journey

What Comes First

Read:

Exodus 16:24-32
So the people did not gather any food on the seventh day (Exodus 16:30).

When I was a young child, I thought that thunder and lightning were separate phenomena that just happened to occur at the same time. It was only years later that a science teacher explained to me that lightning and thunder are directly connected to one another—that the rapid heating and cooling of the air during a lightning strike causes a massive atmospheric boom which we hear as thunder. In other words, you would never have thunder if lightning didn’t strike first.

Much like lightning and thunder, the ancient Israelites couldn’t have had a Sabbath rest if manna hadn’t been provided the day before (Exodus 16:29). It’s easy to think that the Sabbath was a stand-alone event, where God simply commanded the people of Israel to refrain from working on a given day. But we often overlook the fact that the first Sabbath observed by the people of Israel occurred a day after manna fell from heaven to feed them—a form of providence so surprising and mysterious that they would call it “What is it?” food (Exodus 16:15).

This was no coincidence. In fact, the whole reason Israel could rest from their work was because God is the One who faithfully provided for their needs: “They must realize that the Sabbath is the Lord ’s gift to you” (Exodus 16:29). Their ability to rest comes directly from God’s willingness to provide. As Moses said, “It is the food the Lord has given you to eat” (Exodus 16:15).

So often I have a very shallow conception of rest, thinking all it means is to take some time off from work. But the whole reason I can rest in the first place is because of God’s provision. His faithfulness makes my rest possible. So when resting, I shouldn’t just stop working, I should start giving thanks—praising the One who provides for us!

Run Your Race With God’s Blessing

 

Preach the Word         II Timothy 4: 6-8
6   For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand.

7   I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

8   From now on the crown of righteousness is laid up for me, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but to all who crave His appearing.…

 

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Finish Lines

From: Crosswalk.com

Verse: John 19:28-37

Recommended Reading

2 Samuel 22:32-23:5; Colossians 2:6-15; 2 Timothy 4:1-8; Hebrews 12:1-2

Climb inside the mind of a marathon runner. Listen to his thoughts.

You’ve run this race countless times in your mind and hundreds of times in practice. But none of those resemble the real thing. The course takes you cross-country, and the running surface changes constantly. You could stumble at any step. Every change in terrain brings new challenges. Each race offers a different combination of obstacles and difficulties. And even though there are people at the roadside water stations to refresh your body, and crowds of individuals standing by to revive your spirit with their encouragement, it’s still just you out there—you, your two legs and your two feet. No matter which race you’re running, all of them have at least two things in common: the pain and the finish line.

Ah, the finish line! It makes all the pain bearable. Sometimes you forget the idea of winning the race in your all-consuming effort just to reach the finish line. You face the challenge and embrace the pain of running for over 26 miles, and a surge of joy fills your heart as you see the tape stretched across the journey’s end. Every last ounce of strength drives you across the finish line.

Jesus understood that intense drive to finish. With one of his last breaths, he cried out, “It is finished!” In the language of the New Testament, that’s a one-word exclamation: “Done!”

Jesus had joined the human race for a very special and specific reason—to finish God’s plan to provide forgiveness, salvation and eternal life for a fallen humanity. When Jesus shouted “Finished!” he was declaring that he had endured the judgment of sin on behalf of all humankind. He’d crossed the finish line for each of us. And in order to finish, he had to seal the arrangement with his life.

The cross represented the last hours in a long race marked out for Jesus. Even though he knew exactly how the race would end—with his sacrificial death—he still ran. Even though he had his disciples around him to provide companionship and support, not one of them knew exactly what he was going through in his final hours. Jesus knew that he’d experience excruciating pain. He knew that many would never accept his sacrifice, but he also knew that many would, and for us he ran. And finished. For this we’ll spend eternity in grateful appreciation.

 

Fool’s Errand

From: Our Daily Journey

Fool’s Errand

Read:

Luke 15:11-32
When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, “At home even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and here I am dying of hunger!” (Luke 15:17).

In my Nigerian boarding school, students loved to indulge in a practical joke. An older student would send an unsuspecting younger one on an errand to get the “rainbow bucket” from another older student. The latter would then ask the young student to get it from another older student. On and on it went until someone took pity on the unsuspecting student and revealed that the bucket didn’t actually exist!

In a far more significant way, the prodigal (or wasteful) son in Jesus’ parable set out on his own fool’s errand searching for fulfillment though embracing a destructive lifestyle (Luke 15:12-14). He disgraced his family by asking for his inheritance while his father was still alive. Worse still, he squandered that money.

Later, at his wits’ end, the young man took a job feeding pigs—one with such meager compensation that he found himself envying the pig feed. Eventually the scales fell from his eyes and he went home in hopes of attaining servant status in his father’s household (Luke 15:16-19).

His father’s generous welcome of him not as a servant but as a beloved son must have made his earlier quest seem foolish indeed. Everything he’d been searching for—acceptance, importance, and independence—had been his all along (Luke 15:22-24).

All too often, we may find ourselves in the prodigal son’s shoes. Only after our best-laid plans and efforts have proven futile do our thoughts turn to our heavenly Father. Seeking self-worth and satisfaction outside of God is the supreme fool’s errand. As we embrace our identity in Jesus, however, we’ll experience true fulfillment that can only come from God—the giver of every good and perfect gift (James 1:17).

 

“Work Out” What God “Works in” You

From: Utmost.org

Your will agrees with God, but in your flesh there is a nature that renders you powerless to do what you know you ought to do. When the Lord initially comes in contact with our conscience, the first thing our conscience does is awaken our will, and our will always agrees with God. Yet you say, “But I don’t know if my will is in agreement with God.” Look to Jesus and you will find that your will and your conscience are in agreement with Him every time. What causes you to say “I will not obey” is something less deep and penetrating than your will. It is perversity or stubbornness, and they are never in agreement with God. The most profound thing in a person is his will, not sin.

The will is the essential element in God’s creation of human beings— sin is a perverse nature which entered into people. In someone who has been born again, the source of the will is Almighty God. “…for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” With focused attention and great care, you have to “work out” what God “works in” you— not work to accomplish or earn “your own salvation,” but work it out so you will exhibit the evidence of a life based with determined, unshakable faith on the complete and perfect redemption of the Lord. As you do this, you do not bring an opposing will up against God’s will— God’s will is your will. Your natural choices will be in accordance with God’s will, and living this life will be as natural as breathing. Stubbornness is an unintelligent barrier, refusing enlightenment and blocking its flow. The only thing to do with this barrier of stubbornness is to blow it up with “dynamite,” and the “dynamite” is obedience to the Holy Spirit.

Do I believe that Almighty God is the Source of my will? God not only expects me to do His will, but He is in me to do it.

God Supplies All Our Needs

Psalm 23

A psalm of David.

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
    He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
    he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
    for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
    through the darkest valley,[a]
I will fear no evil,
    for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
    forever.

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What Do We Want?

From: Our Daily Bread

What Do We Want?

He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you. Romans 8:11

“I went from the horse-and-buggy to a man walking on the moon,” said the elderly man to his granddaughter, who shared this story with me recently. But then he mused, “I never thought it would be so short.”

Life is short, and many of us turn to Jesus because we want to live forever. That’s not bad, but we don’t comprehend what eternal life really is. We tend to crave the wrong things. We long for something better, and we think it’s just ahead. If only I were out of school. If only I had that job. If only I were married. If only I could retire. If only . . . And then one day we catch an echo of our grandfather’s voice as we wonder where the time has flown.

The truth is, we possess eternal life now. The apostle Paul wrote, “The law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death” (Rom. 8:2). Then he said, “Those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires” (v. 5). In other words, our desires change when we come to Christ. This naturally gives us what we most desire. “The mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace” (v. 6).

It’s one of life’s great lies that we need to be somewhere else, doing something else, with someone else before we start truly living. When we find our life in Jesus, we exchange regret over life’s brevity for the full enjoyment of life with Him, both now and forever.

Lord, You said You came to give us life to the fullest, but so often we have our own agenda and the wrong goals in mind. Please forgive us, and help us desire what You want.

To live forever we must let Jesus live in us now.

 

God’s Assurance

From: Utmost.org

God’s Assurance

My assurance is to be built upon God’s assurance to me. God says, “I will never leave you,” so that then I “may boldly say, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear’ ” (Hebrews 13:5-6). In other words, I will not be obsessed with apprehension. This does not mean that I will not be tempted to fear, but I will remember God’s words of assurance. I will be full of courage, like a child who strives to reach the standard his father has set for him. The faith of many people begins to falter when apprehensions enter their thinking, and they forget the meaning of God’s assurance— they forget to take a deep spiritual breath. The only way to remove the fear from our lives is to listen to God’s assurance to us.

What are you fearing? Whatever it may be, you are not a coward about it— you are determined to face it, yet you still have a feeling of fear. When it seems that there is nothing and no one to help you, say to yourself, “But ‘The Lord is my helper’ this very moment, even in my present circumstance.” Are you learning to listen to God before you speak, or are you saying things and then trying to make God’s Word fit what you have said? Take hold of the Father’s assurance, and then say with strong courage, “I will not fear.” It does not matter what evil or wrong may be in our way, because “He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you….’ ”

Human frailty is another thing that gets between God’s words of assurance and our own words and thoughts. When we realize how feeble we are in facing difficulties, the difficulties become like giants, we become like grasshoppers, and God seems to be nonexistent. But remember God’s assurance to us— “I will neverforsake you.” Have we learned to sing after hearing God’s keynote? Are we continually filled with enough courage to say, “The Lord is my helper,” or are we yielding to fear?

National Pride

From: Get more Strength

“You are a chosen generation, . . . a holy nation . . . that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness. ” 1 Peter 2:9

My wife, Martie, and I have grown to love England—its history, culture, and people. One of our favorite activities when we visit is going to outdoor concerts (also known as proms) on the sloping lawns of ancient estates. “The Last Night of the Proms” event is the best, with fireworks and hundreds of nationals waving little British flags to rousing patriotic tunes.

We loved joining the celebration—until the summer our children came with us. When we started waving our flags with all the enthusiastic Brits, our kids were aghast. I can still hear them shouting over the music, “What are you doing?! You’re Americans!”

God must often feel like that when we blend in and live like the “locals” around us. I can almost hear Him saying, “What are you doing living like that?! You belong to My nation!”

Peter reminds us that we are different from the locals—we are a “holy nation” (1 Peter 2:9). Being holy means that we are unique, set apart for Jesus, becoming like Him, and reflecting His countercultural ways of living. It means that we are forgiving in the face of cruel offenses; and merciful, gracious, truthful, and loyal to our promises. It means being just like Him.

So let’s start waving the flag of holiness as members of the “Jesus nation”!

O child of God, guard well your life
From anything that stains the heart;
Forsake those things that soil the mind—
Your Father wants you set apart.  —Fasick

Our loyalty to Jesus should be seen and heard in our lives.

Jesus Gives You Peace

 

John 14:27-29

27   Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

28   “You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.

29   I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe.

 

Pictures of people at peace.

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Perfect Peace

From: Our Daily Bread

Perfect Peace

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. John 14:27

A friend shared with me that for years she searched for peace and contentment. She and her husband built up a successful business, so she was able to buy a big house, fancy clothes, and expensive jewelry. But these possessions didn’t satisfy her inner longings for peace, nor did her friendships with influential people. Then one day, when she was feeling low and desperate, a friend told her about the good news of Jesus. There she found the Prince of Peace, and her understanding of true peace and contentment was forever changed.

Jesus spoke words of such peace to His friends after their last supper together (John 14), when He prepared them for the events that would soon follow: His death, resurrection, and the coming of the Holy Spirit. Describing a peace—unlike anything the world can give—He wanted them to learn how to find a sense of well-being even in the midst of hardship.

Later, when the resurrected Jesus appeared to the frightened disciples after His death, He greeted them, saying, “Peace be with you!” (John 20:19). Now He could give them, and us, a new understanding of resting in what He has done for us. As we do, we can find the awareness of a confidence far deeper than our ever-changing feelings.

Heavenly Father, You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are fixed on You. Help us to trust in You forever, for You are our Rock eternal.

Jesus came to usher peace into our lives and our world.

 

Follow Me

From: Our Daily Journey

Follow Me

Read:

2 Peter 1:1-12
Because of [God’s] glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires (2 Peter 1:4).

Digital footprint. A phrase that describes an ever-present reality didn’t even exist until recently. At the school where I teach, one of our technology leaders challenged us to consider whether our students grasped the permanency of where they go and what they do online. As she spoke, my mind pondered this question: If my digital footprint were a trail to follow, where would it lead others?

Technology can save time, transform communities, and even help cure diseases. But like any human invention, it’s also a tool subject to the heart of the user, and its use can open up not only a world of information but a world of temptation.

No matter its offerings, all of the world’s technology can’t match what believers in Jesus have received because of His sacrifice: “everything we need for living a godly life” (2 Peter 1:3). Sexual temptation isn’t the only pitfall for our digital footprint to flee. Gossip, false identity, bitterness, financial dishonesty, and a multitude of other sins can flourish behind the anonymity offered by a screen and a keyboard. Today’s text reminds us that we can resist the temptations we face, digital or otherwise, only by God’s “divine power” (2 Peter 1:3)—not by trying to adhere to a list of prohibited behaviors in our own limited strength.

People who live by the promises of Jesus strive to align their character and behavior with their faith (2 Peter 1:5-7). They don’t only hope for moral excellence; they “work hard” and are willing to sacrifice their own desires in order to live unreservedly for Christ (2 Peter 1:10).

Motivated by love, may we listen, and then obey by the power of the Holy Spirit one day at a time, one step at a time.

 

The Never-forsaking God

From: Utmost.org

The Never-forsaking God

What line of thinking do my thoughts take? Do I turn to what God says or to my own fears? Am I simply repeating what God says, or am I learning to truly hear Him and then to respond after I have heard what He says? “For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ So we may boldly say: ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?’ ” (Hebrews 13:5-6).

“I will never leave you…”— not for any reason; not my sin, selfishness, stubbornness, nor waywardness. Have I really let God say to me that He will never leave me? If I have not truly heard this assurance of God, then let me listen again.

“I will never…forsake you.” Sometimes it is not the difficulty of life but the drudgery of it that makes me think God will forsake me. When there is no major difficulty to overcome, no vision from God, nothing wonderful or beautiful— just the everyday activities of life— do I hear God’s assurance even in these?

We have the idea that God is going to do some exceptional thing— that He is preparing and equipping us for some extraordinary work in the future. But as we grow in His grace we find that God is glorifying Himself here and now, at this very moment. If we have God’s assurance behind us, the most amazing strength becomes ours, and we learn to sing, glorifying Him even in the ordinary days and ways of life.

We Prosper By God’s Grace

 

‘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

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Out of Luck

From: Get More Strength

‘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

An oft-quoted movie line comes from Napoleon Dynamite. The line closes the film, after Napoleon’s brother, Kip, gets married and rides off on horseback with his new bride. If you’re a closet Napoleon fan (or have a 14 year old in your home), you know it well:

“Lucky-y-y!”

I don’t want to spend a lot of time analyzing Napoleon Dynamite, but I do want to talk with you about “luck.” First, it’s important to know that the words luck and, for that matter, coincidence are not in God’s vocabulary. God’s hand is at work in every situation, coordinating every detail to accomplish His purposes for His glory and our good. No event is random. No moment is beyond His notice or beyond His control. Christian thinkers and writers have often called this the “providence” of God and, given its importance, let’s think through its implications for our lives.

At one extreme, the providence of God is challenged by post-modern thinkers who tell us that everything happens by chance. For them, life has no ultimate meaning and our only goal is to scrape together enough pleasure and possessions to create some semblance of purpose and enjoyment in life. With such an empty perspective on life, it’s no wonder that lives end up being a string of “sex-capades,” or the pursuit of new and strange pleasures. It answers the question why binge drinking on college campuses is at an all-time high.

At the other end of the spectrum is the distortion of God’s providence by assigning everything in life to “fate”—a fate that portrays us as victims of circumstances entirely outside of our control, leaving us to twist in the whims of a capricious being who manipulates our lives for his own amusement.

It’s time for us to get a biblical view about luck, randomness, fate, and the providence of a good and powerful God!

The God described in the Bible loves His creation passionately and has plans for His people that are supremely good. Not plans of calamity and despair, but plans that are good. If you believe in the providence of God, all of history is moving to a grand and glorious end—the crushing of Satan and evil and the emergence of the new heaven and earth, where all is good and righteous. Where life is full of joy, peace, comfort, and happiness in the presence of God—forever!

I’ll be the first to admit that trusting in God’s providence is hard to do when it comes to difficult circumstances over which I have no control. God’s work is often behind-the-scenes, hidden from our view. He doesn’t give a play-by-play on everything He is doing to coordinate the details of His providential plans. In fact, often His work is most clearly seen in the rearview mirror. But I’ve looked back enough times to see and trust that my life is not a product of good or bad luck, or of random coincidences. It is divinely shaped and guided by the providential hand of God toward a wonderful conclusion.

So today, let’s choose to align our perspective and even our vocabulary with God’s. No more “luck” and no more “coincidences”! It won’t make for memorable movie quotes, but it will make for an infinitely more meaningful and biblically lived life!

 

Alicia Bruxvoort June 2, 2017
Jesus Likes Me, This I Know
ALICIA BRUXVOORT

From: Crosswalk.com

“ … He saved me to His delight; He took joy in me.” Psalm 18:19b (VOICE)

I wasn’t expecting anything profound to slip from my 4-year-old’s lips while we chatted over lunch on that hot summer day. I was just trying to keep my capricious girl at the table long enough to finish her peanut butter sandwich before she raced off to play.

“What did you learn at Vacation Bible School today?” I asked as I leaned over Maggie’s pink plastic plate and wiped a drizzle of peanut butter from her chin.

My daughter lifted her sandwich to her lips, took a bite and peered at me over the crust like a friendly neighbor peeking across a backyard fence.

“I learned that Jesus really likes me … ” she said with a giddy grin. “Soooo much!”

Her words floated through the air on the wings of a happy-sing-song. Then she reached across the table and gave my hand a tender squeeze. “And, Mommy,” she said as she laced her sticky fingers through mine, “I think He really, really likes you, too!”

She waved her arms like a baby bird taking flight, and I felt as if my heart might take flight, too.

After all, I’ve long believed that Jesus loves me — the cross is proof of that — but some days when I look at the woman in the mirror, it’s hard to believe my Savior likes me, too.

I don’t know about you, but some days, I just feel unlikeable.

Some days I feel messed up and maxed out, exasperated and exhausted.

Some days I’m not grateful or gleeful, flexible or fun.

Some days I don’t bring delight to my husband, my kids or even my dearest pals.

And to be totally honest, some days I don’t even like myself.

Yet like a forgiving friend, the Bible echoes my little girl’s winsome words.

Scripture reminds us that the One who took our place on Calvary’s cross doesn’t merely tolerate us through gritted teeth or embrace us because of holy compulsion. As preposterous as it sounds, the One who first loved us, actually likes us, too. And here’s proof:

  • Today’s key verse says God takes joy in us.
  • Psalm 149:4 declares He delights in us.
  • Zephaniah 3:17 affirms He rejoices over us.
  • And Psalm 147:11 proclaims that we bring Him pleasure.

It’s crazy when you think about it — that the perfect Prince of Heaven takes joy in His flawed followers on the dust of earth. But when I remember this simple truth, it changes the way I pursue my Savior.

When I acknowledge that Jesus enjoys me, I look for ways to enjoy Him, too. I seek His company as I go throughout my day, whether it’s talking to Him as I drive across town or laughing with Him over my children’s goofy antics.

I notice His kindness in the depths of my daily grind — the brazen sunset over the trees in my backwoods, or the unexpected phone call from a friend on a hard day.

And I relish His presence in the midst my pandemonium. I savor the song of the birds beyond my window, the unexplainable peace in my hurry, the echo of an encouraging Scripture verse that runs through my mind.

In short, when I remember how the One who died for me also delights in me, I’m drawn to delight in Him, too.

So, I’m gonna keep singing that Sunday School song I learned as a child: Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so. 

But I’m also going to celebrate that oft-ignored truth that a 4-year-old once spoke to my soaring soul through a mouthful of peanut butter.

Jesus really likes me … And you know what? I think He really really likes you, too … soooooo much.

 

“The Secret of the Lord”

From: Utmost.org

What is the sign of a friend? Is it that he tells you his secret sorrows? No, it is that he tells you his secret joys. Many people will confide their secret sorrows to you, but the final mark of intimacy is when they share their secret joys with you. Have we ever let God tell us any of His joys? Or are we continually telling God our secrets, leaving Him no time to talk to us? At the beginning of our Christian life we are full of requests to God. But then we find that God wants to get us into an intimate relationship with Himself— to get us in touch with His purposes. Are we so intimately united to Jesus Christ’s idea of prayer— “Your will be done” (Matthew 6:10)— that we catch the secrets of God? What makes God so dear to us is not so much His big blessings to us, but the tiny things, because they show His amazing intimacy with us— He knows every detail of each of our individual lives.

“Him shall He teach in the way He chooses” (Psalm 25:12). At first, we want the awareness of being guided by God. But then as we grow spiritually, we live so fully aware of God that we do not even need to ask what His will is, because the thought of choosing another way will never occur to us. If we are saved and sanctified, God guides us by our everyday choices. And if we are about to choose what He does not want, He will give us a sense of doubt or restraint, which we must heed. Whenever there is doubt, stop at once. Never try to reason it out, saying, “I wonder why I shouldn’t do this?” God instructs us in what we choose; that is, He actually guides our common sense. And when we yield to His teachings and guidance, we no longer hinder His Spirit by continually asking, “Now, Lord, what is Your will?”

God Helps Us Move Forward

Isaiah 41:10
10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen
you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Pictures of people picking up the pieces of their lives after a tornado.  But they are alive by God’s grace and He will help them rebuild their homes.
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Peace in the Midst of the Pieces

From: Get More Strength

“Be still, and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10

There I was, minding my own business, shopping for an anniversary card for Martie when something on another shelf caught my eye. It was a box with a tantalizing picture of a mound of Oreo cookies surrounding a big glass of milk with cold condensation running down the glass. Just thinking about it made my blood sugar soar. I went over and grabbed the box off the shelf. It was a 500-piece jigsaw puzzle.

I’m not really into jigsaw puzzles, but at that particular moment, I was a goner—so I bought the puzzle. When I got home, Martie and I opened the box and dumped the pieces out on the table. What had been such a beautiful picture on the box was now only a bunch of disconnected, upside-down parts.

Sometimes life is like that—a disappointing mess of confusing pieces. The longer we sit staring at the fragments, the more hopeless it all seems. But then we remember that it all makes sense on the box top. God is the “box top” of our lives. He—and He alone—knows how to make sense of the mess. He is the one who works all things together for good (Romans 8:28) and who, in His sovereign grace, knows how He will make something beautiful out of the mess of our lives.

That’s why Psalm 46:10 instructs us to be still and know that He is God. The Hebrew phrase for “be still” literally means, “to put your hands down to the side; to relax.” Which leads us to this reading of the phrase: “Put your arms down and relax by knowing that I am God.”

I don’t know about you, but I sometimes find it hard to just “relax” in the midst of confusing and disheartening seasons of life. When things go haywire, when dreams are demolished, when family is fragmented, when people have pulverized us, it’s hard to relax! Our instinct is to try to keep our hands on all the pieces at once. We want to manipulate and control them and force the outcome that we desire. But God says that we should do exactly the opposite—stop trying to force the issue and let go. If we don’t give up striving with the problems, our meddling usually just makes things worse.

Thankfully, Psalm 46:10 calls on us to let go. But it’s not letting go without knowing to whom we’re letting it go. Notice that the verse says, “Be still, and know.” Normally, when life is a confusing puzzle, what we know is overshadowed by what we feel. Our emotions threaten to drown us like a scary tsunami. It’s easy to get submerged in a wave of anxiety or a surge of self-pity. But notice that God says the only way we are going to be able to let go and relax is to remember who God is—and to know that He loves us, that He is not confused, that He is in the details, and that, as we obey and trust Him, He is working to make sense of it all.

When we allow ourselves to be taken in by the wonder of God’s work in the mess of our lives, we will be free to stop fretting over the pieces knowing that in the end God is putting the pieces together so that the beauty of the box top will become a reality in our lives!

Take a deep breath. God knows where the pieces go!

 

Table Rock

Table Rock

“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?”  Luke 6:46

A large, illuminated cross stands erect on Table Rock, a rocky plateau overlooking my hometown. Several homes were built on neighboring land, but recently the owners have been forced to move out due to safety concerns. Despite their close proximity to the firm bedrock of Table Rock, these homes aren’t secure. They have been shifting atop their foundations—nearly three inches every day—causing risk of major water pipes breaking, which would accelerate the sliding.

Jesus compares those who hear and obey His words to those who build their homes on rock (Luke 6:47–48). These homes survive the storms. By contrast, He says homes built without a firm foundation—like people who don’t heed His instruction—cannot weather the torrents.

On many occasions, I’ve been tempted to ignore my conscience when I knew God asked more of me than I had given, thinking my response had been “close enough.” Yet the homes in the shifting foothills nearby have depicted for me that being “close” is nowhere near enough when it comes to obeying Him. To be like those who built their homes on a firm foundation and withstand the storms of life that so often assail us, we must heed the words of our Lord completely.

Help me, Lord, to obey You fully and with my whole heart. Thank You for being my firm foundation.

God’s Word is the only sure foundation for life.

 

From Bad to Worse

From: Our Daily Journey

From Bad to Worse

Read:

1 Kings 17:8-24
[Elijah] cried out to the Lord, “O Lord my God, please let this child’s life return to him” (1 Kings 17:21).

In 1997 Singapore experienced the Asian financial crisis. Many people couldn’t find jobs—including me. After nine months of sending out countless resumes, I finally landed a job as a copywriter. God provided for my needs! Then the economy plummeted again because of the SARS outbreak. And, once again, I was jobless.

Ever been there? It seems like the worst is over and things are sailing along smoothly, when suddenly the bottom drops out and your life plunges into uncertainty.

The widow at Zarephath could definitely relate. There had been a terrible famine in the land and, facing starvation, the woman was preparing a last meal for herself and her son when the prophet Elijah requested a drink of water and a bite to eat. She responded and subsequently experienced a continuous miraculous supply of flour and oil by which Elijah and her family were sustained (1 Kings 17:10-16). Life was looking good. But then, her son fell ill. His health deteriorated and eventually he died.

At such times, we may respond as the widow did—wondering if God is punishing us for unconfessed sins (1 Kings 17:18). It’s easy to forget that while God may sometimes use suffering to discipline us, often bad things happen to us simply because we live in a fallen world.

Elijah chose to take his concerns to God (1 Kings 17:20). He prayed, “O Lord my God”—expressing his personal relationship with the One who is faithful and true. He then sought to understand God’s purpose for allowing the tragedy to happen. Finally, he prayed by faith in accordance to who He is and what He can do (1 Kings 17:21).

If life throws us a curve ball, may we—like Elijah—realize that the faithful One will not desert us. We can rest in God’s purposes even as we pray by faith for understanding.

 

Abraham Believed In Hope

From: Streams In The Desert

Against hope Abraham believed in hope with the result that he became the father of many nations according to the pronouncement, “so will your descendants be.” Without being weak in faith, he considered his own body as dead (because he was about one hundred years old) and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. — Rom 4:18-19

We shall never forget a remark that George Mueller once made to a gentleman who had asked him the best way to have strong faith.

d“The only way,” replied the patriarch of faith, “to learn strong faith is to endure great trials. I have learned my faith by standing firm amid severe testings.” This is very true. The time to trust is when all else fails.

Dear one, you scarcely realize the value of your present opportunity; if you are passing through great afflictions you are in the very soul of the strongest faith, and if you will only let go, He will teach you in these hours the mightiest hold upon His throne which you can ever know.

“Be not afraid, only believe.” And if you are afraid, just look up and say, “What time I am afraid I will trust in thee,” and you will yet thank God for the school of sorrow which was to you the school of faith.
–A. B. Simpson

“Great faith must have great trials.”

“God’s greatest gifts come through travail. Whether we look into the spiritual or temporal sphere, can we discover anything, any great reform, any beneficent discovery, any soul-awakening revival, which did not come through the toils and tears, the vigils and blood-shedding of men and women whose sufferings were the pangs of its birth? If the temple of God is raised, David must bear sore afflictions; if the Gospel of the grace of God is to be disentangled from Jewish tradition, Paul’s life must be one long agony.”

“Take heart, O weary, burdened one, bowed down 
Beneath thy cross;
Remember that thy greatest gain may come 
Through greatest loss.
Thy life is nobler for a sacrifice, 
And more divine.
Acres of bloom are crushed to make a drop 
Of perfume fine.

“Because of storms that lash the ocean waves, 
The waters there
Keep purer than if the heavens o’erhead 
Were always fair.
The brightest banner of the skies floats not 
At noonday warm;
The rainbow traileth after thunder-clouds, 
And after storm.”

God Supplies All Our Needs

God is the one who gives us everything we need.
Pictures of people hoarding food. They feel they have everything they need.
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Everything We Need

From: Our Daily Bread

Everything We Need

I often feel completely inadequate for the tasks I face. Whether it’s teaching Sunday school, advising a friend, or writing articles for this publication, the challenge often seems to be larger than my ability. Like Peter, I have a lot to learn.

The New Testament reveals Peter’s shortcomings as he tried to follow the Lord. While walking on water to Jesus, Peter began to sink (Matt. 14:25–31). When Jesus was arrested, Peter swore he didn’t know Him (Mark 14:66–72). But Peter’s encounter with the risen Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit changed his life.

Peter came to understand that God’s “divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness” (2 Peter 1:3). An amazing statement from a man who had many flaws!

“[God] has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires” (v. 4).

Our relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ is the source of the wisdom, patience, and power we need to honor God, help others, and meet the challenges of today. Through Him, we can overcome our hesitations and feelings of inadequacy.

In every situation, He has given us everything we need to serve and honor Him.

Thank You, Father, for giving me everything I need to serve You and encourage others today. May I honor You in all I do.

God promises to provide everything we need to honor Him with our lives.

Trolling the Masters

From: Our Daily Journey

Trolling the Masters

Read:

Mark 3:20-27
If the godly give in to the wicked, it’s like polluting a fountain or muddying a spring (Proverbs 25:26).

Today, with a single click, you can freely access and rate some of the best music ever written. So how do the masters fare?

On one website, more than 8,000 respondents gave a thumbs-down to Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata. Nearly one in twenty disapproved of Bach’s concertos. On another site, Mozart’s sublime first movement of Eine kleine Nachtmusik (“a little serenade”) received an overall score of 4.2 out of 5.

Mozart gets a B plus?! This is music for the ages, and the Internet trolls are finding fault! Regardless, it’s safe to say that the classics will continue to be loved by many.

In Mark’s gospel, we read how Jesus went about doing extraordinary things. He drove out evil spirits (Mark 1:21-26), healed people miraculously (Mark 1:29-34), and instructed the multitudes in a way they had never heard before. Yet Jesus’ own family thought He had lost His mind (Mark 3:21). The religious leaders had a more blunt accusation: “He’s possessed by Satan. . . . That’s where he gets the power to cast out demons” (Mark 3:22).

Jesus didn’t simply walk away in disgust, nor did He respond indignantly. Instead, He gave this timeless challenge: “A kingdom divided by civil war will collapse. . . . If Satan is divided . . . how can he stand?” (Mark 3:24-26).

When faced with a personal attack, Jesus simply gave a wise and strong warning that defended the Source of His power—the Holy Spirit.

There’s a lesson here for us. The “trolls” in life will come and go, but we don’t need to join them in exchanging petty accusations. Neither do we need to give them a free pass. If we ask, the Holy Spirit will give us the wisdom to know when to let things go and when to offer a wise challenge.

 

The Staggering Question

From: Utmost.org

The Staggering Question

Can a sinner be turned into a saint? Can a twisted life be made right? There is only one appropriate answer— “O Lord God, You know” (Ezekiel 37:3). Never forge ahead with your religious common sense and say, “Oh, yes, with just a little more Bible reading, devotional time, and prayer, I see how it can be done.”

It is much easier to do something than to trust in God; we see the activity and mistake panic for inspiration. That is why we see so few fellow workers with God, yet so many people working for God. We would much rather work for God than believe in Him. Do I really believe that God will do in me what I cannot do? The degree of hopelessness I have for others comes from never realizing that God has done anything for me. Is my own personal experience such a wonderful realization of God’s power and might that I can never have a sense of hopelessness for anyone else I see? Has any spiritual work been accomplished in me at all? The degree of panic activity in my life is equal to the degree of my lack of personal spiritual experience.

“Behold, O My people, I will open your graves…” (Ezekiel 37:12). When God wants to show you what human nature is like separated from Himself, He shows it to you in yourself. If the Spirit of God has ever given you a vision of what you are apart from the grace of God (and He will only do this when His Spirit is at work in you), then you know that in reality there is no criminal half as bad as you yourself could be without His grace. My “grave” has been opened by God and “I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells” (Romans 7:18). God’s Spirit continually reveals to His children what human nature is like apart from His grace.

Brokenness Brings Us Closer To God

 

Ask and You will Receive       John 16: 33
32   “Look, an hour is coming and has already come when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and you will leave Me all alone. Yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me.

33   I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take courage; I have overcome the world!”

 

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People in deep sorrow crying

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The Beauty of Brokenness

From: Our Daily Bread

The Beauty of Brokenness

My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit. Psalm 51:17

Kintsugi is a centuries-old Japanese art of mending broken pottery. Gold dust mixed with resin is used to reattach broken pieces or fill in cracks, resulting in a striking bond. Instead of trying to hide the repair, the art makes something beautiful out of brokenness.

The Bible tells us that God also values our brokenness, when we are genuinely sorry for a sin we have committed. After David engaged in adultery with Bathsheba and plotted the death of her husband, the prophet Nathan confronted him, and he repented. David’s prayer afterwards gives us insight into what God desires when we have sinned: “You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise” (Ps. 51:16–17).

When our heart is broken over a sin, God mends it with the priceless forgiveness generously offered by our Savior at the cross. He receives us with love when we humble ourselves before Him, and closeness is restored.

How merciful is God! Given His desire for a humble heart and the breathtaking beauty of His kindness, may another scriptural prayer be ours today: “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Ps. 139:23–24).

Loving Father, I want to bring You joy by having a humble and repentant heart today.

Godly sorrow leads to joy.

 

Put God First

From: Utmost.org

Put God First

Put Trust in God First. Our Lord never put His trust in any person. Yet He was never suspicious, never bitter, and never lost hope for anyone, because He put His trust in God first. He trusted absolutely in what God’s grace could do for others. If I put my trust in human beings first, the end result will be my despair and hopelessness toward everyone. I will become bitter because I have insisted that people be what no person can ever be— absolutely perfect and right. Never trust anything in yourself or in anyone else, except the grace of God.

Put God’s Will First. “Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God” (Hebrews 10:9).

A person’s obedience is to what he sees to be a need— our Lord’s obedience was to the will of His Father. The rallying cry today is, “We must get to work! The heathen are dying without God. We must go and tell them about Him.” But we must first make sure that God’s “needs” and His will in us personally are being met. Jesus said, “…tarry…until you are endued with power from on high” (Luke 24:49). The purpose of our Christian training is to get us into the right relationship to the “needs” of God and His will. Once God’s “needs” in us have been met, He will open the way for us to accomplish His will, meeting His “needs” elsewhere.

Put God’s Son First. “Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me” (Matthew 18:5).

God came as a baby, giving and entrusting Himself to me. He expects my personal life to be a “Bethlehem.” Am I allowing my natural life to be slowly transformed by the indwelling life of the Son of God? God’s ultimate purpose is that His Son might be exhibited in me.

 

You Have a Choice

From: Our Daily Journey

You Have a Choice

Read:

Joshua 24:14-24
If you refuse to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve. . . . But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord (Joshua 24:15).

“You mean, I can choose to believe in Jesus?” my young Nepali friend asked in surprise as I was giving her a ride to the grocery store. She was an international student at the same university I was attending and had been coming for several months to a weekly Bible study. As we were discussing her thoughts regarding the study, she suddenly became shocked by the realization that she could choose what to believe. She had grown up in a culture where faith was something she was born into, with no choice given to her.

Throughout the book of Joshua, God showed He’s completely worthy to be trusted and followed. In fact, “not a single one of all the good promises the Lord had given to the family of Israel was left unfulfilled” (Joshua 21:45). Toward the end of Joshua’s life, he reminded the people of Israel of all the incredible things God had done for them and gave them a challenge—to choose whom they would follow and serve.

The people of Israel were at a crossroads in which they had to make a decision whether to “serve the Lord alone” or serve the idols of the nations surrounding them (Joshua 24:14). God certainly could have forced them to follow Him, but He didn’t do that. Instead, He allowed them to choose. As Joshua said, “If you refuse to serve the Lord , then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? . . . But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15).

Today, God allows us to choose whom we’ll follow just as He did with the Israelites thousands of years ago. We need not allow culture and tradition to be the basis on which we make our decision. May we, like Joshua, have the courage to choose to serve God as He draws us!

Love God And Fight Evil

Ephesians 6:10-20

The Fight against Evil

10 Finally, let the mighty strength of the Lord make you strong. 11 Put on all the armor that God gives, so you can defend yourself against the devil’s tricks. 12 We are not fighting against humans. We are fighting against forces and authorities and against rulers of darkness and powers in the spiritual world. 13 So put on all the armor that God gives. Then when that evil day[a] comes, you will be able to defend yourself. And when the battle is over, you will still be standing firm.

 

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Our Rally Cry

From: Get More Strength.org

“But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him.” Luke 10:33

Whether or not you’re a history buff, you probably remember learning about the historic revolutions that launched significant changes in both the economic and intellectual landscape of the Western world. Take our own revolution, for instance, when in the mid-1700s the world heard the rally cry, “Give me liberty or give me death!” and a new era of democracy was born. And not long afterward an equally influential cry rang out from the French Revolution, “Liberty, equality, brotherhood, or death!”—a cry that launched the era of the Enlightenment.

While we are thinking of revolutions, my guess is that if I were to ask you who you thought were the most influential revolutionaries of history, Jesus would not have made your list. But that is exactly what He was—a revolutionary who tops all the rest.

I’m not sure why we always think of Jesus in terms of His soft side—the meek and mild, gentle, peaceful Jesus. While I’m thankful for that side of Him, I can’t help but notice that there’s more to Him than that. He came to earth to effect radical change. To be sure, there was a clash of civilizations when He brought the values and culture of heaven into enemy territory that was under the management and direction of Beelzebub himself. Jesus did not come to coexist with hell on earth, nor did He come to negotiate a compromise. Rather, He came to conquer hell on earth, to overthrow the regime and set the captives free! He died a revolutionary’s death and rose as a victorious revolutionary who had once and for all de-fanged the enemy of our souls and set us free. And once freed, we are recruited to join the revolution, to get involved in the goal of setting other captives free, and to follow our leader Jesus and take up the rally cry of His revolution: “People matter most!”

“People matter most” is the point Jesus was trying to get across when He told the now-familiar story of the Good Samaritan. Let’s face it: Joining the heavenly revolution is a challenge. We live in a world where personal happiness is more important than the welfare of others; in a world where pleasure trumps people; in a world where corporate value and stock prices eclipse the importance of the value of people, their pension plans, and personal welfare. It’s why the crime of genocide still exists; why the problem of abortion continues to thrive; why the question of euthanasia still haunts us. It’s why dads leave their families for the fling of what initially seems like a more-fulfilling relationship. It’s why the affluent can be blind to the needs of the poor and the oppressed.

We’re living in enemy territory where people are often pawns and chips on the game table of someone else’s happiness and gain. Jesus came to change all of that: to teach us that people matter most, that eternal destinies are worth sacrificing for, that others count, and that love trumps self-centeredness! The familiar story of the Good Samaritan teaches us that even religious people can miss the point of the importance of “loving our neighbor.” But Jesus is still looking for good Samaritans who will join the revolution and live to prove—as Jesus died to prove—that above everything else, people matter most.

Join the revolution today!

 

 

Amy Carroll May 30, 2017
Where Will I Be Left Standing?
AMY CARROLL

From: Crosswalk.com

“After this I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes and held palm branches in their hands.” Revelation 7:9 (NLT)

Sometimes the most profound lessons are learned in the most humble settings. That was true for me one day sitting in a blue cinder-block house in the mountains of Ecuador.

“What do you like to do with your free time?” I asked Dolores, a petite woman with sparkling dark eyes who lived there with her six children.

Through an interpreter, she explained that she enjoyed getting up at 4 a.m. to embroider the exquisite works of art adorning her children’s clothing. In her “free time,” Dolores was working to help her family. But as I continued to listen to her story, I learned something sacred was happening in those rare moments of silence.

Before our group left her home, my friend Luann asked Dolores two final questions: “How can we pray for you? What’s your greatest need?”

In the pause that happened while our interpreter did her work, I looked around Dolores’ snug house and made a list for her. “Lord, please give my new friend Dolores carpet for her floor and a ceiling to replace the plastic sheeting. Give her extra food in her kitchen and beds for all those children. Give her husband a job here, instead of far away so that she can have some help raising them … ”

When the interpreter told us her response, however, Dolores’ request was much different than mine. She said, “Please pray for me to teach my children to love the Lord all the days of their lives. That’s my greatest need.”

Dolores is a woman with an eternal perspective.

How has she gained it? From hearing about her life that day, I knew the beautiful answer. Dolores sits with Jesus before her children wake up each day. At 4 a.m., she’s embroidering and listening to Him. She stitches and she prays, so although she’s physically impoverished, she’s spiritually rich. Dolores knows the truth, and she lives it. That truth has changed everything for her.

This is a lesson I’ve learned over and over as I’ve listened to, watched and read stories from women all over the world …

Like the woman in India who meets Jesus and now understands the peace that settled on her when God’s Word was read to her.

Or the woman in Africa who starts her day with friends in a concrete room, raising her beautiful voice in worship.

The woman in Scotland raising her daughter on a mission base, so she can shine Jesus’ light into the community around her.

They may live in different places, eat different food and speak different languages, but one day — at the end of time — they’ll all be in the same place.

As Revelation 7:9 tells us, they’ll all be standing around the throne where Jesus, the Lamb of God, sits, and they’ll be shouting in a great, unified roar, “Salvation comes from our God who sits on the throne and from the Lamb!” (Revelation 7:10, NLT)

These women will all bring this wise lesson from their physical lives into their eternal lives: Know the Truth. Live the Truth. It changes everything.

I know where I want to be standing when time winds down and the Lord reigns over everything. I want to stand in that crowd with people of every color, dialect and citizenship. I invite you … I implore you … come stand with me.

Lord, I believe the Truth that You’re Savior. I want to live Your Truth in my life every day. I want to experience every beautiful change You have in store for me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

Yes—But…!

From: Utmost.org

Yes—But...!

Suppose God tells you to do something that is an enormous test of your common sense, totally going against it. What will you do? Will you hold back? If you get into the habit of doing something physically, you will do it every time you are tested until you break the habit through sheer determination. And the same is true spiritually. Again and again you will come right up to what Jesus wants, but every time you will turn back at the true point of testing, until you are determined to abandon yourself to God in total surrender. Yet we tend to say, “Yes, but— suppose I do obey God in this matter, what about…?” Or we say, “Yes, I will obey God if what He asks of me doesn’t go against my common sense, but don’t ask me to take a step in the dark.”

Jesus Christ demands the same unrestrained, adventurous spirit in those who have placed their trust in Him that the natural man exhibits. If a person is ever going to do anything worthwhile, there will be times when he must risk everything by his leap in the dark. In the spiritual realm, Jesus Christ demands that you risk everything you hold on to or believe through common sense, and leap by faith into what He says. Once you obey, you will immediately find that what He says is as solidly consistent as common sense.

By the test of common sense, Jesus Christ’s statements may seem mad, but when you test them by the trial of faith, your findings will fill your spirit with the awesome fact that they are the very words of God. Trust completely in God, and when He brings you to a new opportunity of adventure, offering it to you, see that you take it. We act like pagans in a crisis— only one out of an entire crowd is daring enough to invest his faith in the character of God.

A Grateful Memorial Day

Grace and Perseverance    II Timothy 2:3
2  And the things that you have heard me say among many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be qualified to teach others as well.

3  Join me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.

4  A soldier refrains from entangling himself in civilian affairs, in order to please the one who enlisted him.…

Image result for pictures of soldiers in combatImage result for pictures of soldiers in combat
Image result for pictures of soldiers in combatImage result for pictures of soldiers in combat
Image result for pictures of soldiers in combatImage result for pictures of soldiers in combat
Image result for pictures of soldiers in combatImage result for pictures of soldiers in combat

Let Honor Meet Honor

From: Our Daily Bread

Let Honor Meet Honor

Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. Matthew 6:1

I’ve always been impressed by the solemn, magnificent simplicity of the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery. The carefully choreographed event is a moving tribute to soldiers whose names—and sacrifice—are “known but to God.” Equally moving are the private moments of steady pacing when the crowds are gone: back and forth, hour after hour, day by day, in even the worst weather.

In September 2003, Hurricane Isabel was bearing down on Washington, DC, and the guards were told they could seek shelter during the worst of the storm. Surprising almost no one, the guards refused! They unselfishly stood their post to honor their fallen comrades even in the face of a hurricane.

Underlying Jesus’s teaching in Matthew 6:1–6, I believe, is His desire for us to live with an unrelenting, selfless devotion to Him. The Bible calls us to good deeds and holy living, but these are to be acts of worship and obedience (vv. 4–6), not orchestrated acts for self-glorification (v. 2). The apostle Paul endorses this whole-life faithfulness when he pleads with us to make our bodies “a living sacrifice” (Rom. 12:1).

May our private and public moments speak of our devotion and wholehearted commitment to You, Lord.

Grant me the strength this day, O Lord, to persevere, to return honor to Your name where I am serving. My desire is to give myself in selfless devotion because of Your love for me.

The more we serve Christ, the less we will serve self.

When Words Fail

From: Our Daily Journey

When Words Fail

Read:

Romans 8:26-27
The Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words (Romans 8:26).

Helen Keller lost her ability to hear and see at only nineteen months old. Eventually, her teacher Anne Sullivan helped young Helen learn to read Braille and raised type. By age nine she could also read people’s lips with her fingers and speak. Sullivan attempted to help Helen understand the word love. The teacher made several attempts to explain the concept, which only puzzled her pupil. Then one day Sullivan said that love was like sunshine—sweetness that pours into everything. That’s when Helen Keller first understood the word love.

Even for those of us who can see and hear, there are experiences in life we struggle to comprehend. Some of them and the emotions that come with them are buried so deeply in our consciousness that we’re scarcely aware of their existence, let alone able to describe them clearly. How then can we bring these hidden and often painful struggles to God?

Scripture gives us comfort in this struggle, reminding us that our prayers aren’t dependent on our ability to communicate clearly to God. Instead, we have the Holy Spirit with us in prayer. And the Spirit doesn’t simply listen to our prayers but actively “prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words” (Romans 8:26). Similarly, in John 14 Jesus says that in the Holy Spirit we find a Helper who is our advocate to the Father (John 14:26).

Perhaps like me you often try to rely on your own abilities to pray effectively. We may try our best to pray well, which isn’t wrong in itself, but find our words woefully inadequate. But we can take great comfort in the realization that when our words fail and our strength falls short, the Holy Spirit searches our hearts and intercedes on our behalf (Romans 8:27).

 

Untroubled Relationship

From: Utmost.org

Untroubled Relationship

“In that day you will ask in My name…,” that is, in My nature. Not “You will use My name as some magic word,” but— “You will be so intimate with Me that you will be one with Me.” “That day” is not a day in the next life, but a day meant for here and now. “…for the Father Himself loves you…”— the Father’s love is evidence that our union with Jesus is complete and absolute. Our Lord does not mean that our lives will be free from external difficulties and uncertainties, but that just as He knew the Father’s heart and mind, we too can be lifted by Him into heavenly places through the baptism of the Holy Spirit, so that He can reveal the teachings of God to us.

“…whatever you ask the Father in My name…” (John 16:23). “That day” is a day of peace and an untroubled relationship between God and His saint. Just as Jesus stood unblemished and pure in the presence of His Father, we too by the mighty power and effectiveness of the baptism of the Holy Spirit can be lifted into that relationship— “…that they may be one just as We are one…” (John 17:22).

“…He will give you” (John 16:23). Jesus said that because of His name God will recognize and respond to our prayers. What a great challenge and invitation— to pray in His name! Through the resurrection and ascension power of Jesus, and through the Holy Spirit He has sent, we can be lifted into such a relationship. Once in that wonderful position, having been placed there by Jesus Christ, we can pray to God in Jesus’ name— in His nature. This is a gift granted to us through the Holy Spirit, and Jesus said, “…whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you.” The sovereign character of Jesus Christ is tested and proved by His own statements.