Tag Archives: coming

Love Promotes Unity

 

Promoting Unity

The Lord hates . . . one who sows discord among brethren. —Proverbs 6:16,19

The language of Proverbs 6:16-19 is strong. In the citing of seven things the Lord hates, sowing “discord among brethren” makes the list. The reason for naming this sin is that it spoils the unity that Christ desires for His followers (John 17:21-22).

Those who sow discord may not initially set out to create divisions. They may be preoccupied instead with their personal needs or the interests of a group they belong to (James 4:1-10). Consider how Lot’s herdsmen argued with those of Abraham (Gen. 13:1-18); Christ’s disciples argued about personal preeminence (Luke 9:46); and divisive groups in the church at Corinth elevated party factions above the unity of the Spirit (1 Cor. 3:1-7).

So what is the best way to promote unity? It begins with the transformation of the heart. When we adopt the mind of Christ, we develop an attitude of humility and we focus on service toward others (Phil. 2:5-11). Only in Him can we access the power to “look out not only for [our] own interests, but also for the interests of others” (v.4). Soon the needs and hopes of others become more important to us than our own.

With growing bonds of love among us, we find discord replaced with joy and unity (see Ps. 133:1).

Like a mighty army moves the church of God;
Brothers, we are treading where the saints have trod.
We are not divided, all one body we—
One in hope and doctrine, one in charity. —Baring-Gould
We can accomplish more together than we can alone.

 

March 23

Belief, Not Understanding

“Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?” (John 11:40).

Mary and Martha could not understand what their Lord was doing. Both of them said to Him, “Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.” Back of it all, we seem to read their thought: “Lord, we do not understand why you have stayed away so long. We do not understand how you could let death come to the man whom you loved. We do not understand how you could let sorrow and suffering ravage our lives when your presence might have stayed it all. Why did you not come? It is too late now, for already he has been dead four days!”

And to it all Jesus had but one great truth: “You may not understand; but I tell you if you believe, you will see.”

Abraham could not understand why God should ask the sacrifice of the boy; but he trusted. And he saw the glory of God in his restoration to his love. Moses could not understand why God should keep him forty years in the wilderness, but he trusted; and he saw when God called him to lead forth Israel from bondage.

Joseph could not understand the cruelty of his brethren, the false witness of a perfidious woman, and the long years of an unjust imprisonment; but he trusted, and he saw at last the glory of God in it all.

Jacob could not understand the strange providence which permitted the same Joseph to be torn from his father’s love, but he saw the glory of God when he looked into the face of that same Joseph as the viceroy of a great king, and the preserver of his own life and the lives of a great nation.

And so, perhaps in your life. You say, “I do not understand why God let my dear one be taken. I do not understand why affliction has been permitted to smite me. I do not understand the devious paths by which the Lord is leading me. I do not understand why plans and purposes that seemed good to my eyes should be baffled. I do not understand why blessings I so much need are so long delayed.

Friend, you do not have to understand all God’s ways with you. God does not expect you to understand them. You do not expect your child to understand, only believe. Some day you will see the glory of God in the things which you do not understand.
–J. H. McC

“If we could push ajar the gates of life,
And stand within, and all God’s working see,
We might interpret all this doubt and strife,
And for each mystery could find a key.

“But not today. Then be content, poor heart;
God’s plans, like lilies pure and white, unfold.
We must not tear the close-shut leaves apart–
Time will reveal the calyxes of gold.

“And if, through patient toil, we reach the land
Where tired feet, with sandals loosed, may rest,
When we shall clearly know and understand,
I think that we shall say, ‘God knew best.”‘

Am I Carnally Minded?

From: My Utmost For His Highest

Where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal . . . ? —1 Corinthians 3:3

The natural man, or unbeliever, knows nothing about carnality. The desires of the flesh warring against the Spirit, and the Spirit warring against the flesh, which began at rebirth, are what produce carnality and the awareness of it. But Paul said, “Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16). In other words, carnality will disappear.

Are you quarrelsome and easily upset over small things? Do you think that no one who is a Christian is ever like that? Paul said they are, and he connected these attitudes with carnality. Is there a truth in the Bible that instantly awakens a spirit of malice or resentment in you? If so, that is proof that you are still carnal. If the process of sanctification is continuing in your life, there will be no trace of that kind of spirit remaining.

If the Spirit of God detects anything in you that is wrong, He doesn’t ask you to make it right; He only asks you to accept the light of truth, and then He will make it right. A child of the light will confess sin instantly and stand completely open before God. But a child of the darkness will say, “Oh, I can explain that.” When the light shines and the Spirit brings conviction of sin, be a child of the light. Confess your wrongdoing, and God will deal with it. If, however, you try to vindicate yourself, you prove yourself to be a child of the darkness.

What is the proof that carnality has gone? Never deceive yourself; when carnality is gone you will know it-it is the most real thing you can imagine. And God will see to it that you have a number of opportunities to prove to yourself the miracle of His grace. The proof is in a very practical test. You will find yourself saying, “If this had happened before, I would have had the spirit of resentment!” And you will never cease to be the most amazed person on earth at what God has done for you on the inside.

Get Strength From God

 

The Cost of Sanctification

From: My Utmost For His Highest

May the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely . . . —1 Thessalonians 5:23

When we pray, asking God to sanctify us, are we prepared to measure up to what that really means? We take the word sanctification much too lightly. Are we prepared to pay the cost of sanctification? The cost will be a deep restriction of all our earthly concerns, and an extensive cultivation of all our godly concerns. Sanctification means to be intensely focused on God’s point of view. It means to secure and to keep all the strength of our body, soul, and spirit for God’s purpose alone. Are we really prepared for God to perform in us everything for which He separated us? And after He has done His work, are we then prepared to separate ourselves to God just as Jesus did? “For their sakes I sanctify Myself . . .” (John 17:19). The reason some of us have not entered into the experience of sanctification is that we have not realized the meaning of sanctification from God’s perspective. Sanctification means being made one with Jesus so that the nature that controlled Him will control us. Are we really prepared for what that will cost? It will cost absolutely everything in us which is not of God.

Are we prepared to be caught up into the full meaning of Paul’s prayer in this verse? Are we prepared to say, “Lord, make me, a sinner saved by grace, as holy as You can”? Jesus prayed that we might be one with Him, just as He is one with the Father (see John 17:21-23). The resounding evidence of the Holy Spirit in a person’s life is the unmistakable family likeness to Jesus Christ, and the freedom from everything which is not like Him. Are we prepared to set ourselves apart for the Holy Spirit’s work in us?

Jesus Is Coming Soon

 

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Coming Soon!

“Surely I am coming quickly.” —Revelation 22:20

A “COMING SOON!” announcement often precedes future events in entertainment and sports, or the launch of the latest technology. The goal is to create anticipation and excitement for what is going to happen, even though it may be months away.

While reading the book of Revelation, I was impressed with the “coming soon” sense of immediacy permeating the entire book. Rather than saying, “Someday, in the far distant future, Jesus Christ is going to return to earth,” the text is filled with phrases like “things which must shortly take place” (1:1) and “the time is near” (v.3). Three times in the final chapter, the Lord says, “I am coming quickly” (Rev. 22:7,12,20). Other versions translate this phrase as, “I’m coming soon,” “I’m coming speedily,” and “I’m on My way!”

How can this be—since 2,000 years have elapsed since these words were written? “Quickly” doesn’t seem appropriate for our experience of time.

Rather than focusing on a date for His return, the Lord is urging us to set our hearts on His promise that will be fulfilled. We are called to live for Him in this present age “looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13).

Live as if Christ is coming back today.

Insight

As with today’s text, 2 Peter 3:1-10 deals with Jesus’ imminent return. Peter explains that “the Lord is not slack concerning His promise . . . but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (v.9).

Your Faithful Friend?

From: Get more strength.org.
“For great is your love, reaching to the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies” Psalm 57:10Junior high school can be one long intensive seminar on drama in relationships. I am convinced that any psychological malfunction in my life today is directly traceable to those two years of school. Okay, maybe it’s not quite that dramatic, but junior high did teach me a little about fickle friendships.

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

“Joe says that he likes you too!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Story Of Compassion

 

The Compassionate Young Boy

By:  Emmanuel Aghado

“Once upon a time, in a small village in Kenya, there lived a young boy with his step family. Due to the scarcity of water in the village, the young boy awoke early every morning, carried his pot and headed for the stream with the aim of fetching water for himself and his step family. Sadly for him, he alone had this task as a routine every morning and evening to fetch water froma distant stream while his step siblings were given other lenient tasks or even none. Yet, the young boy bore no grudge against his step family, loved them and carried out his task, diligently.
On his way back from the stream, he met an old man resting under a tree who beggedfor water to quench his thirst and he gave the old man. He met an elderly woman who begged for water and he gave the woman. This happens almost every time as he comes back from the stream; meeting peoplewho beg for thirst, yet he gave them despite his step mother’s torture on him for fetching half-filled pots that wouldn’t even be enough for the family.
One day, he couldn’t bear the torture from his step mum, so heswore never to give anyone water, but on his way back, he met a strange looking man who begged him for water. The strange man lay by the road sidewith an injury. The young boy remembered his vow – never to give anyone water – but contemplated for a moment and then gave the strange man some water.
When he got home, his step mum noticed the half-filled pots, and again pounced on him – this time with more cruelty. As she was beating this young boy, there was a knock on the door. It was the wounded strange man – a mail deliverer. Apparently, he came from the town with a letterfor the young boy. A letter containing a scholarship with additional cash gift for the young boy and would have died on the way if not for the boy’s help.
They say there is love in sharing…they say where there is love there is life. Your everyday good deeds are never in vain for they shall return to you even when you’re not expecting it.”

Values.Com.,The Compassionate Boy, By:  Emmanuel Aghado