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When Fear Knocks On Your Door

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Image result for pictures verses about fearImage result for pictures verses about fear 
Image result for pictures verses about fearImage result for pictures verses about fear

 

When Fear Knocks on Your Door

 By: Sally Friscea, 1.cbn.com

“O Lord, my strength, and my fortress, and my refuge in the day of affliction …” Jeremiah 16:19 (KJV)

Clad in snowflake pajamas, with a failing top knot and smudged eye makeup, I waited for my morning shower water to heat up. As it reached the perfect temperature, the doorbell rang.

I shut the water off and shuffled to the foyer. Through the door’s glass, I eyed a large man standing on the porch. He wore khakis and a golf shirt with the county sheriff’s logo.

I cracked open the door.

The man showed me a sheriff’s badge and then an FBI badge. He really had my attention when he explained that the FBI had put him on a special task force to inform individuals of their presence on a recent 8,000-member ISIS Kill List.

“How’d I get on the list?” I asked, then listened intently.

“We don’t know. Maybe it’s your job.” He looked at me in all my morning non-glory as though he, too, failed to imagine me qualifying for the list.

“I’m a bookkeeper for an engineering and surveying firm.”

“Does your company do federal contracts?” he asked.

“No, we’re a very small company. But I am prior military and go to the Veterans Administration clinic. Maybe they hacked the V.A.?”

He nodded an uncertain confirmation. “Could be that, but we really don’t know.” He warned me to be vigilant and aware of my surroundings, especially when coming and going from home. “They have your name and home address, but it’s highly unlikely anything will come of this.”

He gave me two business cards with his various cell phone numbers handwritten on the back. “If you feel you’re in an emergency situation, by all means, call 9-1-1.  They have your address flagged and will come swarming.”

I hurried to the office and addressed the pile of work in front of me. Then I searched the internet for information on the list. To date, there were no reports of anyone on the list being killed.

The first week after the notification, I fell into hyper-awareness and hyper-vigilance. I’d checked the wood line and scanned the street each time I let the dogs outside.

As I drove, I ran scenarios through my head; doing the same at home.

Cricks and creeks in the house became amplified, especially at night.

I prayed for God’s protection and His peace settled on me.

God reminded me of the Hebrews in Egypt and how He protected them, even in the midst of the storm, (Exodus 5-15). He also reminded me of how Jesus calmed the storm with the disciples in the boat, (Matthew 8:23-27). Each time he stayed there with them. He protected and sheltered them. Each time He did not take them out of the problem but protected them in the midst of the problems and He brought calm to the situation.

During the following weeks, as I pressed to rest in my God, my fortress, I settled into a healthy amount of awareness and vigilance. There is only one way off a kill list, so I resolved to remain in the refuge that is my God and trust him for protection.

Lord, help us to rest in You when fear sets in and our circumstances overwhelm us. Give us Your perfect peace in the midst of the storm. Lord, teach us to turn to you first and lay our concerns at your feet. Amen!

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When Fear Chases Me

By: Lysa TerKeurst, .proverbs31.org

“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’” Psalm 91:1-2 (NIV)

My eyes popped open and my heart raced when my phone buzzed at 1 a.m. Good news isn’t usually delivered at that hour.

I hopped out of bed and grabbed my phone to read a text: “Mom, police have my dorm on lockdown and are running up and down the hall shouting. I don’t know what’s going on, but I’m scared.”

It was Ashley, my daughter who was a college freshman at the time, more than seven hours away from me.

I tried calling her, but the reception was so bad neither of us could make out what the other was saying. Texting was my only option, so I asked a series of questions trying to get a better handle on what was happening.

My hands were shaking. My heart was racing. And I felt intensely helpless.

When she was a little girl and cried out in the middle of the night, all I had to do was run upstairs. I could sit on the edge of her bed and rub her back. I could let her see me. Calm her with my touch. Be there to whisper reassurances.

But that little girl had grown into a college girl living very far away from me.

I couldn’t sit on her bed, and she couldn’t see me. I couldn’t calm her with my touch. I couldn’t whisper those reassurances with my voice.

All I could do was text her.

And that felt completely inadequate in light of the situation.

Scary images assaulted my mind with all the possible scenarios a completely shaken mama conjures up in moments of frightening uncertainty. I sank down to my knees and begged God to clear my head and give me the words to text that would help.

This was one of those times I wished God would appear in a way my eyes could see and give me clear, step-by-step instructions saying exactly what to do.

But I couldn’t see Him. And no Spirit Finger wrote instructions on my wall. Instead, I felt this gentle nudge to pay attention to what He’d already given me that week: A set of verses a friend texted me and that I’d passed along to another friend, which includes our key verses today.

Psalm 91:1-2, “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’”

I love that these verses give us a script to say out loud, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”

Quickly, I texted Ashley these verses and instructed her to say this out loud over and over until she felt some relief from her fear. And you better believe I was saying it out loud over and over as well.

Isn’t it interesting the two words God is called here are refuge and fortress?

A refuge is a quick place you duck into to find shelter. A fortress is a place built intentionally for the purposes of exceptional security. The Hebrew word for fortress is metsudah, with one of its definitions being an “inaccessible place.”

God is not just a quick refuge from the storm, but He’s also the place where fear no longer has access to me.

Fear can’t catch what it can no longer reach.

It’s not that bad things won’t happen to my kids or me. We live in a broken world where broken things happen every day. But as a child of God, I don’t have to live with fear taunting and terrorizing me.

We still don’t know all the reasons why my daughter’s dorm was on lockdown. Thankfully, she and her friends were safe and we all eventually got some sleep that night. I understand that other middle-of-the-night calls don’t turn out so well. I’ve sadly lived through those times too.

But I’m determined to make some imperfect progress when I’m processing fear.

I now know I can feel afraid, but I don’t have to live afraid.

I can say out loud, “Dear God, You are my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” And then close my eyes and picture Him lifting me to a place where fear can’t hold me.

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Fear and Worry

From: tellingthetruth.org

Do you struggle to get through the day because you’re consumed with worry?

If you do, you’re not alone. There’s an endless supply of things to worry about, both in world affairs and in our personal lives. It can consume us and distract us from living in the moment and from being in tune with God’s voice in our lives.

Have you ever stopped (in the midst of all your worrying, it’s hard to do!) and considered how obsessive worry impacts your relationship with God and His will for your life?

While you wrestle with anxiety-filled thoughts, you are consumed and robbed of the gift to live in the present moment. And it’s in the present moment that God does His work—and that’s where He intends you to be. When your worry super-imposes the “future” on the “present,” it empties today of its strength.

Worry Produces Fear and Anxiety

Worriers often live in a continuous cycle of fear and anxiety—the paralyzing by-products of worry. This continuous cycle is like running on a hamster wheel. You can’t get off even though you’re completely exhausted! This kind of worry goes well beyond healthy concern and places you in a constant state of painful uneasiness. The anxiety disturbs your mind and there is complete turmoil in your thinking.  Thoughts become obsessive to the point where you cannot function or even think about anything else.

Is Worry a Spiritual Battle?

Scripture says that God has not given you the spirit of fear. He has not given you this obsession to worry, this fear, this terror… somebody else has: the devil. He would like nothing more than to distract you from God and who God wants you to be. Many are tempted to worry, but when you fall into that temptation and continually worry, then you sin. Worry is sin!

Recognizing that obsessive worry is a spiritual battle makes all the difference. First, it reminds you that you won’t win the war on worry in your own strength. As a believer, you have Christ. He never worries, and He asks you to bring all your worries to Him.

Philippians 4:6-7 says:

“Don’t be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God, and the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Thankfully, God has provided a way out of obsessive worry—it is through Jesus and through prayer. When you turn your worries into prayers, it’s not that your worries go away, but they are transformed from “destructive worry” to “constructive concern.” You’ve now handed over your heavy worry load to the Lord, and He has control over everything.

When You Pray Great Things Can Happen

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Perpetual Prayers of the Faithful

By: Bob Segress,1.cbn.com

a white dove sculptured on top of a tombstone

“The Lord is my shepherd … I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Psalm 23:1-6abbreviated

My wife asked me one day as we were driving, “Have you ever wondered how you are going to die?”

I tried to ignore her as the traffic was nasty, but as usual, once she gets something in her mind she wants an answer, so I mumbled something trying to distract her. You’d think after all these years I’d know that wouldn’t work, but at least it got me a brief reprieve.

When we came to a stop sign she turned her beautiful determined face toward me and said, “Well, have you?”

I stayed quiet as I knew from experience she had something on her mind she wanted to say.

After a few moments, she told me what was on her mind, “I think I’d like to die the way your Dad did. He was reading the paper in their backyard having breakfast under his grapevines and just fell forward with his head on his paper. Your mother had gone in to get him another cup of coffee, but suddenly a white dove bumped into the kitchen window and flapped its wings to get in. Mom was so startled that she went outside to look for the dove and found Dad had died. As she looked up she saw a dove with a broken wing fly away. That brings goosebumps every time I think about Dad’s home going.”

Again, by letting my better half answer her own questions, I’d heard an insightful answer that caused me to reflect on what she was saying.

I remembered how my Dad had been saved after my Mom had prayed for him for 25 years. He was a mean alcoholic who ran a carpenter union as its president. He had nasty habits such as throwing people down the stairs if they made him angry at the union hall. Still, my mother prayed and believed. She wasn’t going to divorce him because she knew someday he would be saved.

One evening while I was home from college, I told Dad, with a bit of fear, that I was afraid he wasn’t going to heaven with Mom, me, and the girls, and we would miss him. His answer surprised me, “If you’re afraid for me Bobbie, let’s go into the bathroom right now and settle this with God.”

We went into our little bathroom and I followed his lead and knelt beside him. Dad then asked the Lord to forgive him and save his soul despite all the evil he had done. As he repented tiny tears rolled down his face. I had a new father. The monster who had run Carpenter Local 701 was born again and Psalm 23 became his treasured prize.

He poured all the expensive crystal decanter liquor that contractors had given him to remain in his good favor down the drain. Yet, he had to conduct business in bars. He started wearing a cross on his tie and drank Coke instead of his preferred Irish Whiskey. For several years, he listened to Vernon Magee teach the Bible during lunch hour out in his car in front of the Union hall, and he even took notes.

I had a new creature father. He still had flaws but was on the potter’s wheel from that day in the bathroom when Mom’s prayers were answered. He experienced “absent from the body is to be present with the Lord” that morning the dove broke his wing and flew away.

That was a wonderful way to die.

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Confession with the mouth

By: Charles Spurgeon

‘With the heart man believeth unto righteousness: and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.’ Romans 10:10

Suggested Further Reading: Proverbs 1:7–15

Young Joseph has his garment seized by his wanton mistress: his answer is, ‘How can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?’ The woman might have answered, ‘God? What do I know of him? Jehovah—who is he?’ There was a bold, distinct confession of his allegiance to Jehovah, as a reason why he could not sin. The case of Nehemiah is equally to the point. When they invite him to a secret conference in the temple, he says, ‘Should such a man as I flee?’ He avows his confidence in his God as a reason why he cannot for a moment act dishonourably. Now, Christian, here it is that you are to make confession with the mouth. Some dirty trick in business, which has become so common that nobody thinks any harm of it, comes in your way. Now, play the man, and say, ‘I would rather starve than do it; I cannot and I will not live by robbery, even though it should be half legalised by society.’ Now is your opportunity, young man. When the Sabbath morning comes round, and you are pulled by the sleeve to go with others to waste its holy hours, you can say, ‘No,’ and give the reason, ‘I cannot do it; I am a Christian.’ Or, it may be you have come up from the country, and your friend—your friend proposes to take you to a den of infamy, just to show you life. Tell him he does not understand how to cater to your appetite, for you are a Christian. For some ends I would prefer the affirmation of one’s faith in Jesus in the time of temptation to any other form of confession, since there surely can be no hypocrisy in it. Take care, brethren, that you never fail to acknowledge your Lord in the time of temptation.

For meditation: A word of testimony is a means of conquering the devil (Revelation 12:11). Our Saviour demonstrated to Satan that he was the Son of God by resistance, not by the requested submission (Matthew 4:3–7). Being a Christian is not only a good reason for taking a stand for God in times of temptation, but also a powerful excuse to use for our own protection at such moments.

 

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The Fervent Prayer of a Righteous Man …

by 

Our glorious, sovereign God created and controls the universe in a way that uses the prayers of His saints to accomplish His eternal purposes. Thus, He sovereignly uses their prayers to release His preordained blessings, and by this means to manifest His glory in, through, and over all things. The Bible clearly teaches both that God is fully sovereign over every aspect of reality, visible and invisible, and that He carries out His predestined plan in a significant measure through the intercessions of the church.

While limited human minds have never been able fully to comprehend exactly how these two Biblical truths fit together (i.e. divine sovereignty and effectual believing prayer), it is precisely when both truths are held together in faith that the most powerful praying springs forth and the greatest glory descends. This leads us to a crucial principle: True piety never makes the limits of its own understanding the measure of what it will believe and practice, but rather firmly holds to all that Scripture teaches, even when the combination of some truths is rather mysterious. For instance, the oneness and “threeness” of God; the two natures of Christ in one person; and the relationship of predestination and effectual prayer are all plainly taught in Scripture as joint realities, but Scripture never explains exactly how they are two sides of the same truth. Perhaps it would take mental capacities as big as God’s to take it all in, and that is not our position.

But it is our position gladly to accept and hold together in our faith and action that which Scripture has joined together. From that kind of intelligent submission to God’s truth flows fruitful lives and the advancement of the kingdom of God.

 

Visible Reminders

 

 

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Visible Reminders

From: Joe Stowell, Strength For The Journey

“Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.”  Colossians 3:2

What’s the first image you see when you turn on your computer? Maybe it’s a family portrait or a special vacation picture. Or perhaps your favorite pro athlete.

How about an artist’s rendition of Jesus? A man once wrote to me about his lengthy battle with pornography—a disheartening cycle that punctuated seasons of victory with crushing forays back into an online world of empty lust. Finally, he found that putting a visible reminder of Jesus in the corner of his computer screen helped him achieve lasting victory. That constant reminder of the One who set him free caused the offensive Web sites to lose their appeal. The man wasn’t tapping into some gigabyte good-luck charm. He was giving himself a simple reminder of the teaching of Colossians 3 where Paul says, “put to death . . . fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness” ( Col 3:5).

When we turn our eyes toward Jesus, He becomes a powerful reminder that our old life “died, and [our] life is hidden with Christ in God” (Col 3:3). Whether it’s a verse taped to the dashboard of your car or a picture on your computer, choose a tangible way to lift your thoughts into the presence of Jesus.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face;
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace.  —Lemmel

The best way to keep sin at a distance is to make sure Jesus stands between you and temptation.

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A lecture for little-faith

By: Charles Spurgeon

“We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth.” 2 Thessalonians 1:3

Suggested Further Reading: Matthew 17:14-21

When faith commences in the soul it is simply looking unto Jesus, and perhaps even then there are so many clouds of doubts, and so much dimness of the eye, that we have need for the light of the Spirit to shine upon the cross before we are able even so much as to see it. When faith grows a little, it rises from looking to Christ to coming to Christ. He who stood afar off and looked to the cross, by-and-by plucks up courage, and getting heart to himself, he runneth up to the cross; or perhaps he doth not run, but hath to be drawn before he can so much as creep thither, and even then it is with a limping gait that he draweth nigh to Christ the Saviour. But that done, faith goeth a little farther: it layeth hold on Christ; it begins to see him in his excellency, and appropriates him in some degree, conceives him to be a real Christ and a real Saviour, and is convinced of his suitability. And when it hath done as much as that, it goeth further; it leaneth on Christ; it leaneth on its Beloved; casteth all the burden of its cares, sorrows, and griefs upon that blessed shoulder, and permitteth all its sins to be swallowed up in the great red sea of the Saviour’s blood. And faith can then go further still; for having seen and run towards him, and laid hold upon him, and having leaned upon him, faith in the next place puts in a humble, but a sure and certain claim to all that Christ is and all that he has wrought; and then, trusting alone in this, appropriating all this to itself, faith mounteth to full assurance; and out of heaven there is no state more rapturous and blessed.

For meditation: How would you describe the state of your faith? Do you want to grow in faith (Luke 17:5)?

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Streams In The Desert

The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him (2 Chronicles 16:9).

God is looking for a man, or woman, whose heart will be always set on Him, and who will trust Him for all He desires to do. God is eager to work more mightily now than He ever has through any soul. The clock of the centuries points to the eleventh hour.

“The world is waiting yet to see what God can do through a consecrated soul.” Not the world alone, but God Himself is waiting for one, who will be more fully devoted to Him than any who have ever lived; who will be willing to be nothing that Christ may be all; who will grasp God’s own purposes; and taking His humility and His faith, His love and His power, will, without hindering, continue to let God do exploits.
–C. H. P.

“There is no limit to what God can do with a man, providing he will not touch the glory.”

In an address given to ministers and workers after his ninetieth birthday, George Mueller spoke thus of himself: “I was converted in November, 1825, but I only came into the full surrender of the heart four years later, in July, 1829. The love of money was gone, the love of place was gone, the love of position was gone, the love of worldly pleasures and engagements was gone. God, God alone became my portion. I found my all in Him; I wanted nothing else. And by the grace of God this has remained, and has made me a happy man, an exceedingly happy man, and it led me to care only about the things of God. I ask affectionately, my beloved brethren, have you fully surrendered the heart to God, or is there this thing or that thing with which you are taken up irrespective of God?

I read a little of the Scriptures before, but preferred other books; but since that time the revelation He has made of Himself has become unspeakably blessed to me, and I can say from my heart, God is an infinitely lovely Being.

Oh, be not satisfied until in your own inmost soul you can say, “God is an infinitely lovely Being!”
–Selected

I pray to God this day to make me an extraordinary Christian.
–Whitefield

Christ Gives Us Complete Victory

 

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Victory over Fear

By: Brooke Espinoza, 1.cbn.com

Black Bart, who robbed 29 Wells Fargo stagecoaches between 1875 and 1883, managed to strike fear in the hearts of his victims. Bart used his evil demeanor to ignite fear in anyone unfortunate to be on or around a Wells Fargo stagecoach during a robbery. Bart used fear to get his victims eyes on their circumstances. He knew distracting his victims from what was true was his only hope for a successful robbery and get away. The truth about Black Bart was in the 29 robberies history documents; he never once fired his gun or took a hostage. I wonder if the victims of his later robberies would have been as afraid, when robbed, if they had just set their mind on that truth. Like Black Bart, Satan uses fear as a tool to distract us from what is true.

Satan’s understanding of who we are in Christ is evidenced by his repeated attempts to get us to submit to fear. When we are fully aware of the truth of who we are in Christ, we will not be afraid. The only thing Satan can do is to distract us from this truth. He does this by attempting to re-direct our focus, from our riches in Christ, onto our seemingly fearful circumstances. Satan knows he can’t rob us of our riches in Christ, so he has no choice but to encourage us to lose sight of all we have and all we are in Christ.

Though we may lose sight of this, at times, God continues to prove Himself faithful in our lives. Remember when the Armenian army surrounded the Israelites camp? (2 Kings 6:15-17) A fear-struck servant came to Elisha with the disheartening news. However, Elisha assured the servant.

So he answered, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” (2 Kings 6:16 NKJV).

Elisha prayed and instantly the servant’s eyes were opened to see the hills, all around, covered with horses and chariots of fire. The truth was that God had provided the Israelites more than enough protection from the Armenians. Elisha’s eyes were on what was true while the servant’s gaze had been distracted by the surrounding enemy. I wonder if the servant would have seen God’s army from the start had he not allowed the enemy to distract him from what was true.

Though, in Christ, I am more than a conqueror (Romans 8:37), on occasion, I allow intimidating circumstances distract me from this truth, and I submit to fear. Just as the turbulent waves of the sea distracted Peter from Jesus’ invitation to walk on water, causing Peter to be consumed by the waves, when I focus on the waves in my life, overwhelming feelings of helplessness rob me of doing the impossible through Christ. Like Peter, when I fix my eyes on Jesus I am able to confidently rise above my fears and miraculously walk to Jesus, by faith, on what previously were my fears.

All throughout the Bible, God instructs people to not fear. Though we may feel sometimes this is easier said than done, it is no coincidence that when you add up all the instances in Scripture where it instructs, “do not fear,” “fear not,” and “be not afraid” they total 365 occurrences — one occurrence for every day of the year. Perhaps this is God’s way of telling us we will never face a day that we will have a valid reason to be afraid. May our faith in Jesus shine so bright, extinguishing all ungodly fears, that those who don’t know Jesus will marvel at our boldness and know, as the Sanhedrin did after witnessing the boldness of Peter and John, that we have been with Jesus. (Acts 4:5-13)

 

The Victory of Obedience

From: intouch.org

Judges 7:9-25

God providentially orchestrated each element of His plan for Israel’s success. However, if Gideon had disobeyed even one divine command, his army would have suffered instant defeat. Although the Lord’s ways may seem risky or illogical, we can always trust His indisputable wisdom and rely on His mighty power.

God encourages the fainthearted. When the Lord commanded Gideon to attack the enemy, He also provided a way to relieve the leader’s fears. By following God’s directions, Gideon was led to the exact location where he would hear an encouraging message that caused him to bow in worship and arise with great faith.

God removes the things we depend on. Gideon was marching to war with only 300 men armed with trumpets, pitchers, and torches. Their manpower seemed pitiful, and their weapons appeared useless for battle. With traditional means of victory removed, they could rely only upon the Lord.

God works in the enemy’s camp on our behalf. Everything is perfectly timed when God is in control—even the parts we cannot see. While Gideon was obeying each divine command, the Lord was working behind the scenes to ensure victory for Israel. In the enemy’s confusion and fear of darkness, panic led to self-destruction.

The key to a victorious Christian life is obedience. As you follow the Lord, He will faithfully supply you with instructions for each next step. His way may not be the easiest or the most comfortable, but it is always the best. Rely on Him, and He will lead you to victory.

The Power of Victory

From: today.reframemedia

 

Scripture Reading — Revelation 21:1-8

Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children. — Revelation 21:7

Our family is a soccer family. We love the game, and it is something we all enjoy both watching and doing. We spend a fair amount of time at soccer fields. Over the years our children have had the opportunity to play for several teams. Some of those teams won many games. Some did not. And while it always feels good to go home with a win in the scorebook, we also know that the final score does not always reflect which team put forth the best effort.

The power of Jesus’ resurrection gives us victory over sin and death. The victory is secure because of what Christ did, not because of any efforts we put forth. All who trust him as their Savior and confess their sins are assured of this victory and all the benefits it brings.

One of the valuable lessons our children learned through soccer is how to be gracious in victory. Similarly, it’s important to be gracious to others in the victorious confidence in which we live each day because of Christ’s victory. Our confidence is not an attitude of superiority and privilege but, rather, one of grace, humility, and love.

Today, know that the victory of the resurrection is yours in Jesus, and humbly live in the confidence of that victory.

Prayer

Lord, there is no way we can repay you or thank you enough for offering us the victory over sin and death. Help us to live graciously and lovingly in the confidence of your strength. In the power of your name, Amen.

Set God Always Before You

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Set Him Always Before You

By: Twila Belk, 1.cbn.com

 

Bible and a cross

I have set the Lord continually before me; Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Psalm 16:8 AMP

Do you ever forget anything? I do. Sometimes I’ll get on an elevator and wonder why I haven’t reached my floor. And then I’ll discover it’s because I hadn’t remembered to push the button. I forget where I’ve put things. I forget the names of my kids. I forget why I went to the other room. And if I’m not careful, I’ll forget meaningful dates or events. If I don’t keep a sticky note or some sort of reminder in front of me, I’m in trouble.

Several years ago on an August day, I realized how important those reminders were to me. I went about my business as I normally do, but I had a niggling feeling that I was forgetting something. Halfway through the day, I came across a significant document while sorting a stack of papers on my table. It was the first day of school, and I had forgotten to take my kids! Yikes!

Because I hadn’t kept that important information at the top of the pile and smack dab in front of my face, I had to put up with friends and school personnel who laughed at me and questioned my mental stability.

“Out of sight, out of mind” is a clichéd expression, but it’s proven to be true in my case.

Unfortunately, that’s also often the case with many of us regarding our relationship with God. If we don’t keep him at the “top of our pile,” we forget that he’s with us. We forget that he wants to help us. We forget that he is I AM. And because of our forgetfulness, we’re troubled needlessly with a load of care.

David wrote the words in Psalm 16:8 shown above. He knew the key to being still or (unshaken) was to have a constant awareness of the Lord’s presence. Here are some of the ways he kept the Lord continually before him:

  • Talked honestly with God and carried on a running conversation with him
  • Meditated on God’s words
  • Journaled his thoughts and prayers to God (see the Psalms)
  • Passed down his God stories to the next generation
  • Sang praises to God
  • Proclaimed God’s goodness
  • Talked to others about God
  • Danced before God
  • Opened his eyes and heart to notice God at work
  • Immersed himself in the truth of God’s Word

As with us, life wasn’t always easy for David. He faced storms, dealt with wicked people, confronted giants, had to make difficult decisions, and wrestled with inner turmoil. But because he knew God intimately and kept him at the “top of his pile,” David was able to trust him. God proved himself to David again and again and will do the same for us.

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Zealots

By: Charles Spurgeon

‘Simon called Zelotes.’ Luke 6:15

Suggested Further Reading: 2 Corinthians 7:5–11

Christian zeal feeds itself upon a sense of gratitude.

‘Loved of my God, for him again, with love intense I’d burn,
Chosen of thee ere time began, I choose thee in return.’

Look ‘to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged,’ and you will see abundant reason why you should spend and be spent for God. Zeal for God feeds itself upon the thought of the eternal future. It looks with tearful eyes down to the flames of hell and it cannot slumber: it looks up with anxious gaze to the glories of heaven, and it cannot but bestir itself. Zeal for God thinks of death, and hears the hoofs of the white horse with the skeleton rider close behind. Zeal for God feels that all it can do is little compared with what is wanting, and that time is short compared with the work to be done, and therefore it devotes all that it has to the cause of its Lord. Next, zeal for God feeds itself on love to Christ. Lady Powerscourt says somewhere, ‘If we want to be thoroughly hot with zeal, we must go near to the furnace of the Saviour’s love.’ Get to know how Christ loved you, and you cannot but love him. Do but know how he was spat upon and despised, and how he bled and died for us, and we cannot but feel that we can do and bear all things for his name’s sake. Above all, Christian zeal must be sustained by a vigorous inner life. If we let our inner life dwindle, if it begins to be dwarfish, if our heart beats slowly before God, we shall not know zeal; but if all be strong and vigorous within, then we cannot but feel a loving anxiety to see the kingdom of Christ come, and his will done on earth, even as it is in heaven.

For meditation: While misplaced zeal is a worthless and dangerous thing (Romans 10:2Philippians 3:6), the Lord is zealous (Isaiah 9:737:32John 2:17) and he expects his people to be zealous too (Titus 2:14Revelation 3:19).

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Streams In The Desert

By: L. B. Cowman

Because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son… I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven; …because thou hast obeyed my voice (Genesis 22:16-18).

And from that day to this, men have been learning that when, at God’s voice, they surrender up to Him the one thing above all else that was dearest to their very hearts, that same thing is returned to them by Him a thousand times over. Abraham gives up his one and only son, at God’s call, and with this disappear all his hopes for the boy’s life and manhood, and for a noble family bearing his name. But the boy is restored, the family becomes as the stars and sands in number, and out of it, in the fullness of time, appears Jesus Christ.

That is just the way God meets every real sacrifice of every child of His. We surrender all and accept poverty; and He sends wealth. We renounce a rich field of service; He sends us a richer one than we had dared to dream of. We give up all our cherished hopes, and die unto self; He sends us the life more abundant, and tingling joy.

And the crown of it all is our Jesus Christ. For we can never know the fullness of the life that is in Christ until we have made Abraham’s supreme sacrifice. The earthly founder of the family of Christ must commence by losing himself and his only son, just as the Heavenly Founder of that family did. We cannot be members of that family with the full privileges and joys of membership upon any other basis.
–C. G. Trumbull

We sometimes seem to forget that what God takes He takes in fire; and that the only way to the resurrection life and the ascension mount is the way of the garden, the cross, and the grave.

Think not, O soul of man, that Abraham’s was a unique and solitary experience. It is simply a specimen and pattern of God’s dealings with all souls who are prepared to obey Him at whatever cost. After thou hast patiently endured, thou shalt receive the promise. The moment of supreme sacrifice shall be the moment of supreme and rapturous blessing. God’s river, which is full of water, shall burst its banks, and pour upon thee a tide of wealth and grace.

There is nothing, indeed, which God will not do for a man who dares to step out upon what seems to be the mist; though as he puts down his foot he finds a rock beneath him.
–F. B. Meyer 

 

Getting Away From It All

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Getting Away From It All

By: Joe Stowell, Strength for the Journey

“He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul.” Psalm 23:2-3

A pastor friend of mine was telling another pastor about the long-awaited vacation that he and his family were preparing for. The other pastor immediately replied, “Vacation? I never take a vacation. Satan doesn’t take a vacation and neither do I!”

To which my friend wisely retorted, “Well, that’s all right. Satan has never been my example!”

In the summer when school is out and the sun is shining, our thoughts turn toward vacation. And that’s a good thing! We were wired with an innate need to take a break from our usual pace and spend some time being refreshed and recharged.

But for some reason, we sometimes seem apologetic about taking time off or needing a change of pace for a little while. It may be that our internal understanding of a real “work ethic” demands that we feel a little guilty about time that we’re not being “productive” or “efficient.” Or maybe we are concerned that those projects and clients we have been carefully nurturing along will fall to pieces if we put them on hold for a week or two. Maybe we are distorting Paul’s words to the Ephesians, resisting vacations and working nonstop so that we can “make the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16).

If that’s your brain strain, then let me put a biblical stop to that train of thought and provide you with three solid, straight-from-Scripture reasons to enjoy a guilt-free, refreshing time away from your usual pace of work this summer.

Reason number one: it’s commanded in Scripture. The fourth commandment tells us to “remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy” (Exodus 20:8). That means more than just going to church on Sunday. The principle of “Sabbath”—rooted in God’s example through creation of resting on the seventh day—intertwines with the Old Testament law code.

There were not only to be days of Sabbath, but week-long festivals scattered throughout the Jewish seasons. In fact, there were Sabbath yearsin their calendar! God’s loving command was intended to pull His people aside for rest so they would be reminded that all good things come from Him . . . not from their frantic efforts at work.

A second reason why it’s a good idea to take a well-deserved break is that your body and spirit need it. I love the picture that David paints for us in Psalm 23:1-6 of a shepherd leading his sheep to a place of refreshment and rest. We are finite, fallible, limited creatures, and without rest we’ll find that burnout and exhaustion eventually take their toll. Our ability to be gracious, loving, and patient will be a casualty of our compulsive work habits. Fatigue and weariness will leave us vulnerable to temptation. And most disturbingly, our intimacy with the Lord will suffer as our time with Him becomes perfunctory at best, and nonexistent at worst. All that can be avoided if we allow our Good Shepherd to restore our soul with times of rest in green pastures and with seasons of refreshment beside quiet waters.

And just in case we need another reason to put our feet up and relax now and then, remember that Jesus did it! He often withdrew from the crush of the crowds to seasons of prayer and rest. During a storm on the Sea of Galilee He was sound asleep in the boat (Mark 4:38). And we are told that while on a trip from Judea to Galilee “Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well” (John 4:6). There were always more people to heal, more messages to preach, and more places to go, but Jesus displayed the importance of rest.

So, whether it’s a weekend of camping, a day at the pool, or a week away with close friends or family members, turn off the cell-phone, close the computer, and get away! There’s no good reason not to!

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My Only Hope

By: Joe Stowell, Get More Strength

“Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions” Psalm 51:1

Any Star Wars fans out there? Remember the opening scenes of Episode IV? After a laser battle between a little spaceship (the good guys) and the ominous Imperial Star Destroyer (the bad guys), we see Princess Leia and her loyal fighters quickly overpowered by Darth Vader and his Stormtroopers. The situation is dire and our heroine has time only to pass a message on to her faithful robot R2D2, who is then jettisoned to safety on a nearby planet, into the hands of Luke Skywalker who discovers Leia’s message: “Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi. You’re my only hope!” The message is repeated over and over: “Help me . . . you’re my only hope!”

That simple little phrase encapsulates David’s plea in the first verse of Psalm 51. After fighting a year-long battle against the forces of darkness in his own heart, he had reached a point of desperation. Finally, he admitted that he could not overcome the guilt of his sin by his own cleverness, charm, or position. Nor could his inner turmoil be quieted by a clever spin from a PR department. In the face of the mess he had made of his life—adultery, deception, murder—he was left with only one hope: a plea for mercy from God who held all the cards regarding David’s cleansing.

I have to tell you, whether it’s the overwhelming force of life’s struggles or the guilt of our sin, our only hope is that God in His mercy will forgive and deliver us. As David writes in Psalm 42:11, “Why are you downcast, O my soul? . . . Put your hope in God!”

The good news for David—and for those of us who need to come to this same tipping point in our walk with Christ—is that our hope is never misplaced when we place it entirely and completely in God. And our confidence in His willingness to bestow delivering mercy is grounded, as David said, in the fact that God is a God of unfailing love and great compassion. We don’t need more meds or self-help positive spins on life when we are beyond ourselves. We need God! David said it best when he penned the words of Psalm 25:3, “No one whose hope is in you will ever be put to shame.”

In the midst of the turmoil of life and in the mire of our own sin, one simple prayer offers us the promise of rescue and deliverance. “Help me, Lord Jesus. You’re my only hope!”

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Streams In the Desert

By: L.B. Cowman

God… calleth those things which be not as though they were (Romans 4:17).

What does that mean? Why Abraham did this thing: he dared to believe God. It seemed an impossibility at his age that Abraham should become the father of a child; it looked incredible; and yet God called him a “father of many nations” before there was a sign of a child; and so Abraham called himself “father” because God called him so. That is faith; it is to believe and assert what God says. “Faith steps on seeming void, and finds the rock beneath.”

Only say you have what God says you have, and He will make good to you all you believe. Only it must be real faith, all there is in you must go over in that act of faith to God.
–Crumbs

Be willing to live by believing and neither think nor desire to live in any other way. Be willing to see every outward light extinguished, to see the eclipse of every star in the blue heavens, leaving nothing but darkness and perils around, if God will only leave in thy soul the inner radiance, the pure bright lamp which faith has kindled.
–Thomas C. Upham

The moment has come when you must get off the perch of distrust, out of the nest of seeming safety, and onto the wings of faith; just such a time as comes to the bird when it must begin to try the air. It may seem as though you must drop to the earth; so it may seem to the fledgling. It, too, may feel very like falling; but it does not fall — it’s pinions give it support, or, if they fail, the parent birds sweeps under and bears it upon its wings.

Even so will God bear you. Only trust Him; “thou shalt be holden up.” “Well, but,” you say, “am I to cast myself upon nothing?” That is what the bird seems to have to do; but we know the air is there, and the air is not so unsubstantial as it seems. And you know the promises of God are there, and they are not unsubstantial at all. “But it seems an unlikely thing to come about that my poor weak soul should be girded with such strength.” Has God said it shall? “That my tempted, yielding nature shall be victor in the strife.” Has God said it shall? “That my timorous, trembling heart shall find peace?” Has God said it shall?

For, if He has, you surely do not mean to give Him the lie! Hath he spoken, and shall He not do it? If you have gotten a word — “a sure word” of promise — take it implicitly, trust it absolutely. And this sure word you have; nay, you have more — you have Him who speaks the word confidently.

“Yea, I say unto you,” trust Him.
–J. B. Figgis, M. A.

 

Matthew 22:37-38

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment.

 

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Are You a Fan or Follower of Jesus?

By: Chris Carpenter, cbn1.com

Are you a follower of Jesus?

Before you rush to judgment and declare an immediate, “Yes!” just sit for a moment and really think about it.  Are you a true blue, unashamed, unabashed follower of Christ or do you do you sometimes conveniently leave your faith at the door depending on the circumstance?  Fan vs. follower … that is the question.

In his bestselling book, Not a Fan (Zondervan), first-time author Kyle Idleman calls you to consider the demands and rewards of being a true disciple.  Do you live the way Jesus lived?  Do you love the way He loved?  Do you pray the way He prayed?

CBN.com Program Director Chris Carpenter recently sat down with Idleman to discuss the difference between being a fan vs. a follower, how to convert fans of Jesus into committed followers, and whether being a fan of Christ is enough to get you to heaven.

The title of your book, Not a Fanis really quite an eye catcher. How can someone not be a fan of Jesus?

The journey that led to my realization of this probably helps. I went to start a new church in Los Angeles when I was about 22. Didn’t really have any idea what I was doing, so I thought I’ll read some business books, some marketing books, and I started to treat a church plan as if it were a business, which led to some kind of dangerous results.  You start to equate success with how many people come.  You become numbers driven, and if you’re not careful, then the Gospel becomes more of a product, and Jesus becomes something that you sell. I kind of slipped into that mentality unintentionally, and what I discovered in this journey, the “Not a Fan,” journey, is that when that happens it creates fans. It creates people who are admirers of Jesus, and they’ll put the Jesus fish on their bumper, and they’ll make their phone’s ring tone a worship song. They’re happy to do that. And they’ll come to church on the weekends.

There’s nothing wrong with any of that, but what we can do is use those as measurements for what it really means to follow Jesus.  I think in our celebrity-driven, sports-driven culture, we can start to treat Jesus as if we were a fan.  So I just wanted to compare our culture and what it says about following Jesus to what the Gospel says about following Christ.

What’s the difference between being a fan of Jesus and a committed follower of Jesus? Obviously, there is a polarity there.

One of the things I try to use in the book is show Biblical examples to make that distinction. An example would be, John 6 where Jesus feeds the 5,000. He has this huge group of people and then, the next day they come looking for more food and Jesus says, “Look, no more free food. I am the bread of life, and if I’m enough and let’s go.” And the Bible says in John 6:66, “From that point on many who had been traveling with Him, no longer followed Him.” They turned and went home. So there’s this distinction between those who were traveling with Jesus and those who were following Jesus. In other words, those who were in it for the free bread and the inspirational teaching, and those who were saying Jesus is enough. There are really quite a number of examples where there’s this distinction made. I use Nicodemus and the rich young ruler, in the book. Also, Simon the Pharisee where people who knew all about Jesus. They knew all the messianic prophecies, but they didn’t necessarily know Him. Those examples make that distinction clear as you study the Gospel accounts. In a sentence, I would say, fans want to be close enough to Jesus to be associated with Him. You want to be close enough to get the benefits, but not so close; they don’t want to follow so close that it requires sacrifice. That requires commitment.

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Would-Be Followers of Jesus

By: Roger Greenway, today.reframemedia.com

 

Scripture Reading — Luke 9:57-62

A man said to [Jesus], “I will follow you wherever you go.” Luke 9:57 —

One day several people said they wanted to follow Jesus, and they sounded sincere. Yet each one turned away from the cost of discipleship.

The first man said, “I will follow you wherever you go.” But his enthusiasm waned when Jesus said, “Foxes have holes … but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” Jesus was saying that following him meant doing without the comforts of home.

The second man seemed interested but said he first wanted to go and bury his father. If his father had already died, however, the man would have been doing that. Apparently he wanted to wait to follow Jesus until after his father died. So Jesus implied that the spiritually dead should bury the physically dead, while the spiritually alive should proclaim God’s kingdom.

The third person said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-by to my family.” Doesn’t this seem reasonable? But Jesus said, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” By this Jesus meant that discipleship means focusing on things that promote God’s kingdom, without distraction.

Jesus practiced what he preached, giving his all for the kingdom of God. May we follow where he leads us today, without excuse.

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“SANCTIFIED BY GOD THE FATHER.” – JUDE 1

“Sanctified in Christ Jesus.”

– 1 Corinthians 1:2

“Through sanctification of the Spirit.”

– 1 Peter 1:2

Mark the union of the Three Divine Persons in all their gracious acts. How unwisely do those believers talk who make preferences in the Persons of the Trinity; who think of Jesus as if he were the embodiment of everything lovely and gracious, while the Father they regard as severely just, but destitute of kindness. Equally wrong are those who magnify the decree of the Father, and the atonement of the Son, so as to depreciate the work of the Spirit. In deeds of grace none of the Persons of the Trinity act apart from the rest. They are as united in their deeds as in their essence. In their love towards the chosen they are one, and in the actions which flow from that great central source they are still undivided. Specially notice this in the matter of sanctification. While we may without mistake speak of sanctification as the work of the Spirit, yet we must take heed that we do not view it as if the Father and the Son had no part therein. It is correct to speak of sanctification as the work of the Father, of the Son, and of the Spirit. Still doth Jehovah say, “Let us make man in our own image after our likeness,” and thus we are “his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” See the value which God sets upon real holiness, since the Three Persons in the Trinity are represented as co-working to produce a Church without “spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing.” And you, believer, as the follower of Christ, must also set a high value on holiness-upon purity of life and godliness of conversation. Value the blood of Christ as the foundation of your hope, but never speak disparagingly of the work of the Spirit which is your meetness for the inheritance of the saints in light. This day let us so live as to manifest the work of the Triune God in us.

Are You A Good Shepherd?

John 10:11-18

11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. 13 The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.

14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. 17 The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”

 

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Jesus the Good Shepherd

By: allaboutjesuschrist.org

 

Jesus the Good Shepherd – The Origin
Jesus the good shepherd is referenced in the book of John, chapter 10. In His own words, Jesus tells us in John 10:11: “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” John 10:14-15: “I am the good shepherd. I know my own sheep, and they know me just as my Father knows me and I know my Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep.”

 

Jesus the Good Shepherd – The Meaning
Jesus is the good shepherd to His believers just as the shepherds were of their livestock. A shepherd tended his flock day and night. He would gather the sheep into a sheepfold at night for their protection. The sheepfold was a pen, a cave, or an area backed by stone walls. Since there were no doors, the shepherd would often sleep or sit in the opening, ready to guard his sheep from harm.

Being different than a hired keeper who might run away in the face of danger, the flock belonged to the shepherd who would stay and defend them. He had a genuine loving concern for what belonged to him. In chapter 10, Jesus illustrates how the shepherd cares for his flock, protecting them from weather, thieves, and predatory animals. He loved and shielded them and if necessary, he would lay down his life for them.

Jesus is that loving protector and caretaker for His flock. Ezekiel 34 foretold of the Messiah who would, like a true shepherd, come to caringly keep God’s people. It was a loving message of the coming Christ, the good shepherd.

John 10 tells us how thieves and wolves come to destroy the sheep. But the good shepherd is there to save them. These verses tell us that though Satan comes to steal, kill, and destroy God’s people (John 10:10). Jesus is there to protect, love, and save us from destruction giving us eternal life. Jesus came not to merely be the hired keeper but came as the one (the only one), who was and is, completely committed to us — even to His own death and resurrection. Jesus is the good shepherd who lay down His physical life for you and me.

 

Jesus the good shepherd – The Purpose
Jesus the good shepherd’s purpose is to give life and protect from destruction. You may be asking yourself why Jesus needed to give His life for our protection. We all have sinned! By our sin, we are lost to the eternal life God has for us. We will not enter heaven if we don’t accept Jesus the good shepherd. Jesus’ blood was shed as payment for our sins. But He was resurrected; He lives as our shepherd today!

When we accept this gift, when we believe that He did this for us, we are saved from paying the debt ourselves. Romans 6:23 says: “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” John 6 says that Jesus is the true bread from heaven. John 6:33 says, “The true bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” Have you accepted the life He offers?

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Getting Away From It All

From: getmorestrength.org

“He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul.” Psalm 23:2-3

A pastor friend of mine was telling another pastor about the long-awaited vacation that he and his family were preparing for. The other pastor immediately replied, “Vacation? I never take a vacation. Satan doesn’t take a vacation and neither do I!”

To which my friend wisely retorted, “Well, that’s all right. Satan has never been my example!”

In the summer when school is out and the sun is shining, our thoughts turn toward vacation. And that’s a good thing! We were wired with an innate need to take a break from our usual pace and spend some time being refreshed and recharged.

But for some reason, we sometimes seem apologetic about taking time off or needing a change of pace for a little while. It may be that our internal understanding of a real “work ethic” demands that we feel a little guilty about time that we’re not being “productive” or “efficient.” Or maybe we are concerned that those projects and clients we have been carefully nurturing along will fall to pieces if we put them on hold for a week or two. Maybe we are distorting Paul’s words to the Ephesians, resisting vacations and working nonstop so that we can “make the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16).

If that’s your brain strain, then let me put a biblical stop to that train of thought and provide you with three solid, straight-from-Scripture reasons to enjoy a guilt-free, refreshing time away from your usual pace of work this summer.

Reason number one: it’s commanded in Scripture. The fourth commandment tells us to “remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy” (Exodus 20:8). That means more than just going to church on Sunday. The principle of “Sabbath”—rooted in God’s example through creation of resting on the seventh day—intertwines with the Old Testament law code.

There were not only to be days of Sabbath, but week-long festivals scattered throughout the Jewish seasons. In fact, there were Sabbath yearsin their calendar! God’s loving command was intended to pull His people aside for rest so they would be reminded that all good things come from Him . . . not from their frantic efforts at work.

A second reason why it’s a good idea to take a well-deserved break is that your body and spirit need it. I love the picture that David paints for us in Psalm 23:1-6 of a shepherd leading his sheep to a place of refreshment and rest. We are finite, fallible, limited creatures, and without rest we’ll find that burnout and exhaustion eventually take their toll. Our ability to be gracious, loving, and patient will be a casualty of our compulsive work habits. Fatigue and weariness will leave us vulnerable to temptation. And most disturbingly, our intimacy with the Lord will suffer as our time with Him becomes perfunctory at best, and nonexistent at worst. All that can be avoided if we allow our Good Shepherd to restore our soul with times of rest in green pastures and with seasons of refreshment beside quiet waters.

And just in case we need another reason to put our feet up and relax now and then, remember that Jesus did it! He often withdrew from the crush of the crowds to seasons of prayer and rest. During a storm on the Sea of Galilee He was sound asleep in the boat (Mark 4:38). And we are told that while on a trip from Judea to Galilee “Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well” (John 4:6). There were always more people to heal, more messages to preach, and more places to go, but Jesus displayed the importance of rest.

So, whether it’s a weekend of camping, a day at the pool, or a week away with close friends or family members, turn off the cell-phone, close the computer, and get away! There’s no good reason not to!

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Jesus-The Shepherd

By: Charles Spurgeon

 

“He shall feed his flock like a shepherd.”— Isaiah xl.11.

 

We commence with OLD TESTAMENT ILLUSTRATIONS of the manner in which the Lord Jesus Christ discharges the office of feeding his flock like a shepherd.

Out of five great types we begin with Abel, the shepherd slain. The second man who was born into the world was a shepherd, and was in many respects typical of our good shepherd. “Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.” Abel was a type of the Saviour in that, being a shepherd, he sanctified his work to the glory of God, and he offered sacrifice of blood upon the altar of the Lord, and the Lord had respect unto Abel and his offering. This early type of our Lord is not very full and comprehensive, but it is exceedingly clear and distinct. Like the first streak of light which tinges the east at the sunrise, it does not reveal everything, but it clearly manifests the great fact that the sun is coming. Abel is nothing like so complete and perfect a portrait of our own Lord Jesus, as other shepherds of whom we have to speak; but as we see him standing a shepherd and yet a sacrificing priest offering upon the altar a sacrifice of sweet smell unto God, we discern there at once the picture of our Lord, who brings before his Father a sacrifice of precious blood, to which Jehovah ever hath respect. Abel, the sacrificing shepherd, was hated by his brother— hated without a cause; and even so was the Saviour: the spirit of this world, the natural and carnal man, hated the better man, the accepted man in whom the Spirit of grace was found, and rested not until his blood had been shed. Abel fell, and sprinkled his own altar and his sacrifice with his own blood; and he must be blind indeed who cannot behold the Lord Jesus slain by the enmity of man while serving as a priest before the Lord. Abel is the type of Jesus the slain shepherd; let us attentively consider him. We have been reading in the tenth chapter of John, this morning, that the good Shepherd layeth down his life for the sheep— let us weep over him as we view him stretched upon the ground by the hatred of mankind at the foot of his own altar of sacrifice, pouring out his blood. We read of Abel’ s blood, in the New Testament, that it speaks. “He being dead yet speaks.” “The Lord said unto Cain, The voice of thy brother’s blood cries unto me from the ground.” Herein we have a blessed type of the Lord: his blood had a mighty tongue, and the import of its prevailing cry is not vengeance but mercy.