Tag Archives: Food

Have You Seen Jesus?

Mark 16:5-7

5 As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.
6 “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him.
7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’ ”
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Have You Seen Jesus?

April 9 

Have You Seen Jesus?

By Oswald Chambers

 After that, He appeared in another form to two of them… —Mark 16:12

Being saved and seeing Jesus are not the same thing. Many people who have never seen Jesus have received and share in God’s grace. But once you have seen Him, you can never be the same. Other things will not have the appeal they did before.

You should always recognize the difference between what you see Jesus to be and what He has done for you. If you see only what He has done for you, your God is not big enough. But if you have had a vision, seeing Jesus as He really is, experiences can come and go, yet you will endure “as seeing Him who is invisible” (Hebrews 11:27). The man who was blind from birth did not know who Jesus was until Christ appeared and revealed Himself to him (see John 9). Jesus appears to those for whom He has done something, but we cannot order or predict when He will come. He may appear suddenly, at any turn. Then you can exclaim, “Now I see Him!” (see John 9:25).

Jesus must appear to you and to your friend individually; no one can see Jesus with your eyes. And division takes place when one has seen Him and the other has not. You cannot bring your friend to the point of seeing; God must do it. Have you seen Jesus? If so, you will want others to see Him too. “And they went and told it to the rest, but they did not believe them either” (Mark 16:13). When you see Him, you must tell, even if they don’t believe.

O could I tell, you surely would believe it!
O could I only say what I have seen!
How should I tell or how can you receive it,
How, till He bringeth you where I have been?

Leaving a Legacy

Leaving a Legacy

A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the Lord and honored his name. Malachi 3:16

Some years ago our sons and I spent a week on an abandoned backcountry ranch on the Salmon River, Idaho’s “River of No Return.”

One day, exploring the ranch, I came across an ancient grave with a wooden marker. Whatever inscription the marker may have borne had long since been weathered away. Someone lived and died—now was forgotten. The gravesite seemed tragic to me. After we got home I spent several hours reading about the history of the old ranch and that area, but could find no information about the person buried there.

They say that the best among us is remembered for 100 years or so. The rest of us are soon forgotten. The memory of past generations, like our markers, soon fades away. Yet our legacy has been passed on through the family of God. How we’ve loved God and others in our lifetime lives on. Malachi 3:16–17 tells us, “a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the Lord and who esteem His name. ‘They will be Mine,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘on the day that I prepare My own possession’ ” (nasb).

Paul said of David that he “served God’s purpose in his own generation” and departed (Acts 13:36). Like him, may we love the Lord and serve Him in ourgeneration and leave the remembering to Him. “They will be Mine,” says the Lord.

May I be faithful to You today, Lord, as I spend my time loving others with Your love. Help me to trust You with the legacy I’m leaving behind.

Living for the Lord leaves a lasting legacy.

Seedtime and Harvest

harvest-vegetables

“My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest” John 4:34-35).

As I stepped outside one morning, the crisp coolness of fall greeted me. Usually, I turn on the light next to the door to avoid falling down the steps, but this morning the deck was already awash with light, although it was still hours until sunrise. As I walked to the end of the driveway, I saw the light source—a harvest moon.

God is in the details of our lives. He designed the moon to provide extra light in the fall to accommodate the harvesting of crops. Extra workers are hired and once all the crops are gathered, there is usually a celebration for the completion of work and God’s bounty.

Jesus often taught using stories that reflected the occupations of the time and farming illustrations abound in Scripture. He used planting and harvesting to illustrate spreading the gospel and drawing in and nurturing those who believed. In Matthew 9, Jesus reminded the disciples of the need for more harvesters.

Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field” (Matthew 9:37-38).

Now, more than ever, there is a need for workers who are willing to sow and harvest in spiritual fields. But why is it so hard to share our faith in Christ?

Fear—I walked the same route a man in my neighborhood ran. Eventually, his steps slowed to a stumble. Then he began working out on gym equipment in his garage. We continued to wave, but the Holy Spirit nudged me to walk up his driveway and tell him about Jesus. I invented excuses: time constraints, invasion of his privacy, not really knowing him. Sometimes, I even walked a different route, avoiding his house and my guilt for not stopping. Then, one day when I passed the house, cars jammed the driveway and spilled into the street. A grim black wreath hung on the front door. The man was dead and I had allowed fear to keep me from acting in obedience to God’s voice.

Feeling inadequate—Satan steals confidence, convincing us we’re not smart enough, engaging enough, wise enough, whatever enough to act on God’s directives. God gave Moses an assignment and he immediately reminded God he was inadequate. Even after God promised to help him, Moses still refused. Needless to say, God was angry. God is disappointed when we don’t trust him enough to step out in faith or when we don’t listen when he instructs us.

Invasion of privacy. The world bombards us with the message that people have the right to diverse spiritual beliefs and we are wrong to force our message or risk offending by implying their beliefs aren’t correct. But relaying your personal story about God at work in your life isn’t forcing someone to accept Him. Your personal experience is your story and others may identify and come to know Christ because you were willing to tell it.

Expecting another messenger—Often, we hesitate to share our faith because we assume someone else will. But what if others are waiting for another messenger, too? God showed me that sharing my faith is a natural overflow of my love for him. When we’re excited about something in our lives, we usually don’t wait for someone else to spread our good news.

Paul said, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16).

Look around you. Your ripe fields awaiting harvest may be as close as a co-worker, neighbor, or longtime friend. So roll up your sleeves, go to work, and enjoy a bountiful harvest. 

 

 

A Triumphant Mom

Proverbs 31:25-30 

Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.” …

Proverbs 31:26-27 

She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.

Psalm 127:3 

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.

Proverbs 22:6 

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

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A Triumphant Mom

Author: Janet Perez Eckles

Happy mom with son

I sat on the edge of the bed, wrinkled tissue in hand. “Why me?”

I had asked that question with every tick tock of the clock during sleepless nights.

At 31, a hereditary retinal disease robbed my eyesight completely. It pulled a dark curtain of devastation and sorrow into my life and erased any hope I had of being a productive mom to my three, five, and seven-year-old sons.

One day, as self-pity was visiting again, a close friend called.

“Just checking on you,” she said. “How are you doing?”

I wasn’t doing. My life looked dark in every way and the tasks of a blind mom were too much for me.

“Okay, I guess,” I lied.

Then she said something profound. Something that opened the eyes of my heart and changed everything.

“If you think about it,” she said, “your kids are really God’s children. He is their Father and He’s in charge of all big and small things.”

I wiped my tears, inhaled a deep sigh, and let that truth sink into my heart. It brought the encouragement I needed to sweep away those “poor-me” notions, and sparked a renewed passion to care for my sons.

Now with a brighter outlook and a sweet love for my role as their mom, I compiled my own list of what makes a “good” mom:

  • A Mom who knows mistakes will be corrected in the hands of a loving God.
  • A Mom who goes to sleep at night with dishes still in the sink, but a bedtime story in her kid’s heart.
  • A Mom who knows perfection will happen on the other side of heaven.
  • A Mom who sees her kid’s weaknesses and still smiles at his strengths.
  • A Mom who places guilt in the garbage disposal of life.
  • A Mom who leaves fingerprints on the glass door to place an imprint of love in her kid’s heart.
  • A Mom who looks in the mirror and smiles because she is molding one of the leaders of tomorrow.
  • A Mom who picks shoes off the floor, thankful her kids can walk.
  • A Mom who listens to endless chatter, thankful her kids can talk.
  • A Mom who’s signed a partnership with God.
  • A Mom who stirs this sweetener in the coffee cup of her heart: “I can do all things through the Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)

And while she drops exhausted in bed at the end of the day, truth shines through: It’s not the items checked off on the to-do list, accomplishments managed, the applause never heard or the help always needed; but it’s the certainty that echoes in her heart, that her true greatness is in the Father’s eyes, her sorrows are in His heart and her triumphs are in His plans.

His Resurrection Destiny

By Oswald Chambers

 His Resurrection Destiny

Our Lord’s Cross is the gateway into His life. His resurrection means that He has the power to convey His life to me. When I was born again, I received the very life of the risen Lord from Jesus Himself.

Christ’s resurrection destiny— His foreordained purpose— was to bring “many sons to glory” (Hebrews 2:10). The fulfilling of His destiny gives Him the right to make us sons and daughters of God. We never have exactly the same relationship to God that the Son of God has, but we are brought by the Son into the relation of sonship. When our Lord rose from the dead, He rose to an absolutely new life— a life He had never lived before He was God Incarnate. He rose to a life that had never been before. And what His resurrection means for us is that we are raised to His risen life, not to our old life. One day we will have a body like His glorious body, but we can know here and now the power and effectiveness of His resurrection and can “walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4). Paul’s determined purpose was to “know Him and the power of His resurrection” (Philippians 3:10).

Jesus prayed, “…as You have given Him authority over all flesh that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him” (John 17:2). The term Holy Spirit is actually another name for the experience of eternal life working in human beings here and now. The Holy Spirit is the deity of God who continues to apply the power of the atonement by the Cross of Christ to our lives. Thank God for the glorious and majestic truth that His Spirit can work the very nature of Jesus into us, if we will only obey Him.

Micah MaddoxApril 6, 2018
When People Hurt Your Heart
MICAH MADDOX, COMPEL Member AND She Speaks GraduateImage result for picture of heart break

“For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock.” Psalm 27:5 (NIV)

I scooted closer to my mother as I felt the power of God in my 6-year-old body. Moved by my daddy’s preaching, I could sense God’s power within me as a little child. Then things changed … when I began to realize my dad, the pastor, was not all I thought he was.His choices proved something much different.

Ponytail swinging, ruffles bouncing and giggles abounding, I ran into life as a 6-year-old girl without a problem in the world. Then suddenly right before my eyes, everything I knew about God shattered. I woke up to a new home with one bedroom that I shared with my brother and my mom. Dad was gone. 

I could give you the gory details, but perhaps you’ve heard stories like mine. A man of God makes a bad choice that causes him to lose his ministry, his family and what could have been his future.

Though this sounds heart-wrenching and dreadfully sorrowful, God has redeemed my story and my life. He’s taken something that easily could have sent my brother, my mother and me into a life of despair and transformed it into a beautiful picture of His grace.

Thankfully I had a faithful, godly mother who pointed me to God’s Word. She reminded me often that “God didn’t bring us this far to leave us.”

And then came Clay, a man only God could have chosen to rescue us. He walked into our lives and adopted us. He gave us a new name and new identity. He taught us godly men don’t have to stand on a stage to be heard, but they can sit in the life of a child who is desperate for love and let God’s light shine brightly in that small place.

By God’s grace, today both my brother and I serve in church ministry. We’ve been given the gift of being able to share our story so others might see that God is bigger than the pain of this world. When sin threatens to take everything comfortable away, God offers the grace, mercy and comfort we truly need.

People will make mistakes and hurt your heart deeply, but I want to offer you this truth: “God didn’t bring you this far to leave you.” He has a plan greater than we will ever know. Don’t let someone else’s mistakes make you someone you never intended to be.

I don’t know what you have been through in your life, but I know this: God is faithful. He binds up wounds when we think we will never heal. He mends our hearts when we think they are too broken to bind. And He offers His grace when life gives us so much more than we can handle alone.

God is not done with your life. He can take the most broken and bruised and transform it into the most beautiful. For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock” (Psalm 27:5).

Dear heavenly Father, when I feel betrayed and alone, help me know You are near. When it seems things will never work out and life feels broken, give me hope to press on and peace to pursue You more. I need You today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Understanding The God That Loves You

John 3:16-17

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

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Why We Lack Understanding

By Oswald Chambers

 Why We Lack Understanding

As the disciples were commanded, you should also say nothing until the Son of Man has risen in you— until the life of the risen Christ so dominates you that you truly understand what He taught while here on earth. When you grow and develop the right condition inwardly, the words Jesus spoke become so clear that you are amazed you did not grasp them before. In fact, you were not able to understand them before because you had not yet developed the proper spiritual condition to deal with them.

Our Lord doesn’t hide these things from us, but we are not prepared to receive them until we are in the right condition in our spiritual life. Jesus said, “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now” (John 16:12). We must have a oneness with His risen life before we are prepared to bear any particular truth from Him. Do we really know anything about the indwelling of the risen life of Jesus? The evidence that we do is that His Word is becoming understandable to us. God cannot reveal anything to us if we don’t have His Spirit. And our own unyielding and headstrong opinions will effectively prevent God from revealing anything to us. But our insensible thinking will end immediately once His resurrection life has its way with us.

“…tell no one….” But so many people do tell what they saw on the Mount of Transfiguration— their mountaintop experience. They have seen a vision and they testify to it, but there is no connection between what they say and how they live. Their lives don’t add up because the Son of Man has not yet risen in them. How long will it be before His resurrection life is formed and evident in you and in me?

Their strength is to sit still. (Isa. 30:7).

In order really to know God, inward stillness is absolutely necessary. I remember when I first learned this. A time of great emergency had risen in my life, when every part of my being seemed to throb with anxiety, and when the necessity for immediate and vigorous action seemed overpowering; and yet circumstances were such that I could do nothing, and the person who could, would not stir.

For a little while it seemed as if I must fly to pieces with the inward turmoil, when suddenly the still small voice whispered in the depths of my soul, “Be still, and know that I am God.” The word was with power, and I hearkened. I composed my body to perfect stillness, and I constrained my troubled spirit into quietness, and looked up and waited; and then I did “know” that it was God, God even in the very emergency and in my helplessness to meet it; and I rested in Him.

It was an experience that I would not have missed for worlds; and I may add also, that out of this stillness seemed to arise a power to deal with the emergency, that very soon brought it to a successful issue. I learned then effectually that my “strength was to sit still.”
–Hannah Whitall Smith

There is a perfect passivity which is not indolence. It is a living stillness born of trust. Quiet tension is not trust. It is simply compressed anxiety.

Not in the tumult of the rending storm,
Not in the earthquake or devouring flame;
But in the hush that could all fear transform,
The still, small whisper to the prophet came.
0 Soul, keep silence on the mount of God,
Though cares and needs throb around thee like a sea;
From supplications and desires unshod,
Be still, and hear what God shall say to thee.
All fellowship hath interludes of rest,
New strength maturing in each poise of power;
The sweetest Alleluias of the blest
Are silent, for the space of half an hour.
0 rest, in utter quietude of soul,
Abandon words, leave prayer and praise awhile;
Let thy whole being, hushed in His control,
Learn the full meaning of His voice and smile.
Not as an athlete wrestling for a crown,
Not taking Heaven by violence of will;
But with thy Father as a child sit down,

And know the bliss that follows His “Be Still!”
–Mary Rowles Jarvis

Unloading the Baggage

From: Joe Stowell, Author

“Throw off anything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.” Hebrews 12:1

I boarded the plane in Chicago with too much baggage. Not the kind of baggage you stow in the overhead compartment or squash under the seat in front of you. Not even the kind you check in at the airline desk. This was the kind of baggage that weighs your heart down and that, if carried around, leaves you emotionally and spiritually exhausted. An unexpected attack from a trusted friend had left me deeply upset and really confused about how to respond.

As the flight attendants went through their pre-flight checklist, I was lost in thought world thinking through all my options. Feeling betrayed and unjustly wronged, I had a long list of possibilities—the kind of responses that seemed very natural to my fallen heart—but they were the types of choices that were wrapped in the old revenge, self-protection, and “I don’t get mad, I just get even” kind of stuff.

As we taxied out to the runway, I knew I needed a second opinion. So I simply prayed, “God, I need you to talk to me. I desperately need your wisdom. You brought this into my life for a purpose, but I don’t know what to do next.”

As the plane climbed, I began to feel closer to God. Not physically closer (although praying above the clouds at 35,000 feet does lend a different perspective), but spiritually closer as He began to share His wisdom with me from Matthew 5. My natural thoughts and desires to fight back and demand my rights were replaced with Jesus’ instruction to “turn the other cheek,” to “go the extra mile,” to “bless those who curse me” (Matthew 5:38-48).

Of course, my human nature continued to argue for a while. “But, God, I’ll feel so weak. I’ll feel like a pushover, a weakling. I need to fight for myself.” The reality is, my pride wanted to keep the baggage. My ego wanted to hang on to the situation and try to deal with it through human, natural, flawed means. Trusting the Lord’s wisdom would mean that I no longer had control of the situation.

But God in His grace reminded me of the surrender of Christ on the cross. He drew me to the fact that, for Jesus, the path to glory was the path of surrender and letting go. The one who is the Lion of Judah is also the Lamb that was slain. And God drew me to that point of decision once again. Was I going to manage this situation to my advantage or was I going to release it, in trust and obedience, to Him?

I am thankful to say that when the plane landed in New York, I left some baggage on it. I walked through the terminal without the heaviness of heart that comes from fighting for my own rights. I headed for my hotel free of the weight of bitterness that the enemy was trying to stir up in my soul. God had renewed my strength and the weariness was gone.

Let me invite you to the privilege of waiting on the Lord. As Isaiah 40:28reminds us, God never grows weary. His wisdom never runs out. His power, His might, and His truth are available and accessible to His children. You don’t need to walk another step with that load of fear, guilt, anger, bitterness, or confusion.

Check your carry-on baggage. Surrender it to Him and then seek His wisdom to strengthen and direct you.

It makes the journey so much more enjoyable!

Love Not The World

1 John 2:15-17

15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

17 And the world pass away, and the lust thereof: but he that does the will of God abides for ever.

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The Collision of God and Sin

By Oswald Chambers

 The Collision of God and Sin

The Cross of Christ is the revealed truth of God’s judgment on sin. Never associate the idea of martyrdom with the Cross of Christ. It was the supreme triumph, and it shook the very foundations of hell. There is nothing in time or eternity more absolutely certain and irrefutable than what Jesus Christ accomplished on the Cross— He made it possible for the entire human race to be brought back into a right-standing relationship with God. He made redemption the foundation of human life; that is, He made a way for every person to have fellowship with God.

The Cross was not something that happened to Jesus— He came to die; the Cross was His purpose in coming. He is “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8). The incarnation of Christ would have no meaning without the Cross. Beware of separating “God was manifested in the flesh…” from “…He made Himto be sin for us…” (1 Timothy 3:16 ; 2 Corinthians 5:21). The purpose of the incarnation was redemption. God came in the flesh to take sin away, not to accomplish something for Himself. The Cross is the central event in time and eternity, and the answer to all the problems of both.

The Cross is not the cross of a man, but the Cross of God, and it can never be fully comprehended through human experience. The Cross is God exhibiting His nature. It is the gate through which any and every individual can enter into oneness with God. But it is not a gate we pass right through; it is one where we abide in the life that is found there.

The heart of salvation is the Cross of Christ. The reason salvation is so easy to obtain is that it cost God so much. The Cross was the place where God and sinful man merged with a tremendous collision and where the way to life was opened. But all the cost and pain of the collision was absorbed by the heart of God.

Toward or Away

From: Our Daily Journey

Toward or Away

Read:

Psalm 139:1-24
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life (Psalm 139:23-24).

Ignatius of Loyola (1491–1556) and John Wesley (1703–1791) lived more than a century apart and in very different contexts. But both created a means of self-examination to aid in their spiritual transformation. Ignatius recommended that those in the religious order he formed pray an “examen” prayer twice a day to open themselves to the Holy Spirit and to discern the movements of their soul either toward or away from God. John Wesley, similarly, formed a series of twenty-two questions that he and his small group in Oxford asked themselves each night, including, “Did the Bible live in me today? Am I enjoying prayer?” Both men longed to be changed and molded by the Spirit to be more like Jesus.

Prayerful self-examination is rooted in the Bible. In Psalm 139, for example, King David reflects on how the Lord examines his heart and knows him inside and out (Psalm 139:1). He phrases this same thought in several different ways (Psalm 139:2-5), as if to get the truth of God’s intimate relationship with him rooted deeply not only in his mind but in his heart. It’s like he’s turning a diamond over in his palm, examining its many facets with wonder and thanksgiving.

Reflecting on this truth leads David to want to know himself better to draw closer to God. David examined his motives and behavior, asking God to guide him and help him see what he might be missing—such as hidden sins or things he’d buried—“anything” that might offend God (Psalm 139:24). Like Ignatius and Wesley, he chose to trust God to guide him “along the path of everlasting life” (Psalm 139:24).

Let’s pause and seek the Spirit’s guidance as we consider prayerfully how we might draw closer to our God throughout the day.

 

Stubborn Horse!

From: Diane Markins, Author

We all know them – those people who won’t budge unless it’s their idea. Have you ever tried to take a big dog for a walk when he didn’t want to go? It can be comical, but frustrating.

I was enjoying an exhilarating run on my horse years ago when suddenly she came to an instant halt. Needless to say, I didn’t. I continued my ride, but with no horse underneath. After I recovered my breath, if not my dignity, I walked 20 feet to where the mare stood waiting. I was furious and confused about why she would do this to me. I got back on and attempted to nudge her forward, but she wasn’t about to move. After a bit of investigating, I saw that there was a cluster of boxed beehives just ahead. I hadn’t been aware of the hazard but she was, and stubbornly kept us both safe.

On another occasion, I was riding my gelding (a neutered boy horse) with a friend. We were on a trail heading up a mountain when I noticed that my pal’s mare wasn’t very happy about my horse’s nose getting so close to her back end. (She was a lady, after all.) I reined him in and tried to keep him at a comfortable distance, but he strained closer. Shortly, she sent a strong back leg toward his amorous mug, but instead, connected with my shin. Imagine getting slammed in the leg with a baseball bat. I saw tweeting birds and bright lights for a while before I was able to continue back down the mountain.

People can be stubborn too – sometimes for prudent reasons and sometimes purely for self-indulgence. If you’re acting like a mule, begin to give more thought to why you insist on doing things your way. Jeremiah 7:24 says, “But they did not listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubborn inclinations of their evil hearts. They went backward and not forward.”

If you believe you are being sincerely cautious, check in with God to make sure your hesitation is wisdom and not a spirit of fear. 2 Timothy 1:7 “… for God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”

If it’s just out of habit or convenience, try opening your mind to fresh pathways. You’ll likely arrive at the same destination but people around you won’t feel like they’ve been kicked or thrown down or held back. Old dogs (as well as horses and people) can learn new tricks if they’re willing to try.

Are you sometimes obstinate, unyielding and uncompromising as you interact with others? Whatever your reasons, if you are seeking to honor God He will clarify when it is best to move and when you should stand firm.

Access To God Through Jesus

Ephesians 2:18

for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father.

Ephesians 3:12

in whom we have boldness and confident access through faith in Him.

Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus,

through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.

 

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His Agony and Our Access

By Oswald Chambers

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We can never fully comprehend Christ’s agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, but at least we don’t have to misunderstand it. It is the agony of God and man in one Person, coming face to face with sin. We cannot learn about Gethsemane through personal experience. Gethsemane and Calvary represent something totally unique— they are the gateway into life for us.

It was not death on the cross that Jesus agonized over in Gethsemane. In fact, He stated very emphatically that He came with the purpose of dying. His concern here was that He might not get through this struggle as the Son of Man. He was confident of getting through it as the Son of God— Satan could not touch Him there. But Satan’s assault was that our Lord would come through for us on His own solely as the Son of Man. If Jesus had done that, He could not have been our Savior (see Hebrews 9:11-15). Read the record of His agony in Gethsemane in light of His earlier wilderness temptation— “…the devil…departed from Him until an opportune time” (Luke 4:13). In Gethsemane, Satan came back and was overthrown again. Satan’s final assault against our Lord as the Son of Man was in Gethsemane.

The agony in Gethsemane was the agony of the Son of God in fulfilling His destiny as the Savior of the world. The veil is pulled back here to reveal all that it cost Him to make it possible for us to become sons of God. His agony was the basis for the simplicity of our salvation. The Cross of Christ was a triumph for the Son of Man. It was not only a sign that our Lord had triumphed, but that He had triumphed to save the human race. Because of what the Son of Man went through, every human being has been provided with a way of access into the very presence of God.

Choosing Contentment

From: Our Daily  Journey

Choosing Contentment

Read:

Philippians 4:10-13
I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything (Philippians 4:11-12).

The story is told of a king who was looking for satisfaction in life. His advisors told him to wear the shirt of a contented man for a day, and he would be cured of his discontent. His men searched the kingdom for a contented man so they could bring his shirt to the king, but they returned empty-handed. The king was furious. In response, his men told the king, “We found a contented man, but he does not own a shirt.”

We live in a world grasping for contentment. Pastor Ray Stedman said, “Contentment is not having all that you want. True contentment is wanting only what you have.” The apostle Paul was a very contented man. But it wasn’t something that came naturally to him. Twice Paul said he had to learn to be content (Philippians 4:11-12).

Contentment is an intentional choice. “There are two ways to get enough. One is to continue to accumulate more and more. The other is to desire less,” advises philosopher G. K. Chesterton. Contentment is something we have to choose.

Called to suffer for Christ (Acts 9:16), Paul didn’t have a charmed life (2 Corinthians 11:23-28). He was in a Roman prison when he wrote, “I have learned how to be content . . . in every situation” (Philippians 4:11-12). Paul’s contentment didn’t result from life’s circumstances, but from his commitment. When hemmed in by life’s difficulties, he responded, “To live is Christ.” When in the jaws of death, he proclaimed: “To die is gain” (Philippians 1:21 niv).

Paul’s secret to contentment was to find it “through Christ, who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13). Regardless of our circumstances, may we turn to Him and experience calm confidence based in the power He provides. In Jesus, we have all we need (2 Corinthians 12:9).

 

Worship or Lightly Esteem?

From: Daphne Delay, Author

In today’s society, people have a mixed concept of worship. The biblical definition is “an act of honor, praise, and reverence of deity [or God].” But we see people worshiping celebrities, places, presidents, and even technology—instead of God.

In contrast, there is often a lack of worship for the true things of God, such as His Presence, His House, or even His creations. In fact, the Bible says in the last days there will be an increase of this behavior. People will have a “form of godliness, but deny its power” (2 Timothy 3:5). In other words, even those who go through the motions of worship may in fact have a heart and mind that’s far from God.

This simply implies that we shouldn’t judge each other’s form of worship—let’s let God do that… But individually, it would be good to do a heart-check to make sure our worship is in the right place.

The Bible says, “Give unto the Lord the glory due to His name; Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness” (Psalm 29:2). God is beautiful. He is the beauty of holiness and worthy of our worship. In all that He has given unto us and done for us through redemption, it is only right that we worship Him. But it is also (as a dear friend of mine always says) one of the only things we can give Him that He did not first give us.

In other words, you won’t find God giving you or I worship. So much of our lives are an act of giving back to Him what He has given us. For example: our money, our time, our faith, our attitude… almost everything. Therefore, because God has helped us, then in reverence and honor we return those things in measure back to Him.

But worship is different than our money or time.

It is one of the things we give God first, instead of the other way around. But what a thought this is! If I’m not giving Him a measure of every part of my life, is this an indication of my love and worship of Him? You bet. Yet most people don’t see it that way.

Our worship shouldn’t resemble only a small measure of time one morning a week at church. The Word of God says this kind of behavior is equal to despise. In today’s vernacular, this word is harsh and ugly. But in the Bible, despise simply means to “lightly esteem.” In other words, it’s quite possible most people live their lives lightly esteeming God (unknowingly).

In the Old Testament, God said to the priest, Eli: “Why do you kick at My sacrifice and My offering which I have commanded in My dwelling place, and honor your sons more than Me… But now the Lord says, ‘Far be it from me; for those who honor me I will honor, and those who despise me shall be lightly esteemed'” (1 Samuel 2:29-30).

The New Testament says all believers are now priests (representatives of man before God). Therefore, this reprimand from God to Eli can be taken as a warning for us also. God assigned Eli and his household to be priests, but they had taken the job lightly. So God said He would esteem them lightly in return.

We must remember worship is a lifestyle. It is an act of honor and reverence of God. This means as I vow to honor God with my thoughts, attitudes, words, time, and resources, it is an act of worship. But if, on the other hand, I wake up and get halfway (or all the way) through my day without even as much as thinking about God, I have actually “lightly esteemed”, or “despised” Him.

He says, “Those who honor Me, I will honor.” And He does. I’m amazed at the ways in which God honors us. Especially when I remember that He did so before we were deserving. “For God demonstrated His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

So let us worship God.

From Devotion To Destiny

Hebrews 11: 13  (Heros of the faith)

13 These all died in faith without having received the promises, but they saw them from a distance, greeted them, and confessed that they were foreigners and temporary residents on the earth.

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From Devotion to Destiny

By: Jim Buchan, Author

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Will You Be LEFT BEHIND at Harvest Time?

Amid the incredible popularity of Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins’ Left Behind fiction series, there is another “left behind” issue that is often neglected by the American church. In contrast to the spellbinding book series about events after Jesus’ return, this other “left behind” matter speaks of events here and now, relevant to every Christian. The issue is not whether we will be left behind at Jesus’ coming, but whether we are already being left behind in fulfilling His purposes for our lives.

In Ruth chapter one, Naomi’s two daughters-in-law each face a decision that will radically affect the outcome of their lives: Should they go with Naomi back to Israel or remain in their native land of Moab? Little did they know how their answer to this question would shape not only their own future, but even future generations. As the story unfolds, we see the wonderful results of fully following the Lord’s purpose for our lives, and the terrible consequences of being left behind.

When Naomi first announced her intentions of moving back to Bethlehem, both daughters-in-law, Ruth and Orpah, said they would go with her. With tears and great emotion, they told Naomi, “Surely we will return with you to your people” (Ruth 1:10).

If we could have witnessed this scene, we surely would have been impressed by the apparent dedication of these young women to their mother-in-law. However, while they both loudly proclaimed their love for Naomi, only one ended up actually going with her. When Naomi reminded them that her sons were dead and she had nothing more to offer them, Orpah changed her mind. Why should she leave her familiar surroundings in Moab and accompany Naomi to an unknown future in a foreign land?

Full Surrender

This same scene could be witnessed in many churches today. We sing “I Surrender All” and loudly proclaim our commitment to follow the Lord wherever He goes. We proudly tell our friends that we have made Jesus not only the Savior but also the Lord of our lives. Yet when we come to the difficult fork in the road that Orpah faced, we often choose to remain in our comfort zones. Like Orpah, we may even weep as we adamantly declare our intention to go wherever Jesus leads us, but when decision time comes we stay in familiar territory.

Orpah may have felt a sense of relief when Naomi and Ruth headed down the dusty road toward Bethlehem. What a crazy idea, she may have thought. I bet they’ll move back here within a year. But Naomi and Ruth never moved back; their hearts were set on moving forward.

Orpah probably had no idea what had just happened: She had been left behind! While Naomi and Ruth went on to fulfill their God-given destiny, we never hear of Orpah again.

Gleaning at Harvest Time

Ruth must have wondered what kind of life would await her in Israel. Yet when she arrived, she wasted no time daydreaming about her future; she got involved in the harvest fields. No one had given her a job or an official position, but she simply was gleaning the leftover grain, as was the custom of poor people of that time.

Many Christians today are frustrated that they can’t seem to find their ministry or “destiny,” but they are looking in the wrong places. They daydream of being an apostle, prophet, evangelist or pastor, but it’s hard finding anyone who will confirm such lofty callings. All the while, their destiny often awaits them in the same place Ruth discovered hers: in the harvest fields.

You don’t need a staff position in a church or ministry in order to glean lost people in the harvest fields. No one has to recognize your calling or ordain you as an evangelist for you to be properly authorized to share your testimony with those who don’t yet know Christ. Gleaning may not seem like a very glorious activity, but as happened to Ruth, it may well be the very key to unlocking your destiny.

 

What Matters

From: Our Daily Journey

What Matters

Read:

Habakkuk 1:2-5,12-17
Always be joyful (1 Thessalonians 5:16).

A warm breeze and the sweet smell of summer surrounded me as I stood near a pond. Birds chirping, shade trees, calm water—the peace of nature didn’t match the confusion inside of me.

Life doesn’t always make sense, but the apostle Paul encourages us to “always be joyful” (1 Thessalonians 5:16).

This idea is repeated throughout the Bible. “Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4). When this instruction is stated, it often involves someone rejoicing because of something, for example, “Then I will rejoice in the Lord. I will be glad because he rescues me” (Psalm 35:9).

But in Scripture, not everyone has a specific reason to rejoice. Habakkuk questioned God as to why He was allowing the unjust to go unpunished and His people to be oppressed by an enemy (Habakkuk 1:2-4,12-17). The prophet didn’t get the answers he was expecting when God said, “Look around at the nations; look and be amazed! For I am doing something in your own day” (Habakkuk 1:5).

It took a while for Habakkuk to accept this answer, but when he did, he rejoiced. “Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!” (Habakkuk 3:17-18).

As I walked around the pond, I rejoiced in God and His beauty because I could find a joy deeper than the things I didn’t understand. He was with me, and I could feel His love surround me.

God has a plan for all of us. We can trust and rejoice in Him because of who He is and what He will do!

The Way to Permanent Faith

By Oswald Chambers

 The Way to Permanent Faith

Jesus was not rebuking the disciples in this passage. Their faith was real, but it was disordered and unfocused, and was not at work in the important realities of life. The disciples were scattered to their own concerns and they had interests apart from Jesus Christ. After we have the perfect relationship with God, through the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit, our faith must be exercised in the realities of everyday life. We will be scattered, not into service but into the emptiness of our lives where we will see ruin and barrenness, to know what internal death to God’s blessings means. Are we prepared for this? It is certainly not of our own choosing, but God engineers our circumstances to take us there. Until we have been through that experience, our faith is sustained only by feelings and by blessings. But once we get there, no matter where God may place us or what inner emptiness we experience, we can praise God that all is well. That is what is meant by faith being exercised in the realities of life.

“…you…will leave Me alone.” Have we been scattered and have we left Jesus alone by not seeing His providential care for us? Do we not see God at work in our circumstances? Dark times are allowed and come to us through the sovereignty of God. Are we prepared to let God do what He wants with us? Are we prepared to be separated from the outward, evident blessings of God? Until Jesus Christ is truly our Lord, we each have goals of our own which we serve. Our faith is real, but it is not yet permanent. And God is never in a hurry. If we are willing to wait, we will see God pointing out that we have been interested only in His blessings, instead of in God Himself. The sense of God’s blessings is fundamental.

“…be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Unyielding spiritual fortitude is what we need.

 

Give The Gospel To Others

Matthew 28:19-20    (NIV)

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, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

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Arlene PellicaneApril 3, 2018
It’s Time to Rise
ARLENE PELLICANE

“After that whole generation had been gathered to their ancestors, another generation grew up who knew neither the LORD nor what he had done for Israel.” Judges 2:10 (NIV)

I watched the news report in amazement. A little girl ran into the ocean for a swim while on vacation with her family. Her mother spotted a shark’s fin in the distance and instantly ran to her daughter, screaming for her to swim back to shore. Just as the mom reached her girl, the shark attacked, grabbing the girl’s legs. The mom would not let go. A nearby fisherman came to the rescue and freed the girl. The little girl survived in large part because her mom refused to let go.

I’m thankful I’ve never experienced anything like that, but it’s certainly a vivid picture of the battle we face against Satan for the lives of our children.

Whether you’re a parent, aunt, teacher or friend, you have an influential role to play in the faith of a child. Children need spiritual truth, especially in this screen-driven, morally corrupt world. How can we successfully pass our faith in Christ to the next generation?

We can look to Joshua in the Old Testament for help.

As long as he was alive, the people of Israel followed Joshua’s strong example. He proclaimed in Joshua 24:15b, “Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (NKJV).

Unfortunately, when Joshua and his peers died, our key verse says, “After that whole generation had been gathered to their ancestors, another generation grew up who knew neither the LORD nor what he had done for Israel” (Judges 2:10). While Joshua was all about how “we will serve the Lord,” the book of Judges was all about how all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes (Judges 17:6b; 21:25b, NLT).

It makes me wonder, What happened to cause such a radical change between the book of Joshua and the very next book, Judges?

Parents stopped teaching their children what God had done for them. The people didn’t obey the repeated command to drive out all the Canaanites from the Promised Land. There was no God-fearing leadership to restrain sin and without that, “Then the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served the Baals; and they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt” (Judges 2:11-12a, NKJV).

The bridge of faith was broken.

Perhaps it started with a touch of apathy, rationalizations and a few choice excuses. The Israelites should have fought for their lives, but they decided it would be easier to have pagan neighbors. They tolerated evil and eventually accepted it as normal. Then they went a step further. They imitated their idolatrous neighbors by serving the false god Baal, too. They wanted to fit in.

Like the children of Israel, we live in an ungodly, pagan culture. Walking with Christ means going against the flow, against the world’s system. Maybe it means not allowing certain movies in your home or prohibiting violent and obscene video games.

It means when a figurative shark comes for the soul of a child, you don’t just sit on the beach and lament. You fight with everything in you. It’s time for a generation of parents and concerned adults to rise in vigilance, stand against evil and share our stories of hope and redemption.

The next generation must know God’s goodness and mercy. This is not a time for passivity and just going with the flow. It’s time to proclaim once again with Joshua, “As for me and my household, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:15b).

Dear Lord Jesus, we live in evil days, but Your Word is unchanging. Help me share Your love with those around me, so the next generation will know the God of Israel. Forgive me for imitating the world’s system instead of following Your commandments. I dedicate my home for Your glory. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

How Could Such an Evil Thing Happen?

Author: Dianne Neal Matthews

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Just how low can a society sink when the people reject God’s truth and try to live by their own standards? The book of Judges leads us through a dark period in Israel’s history. (Read Judges 20:1-14) When Joshua and the elder generation died, the Israelites had no appointed leader to rule over them. Just as Joshua had feared, the people let themselves be influenced by the Canaanites they had allowed to remain in the land. The Israelites intermarried with the pagan people around them and worshiped their gods, breaking the covenant vows they had sworn to uphold. The last two chapters of Judges especially show the disastrous results of each person doing whatever seems right to them.

A Levite traveling to his home in Ephraim stopped for the night in Gibeah, accepting hospitality from an old man. That night some of the local men surrounded the house and demanded that the Levite come out and have sex with them. When they refused to leave, the Levite gave them his concubine; they abused her all night until she died. The next morning, the Levite cut her body into twelve pieces and sent the pieces throughout Israel.

At a special gathering, the Levite told his story (conveniently leaving out the fact that he pushed his concubine out the door to save his own skin). As immoral and sin-hardened as the nation of Israel had become, the news of this crime outraged the people. Men were sent to confront the tribe of Benjamin. “How could such an evil thing happen among you?” they asked. “Now hand over those worthless men in Gibeah.” The men of Benjamin refused to listen to the men of Israel. The Benjamites’ refusal to hand over the guilty men led to civil war and their tribe’s near annihilation.

When people reject God’s standards, they begin a downward spiral into sin and degradation. This process may be gradual and go unnoticed at first, but one compromise with the truth leads to another. Eventually, the culture becomes so hardened to sin that it takes something horrific to shock people and make them ask, “How could such an evil thing happen among us?”

The book of Judges paints a sad picture of what can happen when a culture rebels against God’s authority. As people reject his standards of right and wrong, gross immorality and chaos result. Judges explains much of what we see happening around us in the world today. It also serves as a personal warning of how our mind can become darkened when we substitute our own personal ideas of morality for God’s clear-cut instructions in the Bible.

It’s dangerous to rely on our own reasoning and judgment rather than God’s Word. Our minds and emotions are easily deceived. Our thinking can become so distorted that we have a hard time recognizing evil. How much better our life—and our country—will be if we choose to be ruled by God rather than by our deceitful mind.

 

To The Rescue

[Written by Joe Stowell for Our Daily Bread.]

There will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance. —Luke 15:7

Martie and I recently traveled to some major cities in several countries. We were struck with how lost our world is and grieved over the millions who have never heard the message of the saving grace of Jesus. The thought of reaching our world for Christ felt overwhelming.

Until I remembered the story of the boy walking on a beach. Encountering hundreds of starfish dying under the heat of the burning sun, he started throwing them back into the sea. A passerby asked, “What are you doing?” “Saving their lives,” the boy replied. “Forget it,” the man said. “You can’t possibly save all these starfish.” “Right,” replied the boy, “but it makes a big difference to each one I do save.”

I love the boy’s perspective. When the wave of sin threw us onto the shore to die, God sent His Son to walk on the beach to rescue all who would repent. And, as Jesus told His listeners in Luke 15, each time someone is rescued, heaven throws a party. “I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance” (Luke 15:7).

Has heaven rejoiced over your rescue? If so, join the ranks of those who reach other lost souls with the rescuing grace of Jesus.

Your love, O God, would spare no pain
To conquer death and win;
You sent Your only Son to die
To rescue us from sin. —M. Gustafson

When you’ve been rescued, you’ll want to rescue others.

Practice Kindness

 

When you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Matthew 6:3

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 Anonymous Kindness

From: Our Daily Bread

Anonymous Kindness

When you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Matthew 6:3

When I first graduated from college, I found myself needing to adopt a strict grocery budget—twenty-five dollars a week, to be exact. One day, while entering the checkout line, I suspected the groceries I’d selected cost slightly more than my remaining money. “Just stop when we reach twenty dollars,” I told the cashier, and I was able to purchase everything I’d selected but a bag of peppers.

As I was about to drive home, a man stopped by my car. “Here’s your peppers, ma’am,” he said, handing the bag to me. Before I had time to thank him, he was already walking away.

Remembering the simple goodness of this act of kindness still warms my heart and brings to mind Jesus’s words in Matthew 6. Criticizing those who made a show of giving to the needy (v. 2), Jesus taught His disciples a different way. Instead of making giving all about them and their generosity, He urged that giving should be done so secretly it’s like their left hand isn’t even aware their right is giving (v. 3)!

As one person’s anonymous kindness reminded me, giving should never be about us. We give only because of what our generous God has so lavishly given us (2 Corinthians 9:6–11). As we give quietly and generously, we reflect who He is—and God receives the thanksgiving only He deserves (v. 11).

Giving quietly and generously reflects God’s generosity.

A Delightful Corner

From: Our Daily Bread

A Delightful Corner

Read:

Psalm 19:1-6
The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship (Psalm 19:1).

“God means us to delight in his world. . . . Just observe. And remember. And compare. And be always looking to God with thankfulness and worship for having placed you in such a delightful corner of the universe as the planet Earth.” These were the last words Paul Brand’s father wrote to him before his death. They had a profound effect on Paul’s life. He eventually became a missionary doctor in India and was well known for his pioneering work in the treatment of leprosy. He never forgot his father’s urging to enjoy and delight in God’s creation.

Just like Brand’s father, King David invites us to step into our amazing world and view it with a new lens. In Psalm 19, he beautifully describes how God’s creation is a magnificent witness of His glory, power, and might. David directs our eyes to the heavens and inspires us to gaze into the splendor of creation day and night. The word translated as “proclaim” in verse 1 literally means recount. David is saying that the sky goes beyond just proclaiming God’s glory. It actually narrates brilliant details about Him. God and His ways are revealed through nature for “day after day [it] continue[s] to speak; night after night [it] makes him known” (Psalm 19:2).

How are we to respond to such an incredible display of splendor and glory? If we took our cue from the sun, we could burst “forth like a radiant bridegroom after his wedding” or rejoice “like a great athlete eager to run the race” (Psalm 19:5). Or we can simply feel joy—that deep presence of serenity and peace—knowing that our Creator God loves us. No matter what highs or lows we’re going through, the One who “holds all creation together” cares for us (Colossians 1:17).

The Glory That’s Unsurpassed

When Paul received his sight, he also received spiritual insight into the Person of Jesus Christ. His entire life and preaching from that point on were totally consumed with nothing but Jesus Christ— “For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2). Paul never again allowed anything to attract and hold the attention of his mind and soul except the face of Jesus Christ.

We must learn to maintain a strong degree of character in our lives, even to the level that has been revealed in our vision of Jesus Christ.

The lasting characteristic of a spiritual man is the ability to understand correctly the meaning of the Lord Jesus Christ in his life, and the ability to explain the purposes of God to others. The overruling passion of his life is Jesus Christ. Whenever you see this quality in a person, you get the feeling that he is truly a man after God’s own heart (see Acts 13:22).

Never allow anything to divert you from your insight into Jesus Christ. It is the true test of whether you are spiritual or not. To be unspiritual means that other things have a growing fascination for you.

Since mine eyes have looked on Jesus,
I’ve lost sight of all beside,
So enchained my spirit’s vision,
Gazing on the Crucified.

 

Crying Out to God

By: Peter Lundell

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I recently stayed at the home of some of my church members. Their baby cried at 3:00 a.m. and again at 6:30 a.m. Parents of newborns may yearn for the time when their child sleeps through the night. But, no longer being in such a position, I just listened. The cry sounded almost like a song calling out to parents, not terribly good listening, but a song nonetheless.

I thought of the babies I’d heard cry in the different places I have lived: Minnesota, where I grew up in humid summers and frozen winters; Haiti, where children are born in mud huts and wear no pants until they’re potty trained; Japan, where children are spoiled until the school whip comes down in a life of conformity and regimentation. In every place the babies’ cries were similar. Rich or poor, Eastern or Western, the babies all called out the same way to their parents.

Each child grows up speaking a different language and eating different food, going to school or remaining illiterate, working in an office building or hacking plants with a machete, living under a tile roof or straw thatch, riding a car, a train, or a donkey. That person may connect with God, turn away, or never truly know him.

On the day a person dies, he or she will cry out, and that cry may or may not be verbalized. The cry at death is like a child’s call to the Heavenly Father, “Carry me.” “Save me.” Or that cry may be an anxious call into an unknown void.

Our lives appear so different as we live them. We pursue our distinctions, whether they are achievement, wealth, even philanthropy. Then at the end of life, we become more similar again, the way we were as babies. How we cry out at the end of life will depend on how much we desired our Heavenly Father all the years in between. Blessed are those described by Psalm 84:2, “My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.”

Connecting with God is the one thing that matters. Beyond that I wonder if in God’s eyes the lives we live are not so different. Perhaps whether we live in wealth, in poverty, or in a totally different culture, our earthly life is secondary. Perhaps to him our hardships and successes don’t matter so much. I suspect that, like a parent, God longs to hear us call out to him long after we’re babies. He recognizes every voice and feels the beat of every heart. He longs to hear us call and never stop until our dying day.

How is your voice doing?

One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple. For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock. Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at his tabernacle will I sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the LORD. Psalm 27:4-6, NIV

“Lord, young or old, I am your child. I choose to cry out to you above all other hopes or powers, to call in faith and expectation. May my call to you be like a song in your ears …”

Jesus Is Risen From The Grave

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 Image result for pictures of the resurrectionImage result for pictures of the resurrection

The Power of Resurrection

 By: James McDonald

Monday, January 19, 2009

God’s Character, Reassurance of Faith

“Why do you seek the living One among the dead? He is not here, but He has risen just as He said.” Luke 24:5-6

For the followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, Jesus’ resurrection is the most powerful event in history. All that we ascribe to, all that our life and worship is about is based upon this foundational piece that Jesus Christ rose from the dead.

Nothing short of God provides power like that.

Does your life lack power? Is there much you would like to accomplish but you don’t have the capacity and strength to do it? Maybe you can’t break the chain of a sinful habit or overcome fear or anxiety or be the man or woman that God created you to be. Whatever it is—habit, circumstance, or need for growth . . . Jesus Christ can change your life. His resurrection is evidence of the power to prove that.

Let’s make it personal.Luke 24 gives us a glimpse into the lives of three women who were the first to hear of the Easter miracle. Jesus died late on a Friday afternoon and we join them early Sunday morning while it was still dark. As their final act of devotion, the grief-stricken ladies made their way to Jesus’ tomb to prepare His body for burial. They were shocked to find the stone rolled away from the entrance and His body gone. All their emotions crashed around them. They didn’t know what to do. Suddenly two angels stood before them, asking, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen” (v. 5).

I can imagine these ladies kneeling, trembling, and then being asked such a pointed question. Can you imagine how their hope began to rise as the angels said, “He is not here but He is risen. Remember how he told you . . .” (Luke 24:6). Overwhelmed by their circumstances they had forgotten what Jesus had promised—the three most powerful words ever spoken: I will rise.

All it took for their confusion to lift was to remember His Word (v. 8).

To you who are suffering under the weight of a difficult situation, I write today with this same message: Jesus has risen and He wants to bring the power of His resurrection to bear upon whatever you’re facing. Do what these ladies did: Believe what He said. Take Him at His Word. Remember His promises.

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is proof that God will do what He said. Rehearse God’s faithfulness in what He did on that pivotal, powerful morning and be filled with faith at how He is still at work today in your life.

Despised for All of This

From: Our Daily Bread

Despised for All of This

He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. Isaiah 53:12

Susannah Cibber gained fame in the eighteenth century for her talent as a singer. However, she was equally well known for her scandalous marital problems. That’s why when Handel’s Messiah was first performed in Dublin in April 1742, many in the audience did not approve of her role as a featured soloist.

During that inaugural performance, Cibber sang of the Messiah: “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3 kjv). Those words so moved Rev. Patrick Delany that he jumped to his feet and said, “Woman, for this be all thy sins forgiven thee!”

The connection between Susannah Cibber and the theme of Handel’s Messiah is evident. The “man of sorrows”—Jesus the Messiah—was “despised and rejected” because of sin. The prophet Isaiah said, “My righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities” (v. 11).

The connection between Messiah and us is no less apparent. Whether we stand with the judgmental audience members, with Susannah Cibber, or somewhere in between, we all need to repent and receive God’s forgiveness. Jesus, by His life, death, and resurrection, restored our relationship with God our Father.

For this—for all Jesus did—be all our sins forgiven.

Father in heaven, we all stand in need of Your forgiveness. We stand too in awe of Your Son Jesus, who was despised and rejected for our sins. Thank You for coming to us in Jesus 2,000 years ago so that we might know You now.

Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Revelation 19:6 kjv

 

Every Corner of Life

From: Our Daily Journey

Every Corner of Life

Read:

John 20:1-18
Mary Magdalene found the disciples and told them, “I have seen the Lord!” Then she gave them his message (John 20:18).

On the Sunday morning following Jesus’ crucifixion, a woman stood outside of His tomb weeping bitterly. Her dearest friend and mentor had just endured a grisly death. Now it appeared someone had broken into His grave and stolen His battered body (John 20:11-15).

As she wept, a fully alive Jesus appeared to her. Her swollen, reddened eyes initially mistook him for the gardener, until He called to her by name—“Mary!” (John 20:16). Instantly, sheer joy swept over her.

Until Easter morning, Mary and the rest of Jesus’ closest followers had remained puzzled. They had yet to “[understand] the Scriptures that said Jesus must rise from the dead” (John 20:9). It took them even more time to grasp all that His resurrection meant.

Author N. T. Wright notes, “The early Christians looked back with joy to that great event.” He goes on to write that as the enormous implications of this most surprising event began sinking in, they also “looked forward eagerly to an event yet to come in which what began at Easter would be completed.”

The first Christians would soon realize that Easter morning shouted the start of new creation! The Creator-God, who made the world and saw His image-bearers turn against Him, had begun to rescue and renew all things. Jesus’ resurrection from the dead points our attention forward to the end of the story when He will return to this earth and complete what God began the morning He raised His Son from the grave (see Acts 3:21).

Christ coming out of the tomb was the first act of so much more healing and life to arrive in our broken world, waiting to break into every corner of life. And when it happens—even in the smallest of ways—there’s great joy!

The Burial Of Jesus

John 19: 38-42
41 At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid. 
42 Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.
Image result for Pictures of Christ being buriedImage result for Pictures of Christ being buried

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Three-Word Obituary

From: Our Daily Bread

Three-Word Obituary
Read: Romans 8:28-39 | Bible in a Year: Joshua 19–21; Luke 2:25-52

Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God.

Romans 8:34

Before Stig Kernell died, he told the local funeral home that he didn’t want a traditional obituary. Instead, the Swedish man instructed them to publish only three words noting his passing: “I am dead.” When Mr. Kernell died at age 92, that’s exactly what appeared. The audacity and simplicity of his unusual death notice captured the attention of newspapers around the world. In a strange twist, the international curiosity about the man with the three-word obituary caused more attention to his death than he intended.

When Jesus was crucified, the Lord’s obituary could have read, “He is dead.” But after 3 days, it would have been changed to front-page news saying, “He is risen!” Much of the New Testament is devoted to proclaiming and explaining the results of Christ’s resurrection. “Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? . . . We are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Rom. 8:34-37).

The three-word obituary of Jesus, “He is dead,” has been transformed into an eternal anthem of praise to our Savior. He is risen! He is risen indeed!

Lord, we rejoice in Your great victory over sin and death through Your resurrection. May we live in light of it every day.

Jesus sacrificed His life for ours.

 

Triumph Over The Grave

From: Our Daily Bread

Read: John 11:25-44 | Bible in a Year: 1 Samuel 27-29; Luke 13:1-22
I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. —John 11:25

Death may steal from us the ones we love, but for followers of Christ the separation is only temporary. The resurrection of Jesus assures us that just as death could not hold Him, so too the tomb cannot cling to the children, parents, friends, and companions who have died before us. Christ’s resurrection is the foundation of our hope.

American evangelist D. L. Moody (1837-1899) told of a soldier at the battle of Inkerman (Crimean War, 1854) who was somehow able to crawl back to his tent after he was shot. When he was later found, he was lying face-down, his open Bible before him, his hand stuck to one of the pages by his blood which covered it. When his hand was lifted, some of the words from the printed page were clearly visible on it. The verse was this: “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live” (Jn. 11:25). Said Moody, “I want a religion like that, which can comfort even in death, and can unite me with my loved ones. What gloom and darkness would settle upon this world were it not for the glorious doctrine of the resurrection!”

If you are grieving, find your comfort in this: Because Jesus lives, we shall live also!

Crown Him the Lord of life:
Who triumphed o’er the grave,
Who rose victorious to the strife
For those He came to save. —Bridges

The resurrection is God’s answer of hope to man’s cry of despair.

 

The Real Meaning of Easter

From: Beth Patch, Author

Jesus had come into town for the Passover celebration and was nearing the time when he would be betrayed by one of his disciples, publicly humiliated and mocked, beaten beyond recognition, and hung on a cross to die. It was the night before his suffering when he made his special request for his followers to remember that He gave his body for them and poured out his blood as a sacrifice for them.

The best way to understand the real meaning of Easter would be from Jesus, in His three words … the new covenant.

The New Covenant

In Luke 22 we get a picture of the night before his death:

When the time came, Jesus and the apostles sat down together at the table. Jesus said, “I have been very eager to eat this Passover meal with you before my suffering begins. For I tell you now that I won’t eat this meal again until its meaning is fulfilled in the Kingdom of God.” Then he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. Then he said, “Take this and share it among yourselves. For I will not drink wine again until the Kingdom of God has come.” He took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this to remember me.” After supper he took another cup of wine and said, “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood, which is poured out as a sacrifice for you.” Luke 22:14-20

The heart of Easter lies in his words, “the new covenant between God and his people.”

Passover and the New Covenant

To put this new covenant in context we must look at history. Long before Jesus was born, God made other covenants with His people (the Israelites) – some to multiply them, some to bless them, and some to give them land. All along the way, God required believers to recognize their sinful nature, confess their sins, ask for forgiveness for their sins, and offer specific animals to the priests as sacrifices for their sins. Their religious observance of Passover included sacrificing unblemished lambs, just as the Israelites had done when they painted their doorposts with the lambs’ blood the actual night of Passover – when Moses led God’s people out of Egypt (see Exodus 12:11-13).

The sacrificial lamb was a significant part of sparing the lives of the Isrealites on Passover as well as in future remembrances of the event. God gave Moses and Aaron specific instructions on how to honor God with annual Passover celebrations. Lamb was the pinnacle of the Passover meal (and still is). The lambs were to be without blemish and even lived with the families for several days before they were sacrificed, adding to the understanding that the ultimate sacrifice was close to the hearts of those whose sins were atoned for.

Easter and Passover have a special relationship for many reasons. Jesus became the “lamb without blemish” as he sacrificed his life for the sins of all who believe in him – to bring them into right relationship with the Father. Just as the Israelites celebrate freedom from their slavery to the Egyptians as they celebrate Passover, Christians celebrate the victory over sin and death signified in Jesus’ death and resurrection. Jesus said the new covenant between God and his people was “an agreement confirmed with my blood, which is poured out as a sacrifice for you.” It was no coincidence that Jesus gave up his life for all at the time of Passover. It was the appointed time, chosen by the Father.

What is the real meaning of Easter? In John 1:29, as he sees Jesus approaching, John the Baptist announces to the crowd around him, “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”

He knew that Jesus was the son of God, the long awaited Messiah, the one whom God’s prophets had promised to save mankind from their sins and to give them a deep heartfelt relationship with God the Father. The new covenant would be an everlasting covenant. (Jeremiah 31:31-34Jeremiah 32:39-42Isaiah 55:3) Jesus, our sacrificial lamb, our Savior, our God, our Redeemer – he laid down his life as our sacrificial lamb to pay for our sins. When he rose from the dead three days later, he gave victory over eternal separation from God (death) to all who put their faith and trust in him. That is the new covenant – everlasting life spent with God through faith in all that Jesus Christ has done and continues to do.

Bible Verses

All who believe in the Son of God know in their hearts that this testimony is true. Those who don’t believe this are actually calling God a liar because they don’t believe what God has testified about his Son. And this is what God has testified: He has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have God’s Son does not have life. (1 John 5:10-12, NLT)

“Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3b-4, KJV)

“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9, NLT)