Tag Archives: guard

Keep Up Your Guard

 

keep your guard up

From: Our Daily Journey

Deuteronomy 4:1-9
But watch out! Be careful never to forget what you yourself have seen. Do not let these memories escape from your mind as long as you live! (Deuteronomy 4:9).

Read James 1:22-24 and see why it’s important to keep your guard up by your obedience to God’s Word.

When do you tend to let your spiritual guard down? What will you do to renew your commitment to God’s Word and remain alert for dangers to your faith?

A young man and several friends drove to a ski resort, went through a gate that contained warning signs about the dangerous condition of the slopes, and started snowboarding. On the second trip down the mountain, someone shouted, “Avalanche!” but the young man couldn’t escape and perished in the cascading snow. Some in the media severely criticized him for being a novice, but he was actually an “avalanche-certified backcountry guide.” An avalanche researcher said that seasoned skiers are most likely to be seduced into faulty reasoning. He said, “[The young man] died because he was lulled into letting his guard down.”

As Israel was preparing to go into the Promised Land, the Lord wanted His people to keep their guard up. So He commanded them to listen to and obey all His words (Deuteronomy 4:1-2). And in case they had trouble obeying, Moses reminded them how God judged those who disobeyed and blessed those who obeyed (Deuteronomy 4:3-4). Remembering this history would be the motivation and basis for their unconditional obedience. At every turn, they needed to examine themselves and keep watch over their inner lives (Deuteronomy 4:9). This would help them avoid external spiritual dangers as well as inner spiritual apathy. But this wasn’t just for them; it was also for future generations. Obedience to God’s standard would be the key to future success.

It’s fairly easy for us to let down our guard and be lulled into a state of forgetfulness, apathy, and self-deception. So it’s essential for us to offer God a fresh commitment to obey all of His Word. Let’s renew our knowledge of the Scriptures and our commitment to them and let’s wisely leverage opportunities to pass them on to the next generation.

 

And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day (Gen. 32:24).

Left alone! What different sensations those words conjure up to each of us. To some they spell loneliness and desolation, to others rest and quiet. To be left alone without God, would be too awful for words, but to be left alone with Him is a foretaste of Heaven! If His followers spent more time alone with Him, we should have spiritual giants again.

The Master set us an example. Note how often He went to be alone with God; and He had a mighty purpose behind the command, “When thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray.”

The greatest miracles of Elijah and Elisha took place when they were alone with God. It was alone with God that Jacob became a prince; and just there that we, too, may become princes–“men (aye, and women too!) wondered at” (Zech. 3:8). Joshua was alone when the Lord came to him. (Josh. 1:1) Gideon and Jephthah were by themselves when commissioned to save Israel. (Judges 6:11 and 11:29) Moses was by himself at the wilderness bush. (Exodus 3:1-5) Cornelius was praying by himself when the angel came to him. (Acts 10:2) No one was with Peter on the house top, when he was instructed to go to the Gentiles. (Acts 10:9) John the Baptist was alone in the wilderness (Luke 1:90), and John the Beloved alone in Patmos, when nearest God. (Rev. 1:9)

Covet to get alone with God. If we neglect it, we not only rob ourselves, but others too, of blessing, since when we are blessed we are able to pass on blessing to others. It may mean less outside work; it must mean more depth and power, and the consequence, too, will be “they saw no man save Jesus only.”

To be alone with God in prayer cannot be over-emphasized.

If chosen men had never been alone,
In deepest silence open-doored to God,
No greatness ever had been dreamed or done.

 

The Impoverished Ministry of Jesus

From: My Utmost For His HIghest

Where then do You get that living water? —John 4:11

“The well is deep”— and even a great deal deeper than the Samaritan woman knew! (John 4:11). Think of the depths of human nature and human life; think of the depth of the “wells” in you. Have you been limiting, or impoverishing, the ministry of Jesus to the point that He is unable to work in your life? Suppose that you have a deep “well” of hurt and trouble inside your heart, and Jesus comes and says to you, “Let not your heart be troubled . . .” (John 14:1). Would your response be to shrug your shoulders and say, “But, Lord, the well is too deep, and even You can’t draw up quietness and comfort out of it.” Actually, that is correct. Jesus doesn’t bring anything up from the wells of human nature— He brings them down from above. We limit the Holy One of Israel by remembering only what we have allowed Him to do for us in the past, and also by saying, “Of course, I cannot expect God to do this particular thing.” The thing that approaches the very limits of His power is the very thing we as disciples of Jesus ought to believe He will do. We impoverish and weaken His ministry in us the moment we forget He is almighty. The impoverishment is in us, not in Him. We will come to Jesus for Him to be our comforter or our sympathizer, but we refrain from approaching Him as our Almighty God.

The reason some of us are such poor examples of Christianity is that we have failed to recognize that Christ is almighty. We have Christian attributes and experiences, but there is no abandonment or surrender to Jesus Christ. When we get into difficult circumstances, we impoverish His ministry by saying, “Of course, He can’t do anything about this.” We struggle to reach the bottom of our own well, trying to get water for ourselves. Beware of sitting back, and saying, “It can’t be done.” You will know it can be done if you will look to Jesus. The well of your incompleteness runs deep, but make the effort to look away from yourself and to look toward Him.

God Guides Us

 

An “Aussie” Story

From: inspire21.com

— Author unknown

Years ago a hardworking man took his family from New York State to Australia to take advantage of a work opportunity there. Part of this man’s family was a handsome young son who had aspirations of joining the circus as a trapeze artist or an actor. This young fellow, biding his time until a circus job or even one as a stagehand came along, worked at the local shipyards which bordered on the worse section of town.

Walking home from work one evening this young man was attacked by five thugs who wanted to rob him. Instead of just giving up his money the young fellow resisted. However they bested him easily and proceeded to beat him to a pulp. They mashed his face with their boots, and kicked and beat his body brutally with clubs, leaving him for dead. When the police happened to find him lying in the road they assumed he was dead and called for the Morgue Wagon.

On the way to the morgue a policeman heard him gasp for air, and they immediately took him to the emergency unit at the hospital. When he was placed on a gurney a nurse remarked to her horror, that this young man no longer had a face. Each eye socket was smashed, his skull, legs, and arms fractured, his nose literally hanging from his face, all is teeth were gone, and his jaw was almost completely torn from his skull.

Although his life was spared, he spent over a year in the hospital. When he finally left, his body may have healed but his face was disgusting to look at. He was no longer the handsome youth that everyone admired.

When the young man started to look for work again he was turned down by everyone just on account of the way he looked. One potential employer suggested to him that he join the freak show at the circus as The Man Who Had No Face. And he did this for a while. He was still rejected by everyone and no one wanted to be seen in his company. He had thoughts of suicide.

This went on for five years. One day he passed a church and sought some solace there. Entering the church he encountered a priest who saw him sobbing while kneeling in a pew. The priest took pity on him and took him to the rectory where they talked at length. The priest was impressed with him to such a degree that he said that he would do everything possible for him that could be done to restore his dignity and life, if the young man would promise to be the best Catholic he could be, and trust in God’s mercy to free him from his torturous life. The young man went to Mass and communion every day, and after thanking God for saving his life, asked God to only give him peace of mind and the grace to be the best man he could ever be in His eyes.

The priest, through his personal contacts was able to secure the services of the best plastic surgeon in Australia. There would be no cost to the young man, as the doctor was the priest’s best friend. The doctor too was so impressed by the young man. Whose outlook now on life, even though he had experienced the worst, was filled with good humor and love. The surgery was a miraculous success. All the best dental work was also done for him.

The young man became everything he promised God he would be. He was also blessed with a wonderful, beautiful wife, many children, and success in an industry which would have been the furthest thing from his mind as a career, if not for the goodness of God and the love of the people who cared for him.

This he acknowledges publicly.

 

Matthew 10:32-42 (Good News Translation)

God’s Word: Guiding Us to Follow Jesus

From: Americanbiblesociety

Introduction

Matthew 10:32-42: In the midst of persecution, Jesus encourages the disciples to remain courageous and faithful. He warns his followers that his message will create conflict and divisiveness within families, but that those who remain faithful to the Gospel will receive their reward.

Today’s Scripture: Matthew 10:39

Those who try to gain their own life will lose it; but those who lose their life for my sake will gain it.

Today’s Reading

32 Those who declare publicly that they belong to me, I will do the same for them before my Father in heaven. 33 But those who reject me publicly, I will reject before my Father in heaven. 34 Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the world. No, I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 I came to set sons against their fathers, daughters against their mothers, daughters-in-law against their mothers-in-law; 36 your worst enemies will be the members of your own family. 37 Those who love their father or mother more than me are not fit to be my disciples; those who love their son or daughter more than me are not fit to be my disciples. 38 Those who do not take up their cross and follow in my steps are not fit to be my disciples. 39 Those who try to gain their own life will lose it; but those who lose their life for my sake will gain it. 40 Whoever welcomes you welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. 41 Whoever welcomes God’s messenger because he is God’s messenger, will share in his reward. And whoever welcomes a good man because he is good, will share in his reward. 42 You can be sure that whoever gives even a drink of cold water to one of the least of these my followers because he is my follower, will certainly receive a reward. ”

Reflect

Yesterday we read about the challenges that face those who follow Jesus (Matthew 10:16-31). Based on today’s reading, what are the rewards of discipleship? Reread verse 38. What does it mean to you to “take up your cross” and follow Jesus?

The Old Dog

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14-year-old dog abbey

Our 14-year-old dog Abbey died last month. The day after she passed away my 4-year-old daughter Meredith was crying and talking about how much she missed Abbey. She asked if we could write a letter to God so that when Abbey got to heaven, God would recognize her. I told her that I thought we could so, and she dictated these words:

Dear God,
Will you please take care of my dog? She died yesterday and is with you in heaven. I miss her very much. I am happy that you let me have her as my dog even though she got sick.

I hope you will play with her. She likes to swim and play with balls. I am sending a picture of her so when you see her you will know that she is my dog. I really miss her.

Love, Meredith

We put the letter in an envelope with a picture of Abbey and Meredith and addressed it to God/Heaven. We put our return address on it. Then Meredith pasted several stamps on the front of the envelope because she said it would take lots of stamps to get the letter all the way to heaven. That afternoon she dropped it into the letter box at the post office. A few days later, she asked if God had gotten the letter yet. I told her that I thought He had.

Yesterday, there was a package wrapped in gold paper on our front porch addressed, ‘To Meredith’ in an unfamiliar hand. Meredith opened it. Inside was a book by Mr. Rogers called, ‘When a Pet Dies.’ Taped to the inside front cover was the letter we had written to God in its opened envelope. On the opposite page was the picture of Abbey & Meredith and this note:

Dear Meredith,

Abbey arrived safely in heaven. Having the picture was a big help and I recognized her right away.

Abbey isn’t sick anymore. Her spirit is here with me just like it stays in your heart. Abbey loved being your dog. Since we don’t need our bodies in heaven, I don’t have any pockets to keep your picture in so I am sending it back to you in this little book for you to keep and have something to remember Abbey by.

Thank you for the beautiful letter and thank your mother for helping you write it and sending it to me. What a wonderful mother you have. I picked her especially for you. I send my blessings every day and remember that I love you very much. By the way, I’m easy to find. I am wherever there is love.

Love, God

Author Unknown

a grateful whale

(Read about a Big Fish, maybe a whale, in the book of Jonah).

As Reported In The SF Chronicle

On the front page story of the San Francisco Chronicle on Thursday, Dec 15, 2005, you would have read about a female humpback whale who had become entangled in a spider web of crab traps and lines.

The fifty-foot whale was weighted down by hundreds of pounds of traps that caused her to struggle to stay afloat. She also had hundreds of yards of line rope wrapped around her her tail, her torso and a line tugging in her mouth.

A fisherman spotted her just east of the Farallone Islands (outside the Golden Gate) and radioed an environmental group for help. Within a few hours, the rescue team arrived and determined that she was so bad off, the only way to save her was to dive in and untangle her – a very dangerous proposition. One slap of the tail could kill a rescuer.

They worked for hours with curved knives and eventually freed her. When she was free, the divers say she swam in what seemed like joyous circles. She then came back to each and every diver, one at a time, and nudged them, pushed them gently around – she thanked them. Some said it was the most incredibly beautiful experience of their lives.

The guy who cut the rope out of her mouth says her eye was following him the whole time, and he will never be the same.

From: Inspire21.com

An Angel Story

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Inspirational stories about angels 

One day, while I was walking in the park, I noticed a little girl. Barefoot and dirty, she was watching all the people indifferently going by. She was silent and did not say a word. Everybody just passed by and did not pay any attention to her.

The very next day I decided to go back to that park and clear up if the girl was still there. She was right there in the same spot as yesterday, sadly looking around. I felt that I am worried about her, as a park full of strangers is not a good place for small kids to play alone.

I started approaching her and suddenly noticed that the girl‘s back was oddly deformed. A thought crossed my mind that maybe this was the reason why everyone was avoiding her and did not try to help. I got closer and smiled to let her know that I was there to talk, to help. I started with „Hello“ and sat down near her. The girl was very surprised, however, after a long stare into my eyes, she replied „Hi“.

We talked and talked, so many hours passed by and darkness came. The park became silent and empty. Then I carefully asked the little girl, why she was so sorrowful and lonesome. „I am different, that‘s why“ – was her reply. I agreed with her and smile „Yes, you are“, and then I continued „you remind of an angel, pure and sweet“. She slowly got to her feet and smile „Really?“. I confirmed, that she looks to me like a little Guardian Angel to watch all the people going by. To my surprise, she nodded her head and admitted „I am, I am your Guardian Angel“, then she spread her wings. I was so amazed, that I couldn‘t say a word. After a moment she explained „Think of someone other than youself. That was the purpose of my job here.“

Then I got to my feet and asked „Why nobody stopped to help you?“. „Because only you could see me“ was her answer and then she was gone.

 

Inspirational stories about caring for others 

There was a farm, where lived farmer John with his wife Molly. They hold pigs, cows and many animals in their farm. Also there lived a little mouse.

One day the mouse looked throught small crack in the wall and accidentially saw how the farmer was opening some package. The mouse was curious what food may it contain and discovered that it was a mousetrap.

The mouse was determined to run around the farmyard and warn all the animals regarding the danger.

First of all he met the chicken. „There is a mousetrap in the house!“ – the mouse declared with despair. But the chicken answered with indifference: „It doesn‘t concern me, as this is a danger for you, but not for me. It cannot bother me“.

Then the mouse raced to the pig and the cow and told them about the mousetrap. But the pig and the cow where not impressed too. They said that there is nothing to about this and promised to pray about the mouse.

Sad and depressed, the little mouse returned to the house.

In the night the farmer‘s wife Molly heard a sound of a mousetrap. She hurried to see what was in it, but due to the darkness she did not see that it was a poisonous snake, whose tail was caught by the trap. Suddenly the snake bit Molly.

The farmer rushed with her to the hospital. Later, when they returned home, Molly still had a fever. John remembered that it is good to treat a fever with chicken soup, so he went to his farmyard to bring the main ingridient, the chicken.

Whereas Molly‘s sickness continued and many friends came to visit her, the farmer butchered the pig so he could feed all the visitors.

Unfortunatelly, As time went by Molly became weaker and weaker and one day she died. Many neighbours, relatives and friends have arrived to the funeral. John had to slaughter the cow to feed all of them.

The mouse has been watching all that was happing with great sorrow.

Remember, when we learn that someone is facing difficulties or danger, we all are at risk. It is better to help and encourage one another and don‘t leave anyone alone with his problems.

From: inspirationalstories.eu.