Tag Archives: Joy

It’s Your Decision

 

 

Complete and Effective Decision About Sin

From: My Utmost For His Highest

04
10
2014

. . . our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin —Romans 6:6

Co-Crucifixion. Have you made the following decision about sin—that it must be completely killed in you? It takes a long time to come to the point of making this complete and effective decision about sin. It is, however, the greatest moment in your life once you decide that sin must die in you-not simply be restrained, suppressed, or counteracted, but crucified—just as Jesus Christ died for the sin of the world. No one can bring anyone else to this decision. We may be mentally and spiritually convinced, but what we need to do is actually make the decision that Paul urged us to do in this passage.

Pull yourself up, take some time alone with God, and make this important decision, saying, “Lord, identify me with Your death until I know that sin is dead in me.” Make the moral decision that sin in you must be put to death.

This was not some divine future expectation on the part of Paul, but was a very radical and definite experience in his life. Are you prepared to let the Spirit of God search you until you know what the level and nature of sin is in your life— to see the very things that struggle against God’s Spirit in you? If so, will you then agree with God’s verdict on the nature of sin— that it should be identified with the death of Jesus? You cannot “reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin” (Romans 6:11) unless you have radically dealt with the issue of your will before God.

Have you entered into the glorious privilege of being crucified with Christ, until all that remains in your flesh and blood is His life? “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me . . .” (Galatians 2:20).

April 10

The Summer Will Come

“Therefore will the Lord wait, that he may be gracious unto you” (Isa. 30:18).

Where showers fall most, there the grass is greenest. I suppose the fogs and mists of Ireland make it “the Emerald Isle”; and whenever you find great fogs of trouble, and mists of sorrow, you always find emerald green hearts; full of the beautiful verdure of the comfort and love of God. O Christian, do not thou be saying, “Where are the swallows gone? They are gone; they are dead.” They are not dead; they have skimmed the purple sea, and gone to a far-off land; but they will be back again by and by. Child of God, say not the flowers are dead; say not the winter has killed them, and they are gone. Ah, no! though winter hath coated them with the ermine of its snow; they will put up their heads again, and will be alive very soon. Say not, child of God, that the sun is quenched, because the cloud hath hidden it. Ah, no; he is behind there, brewing summer for thee; for when he cometh out again, he will have made the clouds fit to drop in April showers, all of them mothers of the sweet May flowers. And oh! above all, when thy God hides His face, say not that He hath forgotten thee. He is but tarrying a little while to make thee love Him better; and when He cometh, thou shalt have joy in the Lord, and shalt rejoice with joy unspeakable. Waiting exercises our grace; waiting tries our faith; therefore, wait on in hope; for though the promise tarry, it can never come too late.
–C. H. Spurgeon

***

“Oh, every year hath its winter,
And every year hath its rain–
But a day is always coming
When the birds go north again.

“When new leaves swell in the forest,
And grass springs green on the plain,
And alders’ veins turn crimson–
And the birds go north again.

“Oh, every heart hath its sorrow,
And every heart hath its pain–
But a day is always coming
When the birds go north again.

“‘Tis the sweetest thing to remember,
If courage be on the wane,
When the cold, dark days are over–
Why, the birds go north again.”

You’re in good hands

From: Our Daily Journey

2 Timothy 3:14-17
But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught. You know they are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you (2 Timothy 3:14).

Read Acts 1:1-2 and consider what Luke wrote about his gospel account.

How important is it for you to see the historic nature of Luke’s writings? What other reasons can you give for trusting in the accuracy and truthfulness of God’s Word?

Sometime back in the 1950s, the Allstate Insurance Company’s marketing group was struggling to come up with a slogan for the company’s first major national advertising campaign. As the team was ready to quit after an empty day of brainstorming, sales executive Davis Ellis remembered a reassuring comment his wife made to him months earlier when their child was sick in the hospital.

She told him, “The hospital said not to worry. We’re in good hands with the doctor.” It was then that one of the most memorable ad slogans ever was born: “You’re in good hands with Allstate.”

If I was given the task of advertising the New Testament book of Luke (one of the four narratives of the life of Jesus), I would go back to the phrase that inspired Allstate’s famous slogan: “You’re in good hands with the doctor.”

Why? Because it’s true in more ways than one. The author himself (Luke) was a beloved doctor (Colossians 4:14). Obviously, Dr. Luke was highly educated, but he was also a careful reporter who investigated the facts about Jesus from the very beginning (Luke 1:3).

Another important reason to trust the book of Luke is that the good doctor got his information from firsthand testimonies. Unlike other accounts not found in the Bible (that were written several decades after the eyewitnesses to Jesus’ life were gone), Luke personally knew several of the key eyewitnesses—namely Paul and James the half-brother of Jesus.

Of course, we also recognize that Luke, along with all the human authors of the Bible, wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 3:16).

So rest assured, readers of the book of Luke (and all of God’s Word!),you’re in good hands.

Getting Beyond Ourselves

 

 

Getting Beyond Ourselves

From: OurDailyBread
We all, . . . beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed. —2 Corinthians 3:18

I have one of those friends who seems to be better than I am at just about everything. He is smarter; he thinks more deeply; and he knows where to find better books to read. He is even a better golfer. Spending time with him challenges me to become a better, more thoughtful person. His standard of excellence spurs me on to greater things.

That highlights a spiritual principle: It’s crucial for us to spend time in God’s Word so we can connect with the person of Christ. Reading about the impact of Jesus’ unconditional love for us compels me to love without demand. His mercy and His free distribution of grace to the most undeserving make me ashamed of my tendency to withhold forgiveness and seek revenge.

I find myself becoming a more thankful person when I realize that, despite my shameful fallenness, the Lord has clothed me in the beauty of His perfect righteousness. His amazing ways and unsurpassed wisdom motivate and transform me. It’s hard to be content with my life as it is when in His presence I am drawn to become more like Him.

The apostle Paul calls us to the joy of beholding Christ. As we do so, we are “being transformed into the same image from glory to glory” (2 Cor. 3:18).

Lord, help us to come into Your presence with eyes
and hearts wide open to all that You are and want us
to become. Thank You for revealing Yourself to us
and for the joy of basking in the greatness of Your glory.
Stay close to God and you will never be the same.

Promises Kept

From: Get more Faith. org

“Not one of all the Lord’s good promises to the house of Israel failed; every one was fulfilled.” Joshua 21:45

I am about to let you in on a deep, life-changing, earth-shattering theological truth. Are you ready for this?

God keeps His promises!

I mean, He really keeps His promises. Even if you can’t see it today, or even if it doesn’t happen in your lifetime, He doesn’t forget and He doesn’t change His mind. If He has made a promise, He’s good with it!

I was reading in the book of Joshua recently when I came to these verses at the end of Joshua 21:41-44. Keep in mind, this is after many stories of the people of Israel rebelling and murmuring against Moses, and 40 years of wandering in the wilderness. Israel had, essentially, tried to put their covenant with God in the dumper by their idolatrous, heretical, apostate ways. Even after God gave them the land of Canaan, they went back to idols. So it’s after they seemingly did all they could to mess it up that we read these astounding words at the end of Joshua’s life:

So the Lord gave Israel all the land he had sworn to give their forefathers, and they took possession of it and settled there. The Lord gave them rest on every side, just as he had sworn to their forefathers. Not one of their enemies withstood them; the Lord handed all their enemies over to them. Not one of all the Lord’s good promises to the house of Israel failed; every one was fulfilled.

Do you realize that the promises Joshua is referring to dated back hundreds of years? All the way back, in fact, to the early chapters of the book of Genesis where God chooses Abraham, promising Him numerous descendants, a national heritage, and land for each subsequent generation. Abraham acted on these promises, trusting the Lord, but the author of Hebrews 11:13 tells it like it is: Abraham and his wife, Sarah, “were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised.” They had one son, Isaac, but that hardly seemed like an auspicious start to a promised nation populated by their descendants—to say nothing of the fact that they never inherited the land.

But the story didn’t end there. From Joshua’s vantage point on his side of history, he had the privilege of seeing that God in His perfect time had kept His promises! God hadn’t forgotten. He hadn’t lost the list of the things He promised to give to Abraham. And so Joshua, standing in the land promised to Abraham, surrounded by the descendants of Abraham, marveled and praised God. No promises were left unfulfilled. Not one of them had failed.

We are so programmed today to be instantly gratified. From instant credit to ATM machines to high-speed Internet and fast-food restaurants, we are wired to getting everything we need and want now.And if we don’t get it now, our blood pressure starts to rise! But God’s timelines are wiser and better than our little antsy, often shortsighted expectations.

So hang in there! If He said it, claim it and cling to it. You can stay the course because the one thing you can count on is God’s faithfulness—regardless! We have the rock-solid witness of history and of Scripture that none of His promises will fail. I love the words Paul wrote to Timothy when he affirmed that though we are often faithless, God will be faithful to us because He cannot deny Himself (2 Timothy 2:13).

God Helps with Your Troubles:
Bible Solutions for Problems, Suffering, and Hardship

From: GospelWay.com

Why does God allow suffering, troubles, afflictions, hardship? How can we endure difficulties and problems? What help does the Bible offer when we suffer hardships, worries, trials, and anxieties?

Everyone has troubles. We face problems, affliction, suffering, and hardship. We need strength, endurance, and patience. Why do people suffer? Are all trials the result of sin committed by the one who suffers? Why does God allow trials, worries, anxieties, and difficulties? Should we blame God and turn from Him? Can troubles and suffering actually make us better people? Is it possible to faithfully endure our difficulties? What solutions does the Bible offer to help us endure and overcome our problems, afflictions, and hardships?

 

Introduction:

“Man who is born of woman is of few days and full of trouble” (Job 14:1). We can especially appreciate these words when we think of the suffering endured by the one who spoke them. Different people deal with different problems and afflictions, and it seems that some suffer more hardships than others do. But we all know by personal experience and from the experiences of those we know, that Job’s statement is true.

Troubles concern us, not just because hardship itself is a burden, but also because affliction can lead to spiritual temptations. We may be tempted to feel that our trials justify committing sin. We may become so discouraged that we blame God for our troubles, lose faith in Him, or begin to doubt His goodness and mercy. As Job’s wife said, “Curse God and die” (Job 2:9).

The purpose of this study is to offer Bible answers to questions people often ask about suffering. Why do people suffer? Can good come from suffering? Is it possible to endure affliction with patience and faithfulness? How can God give us strength to endure our hardships and overcome our temptations? What does the Bible say?


Question #1: Why Do People Suffer?


The Bible Teaching

There are several reasons, not just one reason, why people suffer.

Sometimes people suffer as a result of their sins.

King Saul lived a miserable life and eventually was slain because he had rebelled against God (1 Chron. 10:13,14).

Judas killed himself because he had betrayed Jesus (Matthew 27:3-5).

Likewise today, alcoholics may develop disease, thieves may be imprisoned, etc.

Some people think this is the only reason people ever suffer, but we will see that it is not.

Sometimes innocent people suffer as a result of other people’s sins.

This may result from cruelty or accident, as when innocent bystanders are killed by a drunken driver, or when a thief violently attacks his victims.

In other cases wicked people may harm righteous people because they resent them. This kind of religious persecution is described in many verses.

1 Peter 2:19-23 – Jesus is an example of one who committed no sin at all, yet He was persecuted and killed by wicked men. So we may follow His example and suffer, not for our faults, but when we do good.

John 15:18-20 – The treatment Jesus received should warn us of the treatment we can expect. The world hated Him and persecuted Him, and it will do the same to His servants.

2 Corinthians 11:23-26 – Paul’s life shows that Jesus’ followers truly often are persecuted.

2 Timothy 3:10-12 – All who live godly in Christ shall suffer persecution.

(See also 1 Peter 4:12-16; Heb. 11:35-38; 1 Thess. 3:2-4; Acts 14:22; John 16:33; Gen. 50:20)

All people suffer as a result of Adam and Eve’s sin.

God originally placed Adam and Eve in a state of bliss with no problems of any kind. But He warned them of the consequences of sin. When they sinned anyway, He decreed they would endure pain, suffering, hardship, and eventual death (Gen. 3:16-19). All people since that time have endured these same problems. In particular, because of Adam, all people die (1 Cor. 15:22; Heb. 9:27).

Much of the suffering people endure, therefore, cannot be attributed to any particular sin committed by anyone now living. It is just the common lot of mankind because sin is in the world.

This does not mean, as some teach, that people today are born guilty of Adam’s sin or will be eternally punished for it (Ezek. 18:20; 2 Cor. 5:10). But we do suffer in this life because of it.

Some suffering is simply a temptation from Satan.

Job 1:1-2:10 expressly states that Job’s suffering was a temptation from Satan. He hoped that, because he was suffering, Job would turn away from God.

Many other passages teach that Satan is responsible for the suffering of other people. (See 2 Cor. 12:7-10; Luke 13:16; Acts 10:38).

Lessons We Should Learn

Suffering is not limited to those who are wicked.

Some people think that only wicked people suffer, but God is on the side of the righteous and will remove all their troubles. It follows that, if a person is suffering, he must have committed some sin he should repent of.

This was the theory of Job’s friends (Job 4:7-9); disproving this idea is a main theme of that book. This same false doctrine is taught by many “faith healers” who teach people that God must remove all their problems if they are right with Him.

But we have learned that even righteous people suffer. This is important for the following reasons:

* We should not conclude that we have been guilty of sin every time we have a problem. Maybe we are suffering because of sin, so we should examine our lives. But maybe we are suffering for other reasons, perhaps because we are righteous.

* We should surely never reject a Bible teaching just because it may lead to suffering. If all suffering was the result of our own sin, and if a course of action led to suffering, then we would conclude it was a sinful act. But we have learned that godly people often suffer for doing right.

* We should not become Christians thinking it will automatically solve all our problems. If this is our motive, we may fall away when the hardships come.

But the main lesson to learn is the next point:

God should not be blamed for the existence of suffering.

If we believe that all suffering results from a person’s own sin, and if we see good people suffering, we may be tempted to blame God or to think He is not keeping His promises. But we have learned that all people suffer, whether or not they are righteous.

The command to endure suffering is just another part of a Christian’s life, like the command to study the Bible, pray, worship, etc. Faithful Christians of all ages have suffered; we are not the only ones. We should expect suffering to come, so our faith will not be shaken when it does.

The ultimate and primary blame for suffering rests on Satan who tempts people to sin and thereby brought sin into the world. The secondary blame rests upon people, ourselves included, who have given in to temptation and committed sin that led to suffering.

Yes, God did create suffering as a punishment for sin, but only after He had given people a life without problems and had warned them of the consequences of sin. When they chose to sin, He should no more be blamed for punishing them than a parent should be blamed when he must punish a rebellious child. (Cf. James 1:13,15.)

Remember, if you blame God and reject Him because you are suffering, then you are doing exactly what Satan wants you to do. He has defeated you! The only way to defeat Satan and really overcome hardship is to maintain your faithfulness to God in spite of it.

Grow In God’s Strength

Grow in His Strength
From: Streams In The Desert
“As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings: so the Lord alone did lead him, and there was no strange God with him” (Deut. 32:11, 12).Our Almighty Parent delights to conduct the tender nestlings of His care to the very edge of the precipice, and even to thrust them off into the steeps of air, that they may learn their possession of unrealized power of flight, to be forever a luxury; and if, in the attempt, they be exposed to unwonted peril, He is prepared to swoop beneath them, and to bear them upward on His mighty pinions. When God brings any of His children into a position of unparalleled difficulty, they may always count upon Him to deliver them.
–The Song of Victory

***

“When God puts a burden upon you He puts His own arm underneath.”

***

There is a little plant, small and stunted, growing under the shade of a broad-spreading oak; and this little plant values the shade which covers it, and greatly does it esteem the quiet rest which its noble friend affords. But a blessing is designed for this little plant.

Once upon a time there comes along the woodman, and with his sharp axe he fells the oak. The plant weeps and cries, “My shelter is departed; every rough wind will blow upon me, and every storm will seek to uproot me!”

“No, no,” saith the angel of that flower; “now will the sun get at thee; now will the shower fall on thee in more copious abundance than before; now thy stunted form shall spring up into loveliness, and thy flower, which could never have expanded itself to perfection shall now laugh in the sunshine, and men shall say, ‘How greatly hath that plant increased! How glorious hath become its beauty, through the removal of that which was its shade and its delight!'”

See you not, then, that God may take away your comforts and your privileges, to make you the better Christians? Why, the Lord always trains His soldiers, not by letting them lie on feather-beds, but by turning them out, and using them to forced marches and hard service. He makes them ford through streams, and swim through rivers, and climb mountains, and walk many a long march with heavy knapsacks of sorrow on their backs. This is the way in which He makes them soldiers–not by dressing them up in fine uniforms, to swagger at the barrack gates, and to be fine gentlemen in the eyes of the loungers in the park. God knows that soldiers are only to be made in battle; they are not to be grown in peaceful times. We may grow the stuff of which soldiers are made; but warriors are really educated by the smell of powder, in the midst of whizzing bullets and roaring cannonades, not in soft and peaceful times. Well, Christian, may not this account for it all? Is not thy Lord bringing out thy graces and making them grow? Is He not developing in you the qualities of the soldier by throwing you into the heat of battle, and should you not use every appliance to come off conqueror?
–Spurgeon


You’ve Got A Friend

[Jesus said,] “I have called you friends.” —John 15:15
Bible in a Year:
Judges 16-18; Luke 7:1-30

One of the ironic consequences of the sweeping growth of social media is that we often find ourselves more personally isolated. One online article warns: “Those who oppose leading one’s life primarily or exclusively online claim that virtual friends are not adequate substitutes for real-world friends, and . . . individuals who substitute virtual friends for physical friends become even lonelier and more depressive than before.”

Technology aside, all of us battle with seasons of loneliness, wondering if anyone knows, understands, or cares about the burdens we carry or the struggles we face. But followers of Christ have an assurance that brings comfort to our weary hearts. The comforting presence of the Savior is promised in words that are undeniable, for the psalmist David wrote, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me” (Ps. 23:4).

Whether isolated by our own choices, by the cultural trends that surround us, or by the painful losses of life, all who know Christ can rest in the presence of the Shepherd of our hearts. What a friend we have in Jesus!

I’ve found a Friend; O such a Friend!
He loved me ere I knew Him;
He drew me with the cords of love,
And thus He bound me to Him. —Small
Those who know Jesus as their Friend are never alone.
No More Guilt-Induced Doubt
Renee SwopeFrom: Crosswalk.com

“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:16 (NIV)

Mom said she’d be gone all day, and she encouraged me to come over and use her place to write. In a quiet house, hopefully, I could finalize my message outlines for our church women’s retreat.

We arranged plans for my mom to be home at 5 p.m. Then my husband, J.J., would come over at 5:30 p.m. with our boys. The children could stay with Grandma while J.J. and I went to a surprise party.

Mom’s quiet house was just what I needed to get into a good studying and writing zone. It was the perfect setting … until she came home two hours early!

She brought cement pavers in and set them on the floor. She walked out and returned to plop bags of groceries in the kitchen … right where I was studying.

Normally this would have been fine, but I wasn’t done and I got the message that my time was up. Panic set in!

Then, to make matters worse, as I put my notes away I knocked a water bottle over onto my laptop. My chest tightened with anxiety, and my eyes stung with tears. My perfect day was turning into the perfect storm.

After mopping up the mess, I started getting ready for the party and waited for my husband to arrive. He didn’t show up at 5:30, or 5:40. He wasn’t answering his cell phone, and I didn’t want to ruin the surprise party by being late. So, at 6:00, I decided to take Mom’s car and have him meet me there.

Just as I was leaving, he drove up. Surprisingly, he didn’t look a bit hurried. In fact, my then 6-year-old son got out of the car first, walked up to me and said, “Daddy told us you would be mad!”

That was an understatement! Frustrated and angry, I decided it was still a good idea for me to leave. But when I pulled out of the driveway, my husband waved for me to stop and asked, “Aren’t you going to wait for me?”

“No,” I snapped. “Because you’re acting like a [beep].”

My 8-year-old son walked up and said, “Mommy! You just called Daddy a [beep].”

Suddenly guilt-induced doubt made me start questioning everything, including speaking at the retreat. I’m not cut out for this. I’m not godly enough. I must have heard God wrong. I have no business teaching a message I can’t even live.

My husband and I ended up going to the party together, with our fake “everything is fine” smiles. But the next morning at church, I went straight to my women’s ministry director, confessed what happened and told her I needed to step down from being the retreat speaker.

Her response shocked me: “Renee, if you don’t need this message as much as the women attending, then you are not qualified to teach it. But because you need it as much as we do, you are. You’ve been appointed and you are anointed to do this.”

I had never experienced such a demonstration of God’s grace.

That response showed me what it looks like to “approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).

It’s hard to believe God could use us when we’re such a mess, yet the Bible is filled with stories of men and women He used greatly — despite their downfalls.

I ended up speaking at the retreat and shared what had happened. Although I feared some women might judge me, they loved me, accepting that I’m not perfect.

Although guilt can make us give up on ourselves, God won’t. Instead, He offers to take what feels like destruction and use it for reconstruction in our journey with Him.

When we confess our wrong thoughts, words, and actions and receive God’s forgiveness, our hearts can be set free from guilt-induced doubt and filled with grace-infused confidence.

Lord, I come to You today to receive Your mercy and find Your grace to help me. Please replace my guilt-induced doubt with Your grace-infused confidence. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

True Holiness Honors God

 

(People practicing their pursuit of holiness)

Will I Bring Myself Up to This Level?

From: My utmost for His Highest

. . . perfecting holiness in the fear of God —2 Corinthians 7:1

Therefore, having these promises. . . .” I claim God’s promises for my life and look to their fulfillment, and rightly so, but that shows only the human perspective on them. God’s perspective is that through His promises I will come to recognize His claim of ownership on me. For example, do I realize that my “body is the temple of the Holy Spirit,” or am I condoning some habit in my body which clearly could not withstand the light of God on it? (1 Corinthians 6:19). God formed His Son in me through sanctification, setting me apart from sin and making me holy in His sight (see Galatians 4:19). But I must begin to transform my natural life into spiritual life by obedience to Him. God instructs us even in the smallest details of life. And when He brings you conviction of sin, do not “confer with flesh and blood,” but cleanse yourself from it at once (Galatians 1:16). Keep yourself cleansed in your daily walk.

I must cleanse myself from all filthiness in my flesh and my spirit until both are in harmony with the nature of God. Is the mind of my spirit in perfect agreement with the life of the Son of God in me, or am I mentally rebellious and defiant? Am I allowing the mind of Christ to be formed in me? (see Philippians 2:5). Christ never spoke of His right to Himself, but always maintained an inner vigilance to submit His spirit continually to His Father. I also have the responsibility to keep my spirit in agreement with His Spirit. And when I do, Jesus gradually lifts me up to the level where He lived-a level of perfect submission to His Father’s will— where I pay no attention to anything else. Am I perfecting this kind of holiness in the fear of God? Is God having His way with me, and are people beginning to see God in my life more and more?

Be serious in your commitment to God and gladly leave everything else alone. Literally put God first in your life.

 

He answered nothing (Mark 15:3).

There is no spectacle in all the Bible so sublime as the silent Savior answering not a word to the men who were maligning Him, and whom He could have laid prostrate at His feet by one look of Divine power, or one word of fiery rebuke. But He let them say and do their worst, and He stood in THE POWER OF STILLNESS–God’s holy silent Lamb.

There is a stillness that lets God work for us, and holds our peace; the stillness that ceases from its contriving and its self-vindication, and its expedients of wisdom and forethought, and lets God provide and answer the cruel blow, in His own unfailing, faithful love.

How often we lose God’s interposition by taking up our own cause, and striking for our defense. God give to us this silent power, this conquered spirit! And after the heat and strife of earth are over, men will remember us as we remember the morning dew, the gentle light and sunshine, the evening breeze, the Lamb of Calvary, and the gentle, holy heavenly Dove.
–A. B. Simpson

The day when Jesus stood alone
And felt the hearts of men like stone,
And knew He came but to atone
That day “He held His peace.”
They witnessed falsely to His word,
They bound Him with a cruel cord,
And mockingly proclaimed Him Lord;
“But Jesus held His peace.”
They spat upon Him in the face,
They dragged Him on from place to place,
They heaped upon Him all disgrace;
“But Jesus held His peace.”
My friend, have you for far much less,
With rage, which you called righteousness,
Resented slights with great distress?

Your Saviour “held His peace.”
–L. S. P.

Are We Small Yet?

From: Getmorestrength.org
“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves” Philippians 2:3 NASBKids are great! Things that we take for granted are occasions for awe and wonder for them. And their perspectives are often convictingly right on.Take, for instance, the little girl who loved watching the planes that took off from a nearby airport as she played in her backyard. From her point of view, planes literally got smaller and smaller the farther they flew away. Which explains the strange thing she said to her dad after he decided to take her on a business trip. Soon after taking off, she turned to her dad and said, “Daddy, are we small yet?”

That’s a really important—and challenging—question to ask ourselves. There is something about us that doesn’t like feeling small. It starts early. Any kid worth his salt will gladly throw up his arms and do the “so big!” routine when you ask him, “How big are you?” We may stop throwing up our arms, but we never really grow out of wanting to be “so big” in other people’s eyes. It’s amazing how quickly life gets to be all about who’s got the nicest house, the best job, the coolest car, the highest degree, the biggest diamond, or the best office on the executive floor. We are quick to defend ourselves to keep ourselves looking good. We like to draw attention to our accomplishments and turn conversations to focus on us, and we find ourselves a little put out when we are not noticed or invited to hang out with the “in” crowd.

For most of us, life is about anything but making ourselves small. We are the tall “I” in the middle of our universe.

And that’s a problem.

In Philippians 2:3-11, Paul tells us that we need to stop living to advance ourselves and our own interests and instead start considering others as more important than ourselves. In fact, he says that we should do nothing from “empty conceit”—which literally means the puffing up of our nothingness. I love the graphic picture in that thought. No matter how big you puff up a zero, it’s still a zero!

And then he points us to Jesus who didn’t consider his “big” standing in heaven a thing to hang on to, but rather He humbled himself to care for our interests by becoming obedient to death on the cross. Think of that! Jesus thought of us and our needs as being more important than His own! He made himself small that we by His abundant mercy might become big in the riches of His grace.

Five Scriptural Prayers for Your Son
Brooke McGlothlinFrom: Crosswalk.com

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12 (ESV)

He looks at me with a “heels dug in” kind of glare. I know if I said, “The sky is blue on a sunny day,” he would try to prove me wrong.

Sometimes, I don’t feel like we’re on the same team anymore, my son and I, and it breaks my heart.

On days like today, when he’s arguing with everything I say and trying his 8-year-old best to do things his way, it seems I’m fighting against him — like there’s a war going on in my house between me and my son — a distance between us I want to bridge no matter the cost.

I know from my education that this process of differentiation is pretty normal. Boys ache for independence from mama and feel ready to “boldly go where no man has gone before.” They want to be strong, assert their opinions and explore their own ideas.

Unfortunately, at my house, we’re currently living in the in-between season, where ideas abound before my son is mature enough to handle the responsibilities that go along with them.

And so we butt heads.

Sometimes, I’m tempted to let our circumstances tell me my son is the enemy — he’s the one I’m fighting. But then I remember Ephesians 6:12, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”

When the days of mothering grow long and make a girl weary, and when what you really want to do is lock your son in his room and throw away the key, it’s good to remember this:

Your son is not your enemy. But there is an enemy.

That’s right. Our sons have a real enemy, one that wants to steal, kill and destroy them (John 10:10). Thankfully that enemy, according to the Word of God, has an opponent who’s a force to be reckoned with.

You.

And me. And all moms who are willing to get on their knees and cry out for the hearts of their sons. James 5:16b says, “The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with” (The Message).

The best way we can enter the battle for our sons is on our knees, so let’s start fighting for them right now. Here are five powerful prayers you can use today to fight for the heart of your son:

1. Create in my son a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within him (Psalm 51:10).
2. May my son walk after You, God, and fear You and keep Your commandments and obey Your voice. May he serve You and hold fast to You (Deuteronomy 13:4).
3. May my son be strong and courageous and not fear or be in dread, for it is You, Lord, our God, who goes with him. You will never leave him or forsake him (Deuteronomy 31:6).
4. May my son walk before You, God, as King David walked, with integrity of heart and uprightness, doing according to all that You have commanded him, and keeping Your statutes and rules (1 Kings 9:4).
5. Like Timothy, may my son be an example to believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity (1 Timothy 4:12).

Heavenly Father, thank You for giving us the tools of Your Word and prayer to fight the battle for our sons’ hearts. Help me see who our real enemy is when we are in a conflict. May You be glorified in all I do. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Surrender To God’s Will

 

The Surrendered Life

From: My Utmost For His Highest

I have been crucified with Christ . . . —Galatians 2:20

To become one with Jesus Christ, a person must be willing not only to give up sin, but also to surrender his whole way of looking at things. Being born again by the Spirit of God means that we must first be willing to let go before we can grasp something else. The first thing we must surrender is all of our pretense or deceit. What our Lord wants us to present to Him is not our goodness, honesty, or our efforts to do better, but real solid sin. Actually, that is all He can take from us. And what He gives us in exchange for our sin is real solid righteousness. But we must surrender all pretense that we are anything, and give up all our claims of even being worthy of God’s consideration.

Once we have done that, the Spirit of God will show us what we need to surrender next. Along each step of this process, we will have to give up our claims to our rights to ourselves. Are we willing to surrender our grasp on all that we possess, our desires, and everything else in our lives? Are we ready to be identified with the death of Jesus Christ?

We will suffer a sharp painful disillusionment before we fully surrender. When people really see themselves as the Lord sees them, it is not the terribly offensive sins of the flesh that shock them, but the awful nature of the pride of their own hearts opposing Jesus Christ. When they see themselves in the light of the Lord, the shame, horror, and desperate conviction hit home for them.

If you are faced with the question of whether or not to surrender, make a determination to go on through the crisis, surrendering all that you have and all that you are to Him. And God will then equip you to do all that He requires of you.

 

 

The Tiger’sWhisker

 

images (1)images (2)

images (4)images (5)

The tiger’s whisker

Once upon a time, a young wife named Yun Ok was at her wit’s end. Her husband had always been a tender and loving soulmate before he had left for the wars but, ever since he returned home, he was cross, angry, and unpredictable. She was almost afraid to live with her own husband. Only in glancing moments did she catch a shadow of the husband she used to know and love.

When one ailment or another bothered people in her village, they would often rush for a cure to a hermit who lived deep in the mountains. Not Yun Ok. She always prided herself that she could heal her own troubles. But this time was different. She was desperate.

As Yun Ok approached the hermit’s hut, she saw the door was open. The old man said without turning around: “I hear you. What’s your problem?”

She explained the situation. His back still to her, he said, “Ah yes, it’s often that way when soldiers return from the war. What do you expect me to do about it?”

“Make me a potion!” cried the young wife. “Or an amulet, a drink, whatever it takes to get my husband back the way he used to be.”

The old man turned around. “Young woman, your request doesn’t exactly fall into the same category as a broken bone or ear infection.”

“I know”, said she.

“It will take three days before I can even look into it. Come back then.”

Three days later, Yun Ok returned to the hermit’s hut. “Yun Ok”, he greeted her with a smile, “I have good news. There is a potion that will restore your husband to the way he used to be, but you should know that it requires an unusual ingredient. You must bring me a whisker from a live tiger.”

“What?” she gasped. “Such a thing is impossible!”

“I cannot make the potion without it!” he shouted, startling her. He turned his back. “There is nothing more to say. As you can see, I’m very busy.”

That night Yun Ok tossed and turned. How could she get a whisker from a live tiger?

The next day before dawn, she crept out of the house with a bowl of rice covered with meat sauce. She went to a cave on the mountainside where a tiger was known to live. She clicked her tongue very softly as she crept up, her heart pounding, and carefully set the bowl on the grass. Then, trying to make as little noise as she could, she backed away.

The next day before dawn, she took another bowl of rice covered with meat sauce to the cave. She approached the same spot, clicking softly with her tongue. She saw that the bowl was empty, replaced the empty one with a fresh one, and again left, clicking softly and trying not to break twigs or rustle leaves, or do anything else to startle and unsettle the wild beast.

So it went, day after day, for several months. She never saw the tiger (thank goodness for that! she thought) though she knew from footprints on the ground that the tiger – and not a smaller mountain creature – had been eating her food. Then one day as she approached, she noticed the tiger’s head poking out of its cave. Glancing downward, she stepped very carefully to the same spot and with as little noise as she could, set down the fresh bowl and, her heart pounding, picked up the one that was empty.

After a few weeks, she noticed the tiger would come out of its cave as it heard her footsteps, though it stayed a distance away (again, thank goodness! she thought, though she knew that someday, in order to get the whisker, she’d have to come closer to it).

Another month went by. Then the tiger would wait by the empty food bowl as it heard her approaching. As she picked up the old bowl and replaced it with a fresh one, she could smell its scent, as it could surely smell hers.

“Actually”, she thought, remembering its almost kittenish look as she set down a fresh bowl, “it is a rather friendly creature, when you get to know it.” The next time she visited, she glanced up at the tiger briefly and noticed what a lovely downturn of reddish fur it had from over one of its eyebrows to the next. Not a week later, the tiger allowed her to gently rub its head, and it purred and stretched like a house cat.

Then she knew the time had come. The next morning, very early, she brought with her a small knife. After she set down the fresh bowl and the tiger allowed her to pet its head, she said in a low voice: “Oh, my tiger, may I please have just one of your whiskers?” While petting the tiger with one hand, she held one whisker at its base and, with the other hand, in one quick stroke, she carved the whisker off. She stood up, speaking softly her thanks, and left, for the last time.

The next morning seemed endless. At last her husband left for the rice fields. She ran to the hermit’s hut, clutching the precious whisker in her fist. Bursting in, she cried to the hermit: “I have it! I have the tiger’s whisker!”

“You don’t say?” he said, turning around. “From a live tiger?”

“Yes!” she said.

“Tell me”, said the hermit, interested. “How did you do it?”

Yun Ok told the hermit how, for the last six months, she had earned the trust of the creature and it had finally permitted her to cut off one of its whiskers. With pride she handed him the whisker. The hermit examined it, satisfied himself that it was indeed a whisker from a live tiger, then flicked it into the fire where it sizzled and burned in an instant.

“Yun Ok”, the hermit said softly, “you no longer need the whisker. Tell me, is a man more vicious than a tiger? If a dangerous wild beast will respond to your gradual and patient care, do you think a man will respond any less willingly?”

Yun Ok stood speechless. Then she turned and stepped down the trail, turning over in her mind images of the tiger and of her husband, back and forth. She knew what she could do.

From: Rogerdarlington.me.uk.com. Source: Korean fable

Do You Worship God

 

Worship

downloaddownload (1)download (2)download (3)

Worship

From: My Utmost for HIs HIghest

He moved from there to the mountain east of Bethel, and he pitched his tent with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east; there he built an altar to the Lord and called on the name of the Lord —Genesis 12:8

Worship is giving God the best that He has given you. Be careful what you do with the best you have. Whenever you get a blessing from God, give it back to Him as a love-gift. Take time to meditate before God and offer the blessing back to Him in a deliberate act of worship. If you hoard it for yourself, it will turn into spiritual dry rot, as the manna did when it was hoarded (see Exodus 16:20). God will never allow you to keep a spiritual blessing completely for yourself. It must be given back to Him so that He can make it a blessing to others.Bethel is the symbol of fellowship with God; Ai is the symbol of the world. Abram “pitched his tent” between the two. The lasting value of our public service for God is measured by the depth of the intimacy of our private times of fellowship and oneness with Him. Rushing in and out of worship is wrong every time— there is always plenty of time to worship God. Days set apart for quiet can be a trap, detracting from the need to have daily quiet time with God. That is why we must “pitch our tents” where we will always have quiet times with Him, however noisy our times with the world may be. There are not three levels of spiritual life— worship, waiting, and work. Yet some of us seem to jump like spiritual frogs from worship to waiting, and from waiting to work. God’s idea is that the three should go together as one. They were always together in the life of our Lord and in perfect harmony. It is a discipline that must be developed; it will not happen overnight. 

The twelve gifts of Birth

From: AcademicTips.org

Once upon a time, a long time ago, when princes and princesses lived in faraway kingdoms, royal children were given twelve special gifts when they were born. You may have heard the stories. Twelve wise women of the kingdom, or fairy godmothers as they were often called, traveled swiftly to the castle whenever a new prince or princess came into the world. Each fairy godmother pronounced a noble gift upon the royal baby.

As time went on, the wise women came to understand that the twelve royal gifts of birth belong to every child, born anywhere at anytime. They yearned to proclaim the gifts to all children, but the customs of the land did not allow that.

One day when the wise women gathered together they made this prophecy:

Some day, all the children of the world will learn the truth about their noble inheritance. When that happens a miracle will unfold on the kingdom of Earth.

Some day is near. Here is the secret they want you to know.

At the wondrous moment you were born, as you took your first breath, a great celebration was held in the heavens and twelve magnificent gifts were granted to you.

1. Strength is the first gift. May you remember to call upon it whenever you need it.

2. Beauty is the second gift. May your deeds reflect its depth.

3. Courage is the third gift.May you speak and act with confidence and use courage to follow your own path.

4. Compassion is the fourth gift. May you be gentle with yourself and others. May you forgive those who hurt you and yourself when you make mistakes.

5. Hope is the fifth gift. Through each passage and season, may you trust the goodness of life.

6. Joy is the sixth gift. May it keep your heart open and filled with light.

7. Talent is the seventh gift. May you discover your own special abilities and contribute them toward a better world.

8. Imagination is the eighth gift. May it nourish your visions and dreams.

9. Reverence is the ninth gift. May you appreciate the wonder that you are and the miracle of all creation.

10. Wisdom is the tenth gift. Guiding your way, wisdom will lead you through knowledge to understanding. May you hear its soft voice.

11. Love is the eleventh gift. It will grow each time you give it away.

12. Faith is the twelfth gift. May you believe.

Now you know about your twelve gifts of birth. But there is more to the secret that the wise women knew. Use your gifts well and you will discover others, among them a gift that is uniquely you. See these noble gifts in other people. Share the truth and be ready for the miracle to unfold as the prophecy of the wise women comes true.

By Charlene Costanzo

 

The miracle of $1.11 – true story!

 

Tess was a precocious eight year old when she heard her Mom and Dad talking about her little brother, Andrew. All she knew was that he was very sick and they were completely out of money. They were moving to an apartment complex next month because Daddy didn’t have the money for the doctor bills and our house. Only a very costly surgery could save him now and it was looking like there was no-one to loan them the money. She heard Daddy say to her tearful Mother with whispered desperation, “Only a miracle can save him now.”

Tess went to her bedroom and pulled a glass jelly jar from its hiding place in the closet. She poured all the change out on the floor and counted it carefully. Three times, even. The total had to be exactly perfect. No chance here for mistakes. Carefully placing the coins back in the jar and twisting on the cap, she slipped out the back door and made her way 6 blocks to Rexall’s Drug Store with the big red Indian Chief sign above the door. She waited patiently for the pharmacist to give her some attention but he was too busy at this moment. Tess twisted her feet to make a scuffing noise. Nothing. She cleared her throat with the most disgusting sound she could muster. No good.

Finally she took a quarter from her jar and banged it on the glass counter. That did it!

“And what do you want?” the pharmacist asked in an annoyed tone of voice. “I’m talking to my brother from Chicago whom I haven’t seen in ages,” he said without waiting for a reply to his question.

“Well, I want to talk to you about my brother,” Tess answered back in the same annoyed tone. “He’s really, really sick… and I want to buy a miracle.”

“I beg your pardon?” said the pharmacist.

“His name is Andrew and he has something bad growing inside his head and my Daddy says only a miracle can save him now. So how much does a miracle cost?”

“We don’t sell miracles here, little girl. I’m sorry but I can’t help you,” the pharmacist said, softening a little. “Listen, I have the money to pay for it. If it isn’t enough, I will get the rest. Just tell me how much it costs.”

The pharmacist’s brother was a well dressed man. He stooped down and asked the little girl, “What kind of a miracle does you brother need?”

“I don’t know,” Tess replied with her eyes welling up. “I just know he’s really sick and Mommy says he needs an operation. But my Daddy can’t pay for it, so I want to use my money.”

“How much do you have?” asked the man from Chicago. “One dollar and eleven cents,” Tess answered barely audibly. “And it’s all the money I have, but I can get some more if I need to.

“Well, what a coincidence,” smiled the man. “A dollar and eleven cents – the exact price of a miracle for little brothers.” He took her money in one hand and with the other hand he grasped her mitten and said, “Take me to where you live. I want to see your brother and meet your parents. Let’s see if I have the kind of miracle you need.”

That well dressed man was Dr. Carlton Armstrong, a surgeon, specialising in neuro-surgery. The operation was completed without charge and it wasn’t long until Andrew was home again and doing well. Mom and Dad were happily talking about the chain of events that had led them to this place.

“That surgery,” her Mom whispered. “was a real miracle. I wonder how much it would have cost?”

Tess smiled. She knew exactly how much a miracle cost… one dollar and eleven cents … plus the faith of a little child.

Claimed to be a true story
Author Unknown

From Academictips.org.

Cause Joy Not Grief

 

Why Cause Grief?

 — by Dave Branon


Burmese
Chinese (Traditional)
Chinese (Simplified)
French
German
Indonesian
Japanese
Khmer (Cambodian)
Polish
Portuguese
Russian
Spanish
Thai
Vietnamese

Obey those who rule over you, . . . for they watch out for your souls. —Hebrews 13:17

Pastors make an easy target for criticism. Every week they are on display, carefully explaining God’s Word, challenging us toward Christlike living. But sometimes we look to find things to criticize. It’s easy to overlook all the good things a pastor does and focus on our personal opinions.

Like all of us, our pastors are not perfect. So I’m not saying that we should follow them blindly and never confront error through the proper channels. But some words from the writer of Hebrews may help us find the right way of thinking about our leaders who are presenting God’s truth and modeling servant leadership. The writer says, “Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account” (13:17 niv).

Think about that. Before God, our pastor is responsible for guiding us spiritually. We should want that burden to be joyous, not grievous. The passage indicates that causing grief for the pastor “would be of no benefit” (v.17 niv).

We honor God and make things better for our church when we give honor to those He has appointed as our leaders.

Our gracious Father, thank You for the person
You led to our church as pastor. May we provide
encouragement and support, and may You protect
our pastor from error in both word and actions.
Pastors who preach God’s Word need a good word from God’s people.

The fruit of suffering

From: Our Daily Journey

Luke 23:32-49

Jesus replied, “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43).

Read Romans 8:282 Corinthians 1:3-4, andGalatians 4:13 to see some examples of God redeeming suffering for the sake of others.

How might your suffering develop empathy in you for others who suffer? How might Jesus want to serve others through your pain?

“How are you doing now?” my friend asked as we walked down the path. The last time Adrian and I had spoken, I had told him that my wife and I were not able to have children and the pain this had brought us.

“On the whole,” I said, “we’re doing better. I guess we’re trying to focus on the upside of being childless and the opportunities it brings. You know, like being free to travel.” “Yes,” Adrian said, “although that can take you only so far.” We walked a little farther before he explained what he meant.

“There was no upside to Jesus’ suffering. His crucifixion was a dark, barbaric event. And Jesus never tried to find a positive side to it. Instead, He did something else entirely.” “Go on,” I said. “Have you ever noticed how many people Jesus ministered to as He hung on the cross?” Adrian asked. Then he said, “He ministered to His mother . . . ” “You mean, putting her in John’s care?” I inquired (John 19:26-27). “That’s right. He ministered to the thief crucified next to Him, and to the people who crucified Him (Luke 23:33-34,39-43). His death ministered to the Roman centurion who came to believe in Him (Luke 23:47), and He ministered to us—forgiving our sins through His sacrifice. All of this was done in the middle of Jesus’ suffering, before things came good at His resurrection.”

I thought deeply as we continued down the path.

“Yes, there may be some benefits in being childless, but you will also find it difficult and lonely. If you follow Jesus’ example, however, out of your suffering will come opportunities to minister to people in ways you otherwise couldn’t. For Jesus, crucifixion was a mission field. And with Him, the fruit of our suffering can be service to others too.”

Can You See Her?

From: Getmorestrength.org

Feb
16
2014

“and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.”Luke 7:38

For most of us, prostitution represents a rather repulsive aspect of the underbelly of society. Given our disdain for such a godless practice, my guess is that few of us have ever thought about the people trapped in the “industry,” let alone the thought of taking the love of Jesus to them. We are far more prone to think of prostitutes with Simon the Pharisee’s sanctimonious aloofness—an aloofness that Jesus never felt.

Simon, the “good” person in town, was repulsed by the prostitute who had gate-crashed his party. The text indicates that he watched with revulsion the outpouring of her love at Jesus’ feet. His buttoned-up, spit-polished religious life had shut her out. Jesus, on the other hand, extended love and forgiveness to her and welcomed her in. What a contrast!

Lisa DePalma is the founder of a ministry to prostitutes on the dark street corners of Chicago. I have been stunned by Lisa’s stories of her work with these shattered lives, and I’ve been gripped by her example of what it means to extend the heart and hands of Jesus to them. Always used and never loved, these prostitutes hear—some of them for the first time—that God has wonderfully loved them through the person of Jesus.

To those of us who have a hard time feeling love and compassion for this kind of woman, Lisa writes these pleading lines.

Can you see her? Will you let God show you?

Her face instead of her clothes? Her eyes instead of her body?

Can you see her? Will you let God show you?

She has a name instead of a label, a broken heart instead of a hard one

Can you see her? Will you let God show you?

The image of God instead of an object of scorn

Her worth to the Savior instead of her worthlessness to the world

Can you see her? Will you let God show you?

His heart of forgiveness instead of your heart that judges

His blood that covers instead of your rules that condemn

Can you see her? Will you let God show you?

And when you do see, what then?

What then? That’s a great question! Getting over a self-righteous, condemning attitude toward people who are not like us—and overtly sinful as well—is not an easy thing. Our “goodness” has a way of backfiring on us when we become proud that we are not like them and think of them as hopeless objects of God’s judgment—if indeed we think of them at all. The good guys in Jesus’ day were constantly shocked that He cared about sinners. But as He said, He came to seek and save those who are lost.

Getting over our infatuation with how good we are begins by asking ourselves if we want to be like standoffish Simon or like the compassionate Jesus. I choose Jesus! I’m tired of how I feel when I am self-righteous and proud. I find that following His lead to love the lost is a breath of fresh air in a stodgy and stagnant world of people who are taken with their own goodness.

 

 

True Love

True Love

From: OurDailyBread
Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. —John 15:13

During the rehearsal for my brother’s wedding ceremony, my husband snapped a picture of the bride and groom as they faced each other in front of the pastor. When we looked at the photograph later, we noticed that the camera’s flash had illuminated a metal cross in the background, which appeared as a glowing image above the couple.

The photograph reminded me that marriage is a picture of Christ’s love for the church as shown on the cross. When the Bible instructs husbands to love their wives (Eph. 5:25), God compares that kind of faithful, selfless affection to Christ’s love for His followers. Because Christ sacrificed His life for the sake of love, we are all to love each other (1 John 4:10-11). He died in our place, so that our sin would not keep us separate from God for eternity. He lived out His words to the disciples: “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” (John 15:13).

Many of us suffer from the pain of abandonment, rejection, and betrayal. Despite all of this, through Christ we can understand the sacrificial, compassionate, and enduring nature of true love. Today, remember that you are loved by God. Jesus said so with His life.

Nothing speaks more clearly of God’s love than the cross of Jesus.

The Blind Men and The Elephant

From: Academictips.org

A long time ago in the valley of the Brahmaputra River in India there lived six men who were much inclined to boast of their wit and lore. Though they were no longer young and had all been blind since birth, they would compete with each other to see who could tell the tallest story.

One day, however, they fell to arguing. The object of their dispute was the elephant. Now, since each was blind, none had ever seen that mighty beast of whom so many tales are told. So, to satisfy their minds and settle the dispute, they decided to go and seek out an elephant.

Having hired a young guide, Dookiram by name, they set out early one morning in single file along the forest track, each placing his hands on the back of the man in front. It was not long before they came to a forest clearing where a huge bull elephant, quite tame, was standing contemplating his menu for the day.

The six blind men became quite excited; at last they would satisfy their minds. Thus it was that the men took turns to investigate the elephant’s shape and form.

As all six men were blind, neither of them could see the whole elephant and approached the elephant from different directions. After encountering the elephant, each man proclaimed in turn:

“O my brothers,” the first man at once cried out, “it is as sure as I am wise that this elephant is like a great mud wall baked hard in the sun.”

“Now, my brothers,” the second man exclaimed with a cry of dawning recognition, “I can tell you what shape this elephant is – he is exactly like a spear.”

The others smiled in disbelief.

“Why, dear brothers, do you not see,” said the third man, “this elephant is very much like a rope,” he shouted.

“Ha, I thought as much,” the fourth man declared excitedly, “this elephant much resembles a serpent.”

The others snorted their contempt.

“Good gracious, brothers,” the fifth man called out, “even a blind man can see what shape the elephant resembles most. Why he’s mightily like a fan.”

At last, it was the turn of the sixth old fellow and he proclaimed, “This sturdy pillar, brothers, mine, feels exactly like the trunk of a great areca palm tree.”

Of course, no one believed him.

Their curiosity satisfied, they all linked hands and followed the guide, Dookiram, back to the village. Once there, seated beneath a waving palm, the six blind men began disputing loud and long. Each now had his own opinion, firmly based on his own experience, of what an elephant is really like. For after all, each had felt the elephant for himself and knew that he was right!

And so indeed he was. For depending on how the elephant is seen, each blind man was partly right, though all were in the wrong.

The Alphabet Of Happiness

From: Academictips.org

The Alphabet:
A – ACCEPTAccept others for who they are and for the choices they’ve made even if you have difficulty understanding their beliefs, motives, or actions.
B – BREAK AWAYBreak away from everything that stands in the way of what you hope to accomplish with your life.
C – CREATECreate a family of friends whom you can share your hopes, dreams, sorrows, and happiness with.
D – DECIDEDecide that you’ll be successful and happy come what may, and good things will find you. The roadblocks are only minor obstacles along the way.
E – EXPLOREExplore and experiment. The world has much to offer, and you have much to give. And every time you try something new, you’ll learn more about yourself.
F – FORGIVEForgive and forget. Grudges only weigh you down and inspire unhappiness and grief. Soar above it, and remember that everyone makes mistakes.
G – GROWLeave the childhood monsters behind. They can no longer hurt you or stand in your way.
H – HOPEHope for the best and never forget that anything is possible as long as you remain dedicated to the task.
I – IGNOREIgnore the negative voice inside your head. Focus instead on your goals and remember your accomplishments. Your past success is only a small inkling of what the future holds.
J – JOURNEYJourney to new worlds, new possibilities, by remaining open-minded. Try to learn something new every day, an you’ll grow.
K – KNOWKnow that no matter how bad things seem, they’ll always get better. The warmth of spring always follows the harshest winter.
L – LOVELet love fill your heart instead of hate. When hate is in your heart, there’s room for nothing else, but when love is in your heart, there’s room for endless happiness.
M – MANAGEManage your time and your expenses wisely, and you’ll suffer less stress and worry. Then you’ll be able to focus on the important things in life.
N – NOTICENever ignore the poor, infirm, helpless, weak, or suffering. Offer your assistance when possible, and always your kindness and understanding.
O – OPENOpen your eyes and take in all the beauty around you. Even during the worst of times, there’s still much to be thankful for.
P – PLAYNever forget to have fun along the way. Success means nothing without happiness.
Q – QUESTIONAsk many questions, because you’re here to learn.
R – RELAXRefuse to let worry and stress rule your life, and remember that things always have a way of working out in the end.
S – SHAREShare your talent, skills, knowledge, and time with others. Everything that you invest in others will return to you many times over.
T – TRYEven when your dreams seem impossible to reach, try anyway. You’ll be amazed by what you can accomplish.
U – USEUse your gifts to your best ability. Talent that’s wasted has no value. Talent that’s used bill bring unexpected rewards.
V – VALUEValue the friends and family members who’ve supported and encouraged you, and be there for them as well.
W – WORKWork hard every day to be the best person you can be, but never feel guilty if you fall short of your goals. Every sunrise offers a second chance.
X – X-RAYLook deep inside the hearts of those around you and you’ll see the goodness and beauty within.
Y – YIELDYield to commitment. If you stay on track and remain dedicated, you’ll find success at the end of the road.
Z – ZOOMZoom to a happy place when bad memories or sorrow rears its ugly head. Let nothing interfere with your goals. Instead, focus on your abilities, your dreams, and a brighter tomorrow.

Author Unknown

 

Can’t Wait

From: Getmorestrength.org

“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” John 14:3

Hey, for you guys out there who have forgotten, it’s Valentine’s Day! Hopefully you still have time to pick up something special for the love of your life. (And you don’t even have to tell her that I reminded you!)

The love of my life, of course, is my wife, Martie. I remember so clearly the summer before our senior year of college when I finally summoned up the nerve to ask her to marry me. We had been dating for a couple of years and ended up working in different states over the summer. I spent the summer working at home in New Jersey, and she was up in the Adirondack Mountains serving at a Christian conference center. That struck a little panic in my soul. She would not only be away from me, but she would be surrounded by tanned lifeguards and well-abbed water-ski instructors! I knew in order to seal the deal I would need to take some action.

I pulled together the cash to buy her an engagement ring and climbed into my little Volkswagen to trek up to the conference grounds. The whole way there I was a mixture of nerves and excitement, anticipating the moment that I would pop the question! When I arrived at the conference, however, I discovered that our college president was there as the featured speaker. And, in an act of goodwill, he decided to take all of us students out for pie and ice cream after the evening session. Normally, I would have been delighted to be out for dessert with our college president. But that evening all I could think of was, “I can’t wait to get her out of here!” I had bigger plans and a better agenda for the evening. I wasn’t interested in snacks—I wanted to get Martie out of there so I could propose and spend the rest of my life with her!

Recently, as I was reading John 14:3, it struck me—Jesus can’t wait to get us out of here so He can spend eternity with us. In fact, one of the key metaphors used to describe His relationship with the church is the picture of a groom waiting for his bride. With that in mind, you can almost feel the sense of urgency and anticipation in His voice when He assures us: “I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”

The timing of Christ’s return, while unknown to us, is perfectly on schedule with God’s sovereign plan. Why would God wait if He really wants to be with us? He waits to allow additional people to hear the life-transforming message of forgiveness and new life in Jesus (2 Peter 3:9). And yet I can’t help but think that Jesus, longing to be reunited with you, says to Himself, “I can’t wait to get them out of there!” His agenda is far greater, far more thrilling, and infinitely better than whatever we have planned on this earth.

If Martie had known what was coming that evening, it would have made her just as anxious and excited as I was to get out of there. It would have affected her whole perspective. And here’s the amazing thing: When it comes to Christ’s return for us, we’re in on the secret! We don’t know the time, but we know the promise—He’s coming back, and He can’t wait! The thrill of the prospect of it all should transform the way we live each day. There should be a sense of holy discontent and a constant longing for what we have ahead of us.

Encouragement

 


encouragement

Inspire21.com

“How do you know if a man needs encouragement? If he is breathing.”
– Truett Cathy, Founder, Chick-fil-A

With so many people in the world telling us we can’t succeed, we need to hear people telling us we can. I remember my high school English teacher telling me not to apply to Cornell University because they wouldn’t accept me and even if they did I wouldn’t be able to do the work. (It’s funny that I’m a writer now). I almost didn’t apply but a few days later I saw Ivan Goldfarb, a former teacher, in the hallway and asked him about Cornell. He said, “If you get in, then you go. You can do it.” His words made all the difference. I applied, was accepted and majored in Lacrosse :).

Too often we think it’s our role to inject a dose of “reality” into someone’s life. We think it’s our job to protect people from the pain of failure and defeat. We think we must point out how bad the economy is and how horrible the job market is and how the sky is falling. We think that dreams were meant for others.

I say there are enough pessimists and “realists” in the world. The world doesn’t need more negativity and impossible thinkers. The world needs more optimists, encouragers, and inspirers. The world needs more people to speak into the hearts of others and say “I believe in you.” “Follow your passion and live your purpose.” “If you have the desire then you also have the power to make it happen.” “Keep working hard.” “You’re improving and getting better. Keep it up.” “The economy is tough but you can still grow your business.” “The job market is not great but I believe you’ll find the right job for you.” “We’ve hit a lot of obstacles but we’ll get the project finished.” “Even if you fail it will lead to something even better.” “You’re learning and growing.”

When it comes to encouragement I know that everyone of us loves working for and with people who bring out the best in us. We love being around people who uplift us and make us feel great. And while we’ll always remember the negative people who told us we couldn’t accomplish something, we will always cherish and hold a special place in our heart for those who encouraged us.

Today I want to encourage you to be an encourager. So often the difference between success and failure is belief. And so often that belief is instilled in us by someone who encouraged us. Leadership, after all, is a transfer of belief.

Today decide to be that person who instills a positive belief in someone who needs to hear your encouraging words. Uplift someone who is feeling down. Fuel your team with your positive energy. Rally others to focus on what is possible rather than what seems impossible. Share encouragement. It matters and we all need it

 

Streams In The Desert

As soon as the soles of the feet of the priests… shall rest in the waters… the waters shall be cut off (Joshua 3:13).

The people were not to wait in their camps until the way was opened, they were to walk by faith. They were to break camp, pack up their goods, form in line to march, and move down to the very banks before the river would be opened.

If they had come down to the edge of the river and then had stopped for the stream to divide before they stepped into it, they would have waited in vain. They must take one step into the water before the river would be cut off.

We must learn to take God at His Word, and go straight on in duty, although we see no way in which we can go forward. The reason we are so often balked by difficulties is that we expect to see them removed before we try to pass through them.

If we would move straight on in faith, the path would be opened for us. We stand still, waiting for the obstacle to be removed, when we ought to go forward as if there were no obstacles.
–Evening Thoughts

What a lesson Columbus gave to the world of perseverance in the face of tremendous difficulties!

Behind him lay the gray Azores,
Behind the gates of Hercules;
Before him not the ghost of shores,
Before him only shoreless seas.
The good Mate said: “Now we must pray,
For lo! the very stars are gone.
Brave Admiral, speak, what shall I say?”
“Why, say, ‘Sail on! sail on! and on!'”
“My men grow mutinous day by day;
My men grow ghastly wan and weak!”
The stout Mate thought of home; a spray
Of salt wave washed his swarthy cheek.
“What shall I say, brave Admiral, say,
If we sight naught but seas at dawn?”
“Why, you shall say at break of day,
‘Sail on! sail on! sail on! and on!'”
They sailed. They sailed. Then spake the Mate:
“This mad sea shows its teeth tonight.
He curls his lip, he lies in wait,
With lifted teeth, as if to bite!
Brave Admiral, say but one good word;
What shall we do when hope is gone?”
The words leapt like a leaping sword:
“Sail on! sail on! sail on! and on!”
Then, pale and worn, he kept his deck
And peered through darkness. Ah! that night
Of all dark nights! And then a speck–
A light! A light! A light! A light!
It grew, a starlit flag unfurled!
It grew to be Time’s burst of dawn.
He gained a world; he gave that world

Its grandest lesson: “On! sail on!”
–Joaquin Miller

Faith that goes forward triumphs.

 

February 11, 2014

Crosswalk.com

Creative Reminders to Pray
Wendy Pope

“I will pray morning, noon, and night, pleading aloud with God; and he will hear and answer.” Psalm 55:17 (TLB)

Why is it so easy to remember every word to my favorite 80’s songs, but so hard to remember to pray for others?

There have been many times when I’ve told a friend, “Yes, I will pray for you.” Then time goes by and that promise slips my mind. Guilt fills my heart as days later I remember the forgotten prayerrequest.

My heart’s desire is to pray with purpose for each person and every need because I know God listens. The psalmist knew this too, and wrote these words in Psalm 55:17, “I will pray morning, noon, and night, pleading aloud with God; and he will hear and answer.”

That’s my intention too. Unfortunately, life’s busy schedule and my dwindling memory keep me from praying the way I want to.

So I asked the Lord to help me in this area. And He answered that prayer in an unusual way.

For some strange reason, I have the uncanny ability to remember the make and model of my friends’ cars. God used this ability to help me generate prayer prompters. Seeing the make and model of a friend’s car prompts me to pray for them.

But God didn’t stop there. He also showed me how to use other prayer prompters besides cars. Maybe my list will help you generate your own prayer prompts.

• A red Honda minivan: Renee Swope and family (She used to drive one)
• When my ears ring: Lysa TerKeurst (She had some damage to one ear)
• Leopard print: Lisa Allen (She loves leopard print)
• Purple, especially pens: Sharon Sloan (She loves purple)
• Fog or low lying clouds: Kristi Butler (We call low lying clouds the glory of the Lord)
• Wonderful, Merciful Savior: My former pastor (It is one of his favorite songs)

There are many ways we can remember to pray. Enter prayer requests as an appointment on your phone with an alarm to remind you. Write names and requests on a calendar to pray on specific days for specific people. Keep a notebook with you and record prayer requests.

Prayer prompts make it easier to pray morning, noon and night as the psalmist did. We can use red minivans or reminders on the calendar. Whenever the Holy Spirit prompts us to pray, God will hear and answer. Our prayers don’t have to be long, with big and lofty words. We just have to remember and pray with a sincere heart.

Dear Lord, I know that You hear and answer prayers morning, noon and night. Help me to be faithful to pray. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

Get Strength From God

 

Simposious Can Help You 

Vous pouvez maintenant lire ce site dans votre langue. Il suffit d’aller touche à traduire. Merci.  Vous pouvez utiliser le bouton Google translate ci-dessus également.

Теперь вы можете читать этот сайт на вашем языке. Просто зайдите кнопку, чтобы перевести. Спасибо.   Вы можете использовать кнопку Google Translate выше, также.

 

The Cost of Sanctification
From: My Utmost For His Highest

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

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

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