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One Day Drudgery Will End

 

  • (pictures of drudgery and toil)

Taking the Initiative Against Drudgery

From: My Utmost For HIs HIghest

Arise, shine . . . —Isaiah 60:1

When it comes to taking the initiative against drudgery, we have to take the first step as though there were no God. There is no point in waiting for God to help us— He will not. But once we arise, immediately we find He is there. Whenever God gives us His inspiration, suddenly taking the initiative becomes a moral issue— a matter of obedience. Then we must act to be obedient and not continue to lie down doing nothing. If we will arise and shine, drudgery will be divinely transformed.

Drudgery is one of the finest tests to determine the genuineness of our character. Drudgery is work that is far removed from anything we think of as ideal work. It is the utterly hard, menial, tiresome, and dirty work. And when we experience it, our spirituality is instantly tested and we will know whether or not we are spiritually genuine. Read John 13. In this chapter, we see the Incarnate God performing the greatest example of drudgery— washing fishermen’s feet. He then says to them, “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet” (John 13:14). The inspiration of God is required if drudgery is to shine with the light of God upon it. In some cases the way a person does a task makes that work sanctified and holy forever. It may be a very common everyday task, but after we have seen it done, it becomes different. When the Lord does something through us, He always transforms it. Our Lord takes our human flesh and transforms it, and now every believer’s body has become “the temple of the Holy Spirit”

 

 

And every branch that beareth fruit he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit (John 15:2).

A child of God was dazed by the variety of afflictions which seemed to make her their target. Walking past a vineyard in the rich autumnal glow she noticed the untrimmed appearance and the luxuriant wealth of leaves on the vines, that the ground was given over to a tangle of weeds and grass, and that the whole place looked utterly uncared for; and as she pondered, the Heavenly Gardener whispered so precious a message that she would fain pass it on:

“My dear child, are you wondering at the sequence of trials in your life? Behold that vineyard and learn of it. The gardener ceases to prune, to trim, to harrow, or to pluck the ripe fruit only when he expects nothing more from the vine during that season. It is left to itself, because the season of fruit is past and further effort for the present would yield no profit. Comparative uselessness is the condition of freedom from suffering. Do you then wish me to cease pruning your life? Shall I leave you alone?”

And the comforted heart cried, “No!”
–Homera Homer-Dixon

It is the branch that bears the fruit,
That feels the knife,
To prune it for a larger growth,
A fuller life.
Though every budding twig be lopped,
And every grace
Of swaying tendril, springing leaf,
Be lost a space.
O thou whose life of joy seems reft,
Of beauty shorn;
Whose aspirations lie in dust,
All bruised and torn,
Rejoice, tho’ each desire, each dream,
Each hope of thine
Shall fall and fade; it is the hand
Of Love Divine
That holds the knife, that cuts and breaks
With tenderest touch,
That thou, whose life has borne some fruit

May’st now bear much.
–Annie Johnson Flint

 

Live so That …
Wendy Blight

From: Crosswalk.com

“He died for us so that we will all live, not for ourselves, but for Him who died and rose from the dead.” 2 Corinthians 5:15 (The Voice)

As I stood in the kitchen of our new house, gut-wrenching loneliness swept over me. My heart ached for all that was familiar. Doubts plagued my mind. Had we made a mistake? Did we really hear God? Was this really His plan?

We had just moved from Dallas, Texas to Charlotte, North Carolina, but moving had not been on our original agenda. It meant leaving an amazing circle of friends, a wonderful church family and great jobs. But we both felt God calling us away from Dallas, away from all that was comfortable and familiar. In fact, He orchestrated circumstances in such a way that we could not not move to Charlotte. But it was still unclear why He brought us here.

Although Jesus was clear about His mission, I wonder if He experienced similar sensations of loneliness and heartache as He left all that was familiar to follow God’s plan.

Jesus willingly consented to His Father’s plan and did the incomprehensible. The One who was rich in everything became poor, making Himself nothing. He assumed our debt of sin and paid it with His very life so that you and I could become beloved children of God.

And His sacrifice, when accepted by us, gives us not only new life but also a new role in life!

Our key verse from 2 Corinthians teaches that Jesus died so that we will live … not for ourselves but for the One who died for us. And when we read a bit further in 2 Corinthians, verse 20 clarifies our role: “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors …” (NIV).

Ambassadors are connectors. They connect the lives of those they represent with the lives of those in their sphere of influence. And to be effective, the chosen appointees must live so that people are drawn to and find favor with them and those they represent.

Friend, we too are ambassadors. We are ambassadors appointed by Christ, not by a nation or an organization. God intentionally placed us on this earth to live for Him.

What a privilege and honor to be hand-picked by God to live fully engaged lives in this generation, in our communities, in our neighborhoods and in our families so that He can use us to shine His love and light!

It took time, but I came to understand that God had not abandoned me years ago when we moved. He intentionally placed me in that home and neighborhood to be His ambassador. He brought friends into my life who invited me to my first Bible study. He gave me an insatiable hunger for His Word that led to teaching and writing Bible studies. He continues to open doors for me to speak and write for Him.

God had a plan that day in the kitchen that I could not see. And He faithfully equipped me through the years so that I could live out that plan … so that I could impact my sphere of influence and represent Him well.

Will you join me in being an ambassador? Together let’s invite God to help us live a so that life … a life that truly makes a difference for the Kingdom of God.

Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of Your amazing grace … a gift that gives me new life. Help me to live a “so that” life, one that pours out Your love and grace. Equip me with all I need to be Your ambassador. Father, I want to represent You well. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Devotional Thoughts

 

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Canceled Christmas

 — by Anne Cetas
Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
Joseph and His mother marveled at those things which were spoken of [Jesus]. —Luke 2:33
Bible in a Year:
Amos 1-3; Revelation 6

We felt as if our Christmas was being canceled last year. Actually, our flight to see family in Missouri was canceled due to snow. It’s been our tradition for quite a few years to celebrate Christmas with them, so we were greatly disappointed when we only got as far as Minnesota and had to return home to Michigan.

On Sunday, in a message we would have missed, our pastor spoke about expectations for Christmas. He caught my attention when he said, “If our expectations for Christmas are gifts and time with family, we have set our expectations too low. Those are enjoyable and things we’re thankful for, but Christmas is the celebration of the coming of Christ and His redemption.”

Simeon and Anna celebrated the coming of Jesus and His salvation when Joseph and Mary brought Him to the temple as a baby (Luke 2:25-38). Simeon, a man who was told by the Spirit that he would not die before he saw the Messiah, declared: “My eyes have seen Your salvation” (v.30). When Anna, a widow who served God, saw Jesus, she “spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem” (v.38).

We may experience disappointments or heartache during the Christmas season, but Jesus and His salvation always give us reason to celebrate.

How wonderful that we on Christmas morn
Though centuries have passed since Christ was born,
May worship still the Living Lord of men,
Our Savior, Jesus, Babe of Bethlehem. —Hutchings
Jesus is always the reason to celebrate.

Celebrate Winter

[Written by Joe Stowell for Our Daily Bread.]

Dec
15
2013

“Why are you cast down, O my soul? . . . Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance.Psalm 42:5

I love living where there are four seasons. But even though I love settling down with a good book by a crackling fire when it’s snowing, I must admit that my love for the seasons grows a little dim when the long gray days of winter drone on into February.

Yet regardless of the weather, there is always something special about winter: Christmas! Thankfully, long after the decorations are down, the reality of Christmas still lifts my spirits no matter what’s happening.

If it weren’t for the reality of Christ’s birth, not only would winter be dark and dreary, but our hearts would be bleak and have nothing to hope for. No hope for the freedom from guilt and judgment. No hope of His reassuring and strengthening presence through dark and difficult times. No hope for a future secured in heaven.

In the winter of a troubled life, the psalmist asked, “Why are you cast down, O my soul?” The remedy was clear: “Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance”.

In C. S. Lewis’ tales of Narnia, Mr. Tumnus complains that in Narnia it is “always winter and never Christmas.” But for those of us who know the God who made the seasons, it is always Christmas in our hearts!  —Joe Stowell

When our lives are heavy laden,
Cold and bleak as winter long,
Stir the embers in our hearts, Lord;
Make Your flame burn bright and strong.  —Kieda

Let the reality of Christmas chase away the blahs of winter.

 

“Approved to God”

12
15
2013

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth —2 Timothy 2:15

If you cannot express yourself well on each of your beliefs, work and study until you can. If you don’t, other people may miss out on the blessings that come from knowing the truth. Strive to re-express a truth of God to yourself clearly and understandably, and God will use that same explanation when you share it with someone else. But you must be willing to go through God’s winepress where the grapes are crushed. You must struggle, experiment, and rehearse your words to express God’s truth clearly. Then the time will come when that very expression will become God’s wine of strength to someone else. But if you are not diligent and say, “I’m not going to study and struggle to express this truth in my own words; I’ll just borrow my words from someone else,” then the words will be of no value to you or to others. Try to state to yourself what you believe to be the absolute truth of God, and you will be allowing God the opportunity to pass it on through you to someone else.

Always make it a practice to stir your own mind thoroughly to think through what you have easily believed. Your position is not really yours until you make it yours through suffering and study. The author or speaker from whom you learn the most is not the one who teaches you something you didn’t know before, but the one who helps you take a truth with which you have quietly struggled, give it expression, and speak it clearly and boldly.

Present In The Storms

 

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Present in the Storms

Simposious presents the Sunday Devotion from the Upper Room for your devotional reading.

Read Mark 4:35-41

Jesus said, “Go and make disciples of all the nations . . . teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

– Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV)

Lightning dashed across the sky and struck the ground in front and behind us. The rains deluged us as we strode the hilly and rocky five-mile path. Drenched in the five-hour nonstop downpour, we sang and prayed. Our church had decided to obey the Great Commission by preaching God’s word to one of the villages across the hill. We were returning from this evangelistic journey, bursting with joy for the way the Lord had opened the hearts of the people. Then suddenly, our elation turned into fear and apprehension when the dreaded storm began to pound us. Didn’t the Lord promise to be with us until the end of the age? I asked myself. Why is God allowing our lives to be threatened by this storm when we are taking the gospel to the lost? As these thoughts dashed through my mind, the part of the message in the Great Commission that says, “I am with you always, to the very end of the age” expanded in meaning for me. I realized that God’s promise to be with us until the end of the age does not guarantee that there will be no difficulties as we proclaim the message. But, in the midst of the storm, our Lord is there with us.

From: Devotional, UpperRoom. org.