Arise With Joy To Serve Christ

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Image result for pictures of people getting up in the morning
Image result for pictures of people getting up in the morning
Image result for pictures of people getting up in the morning
Image result for pictures of people getting up in the morning
Image result for pictures of people getting up in the morning

The Inspiration of Spiritual Initiative

From: Utmost.org

Not all initiative, the willingness to take the first step, is inspired by God. Someone may say to you, “Get up and get going! Take your reluctance by the throat and throw it overboard— just do what needs to be done!” That is what we mean by ordinary human initiative. But when the Spirit of God comes to us and says, in effect, “Get up and get going,” suddenly we find that the initiative is inspired.

We all have many dreams and aspirations when we are young, but sooner or later we realize we have no power to accomplish them. We cannot do the things we long to do, so our tendency is to think of our dreams and aspirations as dead. But God comes and says to us, “Arise from the dead….” When God sends His inspiration, it comes to us with such miraculous power that we are able to “arise from the dead” and do the impossible. The remarkable thing about spiritual initiative is that the life and power comes after we “get up and get going.” God does not give us overcoming life— He gives us life as we overcome. When the inspiration of God comes, and He says, “Arise from the dead…,” we have to get ourselves up; God will not lift us up. Our Lord said to the man with the withered hand, “Stretch out your hand” (Matthew 12:13). As soon as the man did so, his hand was healed. But he had to take the initiative. If we will take the initiative to overcome, we will find that we have the inspiration of God, because He immediately gives us the power of life.

Can You See Her?

From: Getmorestrength

“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.

 

A Limit To Affliction

From: Streams in the Desert

Though I have afflicted thee, I will afflict thee no more (Nahum 1:12).

There is a limit to affliction. God sends it, and removes it. Do you sigh and say, “When will the end be?” Let us quietly wait and patiently endure the will of the Lord till He cometh. Our Father takes away the rod when His design in using it is fully served.
If the affliction is sent for testing us, that our graces may glorify God, it will end when the Lord has made us bear witness to His praise.
We would not wish the affliction to depart until God has gotten out of us all the honor which we can possibly yield Him. There may be today ” a great calm.” Who knows how soon those raging billows will give place to a sea of glass and the sea birds sit on the gentle waves?
After long tribulation, the flail is hung up, and the wheat rests in the garner. We may, before many hours are past, be just as happy as now we are sorrowful.
It is not hard for the Lord to turn night into day. He that sends the clouds can as easily clear the skies. Let us be of good cheer. It is better farther on. Let us sing Hallelujah by anticipation.
–C.H. Spurgeon
The great Husbandman is not always threshing. Trial is only for a season. The showers soon pass. Weeping may tarry only for the few hours of the short summer night; it must be gone at day break. Our light affliction is but for a moment. Trial is for a purpose, “If needs be.”
The very fact of trial proves that there is something in us very precious to our Lord; else He would not spend so much pains and time on us. Christ would not test us if He did not see the precious ore of faith mingled in the rocky matrix of our nature; and it is to bring this out into purity and beauty that He forces us through the fiery ordeal.
Be patient, O sufferer!  The result will more than compensate for all our trials, when we see how they wrought out the far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. To have one word of God’s commendation; to be honored before the holy angels; to be glorified in Christ, so as to be better able to flash His glory on Himself-ah! that will more than repay for all.
–Tried by Fire
As the wights of the clock, or the ballast in the vessel, are necessary for their right orderings, so is trouble in the soul-life. The sweetest scents are only obtained by tremendous pressure; the fairest flowers grow amid Alpine snow-solitudes; the fairest gems have suffered longest from the lapidary’s wheel; the noblest statues have borne most blows of the chisel. All, however, are under law. Nothing happens that has not been appointed with consummate care and foresight.
–Daily Devotional Commentary

February 16

From: Through the Bible

Exodus 28:30 (NIV) 30Also put the Urim and the Thummim in the breastpiece, so they may be over Aaron’s heart whenever he enters the presence of the LORD. Thus Aaron will always bear the means of making decisions for the Israelites over his heart before the LORD.

The LORD gave Moses detailed instructions for the Tabernacle (a mobile house of worship) and all its furniture and instruments. The priests had special clothing that they were to wear when they ministered. The High Priest had a breastpiece that had twelve stones representing the twelve tribes of Israel. We do not know the details of the Urim and Thummim, but they are believed to be two additional stones that were used to determine the LORD’s will. Since the Spirit of God came upon people, but did not live in their hearts until Pentecost, the people needed some way to determine the LORD’s leading. Some believe that these stones would glow, one for a ‘yes’ answer, the other for a ‘no’ answer. They were worn over his heart.

Some people today would love to have the Urim and Thummim. I often hear people say, “If God would just send me a fax, it would be so much easier.” God desires us to have an intimate relationship with Him. I’m grateful I live in a day when I do not have to consult a stone, but instead have the Spirit of God living in my heart. If I have been walking in communion with Him, the answer is always clear and very personal. I get a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ or no glow at all in my heart. No glow at all means I’m not ready to know the answer, or I’m asking the wrong question and need not worry about it now. That is the time when people would like that fax from God. But God is telling us, “Trust me! I know what is best and will tell you when you need to know.” His “not now” answer should be sufficient for us. Trust Him!

Consider: God can speak to your heart when you need an answer as long as you genuinely desire to know His will.

Evening

February 16

Matthew 8:25-27 (NIV) 25The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” 26He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. 27The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”

In a recent low water level of the Kinneseret Lake, a boat dating back to the first century was found preserved in the mud. Archeologists know it was a Jewish boat from that time because there are murals remaining to this day of those boats. If this is the same kind that Jesus and His disciples were in, twelve people would have made a very full boat. There was a quarterdeck up front, under which the nets could be stored. Jesus was probably under there sleeping on the nets. He was an early riser. Before the day got going, He got His instructions and fellowship with His Father. He must have been wiped out physically to have slept through the storm. Jesus was an all out kind of person.

This seems like another one of Satan’s attempts to stop Jesus. Other Gospels tell us that He was on His way to the Gentile region of Decapolis. The Gospel was going to make great advances there. We can expect resistance when we are obeying the will of the Father. The Jews considered the depths of that lake to be the Abyss. To think they might drown was more than just a fear of death. They woke Jesus and pleaded for Him to save them.

Jesus first rebuked them for their lack of faith. The rebuke was not that they did not do what He was about to do, but that they feared. Faith believes that God is greater than any difficulty or situation we find ourselves in. Jesus’ chosen ones need never fear. Their Shepherd is greater than all. Then he rebuked the wind and waves, and there was a complete calm. What kind of man is this? What is your answer? It has a great deal to do with whether you will have fear or faith. If your answer is, “He is my Savior, Creator, Master, and friend!”, then you need never fear what comes your way.

Consider: Go ahead, ask yourself what kind of man creation obeys.

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