Category Archives: aging

When Jesus Has Come

Revelation 19:11-21

Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. …

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“When He Has Come”

By Oswald Chambers

Very few of us know anything about conviction of sin. We know the experience of being disturbed because we have done wrong things. But conviction of sin by the Holy Spirit blots out every relationship on earth and makes us aware of only one— “Against You, You only, have I sinned…” (Psalm 51:4). When a person is convicted of sin in this way, he knows with every bit of his conscience that God would not dare to forgive him. If God did forgive him, then this person would have a stronger sense of justice than God. God does forgive, but it cost the breaking of His heart with grief in the death of Christ to enable Him to do so. The great miracle of the grace of God is that He forgives sin, and it is the death of Jesus Christ alone that enables the divine nature to forgive and to remain true to itself in doing so. It is shallow nonsense to say that God forgives us because He is love. Once we have been convicted of sin, we will never say this again. The love of God means Calvary— nothing less! The love of God is spelled out on the Cross and nowhere else. The only basis for which God can forgive me is the Cross of Christ. It is there that His conscience is satisfied.

Forgiveness doesn’t merely mean that I am saved from hell and have been made ready for heaven (no one would accept forgiveness on that level). Forgiveness means that I am forgiven into a newly created relationship which identifies me with God in Christ. The miracle of redemption is that God turns me, the unholy one, into the standard of Himself, the Holy One. He does this by putting into me a new nature, the nature of Jesus Christ.

 

The Gift of the Spirit

The Gift of the Spirit

Read:

Titus 3:3-8
He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5).

Many of us, perhaps unconsciously, try to win the love of God. We endeavor to be better people, to do more to spread His love and grace, to work harder. But God doesn’t love us because of the things we accomplish for Him; He loves us “because of his mercy” (Titus 3:5), as Paul wrote to Titus while he ministered on the island of Crete.

Because of His love for us, God helps us to live for Him through the power of the Spirit. Through faith, believers receive a “new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5). Indeed, God generously pours “out the Spirit upon us” through Christ (Titus 3:6). Through this gift of the Spirit, we have been made right in His sight. We can trust that God will keep His promise that we will “inherit eternal life” (Titus 3:7).

The gift of the Spirit isn’t only for the restored world to come, but for our life on earth now. We can experience the Spirit now as our Comforter and Advocate (John 14:16). As our Teacher (1 John 2:27), the Spirit also leads us to truth and convicts us of sin (John 16:8,13). And when we don’t know how to pray, “The Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness,” pleading for us “in harmony with God’s own will” (Romans 8:26-27).

When you look over the past couple of weeks, can you discern the presence of the Holy Spirit? Maybe you felt inexplicable peace enter your heart when you were feeling anxious. Maybe you experienced renewed strength when you were feeling out of your depth, or a sense of being guided when you were reading the Bible. Or perhaps you simply understood that you didn’t need to do anything to win God’s love.

May we open our hearts to welcome the work of the Spirit in our lives today!

 

All-sufficiency magnified

From: Charles Spurgeon, Author

“I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

Suggested Further Reading: Acts 22:6-16

Christians, beware lest that village in which you have found a quiet retreat from the cares of business, should rise up in judgment against you, to condemn you, because, having means and opportunity, you use the village for rest, but never seek to do any good in it. Take care, masters and mistresses, lest your servant’s souls be required of you at the last great day. “I worked for my master;” they say, “he paid me my wages, but had no respect to his greater Master, and never spoke to me, though he heard me swear, and saw me going on in my sins.” If I could I would thrust a thorn into the seat where you are now sitting, and make you spring up for a moment to the dignity of a thought of your responsibilities. Why, sirs, what has God made you for? What has he sent you here for? Did he make stars that should not shine, and suns that should give no light, and moons that should not cheer the darkness? Has he made rivers that shall not be filled with water, and mountains that shall not stay the clouds? Has he made even the forests which shall not give a habitation to the birds; or has he made the prairie which shall not feed the wild flocks? And has he made thee for nothing? Why, man, the nettle in the corner of the churchyard has its uses, and the spider on the wall serves her Maker; and you, a man in the image of God, a blood-bought man, a man who is in the path and track to heaven, a man regenerated, twice created, are you made for nothing at all but to buy and to sell, to eat and to drink, to wake and to sleep, to laugh and to weep, to live to yourself?

For meditation: The Christian—chosen to do (John 15:16), created to do (Ephesians 2:10), commanded to do (1 Corinthians 10:31), continue to do (Galatians 6:9,10). What?

Christ Has Risen

Luke 24:5-7

Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, saying, ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.’ ”

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He’s Not There

He’s Not There

Read:

Luke 24:1-8
Then the men asked, “Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive?” (Luke 24:5).

My dad passed away several years ago from pancreatic cancer. I remember that when we arrived at the graveside for a private family burial, the funeral director was waiting there with my dad’s cremated ashes. It was the first time we had seen the small urn that housed his remains. I suddenly became overwhelmed with grief. A caring family member looked me in the eye and quietly spoke these simple but reassuring words, “Remember, Dad’s not there.”

As I think back to that day, my mind goes to another graveside scene. It was early in the morning, still dark outside. A few women had gone to the tomb that housed the body of their dear friend and Lord—Jesus. But when they entered the tomb, they discovered that His body was gone (Luke 24:1-3).

Suddenly, “two men . . . clothed in dazzling robes” appeared to them and said, “Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive? He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead!” (Luke 24:4-6).

I know I’m going to see my dad again. Because of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, a day is coming when we’re going to be reunited—never to be separated again. And even though I still visit Dad’s grave on occasion (along with my mother’s—next to his), I know I can’t find him now—because he’s not there.

But the same isn’t true for Jesus; I can find Him. He rose from His grave. And because He’s alive, anyone who seeks Him today can know Him. He’s our Sovereign Creator, our ruling King, and our gracious Savior who reveals Himself to those who look for Him “wholeheartedly” (Jeremiah 29:13). He alone can provide the peace, hope, and comfort that sustains us in the dark valleys of life.

 

Winning into Freedom

By Oswald Chambers

Winning into Freedom

If there is even a trace of individual self-satisfaction left in us, it always says, “I can’t surrender,” or “I can’t be free.” But the spiritual part of our being never says “I can’t”; it simply soaks up everything around it. Our spirit hungers for more and more. It is the way we are built. We are designed with a great capacity for God, but sin, our own individuality, and wrong thinking keep us from getting to Him. God delivers us from sin— we have to deliver ourselves from our individuality. This means offering our natural life to God and sacrificing it to Him, so He may transform it into spiritual life through our obedience.

God pays no attention to our natural individuality in the development of our spiritual life. His plan runs right through our natural life. We must see to it that we aid and assist God, and not stand against Him by saying, “I can’t do that.” God will not discipline us; we must discipline ourselves. God will not bring our “arguments…and every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5)— we have to do it. Don’t say, “Oh, Lord, I suffer from wandering thoughts.” Don’t suffer from wandering thoughts. Stop listening to the tyranny of your individual natural life and win freedom into the spiritual life.

“If the Son makes you free….” Do not substitute Savior for Son in this passage. The Savior has set us free from sin, but this is the freedom that comes from being set free from myself by the Son. It is what Paul meant in Galatians 2:20 when he said, “I have been crucified with Christ….” His individuality had been broken and his spirit had been united with his Lord; not just merged into Him, but made one with Him. “…you shall be free indeed”— free to the very core of your being; free from the inside to the outside. We tend to rely on our own energy, instead of being energized by the power that comes from identification with Jesus.

 

Thanksgiving Day Is Ours

By: Gene Markland, Author

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There is a friendly debate among historians as to when the first Thanksgiving was celebrated in America. Some say it was in Virginia in 1610, and others hold fast to our traditional first Thanksgiving celebrated in Plymouth Plantation, Massachusetts, in 1621.

Whichever side of the debate one chooses to embrace, the fact remains that Thanksgiving Day is ours.

Before America existed as a nation, the hardy souls who persevered to found this great country made the effort to thank God Almighty for His provision and grace.

Giving thanks in Virginia, Massachusetts, and many other settlements across the new world was a spontaneous act by grateful people. They experienced a life so rugged, that without the providence of God they would have surely not survived. They were grateful for God’s favor and blessing.

Our first President, George Washington, a man acclaimed to be the Father of our Country, acknowledged God as the source of our Nation’s strength and very existence. He felt so strongly about this that he made a proclamation for a national day of thanksgiving on Thursday, November 26th, 1789.

He believed in the importance of setting aside a day to honor God and give thanks individually and corporately as a people. President Abraham Lincoln made it a national holiday on Thursday, November 26th, 1863.

Thanksgiving day has become a tradition, which like other traditions, has developed, grown, and transitioned from being a simple spiritual act of acknowledging God’s blessings, to a national event of unbridled proportions.

Ball games, shopping, days off from work, and travel are just a few of the Thanksgiving activities that can encumber us and help us to forget the true meaning of the holiday.

This day is meant to be a time to stop, take notice of our blessings, and acknowledge God with a grateful heart. Lest we forget, there have been Thanksgivings in the past that were very trying and somber, days of prayer and fasting.

Today, one could say that we are too busy enjoying our blessings to pause and be thankful. We all share in the responsibility for the national event that Thanksgiving Day has become because it is our day.

I am so thankful to God that He has given us the freedom to worship Him with our thanks. And the blessings that we enjoy over this holiday are truly from Him.

I believe He continues to bless us in part because we do take a day, our day, each year, and as a people tell the whole world that we thank Almighty God for His provident grace.

The Bible says: “Give thanks to the LORD and proclaim his greatness. Let the whole world know what he has done” (1 Chronicles 16:8 NLT).

This Thanksgiving as we share our feast with our loved ones, plan our shopping for Friday, and our Christmas decorating for Saturday, give a nod to our forbearers whose grateful hearts made this all possible.

Enjoy taking part in a celebration uniquely our own, individually, and corporately. Pass on to the next generation the knowledge of how blessed we are as individuals, families, and as a people.

Speak of the mighty and wondrous things that the Lord has done, and share our thankful hearts one with another.

“Let each generation tell its children of your mighty acts; let them proclaim your power” (Psalm 145:4 NLT).

The famous author O. Henry wrote, “There is one day that is ours. There is one day when all we Americans who are not self-made go back to the old home to eat biscuits and marvel how much nearer to the porch the old pump looks than it used to. Thanksgiving Day is the one day that is purely American.”

Happy Thanksgiving!

A Legacy Of Prayer

  1. 1 John 5:14 ~ This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. (1 John 5:14)
     
  2. 1 John 5:15 ~ And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him. (1 John 5:15)
     
  3. 1 John 5:16 ~ If you see any brother or sister commit a sin that does not lead to death, you should pray and God will give them life. I refer to those whose sin does not lead to death. There is a sin that leads to death. I am not saying that you should pray about that. (1 John 5:16)
     
  4. 1 Chronicles 16:11 ~ Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always. (1 Chronicles 16:11)
     
  5. 2 Chronicles 6:21 ~ Hear the supplications of your servant and of your people Israel when they pray toward this place. Hear from heaven, your dwelling place; and when you hear, forgive. (2 Chronicles 6:21)
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A Legacy of Prayer

From: Our Daily Journey

A Legacy of Prayer

Read:

Luke 5:12-16
Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer (Luke 5:16).

Susanna Wesley strived to spend as much time in prayer as in her many other activities. She led Sunday afternoon church during her husband’s travels, homeschooled her ten children, and kept written records of her time with God. She did this despite facing grief, poverty, health issues, and the challenge of often being apart from her spouse due to his travels. Hard-pressed to find privacy in a full house of ten children, she often prayed with an apron over her head. Her example, however, laid the foundation for the prolific ministries of her sons John and Charles.

After His baptism, Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness. During forty days of prayer and fasting, He faced (and resisted) temptation from the devil (Matthew 4:1-11). This experience marked the beginning of His public ministry. As reports of Jesus’ power spread, “vast crowds came to hear him preach and to be healed of their diseases” (Luke 5:15).

With so many people around Him, privacy must have been a rare commodity in Jesus’ life. In order to get some alone time with His Father, “Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer” (Luke 5:16). On the night of His betrayal and arrest, Jesus went with His disciples to the Mount of Olives where He prayed by Himself in preparation for what was to come. His final admonition to His friends before Judas’ arrival was that they should pray so as not to “give in to temptation” (Luke 22:39-46).

Susanna Wesley’s life was full of trials, but it was also replete with prayer. As a result, she was able to overcome and accomplish much for God. As He provides the power, may we make prayer a priority—creating legacies that will withstand the storms of life.

 

The Eternal Goal

By Oswald Chambers

The Eternal Goal

Abraham, at this point, has reached where he is in touch with the very nature of God. He now understands the reality of God.

My goal is God Himself…
At any cost, dear Lord, by any road.

“At any cost…by any road” means submitting to God’s way of bringing us to the goal.

There is no possibility of questioning God when He speaks, if He speaks to His own nature in me. Prompt obedience is the only result. When Jesus says, “Come,” I simply come; when He says, “Let go,” I let go; when He says, “Trust God in this matter,” I trust. This work of obedience is the evidence that the nature of God is in me.

God’s revelation of Himself to me is influenced by my character, not by God’s character.

’Tis because I am ordinary,
Thy ways so often look ordinary to me.

It is through the discipline of obedience that I get to the place where Abraham was and I see who God is. God will never be real to me until I come face to face with Him in Jesus Christ. Then I will know and can boldly proclaim, “In all the world, my God, there is none but Thee, there is none but Thee.”

The promises of God are of no value to us until, through obedience, we come to understand the nature of God. We may read some things in the Bible every day for a year and they may mean nothing to us. Then, because we have been obedient to God in some small detail, we suddenly see what God means and His nature is instantly opened up to us. “All the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen…” (2 Corinthians 1:20). Our “Yes” must be born of obedience; when by obedience we ratify a promise of God by saying, “Amen,” or, “So be it.” That promise becomes ours.

 

The Race of Faith

By: Paul J.  Palma, Author

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There are few things I enjoy more than a good outdoor run — the wind beating in your face, the fresh air, and the exhilaration when clocking in a personal best. Running is also an activity I use to gather myself, think, and reflect on life issues. There’s a remarkable “quiet” when you’re alone out on the trail — nothing to hear except the rhythm of your heart and lungs taking in air.

Each year I run in the Lytle Law race for the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Dominion with hundreds of other avid runners. Some come out just for a good time and others to really compete. Whether you’re running for fun or quality time with loved ones and friends, or you really want to win, local races provide an opportunity for runners to come together around a common cause.

The Bible compares the Christian life to a race. All are called to enter and run the “race of faith,” yet with something far greater on the line. As a runner in the race of faith the Bible exhorts us to follow the example of our leader and King:

“Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2 (NIV)

The race of faith is always forward-looking, with our eyes set on Jesus. A strategy runners often use is to pace themselves off of an able runner in front of them. In a similar way, we ought to see Jesus as the pace-setter of our life. With our sights set on Him we can have confidence we will succeed. Victory in the race of faith is far greater than a trophy of bronze, silver, or gold. The prize for our victory in the race of faith is eternal:

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.” 1 Corinthians 9:24-25 (NIV)

When we run the race of faith with our eyes fixed on Jesus, we can have assurance that one day we will claim the prize that never fades away. When we make Him our common cause, we will experience His joy and with it the strength to finish well (Nehemiah 8:10). With our eyes set on Him, the author and perfecter of faith, we will begin already to taste victory in our day-to-day lives. Let us run the race with Christ as our leader, our pace-setter, and King, and we can rest assured one day we will stand beside Him in the heavenly kingdom, in victory and glory, wearing the crown that lasts forever. “

But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31 (NLT)

Thanks For Who God Is

John 4:24

24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

John 14:9

Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?

1 John 4:7-21

God Is Love

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.

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Thanks for Who God Is

Thanks for Who God Is

Let us come before him with thanksgiving . . . for the Lord is the great God. Psalm 95:2–3

Among the thousands of sentiments printed on greeting cards, perhaps one of the most touching is this simple statement: “Thanks for being you.” If you receive that card, you know that someone cares for you not because you did something spectacular for that person but because you’re appreciated for your essence.

I wonder if this kind of sentiment might indicate for us one of the best ways to say “thank you” to God. Sure, there are times when God intervenes in our lives in a tangible way, and we say something like, “Thank You, Lord, for allowing me to get that job.” But most often, we can simply say, “Thank You, God, for being who You are.”

That’s what’s behind verses like 1 Chronicles 16:34: “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.” Thank You, God, for who You are—good and loving. And Psalm 7:17: “I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness.” Thank You, God, for who You are—the holy One. And “Let us come before him with thanksgiving . . . for the Lord is the great God” (Psalm 95:2–3). Thank You, God, for who You are—the Almighty God of the universe.

Who God is. That’s reason enough for us to stop what we’re doing and praise and thank Him. Thank You, God, for just being You!

Thank You, dear God, for being who You are—the Almighty God who loves us and welcomes our love in return. Thank You for everything that makes You magnificent. We stand in awe of You as we praise You with word and song.

There are countless reasons to thank God, including for who He is!

Still Human!

By Oswald Chambers

Still Human!

In the Scriptures, the great miracle of the incarnation slips into the ordinary life of a child; the great miracle of the transfiguration fades into the demon-possessed valley below; the glory of the resurrection descends into a breakfast on the seashore. This is not an anticlimax, but a great revelation of God.

We have a tendency to look for wonder in our experience, and we mistake heroic actions for real heroes. It’s one thing to go through a crisis grandly, yet quite another to go through every day glorifying God when there is no witness, no limelight, and no one paying even the remotest attention to us. If we are not looking for halos, we at least want something that will make people say, “What a wonderful man of prayer he is!” or, “What a great woman of devotion she is!” If you are properly devoted to the Lord Jesus, you have reached the lofty height where no one would ever notice you personally. All that is noticed is the power of God coming through you all the time.

We want to be able to say, “Oh, I have had a wonderful call from God!” But to do even the most humbling tasks to the glory of God takes the Almighty God Incarnate working in us. To be utterly unnoticeable requires God’s Spirit in us making us absolutely humanly His. The true test of a saint’s life is not successfulness but faithfulness on the human level of life. We tend to set up success in Christian work as our purpose, but our purpose should be to display the glory of God in human life, to live a life “hidden with Christ in God” in our everyday human conditions (Colossians 3:3). Our human relationships are the very conditions in which the ideal life of God should be exhibited.

 

God’s barriers against man’s sin

From: Charles Spurgeon

“Fear ye not me? saith the Lord: will ye not tremble at my presence, which have placed the sand for the bound of the sea by a perpetual decree, that it cannot pass it: and though the waves thereof toss themselves, yet can they not prevail; though they roar, yet can they not pass over it? But this people hath a revolting and rebellious heart; they are revolted and gone.” Jeremiah 5:22-23

Suggested Further Reading: Isaiah 1:1-4

God here contrasts the obedience of the strong, the mighty, the untamed sea, with the rebellious character of his own people. “The sea,” saith he, “obeys me; it never breaks its boundary; it never leaps from its channel; it obeys me in all its movements. But man, poor puny man, the little creature whom I could crush as the moth, will not be obedient to me. The sea obeys me from shore to shore, without reluctance, and its ebbing floods, as they retire from its bed, each of them says to me, in the voices of the pebbles, ‘O Lord, we are obedient to thee, for thou art our master.’ But my people”, says God, “are a revolting and a rebellious people; they go astray from me.” And is it not, my brethren, a marvellous thing, that the whole earth is obedient to God, save man? Even the mighty leviathan, who maketh the deep to be hoary, sinneth not against God, but his course is ordered according to his Almighty Master’s decree. Stars, those wondrous masses of light, are easily directed by the very wish of God; clouds, though they seem erratic in their movement, have God for their pilot; “he maketh the clouds his chariot;” and the winds, though they seem restive beyond control, yet do they blow, or cease to blow just as God wills. In heaven, on earth, even in the lower regions, we could scarcely find such a disobedience as that which is practised by man; at least, in heaven, there is a cheerful obedience; and in hell there is constrained submission to God, while on earth man makes the base exception, he is continually revolting and rebelling against his Maker.

For meditation: Jonah, a great wind, a great fish, a plant, a worm, an east wind (Jonah 1:3,4,172:104:6-8)—which is the odd one out?

Answer: God’s servant Jonah—the rest obeyed God at once. This should humble us!

What Things Matter To You

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–  We need to pray for Firemen who are fighting fires and trying to save lives. 
–  Pray also for the gospel to be hear by the lost that they may receive salvation.

“What Is That to You?”

By Oswald Chambers

One of the hardest lessons to learn comes from our stubborn refusal to refrain from interfering in other people’s lives. It takes a long time to realize the danger of being an amateur providence, that is, interfering with God’s plan for others. You see someone suffering and say, “He will not suffer, and I will make sure that he doesn’t.” You put your hand right in front of God’s permissive will to stop it, and then God says, “What is that to you?” Is there stagnation in your spiritual life? Don’t allow it to continue, but get into God’s presence and find out the reason for it. You will possibly find it is because you have been interfering in the life of another— proposing things you had no right to propose, or advising when you had no right to advise. When you do have to give advice to another person, God will advise through you with the direct understanding of His Spirit. Your part is to maintain the right relationship with God so that His discernment can come through you continually for the purpose of blessing someone else.

Most of us live only within the level of consciousness— consciously serving and consciously devoted to God. This shows immaturity and the fact that we’re not yet living the real Christian life. Maturity is produced in the life of a child of God on the unconscious level, until we become so totally surrendered to God that we are not even aware of being used by Him. When we are consciously aware of being used as broken bread and poured-out wine, we have yet another level to reach— a level where all awareness of ourselves and of what God is doing through us is completely eliminated. A saint is never consciously a saint— a saint is consciously dependent on God.

 

STREAMS IN THE DESERT

By: LB Cowman, Author

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For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, regarding the affliction that happened to us in the province of Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of living. (2 Corinthians 1:8)

But he said to me, “My grace is enough for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” So then, I will boast most gladly about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may reside in me. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

God allowed the crisis to close around Jacob on the night when he bowed at Peniel in supplication, to bring him to the place where he could take hold of God as he never would have done; and from that narrow pass of peril, Jacob became enlarged in his faith and knowledge of God, and in the power of a new and victorious life.

God had to compel David, by a long and painful discipline of years, to learn the almighty power and faithfulness of his God, and grow up into the established principles of faith and godliness, which were indispensable for his glorious career as the king of Israel.

Nothing but the extremities in which Paul was constantly placed could ever have taught him, and taught the Church through him, the full meaning of the great promise he so learned to claim, “My grace is sufficient for thee.”

And nothing but our trials and perils would ever have led some of us to know Him as we do, to trust Him as we have, and to draw from Him the measures of grace which our very extremities made indispensable.

Difficulties and obstacles are God’s challenges to faith. When hindrances confront us in the path of duty, we are to recognize them as vessels for faith to fill with the fullness and all-sufficiency of Jesus; and as we go forward, simply and fully trusting Him, we may be tested, we may have to wait and let patience have her perfect work; but we shall surely find at last the stone rolled away, and the Lord waiting to render unto us double for our time of testing.
A. B. Simpson

 

Awake! Awake!

“Therefore let us not sleep as do others; but let us watch and be sober.” 1 Thessalonians 5:6

Suggested Further Reading: Titus 1:7- 2:8

“Let us watch.” There are many that never watch. They never watch against sin; they never watch against the temptations of the enemy; they do not watch against themselves, nor against “the lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the eye, and the pride of life.” They do not watch for opportunities to do good, they do not watch for opportunities to instruct the ignorant, to confirm the weak, to comfort the afflicted, to succour them that are in need; they do not watch for opportunities of glorifying Jesus, or for times of communion; they do not watch for the promises; they do not watch for answers to their prayers; they do not watch for the second coming of our Lord Jesus. These are the refuse of the world: they watch not, because they are asleep. But let us watch: so shall we prove that we are not slumberers. Again: let us “be sober.” Albert Barnes says, this most of all refers to abstinence, or temperance in eating and drinking. Calvin says, not so: this refers more especially to the spirit of moderation in the things of the world. Both are right: it refers to both. There be many that are not sober; they sleep, because they are not so; for insobriety leadeth to sleep. They are not sober—they are drunkards, they are gluttons. They are not sober—they cannot be content to do a little business—they want to do a great deal. They are not sober—they cannot carry on a trade that is sure—they must speculate. They are not sober—if they lose their property, their spirit is cast down within them, and they are like men that are drunken with wormwood. If on the other hand, they get rich, they are not sober: they so set their affections upon things on earth that they become intoxicated with pride.

For meditation: The Christian in the pew should aim at the same standards as those which he expects to see in the Christian in the pulpit (1 Corinthians 11:1).

Ascended For Us

 When Jesus Finished The Work Of Salvation, He Ascended To Heaven. He is preparing a place in Heaven for us.

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Ascended for Us

From: Our Daily Journey

Ascended for Us

Read:

Acts 1:6-14
[Jesus] was taken up into a cloud (Acts 1:9).

Jesus’ ascension receives little attention these days. The way we often tell the story, the whole affair is mostly anticlimactic. We tend to think of the ascension as this brief, strange moment when Jesus pulled off one last spectacular feat, vanishing into some distant place. Or worse, the story leaves us empty. What kind of good news is this? He simply bolts after promising a new life and a new world?

Luke describes Jesus’ disciples standing there after He vanished, jaws dropped and “staring into heaven” (Acts 1:11). Sometimes when I read the account I feel the same way—bewildered.

When Jesus ascended to the Father, however, He wasn’t performing intergalactic space travel or rocketing into some faraway galaxy. Rather, Jesus moved out of the confines of the world we know into the heavenly realm from which God rules this very earth (Colossians 1:15-20). He didn’t abandon us but moved into another sphere of reality so that by His Spirit, He could be present with all of us in every place (John 14:2616:7). In that way, He would be with us “always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).

The “same Jesus” who knows our deep scars and wrenching sorrows, our broken dreams and longings is the One who ascended (Acts 1:11 NIV). Now the True Human sits at the Father’s right hand, ruling over the world, ruling over our lives. His ascension is God’s promise that our own humanity will one day also be fully healed and restored to enjoy life with God. And it’s a promise that through the Spirit, Jesus is bringing His resurrection victory into every corner of creation (Romans 8:20-23).

The ascension assures us that Jesus is not far, but near. His love, power, and healing are everywhere.

The evil and its remedy

Author: Charles Spurgeon

“The iniquity of the house of Israel and Judah is exceeding great.” Ezekiel 9:9“The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleans us from all sin.” 1 John 1:7

Suggested Further Reading: Mark 3:22-30

There are some sins that show a diabolical extent of degraded ingenuity—some sins of which it is a shame to speak, or of which it is disgraceful to think. But note here: “The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin.” There may be some sins of which a man cannot speak, but there is no sin which the blood of Christ cannot wash away. Blasphemy, however profane; lust, however bestial; covetousness, however far it may have gone into theft and plundering; breach of the commandments of God, however much of riot it may have run, all this may be pardoned and washed away through the blood of Jesus Christ. In all the long list of human sins, though that be long as time, there stands but one sin that is unpardonable, (Matthew 12:31) and that one no sinner has committed if he feels within himself a longing for mercy, for that sin once committed, the soul becomes hardened, dead, and seared, and never desires afterwards to find peace with God. I therefore declare to thee, O trembling sinner, that however great thine iniquity may be, whatever sin thou mayest have committed in all the list of guilt, however far thou mayest have exceeded all thy fellow-creatures, though thou mayest have distanced the Pauls and Magdalens and every one of the most heinous culprits in the black race of sin, yet the blood of Christ is able now to wash thy sin away. Mark! I speak not lightly of thy sin, it is exceedingly great; but I speak still more loftily of the blood of Christ. Great as thy sins are, the blood of Christ is greater still. Thy sins are like great mountains, but the blood of Christ is like Noah’s flood; twenty cubits upwards shall this blood prevail, and the top of the mountains of thy sin shall be covered.

For meditation: The price of life is far too costly for man to achieve his redemption (Psalm 49:7-9), but the Prince of life has achieved it

 

Without Faith, We Fall

By: J.D. Wininger, Author

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On April 30, 2017, God blessed our little homestead with the first calf born on this property. We named the beautiful little gal Uno, Italian for one. As you might imagine, I was one nervous fella waiting for my first-time heifer to deliver. I had my vet on call, texting him throughout the day. I called my friends Donnie and Gary multiple times to ask questions. Then, about 5:30 pm, Frances delivered in less than three hours of labor. While she tended her baby, I watched from afar as other expectant mothers gathered round to investigate.

After 20 minutes, the little calf made it to her feet and took her first wobbly steps. You can imagine the joy and elation I expressed to God in that moment. I am certain neighbors who drove down the dusty gravel road we live on must have thought I lost my mind. I stood in the middle of my driveway, arms and eyes raised to heaven, praising Abba for His blessing.

One proud Grandpa, I thought all was going well; asking everyone to come over and admire my calf. Two days later, mama was lying with the other cows and her calf was nowhere to be found. I’ve seen mamas put their calves down and hide them while they feed, rest, and recover. After six hours of not seeing the calf, I began to worry.

I imagined coyotes. I wondered if the calf had gotten the needed colostrum. In my worry, Satan sneaked into my thoughts. I convinced myself the little calf was lying dead or dying out in the tall rye grass and clover — abandoned to die alone. Filled with rage, I told myself if the mama cow had done that; she was going to the auction this week. There’s no place for a poor mother in my herd.

As I drove back and forth across my pasture, I leaned out over the front of the ATV trying to spot the calf (I had cataracts in both eyes). I asked God why He allowed this calf to die. What did I do that didn’t honor You, Father? When and where did I fail you? Why would you punish me by letting this calf die? I knew in my heart, God does nothing to harm His children and brings good from every situation if we submit to His leading. I uttered these questions because in even the most mature Christians; we remain human. Satan often attacks our vulnerabilities using our inherent human nature.

After a lengthy search — driving slowly through the tall grass to not run over the calf — I found her doing exactly what mama had prodded her to do. Lay there camouflaged and be still until she returned. The Holy Spirit then convicted me of my crisis of faith. I kneeled beside the little calf and thanked God for His faithfulness. I begged Him to help me grow stronger in my faith.

Amid my prayer, I heard the recognizable still voice in my heart;

“If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all.” (Isaiah 7:9 NLT).

Great joy comes from knowing the truth of God’s Word dwells within our heart. In His truth, we have constant reassurance that our Father is always with us.

We all have times when we question God; when we don’t understand His ways or reasons. We all sometimes succumb to temptations and trials through a chink in our Armor of God. I share this to remind each of us how important our faith is in our Christian walk. I pray this helps remind us of an important truth—Without Faith, We Fall.

The Beauty Of Kindness

Children Showing Kindness To One Another

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The Beauty of Kindness

The Beauty of Kindness

Read:

Ephesians 4:17-32
Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another (Ephesians 4:31-32).

While sitting in the waiting room at my mechanic’s shop, I watched a segment on the waiting room’s television about a “Secret Santa.” Each year he gives away $100,000 in $100 bills to strangers. In the segment I viewed, the “Secret Santa” was in a grocery store handing $100 to a female senior citizen. It turned out that the woman had been suffering greatly as she battled stage IV cancer. She was surprised and overwhelmed by the “Secret Santa’s” gift, but more so by the kindness that motivated him to give it.

In a day in which there’s so much global “bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander” even among believers in Jesus, kindness is a rarity (Ephesians 4:31). No wonder the woman and the many other recipients of the “Secret Santa’s” kindness were taken aback by his generosity. Thus, a kind, tenderhearted, forgiving, and humble spirit is truly countercultural (Ephesians 4:32).

I know I’m always impressed by people who are kind and tenderhearted when they’re under stress. A question I often ask myself is: Do I show the same kindness in my own home that I show to strangers? Even though some people might consider me to be kindhearted, it can be difficult to be kind to my children or husband when I’m tired; that’s when I’m more easily irritated.

Jesus’ own disciples were impressed by the compassion-fueled kindness He continually exhibited. Matthew noted that even after long periods of teaching in the synagogues and healing many, when Jesus “saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:35-36).

Kindness and compassion extended, especially amid exhaustion, comes as Jesus works in and through us.

 

The certainty and freeness of divine grace

By: Charles Spurgeon

‘All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.’ John 6:37

Suggested Further Reading: 1 Timothy 1:12–17

It says, ‘Him that cometh,’ and this shuts out no comer. John Newton was a blasphemer of so gross a kind, that even the sailors in the vessel in the storm said that they should never get to port with such a sinner as John Newton on board; but he came to Christ and was not cast out, but lived to preach the Word. John Bunyan was so foul a blasphemer, that even a woman of the street, who passed him by and heard him swear, said that he was enough to corrupt the whole parish; and he was astonished that a woman of so bad a character should so rebuke him. John Bunyan came to Jesus, and he was not cast out; he lived to have the honour of suffering for his Master, and to be the winner of multitudes of souls. Saul of Tarsus had stained himself with the blood of saints; he was a very wolf after Christ’s sheep. He was not satisfied with worrying them in his own land, so he obtained power to persecute them in Damascus; but when he fell upon his face and cried for mercy, he was not cast out. Manasseh was blood-red with the murder of God’s prophets. It is said that he cut the prophet Isaiah in two with a saw; and yet, when out of the low dungeon he cried for mercy, he was not cast out. So that any kind of ‘him’, though he may have been a persecutor even unto blood, though he may have been exceeding mad against God till he could not speak without blasphemies against the name of Christ, though he hated everything which is good, and despised everything held precious by believing men and women, yet if he comes to Christ, he shall not be cast out.

For meditation: Even the most scandalous of past sins will not be held against those who come to Christ for forgiveness and cleansing (1 Corinthians 6:9–11). They are the ones who go to heaven, not those who think that they are good enough as they are (Matthew 21:31–32). Those who assume that their ‘goodness’ guarantees them a place in heaven are the sinners who will be ‘cast out’ (Matthew 8:11–12).

 

Meltdown

By: Joanna Reese, Author

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The Stanislaus County Fair provided me with wonder. Attractions included farm life, blinking lights, people watching opportunities, the glory of an evening concert, and one unforgettable hot fudge sundae.

Fifteen minutes before the concert started, I darted toward the ice cream stand. A blinking neon cone made it easy to find through swarms of people. My insides twisted with the decision before me. A frozen banana, a cheesecake dipped in chocolate sprinkled with nuts, a plain vanilla cone, or a hot fudge sundae. What to do?

Like a little girl in a candy store (or a big girl at an ice cream stand) I placed my order and stepped to the side while it was being processed. Folks of all shapes and sizes huddled in. Vanilla cones filled the hands of toddlers and retired couples shared towering banana splits as the forming line held anxious stares.

What happened next sent me on an unforgettable ride. As soon as the dessert was handed to me, it began to melt. My masterpiece could not survive triple-digit weather. The two vanilla cones I held in my right hand, one for my daughter and the other for my niece, kept me from devouring the sundae I held in my left. But with eyes as big as saucers, I was not about to give up on my new cherry-topped friend.

A couple of steps through the crowd, and I knew I was in a world of trouble. The three napkins provided couldn’t even keep the sticky mess from running down my hand. Too much ice cream, fudge, whipped cream and nuts were crammed into a small Styrofoam cup. Long and careful strides back to my seat would not reverse this madness.

By the time I arrived, my entire hand was covered in glop. Streams of mess ran continuously down my arm, catching the attention of everybody around me. I was stunned — I did not know what to do. After a feeble attempt at tidying things up, I did what anybody else would have done. I dug in.

As I joined the giggles behind me, I reflected on times in my life when I think I am making a good choice about something. All of the warning signs are there and my conscience begins melting, leaving an undeniable mess. But do I throw the idea out? Not always. There are times when I am bent and determined on making it work — even after God has encouraged me to start cleaning up the mess.

“… Woe to you, O Jerusalem! How long will you remain unclean?”” Jeremiah 13:27(NASB)

Later on that night, I thought about the messes I’ve made along my Christian walk. An old pattern of thinking leaves a trail of brokenness; a habit wreaks havoc in places that once held compassion. And then, of course, there is the dangerous relationship, where compromise regrettably becomes my idol.

Sin can look pretty desirable on the outside, promising loads of sweet tantalizing enjoyment. But at the end of the day, if I have not made my heart right with God, only a sticky residue of guilt remains. In order to repent, I must let go of what the gloppy mess promised in the first place.

It was a lie.

God is in the business of making all things clean and new. Sin is not fun. Sin separates us from God. Be careful about what you pour your thoughts and energy into. Commit to tossing that sticky mirage — and settle in on God’s best.

“… let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.” Hebrews 10:22 (NIV)

The Changed Life

Whoever goes to the Lord for safety,

whoever remains under the protection of the Almighty,
can say to him,
“You are my defender and protector.
You are my God; in you I trust.”
(Psalm 91:1-2)

My dear friends, do not believe all who claim to have the Spirit, but test them to find out if the spirit they have comes from God. For many false prophets have gone out everywhere. (1 John 4:1)

So do not start worrying: ‘Where will my food come from? or my drink? or my clothes? (Matthew 6:31)

The Lord is my shepherd;
I have everything I need.
(Psalm 23:1)

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The Changed Life

By Oswald Chambers

The Changed Life

If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. —2 Corinthians 5:17

What understanding do you have of the salvation of your soul? The work of salvation means that in your real life things are dramatically changed. You no longer look at things in the same way. Your desires are new and the old things have lost their power to attract you. One of the tests for determining if the work of salvation in your life is genuine is— has God changed the things that really matter to you? If you still yearn for the old things, it is absurd to talk about being born from above— you are deceiving yourself. If you are born again, the Spirit of God makes the change very evident in your real life and thought. And when a crisis comes, you are the most amazed person on earth at the wonderful difference there is in you. There is no possibility of imagining that you did it. It is this complete and amazing change that is the very evidence that you are saved.

What difference has my salvation and sanctification made? For instance, can I stand in the light of 1 Corinthians 13 , or do I squirm and evade the issue? True salvation, worked out in me by the Holy Spirit, frees me completely. And as long as I “walk in the light as He is in the light” (1 John 1:7), God sees nothing to rebuke because His life is working itself into every detailed part of my being, not on the conscious level, but even deeper than my consciousness.

 

Self-sufficiency slain

“Without me ye can do nothing.” John 15:5

Suggested Further Reading: 2 Chronicles 32:20-31

You are not capable of performing the lowest act of the divine life, except as you receive strength from God the Holy Spirit. And surely, my brethren, it is generally in these little things that we find out most of all our weakness. Peter can walk the waves of the sea, but he cannot bear the derision of a little maid. Job can endure the loss of all things, but the upbraiding words of his false friends, though they be but words, and break no bones—make him speak far more bitterly than all the sore boils which were in his very skin. Jonah said he did well to be angry, even unto death, about a gourd. Have you not often heard that mighty men who have outlived hundreds of battles have been slain at last by the most trivial accident? And has it not been so with professed Christians? They stood uprightly in the midst of the greatest trials; they have outlived the most arduous struggles, and yet in an evil hour, trusting to themselves, their foot has slipped under some slight temptation, or because of some small difficulty. John Newton says: “The grace of God is as necessary to create a right temper in Christians on the breaking of a china plate as on the death of an only son.” These little leaks need the most careful stopping. The plague of flies is no more easy to be stayed than that of the destroying angel. In little as well as in great things the just must live by faith. In trifles as well as in nobler exercises the believer should be conscious of his own inability,—should never say of any act, “Now I am strong enough to perform this; I need not go to God in prayer about this; this is so little a thing.”

For meditation: We need to bring everything to God in prayer, not only the things which worry us (Philippians 4:6); the apostle Paul had learned how to face all situations and how to do all things in Christ who strengthened him (Philippians 4:13).

 

Relating to Jesus in Gethsemane

By: Michael Gabriele, Author

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Excerpt from In The Flesh – My Story: The first-person novel of Jesus

Despite my dear friends standing with me for the moment—despite knowing my heavenly Father and blessed Spirit were present and within me, and our angelic multitudes close by, I suddenly felt so totally alone. This horrible sense of isolation nearly collapsed me. Empty and exposed, I felt increasingly separated from all semblance of earthly peace and love.

Before my companions could voice their uneasiness over my appearance and behavior, I turned abruptly to them and said,

“My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and watch with me.”Mark 14:34 (ESV)

“Anything, Lord,” replied James, his own voice quivering with remorse. “We will do whatever you say.”

I motioned to the olive tree we were under, cloaked in darkness. “Stay and watch,” I said again. “Pray.”

They slowly sat in the grass against the enormously rugged trunk. I remained standing and turned to face a sudden gust of air that revived the rustling of branches through the garden. My eyes narrowed as I perceived the faint black outline of several large rocks at the base of a small slope, a natural grotto nestled between trees.

I started for it.

John leaned forward to rise, but Peter held him back, sensing I sought solitude to pray with my Father. He was right. With fear swelling to the verge of delirium, I staggered across the path, descended the grassy gradient and soon reached the hollow of rocks. My knees finally gave way. I sank to the ground and leaned forward, resting my elbows on a protrusion of stone. My hands clasped together, and I placed my forehead upon them.

I knew with certainty what loomed this very night. I had known for quite a while. Finally here at this precipice of unimaginable suffering, my humanity longed for my Father to find another way. Throughout my life on earth, I had always sought my Father’s guidance with humble joy. Tonight, however, like so many afflicted souls every night, I prayed with desperate passion.

“Father,” I invoked, squirming with anguish. “My heavenly Father, I know that all things are possible with you. My heart is burdened beyond words at what lies before me. Evil approaches even as I pray to you. No time remains—my hour has come. Only you can find a way. If it is possible … allow this cup to pass by me. I cannot bear to taste its poison.” I peered reluctantly over my knuckles, up to the olive branches swaying spectrally in the distilled moonlight. My resolute whisper ascended with the breeze, “Your will though, not mine, be done.” Luke 22:42 (ESV)

It was the fragment of prayer I had taught so early in my ministry — your kingdom shall come; your will shall be done.

My Father’s will is perfect. It shall be done.

My head lowered again, this time all the way to the cool, hard surface of the rock. I kept it there to sooth my hot forehead. Sweat continued dripping from my face as blood rapidly pulsed through my galloping heart … blood that would soon be shed for the world.

I desperately needed to focus on the main objective—love. My all-encompassing love would see me through this passion, this torture of body and soul.

Love for God’s purpose.

Love for my children.

Love for you.

I raised my head from the rock and warily stood. My own words came swimming back to me, my Father acutely reminding me of my own convictions. No one takes my life from me. I give it up freely for the life of the world.

Fear still gripped every fiber of my being, but my knees seemed stronger now. I looked up once more to the peaceful hints of moonlight filtering through the tree canopies. Was this my last quiet view of all that was good on the earth? How I wished I could just close my eyes and stand there all night, chin tilted to the tranquil sky, listening to the sounds of silence, interrupted only by God’s gentle breath upon my face. But it was time.

My hour of suffering was upon me.

Dear Jesus, in your darkest hour here on earth, you sought your heavenly Father. Despite feeling unloved, isolated and terrified, you knew He was with you. Rather than demand deliverance, you pursued His will, aware that in spite of your suffering, triumph was inevitable through His guidance. Help me to find the same faith and fortitude you had in Gethsemane when I face trials and tribulations … to focus on God’s will over my own hardships.

The Supreme Climb

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The Supreme Climb

By Oswald Chambers

The Supreme Climb

God’s command is, “Take now,” not later. It is incredible how we debate! We know something is right, but we try to find excuses for not doing it immediately. If we are to climb to the height God reveals, it can never be done later— it must be done now. And the sacrifice must be worked through our will before we actually perform it.

“So Abraham rose early in the morning…and went to the place of which God had told him” (Genesis 22:3). Oh, the wonderful simplicity of Abraham! When God spoke, he did not “confer with flesh and blood” (Galatians 1:16). Beware when you want to “confer with flesh and blood” or even your own thoughts, insights, or understandings— anything that is not based on your personal relationship with God. These are all things that compete with and hinder obedience to God.

Abraham did not choose what the sacrifice would be. Always guard against self-chosen service for God. Self-sacrifice may be a disease that impairs your service. If God has made your cup sweet, drink it with grace; or even if He has made it bitter, drink it in communion with Him. If the providential will of God means a hard and difficult time for you, go through it. But never decide the place of your own martyrdom, as if to say, “I will only go to there, but no farther.” God chose the test for Abraham, and Abraham neither delayed nor protested, but steadily obeyed. If you are not living in touch with God, it is easy to blame Him or pass judgment on Him. You must go through the trial before you have any right to pronounce a verdict, because by going through the trial you learn to know God better. God is working in us to reach His highest goals until His purpose and our purpose become one.

 

Confident Hope

Confident Hope
Read: Philippians 1:19–26 | Bible in a Year: Jeremiah 50; Hebrews 8

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. Philippians 1:21

Dr. William Wallace was serving as a missionary surgeon in Wuzhou, China, in the 1940s when Japan attacked China. Wallace, who was in charge of Stout Memorial Hospital at the time, ordered the hospital to load his equipment on barges and continue to function as a hospital while floating up and down rivers to avoid infantry attacks.

During dangerous times, Philippians 1:21—one of Wallace’s favorite verses—reminded him that if he lived, he had work to do for the Savior; but if he died, he had the promise of eternity with Christ. The verse took on special meaning when he died while falsely imprisoned in 1951.

Paul’s writing reflects a deep devotion we can aspire to as followers of Jesus, enabling us to face trials and even danger for His sake. It is devotion enabled by the Holy Spirit and the prayers of those closest to us (v. 19). It’s also a promise. Even when we surrender ourselves to continued service under difficult circumstances, it is with this reminder: when our life and work end here, we still have the joy of eternity with Jesus ahead of us.

In our hardest moments, with hearts committed to walking with Christ now, and with our eyes firmly fixed on the promise of eternity with Him, may our days and our acts bless others with the love of God.

Make of me, Father, a willing servant in times of weakness and times of strength.

Sacrifices offered to God are opportunities to showcase His love.

 

Healing for the wounded

From: Charles Spurgeon

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“He heals the broken in heart, and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3

Suggested Further Reading: Isaiah 57:15-21

Poor sinner, breathe thy wish to him, let thy sigh come before him, for “he healeth the broken in heart.” There thou liest wounded on the plain. “Is there no physician?” thou criest; “Is there none?” Around thee lie thy fellow-sufferers, but they are as helpless as thyself. Thy mournful cry cometh back without an answer, and space alone hears thy groan. Ah! The battle-field of sin has one kind visitor; it is not abandoned to the vultures of remorse and despair. I hear footsteps approaching; they are the gentle footsteps of Jehovah. With a heart full of mercy, he is hasting to his repenting child. In his hands there are no thunders, in his eyes no anger, on his lips no threatening. See how he bows himself over the mangled heart! Hear how he speaks! “Come, now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord; though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” And if the patient dreads to look in the face of the mighty being who addresses him, the same loving mouth whispers, “I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for my name’s sake.” See how he washes every wound with sacred water from the side of Jesus; mark how he spreads the ointment of forgiving grace, and binds around each wound the fair white linen, which is the righteousness of saints. Does the mourner faint under the operation? He puts medicine to his lips, exclaiming, “I have loved thee with an everlasting love.” Yes, it is true—most true—neither dream nor fiction, “He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.” How condescending is the Lord of heaven, thus to visit poor forsaken man.

For meditation: Physical health is desirable, but short-lived; spiritual health is far more to be desired and will last for ever (3 John 2). We can live for a while with physical illness, but the unbeliever will die eternally with spiritual disease.

God Wants Your Fellowship

Malachi 3        Very important passage from scripture

16  Then those who feared the Lord talked with each other, and the Lord listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the Lord and honored his name.

17   “On the day when I act,” says the Lord Almighty, “they will be my treasured possession. I will spare them, just as a father has compassion and spares his son who serves him. 18  And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not.

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God Having Fellowship With The Angels in Heaven
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Jesus having fellowship with His disciples
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Christian Fellowship Abroad
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Fellowship in the Gospel

By Oswald Chambers

Fellowship in the Gospel

After sanctification, it is difficult to state what your purpose in life is, because God has moved you into His purpose through the Holy Spirit. He is using you now for His purposes throughout the world as He used His Son for the purpose of our salvation. If you seek great things for yourself, thinking, “God has called me for this and for that,” you barricade God from using you. As long as you maintain your own personal interests and ambitions, you cannot be completely aligned or identified with God’s interests. This can only be accomplished by giving up all of your personal plans once and for all, and by allowing God to take you directly into His purpose for the world. Your understanding of your ways must also be surrendered, because they are now the ways of the Lord.

I must learn that the purpose of my life belongs to God, not me. God is using me from His great personal perspective, and all He asks of me is that I trust Him. I should never say, “Lord, this causes me such heartache.” To talk that way makes me a stumbling block. When I stop telling God what I want, He can freely work His will in me without any hindrance. He can crush me, exalt me, or do anything else He chooses. He simply asks me to have absolute faith in Him and His goodness. Self-pity is of the devil, and if I wallow in it I cannot be used by God for His purpose in the world. Doing this creates for me my own cozy “world within the world,” and God will not be allowed to move me from it because of my fear of being “frost-bitten.”

Bread for the hungry

By: Charles Spurgeon, Author

‘And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knew not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live.’ Deuteronomy 8:3

Suggested Further Reading: Psalm 119:1–24

We must open our Bibles every morning with this prayer—‘Give us this day our daily bread.’ We must get some choice text to fill our homer. If we read a chapter we shall have nothing over; if we read a verse we shall have no lack. Then we put the word in our memories, and we shall surely find, perhaps not the first hour, but some other hour in the day, that it will taste like wafers made with honey to us. It is astonishing how much a man may know of the Bible by learning a text a day, and how much he may know experimentally by watching the events of the day, and interpreting them in the light of the text. If you cannot retain by memory a whole passage, never mind that; take a short text, and let it be under your tongue all day, and be looking out for a commentary upon it. I do not mean Matthew Henry, or Scott, or Gill—I mean your own daily experience. Be looking out to see how the Lord translates that text to you by his own providence, and you will frequently see a striking relation between the text that was given you in the morning, and the trials or the mercies that are given you during the day. At any rate, let the Word of God be the man of your right hand. We are so busy reading the magazines, newspapers, and new books, and so forth that we forget this—this new book, this that is always new, and always old, always having a freshness in it. Like a well, it is always springing up, not with musty, stale water, but with fresh water that has never sparkled in the sun before, and in all its virgin lustre of purity scatters jewels on the right hand and on the left. Let us go to this fountain and drink fresh and fresh.

For meditation: It is a blessing to seek God’s wisdom daily (Proverbs 8:34). Are you keen to read his Word daily (Acts 17:11)? If not, you are depriving yourself of daily refreshment (Psalm 1:2–3), daily light (Psalm 119:105) and daily bread (Jeremiah 15:16).

 

Wonderfully Flawed

By: Missey Butfer, Author

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I want to share with you a beautiful illustration I heard years ago that still speaks to my heart whenever I have one of those, “I can’t do anything right” days. It is the lesson of “The Cracked Pot.”

Many years ago, in a very poor Middle East village, stood an ancient stone well. Alongside of that well sat two large watering pots. One of them was like new, beautifully formed, even had graceful etchings along its curved handle.

The other, not as new yet still useful, had become cracked over the years. Time after time, the pot was passed over by the people with the exception of a little village girl. She had grown fond of the neglected pitcher. Every day she would choose it instead of the beautiful pot.

One morning, the old pot asked the little girl, “Why do you continue to use me, when you know I am flawed and cannot hold the water you and your family so desperately need?” The little girl spoke not a word but carried the broken pot to a familiar pathway she traveled daily.

With her tiny voice she said, “This is why I pick you.” There before the pot was a row of delicate wildflowers that had bloomed along the trail because of the water that had trickled and leaked from the pot. The buried seeds of the flowers had been watered as she made her way home each day. The cracked pot for the first time had seen its worth through the eyes of a grateful little girl.

Just like the not so perfect piece of pottery, the Potter uses us as God’s creations despite our imperfections. Sometimes, unfortunately, we have to be placed back on the potter’s wheel to be remolded. This is not always a fun process but it is necessary in order to smooth out some of the flaws that God says must go! In even more serious times, God will actually break us and begin the process all over again. All because He’s after something within us that will ultimately produce a vessel of honor for His glory.

“But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to Him.” Jeremiah 18:4 (NIV)

Just so you know you are in good company, here are some of the more famous “cracked pots” found in the Bible:

Noah was a Drunk
Elijah was Suicidal
Peter was a Coward
Jacob was a Deceiver
Rahab was a Prostitute
Samson was a Womanizer
Moses had a Self-esteem problem
David was an Adulterer/Murderer
The Samaritan Woman was Divorced (a lot)

We may find ourselves falling on our faces. But just like these heroes and heroines of the faith, God has promised to be our treasure while in these earthen vessels. Hallelujah! We have immutable Deity dwelling in a breakable container. The “Complete One” abiding in the “Incomplete ones.” What a divine paradox!

I find myself today still one of His works in progress. It would not surprise me if one day I discovered, engraved deeply upon this “earthen vessel,” the signature of my loving Maker. Along with it would be the following words:

“Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work.” 2 Timothy 2:21(NKJV)

Then I will truly be a finished masterpiece, ready to bring honor and glory to the Potter’s Hands.