Category Archives: Trust

Jesus Christ Is The Great I Am

 

John 6

29 Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.”

30 Therefore they said to Him, “What sign will You perform then, that we may see it and believe You? What work will You do? 31 Our fathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’ ”

32 Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”

34 Then they said to Him, “Lord, give us this bread always.”

35 And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. 36 But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe. 37 All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will[f]by no means cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. 39 This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. 40 And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”

 

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“I AM”

From: Our Daily Journey

“I AM”

Read:

Exodus 3:1-15
Take off your sandals, for you are standing on holy ground (Exodus 3:5).

While I was leading a Bible class for those who didn’t yet believe in Jesus, a participant asked, “How many gods are there in this world?” Hoping to give an answer, I Googled for help. I believe there’s only one true God, but one person gave this clever answer: Seven billion gods. There are seven billion people in this world. And everyone has a personal god.

There are countless “gods” that people worship today. While the ancient Greeks worshiped Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Apollo, Artemis, Diana, and numerous other named deities, it’s just as common for people to worship “gods” they don’t name, gods like financial comfort or fame.

It might be helpful to ask again, “What is the name of the God—or god—I’m worshiping?” That’s the question Moses asked when God appeared to him: Who are you, Lord? “What is [your] name?” (Exodus 3:13). “God replied to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM. . . . Yahweh, the God of your ancestors—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you. This is my eternal name, my name to remember for all generations’ ” (Exodus 3:14-15).

“I AM” speaks of a God who has always been and who has no limitations, the One Supreme Being in the universe who isn’t dependent on something else for His existence. He’s the Creator and Sustainer of all that exists. He’s changeless in His being and character—He’ll never change who He is. He “is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).

Just as God told Moses, “Take off your sandals, for you are standing on holy ground” (Exodus 3:5), it’s vital for us to worship God in reverence. For wherever He is, that place is sacred. May we “bow low before his feet, for he is holy!” (Psalm 99:5).

 

Two loving invitations

Charles Sourgeon, Author

‘Come and dine.’ John 21:12

Suggested Further Reading: Revelation 3:14–22

We must live by faith on the Son of God, and listen to his voice as he says, ‘Eat, O friends; drink, yea, drink abundantly, O beloved.’ If you want to be as Mr Feeblemind, I can give you the recipe. Take only a small modicum of spiritual food morning and night in your closets; neglect family prayer; never attend a prayer-meeting; on no account speak about religious matters during the week, go late to the house of God, and fall asleep when you get there; as soon as you leave the place of worship talk about the weather. Confine yourself to these rules for a few weeks, and you will very soon be reduced low enough to allow Satan to attack you with every chance of giving you a severe and dangerous fall. Doctors tell us that nowadays the classes of disease most prevalent are those which indicate a low condition of the vital forces; and I think that we are suffering in the church from the same sort of maladies. There was a time when the church had to censure her young converts because they courted persecution and invited martyrdom; now we need to stir up the church and to urge on our people to more self-sacrifice for the cause of Christ. You need never fear that anyone will kill himself with overwork; we must rather lament that there seems so little exuberance of spirit and vital force amongst Christians. None of us need to put ourselves on low diet; on the contrary, we ought to accumulate strength and urge every power to its full tension in the Master’s service. For this purpose, ‘Come and dine.’ All your strength depends upon union with Christ. Away from him you must wither as a branch severed from the vine. Feeding on him, you will be like the branch which is drinking up the sap from the parent stem.

For meditation: The Christian’s need of daily spiritual bread is Asked in a Prayer (Luke 11:3), Applied in a Parable (Luke 11:5–13) and Answered in a Person (John 6:34–35). Since Jesus is ‘the bread of life’, inadequate feeding upon him by faith is the route towards spiritual malnutrition and weakness.

 

“Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Prov. 29 :18).

Waiting upon God is necessary in order to see Him, to have a vision of Him. The time element in vision is essential. Our hearts are like a sensitive photographer’s plate; and in order to have God revealed there, we must sit at His feet a long time. The troubled surface of a lake will not reflect an object.

Our lives must be quiet and restful if we would see God. There is power in the sight of some things to affect one’s life. A quiet sunset will bring peace to a troubled heart. Thus the vision of God always transforms human life.

Jacob saw God at Jabbok’s ford, and became Israel. The vision of God transformed Gideon from a coward into a valiant soldier. The vision of Christchanged Thomas from a doubting follower into a loyal, devout disciple.

But men have had visions of God since Bible times. William Carey saw God, and left his shoemaker’s bench and went to India. David Livingstone saw God, and left all to follow Him through the jungles of dark Africa. Scores and hundreds have had visions of God, and are today in the uttermost parts of the earth working for the speedy evangelization of the heathen.
–Dr. Pardington

There is hardly ever a complete silence in the soul. God is whispering to us well-nigh incessantly. Whenever the sounds of the world die out in the soul, or sink low, then we hear the whisperings of God. He is always whispering to us, only we do not hear, because of the noise, hurry, and distraction which life causes as it rushes on.
–F. W. Faber

“Speak, Lord, in the stillness,
While I wait on Thee;
Hushed my heart to listen
In expectancy.

“Speak, O blessed Master,
In this quiet hour;
Let me see Thy face, Lord,
Feel Thy touch of power.

“For the words Thou speakest,
‘They are life,’ indeed;
Living bread from Heaven,
Now my spirit feed!

“Speak, Thy servant heareth!
Be not silent, Lord;
Waits my soul upon Thee
For the quickening word!”

 

Who can tell?

Charles Spurgeon, Author

“Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?” Jonah 3:9

Suggested Further Reading: Psalm 39

I remember many who have passed from the land of the living and have gone to another world—and some how suddenly, how rapidly! I have been startled at it often myself. I have seen some here on the Sabbath, and by the Tuesday or by the Thursday the message has come, “On what day can you bury such and such a one?” “Bury her!” “Yes, sir, bury her, she is gone;” and I have said, “How strange it seems that she should be dead who so lately was living in our midst!” Forty days is a long lease compared with that which you have any reason to conclude that God has bestowed on you. But what if it were forty years, how short a time even then. If you will but look with the eye of wisdom, how rapidly our years revolve. Are you not startled even now to see the withered leaf in your path? It was but yesterday that the fresh green buds were seen. It seems but a month ago since first we saw the wheat starting up from the ground, and now the harvest is over and gone and many of the birds have disappeared and the tints of autumn are succeeding the verdure of summer. Years seem but months now and months but days, and days pass so rapidly that they flit like shadows before us. O! men and women, if we could but measure life it is but a span, and in a time how short, how brief, every one of us must appear before his God. The shortness of time should help to arouse us.

For meditation: Time seems to speed up the older we get! In contrast the unbeliever will discover in eternity that time has ground to a terrible halt.

Legacies Of Love

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 (These are examples of hands that cared and comforted us. Hands that took care of child, grandchild, and great-grandchild. These hands taught us the Bible and the way we should live.)

 

Legacies of Love

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Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16

I was paging through my great-grandmother’s Bible when a treasure fell into my lap. On a small scrap of paper, in a young child’s handwriting, were the words, “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted” (Matthew 5:3–4 kjv). Scribbled beside those verses in wobbly cursive was my mother’s signature.

My great-grandmother had a habit of teaching her grandchildren to write out Scripture verses so they would learn them and take them to heart. But the story behind this verse brought tears to my eyes. My grandfather died when my mother was very young, and her little brother (my uncle) died just weeks later. It was in that tragic season that my great-grandmother pointed my mother to Jesus and the comfort only He can give.

Paul wrote Timothy, “I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also” (2 Timothy 1:5). Faith isn’t inherited, but it is shared. Timothy’s mother and grandmother shared their faith with him, and he believed.

When we encourage those close to us to have hope in Jesus, we offer them a legacy of love. Through a simple note, my mother left evidence of my great-grandmother’s love for her Savior and her family. Oh, to share Him with those who come after us!

Thank You for those who shared Your love with me, Father. Please help me to point others to Your salvation today.

When we share our faith, we share the greatest treasure of all.

A single eye and simple faith

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From: Charles Spurgeon

“The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness.” Matthew 6:22,23

Suggested Further Reading: Philippians 3:17-21

God will say to thee, “Take no thought for the morrow, be careful for nothing;” Mammon will say to thee, “Look ahead, be careful for everything;” and when God says to thee, “Give of thy substance to the poor;” Mammon will say, “Hold it tight, it is that giving that spoils everything;” and when God will say unto thee, “Set not thy affections on the things of earth;” Mammon will say, “Get money, get money, get it anyhow;” and when God saith, “Be upright;” Mammon will say, “Cheat thy own father if thou canst win by it.” Mammon and God are at such extreme ends of the earth and so desperately opposed, that I trust, Christian, thou art not such a fool, as to attempt to serve them both. If thou dost thou hast the worldling’s eye, and thou art a worldling thyself. Remember, too, if thou triest to do this we may suspect thee of having the hypocrite’s eye. As Matthew Henry says, “The hypocrite is like the waterman; he pulls this way, but he looks that. He pretends to look to heaven, but he pulls towards his own interest. He says, ‘he looks to Christ,’ but he is always pulling towards his own private advantage. The true Christian, however, is like a traveller; he looks to the goal and then he walks straight on to it; he goes the way he is looking.” Be then not like the hypocrite, who hath this double eye, looking one way and going the other. An old Puritan said, “A hypocrite is like the hawk; the hawk flies upward, but he always keeps his eye down on the prey; let him get up as high as he will, he is always looking on the ground. Whereas, the Christian is like the lark, he turns his eye up to heaven, and as he mounts and sings he looks upward and he mounts upward.”

For meditation: Not looking where you ought to be going can have disastrous consequences (Luke 6:39-42).

 

Useless Against an Assailant

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Kay Camenisch, Author

A loud crash awakened their petite daughter from a deep sleep. As a single mom, her first instinct was to protect her small children. She sprang from bed and grabbed the bat that was close by. With heart pounding and bat clutched to strike, she rushed out her door.

She checked the children’s rooms. They were in their beds and sleeping soundly. White knuckles held her weapon close and ready as she cautiously checked the rest of the house.

Ahhh! A shower curtain had crashed to the floor, causing the disturbance. All was secure. She sighed with relief—especially when she saw the weapon in her hands. She was clutching the hollow plastic bat of her two-year-old. It was useless against an assailant.

However, the story gives us cause to think. No matter what difficulty we face, our weapons are never adequate. They are as plastic bats.

How often have we grabbed from our arsenal only to find our weapons grossly inadequate, even useless against the intruders of our lives? Consequently, when we have to use them, we become overwhelmed because of our inability to cope. We might even question where God is in the midst of our problem. Are we lacking because God has given us inadequate, or useless, weapons? Or is it simply that we are depending on our own weapons — or strength — rather than on our God?

As Moses led the Israelites to freedom, they were trapped between the Red Sea, mountains, and a fierce army chasing after them. As slaves, they knew the Egyptians’ cruelty. Now they didn’t even have plastic bats to fight with. They were doomed and were terrified.

In desperation, they cried out to the Lord for help. However, in the same breath, they hurled accusations at Moses for their predicament.

Then they said to Moses,

“Is it because there were no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you dealt with us in this way, bringing us out of Egypt? Is this not the word that we spoke to you in Egypt, saying, ‘Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.” Exodus 14:11-12 (NASB)

When we depend on our own strength, we easily become afraid. Then, are we like the Israelites? Do we feel like we have to take care of the problem? Are we terrified because we don’t expect God to answer? If the problem is bigger than we can handle, helplessness and fear easily lead to anger and blame — all because we are trusting in ourselves.

In contrast, Moses’ faith was not misplaced. He did not need a weapon. He was confident God would handle the problem.

Moses said to the people, “Do not fear! Stand by and see the salvation of the LORD which He will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you have seen today, you will never see them again forever.” Exodus 14:13 (NASB)

The Lord parted the Red Sea and His children walked across to freedom. The Egyptian army followed and the sea closed over them. The whole army was destroyed without the Israelites raising a hand. (Well, Moses did hold his rod up and stretched his hand over the sea to part it!)

God sometimes chooses to let us participate in the fight — but we always need Him to fight our battles for us, whether we take part or not. Conversely, He doesn’t need us in order to win. When He fights for us, victory is sure.

God never intended for us to be our sole defense. If we find that our resources inadequate in life’s battles, it’s because we’re not fully depending on God. He is our shield, defense, bulwark, and strong tower. If we trust in the Lord rather than our plastic bats, we will find that He is never useless against an assailant.

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. 2 Corinthians 10:3-4 (NASB)

 

The Right To Pray

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The Right Way to Pray

When you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Matthew 6:6

I admire people who record prayer requests in journals tattered from daily handling, those who keep track of every prayer and praise and then faithfully update their lists. I’m inspired by those who gather with others to pray and whose kneeling wears out the carpet at their bedsides. For years, I tried to copy their styles, to emulate a perfect prayer life, and to imitate the eloquence of the so-much-more-articulate-than-me folks. I strived to unravel what I thought was a mystery, as I longed to learn the right way to pray.

Eventually, I learned that our Lord simply desires prayer that begins and ends with humility (Matthew 6:5). He invites us into an intimate exchange through which He promises to listen (v. 6). He never requires fancy or memorized words or phrases (v. 7). He assures us that prayer is a gift, an opportunity to honor His majesty (vv. 9–10), to display our confidence in His provision (v. 11), and to affirm our security in His forgiveness and guidance (vv. 12–13).

God assures us He hears and cares about every single spoken and unspoken prayer, as well as the prayers that slip down our cheeks as silent tears. As we place our trust in God and His perfect love for us, we can be sure praying with a humble heart that’s surrendered to and dependent on Him is always the right way to pray.

Lord, thank You for reminding us You hear every prayer.

Calling on Jesus as our loving Savior and Lord is the right way to pray.

 

A feast for faith

From: Charles Spurgeon

‘This also comes forth from the Lord of hosts, which is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in working.’ Isaiah 28:29

Suggested Further Reading: Exodus 35:30–36:2

We are to ascribe the thoughtful, inventive mind, and the dexterous, clever hand, to him who is the great Instructor of man. We trace directly to God the marvellous philosophy of Newton, and the skill of Watt and Stephenson, because the very slightest consideration shows us that there was originally a peculiarity in the constitution and formation of such minds as theirs. The most of us could have done nothing of the kind if we had tried all our days. There may be men of inventive genius here, but I suppose that nine out of ten of us can make no pretence to the possession of anything of the sort, and therefore we are led to ask, where did the faculty come from? Surely the fertile brain of invention must be the Creator’s gift. An after providence has also a hand in the business, for many men whose minds would naturally have gone in the direction of invention, are turned into quite another course by the force of circumstances. It was surely God’s providence which in other cases found a channel for the natural passion, and allowed the soul to flow as it willed. And how often, too, some of the greatest inventions have been due to the simplest accidents! The puffing of steam from a kettle, or the falling of an apple from a tree have led thoughtful minds to discover great and important truths, and who shall attribute these circumstances to any but to ‘him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will,’ and who gives wisdom to the wisest of the sons of men? Let us adore the mighty God, not only as we read our Bibles, but as we traverse the halls of art and science, and visit the exhibitions which in these days of ours are being reared on every side. Let us make man’s skill speak to us of God’s glory.

For meditation1 Corinthians 4:7. Our ‘natural’ abilities are God-given, whether they are practical (Exodus 36:1–2) or academic (Daniel 1:17). It is our responsibility to use our gifts for their proper purpose and we are the only ones to blame if they are misused.

 

Hide thyself by the brook Cherith (1 Kings 17:3).

God’s servants must be taught the value of the hidden life. The man who is to take a high place before his fellows must take a low place before his God. We must not be surprised if sometimes our Father says: “There, child, thou hast had enough of this hurry, and publicity, and excitement; get thee hence, and hide thyself b the brook–hide thyself in the Cherith of the sick chamber, or in the Cherith of bereavement, or in some solitude from which the crowds have ebbed away.”

Happy is he who can reply, “This Thy will is also mine; I flee unto Thee to hide me. Hide me in the secret of Thy tabernacle, and beneath the covert of Thy wings!”

Every saintly soul that would wield great power with men must win it in some hidden Cherith. The acquisition of spiritual power is impossible, unless we can hide ourselves from men and from ourselves in some deep gorge where we may absorb the power of the eternal God; as vegetation through long ages absorbed these qualities of sunshine, which it now gives back through burning coal.

Bishop Andrews had his Cherith, in which he spent five hours every day in prayer and devotion. John Welsh had it–who thought the day ill spent which did not witness eight or ten hours of closet communion. David Brainerd had it in the woods of North America. Christmas Evans had it in his long and lonely journeys amid the hills of Wales.

Or, passing back to the blessed age from which we date the centuries: Patmos, the seclusion of the Roman prisons, the Arabian desert, the hills and vales of Palestine, are forever memorable as the Cheriths of those who have made our modern world.

Our Lord found His Cherith at Nazareth, and in the wilderness of Judea; amid the olives of Bethany, and the solitude of Gadara. None of us, therefore, can dispense with some Cherith where the sounds of human voices are exchanged for the waters of quietness which are fed from the throne; and where we may taste the sweets and imbibe the power of a life hidden with Christ.
–Elijah, by Meyer

Love Generously

“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your
sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.” 
2 Corinthians 8:9 (NIV)
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Love Generously

From: Pauline Hylton

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“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.” 2 Corinthians 8:9 (NIV)

Recently, I heard a sermon by J. D. Greear about the book of Ecclesiastes. Not an easy read, not an easy sermon to preach. He spoke a lot about “hevel.” It is one of the most-used words in the book. Some translations use vanity, some use futility.

He used the illustration of passing through a cloud on an airplane. It appears mighty and full of substance, but it is just a vapor. Solomon compares it to all of life.

A vapor.

I saw my grandson this weekend. He is now three. I remember the day he was born. My husband Tom and I waited in the lobby with our in-laws for our grandchild’s birth. We knew the sex … we knew the name … but we did not know him.

Yet.

Three years later, he has quite the personality. I hadn’t seen him in a few months and his vocabulary skills have improved dramatically. Usually, I begin each morning with a song. I began, “Good morning, to you. Good morning to you. Good morning, dear Silas, Good morning to you.”

“I don’t like that,” he stated quite clearly.

Yet, when I left, upon being told he had graduated from nursery into the three-year-old-class, he cried and said, “I don’t want to go to church. I nervous.” About his Nana and Papa leaving, he added, “I sad.”

I was, too. And I cried on my way out of six lanes of traffic in Atlanta.

Life is full of joys, sorrows, ups, downs. You can’t quite put your finger on it. It is a vapor. I find great joy in it, but know it is not eternal. From past experience, before I know it, I’ll be attending his high school graduation.

Because that is how life is.

But because of the life, death, and resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ I know that there is more than this hevel under the sun. There is eternity above the sun with the Son. The above verse says that He became poor so I could become rich. Inherit eternity. Forever. And ever.

The vapor-like life we lead has substance when we view it through the eyes of eternity.

And then we invest in it.

That does not mean that I ignore my sweet grandson. It means I invest in praying for him. When I am with him, I pray with him and tell him about Jesus.

I give my money for eternal things and do not hoard it. Knowing that my brothers and sisters in other countries sit in dark cells away from their families because they taught a Bible study, or gave someone a Bible, I pray for them like they were my family and send money to them generously because they are my family—my eternal family.

1 Corinthians 2: 9 says this:

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared  for those who love him.” (NLT)

I am rich. If you know Jesus as your Savior, you are rich.

Let’s live like it.

 

What To Renounce

By Oswald Chambers

What To Renounce

Have you “renounced the hidden things of shame” in your life— the things that your sense of honor or pride will not allow to come into the light? You can easily hide them. Is there a thought in your heart about anyone that you would not like to be brought into the light? Then renounce it as soon as it comes to mind— renounce everything in its entirety until there is no hidden dishonesty or craftiness about you at all. Envy, jealousy, and strife don’t necessarily arise from your old nature of sin, but from the flesh which was used for these kinds of things in the past (see Romans 6:19 and 1 Peter 4:1-3). You must maintain continual watchfulness so that nothing arises in your life that would cause you shame.

“…not walking in craftiness…” (2 Corinthians 4:2). This means not resorting to something simply to make your own point. This is a terrible trap. You know that God will allow you to work in only one way— the way of truth. Then be careful never to catch people through the other way— the way of deceit. If you act deceitfully, God’s blight and ruin will be upon you. What may be craftiness for you, may not be for others— God has called you to a higher standard. Never dull your sense of being your utmost for His highest— your best for His glory. For you, doing certain things would mean craftiness coming into your life for a purpose other than what is the highest and best, and it would dull the motivation that God has given you. Many people have turned back because they are afraid to look at things from God’s perspective. The greatest spiritual crisis comes when a person has to move a little farther on in his faith than the beliefs he has already accepted.

Curiosity or Compassion?

“As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” John 9:1

Let me introduce you to a friend of mine. Arloa Sutter grew up on a farm in Iowa. One of her fond memories from her time on the farm was spawned on a cold December day when she walked out into the pasture and noticed a little lamb that had just been born. Its body was frozen stiff. Thinking it was dead, Arloa picked it up and carefully took it back into the warmth of the barn. She wrapped the little lamb in towels and then went back to her house. A few hours later she returned to the barn to do a couple of chores only to hear the weak yet welcome sound of bleating from that little lamb.

Rescuing that lamb had a huge impact on Arloa. It opened her heart to the call of God to rescue His lambs off the streets of Chicago. Arloa moved to Chicago and attended college at The Moody Bible Institute. She never went back to the sheep on the farm. In Chicago, she was struck by the needs of the destitute and poor—people whom, as she says, “are like that frozen lamb who need a touch of the compassion of Jesus to reclaim their souls.” After graduation, Arloa established Breakthrough Ministries, which is now a leader in ministering to the homeless street people of that city.

I lived in Chicago for many years, and I can tell you how easy it is to become immune to the countless homeless people on the streets—to pass by and wonder what went wrong without reaching out to help. Why is it that we are far more interested in the details of what, why, when, and where, than we are about how we can help?

When the disciples passed the blind beggar, their curiosity about why he was suffering outweighed any desire to reach out to him. I can’t help but wonder if they had seen him many times before and responded with the same kind of standoffish, theological curiosity. And when they finally got a chance to quiz Jesus about the man, it revealed that they were dreadfully out of step with their Master’s heart. In fact, they had more than just curiosity. Lurking beneath their question was a desire to know whom to blame for the problem.

Thankfully, Jesus’ heart was into compassion, not curiosity. Rather than analyzing the situation to satisfy the judgmental attitudes of onlookers, He marshaled His divine resources to reach out and help. Which in this case meant that the blind man would see! And to answer the disciples’ question, He made it clear that the man’s blindness was intended to provide a moment when God could be magnified through Jesus’ compassionate touch.

Jesus’ actions call us away from standoffish, curious, and often critical attitudes. Jesus teaches us that true followers never fail to be compassionate but rather constantly live by the motto: “What can I do to help?”

 

 

Making The Ultimate Sacrifice for Others

Paying The Ultimate sacrifice For Others
John 3
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in
him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the
world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in
him is not condemned,but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because
they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
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 The Ultimate Satisfaction

Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Isaiah 55:1

As we distributed snacks for children at a Bible School program, we noticed a little boy who devoured his snack. Then he also ate the leftovers of the children at his table. Even after I gave him a bag of popcorn, he still wasn’t satisfied. As leaders, we were concerned as to why this little boy was so hungry.

It occurred to me that we can be like that boy when it comes to our emotions. We look for ways to satisfy our deepest longings, but we never find what fully satisfies us.

The prophet Isaiah invites those who are hungry and thirsty to “come, buy and eat” (Isaiah 55:1). But then he asks, “Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy?” (v. 2). Isaiah is talking about more than just physical hunger here. God can satisfy our spiritual and emotional hunger through the promise of His presence. The “everlasting covenant” in verse 3 is a reminder of a promise God made to David in 2 Samuel 7:8–16. Through David’s family line, a Savior would come to reconnect people to God. Later, in John 6:35 and 7:37, Jesus extended the same invitation Isaiah gave, thus identifying Himself as the Savior foretold by Isaiah and other prophets.

Hungry? God invites you to come and be filled in His presence.

Father, I long to know You more. Only You can satisfy my deepest desires.

Only God will satisfy our spiritual hunger.

 

An appeal to sinners

From: Charles Spurgeon

“This man receiveth sinners.” Luke 15:2

Suggested Further Reading: Ephesians 1:3-8

Allow us just to amplify that word: “this man receiveth sinners.” Now, by that we understand that he receives sinners to all the benefits which he has purchased for them. If there be a fountain, he receives sinners to wash them in it; if there be medicine for the soul, he receives sinners to heal their diseases; if there be a house for the sick, an hospital, a home for the dying, he receives such into that retreat of mercy. All that he has of love, all that he has of mercy, all that he has of atonement, all that he has of sanctification, all that he has of righteousness—to all these he receives the sinner. Yea, more; not content with taking him to his house, he receives him to his heart. He takes the black and filthy sinner, and having washed him—“There,” he says, “thou art my beloved; my desire is towards thee.” And to consummate the whole, at last he receives the saints to heaven. Saints, I said, but I meant those who were sinners, for none can be saints truly, but those who once were sinners, and have been washed in the blood of Christ, and made white through the sacrifice of the lamb. Observe it then, beloved, that in receiving sinners we mean the whole of salvation; and this word in my text, “Christ receiveth sinners,” grasps in the whole of the covenant. He receives them to the joys of paradise, to the bliss of the beatified, to the songs of the glorified, to an eternity of happiness for ever. “This man receiveth sinners;” and I dwell with special emphasis on this point,—he receives none else. He will have none else to be saved but those who know themselves to be sinners.

For meditation: Contrast whom Christ receives with all that they receive in him in return (Luke 15:20-24). Are you one of them?

 

Real Treasure

From: Joe Stowell, Author

“Be careful that you do not forget the LORD your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day.” Deuteronomy 8:11

The church in China is a phenomenal example of the gospel’s explosive power in the face of persecution. In the 1940s, the rise of communism led to the dismissal of all missionaries, leaving behind approximately one million Chinese Christians. With no missionaries, very few Bibles, and facing severe persecution, the believers were impoverished with no economic or political leverage. The future of Christianity in China seemed bleak. Which is why it’s shocking to learn that recent reports tell us there are over 100 million Christians in China today.

Rather than suffocating the gospel, the dire circumstances actually had the opposite effect. Why? Because the believers had nothing and no one to depend on except Jesus. They discovered that He was all they needed. Despite being persecuted and marginalized, their lives displayed the joy and satisfaction found in the riches of Christ. And as a result, the life-changing reality of Jesus impacted their society with exponential growth.

Without a doubt it is an exciting outcome to what was a seemingly despairing situation for believers in China. And it’s a reminder to us of how God can use trouble to take the material stuff out so that the real treasure of Jesus can come in.

As you may know, in China’s larger cities the economy is starting to boom. In a recent conversation with a friend who ministers in China, I asked him if the Christians are relieved that affluence is starting to return to their country. I had hoped that after years of living with harsh circumstances they could begin to enjoy some simple pleasures that a more prosperous life might bring to them. My friend’s response was somewhat surprising. He told me that the church leaders actually hope and pray for the opposite. They don’t want the affluence to come. He said, “We have noticed that the Christians who are becoming more affluent now have lost their edge for Jesus Christ and are becoming more taken with earth-side gain than with Jesus. It is sapping the strength out of our church.”

But it’s not just a challenge in China. It’s a challenge for all of us whom God has blessed with a measure of abundance. It’s why Paul wrote: “People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. . . . Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs” (1 Timothy 6:9-10).

The very thing that we may think will be the demise of our lives—trouble—can actually serve to strengthen our lives by forcing us to cling to Jesus and Him alone. And the very things that we think will enrich our lives may in fact impoverish us. To the affluent, self-sufficient church in Laodicea that didn’t feel they needed Him, Jesus warned that from His point of view they were “wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked” (Revelation 3:17).

When we are consumed by the stacks of stuff in our world, we run the risk of missing the true treasures that are found in Christ alone.

Today is a great time to learn a lesson from the persecuted church—that amidst all the clutter of our material treasures, He is all we really need.

What’s In A Name

Philippians 2
9  Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
Jesus, King of kings, and Lord of lords
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Salvation is through Jesus Name

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What’s in a Name?

From: Our Daily Bread

She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. Matthew 1:21

“Gip” Hardin, a Methodist preacher, named his son after the famous preacher John Wesley, reflecting Gip’s hopes and aspirations for his baby boy. John Wesley Hardin, however, tragically chose a different path than his ministry-minded namesake. Claiming to have killed forty-two men, Hardin became one of the most notorious gunfighters and outlaws of the American West of the late 1800s.

In the Bible, as in many cultures today, names hold special significance. Announcing the birth of God’s Son, an angel instructed Joseph to name Mary’s child “Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). The meaning of Jesus’s name—“Jehovah saves”—confirmed His mission to save from sin.

Unlike Hardin, Jesus completely and thoroughly lived up to His name. Through His death and resurrection, He accomplished His mission of rescue. John affirmed the life-giving power of Jesus’s name, saying, “But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:31). The book of Acts invites everyone to trust Him, for, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

All who call on Jesus’s matchless name in faith can experience for themselves the forgiveness and hope He provides. Have you called on His name?

Thank You, Father, for providing salvation through Your Son, Jesus. I love You.

Jesus’s name is also His mission—to seek and to save that which was lost.

 

After Surrender— Then What?

By Oswald Chambers

After Surrender— Then What?

True surrender is not simply surrender of our external life but surrender of our will— and once that is done, surrender is complete. The greatest crisis we ever face is the surrender of our will. Yet God never forces a person’s will into surrender, and He never begs. He patiently waits until that person willingly yields to Him. And once that battle has been fought, it never needs to be fought again.

Surrender for Deliverance. “Come to Me…and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). It is only after we have begun to experience what salvation really means that we surrender our will to Jesus for rest. Whatever is causing us a sense of uncertainty is actually a call to our will— “Come to Me.” And it is a voluntary coming.

Surrender for Devotion. “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself…” (Matthew 16:24). The surrender here is of my self to Jesus, with His rest at the heart of my being. He says, “If you want to be My disciple, you must give up your right to yourself to Me.” And once this is done, the remainder of your life will exhibit nothing but the evidence of this surrender, and you never need to be concerned again with what the future may hold for you. Whatever your circumstances may be, Jesus is totally sufficient (see 2 Corinthians 12:9 and Philippians 4:19).

Surrender for Death. “…another will gird you…” (John 21:18; also see John 21:19). Have you learned what it means to be girded for death? Beware of some surrender that you make to God in an ecstatic moment in your life, because you are apt to take it back again. True surrender is a matter of being “united together [with Jesus] in the likeness of His death” (Romans 6:5) until nothing ever appeals to you that did not appeal to Him.

And after you surrender— then what? Your entire life should be characterized by an eagerness to maintain unbroken fellowship and oneness with God.

I Need to Be by Myself

By: Bob Segress, Author

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“A man who isolates Himself seeks his own desire.” Proverbs 18:1

My loving wife told me: “Honey, you are cutting yourself off from the Holy Spirit’s comfort and healing hands. Our friends at church miss you and want to hug you and share their love with you.”

I thought, “Look at me, I should be by myself.”

Tears came to my eyes because I was different. But, my gentle, tender wife still looked at me through the eyes of love.

I had been home from the hospital for a few weeks after a two-month sequence that included: blood spitting pneumonia, a massive stroke and then extensive pulmonary embolisms in both lungs. Two of my attending physicians told me that I had been given: “a Divine reprieve to a death sentence, enjoy it”; “a miracle”.

I wasn’t doing much enjoying. I felt more like a damaged vegetable and looked like something you wouldn’t take home from the market.

My wife felt I was isolating myself too much as I felt better being alone and just passively watching T.V. Without knowing it, I was falling into one of the devil’s schemes, but my angel wouldn’t give up. She came to me and laid my head on her lap. Then, I felt Jesus’ warm presence as I had in the Valley of Death. I felt Him say: “It is alright my son, I cried too.” As my wife kissed my face, His love filled my broken heart with peace and gratitude.

The story behind this tender moment between my wife, myself and my Lord happened after she had watched me for several weeks after coming home from the hospital.

It is a surprisingly new experience when your heart, lungs, and hearing stop and you discover how quiet things really are without your heart and lung sounds anymore. I discovered a beauty, silence, and peace that I didn’t want to leave.

I’m glad my Shepherd brought me back from the Valley of Death where I went blank. He brought me back so that my dear wife and my children didn’t have to grieve yet. I feel another reason He brought me back is so I can tell His children what it is like to die. In death we are blank and can’t think, pray, quote verses, or move a muscle. We only feel the presence of our Shepherd and that’s enough.

I began to lose my blankness after a few days in the hospital. Miraculously, I’m back to my writing ministry, which is a miracle in itself, as after my stroke I couldn’t put two sentences together. I learned that death is nothing to fear as He has conquered death. “Oh, death where is your sting? O grave where is your victory? (1 Corinthians 15:55)

God’s injured children need different degrees of isolation as a part of recovering from trauma. Whether it be divorce, death, or disease — time to heal is necessary.

However, I learned that isolation that cuts a person off from our Lord’s healing hands is a scheme of the devil. Jesus told His sheep to “Come unto Me you who are burdened and heavy laden and I will give you rest” Matthew 11:28. We need the Holy Spirit’s healing love that flows through the touch and prayers of God’s children and the words found in the bread of life.

Bring your broken and lonely heart to Jesus and His children and allow them to touch you, as I did. You will find the love and confidence you have lost. Thankfully, pro-active Love imparts the cure to desiring “isolation” and “seeking our own desire.”

 

Be Delighted In The Lord

Psalm 37[a]

Of David.

Do not fret because of those who are evil
    or be envious of those who do wrong;
for like the grass they will soon wither,
    like green plants they will soon die away.

Trust in the Lord and do good;
    dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Take delight in the Lord,
    and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the Lord;
    trust in him and he will do this:
He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn,
    your vindication like the noonday sun

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Are You Knocking on Dead Wood?

Shadia Hrichi, Author

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I love mornings. One of my favorite pastimes is sitting in the backyard with a steaming cup of coffee, listening to the delightful chorus of singing birds. Recently, a persistent knocking caught my attention. A wooden utility pole is situated near the corner of my yard. On top, a woodpecker was pounding on the dead wood for all it was worth.

Woodpeckers primarily eat bugs in living trees. I was curious why it was wasting time banging its head on dead wood, so I did some research. I discovered that, while there are various reasons, the best explanation is that they simply don’t know any better. To them, a tree is a tree is a tree.

Have you ever watched someone (or been someone) looking for fulfillment in the same old, dead places? Some poor choices are obvious. Such as drugs, alcohol, promiscuous sex, gambling, being a workaholic, etc. I am ashamed to admit I’ve traveled many of these roads. They all lure us with the same bait: the possibility of reward. It might be hitting the jackpot, chasing a drug high, or another career achievement. However, in the end, the satisfaction, if any, is short-lived. And the price we pay is often too high.

“There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death.” Proverbs 14:12 NLT

But before we judge, even the “do-gooders” can be susceptible. Many turn to “religion” – which is just another dead tree. Religion in and of itself, with its “good deeds and religious works,” also leads to empty promises. Personal self-fulfillment simply cannot be satisfied with external activities, no matter how noble. Without transformation on the inside, these efforts quickly become exhausting.

What about you? What dead wood have you been beating your head against? Have you taken a close look at what’s really on the other side? I can assure you there is nothing but lies, empty promises, death, and dust.

Deep down, most of us desire the same things. We all long for purpose, unconditional love, and acceptance. These desires are healthy and good. We know this because God placed them within each of us. But He did this so that we would reach out to Him. He is the only One who can satisfy the deepest longings of our hearts.

So let’s stop chasing the world with its lies and empty promises. Let us run to our heavenly Father and surrender our hopes and dreams to Him. In turn, He will begin to transform us on the inside, satisfying our hearts to overflowing with His peace, presence, and love. Then, we can finally stop pounding our head against the wall.

“Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4 NASB

 

The Fatherhood of God

By: Charles Spurgeon

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“Our Father which art in heaven.” Matthew 6:9

Suggested Further Reading: Luke 11:1-13

A child, even though he is erring, always expects his father will hear what he has to say. “Lord, if I call thee King thou wilt say, “Thou art a rebellious subject; get thee gone.” If I call thee Judge thou wilt say, “Be still, or out of thine own mouth will I condemn thee.” If I call thee Creator thou wilt say unto me, “It repenteth me that I made man upon the earth.” If I call thee my Preserver thou wilt say unto me, “I have preserved thee, but thou hast rebelled against me.” But if I call thee Father, all my sinfulness doth not invalidate my claim. If thou be my Father, then thou lovest me; if I be thy child, then thou wilt regard me, and poor though my language be, thou wilt not despise it.” If a child were called upon to speak in the presence of a number of persons, how very much alarmed he would be lest he should not use right language. I may sometimes feel concerned when I have to address a mighty audience, lest I should not select choice words, full well knowing that if I were to preach as I never shall, like the mightiest of orators, I should always have enough of carping critics to rail at me. But if I had my Father here, and if you could all stand in the relationship of father to me, I should not be very particular what language I used. When I talk to my Father I am not afraid he will misunderstand me; if I put my words a little out of place he understands my meaning somehow. When we are little children we only prattle; still our father understands us.

For meditation: The Father always heard the Lord Jesus Christ (John 11:41,42); by the working of the Holy Spirit he can understand us even when we cannot understand ourselves (Romans 8:26,27). Never be afraid to go to him in prayer because words fail you.

 

Where’s The Leash?

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From: Joe Stowell, Author

“What does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8

Recently, while out for Chinese food with friends, I noticed a man walking his dog past the restaurant. Normally I wouldn’t have looked twice. But the dog’s owner had taken the leash, put it in a figure-eight configuration, and placed it firmly in the dog’s mouth.

My friends explained that it’s against the law in their town to walk a dog without a leash. This clever dog owner had found a loophole—the law didn’t stipulate that you actually have to hold the leash! The amazing part is not the loophole, but that the dog was walking in obedient step with his owner, even though he could have bolted away to chase a nearby squirrel.

Our walk with God needs to be like that. While God in His mercy gives us a long leash and rarely gives us spiritual whiplash by yanking on it, He doesn’t delight in the struggle to keep us in line. He delights when we walk in a surrendered way with Him.

When Israel whined to the prophet Micah about how hard they thought it was to please God, He replied with a straightforward, simple way to please Him. Being just and loving mercy while we walk humbly with Him brings God great pleasure (Mic. 6:8). You’ll know He is pleased when He doesn’t have to hold your leash anymore.

All to Jesus I surrender,
All to Him I freely give;
I will ever love and trust Him,
In His presence daily live.  —Van de Venter

Find true freedom by walking obediently with God.

Living Worship

Missionary Weapons (2)
Missionary Weapons (2)

Ministering in Everyday Opportunities. Ministering in everyday opportunities that surround us does not mean that we select our own surroundings— it means being God’s very special choice to be available for use in any of the seemingly random surroundings which He has engineered for us. The very character we exhibit in our present surroundings is an indication of what we will be like in other surroundings.

The things Jesus did were the most menial of everyday tasks, and this is an indication that it takes all of God’s power in me to accomplish even the most common tasks in His way. Can I use a towel as He did? Towels, dishes, sandals, and all the other ordinary things in our lives reveal what we are made of more quickly than anything else. It takes God Almighty Incarnate in us to do the most menial duty as it ought to be done.

Jesus said, “I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you” (John 13:15). Notice the kind of people that God brings around you, and you will be humiliated once you realize that this is actually His way of revealing to you the kind of person you have been to Him. Now He says we should exhibit to those around us exactly what He has exhibited to us.

Do you find yourself responding by saying, “Oh, I will do all that once I’m out on the mission field”? Talking in this way is like trying to produce the weapons of war while in the trenches of the battlefield— you will be killed while trying to do it.

We have to go the “second mile” with God (see Matthew 5:41). Yet some of us become worn out in the first ten steps. Then we say, “Well, I’ll just wait until I get closer to the next big crisis in my life.” But if we do not steadily minister in everyday opportunities, we will do nothing when the crisis comes.

 

Life Is Fragile

From: Missey Butler, Author

Now that we are coming to another anniversary of the infamous 911 tragedy, I find myself revisiting my own feelings of disbelief and dismay that tragic morning of September 11, 2001.

I would barely be getting through my front door each day after work, before my hand started reaching for the television remote, wanting to know how in the world were we ever going to survive the holocaust that was unfolding. Sadly, the news only seemed to worsen. I would sit almost in a stupor, as report after report unfolded circumstances of the worst case scenarios.

I found myself whispering “Oh God” a lot. Immediately I began to think of just how fragile our lives are and how meaningful the words“But for the grace of Godgo I” had become to me.

Sometimes I couldn’t even put together the right words to pray adequately for all the desperate scenes that were playing out before my eyes. I remember hearing  the voice of the Lord whisper, ”Will you trust me…even when everything around you seems to be falling apart?” 

And isn’t that truly where the hard lessons of faith are forged out? Where the rubber meets the road?  When we can’t make sense of anything, when human suffering is at it’s pinnacle and everything in us wants to loudly scream “Where are you God?”

The only thing I know is that no matter how dismal and devastated our country seemed at the time, God was, and is faithful. In his perfect timing, He turns our brothers’ and sisters’ “ashes into beauty,” for those who put their trust in Him. Our hearts must somehow grab hold of even just a glimmer of hope, a mustard seed of faith … is all that is needed in order to bring us into a much needed place of rest.

I speak from experience when I say, “I know in whom I believe!”  Our Redeemer lives! I know this, because I spoke to Him this morning. Yes, He is as close as a whisper and as present as our own breath. The truth is, He never leaves us, and He is always there with us, especially during  those times when we are forced to walk through the fires and  tribulations of our lives.

It is for certain, that we know not what a day may bring (Prov. 27:1). But we do know who holds tomorrow.

The psalmist says in Psalm 116:1-6:

“I love the Lord, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy. Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live. The cords of death entangled me, the anguish of the grave came upon me; I was overcome by trouble and sorrow. Then I called on the name of the Lord. “ O Lord, save me!” The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion. The Lord protects the simplehearted; when I was in great need, he saved me.”

Heaven, Our Home Through Jesus

John 14 

Jesus Comforts His Disciples

14 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God[a]; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”

Jesus the Way to the Father

Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know[b] my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”

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The Hope of Heaven

From: Our Daily Journey

The Hope of Heaven

Read:

Revelation 21:1-7
Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them (Revelation 21:3).

I’ll never forget what one of my older friends said when her son died unexpectedly: “Heaven seems nearer.” Although she was a widow who had endured hardship and pain, she lived her life with verve and joy. In her sadness over losing her son, she sought God’s perspective and, in doing so, felt the distance lessen between God’s kingdom on earth and His kingdom in heaven.

Toward the end of his life, John, a disciple of Jesus, received a series of visions of God’s kingdom to come, which we have recorded in the book of Revelation. We may find the imagery and allusions hard to understand, but the early church, for whom it was written, wouldn’t have found it so jarring. They regularly read the apocalyptic visions found in the Old Testament books of Ezekiel and Daniel.

Revelation 21 encourages us to ask God to help us hold strongly to His promises of the good things to come when “the old heaven and the old earth” will disappear (Revelation 21:1), transformed by God’s heavenly glory (Revelation 21:10). Our God commits to make His home with us, not only wiping our tears but removing the specter of death and pain and sorrow and crying altogether (Revelation 21:3-4). We will be filled with joy beyond measure as we live in His presence, worshiping Him and enjoying full communion with others.

My friend has since died, and so her remark seems even more poignant. Although I miss her, I also find hope in her example of turning to God and seeking His perspective. Like my friend, I’m striving to passionately live out the joy God provides, even as I look forward to being in Jesus’ presence in the renewed creation. And as I reflect on that future reality, I smile, for heaven seems nearer.

Missionary Weapons (1)

By Oswald Chambers

Missionary Weapons (1)

Worshiping in Everyday Occasions. We presume that we would be ready for battle if confronted with a great crisis, but it is not the crisis that builds something within us— it simply reveals what we are made of already. Do you find yourself saying, “If God calls me to battle, of course I will rise to the occasion”? Yet you won’t rise to the occasion unless you have done so on God’s training ground. If you are not doing the task that is closest to you now, which God has engineered into your life, when the crisis comes, instead of being fit for battle, you will be revealed as being unfit. Crises always reveal a person’s true character.

A private relationship of worshiping God is the greatest essential element of spiritual fitness. The time will come, as Nathanael experienced in this passage, that a private “fig-tree” life will no longer be possible. Everything will be out in the open, and you will find yourself to be of no value there if you have not been worshiping in everyday occasions in your own home. If your worship is right in your private relationship with God, then when He sets you free, you will be ready. It is in the unseen life, which only God saw, that you have become perfectly fit. And when the strain of the crisis comes, you can be relied upon by God.

Are you saying, “But I can’t be expected to live a sanctified life in my present circumstances; I have no time for prayer or Bible study right now; besides, my opportunity for battle hasn’t come yet, but when it does, of course I will be ready”? No, you will not. If you have not been worshiping in everyday occasions, when you get involved in God’s work, you will not only be useless yourself but also a hindrance to those around you.

God’s training ground, where the missionary weapons are found, is the hidden, personal, worshiping life of the saint.

Top of the List

From: Joe Stowell

“And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” Luke 22:19

When my wife Martie says, “Could you run to the grocery store for me?” I always want to know what it is she wants me to get. After asking the question, my mind is usually already off to something else as she tells me the list: “Bananas, bread, bacon, milk, and butter.” Inevitably, I get to the store and pick up the bananas, bread, and bacon, but end up forgetting the other two things. When I get home, I’ve got to go all the way back to the store because I forgot the milk and butter.

Tell me I’m not alone! It’s easy to forget to pick up the clothes at the drycleaners, or even the kids at daycare. The point is, in our humanness we’re all prone to forget. And it gets worse with age! We get preoccupied and distracted.

Unfortunately it’s not just the little, everyday things that we forget. It’s easy to overlook the big things, like the peace in the midst of stress and the power against great odds that are both available to us through prayer. When we’re not having a good day, it’s easy to forget the joy of our salvation. We even forget the death of Jesus for us—the very reason that we can live with undefeatable hope and assurance. Which means that forgetting about Jesus may open the door of your heart to the tormentors of hopelessness and insecurity.

It’s hard to believe that Christians could ever forget Christ and Calvary. It’s at the heart of everything we have and believe. And yet, in the hours before the crucifixion at the Last Supper, Jesus warned the disciples that they might forget Him and His work on the cross for them. This seems remarkable to me, because the disciples watched Him do all sorts of miracles like restoring sight to the blind and even raising Lazarus from the dead! How could they ever forget Christ after seeing those events firsthand? Still, in Luke’s account of the Last Supper, he quotes Jesus as saying: “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19 ESV). In essence: Don’t forget Me! In Greek, the word remember means to deliberate—to keep it on your mind. And it is often used in the sense of remembering something for your good.

So, why is it good for us to remember Jesus and His work on the cross? Jesus knew that if we were to forget, we might lose our love for Him and be seduced into loving lesser and even harmful things. Without the cross continually before us, we might become bitter or angry when He allows suffering to come into our lives. We might forget that He suffered for us to accomplish great things and that deep in our suffering the hand of God is busy doing great things through our pain. Forgetting the agony of His death, we might begin to take sin lightly and think more of ourselves than we should!

There’s an old song that goes something like this: “The cross before me, the world behind me . . . No turning back, no turning back.” What are you doing to keep the cross of Christ on your mind? Make a list of the stuff you might forget, and check it twice. Are Jesus and His wonderful work for you on the top of the list?

Desire The Beauty Of Holiness

Psalm 96:7-12

O nations of the world, recognize the Lord;
    recognize that the Lord is glorious and strong.
Give to the Lord the glory he deserves!
    Bring your offering and come into his courts.
Worship the Lord in all his holy splendor.
    Let all the earth tremble before him.
10 Tell all the nations, “The Lord reigns!”
    The world stands firm and cannot be shaken.
    He will judge all peoples fairly.

11 Let the heavens be glad, and the earth rejoice!
    Let the sea and everything in it shout his praise!
12 Let the fields and their crops burst out with joy!
    Let the trees of the forest sing for joy

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Image result for beautiful of holiness pictureImage result for beautiful of holiness picture
Image result for beautiful of holiness pictureImage result for beautiful of holiness picture
Image result for beautiful of holiness pictureImage result for beautiful of holiness picture

Beauty-Driven Worship

From: Our Daily Journey

Beauty-Driven Worship

Read:

Exodus 25:1-9
Tell the people of Israel to bring me their sacred offerings. Accept the contributions from all whose hearts are moved to offer them (Exodus 25:2).

Few us of spend enough time paying attention to beauty, especially in our times of worship. But when we do, it speaks to us like few things do.

Perhaps this explains why God placed a heavy emphasis on beauty when He called for the construction of the tabernacle—the first structure of public worship recorded in the biblical story (Exodus 25:1-9). Building the tabernacle was no mere intellectual endeavor. God called for people to offer items they were “moved” in their “hearts” to give—beautiful things they could deeply appreciate through their senses of sight, touch, and smell.

In fact, God values beauty so much that He placed His Spirit within the designers and craftsmen tasked with constructing His beautiful tabernacle (Exodus 35:30-35). He not only wanted them to excel in building the structure He came to dwell in as His people journeyed to the Promised Land, but He also made sure He picked those who possessed “the ability to teach their skills to others” (Exodus 35:34).

God planned for beauty to remain an important focus of His people long after the building of the tabernacle. Centuries later, during what could be likened to an outdoor church service, Jesus directed the attention of His audience to the beauty that surrounded them. “Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow,” He said sitting on the side of a mountain. In other words, notice them. Pay attention. “They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are” (Matthew 6:28-29).

May you intentionally include the beauty of music, art, and nature in your worship. Allow it to draw your full attention toward the One who created beautiful things.

 

Do It Yourself (2)

By Oswald Chambers

Do It Yourself (2)

Determinedly Discipline Other Things. This is another difficult aspect of the strenuous nature of sainthood. Paul said, according to the Moffatt translation of this verse, “…I take every project prisoner to make it obey Christ….” So much Christian work today has never been disciplined, but has simply come into being by impulse! In our Lord’s life every project was disciplined to the will of His Father. There was never the slightest tendency to follow the impulse of His own will as distinct from His Father’s will— “the Son can do nothing of Himself…” (John 5:19). Then compare this with what we do— we take “every thought” or project that comes to us by impulse and jump into action immediately, instead of imprisoning and disciplining ourselves to obey Christ.

Practical work for Christians is greatly overemphasized today, and the saints who are “bringing every thought [and project] into captivity” are criticized and told that they are not determined, and that they lack zeal for God or zeal for the souls of others. But true determination and zeal are found in obeying God, not in the inclination to serve Him that arises from our own undisciplined human nature. It is inconceivable, but true nevertheless, that saints are not “bringing every thought [and project] into captivity,” but are simply doing work for God that has been instigated by their own human nature, and has not been made spiritual through determined discipline.

We have a tendency to forget that a person is not only committed to Jesus Christ for salvation, but is also committed, responsible, and accountable to Jesus Christ’s view of God, the world, and of sin and the devil. This means that each person must recognize the responsibility to “be transformed by the renewing of [his] mind….” (Romans 12:2).

The death of the Christian

By: Charles Spurgeon

“Thou shalt come to thy grave in a full age, like as a shock of corn cometh in his season.” Job 5:26

Suggested Further Reading: 2 Corinthians 5:1-8

Wait a little, beloved. In a few more years you and I shall be carried through the heavens on the wings of angels. When I die, the angels approach. I am on the wings of cherubs. Oh, how they bear me up—how swiftly and yet how softly. I have left mortality with all its pains. Oh, how rapid is my flight! Just now I passed the morning star. Far behind me now the planets shine. Oh, how swiftly do I fly, and how sweetly! Cherubs! What sweet flight is yours, and what kind arms are these I lean upon. And on my way you kiss me with the kisses of love and affection.You call me brother. Cherubs; am I your brother? I who just now was captive in a tenement of clay—am I your brother? “Yes!” they say. Oh, hark, I hear music strangely harmonious! What sweet sounds come to my ears! I am nearing Paradise. Do not spirits approach with songs of joy? “Yes!” they say. And before they can answer, behold they come—a glorious convoy! I catch a sight of them as they are holding a great review at the gates of Paradise. And there is the golden gate. I enter in; and I see my blessed Lord. I can tell you no more. All else were things unlawful for flesh to utter. My Lord! I am with thee—plunged into thee—lost in thee just as a drop is swallowed in the ocean—as one single tint is lost in the glorious rainbow! Am I lost in thee, thou glorious Jesus? And is my bliss consummated? Is the wedding-day come at last? Have I really put on the marriage garments? And am I thine? Yes! I am.

For meditation: Are you looking forward to this time (Philippians 1:23)? You can if you are a Christian.The unbeliever has another prospect ahead (Hebrews 10:27). See the contrast in Luke 16:22,23.