Tag Archives: obedience

Work Hard For God

Still Working

“Well done, good and faithful servant.” —Matthew 25:23
Bible in a Year:
Joshua 7-9; Luke 1:21-38

Vivian and Don are in their mid-90s and have been married more than 70 years. Recently Vivian suffered a setback when she broke her hip. This has been additionally difficult because for several years both Don and Vivian have been saddened by the realization that they are no longer strong enough to be active in the life and work of their church.

However, Vivian and Don are still hard at work for the Lord: They are prayer warriors. While they may not always be physically present and visible in the life of their church, they are faithful “behind the scenes” in their service for Him.

The parable of the talents in Matthew 25 reminds us that we must use the “talents” God has given us wisely. All of us have God-given skills and abilities at various levels—and we must not bury, unused, what God has given us.

It is not only in our years of strength that God will use us, but also in our youth and age, as well as in our sickness and weakness. Vivian and Don continue to serve by praying. And like them, we honor our Savior by using our skills—“each according to his own ability” (v.15) to serve Him who is worthy.

Lord, You have done so much for me. Please show
me what I can do to serve You—to honor You with
the abilities You have provided. May my life be a
living sacrifice of love and action for Your honor.
God can use you at any age—if you are willing.

Identified or Simply Interested?

From:  My Utmost For HIs HIghest

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

The inescapable spiritual need each of us has is the need to sign the death certificate of our sin nature. I must take my emotional opinions and intellectual beliefs and be willing to turn them into a moral verdict against the nature of sin; that is, against any claim I have to my right to myself. Paul said, “I have been crucified with Christ . . . .” He did not say, “I have made a determination to imitate Jesus Christ,” or, “I will really make an effort to follow Him”-but-”I have beenidentified with Him in His death.” Once I reach this moral decision and act on it, all that Christ accomplished for me on the Cross is accomplished inme. My unrestrained commitment of myself to God gives the Holy Spirit the opportunity to grant to me the holiness of Jesus Christ.

“. . . it is no longer I who live . . . .” My individuality remains, but my primary motivation for living and the nature that rules me are radically changed. I have the same human body, but the old satanic right to myself has been destroyed.

“. . . and the life which I now live in the flesh,” not the life which I long to live or even pray that I live, but the life I now live in my mortal flesh-the life which others can see, “I live by faith in the Son of God . . . .” This faith was not Paul’s own faith in Jesus Christ, but the faith the Son God had given to him (see Ephesians 2:8). It is no longer a faith in faith, but a faith that transcends all imaginable limits-a faith that comes only from the Son of God.

Pass On Your Faith

 

Passing on Faith and Truth

The converted slave trader, John Newton, who became a beloved minister of the gospel and encouraged Wilberforce in his fight against the slave trade, whispered as he lay dying, “My memory is nearly gone, but I remember two things, that I am a great sinner and that Christ is a great Saviour.”


That irrepressible Cornish Christian, Billy Bray, came downstairs for the last time on Friday, 22 May 1868. To one of his old friends, who asked a few hours before his death if he had any fear of death, or of being lost, he said, “What! Me fear death! Me lost! Why, my Saviour conquered death. If I were to go down to hell, I would shout ‘Glory, glory to my blessed Jesus’ until I made the bottomless pit ring again, and the miserable old Satan would say, ‘Billy, Billy, this is no place for you: get you back.’ Then up to heaven I should go, shouting ‘Glory! Glory! Praise the Lord!’

A little later he said “Glory!” which was his last word. [26]


Christian missionary Geoffrey Bull was held captive by communists for three years at the time of the Chinese invasion of Tibet. He experienced constant interrogation and threat of execution. Later he wrote: “I pictured in my mind’s eye that last morning as I was led out to die. Should I preach, should I pray or should I sing? I decided I would sing. I went over in my mind some of the songs of Zion and then chose this great chorus, determined that by His grace these would be my last words before I saw Him face to face.

Some golden daybreak Jesus will come;
Some golden daybreak, battles all won,
He’ll shout the victory, break through the blue
Some golden daybreak for me, for you. [27]


A Greek named Aristides, in AD 125 wrote to a friend about the new religion called Christianity: “If any righteous man from among the Christians passes from this world, they rejoice and offer thanks to God, and they escort his body with songs and thanksgivings as if he were setting out from one place to another nearby.


“Live in Christ, live in Christ,” said the dying Scottish Reformer, John Knox, “and you need not fear the death of the flesh.”


Those at the bedside of the influential New England preacher Jonathan Edwards, thought he had passed from the realms of consciousness. They began to lament the sad loss to the church, only to be stopped by a memorable final sentence: “Trust in God and you need not fear.”


Richard Williams, medical missionary to Patagonia, wrote as he lay huddled up in the hull of his little boat, dying of scurvy and starvation:

Should anything prevent my ever adding to this, let my beloved ones at home rest assured that I was happy, beyond all expression, the night I wrote these lines, and would not have exchanged situations with any man living. Let them also be assured that my hopes were full and blooming with immortality, that Heaven and Love and Christ, which mean one and the same divine thing, were my soul; that the hope of glory filled my whole heart with joy and gladness; and that to me to live is Christ and to die is gain. [28]


Allen Gardiner was the last of the survivors of the seven missionaries who perished of starvation on Terra del Fuego when their relief ship failed to arrive. His final diary entry read, “Great and marvellous are the loving kindnesses of my gracious God.”


Among my favourite stories of those who have faced martyrdom for their faith in Christ are some about the Scottish Covenanters who were executed between the restoration of Charles II and the accession of William III. I have include several of their stories as typical of saints down the ages who have given their lives for their faith. They are particularly relevant in this twenty-first century when, according to researcher David Barrett, something like 160,000 people are killed annually because of their Christian beliefs. These examples are taken from the book Fair Sunshine by Jock Purves.29

The day before Donald Cargill was executed in 1681, a friend took a written testimony from him in which he wrote:

This is the most joyful day that ever I saw in my pilgrimage on earth. My joy is now begun which I see shall never be interrupted…this day I am to seal with my blood all the truths that ever I preached…

From: christianity.co.nz

Do You Have A Faith Life?

 

(pictures of Abraham’s life)

Abraham’s Life of Faith

From: My Utmost For His Highest

He went out, not knowing where he was going —Hebrews 11:8

In the Old Testament, a person’s relationship with God was seen by the degree of separation in that person’s life. This separation is exhibited in the life of Abraham by his separation from his country and his family. When we think of separation today, we do not mean to be literally separated from those family members who do not have a personal relationship with God, but to be separated mentally and morally from their viewpoints. This is what Jesus Christ was referring to in Luke 14:26.

Living a life of faith means never knowing where you are being led. But it does mean loving and knowing the One who is leading. It is literally a life of faith, not of understanding and reason—a life of knowing Him who calls us to go. Faith is rooted in the knowledge of a Person, and one of the biggest traps we fall into is the belief that if we have faith, God will surely lead us to success in the world.

The final stage in the life of faith is the attainment of character, and we encounter many changes in the process. We feel the presence of God around us when we pray, yet we are only momentarily changed. We tend to keep going back to our everyday ways and the glory vanishes. A life of faith is not a life of one glorious mountaintop experience after another, like soaring on eagles’ wings, but is a life of day—in and day—out consistency; a life of walking without fainting (seeIsaiah 40:31). It is not even a question of the holiness of sanctification, but of something which comes much farther down the road. It is a faith that has been tried and proved and has withstood the test. Abraham is not a type or an example of the holiness of sanctification, but a type of the life of faith—a faith, tested and true, built on the true God. “Abraham believed God. . .” (Romans 4:3).

March 19, 2014Five Prayers for Your Daughter
Lysa TerKeurst

From: Crosswalk.com

“‘… so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.'” Isaiah 55:11 (ESV)

There is something I’ve come to realize I need to guard against as a mom. I sometimes want to be God in my kids’ lives.

I want to write their stories.

I want to set the course for their futures.

I want to determine what’s best for them.

I want to prevent them from ever being hurt.

I want to be their provider and protector.

And I want to be the one to set anyone straight who messes with my kids.

Can you relate on any level? I think most moms can. We love these people God has entrusted to us more than we ever knew possible. And despite all the infant-stage sleepless nights, toddler tantrums, tween eye rolling, and the teen decisions that break our hearts slap in two … they are ours. To love. To lead. To launch.

And we want to make it all good.

But then things happen so beyond our control we eventually have to face the reality that we aren’t God. And we can’t operate as if we are.

So what do we do with that gap where our mommy capabilities end and trusting God begins? Where my kids are concerned, I want to trust God with everything beyond my control. But it’s so scary. It feels so risky.

And scary and risky are two words we moms don’t want as part of our kids’ lives.

So, how do we deepen our trust in God? How do we make peace with the limits of what we can and cannot protect our children from? What do we do with the risky and scary feelings that can make a mom lose sleep at best and feel crazed with fear at worst?

We must fill that gap with the only thing that bridges the space between our limitations and our trust in God: prayer.

I know, I know. That answer can sound like such a cliché Christian answer. Typical. Too hyper-spiritual. Not the answer we want sometimes.

But prayer is the only possibility with real possibility.

Yesterday, my friend Brooke McGlothlin wrote a devotion about scriptural prayers for boys (see related resources listed below). It inspired me to write some specific scriptural prayers for our girls.

Here are five powerful prayers to help you fight for the heart of your daughter:

1. Let her learn early in life that to obey You, God, is the best way to the life her heart truly desires (1 Samuel 15:22).

2. May she find comfort in Your ability, God, to reach her, hold her and rescue her (2 Samuel 22:17-18).

3. Let her find confidence in You, God, even when hard times come and she doesn’t know what to do, by keeping her eyes fixed on You (2 Chronicles 20:12).

4. May she keep herself under control and not give full vent to people and situations that anger her (Proverbs 29:11).

5. Let her walk in the security of Your assigned worth to her. Give her a strong work ethic and health to accomplish all her tasks. Give her a heart that desires to extend her hand to those in need. Protect her for the right husband, a man of respect and godly honor. And let her be a woman of joy and laughter whose Christ-centered character is what makes her most beautiful (Proverbs 31).

I’ve prayed these prayers, and I’ve seen amazingly powerful things happen in the lives of my daughters.

I can still fret and worry and want to mess with anyone who messes with my girls.

My girls still make mistakes, cross lines and give the principal reasons to call me.

But where would we be if the power of the One who answers our prayers wasn’t in the mix of our lives?

And what might these prayers be working out for my daughters’ futures that I won’t see for years to come? Yes, prayer is the only possibility with real possibility. And that brings me to the place where I can finally say … “Hello, my name is Mom. Not God.”

Dear Lord, I know that Your Word does not return void and I’m believing great things for my daughter today. May we both grow in our relationship with You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Beloved, do not be surprised at the ordeal that has come to test you… you are sharing what Christ suffered; so rejoice in it (1 Peter 4:12-13).

Many a waiting hour was needful to enrich the harp of David, and many a waiting hour in the wilderness will gather for us a psalm of “thanksgiving, and the voice of melody,” to cheer the hearts of fainting ones here below, and to make glad our Father’s house on high.

What was the preparation of the son of Jesse for the songs like unto which none other have ever sounded on this earth? The outrage of the wicked, which brought forth cries for God’s help. Then the faint hope in God’s goodness blossomed into a song of rejoicing for His mighty deliverances and manifold mercies. Every sorrow was another string to his harp; every deliverance another theme for praise.

One thrill of anguish spared, one blessing unmarked or unprized, one difficulty or danger evaded, how great would have been our loss in that thrilling Psalmody in which God’s people today find the expression of their grief or praise!

To wait for God, and to suffer His will, is to know Him in the fellowship of His sufferings, and to be conformed to the likeness of His Son. So now, if the vessel is to be enlarged for spiritual understanding, be not affrighted at the wider sphere of suffering that awaits you. The Divine capacity of sympathy will have a more extended sphere, for the breathing of the Holy Ghost in the new creation never made a stoic, but left the heart’s affection tender and true.
–Anna Shipton

The Six Components of a Happy Life

 

images (26)images (24)images (13)

 

Six Components of a Happy Life

“What is the definition of happiness? Why do some people seem to have the secret to happiness, while others struggle to gain any satisfaction? These are some basic but effective ideas that you can use to cultivate inner happiness and build an incredible life.

Simplicity

The route to happiness isn’t difficult. Happiness is not dependent on amassing a certain amount of fame or wealth; happiness is not dependent on reaching a certain social pecking order. If we are always striving after something bigger and better, happiness will remain elusive.

Happiness is found in the present moment, not some dreamed of golden future. We need to learn the art of being content with our current situation. Our current life may be far from perfect; but, if we can detach from negative situations and appreciate the value of simplicity happiness becomes easier to cultivate.

Live in the Heart

 

If we only live in the mind we look at every situation with our critical judgmental mind, as a consequence, we will inevitably find innumerable faults with the world and with other people. When we are constantly criticising others we can find neither peace nor happiness. However, if we live more in the heart we have a more tolerant, accepting attitude towards others. The heart’s qualities are acceptance and oneness. Children find it is easy to see happiness in the most ordinary situation because they are more in the heart. At times we need to distance the critical mind and take a simpler, childlike view of life.

Control Over Your Thoughts

When we feel like helpless victims of our own negative thought streams — how can we hope to be happy? To cultivate happiness we need tocultivate positive thoughts. This means stopping negative thoughts and replacing them with good, inspiring thoughts.

Avoiding negative thoughts requires practice. Meditation and concentration exercises can help us control our thoughts. But sometimes the best way to prevent negative thoughts is to concentrate on something positive. It’s your own thoughts that take you to heaven or hell, so be very careful with what is allowed into your mind.

Gratitude

If we show no appreciation for others and for life, we create a narcissistic outlook. We focus excessively on our sense of self and ego. When we offer gratitude for small things in life, it helps us feel a broader identity and awareness; our consciousness expands and we bring to the fore our own positive qualities.

Gratitude has tremendous power; if it is sincere and heartfelt it makes a big difference to our outlook on life. Gratitude helps bring to the fore a sincerely positive attitude to life.

Active

Happiness is easily found in usefully serving others. Activity doesn’t mean filling up our lives with as many activities as possible — this only leads to a sense of self-importance and stress as we struggle to do several things at once. But, if we are calmly active we find a sense of purpose in life; this sense of purpose and satisfaction helps cultivate an inner sense of satisfaction.

Physical Exercise

When you take regular physical exercise you will feel many benefits. Firstly, when we look after our body we are less prone to lethargy and illness. Through developing our fitness we gain an increased sense of self esteem; this is because we are taking active steps for our self improvement.

Increasing our fitness also enables an increased sense of mental well being; exercise helps rid the mind of many useless thoughts. It is important to have the right attitude to exercise, don’t think of school P.E. lessons in the cold rain; getting fit doesn’t have to be torture — you can easily find a sport or some exercise that is enjoyable and sociable.” BY TEJVAN PETTINGER | CATEGORIES: PSYCHOLOGYimages (23)images (26)images (28)

The Good And Perfect Gift

 

  • 4 days ago

Heart Food

Your words were found, and I ate them. —Jeremiah 15:16
Bible in a Year:

I love food! I love to see it beautifully presented, and I love to savor the taste. If it were up to me, I would eat more often than I should—although it wouldn’t help my waistline! So, it’s a good thing my wife, Martie, knows when to lovingly remind me to eat healthful foods in the right amount.

Reading Jeremiah’s interesting thought—that when he found the words of God (even the words of God’s judgment) he “ate them” (Jer. 15:16)—makes me wonder if I ingest God’s Word as eagerly, as lovingly, and as often.

Clearly, Jeremiah did not actually eat God’s Word. It was his way of saying that he read and savored it in his innermost being. And that’s exactly where God’s Word is intended to go. The Word is heart food! When we ingest it, the Holy Spirit provides the power to help us grow to be more like Jesus. His Word transforms how we think about God, money, enemies, careers, and family. In other words, it’s really good for us.

So, “eat” God’s Word to your heart’s content! No doubt you will find yourself agreeing with the prophet Jeremiah when he said: “Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart” (15:16).

Lord, cultivate in me an appetite for Your Word.
Thank You that the Bible is food for my soul. Lead
me to read it, to savor it, to ingest it, and to know
the strength that Your words can give to my often-failing heart.
The more you feast on God’s Word, the healthier you will become.

The Master Will Judge

From: My Utmost For HIs Highest

We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ . . . —2 Corinthians 5:10

Paul says that we must all, preachers and other people alike, “appear before the judgment seat of Christ.” But if you will learn here and now to live under the scrutiny of Christ’s pure light, your final judgment will bring you only delight in seeing the work God has done in you. Live constantly reminding yourself of the judgment seat of Christ, and walk in the knowledge of the holiness He has given you. Tolerating a wrong attitude toward another person causes you to follow the spirit of the devil, no matter how saintly you are. One carnal judgment of another person only serves the purposes of hell in you. Bring it immediately into the light and confess, “Oh, Lord, I have been guilty there.” If you don’t, your heart will become hardened through and through. One of the penalties of sin is our acceptance of it. It is not only God who punishes for sin, but sin establishes itself in the sinner and takes its toll. No struggling or praying will enable you to stop doing certain things, and the penalty of sin is that you gradually get used to it, until you finally come to the place where you no longer even realize that it is sin. No power, except the power that comes from being filled with the Holy Spirit, can change or prevent the inherent consequences of sin.

“If we walk in the light as He is in the light. . .” (1 John 1:7). For many of us, walking in the light means walking according to the standard we have set up for another person. The deadliest attitude of the Pharisees that we exhibit today is not hypocrisy but that which comes from unconsciously living a lie.

 

For our profit (Heb. 12:10).

In one of Ralph Connor’s books he tells a story of Gwen. Gwen was a wild, wilful lassie and one who had always been accustomed to having her own way. Then one day she met with a terrible accident which crippled her for life. She became very rebellious and in the murmuring state she was visited by the Sky Pilot, as the missionary among the mountaineers was termed. He told her the parable of the canyon.

“At first there were no canyons, but only the broad, open prairie. One day the Master of the Prairie, walking over his great lawns, where were only grasses, asked the Prairie, ‘Where are your flowers?’ and the Prairie said, ‘Master I have no seeds.’

“Then he spoke to the birds, and they carried seeds of every kind of flower and strewed them far and wide, and soon the prairie bloomed with crocuses and roses and buffalo beans and the yellow crowfoot and the wild sunflowers and the red lilies all summer long. Then the Master came and was well pleased; but he missed the flowers he loved best of all, and he said to the Prairie: ‘Where are the clematis and the columbine, the sweet violets and wind-flowers, and all the ferns and flowering shrubs?’

“And again he spoke to the birds, and again they carried all the seeds and scattered them far and wide. But, again, when the Master came he could not find the flowers he loved best of all, and he said: “‘Where are those my sweetest flowers?’ and the Prairie cried sorrowfully: “‘Oh, Master, I cannot keep the flowers, for the winds sweep fiercely, and the sun beats upon my breast, and they wither up and fly away.’

“Then the Master spoke to the Lightning, and with one swift blow the Lightning cleft the Prairie to the heart. And the Prairie rocked and groaned in agony, and for many a day moaned bitterly over the black, jagged, gaping wound. But the river poured its waters through the cleft, and carried down deep black mould.

“And once more the birds carried seeds and strewed them in the canyon. And after a long time the rough rocks were decked out with soft mosses and trailing vines, and all the nooks were hung with clematis and columbine, and great elms lifted their huge tops high up into the sunlight, and down about their feet clustered the low cedars and balsams, and everywhere the violets and wind-flower and maiden-hair grew and bloomed, till the canyon became the Master’s favorite place for rest and peace and joy.”

Then the Sky Pilot read to her: “The fruit–I’ll read ‘flowers’–of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness–and some of these grow only in the canyon.” “Which are the canyon flowers?” asked Gwen softly, and the Pilot answered: “Gentleness, meekness, longsuffering; but though the others, love, joy, peace, bloom in the open, yet never with so rich a bloom and so sweet a perfume as in the canyon.”

For a long time Gwen lay quite still, and then said wistfully, while her lips trembled: “There are no flowers in my canyon, but only ragged rocks.” “Some day they will bloom, Gwen dear; the Master will find them, and we, too, shall see them.”

Beloved, when you come to your canyon, remember!

 

The Good and Perfect Gift

 

Hey, Where’d You Get That?

From: Get More strength

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father” James 1:17 

One of my favorite classical works of music is The Creation. But what I like even more than the stirring sounds and moving lyrics is the attitude of composer.

It was the year 1808, and the last note sounded as the symphony’s performance came to a close. Applause thundered through the auditorium in honor of one of the greatest composers of all time, Franz Joseph Haydn. The piece that had been performed was called The Creation. Haydn had written it to glorify God, by telling the Genesis story of creation through music. Audiences all over Europe adored it. And that night, he responded to the crowd’s ovation by pointing upward and exclaiming, “No, No! Not from me, but from thence! From heaven above comes all!”

At that same concert, Haydn’s contemporary Ludwig van Beethoven is said to have knelt and kissed Haydn’s hands in an act of honor. Praised by other great composers of his time and admired by the public as well, he was heaped with fame and adoration. Still, he refused to become prideful of the music God had created through Him. He knew from where it had come.

For sure, not many of us will be musical geniuses like Haydn. But God has given all of us talents and abilities. Some of us have exceptional people skills; some have what it takes to crunch numbers with precision. Others might be able to cook, write prose and poetry, or repair the transmission on a car. These gifts from God are the result of the way He created us—in His image. God is infinitely talented and able to do anything! Being made in “His image” means we have been given gifts from Him to accomplish good things and to contribute to our world.

But here’s the rub. If we’re not careful, the stealth enemy of pride will whisper to you that you are the one who deserves the credit. There is something really seductive about applause and affirmation. Giving the credit to others is not an easy thing to do. But in the end, who would you rather have people admire—you or your God? And even if you are tempted to honestly admit that you’d kinda like it to be you—upon further reflection, my guess is that you really don’t want to go there. And you shouldn’t. Competing with Him for the applause, especially when He deserves it all, is not a good idea. Particularly when we read that, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (1 Peter 5:5).

firstfruits

From: Our Daily Journey

 


And now, O LORD, I have brought you the first portion of the harvest you have given me from the ground (Deuteronomy 26:10)

Read Deuteronomy 16:10-12and find out what it means for you to celebrate the Festival of Harvest.

How do you honor God with the firstfruits of your harvest today? What does it mean for you to bring your best to God?

John started his new job. When he got his first check at the end of the month, he wanted to celebrate by buying my lunch for me. During our meal, he told me that his first paycheck was his “firstfruits.” With a grateful heart, he wanted to give a significant portion of it back to God.

Moses repeatedly reminded the Jews that God was their Deliverer, the Giver of their land, and the Provider of their material blessings (Deuteronomy 26:1,3,7-10). As God blessed them materially, they were reminded to do four things:

First, they were to return to God “some of the first produce from each crop [they harvested]” (Deuteronomy 26:2). This gift was their personal act of thanksgiving, acknowledging that God was their Provider (Deuteronomy 26:3-4). It was also their public act of worship, as they placed the offering on the altar (Deuteronomy 26:4), “[bowing] to the ground in worship before Him” (Deuteronomy 26:10).

Second, they were to tell the story of their redemption. They were nobodies, nomads, and slaves. But God made them into a great nation and gave them a land to call their own, a land of plenty (Deuteronomy 26:5-9).

Third, they were to celebrate, rejoice, and enjoy the good things God had given to them (Deuteronomy 26:11). God wanted them to enjoy it all: “Rejoice . . . because the LORD your God has blessed you” (Deuteronomy 12:7).

Finally, they were to be generous and share their material blessings with the poor (Deuteronomy 26:12-13). Knowing their selfish hearts (Deuteronomy 15:11), Moses reminded them to “remember to include the Levites and the foreigners living among you in the celebration” (Deuteronomy 26:11).

God has given us plenty of things to enjoy, and to share. We also have a story of redemption to tell—proclaiming who our God is, how great and good, gracious and generous He is.

Are You Listening to God?

From: My Utmost For HIs Highest

They said to Moses, ’You speak with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die’ `—Exodus 20:19

We don’t consciously and deliberately disobey God— we simply don’t listen to Him. God has given His commands to us, but we pay no attention to them— not because of willful disobedience, but because we do not truly love and respect Him. “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15). Once we realize we have constantly been showing disrespect to God, we will be filled with shame and humiliation for ignoring Him.

“You speak with us, . . . but let not God speak with us . . . .” We show how little love we have for God by preferring to listen to His servants rather than to Him. We like to listen to personal testimonies, but we don’t want God Himself to speak to us. Why are we so terrified for God to speak to us? It is because we know that when God speaks we must either do what He asks or tell Him we will not obey. But if it is simply one of God’s servants speaking to us, we feel obedience is optional, not imperative. We respond by saying, “Well, that’s only your own idea, even though I don’t deny that what you said is probably God’s truth.”

Am I constantly humiliating God by ignoring Him, while He lovingly continues to treat me as His child? Once I finally do hear Him, the humiliation I have heaped on Him returns to me. My response then becomes, “Lord, why was I so insensitive and obstinate?” This is always the result once we hear God. But our real delight in finally hearing Him is tempered with the shame we feel for having taken so long to do so.

Be A Proclaimer Of The Gospel

 

Proclaimers Of The Gospel

 

 

Don’t be afraid, despised insignificant Jacob, men of Israel. I am helping you,” says the Lord, your protector, the Holy One of Israel. “Look, I am making you like a sharp threshing sledge, new and double-edged. You will thresh the mountains and crush them; you will make the hills like straw. (Isa 41:14-15)
Could any two things be in greater contrast than a worm and an instrument with teeth? The worm is delicate, bruised by a stone, crushed beneath the passing wheel; an instrument with teeth can break and not be broken; it can grave its mark upon the rock. And the mighty God can convert the one into the other. He can take a man or a nation, who has all the impotence of the worm, and by the invigoration of His own Spirit, He can endow with strength by which a noble mark is left upon the history of the time.
And so the “worm” may take heart. The mighty God can make us stronger than our circumstances. He can bend them all to our good. In God’s strength we can make them all pay tribute to our souls. We can even take hold of a black disappointment, break it open, and extract some jewel of grace. When God gives us wills like iron, we can drive through difficulties as the iron share cuts through the toughest soil. “I will make thee,” and shall He not do it?
—Dr. Jowett
Christ is building His kingdom with earth’s broken things. Men want only the strong, the successful, the victorious, the unbroken, in building their kingdoms; but God is the God of the unsuccessful, of those who have failed. Heaven is filling with earth’s broken lives, and there is no bruised reed that Christ cannot take and restore to glorious blessedness and beauty. He can take the life crushed by pain or sorrow and make it into a harp whose music shall be all praise. He can lift earth’s saddest failure up to heaven’s glory.
—J. R. Miller
“Follow Me, and I will make you” 
Make you speak My words with power, 
Make you channels of My mercy, 
Make you helpful every hour.
“Follow Me, and I will make you” 
Make you what you cannot be
Make you loving, trustful, godly, 
Make you even like to Me.
—L. S. P.

The Discipline of Dismay

From: My Utmost For HIs HIghest

As they followed they were afraid —Mark 10:32

At the beginning of our life with Jesus Christ, we were sure we knew all there was to know about following Him. It was a delight to forsake everything else and to throw ourselves before Him in a fearless statement of love. But now we are not quite so sure. Jesus is far ahead of us and is beginning to seem different and unfamiliar— “Jesus was going before them; and they were amazed” (Mark 10:32).

There is an aspect of Jesus that chills even a disciple’s heart to its depth and makes his entire spiritual life gasp for air. This unusual Person with His face set “like a flint” (Isaiah 50:7) is walking with great determination ahead of me, and He strikes terror right through me. He no longer seems to be my Counselor and Friend and has a point of view about which I know nothing. All I can do is stand and stare at Him in amazement. At first I was confident that I understood Him, but now I am not so sure. I begin to realize that there is a distance between Jesus and me and I can no longer be intimate with Him. I have no idea where He is going, and the goal has become strangely distant.

Jesus Christ had to understand fully every sin and sorrow that human beings could experience, and that is what makes Him seem unfamiliar. When we see this aspect of Him, we realize we really don’t know Him. We don’t recognize even one characteristic of His life, and we don’t know how to begin to follow Him. He is far ahead of us, a Leader who seems totally unfamiliar, and we have no friendship with Him.

The discipline of dismay is an essential lesson which a disciple must learn. The danger is that we tend to look back on our times of obedience and on our past sacrifices to God in an effort to keep our enthusiasm for Him strong (see Isaiah 50:10-11). But when the darkness of dismay comes, endure until it is over, because out of it will come the ability to follow Jesus truly, which brings inexpressibly wonderful joy.

Do You See Your Calling?

From: My Utmost For His Highest

. . . separated to the gospel of God. . . —Romans 1:1

Our calling is not primarily to be holy men and women, but to be proclaimers of the gospel of God. The one all-important thing is that the gospel of God should be recognized as the abiding reality. Reality is not human goodness, or holiness, or heaven, or hell— it is redemption. The need to perceive this is the most vital need of the Christian worker today. As workers, we have to get used to the revelation that redemption is the only reality. Personal holiness is an effect of redemption, not the cause of it. If we place our faith in human goodness we will go under when testing comes.

Paul did not say that he separated himself, but “when it pleased God, who separated me . . .” (Galatians 1:15). Paul was not overly interested in his own character. And as long as our eyes are focused on our own personal holiness, we will never even get close to the full reality of redemption. Christian workers fail because they place their desire for their own holiness above their desire to know God. “Don’t ask me to be confronted with the strong reality of redemption on behalf of the filth of human life surrounding me today; what I want is anything God can do for me to make me more desirable in my own eyes.” To talk that way is a sign that the reality of the gospel of God has not begun to touch me. There is no reckless abandon to God in that. God cannot deliver me while my interest is merely in my own character. Paul was not conscious of himself. He was recklessly abandoned, totally surrendered, and separated by God for one purpose— to proclaim the gospel of God (see Romans 9:3).

Inspirational stories about determination 
Three Stories from: Inspirationalstories.eu 

I will tell you a story of my friend Monty Roberts.

As he was a kid, his father as a horse trainer was moving from stable to stable, from ranch to ranch, training horses. Thus, the boy‘s school career was constantly interrupted. One day, when he was a senior, teacher asked him to write about what he wanted to be when he grew up. He did not hesitate a minute and wrote seven-page paper about his aim to be an owner of a horse ranch, he wrote many details and drew a location of buildings and stables and even a detailed house plan.

Two days later he received his paper back with letter „F“ on the front page. After class he came to teacher and asked: „Why did I receive an F?“. The teacher responded: „This dreams is so unrealistic for a boy like you, who has no money, no resources and who comes from itinerant family. There is no possibility that you will reach your great goals one day.“ Then the teacher offered to rewrite the paper with more realistic attitude.

The boy went home and asked his father, how should he act. The father answered: „This decision is very important for you. So you have to make your own mind on this“.

After several days the boy brought the same paper to his teacher. No changes were made. He said: „Keep the F and I will keep my dream“.

Now Monty Roberts owns 4,000-square-foot house in the middle of 200-acre horse ranch and he still has that school paper, which now is framed over the fireplace.

Remember, you have to follow your heart and never let anyone to steal your dreams.

Inspirational stories about working hard 
 

George was a driver and he spend so much time at his work, that he could hardly have a meal together with his wife and three children. In the evenings he attended classes, seeking to get knowledge, that one day would help him to find a better paying job.

George‘s family often complained that he is not spending enough time with them, but his only answer was „I am doing all this for you, I work hard to provide my family with the best that I can“.

Soon after George had passed his exams, he received a good job offer with a salary, which was significantly higher that he had before. So now George could provide his family with more expensive clothes, some luxury items or vacations in foreign countries. It was like a dream come true, but family still did not get enough attention from George, as he continued to work very hard and often he did not get to see his family for most of the week.

Time passed and George‘s hard work paid off, he was promoted. He decided to relieve his wife from domestic works, so he hired a maid. He also decided that their flat is not big enough for their family and they need a more spacious one. Thus he needed to work even harder and, moreover, he continued his studies, so that he would be promoted again. George worked so hard, that sometimes he even had to spend his Sundays with his clients instead of his wife and children. And again, whenever family asked for his time and complained that they do not spend enough time together, he answered, that he was doing all this only for them.

Some time later George was promoted, so he could buy a spacious house with a beautiful view. On the first Sunday evening at their new home, George told his wife and kids, that now he decided not to take any studies and work not so hard, so that he could spend more time with his beloved family. The very next morning George did not wake up.

Inspirational stories about overcoming challenges 
 

My friend Jerry was one of the most positive people I had ever known. He was always in a good mood and always had something encouraging to say.

He was a manager at a restaurant. If his employee had a bad day, Jerry always helped him to look on the positive side of the situation.

Jerry‘s attitude truly amazed me. So one day I asked him: „How can you be so positive all the time?“. He replied: „You see, every morning I tell myself, that I have two choses for that day – to be in a good mood or in a bad. I choose the good one. And when something wrong happens, I can be sad and angry or I can learn from it instead. I choose to learn. Thus I choose the positive side of life“. I said: „It is not that easy“. He replied: „Yeas it is. Life is all about choses. You can choose how people or situation will affect your mood, your life“.

One morning Jerry left the restaurant‘s back door open and was held up at gunpoint by three armed robbers. He tried to open the safe, but his hands shaked due to nervousness and he slipped off the combination. So the robbers shot him. Fortunately, Jerry was quickly found and brought to the nearest hospital. After many hours of surgery and long intensive care, Jerry was released home.

When I met him, I asked, what were his thoughts durign the robbery. „I thought that I should have locked the back door“, he replied. „Then, when I laid on the floor, I remembered about my choses in this case: a chose to live and a chose to die. I chose to live.“

I asked, if he were scared. Jerry continued: „When they wheeled me into emergency room and I looked at the faces of doctors, I got truly scared. I knew, that I need to do something. So when the nurse asked me, if I was allergic to anything, I replied „Yes“. Doctors and nurses stopped working as waited for my answer. I took a deep breath and yelled „Bullets“. They started laughing and I asked: „My chose is to live, operate me as I am alive, not dead“.

Now Jerry is alive owing to skills of his doctors, however his amazing attitude played an important role too. I learned from him, that every day we should choose to live fully no matter what.

Be A Prayer Warrior

 

Prone To Wander

From: Our Daily Bread
With my whole heart I have sought You; oh, let me not wander from Your commandments! —Psalm 119:10

One of my favorite classic hymns is “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” which was written in 1757 by 22-year-old Robert Robinson. In the hymn’s lyrics is a line that always captures my attention and forces me to do some self-evaluation. The line says, “Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love.” I feel that way sometimes. Too often I find myself distracted and drifting, instead of having my heart and mind focused on the Savior who loves me and gave Himself for me. Robert Robinson and I are not alone in this.

In those seasons of wandering, our heart of hearts doesn’t want to drift from God—but, like Paul, we often do what we don’t want to do (Rom. 7:19), and we desperately need to turn back to the Shepherd of our heart who can draw us to Himself. David wrote of this struggle in His great anthem to the Scriptures, Psalm 119, saying, “With my whole heart I have sought You; oh, let me not wander from Your commandments!” (v.10).

Sometimes, even when our hearts long to seek God, the distractions of life can draw us away from Him and His Word. How grateful we can be for a patient, compassionate heavenly Father whose grace is always sufficient—even when we are prone to wander!

Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above. —Robinson
Our tendency to wander is matched by God’s willingness to pursue.

Yielding

From: My Utmost For His Highest

. . . you are that one’s slaves whom you obey . . . —Romans 6:16

The first thing I must be willing to admit when I begin to examine what controls and dominates me is that I am the one responsible for having yielded myself to whatever it may be. If I am a slave to myself, I am to blame because somewhere in the past I yielded to myself. Likewise, if I obey God I do so because at some point in my life I yielded myself to Him.

If a child gives in to selfishness, he will find it to be the most enslaving tyranny on earth. There is no power within the human soul itself that is capable of breaking the bondage of the nature created by yielding. For example, yield for one second to anything in the nature of lust, and although you may hate yourself for having yielded, you become enslaved to that thing. (Remember what lust is— “I must have it now,” whether it is the lust of the flesh or the lust of the mind.) No release or escape from it will ever come from any human power, but only through the power of redemption. You must yield yourself in utter humiliation to the only One who can break the dominating power in your life, namely, the Lord Jesus Christ. “. . . He has anointed Me . . . to proclaim liberty to the captives . . .” (Luke 4:18 and Isaiah 61:1).

When you yield to something, you will soon realize the tremendous control it has over you. Even though you say, “Oh, I can give up that habit whenever I like,” you will know you can’t. You will find that the habit absolutely dominates you because you willingly yielded to it. It is easy to sing, “He will break every fetter,” while at the same time living a life of obvious slavery to yourself. But yielding to Jesus will break every kind of slavery in any person’s life.

The Song Of The Saints

From: getmorestrength.org

Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy. . . . Your judgments have been manifested. —Revelation 15:4

We’ve all heard the expression, “I don’t get mad; I just get even.” Reading about the judgments described in Revelation, one might assume that God will get “even” with sinners for their phenomenal offenses throughout the history of mankind.

The truth is that God’s final judgment is a necessary expression of His holy justice. He can’t turn a blind eye to sin. In fact, if He doesn’t finally carry out justice as described in Revelation, it would be a denial of His holy character. That’s why in the midst of His judgments, the saints will sing His praise: “Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy. . . . Your judgments have been manifested” (Rev. 15:4). Those who know God best do not judge Him for His judgments; rather, they worship and affirm His actions.

What should surprise us is not the massive scale of God’s judgments, but that He’s waiting so long! Desiring that none should perish but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9), God is now mercifully restraining His judgment and giving maximum space to His marvelous mercy and grace. Now is the time to repent and take advantage of His patient love. And when we do, we’ll join the saints in praising Him for all eternity!

O love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure—
The saints’ and angels’ song. —Lehman
© Renewal 1945, Nazarene Publishing.

When God’s justice is finally and fully revealed, His praises will resound!

Prayer For Today

From: Dailycommonprayers

O Lord, open our lips
Alland our mouth shall proclaim your praise.

Hear our voice, O Lord, according to your faithful love,
Allaccording to your judgement give us life.

One or more of the following is said or sung:

this or another prayer of thanksgiving

Blessed are you, God of compassion and mercy,
to you be praise and glory for ever.
In the darkness of our sin,
your light breaks forth like the dawn
and your healing springs up for deliverance.
As we rejoice in the gift of your saving help,
sustain us with your bountiful Spirit
and open our lips to sing your praise.
Blessed be God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
AllBlessed be God for ever.

a suitable hymn, or A Song of Penitence

1Have mercy on me, O God, in your great goodness; •
according to the abundance of your compassion
blot out my offences.

2Wash me thoroughly from my wickedness •
and cleanse me from my sin.

3For I acknowledge my faults •
and my sin is ever before me.

4Against you only have I sinned •
and done what is evil in your sight,

5So that you are justified in your sentence •
and righteous in your judgement.

6Cast me not away from your presence •
and take not your holy spirit from me.

7Give me again the joy of your salvation •
and sustain me with your gracious spirit;

8Then shall I teach your ways to the wicked •
and sinners shall return to you.

9Deliver me from my guilt, O God,
the God of my salvation, •
and my tongue shall sing of your righteousness.

Psalm 51.1-5, 12-15

AllGlory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now
and shall be for ever. Amen.

This opening prayer may be said

The night has passed, and the day lies open before us;
let us pray with one heart and mind.

Silence is kept.

As we rejoice in the gift of this new day,
so may the light of your presence, O God,
set our hearts on fire with love for you;
now and for ever.
All Amen.

Yes, Please Pray!

 

 

Don’t Say You’ll Pray for Me
Lysa TerKeurst

From: Crosswalk.com

“A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.” Proverbs 25:11 (NIV 1984)

I’ve been convicted about empty statements. These are words I say to make a conversation a little more comfortable in the moment. But do I really mean what I say?

Empty statements can also be little promises that give a needed lift to someone. Yet without a plan to actually keep that promise, do I really intend to keep it?

It’s not that these statements are wrong, bad or ill-intentioned. But they are empty at best and potentially hurtful at worst. People in my life deserve better than that.

I want to be a woman who exemplifies God’s Word by keeping my word.

The Bible is clear that our words matter; our words carry weight. Proverbs 25:11 says, “A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.” Our words can be gifts.

But if we speak words with no follow-through, they can be hurtful. It’s like holding out a gift but refusing to give it.

Here are three empty statements I want to stop saying if I don’t have a plan for follow-through:

1. I’m praying for you.

Obviously, I do want to pray for people. And sometimes when I say this, I have great follow-through. But other times I forget.

A great intention doesn’t make for a great prayer.

So, I need to pray for that person right then and there, or I need to keep a journal in my purse to write down prayer requests.

2. Let’s get together sometime.

Either I need to pull out my calendar and schedule time with someone or be honest about my current time constraints. The people-pleaser in me struggles with this.

When people say this to me without any follow-through, it hurts. While I can’t change what others say to me, I can make a heart policy to not do this to others.

3. I’m good, how are you?

Understandably, sometimes this is the right, polite statement to say when I’m quickly greeting someone. But I will also say this to others with whom I really should be more open and honest.

I’m reluctant sometimes to let even close friends know needs bubbling below my “I’m good” statements.

If I will be braver to open up, it will give my friends permission to do the same.

So, there they are. My three empty statements and my convictions to do a better job of saying what I mean and meaning what I say.

Let’s commit to being women who keep our word. Right now. Today. Not only will it strengthen our friendships but it will make our relationship with the Lord more authentic as we live out His Word.

Dear Lord, thank You for convicting me about using empty statements. My words can be powerful tools and I want to use them for Your purposes. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Don’t miss Lysa TerKeurst’s blog post, “The 5 Best Things to Say to a Friend Today.” Click here for this must-read article.

Receive encouragement from Lysa right in your e-mail inbox throughout the week! Subscribe to her blog by clicking here.

Reflect and Respond:
Which one of the three empty statements resonates with you the most? (Keep a prayer journal in your purse, schedule a specific time to get together with someone or open up with how you’re honestly feeling.)

This week, make it a point to put action into place when using that statement.

What’s In Your Wallet?

From: Our Daily Journey

“In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will.” Ephesians 1:11

An advertising blitz for a credit card company once featured two humorous television commercials. One featured Vikings who were defeated by credit card’s low interest rates. The other series of ads poked fun at the apparent difficulty of cashing in on the “other company’s” frequent flier miles. Every one of the commercials ended with the same catchy tagline: “What’s in your wallet?”

It’s an interesting question. The stuff in our wallet represents financial security, purchase power, and prosperity. The question “What’s in your wallet?” is a clever way of planting doubt in our minds about whether or not we have the right stuff to get all the satisfaction we are looking for in life. It prompts us to wonder if we are getting all that we think we deserve. Is there more out there that we don’t yet have? Do we have what it takes to be successful? Of course, the intent of the ad campaign is to make us think that only this particular card will make us satisfied, secure, and significant. And if we don’t feel secure about having the right things in our wallet, perhaps we need to reevaluate its contents. But those who have traveled life’s road for a while will tell you that it’s not really the stuff in your wallet that finally brings the happiness you’re looking for.

Thankfully, God has an announcement of His own about where to find satisfaction, security, and significance! In Ephesians 1:3-14, the apostle Paul can hardly contain himself as he lists the incredible resources that our Father has placed at the disposal of His children. When we turn to Christ by faith, we’re given forgiveness—the joy of a clean conscience before God. We’re entrusted with His wisdom—inside information on how to live life without the downside of our ongoing dead-end experiments. We’re given access to His mercy and grace to find help in the time of need, worship to lift our spirits above the din of ordinary living, and prayer to put us in touch with the One who cares for us and loves us without condition. We find all of this and more in our spiritual wallet!

What are you trusting to bring you joy and satisfaction? What do you depend on to give you a sense of security and safety? Where do you turn for significance? Are you focused on a wallet that’s growing with the “right” credit cards, a thick stack of cash, and the right business cards? Ironically, a full wallet can be carried on a body with an empty heart.

Live for the incredible spiritual wealth and riches offered to you by our loving heavenly Father, who, according to James, delights in giving good gifts to His children. Your physical wallet may be almost empty, but, if your heart is full of all that Jesus offers, you’ve got all the right stuff to defeat the Vikings that plague your life and to experience true joy and satisfaction.

 

God is powerless?

From: GetMoreStrength.com

Job 26:1-14
These are just the beginning of all that he does, merely a whisper of his power. Who, then, can comprehend the thunder of his power? (Job 26:14).

Read Psalm 145:1-21 and celebrate and praise God for who He is.

How does God’s amazing knowledge and power assure you? How does it help you cope with the pains of this life?

Rabbi Harold Kushner lost a son to a degenerative disease—premature aging syndrome. He later wrote the bestsellerWhen Bad Things Happen to Good People. Trying to maintain his belief in God, he said that God is either not good enough, since he allowed the sickness, or not powerful enough to prevent it. He chose the latter. According to Kushner, God created the world but isn’t in complete control of it. In other words, God hopes for our good and sympathizes with us in our pain, but He’s powerless to do anything about it.

Job suffered a triple whammy, losing his wealth, his 10 children, and his health (Job 1:1–2:13). Job’s three friends, showing concern, came to comfort him (Job 2:11). Believing that suffering is always the result of sin, they took turns to convince Job (Job 4:1–25:6) to confess his sins so that God would bless him once again (Job 8:4-7Job 11:14-17Job 15:5-6).

As Job conversed with his friends, he lamented that they were not helping him but adding to his pain (Job 6:14-17). Speaking of God’s unfathomable ways (Job 26:5-14), he extolled God’s omniscience—His ability to know and see everything (Job 26:5-6). And, unlike Kushner, Job didn’t doubt God’s omnipotence—His great power and sovereign rule over all (Job 26:7-13). He also spoke of God’s transcendence—that God’s ways are far above our ways (Job 26:14).

While there’s mystery in God’s ways, there’s no uncertainty about His absolute sovereignty and power. Job concluded that what we can see God doing in this world is “just the beginning of all that he does, merely a whisper of his power.” Awed by Him, Job asked, “Who, then, can comprehend the thunder of his power?” (Job 26:14). Who indeed?

Obedience To God

 

Obedience To God

 

The Dilemma of Obedience

From: My Utmost For HIs Highest

Samuel was afraid to tell Eli the vision —1 Samuel 3:15

God never speaks to us in dramatic ways, but in ways that are easy to misunderstand. Then we say, “I wonder if that is God’s voice?” Isaiah said that the Lord spoke to him “with a strong hand,” that is, by the pressure of his circumstances (Isaiah 8:11). Without the sovereign hand of God Himself, nothing touches our lives. Do we discern His hand at work, or do we see things as mere occurrences?

Get into the habit of saying, “Speak, Lord,” and life will become a romance (1 Samuel 3:9). Every time circumstances press in on you, say, “Speak, Lord,” and make time to listen. Chastening is more than a means of discipline— it is meant to bring me to the point of saying, “Speak, Lord.” Think back to a time when God spoke to you. Do you remember what He said? Was it Luke 11:13 , or was it 1 Thessalonians 5:23? As we listen, our ears become more sensitive, and like Jesus, we will hear God all the time.

Should I tell my “Eli” what God has shown to me? This is where the dilemma of obedience hits us. We disobey God by becoming amateur providences and thinking, “I must shield ’Eli,’ ” who represents the best people we know. God did not tell Samuel to tell Eli— he had to decide that for himself. God’s message to you may hurt your “Eli,” buttrying to prevent suffering in another’s life will prove to be an obstruction between your soul and God. It is at your own risk that you prevent someone’s right hand being cut off or right eye being plucked out (see Matthew 5:29-30).

Never ask another person’s advice about anything God makes you decide before Him. If you ask advice, you will almost always side with Satan. “. . . I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood . . .” (Galatians 1:16).

 

Inspirational stories about helping others 
 

THE OLD LADY

From: Inspirationalstories.eu 

A man was driving his car, when he saw an old lady, stranded on the side of the road. He saw that she needed help. So he stopped his Pontiac near her Mercedes and got out.

He smiled, while he was approaching her, still she was worried, as nobody had stopped for hours. Moreover, he did not look safe, as his appearance was so poor and shabby. He could see, how frightened she was, so he tried to calm her: „ I‘m here to help you, don‘t worry. My name is Bryan Anderson“.

The tire was flat, so he had to crawl under the car. While changing the tire, he got dirty and his hands were hurt.

When the job was done, she asked how much she owed him for his help. Bryan smiled. He said: „If you really want to pay me back, the next time you see someone, who needs help, give that person the needed assistance. And think of me“.

A the same evening, the lady stopped by a small cafe. That place looked dingy. Then she saw a waitress, nearly eight months pregnant, wiping her wet hear with a towel. The waitress had a sweet friendly smile, although she had spent on her feet the whole day.

The lady wondered, how someone, who has so little, can be so kind and giving to a strange. Then she remembered Bryan.

The lady had finished her meal and paid with a hundred dollar bill. The waitress went to get change and when she came back, the lady was gone. She left a note on the napkin: „You don‘t own me anything. Somebody once helped me, just like now I‘m helping you. If you really want to pay me back, do not let this chain of love end with you“. The waitress found four more one hundren bills under the napkin.

That night the waitress came home earlier. She was thinking about the lady and the money she left. She was wondering, how the lady could know, how much she and her husband needed it? Especially now, when the baby will soon arrive. She knew, that her husband worried about that, so she was glad to tell him good news. Then she kissed him and whispered „Now everything will be all right. I love you, Bryan Anderson“.

 

Acts 12:1-25 (Good News Translation)

King Herod

From: Americanbible.org.

Introduction

Acts 12:1-25: King Herod (Herod Agrippa I, the grandson of Herod the Great) persecutes the followers of Jesus. Peter is arrested and imprisoned but is rescued by an angel. The chapter concludes with a description of Herod’s death.

Today’s Scripture: Acts 12:5

Peter was kept in jail, but the people of the church were praying earnestly to God for him.

Today’s Reading

1 About this time King Herod began to persecute some members of the church. 2 He had James, the brother of John, put to death by the sword. 3 When he saw that this pleased the Jews, he went ahead and had Peter arrested. (This happened during the time of the Festival of Unleavened Bread.) 4 After his arrest Peter was put in jail, where he was handed over to be guarded by four groups of four soldiers each. Herod planned to put him on trial in public after Passover. 5 So Peter was kept in jail, but the people of the church were praying earnestly to God for him. 6 The night before Herod was going to bring him out to the people, Peter was sleeping between two guards. He was tied with two chains, and there were guards on duty at the prison gate. 7 Suddenly an angel of the Lord stood there, and a light shone in the cell. The angel shook Peter by the shoulder, woke him up, and said, “Hurry! Get up!” At once the chains fell off Peter’s hands. 8Then the angel said, “Tighten your belt and put on your sandals.” Peter did so, and the angel said, “Put your cloak around you and come with me.” 9 Peter followed him out of the prison, not knowing, however, if what the angel was doing was real; he thought he was seeing a vision. 10 They passed by the first guard station and then the second, and came at last to the iron gate that opens into the city. The gate opened for them by itself, and they went out. They walked down a street, and suddenly the angel left Peter. 11 Then Peter realized what had happened to him, and said, “Now I know that it is really true! The Lord sent his angel to rescue me from Herod’s power and from everything the Jewish people expected to happen.” 12Aware of his situation, he went to the home of Mary, the mother of John Mark, where many people had gathered and were praying. 13 Peter knocked at the outside door, and a servant named Rhoda came to answer it. 14 She recognized Peter’s voice and was so happy that she ran back in without opening the door, and announced that Peter was standing outside. 15 “You are crazy!” they told her. But she insisted that it was true. So they answered, “It is his angel.” 16 Meanwhile Peter kept on knocking. At last they opened the door, and when they saw him, they were amazed. 17 He motioned with his hand for them to be quiet, and he explained to them how the Lord had brought him out of prison. “Tell this to James and the rest of the believers,” he said; then he left and went somewhere else. 18 When morning came, there was a tremendous confusion among the guards—what had happened to Peter? 19 Herod gave orders to search for him, but they could not find him. So he had the guards questioned and ordered them put to death. After this, Herod left Judea and spent some time in Caesarea. 20 Herod was very angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon, so they went in a group to see him. First they convinced Blastus, the man in charge of the palace, that he should help them. Then they went to Herod and asked him for peace, because their country got its food supplies from the king’s country. 21 On a chosen day Herod put on his royal robes, sat on his throne, and made a speech to the people. 22 “It isn’t a man speaking, but a god!” they shouted. 23 At once the angel of the Lord struck Herod down, because he did not give honor to God. He was eaten by worms and died. 24 Meanwhile the word of God continued to spread and grow. 25 Barnabas and Saul finished their mission and returned from Jerusalem, taking John Mark with them.

Obedience To God

 

The Dilemma of Obedience

From: My Utmost For HIs Highest

Samuel was afraid to tell Eli the vision —1 Samuel 3:15

God never speaks to us in dramatic ways, but in ways that are easy to misunderstand. Then we say, “I wonder if that is God’s voice?” Isaiah said that the Lord spoke to him “with a strong hand,” that is, by the pressure of his circumstances (Isaiah 8:11). Without the sovereign hand of God Himself, nothing touches our lives. Do we discern His hand at work, or do we see things as mere occurrences?

Get into the habit of saying, “Speak, Lord,” and life will become a romance (1 Samuel 3:9). Every time circumstances press in on you, say, “Speak, Lord,” and make time to listen. Chastening is more than a means of discipline— it is meant to bring me to the point of saying, “Speak, Lord.” Think back to a time when God spoke to you. Do you remember what He said? Was it Luke 11:13 , or was it 1 Thessalonians 5:23? As we listen, our ears become more sensitive, and like Jesus, we will hear God all the time.

Should I tell my “Eli” what God has shown to me? This is where the dilemma of obedience hits us. We disobey God by becoming amateur providences and thinking, “I must shield ’Eli,’ ” who represents the best people we know. God did not tell Samuel to tell Eli— he had to decide that for himself. God’s message to you may hurt your “Eli,” buttrying to prevent suffering in another’s life will prove to be an obstruction between your soul and God. It is at your own risk that you prevent someone’s right hand being cut off or right eye being plucked out (see Matthew 5:29-30).

Never ask another person’s advice about anything God makes you decide before Him. If you ask advice, you will almost always side with Satan. “. . . I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood . . .” (Galatians 1:16).

 

Inspirational stories about helping others 

THE OLD LADY

From: Inspirationalstories.eu

A man was driving his car, when he saw an old lady, stranded on the side of the road. He saw that she needed help. So he stopped his Pontiac near her Mercedes and got out.

He smiled, while he was approaching her, still she was worried, as nobody had stopped for hours. Moreover, he did not look safe, as his appearance was so poor and shabby. He could see, how frightened she was, so he tried to calm her: „ I‘m here to help you, don‘t worry. My name is Bryan Anderson“.

The tire was flat, so he had to crawl under the car. While changing the tire, he got dirty and his hands were hurt.

When the job was done, she asked how much she owed him for his help. Bryan smiled. He said: „If you really want to pay me back, the next time you see someone, who needs help, give that person the needed assistance. And think of me“.

A the same evening, the lady stopped by a small cafe. That place looked dingy. Then she saw a waitress, nearly eight months pregnant, wiping her wet hear with a towel. The waitress had a sweet friendly smile, although she had spent on her feet the whole day.

The lady wondered, how someone, who has so little, can be so kind and giving to a strange. Then she remembered Bryan.

The lady had finished her meal and paid with a hundred dollar bill. The waitress went to get change and when she came back, the lady was gone. She left a note on the napkin: „You don‘t own me anything. Somebody once helped me, just like now I‘m helping you. If you really want to pay me back, do not let this chain of love end with you“. The waitress found four more one hundren bills under the napkin.

That night the waitress came home earlier. She was thinking about the lady and the money she left. She was wondering, how the lady could know, how much she and her husband needed it? Especially now, when the baby will soon arrive. She knew, that her husband worried about that, so she was glad to tell him good news. Then she kissed him and whispered „Now everything will be all right. I love you, Bryan Anderson“.

 

Acts 12:1-25 (Good News Translation)

King Herod

From: Americanbible.org.

Introduction

Acts 12:1-25: King Herod (Herod Agrippa I, the grandson of Herod the Great) persecutes the followers of Jesus. Peter is arrested and imprisoned but is rescued by an angel. The chapter concludes with a description of Herod’s death.

Today’s Scripture: Acts 12:5

Peter was kept in jail, but the people of the church were praying earnestly to God for him.

Today’s Reading

1 About this time King Herod began to persecute some members of the church. 2 He had James, the brother of John, put to death by the sword. 3 When he saw that this pleased the Jews, he went ahead and had Peter arrested. (This happened during the time of the Festival of Unleavened Bread.) 4 After his arrest Peter was put in jail, where he was handed over to be guarded by four groups of four soldiers each. Herod planned to put him on trial in public after Passover. 5 So Peter was kept in jail, but the people of the church were praying earnestly to God for him. 6 The night before Herod was going to bring him out to the people, Peter was sleeping between two guards. He was tied with two chains, and there were guards on duty at the prison gate. 7 Suddenly an angel of the Lord stood there, and a light shone in the cell. The angel shook Peter by the shoulder, woke him up, and said, “Hurry! Get up!” At once the chains fell off Peter’s hands. 8Then the angel said, “Tighten your belt and put on your sandals.” Peter did so, and the angel said, “Put your cloak around you and come with me.” 9 Peter followed him out of the prison, not knowing, however, if what the angel was doing was real; he thought he was seeing a vision. 10 They passed by the first guard station and then the second, and came at last to the iron gate that opens into the city. The gate opened for them by itself, and they went out. They walked down a street, and suddenly the angel left Peter. 11 Then Peter realized what had happened to him, and said, “Now I know that it is really true! The Lord sent his angel to rescue me from Herod’s power and from everything the Jewish people expected to happen.” 12Aware of his situation, he went to the home of Mary, the mother of John Mark, where many people had gathered and were praying. 13 Peter knocked at the outside door, and a servant named Rhoda came to answer it. 14 She recognized Peter’s voice and was so happy that she ran back in without opening the door, and announced that Peter was standing outside. 15 “You are crazy!” they told her. But she insisted that it was true. So they answered, “It is his angel.” 16 Meanwhile Peter kept on knocking. At last they opened the door, and when they saw him, they were amazed. 17 He motioned with his hand for them to be quiet, and he explained to them how the Lord had brought him out of prison. “Tell this to James and the rest of the believers,” he said; then he left and went somewhere else. 18 When morning came, there was a tremendous confusion among the guards—what had happened to Peter? 19 Herod gave orders to search for him, but they could not find him. So he had the guards questioned and ordered them put to death. After this, Herod left Judea and spent some time in Caesarea. 20 Herod was very angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon, so they went in a group to see him. First they convinced Blastus, the man in charge of the palace, that he should help them. Then they went to Herod and asked him for peace, because their country got its food supplies from the king’s country. 21 On a chosen day Herod put on his royal robes, sat on his throne, and made a speech to the people. 22 “It isn’t a man speaking, but a god!” they shouted. 23 At once the angel of the Lord struck Herod down, because he did not give honor to God. He was eaten by worms and died. 24 Meanwhile the word of God continued to spread and grow. 25 Barnabas and Saul finished their mission and returned from Jerusalem, taking John Mark with them.

 

Living Sacrifices

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Is My Sacrifice Living?

From: My Utmost for HIs Highest

Abraham built an altar . . . ; and he bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar . . . —Genesis 22:9

This event is a picture of the mistake we make in thinking that the ultimate God wants of us is the sacrifice of death. What God wants is the sacrifice through death which enables us to do what Jesus did, that is, sacrifice our lives. Not— “Lord, I am ready to go with You . . . to death” (Luke 22:33). But— “I am willing to be identified with Your death so that I may sacrifice my life to God.”We seem to think that God wants us to give up things! God purified Abraham from this error, and the same process is at work in our lives. God never tells us to give up things just for the sake of giving them up, but He tells us to give them up for the sake of the only thing worth having, namely, life with Himself. It is a matter of loosening the bands that hold back our lives. Those bands are loosened immediately by identification with the death of Jesus. Then we enter into a relationship with God whereby we may sacrifice our lives to Him.It is of no value to God to give Him your life for death. He wants you to be a “living sacrifice”— to let Him have all your strengths that have been saved and sanctified through Jesus (Romans 12:1). This is what is acceptable to God.

Angel Knocking at the Door

From: inspirationalarchives.com

There came a frantic knock
At the doctor’s office door,
A knock, more urgent than
he had ever heard before.
~~~~
“Come in, Come in,”
the impatient doctor said,
“Come in, Come in,
before you wake the dead.”
~~
In walked a frightened little girl,
a child no more than nine,
It was plain for all to see,
she had troubles on her mind.
~~~
“Oh doctor, I beg you,
please come with me,
My mother is surely dying,
she’s as sick as she can be.”
~~~~
“I don’t make house calls,
bring your mother here,”
“But she’s too sick,
so you must come or she will die I fear.”
~~~~
The doctor, touched by her devotion,
decided he would go,
She said he would be blessed,
more than he could know.
~~~~
She led him to her house
where her mother lay in bed,
Her mother was so very sick
she couldn’t raise her head.
~~~~
But her eyes cried out for help
and help her the doctor did,
She would have died that very night
had it not been for her kid.
~~~~
The doctor got her fever down
and she lived through the night,
And morning brought the doctor signs,
that she would be all right.
~~~~
The doctor said he had to leave
but would return again by two,
And later he came back to check,
just like he said he’d do.
~~~~
The mother praised the doctor
for all the things he’d done,
He told her she would have died,
were it not for her little one.
~~~~
“How proud you must be
of your wonderful little girl,
It was her pleading that made me come,
she is really quite a pearl!
~~~~
“But doctor, my daughter died
over three years ago,
Is the picture on the wall
of the little girl you know?”
~~~~
The doctors legs went limp
for the picture on the wall,
Was the same little girl
for whom he’d made this call.
~~~~
The doctor stood motionless,
for quite a little while,
And then his solemn face,
was broken by his smile.
~~~~
He was thinking of that frantic knock
heard at his office door,
And of the beautiful little angel
that had walked across his floor.
I KNOW there are Angels among us…….

Author Unknown

 

Things aren’t always what they seem

From: inspirationalarchives.com

Two traveling angels stopped to spend the night in the home of a wealthy family. The family was rude and refused to let the angels stay in the mansion’s guest room. Instead, the angels were given a space in the cold basement. As they made their bedroom the hard floor, the older angel saw a hole in the wall and repaired it. When the younger angel asked why, the older angel replied…. “Things aren’t always what they seem.”

The next night the pair came to rest at the house of a very poor, but very hospitable farmer and his wife. After sharing what little food they had, the couple let the angels sleep in their bed where they could have a good nights’ rest. When the sun came up the next morning the angels found the farmer and his wife in tears. Their only cow, whose milk had been their sole income, lay dead in the field.

The younger angel was infuriated and asked the older angel “How could you have let this happen!? The first man had everything, yet you helped him,” she accused. ”The second family had so little, but was willing to share everything and you let their cow die.”

“Things aren’t always what they seem,” the older angel replied.”When we stayed in the basement of the mansion, I noticed there was gold stored in that hole in the wall. Since the owner was so obsessed with greed and unwilling to share his good fortune, I sealed the wall so he wouldn’t find it. Then last night as we slept in the farmers bed, the angel of death came for his wife. I gave her the cow instead. “Things aren’t always what they seem.”

Sometimes this is exactly what happens when things don’t turn out the way you think they should. If you have faith, you just need to trust that every outcome is always to your advantage. You might not know it until some time later. “Things aren’t always what they seem.”

 

Your Angel

From: inspirationalarchives.com

Once upon a time there was a child ready to be born. So one day he asked God: “They tell me you are sending me to earth tomorrow but how am I going to live there being so small and helpless?”

God replied, “Among the many angels, I chose one for you. She will be waiting for you and will take care of you.”

“But tell me, here in Heaven, I don’t do anything else but sing and smile, that’s enough for me to be happy.”

“Your angel will sing for you and will also smile for you every day. And you will feel your angel’s love and be happy.”

“And how am I going to be able to understand when people talk to me, if I don’t know the language that men talk?”

“Your angel will tell you the most beautiful and sweet words you will ever hear, and with much patience and care, your angel will teach you how to speak.”

“And what am I going to do when I want to talk to you?”

“Your angel will place your hands together and will teach you how to pray.”

“I’ve heard that on earth there are bad men. Who will protect me?”

“Your angel will defend you even if it means risking its life.”

“But I will always be sad because I will not see you anymore.”

“Your angel will always talk to you about me and will teach you the way for you to come back to me, even though I will always be next to you.”

At that moment there was much peace in Heaven, but voices from earth could already be heard, and the child in a hurry asked softly:

“Oh God, if I am about to leave now, please tell me my angel’s name.”

“Your angel’s name is of no importance, you will call your angel: Mommy.”

Author Unknown