Tag Archives: organic

The Great Reservoir

Enjoy The Reservoir of God’s Love
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The great reservoir

By: Charles Spurgeon

“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” Proverbs 4:23

Suggested Further Reading: Matthew 12:33-37

If I should vainly attempt to fashion my discourse after lofty models, I should this morning compare the human heart to the ancient city of Thebes, out of whose hundred gates multitudes of warriors were wont to march. As was the city such were her armies, as was her inward strength, such were they who came forth of her. I might then urge the necessity of keeping the heart, because it is the metropolis of our manhood, the citadel and armoury of our humanity. Let the chief fortress surrender to the enemy, and the occupation of the rest must be an easy task. Let the principal stronghold be possessed by evil, the whole land must be overrun thereby. Instead, however, of doing this, I shall attempt what possibly I may be able to perform, by a humble metaphor and a simple figure, which will be easily understood; I shall endeavour to set forth the wise man’s doctrine, that our life issues from the heart, and thus I shall labour to show the absolute necessity of keeping the heart with all diligence. You have seen the great reservoirs provided by our water companies, from which the water which is to supply hundreds of streets and thousands of houses comes. Now, the heart is just the reservoir of man, and our life is allowed to flow in its proper season. That life may flow through different pipes—the mouth, the hand, the eye; but still all the issues of hand, of eye, of lip, derive their source from the great fountain and central reservoir, the heart; and hence there is no difficulty in showing the great necessity that exists for keeping the reservoir, the heart, in a proper state and condition, since otherwise that which flows through the pipes must be tainted and corrupt.

For meditation: God is the only one who knows the natural wickedness of our hearts (Jeremiah 17:9), the only one who can renew them (Ezekiel 36:25-26) and the only one who can produce good from them (John 7:38-39).

God Hears You

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 We may have as much of God as we will. Christ puts the key of the treasure-chamber into our hand, and bids us take all that we want. If a man is admitted into the bullion vault of a bank, and told to help himself, and comes out with one cent, whose fault is it that he is poor? Whose fault is it that Christian people generally have such scanty portions of the free riches of God?
–McLaren

By faith God gives the victory over your problems.

 

God Is Our Help

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From: Simposious. com
God says, ” I am with you.” Church problem, family problem, big decision, God is with you. He will give you strength. More importantly, He is beside you lifting you up and encouraging you.

Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit

15 “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be[c] in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me.Because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”

God Strengthens Us

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From: Simposious.com

Strengthen your church, family, and friends by prayer. Prayer is powerful. Have faith that God hears and answers prayer.

Colossians 1:9-12

For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives,[a] 10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience,12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you[b] to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.

Tell The Good News Of Salvation

 

Tell People The Good News

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Malachi 3

God Sends His Messengers With Good News

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“I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the Lord Almighty.

But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the Lord will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness, and the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the Lord, as in days gone by, as in former years.

“So I will come to put you on trial. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers, against those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive the foreigners among you of justice, but do not fear me,” says the Lord Almighty.

 

Bear Good Fruit

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From: L.B. Cowman

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

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

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

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

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

May’st now bear much.
–Annie Johnson Flint

Praise for Spiritual Blessings in Christ

Ephesians 1

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Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he[b] predestined us for adoption to sonship[c] through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he[d] made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.

 

 Flee Sexual Immorality!

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I Corinthians 6:19

18 Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. 19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.

 

Teach Them God’s Good News

Proverbs 15: 30-33

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30 Light in a messenger’s eyes brings joy to the heart,
    and good news gives health to the bones.

31 Whoever heeds life-giving correction
    will be at home among the wise.

32 Those who disregard discipline despise themselves,
    but the one who heeds correction gains understanding.

33 Wisdom’s instruction is to fear the Lord,
    and humility comes before honor.

Praying And Growing

 

 

2 Corinthians 9:10

Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness;

 
 

Ephesians 4:15

but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ,

 

Colossians 1:10

so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;

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Man’s thoughts and God’s thoughts

By: Charles Spurgeon

‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.’ Isaiah 55:8–9

Suggested Further Reading: Hebrews 10:1–18

There is an idea in the mind of many of you that the plan of just trusting in Christ, and being pardoned on the spot, is too simple to be safe. You want a plan which involves a host of Latin and Greek and all kinds of thing; you want a long palaver of baptism, confirmation, confession, and I know not what; but the gospel is, ‘Trust Jesus, and live.’ ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.’ It is too simple, you think, to be safe. Now, it is a well-known fact that the simplest remedies are the most potent and safe; and certainly, the simplest rules in mechanics are just those upon which the greatest engineers erect their most wonderful constructions. The moment you get to complexity you get into a snarl, and are on the brink of weakness. Simplicity, how solid it is! See the old-fashioned plan of putting a plank across the village brook—that was the old way of making a bridge. Well, then, somebody came in and invented an arch—a grand invention, certainly, but not in all cases suitable. The Menai tubular bridge is nothing more than the old plan of a plank thrown across the brook, and more and more great engineers revert to simplicities. When man grows wisest, he comes back to where he was when he started. I suppose that a swan sailing across a lake gave to the navigator the best possible model of a vessel, to which navigation will always have to keep close if it would keep close to the true and beautiful. Now, as in nature simplicity is strength, so is it certainly in grace. Trust Christ and live!

For meditation: Pride makes us reluctant to accept a salvation which affords us no personal credit or glory (2 Kings 5:9–14). Are you rejecting God’s free gift of forgiveness in Christ and complicating your life with wasted efforts, which will never result in a satisfactory conclusion (Isaiah 55:1–2)?

Have faith that whatever you ask for in prayer is already granted you, and you will find that it will be (Mark 11:24).

When my little son was about ten years of age, his grandmother promised him a stamp album for Christmas. Christmas came, but no stamp album, and no word from grandmother. The matter, however, was not mentioned; but when his playmates came to see his Christmas presents, I was astonished, after he had named over this and that as gifts received, to hear him add, “And a stamp album from grandmother.”

I had heard it several times, when I called him to me, and said, “But, Georgie, you did not get an album from your grandmother. Why do you say so?”

There was a wondering look on his face, as if he thought it strange that I should ask such a question, and he replied, “Well,  mamma, grandma said, so it is the same as.” I could not say a word to check his faith.

A month went by, and nothing was heard from the album. Finally, one day, I said, to test his faith, and really wondering in my heart why the album had not been sent, “Well, Georgie, I think grandma has forgotten her promise.”

“Oh, no, mamma,” he quickly and firmly said, “she hasn’t.”

I watched the dear, trusting face, which, for a while, looked very sober, as if debating the possibilities I had suggested. Finally a bright light passed over it, and he said, “Mamma, do you think it would do any good if I should write to her thanking her for the album?”

“I do not know,” I said, “but you might try it.” A rich spiritual truth began to dawn upon me.

In a few minutes a letter was prepared and committed to the mail, and he went off whistling his confidence in his grandma. In just a short time a letter came, saying:

“My dear Georgie: I have not forgotten my promise to you, of an album. I tried to get such a book as you desired, but could not get the sort you wanted; so I sent on to New York. It did not get here till after Christmas, and it was still not right, so I sent for another, and as it has not come as yet, I send you three dollars to get one in Chicago. Your loving grandma.”

As he read the letter, his face was the face of a victor. “Now, mamma, didn’t I tell you?” came from the depths of a heart that never doubted, that, “against hope, believed in hope” that the stamp album would come. While he was trusting, grandma was working, and in due season faith became sight.

It is so human to want sight when we step out on the promises of God, but our Savior said to Thomas, and to the long roll of doubters who have ever since followed him: “Blessed are they who have not seen, and yet have believed.”
–Mrs. Rounds

Promote Encouragement

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None but Jesus

Charles Spurgeon, Author

“He that believeth on him is not condemned.” John 3:18

Suggested Further Reading: Acts 15:5-11

When I stand at the foot of the cross, I do not believe in Christ because I have got good feelings, but I believe in him whether I have good feelings or not.

“Just as I am, without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bidd’st me come to Thee,
O Lamb of God, I come.”

Mr Roger, Mr Sheppard, Mr Flavell, and several excellent divines, in the Puritan age, and especially Richard Baxter, used to give descriptions of what a man must feel before he may dare to come to Christ. Now, I say in the language of good Mr Fenner, another of those divines, who said he was but a babe in grace when compared with them—“I dare to say it, that all this is not Scriptural. Sinners do feel these things before they come, but they do not come on the ground of having felt it; they come on the ground of being sinners, and on no other ground whatever.” The gate of Mercy is opened, and over the door it is written, “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” Between that word “save” and the next word “sinners,” there is no adjective. It does not say, “penitent sinners,” “awakened sinners,” “sensible sinners,” “grieving sinners,” or “alarmed sinners.” No, it only says, “sinners” and I know this, that when I come, I come to Christ today, for I feel it as much a necessity of my life to come to the cross of Christ today as it was to come ten years ago,—when I come to him, I dare not come as a conscious sinner or an awakened sinner, but I have to come still as a sinner with nothing in my hands.

For meditation: We have no more right to complicate the Gospel than we have to water it down. Feelings are good and proper, but Satan can use them not only to give false assurance of salvation, but also to make sinners feel too bad to obey the Gospel and come to Christ.

 The Benefits Of Wisdom

By: Ray Stedman

Who is like the wise man? Who knows the explanation of things? Wisdom brightens a man’s face and changes its hard appearance.

Ecclesiastes 8:1

There is a marvelous, fourfold description of what happens to one who discovers the true wisdom of righteousness as a gift from God, one who walks with God in the fear of God.

First, it will make that person a unique human being. Who is like the wise man? One of the follies of life is to try to imitate somebody else. The media constantly bombards us with subtle invitations to look like, dress, or talk like some popular idol. If you succeed in that, of course, you will be nothing but a cheap imitation of another person. The glory of the good news is that when you become a new creature in Jesus Christ, you will be unique. You will become more and more like Christ, but unlike everyone else in personality. You will not be a copy, a cheap imitation, but an original from the Spirit of God.

Secondly, the Searcher says, godly wisdom will give you a secret knowledge: Who knows the explanation of things? The implication of that question is that the wise person knows. This is what Paul declares in 1 Corinthians 2: The spiritual man makes judgments about all things (1 Corinthians 2:15a). Spiritual people are in a position to pass moral judgment on the value of everything, not because they are so smart, but because the God who teaches them is wise.

Thirdly, such a person will experience a visible joy: Wisdom brightens a man’s face. Grace—not grease—is what makes the face shine. Manufacturers put grease in cosmetics to make the face shine artificially, but it is grace that does it from within. Grace and the joy that results from it visibly expressed make a face shine.

Finally, it changes the inner disposition of a person: [Wisdom] changes its hard appearance. Have you ever watched somebody whose life was under the impact of the Spirit of God soften, mellow, and grow easier to live with? That is the work of the Spirit of God.

All of us have sung the hymns of John Newton. One in particular is a favorite of many: Amazing grace! How sweet the sound—that saved a wretch like me! That is John Newton’s story. He was raised by a godly mother who prayed for him all his life. As soon as he came of age, he joined the slave trade, running slaves from Africa to England. He fell into wild, riotous living, involving himself in drunken brawls. He ended up at last, as he himself confesses, a slave of slaves, actually serving some of the escaped slaves on the African coast, wretched, miserable, and hardly even alive. Then he found voyage on a ship back to England. In the midst of a terrible storm in the Atlantic, when he feared for his life, he was converted; he remembered his mother’s prayers, and he came to Christ. He became one of the great Christians of England, author of many hymns that set forth the joy, the radiance, the gladness of his life as he found it in Jesus Christ.

Here the Searcher has clearly declared what he emphasizes throughout the whole book of Ecclesiastes: that it is the man or woman who finds the living God who discovers the answer to the riddles of life.

 

 

The Inspiration of Spiritual Initiative

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God’s Name

by Inspiration Ministries

From the rising of the sun to its setting my name will be great among the nations…For I am a great King, says the Lord of hosts, and my name will be feared among the nations. Malachi 1:11-14 ESV

The problem was simple: God’s people were focused on themselves and didn’t realize the consequences of their choices. Their priorities should be of cosmic importance, not just petty things that occupied most of their time, attention, and resources.

These people were concerned about their personal pleasures and interests. But, God made clear to Malachi, from His perspective, the key was their relationship with Him. Throughout history, He demonstrated His desire to bless His people. But this required their cooperation. They could go their own way but this would mean being robbed of His blessings.

God wanted them to realize they had been chosen by Him. They were His representatives, His people. By their lives, they were to be examples. Testimonies. Proof that His Word was true.

In His message, God reminded them of the respect and attitude shown toward those in important positions. But His people acted as though they were not concerned about His name or the way others acted toward Him. His desire was that His name would be “great among the nations.” That people would approach Him as “a great King.”

These principles still are true. We still are His representatives. His people. We still can go our own way and focus on ourselves. But He also reminds us that He promises overwhelming blessings to those who please and serve Him.

Today, remember that you are God’s witness. Seek to honor Him with your life, and be a testimony to Him.

Consecrated to Him

Author: Terry Meeuwsen

Most of us would be moderately uncomfortable with the thought that we could be holy. Holiness seems to be an attribute reserved for God, but beyond that, a lot of us would have a difficult time trying to verbalize exactly what it is. Yet way back in the book of Leviticus, God clearly says to His people,

“Be holy, for I am the LORD your God.” Leviticus 20:7 (NKJV)

It is almost impossible for me to comprehend God’s Holiness. His holiness is the antithesis of what I am and what I know, and it evokes all kinds of feelings in me – from sheer terror to trembling reverence. I have been reading numerous Scripture passages and books on the holiness of God, and my reading has caused me to reflect on how cavalierly we treat God in the midst of such incredible blessings. As I was running an errand yesterday, I looked at the scenes passing by my car window. Beautiful homes with lovely yards; people golfing in designed clothing on perfectly manicured fairways; stores stocked with everything we could desire; lakes and trees and wildlife; people fishing and swimming and biking. In the midst of it all, I was struck with how much we are given and how much we take for granted. I was overwhelmed with how much God has provided for us. And I was overwhelmed with how seldom we acknowledge Him for it.

This biblical warning came to mind:

“Beware that you do not forget the LORD your God … lest – when you have eaten and are full, and have built beautiful houses and dwell in them; and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and your gold are multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied; when your heart is lifted up, and you forget the LORD your God.” Deuteronomy 8:11-14 (NKJV)

Words we need to heed.

When we glimpse the greatness of our God, we often want to do something to honor Him. We are like Peter when he saw Jesus in His glory with Moses and Elijah. He said,

“If you wish, let us make here three tabernacles.” Matthew 17:4 (NKJV)

But in the book of Micah, God tells us what He requires of us to be pleasing to Him:

“With what shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before the High God? Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:6-8(NKJV)

God isn’t looking for perfect men and women; God isn’t asking us to build great monuments to Him. God is looking for people who will reverence Him in their hearts and in their lifestyles. God is looking for people in whom He can take up residence, with whom He can speak and walk, through whom He can work. He is looking for people who are willing to be set apart.

Am I My Brother’s Keeper

Able and Cain Genesis 4.     Cain hated Able because Able’s gift was accepted by God.
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Helping people who are hurt
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First Church Of The Lampstand

[Written by Joe Stowell for Our Daily Bread.]

Repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand. — Revelation 2:5

I love it when churches have names like “King of Glory Lutheran Church” or “Alpha and Omega Missionary Baptist Church.” If the church in Ephesus were still around, maybe we’d call them something nifty like “First Church of the Lampstand.”

We often miss the significance of John’s glorious vision in Revelation 1 of Jesus standing among the seven golden lampstands. These weren’t just decorative candelabras but substantial sources of light. How significant, then, that the lampstands represent the seven churches who were called to bring the light of Jesus into a very dark world.

We live in a dark world that desperately needs the candlepower of Christ shining through us. Let’s be careful, then, not to repeat the mistake of the Ephesians who “left [their] first love” (Revelation. 2:4). Although praised for doing many things well, they had failed to keep Jesus in first place.

It’s easy to let things crowd Jesus out until soon we’re doing “church work” for all the wrong reasons. What then? We lose our impact. Jesus warned, “Repent and do the first works, or else I will . . . remove your lampstand from its place” (Rev. 2:5). We can’t afford to let that happen. Keep Jesus in first place so that His light will continue to shine brightly in this dark world.

Lord, help us always put You first
In everything we say and do
So that Your light will shine through us
And show the world their need of You. —Sper

Works that are done out of love for Jesus shine brightest in a dark world.

 

Fret not thyself (Psalms 37:1).

Do not get into a perilous heat about things. If ever heat were justified, it was surely justified in the circumstances outlined in the Psalm. Evil-doers were moving about clothed in purple and fine linen, and faring sumptuously every day. “Workers of iniquity” were climbing into the supreme places of power, and were tyrannizing their less fortunate brethren. Sinful men and women were stalking through the land in the pride of life and basking in the light and comfort of great prosperity, and good men were becoming heated and fretful.

“Fret not thyself.” Do not get unduly heated! Keep cool! Even in a good cause, fretfulness is not a wise help-meet. Fretting only heats the bearings; it does not generate the steam. It is no help to a train for the axles to get hot; their heat is only a hindrance. When the axles get heated, it is because of unnecessary friction; dry surfaces are grinding together, which ought to be kept in smooth co-operation by a delicate cushion of oil.

And is it not a suggestive fact that this word “fret” is closely akin to the word “friction,” and is an indication of absence of the anointing oil of the grace of God? In fretfulness, a little bit of grit gets into the bearings–some slight disappointment, some ingratitude, some discourtesy–and the smooth working of the life is checked. Friction begets heat; and with the heat, most dangerous conditions are created.

Do not let thy bearings get hot. Let the oil of the Lord keep thee cool, lest by reason of an unholy heat thou be reckoned among the evil-doers.
–The Silver Lining

Dear restless heart, be still; don’t fret and worry so;
God has a thousand ways His love and help to show;
Just trust, and trust, and trust, until His will you know.
Dear restless heart, be still, for peace is God’s own smile,
His love can every wrong and sorrow reconcile;
Just love, and love, and love, and calmly wait awhile.
Dear restless heart, be brave; don’t moan and sorrow so,
He hath a meaning kind in chilly winds that blow;
Just hope, and hope, and hope, until you braver grow.
Dear restless heart, repose upon His breast this hour,
His grace is strength and life, His love is bloom and flower;
Just rest, and rest, and rest, within His tender power.
Dear restless heart, be still! Don’t struggle to be free;
God’s life is in your life, from Him you may not flee;
Just pray, and pray, and pray, till you have faith to see.

–Edith Willis Linn

Practice Hearing

People enjoying hearing.
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Can’t Wait

Author: Joe Stowell

“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.” John 14:3

Hey, for you guys out there who have forgotten, it’s Valentine’s Day! Hopefully you still have time to pick up something special for the love of your life. (And you don’t even have to tell her that I reminded you!)

The love of my life, of course, is my wife, Martie. I remember so clearly the summer before our senior year of college when I finally summoned up the nerve to ask her to marry me. We had been dating for a couple of years and ended up working in different states over the summer. I spent the summer working at home in New Jersey, and she was up in the Adirondack Mountains serving at a Christian conference center. That struck a little panic in my soul. She would not only be away from me, but she would be surrounded by tanned lifeguards and well-abbed water-ski instructors! I knew in order to seal the deal I would need to take some action.

I pulled together the cash to buy her an engagement ring and climbed into my little Volkswagen to trek up to the conference grounds. The whole way there I was a mixture of nerves and excitement, anticipating the moment that I would pop the question! When I arrived at the conference, however, I discovered that our college president was there as the featured speaker. And, in an act of goodwill, he decided to take all of us students out for pie and ice cream after the evening session. Normally, I would have been delighted to be out for dessert with our college president. But that evening all I could think of was, “I can’t wait to get her out of here!” I had bigger plans and a better agenda for the evening. I wasn’t interested in snacks—I wanted to get Martie out of there so I could propose and spend the rest of my life with her!

Recently, as I was reading John 14:3, it struck me—Jesus can’t wait to get us out of here so He can spend eternity with us. In fact, one of the key metaphors used to describe His relationship with the church is the picture of a groom waiting for his bride. With that in mind, you can almost feel the sense of urgency and anticipation in His voice when He assures us: “I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”

The timing of Christ’s return, while unknown to us, is perfectly on schedule with God’s sovereign plan. Why would God wait if He really wants to be with us? He waits to allow additional people to hear the life-transforming message of forgiveness and new life in Jesus (2 Peter 3:9). And yet I can’t help but think that Jesus, longing to be reunited with you, says to Himself, “I can’t wait to get them out of there!” His agenda is far greater, far more thrilling, and infinitely better than whatever we have planned on this earth.

If Martie had known what was coming that evening, it would have made her just as anxious and excited as I was to get out of there. It would have affected her whole perspective. And here’s the amazing thing: When it comes to Christ’s return for us, we’re in on the secret! We don’t know the time, but we know the promise—He’s coming back, and He can’t wait! The thrill of the prospect of it all should transform the way we live each day. There should be a sense of holy discontent and a constant longing for what we have ahead of us.

I can hardly wait. How about you?

 

Love Is a Verb

Author: Kim DeHoog

love

I’m not sure we often view love as a choice. We are raised with a fanciful imagination sweeping us off to places where we will fall helplessly in love with someone else. Based on movies today, one might think that even if the beautiful dame resisted, it would do no good. Clearly, love has seized her and she is powerless in its grip. It is almost as if we expect love to happen to us. We are passive and waiting for the almighty force of love to smack us upside the head. But sometimes it doesn’t.

In the fall of 2003, I moved to the Dominican Republic and entered into a small community of missionaries. Having grown up in a town that barely made the map, I was used to small town ethics. Everybody knows everybody and nobody can do anything without everybody knowing. But in the Dominican Republic, I initially resisted this. I put up a wall and kept a safe distance from everyone. It looked like I loved them, but really, I just co-existed with them. Meanwhile, I waited for love to strike.

But after a while, I noticed love wasn’t flowing naturally out of me. I knew it wasn’t the fault of the incredible people around me. They were so dear to me and still are. It was my fault. I felt that God had plunked me down in a random village in the Dominican Republic with no choice but to make the best of it. And though it took time, eventually, that’s exactly what I did.

With infrequent electricity, often there was nothing to do except sit around candlelight and talk for hours at a time. It was a simple life, stripped down to the basics, and that left very little pretense. It was through these kinds of bare encounters that I learned that love does not choose us, we choose it.

Similarly, when we look at the first chapter of Ruth, we see that Ruth chose to love Naomi, even when the consequences looked bleak. If Ruth turned back and left Naomi, she would have had an easier time remarrying, which was crucial to a woman’s worth in those times. She was still young. She could have really done something with her life if she had just stayed with her own people … and that is what Naomi urges her to do. But Ruth responded:

Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me. Ruth 1:16-17 (NIV)

In Ruth 1:18, we read that Naomi finally realized that Ruth was “determined”. Any lesser love would not have been enough. It took a deliberate, almost stubborn love to prove to Naomi that Ruth was serious about her commitment. Naomi was almost all the family that Ruth had left. Maybe she was not the family member that Ruth would have chosen to love, but Ruth chose to love her anyway.

We have all been put on earth together for a reason, and the difficulty of love is exactly what enables it to be so powerful. When we have no choice about who to love, love becomes harder. Perhaps we need to stop waiting for a feeling of love. The fact is, when we can’t choose the people we love, we choose to love the people we have, and that is a far richer experience. And in doing so, we reflect the love of God, who chose to love us before any of us loved Him.

1 Peter 1:22 (NIV) says, “… love one another deeply.”

This kind of love is not a noun, not an adjective, it’s a verb. It’s a very deliberate action. That is the love of our Father and the love He calls us to have for one another.

The Battle

 

Satan is at War against God and Mankind

A war started in heaven and now the people of the earth are included in the war. How could Satan think he could win against God? What strategy might he be using?

Satan has attacked God and His government. In getting Eve to sin, Satan specifically got Eve to distrust God. She was led to believe that God was holding back what should have been hers. As we will see, Satan must have used the same kind of attack against the angels in heaven. We will be looking at what the Bible says about Satan’s war against God and Mankind.

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Reform

By: Charles Spurgeon

“Now when all this was finished, all Israel that were present went out to the cities of Judah, and brake the images in pieces, and cut down the groves, and threw down the high places and the altars out of all Judah and Benjamin, in Ephraim also and Manasseh, until they had utterly destroyed them all.” 2 Chronicles 31:1

Suggested Further Reading: Ecclesiastes 12:9-12

There are many books that are to be so esteemed by the Christian man, that they must be cut down like the groves of trees, not because they are bad in themselves, but because there false gods are worshipped. Novel-reading is the rage of the present day. I go to a railway bookstall, and I cannot see a book that I can read, I get one, and it is all trash. I search to find something that would be really valuable, but I am told, “It would not sell here.” The fact is, nothing will sell but that which is light, and frothy, and frivolous; so every traveller is compelled to consume such food as that, unless he carry something better with him. Do I, therefore, say, that the Christian man must condemn all reading of fiction and novels? No, I do not, but I do say, that the mass of popular books published under the name of light literature, is to be eschewed and cut down, for the simple reason that the moral of it is not that of piety and goodness; the tendency of the reading is not to bring the Christian towards heaven, but rather to retard and impede him in his good course. I lift up my axe against many a work that I cannot condemn, if I look at it abstractedly in itself, but which must come down, because I recollect how much of my own precious time I wasted in such trivial reading, how many years in which I might have had fellowship with Christ have been cast away, whilst I have been foolishly indulging a vicious taste for the romantic and the frivolous. No, there are many things which are not wrong in themselves, but which nevertheless must be given up by the true Christian, because they have had, and do have association with things positively wrong. Just as these groves must be cut down—not because there can be a sin in trees, but because the trees have been associated with the worship of idols.

For meditation1 Corinthians 10:23. “The best book to read is the Bible … It will help you on your way”.

Are You Listening To God

 

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.          James 1:19

He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”   Luke 11:28 

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.   James 1:22 

‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’       Jeremiah 33:3 

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God’s Fountain

by Inspiration Ministries

In that day a fountain will be opened for the house of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for impurity. Zechariah 13:1 NASB

God described a time when a fountain will be opened for His people. The Hebrew words give a picture of an opening, like a well dug in the wilderness from which flows life-giving water. This was a fountain “for sin and for impurity.” People would recognize their sins. They would be convicted, and desire to be pure, holy, and right with God.

God also promised to eliminate false prophets and those who spread rumors and inaccurate information. No deception or manipulation would be tolerated. Instead, a spirit of humility and honesty would sweep over the land. People would become sensitive to His Word and dedicated to Him.

Today, your Heavenly Father still has a fountain for sin and impurity. He is ready to open up that fountain for you. But, like finding water in a well, this might require some digging. Digging into your memories, your actions, your thoughts. Digging to help you see the impact of your past.

As you dig, surrender your life anew to the lordship of Jesus. Dig into His Word. Seek to be filled anew with His Spirit. And ask the Spirit to probe your innermost thoughts and feelings, and give you His strength and power.

As He purifies you, allow God to give you more of His riches and wisdom. Purified, seek to eliminate anything that is displeasing to Him. To be pure and holy.

Spend time in prayer. Seek His face. And start digging. Let the water from His fountain flow into your life. Let it refresh and cleanse you, and quench your thirsty soul.

Loving the Unlovable

By: Dianne Neal Matthews

Valentine’s Day is one of the most widely celebrated unofficial holidays. There are several different explanations for the holiday, which was declared a celebration of martyrs in A.D. 496 by Saint Pope Gelasius I.

Some authorities believe the celebration was designed to divert Christians from the pagan observance of Lupercalia, an ancient Roman festival. Other experts link the custom of exchanging valentines with the old English belief that birds chose their mates on that day.

The early church had two saints named Valentine. In one story the Roman Emperor Claudius II forbade young men to marry, thinking that single men made better soliders. A priest named Valentine disobeyed and secretly married young couples.

Another version asserts that Valentine was an early Christian who made friends with children. When the Romans imprisoned him, the children threw loving notes through his cell window.

Jesus condensed the Ten Commandments into two:

“… love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.” Mark 12:30 (NLT)

[Jesus said,] “I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other.” John 13:34 (NLT)

He said the love we have for one another will prove to the world that we are his followers (John 13:35).

Once we experience God’s lavish, unconditional love, the only reasonable response is to share that love with others.

Jesus also gave a command that appears illogical and impossible:

“But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you.” Luke 6:27 (NLT)

Our natural tendency is to love only those who love us, which Jesus said is no credit to us. The selfless love He described can be expressed only with supernatural help from God’s Spirit, but it offers the world an undeniable witness of God’s transforming love and power.

Maybe we should use February 14 to reach out to those who don’t come to mind when we think of Valentines.

Giving Credit

 

Read All of Hebrews 11

Hebrew 11: 20-23

20 By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future.

21 By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff.

22 By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions concerning the burial of his bones.

23 By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born,because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.

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      Abraham                                           Abraham and Isaac

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                                                                                Jesus and Peter

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          Abraham                                                                           Adam and Eve

 

Good Works!

By: Joe Stowell

“Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” Matthew 5:16 ESV

I had promised my wife that I would bring her a cup of coffee after my morning run. So, at 6:03 a.m., breathing hard and sweaty, I walked into Starbucks to order two cups of coffee to take home.

As I waited in line, the guy in front of me was clutching a copy of the New York Times and waving a $50 bill in the face of the clerk. Obviously ticked at the clerk, he was ranting, “What do you mean you don’t have change? What kind of a place are you operating here? I’ve got the money. I want my New York Times!”

The clerk, clearly shaken by the man’s anger, apologized, “I’m sorry, sir. We just opened, and I don’t have that much cash on hand yet. I don’t have change for a $50 bill.”

I had just been reading Jesus’ call for us to light up our world with good works so, knowing that this was an opportunity to put Jesus’ plan into gear, I stepped forward and said, “Hey, I’ll pay for your paper” and told the clerk to put it on my bill.

“Are you sure?”

“Yep,” I replied. “Put it on my bill.”

As the guy walked out he thanked me profusely and said, “All that I have is yours!” Which obviously didn’t include the $50 bill in his hand!

When the clerk handed me my two cups of coffee, he surprised me by saying, “Sir, that was a really nice thing you did. This world would be a lot better place if there were more people like you.”

Have you ever had one of those moments where you know that you should testify but the words just aren’t there? Well, I was caught so off-guard that I just muttered some self-deprecating remark and started toward home. I was tormented, wondering what I should have said! About half a block down the street, it occurred to me that I could have said, “Thanks. Actually, the world would not be a better place if more people were like me, but the world would be a better place if more people were like Jesus, because He taught me how to do that.”

I thought about going back to say that to the clerk. But then it crossed my mind that cutting in front of a long line of people to make a religious speech might not be a real good idea. Just then it struck me . . . I was wearing my Moody Bible Institute cap! I began praying that he had seen the cap. Praying that he had discovered that my buying a newspaper for a steamed customer and rescuing him is what “Bible-people” do!

I find myself praying for that server in Starbucks, praying that he will get around a lot of us Bible-people and notice that there is something consistent and compellingly different about us. That someday it will whet his appetite for the Jesus that has made us to be people of “good works.”

When we understand the power of good works our theme song will be: This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine . . . Let it shine till Jesus comes, I’m going to let it shine!

Christ crucified

By: Charles Spurgeon

“But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:23,24

Suggested Further Reading: Galatians 1:1-9

I do not believe it is preaching Christ and him crucified, to give our people a batch of philosophy every Sunday morning and evening, and neglect the truth of this Holy Book. I do not believe it is preaching Christ and him crucified, to leave out the main cardinal doctrines of the Word of God, and preach a religion which is all a mist and a haze, without any definite truths whatever. I take it that a man does not preach Christ and him crucified, who can get through a sermon without mentioning Christ’s name once; nor does that man preach Christ and him crucified who leaves out the Holy Spirit’s work, who never says a word about the Holy Ghost, so that indeed the hearers might say, “We do not so much know whether there be a Holy Ghost.” And I have my own private opinion that there is no such thing as preaching Christ and him crucified, unless you preach what nowadays is called Calvinism. I have my own ideas, and those I always state boldly. It is a nickname to call it Calvinism; Calvinism is the gospel, and nothing else. I do not believe we can preach the gospel, if we do not preach justification by faith, without works; nor unless we preach the sovereignty of God in his dispensation of grace; nor unless we exalt the electing, unchangeable, eternal, immutable, conquering, love of Jehovah; nor do I think we can preach the gospel, unless we base it upon the peculiar redemption which Christ made for his elect and chosen people; nor can I comprehend a gospel which lets saints fall away after they are called, and suffers the children of God to be burned in the fires of damnation after having believed. Such a gospel I abhor. The gospel of the Bible is not such a gospel as that.

For meditation: To “know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2) may sound very limited. In fact it is a vast and glorious subject upon which everything else should be based and for which God should be given all the glory (1 Corinthians 1:30,31).