Tag Archives: Recipes

Salt For The Spoil

You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless (Matthew 5:13)
Image result for pictures of biblical saltImage result for pictures of biblical salt
 Image result for pictures of biblical saltImage result for pictures of biblical salt
Image result for pictures of biblical saltImage result for pictures of biblical salt
 Image result for pictures of biblical saltImage result for pictures of biblical salt

Salt for the Soil

From: Our Daily Journey

Salt for the Soil

Read:

Matthew 5:13-14
You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless (Matthew 5:13)

Salt. It’s one of the world’s most valuable minerals and has helped advance modern civilization. Its preservative capabilities helped the ancient world prevent starvation by safely increasing the shelf life of meats and vegetables. Not surprisingly, the mining and trading of salt, along with transporting cured foods over long distances, became big business.

So it’s hardly surprising that Jesus would use something as vital as salt to illustrate the meaningful impact He called believers to make in advancing God’s kingdom: “You are the salt of the earth” (Matthew 5:13).

But how He called us to make such an impact depends on His meaning of salt. Was Jesus referring to a modern form of salt that resides on the average dinner table to season our food? Or was He referring to the cruder forms of salt that people in His day used to fertilize the soil?

Many, including myself, believe the evidence points to the latter, leaving some to interpret Jesus as saying, “You are (like) the salt for the soil, a stimulant for growth.”

Understanding salt as a fertilizer helps to explain why Jesus went on to say, “But if the salt has lost its saltiness . . . it is no longer good for anything” (Matthew 5:13 NIV). Author Anthony Bradley argues, “When Jesus talked to his followers about losing their saltiness, he was talking about losing their fertilizing properties, their ability to bring about life and growth.”

How can we be like the salt Jesus spoke of? By going into those desolate places in the world where the new life of God’s kingdom is nonexistent or struggling to grow and flourish. By God’s power, we can promote the life-enhancing values of the kingdom in the people, places, and causes that grip our hearts the most.

 

Ascension Day: A Heavenly Celebration

By: John P. King, Author

Today we celebrate a wonderful holiday – Ascension Day. What? You aren’t celebrating? Why is that? Why do we neglect to recognize this spectacular day? Let me suggest one reason we don’t recognize the significance and importance of this day; we haven’t truly taken the time to grasp its full impact.

When we think of Jesus, we tend to envision any of the countless paintings or people who played Him in a movie. However, that is not who is on the throne right now. On this day, the risen Jesus, who met Mary at the tomb, who walked the road to Emmaus with two of His followers, who let Thomas touch his hands and side, and who cooked breakfast for His disciples on a beach has become the ascended Jesus – glorified with the beauty of His holiness and enthroned in the splendor of His majesty. The glimpse seen on the mount of transfiguration is now the full state of Jesus’ being as we see Him in Revelation;

“And standing in the middle of the lampstands was someone like the Son of Man. He was wearing a long robe with a gold sash across his chest. His head and his hair were white like wool, as white as snow. And his eyes were like flames of fire. His feet were like polished bronze refined in a furnace, and his voice thundered like mighty ocean waves. He held seven stars in his right hand, and a sharp two-edged sword came from his mouth. And his face was like the sun in all its brilliance.” Rev 1:13-16 NLT

Jesus is re-crowned! The prayer he prayed in his last night before to the cross, has become completely fulfilled because of this day:

“Now, Father, bring me into the glory we shared before the world began.” John 17:5 NLT

Can you imagine the processional as Jesus traveled the streets of Heaven returning to the throne He left 33 years earlier? Angelic choirs singing Psalm 24:

“Open up, ancient gates! Open up, ancient doors, and let the King of glory enter. Who is the King of glory? The Lord, strong and mighty; the Lord, invincible in battle. Open up, ancient gates! Open up, ancient doors, and let the King of glory enter. Who is the King of glory? The Lord of Heaven’s armies – he is the King of glory.” Psalm 24:7-10 NLT

All those who had passed into the Bosom of Abraham now allowed into heaven itself because of redemption’s fulfillment – Abraham and Sarah, David, Samuel, Ruth, Jeremiah, Esther, Noah, John the Baptist, the thief who had hung with Him in death – now lining the roadways celebrating the full triumph and return of the Savior King to His rightful place – the throne of Heaven.

“These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and have Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.” Eph 1:19b-23 NASB

Jesus is KING! He has ascended and is enthroned. Great glory, splendor, majesty, and goodness emanate from Him – it is who He is. EVERYTHING is under His rule and authority. Grasp the impact. We can know that whatever is going on in our lives, Jesus has power over it. Difficulties, trials, temptations, heartbreaks, illnesses, persecutions…whatever name it goes by, Jesus’ name is greater. The Bible encourages us to bring these problems to our King;

“So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” Hebrews 4:16 NLT

So hail the once and future King! For He has ascended on this day with victory and bids us come.

 

Take the Initiative

By Oswald Chambers

 Take the Initiative

Add means that we have to do something. We are in danger of forgetting that we cannot do what God does, and that God will not do what we can do. We cannot save nor sanctify ourselves— God does that. But God will not give us good habits or character, and He will not force us to walk correctly before Him. We have to do all that ourselves. We must “work out” our “own salvation” which God has worked in us (Philippians 2:12). Add means that we must get into the habit of doing things, and in the initial stages that is difficult. To take the initiative is to make a beginning— to instruct yourself in the way you must go.

Beware of the tendency to ask the way when you know it perfectly well. Take the initiative— stop hesitating— take the first step. Be determined to act immediately in faith on what God says to you when He speaks, and never reconsider or change your initial decisions. If you hesitate when God tells you to do something, you are being careless, spurning the grace in which you stand. Take the initiative yourself, make a decision of your will right now, and make it impossible to go back. Burn your bridges behind you, saying, “I will write that letter,” or “I will pay that debt”; and then do it! Make it irrevocable.

We have to get into the habit of carefully listening to God about everything, forming the habit of finding out what He says and heeding it. If, when a crisis comes, we instinctively turn to God, we will know that the habit has been formed in us. We have to take the initiative where we are, not where we have not yet been.

 

The Spirit’s Work Without Us

The Holy Spirit, the Helper and the Comforter. The Holy Spirit equips the church with gifts. In this post are ten Bible verses about the Holy Spirit.

The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and make you remember all that I have told you. (John 14:26)

“I am telling you the truth,” replied Jesus, “that no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. A person is born physically of human parents, but is born spiritually of the Spirit. (John 3:5-6)

When they finished praying, the place where they were meeting was shaken. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to proclaim God’s message with boldness. (Acts 4:31)

Image result for pictures of the Holy Spirit workingImage result for pictures of the Holy Spirit working
 Image result for pictures of the Holy Spirit workingImage result for pictures of the Holy Spirit working
 Image result for pictures of the Holy Spirit workingImage result for pictures of the Holy Spirit working
 Image result for pictures of the Holy Spirit workingImage result for pictures of the Holy Spirit working

The Spirit’s Work Within

From: Our Daily Journey

The Spirit’s Work Within

Read:

Acts 4:13-37
We cannot stop telling about everything we have seen and heard (Acts 4:20).

One day, I noticed my bird feeder hanging in the distance and remembered it had been some time since I’d refilled it. Walking over and reaching for the refill cap, I stopped as I noticed the interior of the feeder had been taken over by a wasp’s nest. The transformation reminded me that, similar to the way a wasp nest and birdseed couldn’t occupy the same space, our choice to be filled with the Holy Spirit must be full and complete.

In Acts 4 we see the extraordinary way the Spirit-filled life makes God and His purposes known to humanity. Distinctive in their mission and method, believers in the early church eagerly embraced a life that set them apart from the culture—both secular and sectarian—around them. What Jesus had initiated in the hearts of His disciples (Acts 4:13) continued. The gospel spread to others through the working of the Spirit in those who’d believed in Jesus (Acts 4:31).

How did ordinary people cause “trouble all over the world” and “disturb” complacent communities? (Acts 17:6). Convinced that God’s kingdom and the battle for its dominion were real, followers of Christ boldly proclaimed the truth—that Jesus was alive, and His death had made it possible for people to be saved from their sins (Acts 4:12). As a result, it became natural for them to witness the miraculous (Acts 4:14,16), pray with an authoritative understanding of their position before Christ (Acts 4:24-30), and interact with other believers with unity and generosity (Acts 4:32-37).

The God who set it all into motion remains alive and active today (Psalm 102:26-27). May we too yield to the work of the Spirit in such a way that we “cannot stop telling about everything we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20).

 

Reaching Beyond Our Grasp

By Oswald Chambers

Reaching Beyond Our Grasp

There is a difference between holding on to a principle and having a vision. A principle does not come from moral inspiration, but a vision does. People who are totally consumed with idealistic principles rarely do anything. A person’s own idea of God and His attributes may actually be used to justify and rationalize his deliberate neglect of his duty. Jonah tried to excuse his disobedience by saying to God, “…I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm” (Jonah 4:2). I too may have the right idea of God and His attributes, but that may be the very reason why I do not do my duty. But wherever there is vision, there is also a life of honesty and integrity, because the vision gives me the moral incentive.

Our own idealistic principles may actually lull us into ruin. Examine yourself spiritually to see if you have vision, or only principles.

Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp,
Or what’s a heaven for?

“Where there is no revelation [or prophetic vision]….” Once we lose sight of God, we begin to be reckless. We cast off certain restraints from activities we know are wrong. We set prayer aside as well and cease having God’s vision in the little things of life. We simply begin to act on our own initiative. If we are eating only out of our own hand, and doing things solely on our own initiative without expecting God to come in, we are on a downward path. We have lost the vision. Is our attitude today an attitude that flows from our vision of God? Are we expecting God to do greater things than He has ever done before? Is there a freshness and a vitality in our spiritual outlook?

 

Image result for picture of abraham standing before God

From: Streams in the Desert

Abraham stood yet before the Lord (Gen. 18:22).

The friend of God can plead with Him for others. Perhaps Abraham’s height of faith and friendship seems beyond our little possibilities. Do not be discouraged, Abraham grew; so may we. He went step by step, not by great leaps.

The man whose faith has been deeply tested and who has come off victorious, is the man to whom supreme tests must come. The finest jewels are most carefully cut and polished; the hottest fires try the most precious metal. Abraham would never have been called the Father of the Faithful if he had not been proved to the uttermost.

Read Genesis, twenty-second chapter: “Take thy son, thine only son, whom thou lovest.” See him going with a chastened, wistful, yet humbly obedient heart up Moriah’s height, with the idol of his heart beside him about to be sacrificed at the command of God whom he had faithfully loved and served!

What a rebuke to our questionings of God’s dealings with us! Away with all doubting explanations of this stupendous scene! It was an object lesson for the ages. Angels were looking. Shall this man’s faith stand forever for the strength and help of all God’s people? Shall it be known through him that unfaltering faith will always prove the faithfulness of God?

Yes; and when faith has borne victoriously its uttermost test, the angel of the Lord–who? The Lord Jesus, Jehovah, He in whom “all the promises of God are yea and amen”–spoke to him, saying, “Now I know that thou fearest God.” Thou hast trusted me to the uttermost. I will also trust thee; thou shalt ever be My friend, and I will bless thee, and make thee a blessing.

It is always so, and always will be. “They that are of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.”
–Selected

It is no small thing to be on terms of friendship with God.

Give Praise and Worship To God

Hebrews 10:16-25
Let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of [Jesus’] return is drawing near (Hebrews 10:25).

 

17 Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine?18 Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?”19 Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”     Luke 17

 

Image result for picture of leper that returned and jesusImage result for picture of leper that returned and jesus
Image result for pictures of worshiping togetherImage result for pictures of worshiping together
 Image result for pictures of worshiping togetherImage result for pictures of worshiping together
 Image result for pictures of worshiping togetherImage result for pictures of worshiping together

When We Worship Together

From: Our Daily Journey

When We Worship Together

Read:

Hebrews 10:16-25
Let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of [Jesus’] return is drawing near (Hebrews 10:25).

Author Sarah Wells, in her blog post “Church, Why Bother?” writes, “On Sunday mornings, I have the keen sense of worshiping God with other believers in my community while other believers around my community, my state, the country, and the world also worship. All of those believers are strangely and mysteriously and powerfully connected to us by the Holy Spirit, and we are all together worshiping one God in a dedicated space at a dedicated time.”

Sarah hits on a key part of our worship with others—the unity we celebrate in Jesus. Unity and encouragement can be realized as we glorify God as one (1 Corinthians 14:26). As the writer of Hebrews states, “Let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of [Jesus’] return is drawing near” (Hebrews 10:25).

Sometimes believers stop worshiping with others in a local church because they’ve been hurt by people in the congregation or perhaps because their faith is waning. These are real challenges that may take time and counsel to work through. The Holy Spirit, however, can help us move past hurts and spiritual lethargy to worship our God who is so worthy of our praise (Psalm 92:1-2) and to do so together (Hebrews 10:25).

As we come as one to worship in a spiritually healthy local church, we show our unified love for God, but also for others. We can “motivate one another to acts of love and good works” (Hebrews 10:24). And as we do, we not only build up other believers but continue to be a part of God building His kingdom on earth as unbelievers see our love and unity.

May we pursue worshiping our great God with others—for His glory and for our spiritual vitality.

 

The Faith to Persevere

By Oswald Chambers

The Faith to Persevere

Perseverance means more than endurance— more than simply holding on until the end. A saint’s life is in the hands of God like a bow and arrow in the hands of an archer. God is aiming at something the saint cannot see, but our Lord continues to stretch and strain, and every once in a while the saint says, “I can’t take any more.” Yet God pays no attention; He goes on stretching until His purpose is in sight, and then He lets the arrow fly. Entrust yourself to God’s hands. Is there something in your life for which you need perseverance right now? Maintain your intimate relationship with Jesus Christ through the perseverance of faith. Proclaim as Job did, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him” (Job 13:15).

Faith is not some weak and pitiful emotion, but is strong and vigorous confidence built on the fact that God is holy love. And even though you cannot see Him right now and cannot understand what He is doing, you know Him. Disaster occurs in your life when you lack the mental composure that comes from establishing yourself on the eternal truth that God is holy love. Faith is the supreme effort of your life— throwing yourself with abandon and total confidence upon God.

God ventured His all in Jesus Christ to save us, and now He wants us to venture our all with total abandoned confidence in Him. There are areas in our lives where that faith has not worked in us as yet— places still untouched by the life of God. There were none of those places in Jesus Christ’s life, and there are to be none in ours. Jesus prayed, “This is eternal life, that they may know You…” (John 17:3). The real meaning of eternal life is a life that can face anything it has to face without wavering. If we will take this view, life will become one great romance— a glorious opportunity of seeing wonderful things all the time. God is disciplining us to get us into this central place of power.

 

God Knows Best: Even if It Doesn’t Seem So

Author: Danni Andrew

bearded-man-praying_si.jpg

“For I know the plans that I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

My life has been an uproar lately. I have not been able to write, nor have I been able to think clearly. The time is fast approaching marking “one year” since my Mother had her stroke. Soon after, will be one year since I was forced to put her into a nursing home. Not long after will be … one year since she breathed her last on this planet.

When one person leaves such a huge void in my life, I am at a loss as to what to do about it. My life was not my own for so many years while I cared for the needs of my Mother. My dreams lay at the door, waiting for the moment when I could pick them up again. I do not regret one moment of the time spent with her. She needed me, and I needed to be needed!

God knew what my needs were before the words were even a breath. As I begged God to show me what to do to help my Mom, it became very clear that it wasn’t about what I wanted. I simply wanted my Mom back. I wanted her to get up off of that bed and tell me to quit being so bossy, just one more time! It wasn’t meant to be. It was her time and I needed to let her go peacefully. As much as I didn’t want to!

In those moments in time when I don’t have a clue what to do next, God does! When my head is hanging and my heart is broken, God knows what the next step is. God knows how much I hurt. He also knows that His plan is so much better. My Mom used to say, “If I could just get some rest I would feel better.” Well, Mom finally got the rest she has been wanting for such a long time.

As I stand here looking at my own dreams, I find it hard to pick them up. Somewhere in my sadness, I must remind myself that it is ok to be sad, but I must also move on. My inability to write has been because of the loss of my Mom. Her words ring in my ears, “Just pull yourself up by the bootstraps and do what you have to do!” I have allowed myself to get bogged down in depression long enough. She lived a good life, and now so must I.

While I still feel like Job a bit, I am becoming more and more excited about the life that is before me. The door is opening and I must walk through it. My Mom would want me to. She was the one that read every Devotion I ever wrote. She was the one that always said, “Go for it!”

“I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and I will restore your fortunes and will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you,” declares the LORD, “and I will bring you back to the place from where I sent you into exile.” Jeremiah 29:14

While taking care of my Mom was not exactly “exile”, as I enjoyed my time with her, it was still somewhat of a deviation from what I had planned. It is a road I will never be sorry for taking.

You never know what the plans are that God has for you. You cannot know the road He will take you on. I learned many things about myself while taking care of my Mother – lessons that God felt I needed to learn. I am more patient now. I am somehow quieter as well. I am more reflective than I was before. My Mother and I spent the last eight months of her life studying the Bible. God knew all of this. He knew that I needed her just as much or more than she needed me! My life has been enriched because of the time spent with her. I am thankful for that time. My writing is much better now than it was before, and somehow God knew that too.

The Fingerprint Of God

Genesis 1

The Beginning

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.

Image result for picture of God's fingerprintImage result for picture of God's fingerprint
  
  Image result for picture of God's fingerprintImage result for picture of God's fingerprint
Image result for picture of God's fingerprintImage result for picture of God's fingerprint
 Image result for picture of God's fingerprintImage result for picture of God's fingerprint

The Fingerprint of God

The Fingerprint of God

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10

Lygon Stevens loved to climb mountains with her brother Nick. They were experienced climbers and both had summitted Mt. McKinley (Denali), the highest point in North America. Then, in January 2008, they were swept off a Colorado mountain by an avalanche, injuring Nick and killing twenty-year-old Lygon. When Nick later discovered his sister’s journal in one of her satchels, he was deeply comforted by its contents. It was filled with reflections, prayers, and praise to God as seen in this entry: “I am a work of art, signed by God. But He’s not done; in fact, He has just begun. . . . I have on me the fingerprint of God. Never will there ever be another person like me. . . . I have a job to do in this life that no other can do.”

Although Lygon is no longer physically present on earth, through the legacy of her life and her journal she inspires and challenges those she left behind.

Because we are made in God’s image (Genesis 1:26), each person is a “work of art, signed by God.” As the apostle Paul says, “We are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10).

Praise God that He uses each of us, in His own time and way, to help others.

How would You like to use me, Lord? I am open and willing.

Each person is a unique expression of God’s loving design.

 

He spoke a parable unto them… that men ought always to pray, and not to faint(Luke 18:1).

No temptation in the life of intercession is more common than this of failure to persevere. We begin to pray for a certain thing; we put up our petitions for a day, a week, a month; and then, receiving as yet no definite answer, straightway we faint, and cease altogether from prayer concerning it.

This is a deadly fault. It is simply the snare of many beginnings with no completions. It is ruinous in all spheres of life. The man who forms the habit of beginning without finishing has simply formed the habit of failure. The man who begins to pray about a thing and does not pray it through to a successful issue of answer has formed the same habit in prayer. To faint is to fail; then defeat begets disheartenment, and unfaith in the reality of prayer, which is fatal to all success.

But someone says, “How long shall we pray? Do we not come to a place where we may cease from our petitions and rest the matter in God’s hands?” There is but one answer. Pray until the thing you pray for has actually been granted, or until you have the assurance in your heart that it will be. Only at one of these two places dare we stay our importunity, for prayer is not only a calling upon God, but also a conflict with Satan. And inasmuch as God is using our intercession as a mighty factor of victory in that conflict, He alone, and not we, must decide when we dare cease from our petitioning. So we dare not stay our prayer until the answer itself has come, or until we receive the assurance that it will come.

In the first case we stop because we see. In the other, we stop because we believe, and the faith of our heart is just as sure as the sight of our eyes; for it is faith from, yes, the faith of God, within us.

More and more, as we live the prayer life, shall we come to experience and recognize this God-given assurance, and know when to rest quietly in it, or when to continue our petitioning until we receive it.
–The Practice of Prayer

Tarry at the promise till God meets you there. He always returns by way of His promises.
–Selected

 

Building For Eternity

By Oswald Chambers

 Building For Eternity

Our Lord was not referring here to a cost which we have to count, but to a cost which He has already counted. The cost was those thirty years in Nazareth, those three years of popularity, scandal, and hatred, the unfathomable agony He experienced in Gethsemane, and the assault upon Him at Calvary— the central point upon which all of time and eternity turn. Jesus Christ has counted the cost. In the final analysis, people are not going to laugh at Him and say, “This man began to build and was not able to finish” (Luke 14:30).

The conditions of discipleship given to us by our Lord in verses 26, 27, and 33 mean that the men and women He is going to use in His mighty building enterprises are those in whom He has done everything. “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple ” (Luke 14:26). This verse teaches us that the only men and women our Lord will use in His building enterprises are those who love Him personally, passionately, and with great devotion— those who have a love for Him that goes far beyond any of the closest relationships on earth. The conditions are strict, but they are glorious.

All that we build is going to be inspected by God. When God inspects us with His searching and refining fire, will He detect that we have built enterprises of our own on the foundation of Jesus? (see 1 Corinthians 3:10-15). We are living in a time of tremendous enterprises, a time when we are trying to work for God, and that is where the trap is. Profoundly speaking, we can never work for God. Jesus, as the Master Builder, takes us over so that He may direct and control us completely for His enterprises and His building plans; and no one has any right to demand where he will be put to work.

 

God Does What He Says

Image result for pictures of biblical promises keptImage result for pictures of biblical promises kept
 Image result for pictures of biblical promises keptImage result for pictures of biblical promises kept
 Image result for pictures of biblical promises keptImage result for pictures of biblical promises kept
 Image result for pictures of biblical promises keptImage result for pictures of biblical promises kept

Standing on the Promises

From: Our Daily Bread

Standing on the Promises

Ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. John 15:7

My friend’s brother (when they were both children) assured his sister an umbrella had enough lift to hold her up if she would only “believe.” So “by faith” she jumped off a barn roof and knocked herself out, suffering a minor concussion.

What God has promised, He will do. But we must be sure we stand on God’s actualword when we claim a promise, for only then do we have the assurance that God will do or give what He’s promised. Faith has no power in itself. It only counts when it’s based on a clear and unambiguous promise from God. Anything else is just wishful thinking.

Here’s a case in point: God has promised, “Ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit” (John 15:7–8). These verses are not a promise that God will answer every prayer we utter, but rather a promise that He will respond to every longing for personal righteousness, what Paul calls “the fruit of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22–23). If we hunger and thirst for holiness and ask God for it, He will begin to satisfy us. It will take time; for spiritual growth, like human growth, is gradual. Don’t give up. Keep asking God to make you holy. In His time and at His pace “it will be done for you.” God doesn’t make promises He doesn’t keep.

Dear Lord, thank You for Your many promises to us in Your Word. And thank You for sending Your Holy Spirit who gives discernment.

We have a promise-keeping God.

 

Covering David

From: Our Daily Journey

Covering David

Read:

Psalm 40:1-17
My sins pile up so high I can’t see my way out (Psalm 40:12).

During their 1987 Joshua Tree tour, the band U2 closed their shows with “40,” their take on David’s 40th psalm. You might say U2 did a “cover” of King David’s song.

Psalm 40 is a peek inside David’s prayer life. We tend to think of spiritual warfare as primarily mystical—happening in the spiritual world. And it is! But spiritual warfare also takes place in the arena of life’s practicalities as seen in David’s song.

After praising God, the psalmist alludes to a time when God “made [him] listen” (Psalm 40:6)—apparently gaining his attention through a crisis when he’d cried from “the pit of despair” (Psalm 40:1-2). This crisis was likely due to David’s sin, because he reflects on the inadequacy of “sacrifices or offerings” (Psalm 40:6). But though David had been unfaithful, God remained faithful (Psalm 40:10).

Then David asked for God’s continued help. Why? Because David was still David—he was human. “Troubles surround me—too many to count! My sins pile up so high I can’t see my way out” (Psalm 40:12). David had only One to turn to in his spiritual struggles—God.

The letter to the Hebrews in the New Testament encourages believers to “come boldly to the throne of our gracious God” (Hebrews 4:16). Keep in mind, the context here is our temptation—our sin! We need real, practical help in our spiritual warfare. Mercifully, we have a great “High Priest” (Jesus), who “understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin” (Psalm 40:15).

Just as God’s intervention covered David, the mediation of our High Priest Jesus covers us. We can pray boldly, as David did, “O my God, do not delay” (Psalm 40:17). His “unfailing love and faithfulness” are present with us (Psalm 40:10).

Liberty and the Standards of Jesus

By Oswald Chambers

 Liberty and the Standards of Jesus

A spiritually-minded person will never come to you with the demand— “Believe this and that”; a spiritually-minded person will demand that you align your life with the standards of Jesus. We are not asked to believe the Bible, but to believe the One whom the Bible reveals (see John 5:39-40). We are called to present liberty for the conscience of others, not to bring them liberty for their thoughts and opinions. And if we ourselves are free with the liberty of Christ, others will be brought into that same liberty— the liberty that comes from realizing the absolute control and authority of Jesus Christ.

Always measure your life solely by the standards of Jesus. Submit yourself to His yoke, and His alone; and always be careful never to place a yoke on others that is not of Jesus Christ. It takes God a long time to get us to stop thinking that unless everyone sees things exactly as we do, they must be wrong. That is never God’s view. There is only one true liberty— the liberty of Jesus at work in our conscience enabling us to do what is right.

Don’t get impatient with others. Remember how God dealt with you— with patience and with gentleness. But never water down the truth of God. Let it have its way and never apologize for it. Jesus said, “Go…and make disciples…” (Matthew 28:19), not, “Make converts to your own thoughts and opinions.”

 

Stay Close To God

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.[a] Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.

 

Image result for pictures of old testament people reading the lawImage result for pictures of old testament people reading the law
 Image result for pictures of old testament people reading the lawImage result for pictures of old testament people reading the law
 Image result for pictures of old testament people reading the lawImage result for pictures of old testament people reading the law
 Image result for pictures of old testament people reading the lawImage result for pictures of old testament people reading the law

Keeping Close

From: Our Daily Journey

Keeping Close

Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Deuteronomy 6:8

My mile-long walk home from dropping off my daughter at her school gives me the opportunity to memorize some verses from the Bible—if I’m intentional about doing so. When I take those minutes to turn over God’s Word in my mind, I often find them coming back to me later in the day, bringing me comfort and wisdom.

When Moses prepared the Israelites to enter the Promised Land, he urged them to hold close to God’s commands and decrees (Deuteronomy 6:1–2). Wanting them to flourish, he said they should turn these instructions over in their minds and discuss them with their children (vv. 6–7). He even said to tie them to their wrists and bind them to their foreheads (v. 8). He didn’t want them to forget God’s instructions to live as people who honored the Lord and enjoyed His blessings.

How might you consider God’s words today? One idea is to write out a verse from Scripture, and every time you wash your hands or take a drink, read the words and turn them over in your mind. Or before you go to sleep, consider a short passage from the Bible as the last act of the day. Many are the ways of keeping God’s Word close to our hearts!

Lord God, thank You for giving us the Bible, which is a wellspring for life. Help us to read and digest it today.

Surround yourself with God’s Word.

 

Judgment and the Love of God

By Oswald Chambers

Judgment and the Love of God

The Christian servant must never forget that salvation is God’s idea, not man’s; therefore, it has an unfathomable depth. Salvation is the great thought of God, not an experience. Experience is simply the door through which salvation comes into the conscious level of our life so that we are aware of what has taken place on a much deeper level. Never preach the experience— preach the great thought of God behind the experience. When we preach, we are not simply proclaiming how people can be saved from hell and be made moral and pure; we are conveying good news about God.

In the teachings of Jesus Christ the element of judgment is always brought out— it is the sign of the love of God. Never sympathize with someone who finds it difficult to get to God; God is not to blame. It is not for us to figure out the reason for the difficulty, but only to present the truth of God so that the Spirit of God will reveal what is wrong. The greatest test of the quality of our preaching is whether or not it brings everyone to judgment. When the truth is preached, the Spirit of God brings each person face to face with God Himself.

If Jesus ever commanded us to do something that He was unable to equip us to accomplish, He would be a liar. And if we make our own inability a stumbling block or an excuse not to be obedient, it means that we are telling God that there is something which He has not yet taken into account. Every element of our own self-reliance must be put to death by the power of God. The moment we recognize our complete weakness and our dependence upon Him will be the very moment that the Spirit of God will exhibit His power.

 

STREAMS IN THE DESERT – MAY 5

Image result for pictures of old testament singing

When they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushs… and they were smitten (2 Chron. 20:22).

Oh, that we could reason less about our troubles, and sing and praise more! There are thousands of things that we wear as shackles which we might use as instruments with music in them, if we only knew how. Those men that ponder, and meditate, and weigh the affairs of life, and study the mysterious developments of God’s providence, and wonder why they should be burdened and thwarted and hampered–how different and how much more joyful would be their lives, if, instead of forever indulging in self-revolving and inward thinking, they would take their experiences, day by day, and lift them up, and praise God for them.

We can sing our cares away easier than we can reason them away. Sing in the morning. The birds are the earliest to sing, and birds are more without care than anything else that I know of. Sing at evening. Singing is the last thing that robins do. When they have done their daily work; when they have flown their last flight, and picked up their last morsel of food, then on a topmost twig, they sing one song of praise.

Oh, that we might sing morning and evening, and let song touch song all the way through.
–Selected

Don’t let the song go out of your life
Though it chance sometimes to flow
In a minor strain; it will blend again
With the major tone you know.

What though shadows rise to obscure life’s skies,
And hide for a time the sun,
The sooner they’ll lift and reveal the rift,
If you let the melody run.

Don’t let the song go out of your life;
Though the voice may have lost its trill,
Though the tremulous note may die in your throat,
Let it sing in your spirit still.

Don’t let the song go out of your life;
Let it ring in the soul while here;
And when you go hence, ’twill follow you thence,
And live on in another sphere.

In The Beginning God

Image result for pictures of in the beginningImage result for pictures of in the beginningImage result for pictures of in the beginningImage result for pictures of in the beginningImage result for pictures of in the beginningImage result for pictures of in the beginningImage result for pictures of in the beginningImage result for pictures of in the beginning

Before the Beginning

From: Our Daily Bread

Before the Beginning
 
 

You loved me before the creation of the world. John 17:24

“But if God has no beginning and no end, and has always existed, what was He doing before He created us? How did He spend His time?” Some precocious Sunday school student always asks this question when we talk about God’s eternal nature. I used to respond that this was a bit of a mystery. But recently I learned that the Bible gives us an answer to this question.

When Jesus prays to His Father in John 17, He says “Father, . . . you loved me before the creation of the world” (v. 24). This is God as revealed to us by Jesus: Before the world was ever created, God was a trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit)—all loving each other and being loved. When Jesus was baptized, God sent His Spirit in the form of a dove and said, “This is my Son, whom I love” (Matthew 3:17). The most foundational aspect of God’s identity is this outgoing, life-giving love.

What a lovely and encouraging truth this is about our God! The mutual, outgoing love expressed by each member of the Trinity—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—is key to understanding the nature of God. What was God doing before the beginning of time? What He always does: He was loving because He is love (1 John 4:8).

God, thank You for Your overflowing, self-giving love.

We are created in the image of a God who is loving and relational.

 

Why Did Jesus Leave?

From: Our Daily Journey

Why Did Jesus Leave?

Read:

John 16:5-16
But in fact, it is best for you that I go away, because if I don’t, the Advocate won’t come (John 16:7).

I hate goodbyes. Especially if I’m close to the one with whom I’m parting ways. I can only imagine the disciples’ pain when Jesus said goodbye, although He assured them He’d see them again soon (John 16:16).

It’s been two thousand years, and we still haven’t seen Jesus return. Yet He told the disciples it was best for them that He ascend to the Father, so they’d receive His Spirit (John 16:7).

But why was this best?

The Spirit indwells and empowers believers. Ten days after Jesus’ ascension, the disciples heard “a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm” (Acts 2:2). The disciples “began speaking in other languages,” and Peter told the amazed crowd they were witnessing the promised arrival of the Spirit (Acts 2:4,33).

The Spirit’s coming detonated an explosion of world evangelism. Empowered by the Spirit, believers would bear witness to Jesus “in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). Because of the Spirit, we are never alone as we witness to Christ.

The Spirit persuades. Jesus said the Spirit would “convict the world of its sin, and of God’s righteousness, and of the coming judgment” (John 16:8). Believers don’t need to win arguments or outtalk others to be effective witnesses. We need only testify to what Jesus has done and allow the Spirit to work in others’ hearts.

The Spirit guides. Jesus said the Spirit would “guide [the disciples] into all truth,” explaining what they could not yet bear (John 16:12-13). The disciples wrote down these truths, which were collected into our New Testament. We now can open our Bibles and through the Spirit’s leading hear from Jesus Himself. The disciples’ goodbye was necessary for our hello.

 

Vicarious Intercession

Vicarious Intercession

By Oswald Chambers

Beware of thinking that intercession means bringing our own personal sympathies and concerns into the presence of God, and then demanding that He do whatever we ask. Our ability to approach God is due entirely to the vicarious, or substitutionary, identification of our Lord with sin. We have “boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus.”

Spiritual stubbornness is the most effective hindrance to intercession, because it is based on a sympathetic “understanding” of things we see in ourselves and others that we think needs no atonement. We have the idea that there are certain good and virtuous things in each of us that do not need to be based on the atonement by the Cross of Christ. Just the sluggishness and lack of interest produced by this kind of thinking makes us unable to intercede. We do not identify ourselves with God’s interests and concerns for others, and we get irritated with Him. Yet we are always ready with our own ideas, and our intercession becomes only the glorification of our own natural sympathies. We have to realize that the identification of Jesus with sin means a radical change of all of our sympathies and interests. Vicarious intercession means that we deliberately substitute God’s interests in others for our natural sympathy with them.

Am I stubborn or substituted? Am I spoiled or complete in my relationship to God? Am I irritable or spiritual? Am I determined to have my own way or determined to be identified with Him?

A Change Of Perspective

Matthew 5

Introduction to the Sermon on the Mount

Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them.

(These teachings from Jesus were the opposite from the teaching of the Jews in most cases.)

The Beatitudes

He said:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
    for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
    for they will inherit the earth.    

Jesus taught about perspective in the Sermon on the Mount.  Matthew 5,6, and 7.
Image result for pictures of change of perspectiveImage result for pictures of change of perspective
 Image result for pictures of change of perspectiveImage result for pictures of change of perspective
 Image result for pictures of change of perspectiveImage result for pictures of change of perspective
 Image result for pictures of change of perspectiveImage result for pictures of change of perspective

A Change in Perspective

From: Our Daily Bread

A Change in Perspective

It troubled me deeply till I entered the sanctuary of God. Psalm 73:16–17

My hometown had experienced its heaviest winter in thirty years. My muscles ached from hours of shoveling the unrelenting snow. When I stepped inside after what felt like a fruitless effort, weary as I kicked off my boots, I was greeted by the warmth of a fire and my children gathered around it. As I gazed out the window from the shelter of my home, my perspective of the weather shifted completely. Instead of seeing more work to do, I savored the beauty of frosted tree branches and the way the snow blanketed the colorless landscape of winter.

I see a similar, but much more poignant, shift in Asaph when I read his words in Psalm 73. In the beginning, he laments the way the world seems to work, how wrongs seem to be rewarded. He doubts the value of being different than the crowd and living for the good of others (v. 13). But when he enters the sanctuary of God, his outlook changes (vv. 16–17): he remembers that God will deal with the world and its troubles perfectly and, more importantly, that it is good to be with God (v. 28).

When we’re chilled by the seemingly ceaseless problems in our world, we can enter God’s sanctuary in prayer and be warmed through by the life-altering, perspective-changing truth that His judgment is better than ours. Though our circumstances may not change, our perspective can.

Lord, I admit I quickly become frustrated with the way things appear. Help me to see the way You do.

God gives us the right perspective.

 

Vital Intercession

By Oswald Chambers

 Vital Intercession

As we continue on in our intercession for others, we may find that our obedience to God in interceding is going to cost those for whom we intercede more than we ever thought. The danger in this is that we begin to intercede in sympathy with those whom God was gradually lifting up to a totally different level in direct answer to our prayers. Whenever we step back from our close identification with God’s interest and concern for others and step into having emotional sympathy with them, the vital connection with God is gone. We have then put our sympathy and concern for them in the way, and this is a deliberate rebuke to God.

It is impossible for us to have living and vital intercession unless we are perfectly and completely sure of God. And the greatest destroyer of that confident relationship to God, so necessary for intercession, is our own personal sympathy and preconceived bias. Identification with God is the key to intercession, and whenever we stop being identified with Him it is because of our sympathy with others, not because of sin. It is not likely that sin will interfere with our intercessory relationship with God, but sympathy will. It is sympathy with ourselves or with others that makes us say, “I will not allow that thing to happen.” And instantly we are out of that vital connection with God.

Vital intercession leaves you with neither the time nor the inclination to pray for your own “sad and pitiful self.” You do not have to struggle to keep thoughts of yourself out, because they are not even there to be kept out of your thinking. You are completely and entirely identified with God’s interests and concerns in other lives. God gives us discernment in the lives of others to call us to intercession for them, never so that we may find fault with them.

 

Let Someone Hold Up Your Arms

Shaunti Feldhahn , Author

human-paper-chain_si.jpg

Moses’ arms soon became so tired he could no longer hold them up. So Aaron and Hur found a stone for him to sit on. Then they stood on each side of Moses, holding up his hands. So his hands held steady until sunset. — Exodus 17:12, NLT

It gets me every time—my eyes well up as I watch the video of Olympic sprinter Derek Redmond, who massively injured his hamstring midway through his race in the 1992 Barcelona games. He started hopping toward the finish line, his pain palpable as he boldly tried to finish the race, even though he had no hope of winning a medal. Even more touching is what Redmond’s father did next. Jim Redmond leapt out of the stands and shook off security guards as he ran to help his son reach his goal. The picture of a father holding up his son as he wept in pain and disappointment makes it one of the most inspiring moments in Olympic history. It’s such a clear visual of the raw, messy, beautiful lengths to which we go to serve and love someone we care about.

We like to identify with the father in that story because we can probably imagine doing something similar for someone we love. But if we’re honest, there are times in our busy, stressful lives when we are more like the injured runner. It sometimes seems as if we cannot take one more step forward without falling on our face. Whether it’s a troubled relationship, a bad diagnosis, our child’s behavioral issues at school, job insecurity … it all weighs heavy on us, and sometimes it feels like we can’t go on.

Of course, we women like to limp along and pretend we can handle it on our own. We actually do a banner job of it. But you know what? There are people in our lives who want to leap the railing, run to our side, and grab hold of us as we try to reach the finish line. People who would consider it an honor to walk alongside us and be our companions during the difficult parts of our race.

We need to let them grab our arms and help.

Yes, it means being vulnerable. It means the secret will be out that we cannot handle everything on our own. It feels risky, even embarrassing, to ask for help. But the beauty of allowing someone to help us as we limp toward the finish line brings tears to the eyes—a display of love (both in the giving and the receiving) that reminds us that we are never, ever alone.

Question to Consider: 

Have you ever come alongside someone as they struggled? Think about how honored you felt to help them. Now think about someone who has offered to help you. Pray for God’s help to set aside your pride and allow them to take hold of your arms and help you across the finish line today.

Longing For God

Jeremiah 29:13

‘You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.

Matthew 7:7-8

 

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. “For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.

Luke 11:9-10

 

“So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. “For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it will be opened.

2 Corinthians 6:2

for He says, “AT THE ACCEPTABLE TIME I LISTENED TO YOU, AND ON THE DAY OF SALVATION I HELPED YOU.” Behold, now is “THE ACCEPTABLE TIME,” behold, now is “THE DAY OF SALVATION”–

 

Image result for pictures of longing for GodImage result for pictures of longing for God
 Image result for pictures of longing for GodImage result for pictures of longing for God
 Image result for pictures of longing for GodImage result for pictures of longing for God
 Image result for pictures of longing for GodImage result for pictures of longing for God

 

Longing for God

From: Our Daily Bread

Longing for God

My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. Psalm 84:2

One day my daughter was visiting with our one-year-old grandson. I was getting ready to leave the house on an errand, but as soon as I walked out of the room my grandson began to cry. It happened twice, and each time I went back and spent a moment with him. As I headed out the door the third time, his little lip began to quiver again. At that point my daughter said, “Dad, why don’t you just take him with you?”

Any grandparent could tell you what happened next. My grandson went along for the ride, just because I love him.

How good it is to know that the longings of our hearts for God are also met with love. The Bible assures us that we can “know and rely on the love God has for us” (1 John 4:16). God doesn’t love us because of anything we have or haven’t done. His love isn’t based on our worthiness at all, but on His goodness and faithfulness. When the world around us is unloving and unkind, we can rely on God’s unchanging love as our source of hope and peace.

Our heavenly Father’s heart has gone out to us through the gift of His Son and His Spirit. How comforting is the assurance that God loves us with love that never ends!

Loving Lord, thank You for Your compassion for me, proven at the cross. Please help me to obey and love You today.

God longs for us to long for Him.

 

Candace Cameron Bure May 2, 2018
A Call for Kindness
CANDACE CAMERON BURE

“But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit.” Titus 3:4-5 (ESV)

Any Batman fans out there? Remember how Gotham citizens alerted Batman when they were in need? They used the Bat-Signal, illuminating the darkness with the bright symbol of their hope as a sign for their hero to come help.

That’s my mission. I’m sending a kindness light as a symbol of my hope in humanity, a signal for us all to get to work. 

Like the crime-ridden streets of Gotham, this planet is a mess. The news is scary, relationships are messy, and kindness seems to be on the endangered species list. But I have great hope. I believe it’s possible to carry ourselves with grace and dignity, even in a culture aiming to celebrate anger and division. I have a deep desire to raise up an army of kind and classy women to impact all we encounter — and in turn, the world.

These are the kinds of everyday heroes our world needs more of. And here’s where I hope you’ll hear me. You don’t need a cape to become this kind of hero. Or unique influence, advanced education or special technology. This job isn’t exclusively for the experts. In fact, all amateurs welcome!

The one requirement to be a kindness hero? Be willing. All you have to do is show up, start small and keep at it.

But before you enlist, let me give this disclaimer: We cannot do this on our own.

I’m a firm believer there’s a difference between an empowered woman and one who’s in-powered by the Holy Spirit. This is not a pep talk. I’m not giving you a list of feel-good mantras to ramp up your confidence in your own abilities.

If Christ isn’t the source of my actions toward others, being kind will come from a selfish, me-focused attitude. Kind toward others, expecting them to always be kind back … and likely getting my feelings hurt when they don’t. This doesn’t change a thing.

Here’s a snapshot of what we’re trying to avoid: “We ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another” (Titus 3:3, ESV).

Kindness is learned. It doesn’t come naturally. Because of sin’s damage, we can’t love others well, but that’s only part of the story. The good part comes next, as today’s key verse shows. “But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:4-5 ESV, emphasis mine).

Though we didn’t deserve it, Jesus responded with goodness and kindness. He’s the ultimate example of graciousness. How humbling! We can respond to others with kindness because we’ve received kindness ourselves — and not just any kindness, but the most extravagant display of kindness in human history!

That’s just how loved we are. And we start living lives of kindness and purpose when we realize how much God loves those around us, too.

This is where God’s Spirit invites us to move from a me-first mentality into a faith-first mentality. We need God’s help to see the people around us as the image bearers they are.

We don’t need to be empowered with a long list of dos and don’ts or a rah-rah pep talk for how to treat each other. Rather, we need to be in-powered by the Holy Spirit to see everyone through the eyes of love. No exceptions. Your husband, your best friend, your pastor. Plus the grouchy cashier, the silent strangers in the elevator, the real men and women hiding behind avatars on Facebook, the mailman. God’s love is fierce and passionate for everyone.

When we submit our lives to God’s plan, passionately pursuing our mission to bring Him glory, He’ll take our small acts of kindness and multiply them in ways we cannot imagine. Ever notice kindness is contagious? Sometimes all it takes is a cheerful customer service rep or a whistling stranger to turn our day around. Who knows who you’ll inspire to treat others well because of your example! Trust the ripple effect. Believe it, and do your part. I’ll do my best to do mine.

The Lord hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all (Ps. 103:19).

Some time since, in the early spring, I was going out at my door when round the corner came a blast of east wind–defiant and  pitiless, fierce and withering–sending a cloud of dust before it. I was just taking the latchkey from the door as I said, half impatiently, “I wish the wind would”–I was going to say change;  but the word was checked, and the sentence was never finished.

As I went on my way, the incident became a parable to me. There came an angel holding out a key; and he said: “My Master sends thee His love, and bids me give you this.” “What is it?” I asked, wondering. “The key of the winds,” said the angel, and disappeared.

Now indeed should I be happy. I hurried away up into the heights whence the winds came, and stood amongst the caves. “I will have done with the east wind at any rate–and that shall plague us no more,” I cried; and calling in that friendless wind, I closed the door, and heard the echoes ringing in the hollow places. I turned the key triumphantly. “There,” I said, now we have done with that.”

“What shall I choose in its place?” I asked myself, looking about me. “The south wind is pleasant”; and I thought of the lambs, and the young life on every hand, and the flowers that had begun to deck the hedgerows. But as I set the key within the door, it began to burn my hand. “What am I doing?” I cried; “who knows what mischief I may bring about? How do I know what the fields want! Ten thousand things of ill may come of this foolish wish of mine.”

Bewildered and ashamed, I looked up and prayed that the Lord would send His angel yet again to take the key; and for my part I promised that I would never want to have it any more. But lo, the Lord Himself stood by me. He reached His hand to take the key; and as I laid it down, I saw that it rested against the sacred wound-print.

It hurt me indeed that I could ever have murmured against anything wrought by Him who bare such sacred tokens of His love. Then He took the key and hung it on His girdle. “Dost THOU keep the key of the winds?” I asked. “I do, my child,” He answered graciously. And lo, I looked again and there hung all the keys of all my life. He saw my look of amazement, and asked, “Didst thou not know, my child, that my kingdom ruleth over all?”

“Over all, my Lord!” I answered; “then it is not safe for me to murmur at anything?” Then did He lay His hand upon me tenderly. “My child,” He said, “thy only safety is, in everything, to love and trust and praise.”
–Mark Guy Pearse

Waiting For The Lord’s Return

Luke 12:35-40

“Be dressed in readiness, and keep your lamps lit. “Be like men who are waiting for their master when he returns from the wedding feast, so that they may immediately open the door to him when he comes and knocks. “Blessed are those slaves whom the master will find on the alert when he comes; truly I say to you, that he will gird himself to serve, and have them recline at the table, and will come up and wait on them.

 

Waiting With Anticipation Is Rough Sometimes
Image result for pictures of anticipationImage result for pictures of anticipation

Image result for pictures of anticipationImage result for pictures of anticipation
Image result for pictures of anticipationImage result for pictures of anticipationImage result for picture of dog waiting for cookieImage result for picture of dog waiting for cookie

Waiting in Anticipation

From: Our Daily Bread

Waiting in Anticipation
 
 

I wait for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning. Psalm 130:6

Every May Day (May 1) in Oxford, England, an early morning crowd gathers to welcome spring. At 6:00, the Magdalen College Choir sings from the top of Magdalen Tower. Thousands wait in anticipation for the dark night to be broken by song and the ringing of bells.

Like the revelers, I often wait. I wait for answers to prayers or guidance from the Lord. Although I don’t know the exact time my wait will end, I’m learning to wait expectantly. In Psalm 130 the psalmist writes of being in deep distress facing a situation that feels like the blackest of nights. In the midst of his troubles, he chooses to trust God and stay alert like a guard on duty charged with announcing daybreak. “I wait for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning” (v. 6).

The anticipation of God’s faithfulness breaking through the darkness gives the psalmist hope to endure even in the midst of his suffering. Based on the promises of God found throughout Scripture, that hope allows him to keep waiting even though he has not yet seen the first rays of light.

Be encouraged if you are in the middle of a dark night. The dawn is coming—either in this life or in heaven! In the meantime, don’t give up hope but keep watching for the deliverance of the Lord. He will be faithful.

Please bring light to my darkness. Open my eyes to see You at work and to trust You. I’m grateful that You are faithful, Father.

God can be trusted in the light and in the dark.

 

A Bigger Shovel

“Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.” 2 Corinthians 9:6

It’s interesting to me that Jesus taught more about money than any other subject. He consistently talked about the importance of generosity and the deadly danger of greed. To the man who asked Jesus to tell his brother to divide the inheritance with him, Jesus responded by warning, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions” (Luke 12:15). And in Luke 6:38Jesus taught, “Give, and it will be given to you . . . pressed down, shaken together and running over.” To disciples distracted by financial needs, Jesus assured them that the Father knows they need such things as food and clothes: “But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well” (Luke 12:22-31).

God’s plan is simple—give to gain. In other words, give to the kingdom and God will take care of your needs.

The great British preacher Charles H. Spurgeon once learned about this kind of trust while trying to raise money for poor children in London. He went to Bristol hoping to collect £300 (which in those days was a huge amount of money) for London’s homeless children. At the end of the week of meetings, many lives had been changed and his financial goal had been reached. That night, as he bowed in prayer, Spurgeon was clearly prompted to give the money to a co-laborer of Christ named George Mueller.

“Oh no, Lord,” answered Spurgeon, “I need it for my own dear orphans.” Yet Spurgeon couldn’t shake the idea that God wanted him to part with it. Only when he said, “Yes, Lord, I will,” could he find rest.

With great peace, he made his way the next morning to Mueller’s orphanage and found the great man of prayer on his knees. The famous minister placed his hand on Mueller’s shoulder and said, “George, God has told me to give you the £300 I’ve collected.”

“Oh, my dear brother,” exclaimed Mueller,” I’ve just been asking him for exactly that amount!” The two servants of the Lord wept and rejoiced together.

When Spurgeon returned to London, he found an envelope on his desk containing more than £300. The Lord had returned the £300 he had obediently given to Mueller, with 300 shillings of interest!

Spurgeon learned what another generous believer once said: “I shovel out, and God shovels in, and he has a bigger shovel than I do.” And while the return may or may not be monetary, you can be sure that your heart will overflow with the joy of giving generously and seeing His kingdom prosper.

And you don’t have to look back a hundred plus years to discover stories about the overflowing generosity of God to people who cheerfully give their money to the needs of others and God’s work. Just ask those who have discovered the joy of giving. They’ve got plenty of stories to prove the point. Let me invite you to get a few stories of your own!

 

Faith— Not Emotion

By Oswald Chambers

Faith— Not Emotion

For a while, we are fully aware of God’s concern for us. But then, when God begins to use us in His work, we begin to take on a pitiful look and talk only of our trials and difficulties. And all the while God is trying to make us do our work as hidden people who are not in the spotlight. None of us would be hidden spiritually if we could help it. Can we do our work when it seems that God has sealed up heaven? Some of us always want to be brightly illuminated saints with golden halos and with the continual glow of inspiration, and to have other saints of God dealing with us all the time. A self-assured saint is of no value to God. He is abnormal, unfit for daily life, and completely unlike God. We are here, not as immature angels, but as men and women, to do the work of this world. And we are to do it with an infinitely greater power to withstand the struggle because we have been born from above.

If we continually try to bring back those exceptional moments of inspiration, it is a sign that it is not God we want. We are becoming obsessed with the moments when God did come and speak with us, and we are insisting that He do it again. But what God wants us to do is to “walk by faith.” How many of us have set ourselves aside as if to say, “I cannot do anything else until God appears to me”? He will never do it. We will have to get up on our own, without any inspiration and without any sudden touch from God. Then comes our surprise and we find ourselves exclaiming, “Why, He was there all the time, and I never knew it!” Never live for those exceptional moments— they are surprises. God will give us His touches of inspiration only when He sees that we are not in danger of being led away by them. We must never consider our moments of inspiration as the standard way of life— our work is our standard.