Tag Archives: salvation

Free To Follow

Jesus Calls His First Disciples

18 As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” 20 At once they left their nets and followed him.              Matthew 4:18-20

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Free to Follow

From: Our Daily Bread

Free to Follow

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matthew 11:29

My high school cross-country coach once advised me before a race, “Don’t try to be in the lead. The leaders almost always burn out too quickly.” Instead, he suggested I stay close behind the fastest runners. By letting them set the pace, I could conserve the mental and physical strength I’d need to finish the race well.

Leading can be exhausting; following can be freeing. Knowing this improved my running, but it took me a lot longer to realize how this applies to Christian discipleship. In my own life, I was prone to think being a believer in Jesus meant trying really hard. By pursuing my own exhausting expectations for what a Christian should be, I was inadvertently missing the joy and freedom found in simply following Him (John 8:32, 36).

But we weren’t meant to direct our own lives, and Jesus didn’t start a self-improvement program. Instead, He promised that in seeking Him we will find the rest we long for (Matthew 11:25–28). Unlike many other religious teachers’ emphasis on rigorous study of Scripture or an elaborate set of rules, Jesus taught that it’s simply through knowing Him that we know God (v. 27). In seeking Him, we find our heavy burdens lifted (vv. 28–30) and our lives transformed.

Because following Him, our gentle and humble Leader (v. 29), is never burdensome—it’s the way of hope and healing. Resting in His love, we are free.

Lord, I’m so thankful I don’t have to be in charge of my own life. Help me rest in You.

True freedom is found in following Christ.

 

The Habit of Recognizing God’s Provision

By Oswald Chambers

The Habit of Recognizing God’s Provision

We are made “partakers of the divine nature,” receiving and sharing God’s own nature through His promises. Then we have to work that divine nature into our human nature by developing godly habits. The first habit to develop is the habit of recognizing God’s provision for us. We say, however, “Oh, I can’t afford it.” One of the worst lies is wrapped up in that statement. We talk as if our heavenly Father has cut us off without a penny! We think it is a sign of true humility to say at the end of the day, “Well, I just barely got by today, but it was a severe struggle.” And yet all of Almighty God is ours in the Lord Jesus! And He will reach to the last grain of sand and the remotest star to bless us if we will only obey Him. Does it really matter that our circumstances are difficult? Why shouldn’t they be! If we give way to self-pity and indulge in the luxury of misery, we remove God’s riches from our lives and hinder others from entering into His provision. No sin is worse than the sin of self-pity, because it removes God from the throne of our lives, replacing Him with our own self-interests. It causes us to open our mouths only to complain, and we simply become spiritual sponges— always absorbing, never giving, and never being satisfied. And there is nothing lovely or generous about our lives.

Before God becomes satisfied with us, He will take everything of our so-called wealth, until we learn that He is our Source; as the psalmist said, “All my springs are in You” (Psalm 87:7). If the majesty, grace, and power of God are not being exhibited in us, God holds us responsible. “God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you…may have an abundance…” (2 Corinthians 9:8)— then learn to lavish the grace of God on others, generously giving of yourself. Be marked and identified with God’s nature, and His blessing will flow through you all the time.

 

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May 16, 2018
Fearless Parenting
KATHI LIPP

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7 (NLT)

While raising my kids in the late ‘90s, the overwhelming theme I heard from other parents, church members and Christian books was consistent: Protect your children at all costs.

As Christian parents, we were told to not let our kids:

  • consume any media (unless it was the Adventures in Odyssey radio program)
  • listen to secular music (and even some Christian rock was considered too edgy)
  • play with kids who weren’t from Christian families (unless they were specifically doing so to eventually invite them to church. Yes, these kinds of playdates were a thing.)

Fear is a very powerful force. It can make us fear our kids will make the wrong choices. It can make us fear a lack of control. It can make us fear being viewed as bad parents. I’ve also seen how fear can absolutely be the most destructive tool in our parenting bag.

Instead of fear, God longs for us to see His power and love and grow in self-discipline. As 2 Timothy 1:7 reassures us, For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”

So how do we moms transition from parenting out of fear to fearless parenting? I’ve got a few ideas.

  1. Talk about the steadfastness of God. God has given us a spirit of power and we are powerful because we are His. Make sure your kids know the power they possess because of Who lives in them.
  2. Teach your kids how to love others well. You are their first example and their first teacher of loving well. Loving when circumstances are tough and when your kids are difficult are both great examples. Then, teaching your kids to love people even when they are unlovable is one of the best skills they can possess.
  3. Transition from the role of protector. It’s easy to want to stay in the role of our kids’ protector longer than we should. And with all that goes on in the world, who can blame a mom for wanting to keep her family safe?

As an adult, my friend Kimberly endured the unimaginable — being taken at gunpoint while walking to her car after work. Fortunately, after hours of terror and devastation, Kim survived that kidnapping and has gone on to share her story of hope. But of course, no trauma is wrapped up in a tidy little package. Not only did those events affect Kim, but they also affected her whole family, including her mom, Ann.

For years, Ann felt overwhelming guilt for not being able to keep Kim from such a horrific situation. But after years of praying and processing, Ann came to understand that her role was not to protect her daughter.

Kim says, “My mom came to this place of peace after my kidnapping. Even though I was a 28-year-old woman, she somehow thought she should have been able to protect me from that event. She realized her job had been to prepare me to handle all the things life would throw at us kids — not protect us from anything ever happening.”

As our kids grow, our job is to fearlessly transition our parenting from protecting to preparing our kids and trusting them to God. And He’s given us the ability to do that because of His power in each of us.

Heavenly Father, my prayer is that I parent out of the love You have poured out for me and my child. I pray that I never parent out of fear, but out of the unending love and grace You’ve shown me. Let my child see glimpses of You through my love for them. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

God At Work

Psalm 118:23-25 

23 This is the Lord‘s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.

24 This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.

25 Save now, I beseech thee, O Lord: O Lord, I beseech thee, send now prosperity.

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God at Work

From: Our Daily Bread

God at Work

May he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ. Hebrews 13:21

“How have you seen God at work lately?” I asked some friends. One replied, “I see Him at work as I read the Scriptures each morning; I see Him at work as He helps me face each new day; I see Him at work when I know that He has been with me every step of the way—I realize how He has helped me to face challenges while giving me joy.” I love his answer because it reflects how through God’s Word and the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, God stays near to, and works in, those who love Him.

God working in His followers is a wonderful mystery that the writer to the Hebrews refers to as he draws his letter to a close in what’s known as a benediction: “. . . and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ” (Hebrews 13:21). With this conclusion, the writer reinforces the essential message of his letter—that God will equip His people to follow Him and that God will work in and through them for His glorry. 

The gift of God working in us can take us by surprise; perhaps we forgive someone who wrongs us or show patience to someone we find difficult. Our “God of peace” (v. 20) spreads His love and peace in and through us. How have you seen God at work lately?

Lord Jesus Christ, You equip me to do Your works for Your glory. Open my eyes today, that I might understand how You are calling me to follow You.

God works in and through His followers.

 

The Habit of Rising to the Occasion

The Habit of Rising to the Occasion

By Oswald Chambers

Remember that you have been saved so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in your body (see 2 Corinthians 4:10). Direct the total energy of your powers so that you may achieve everything your election as a child of God provides; rise every time to whatever occasion may come your way.

You did not do anything to achieve your salvation, but you must do something to exhibit it. You must “work out your own salvation” which God has worked in you already (Philippians 2:12). Are your speech, your thinking, and your emotions evidence that you are working it “out”? If you are still the same miserable, grouchy person, set on having your own way, then it is a lie to say that God has saved and sanctified you.

God is the Master Designer, and He allows adversities into your life to see if you can jump over them properly— “By my God I can leap over a wall” (Psalm 18:29). God will never shield you from the requirements of being His son or daughter. First Peter 4:12  says, “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you….” Rise to the occasion— do what the trial demands of you. It does not matter how much it hurts as long as it gives God the opportunity to manifest the life of Jesus in your body.

May God not find complaints in us anymore, but spiritual vitality— a readiness to face anything He brings our way. The only proper goal of life is that we manifest the Son of God; and when this occurs, all of our dictating of our demands to God disappears. Our Lord never dictated demands to His Father, and neither are we to make demands on God. We are here to submit to His will so that He may work through us what He wants. Once we realize this, He will make us broken bread and poured-out wine with which to feed and nourish others.

 

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PASSING CLOUDS – STREAMS IN THE DESERT – MAY 15

But now, the sun cannot be looked at – it is bright in the skies – after a wind passed and swept the clouds away.Job 37:21

The world owes much of its beauty to cloudland. The unchanging blue of the Italian sky hardly compensates for the changefulness and glory of the clouds. Earth would become a wilderness apart from their ministry. There are clouds in human life, shadowing, refreshing, and sometimes draping it in blackness of night; but there is never a cloud without its bright light. “I do set my bow in the cloud!”

If we could see the clouds from the other side where they lie in billowy glory, bathed in the light they intercept, like heaped ranges of Alps, we should be amazed at their splendid magnificence.

We look at their under side; but who shall describe the bright light that bathes their summits and searches their valleys and is reflected from every pinnacle of their expanse? Is not every drop drinking in health-giving qualities, which it will carry to the earth?

O child of God! If you could see your sorrows and troubles from the other side; if instead of looking up at them from earth, you would look down on them from the heavenly places where you sit with Christ; if you knew how they are reflecting in prismatic beauty before the gaze of Heaven, the bright light of Christ’s face, you would be content that they should cast their deep shadows over the mountain slopes of existence. Only remember that clouds are always moving and passing before God’s cleansing wind.
—Selected

“I cannot know why suddenly the storm 
Should rage so fiercely round me in its wrath; 
But this I know—God watches all my path, 
And I can trust.

“I may not draw aside the mystic veil 
That hides the unknown future from my sight, 
Nor know if for me waits the dark or light; 
But I can trust.

“I have no power to look across the tide, 
To see while here the land beyond the river; 
But this I , know—I shall be Gods forever; 
So I can trust.”

Not What It Seems

The Habit of Enjoying Adversity

By Oswald Chambers

The Habit of Enjoying Adversity

We have to develop godly habits to express what God’s grace has done in us. It is not just a question of being saved from hell, but of being saved so that “the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.” And it is adversity that makes us exhibit His life in our mortal flesh. Is my life exhibiting the essence of the sweetness of the Son of God, or just the basic irritation of “myself” that I would have apart from Him? The only thing that will enable me to enjoy adversity is the acute sense of eagerness of allowing the life of the Son of God to evidence itself in me. No matter how difficult something may be, I must say, “Lord, I am delighted to obey You in this.” Instantly, the Son of God will move to the forefront of my life, and will manifest in my body that which glorifies Him.

You must not debate. The moment you obey the light of God, His Son shines through you in that very adversity; but if you debate with God, you grieve His Spirit (see Ephesians 4:30). You must keep yourself in the proper condition to allow the life of the Son of God to be manifested in you, and you cannot keep yourself fit if you give way to self-pity. Our circumstances are the means God uses to exhibit just how wonderfully perfect and extraordinarily pure His Son is. Discovering a new way of manifesting the Son of God should make our heart beat with renewed excitement. It is one thing to choose adversity, and quite another to enter into adversity through the orchestrating of our circumstances by God’s sovereignty. And if God puts you into adversity, He is adequately sufficient to “supply all your need” (Philippians 4:19).

Keep your soul properly conditioned to manifest the life of the Son of God. Never live on your memories of past experiences, but let the Word of God always be living and active in you.

 

Final Exam

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From: Joe Stowell, Author

“God tested Abraham.” Genesis 22:1

In universities everywhere, mid-May brings late-night study sessions, caffeine-fueled writing binges, and ulcer-inducing stress as students are preparing for final exams—those critically important tests to determine how well the student has learned the lessons of the semester.

Let’s look at a familiar incident in the life of Abraham through that lens.

Genesis 22 begins by saying, “God tested Abraham.” In other words, it’s like Abraham’s big exam. And what is the test? God is about to test Abraham’s allegiance to the one true God in a most stressful way.

So let’s review: God called out Abraham to the city of Ur. Ur was an advanced culture and a highly sophisticated town, but it was rampant with idolatry. When God passed out this test to Abraham, Abraham was wandering through Canaan—yet another pagan, idolatrous region. And keep in mind that in pagan idolatry, the highest demonstration of loyalty to one’s god was to offer—you guessed it—your children as a sacrifice.

With that in mind, look back at Genesis 22:1. The text actually says that it is the God who tests Abraham. This is in contrast to those lifeless forms of wood and stone that were the idols of the pagan Canaanites. And it’s theone true God who comes to Abraham and gives him the following test.

Would the loyalty and allegiance of Abraham to the genuine Creator God match the misplaced loyalty and devotion of the surrounding nations to their false idols? The test is simple yet very demanding: “Abraham,” God says, “Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love . . . and sacrifice him.”

That’s the test, plain and simple. It’s a pass/fail exam with no room for grading on the curve. If Abraham obeys, demonstrating his allegiance, loyalty, and trust in the promises of God, he passes the test. If he refuses, he retains control over his son’s destiny, but fails to demonstrate his commitment to following God no matter what the cost.

Well, we know the rest of the story. In fact, it’s amplified and explained beautifully in the book of Hebrews where the writer explains that Abraham by faith obeyed, reckoning that even if Isaac died, God could raise him from the dead (Hebrews 11:17-19).

So what does Abraham’s test have to do with us? While God won’t ask you to literally sacrifice a child on an altar, He does often require the things in your life that are precious to you. Think about it. Isaac was God’s gift to Abraham. All of God’s promises were wrapped up in that miracle child. How easy it would have been for Abraham to love Isaac more than he loved God. Or to put it another way, to love the gift more than the Giver! The test may be the same for you. God always wants to know that nothing in your life is more important or more valuable than your relationship to Him. It may even be a sinful pattern that for some reason provides temporary kicks, comfort, or security. Do you love Him more than the sin in your life?

If by faith you can believe with Abraham that when God takes something from you, God will give something back in even better terms, then you will pass the test and give Him all He demands and all He desires. Whether it’s your money, your possessions, your career, your dreams, or even your children to His service—everything we give to Him is an opportunity to pass the test and in worship prove to Him that nothing in our lives is of greater value than His friendship and fellowship.

As you face the tests of this week, know that your Tester loves you deeply and is ready to help you pass, like Abraham, with flying colors!

Treasure In Heaven

Simposious.com wishes all mother’s a Happy Mother’s Day

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Treasures in Heaven

19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.  Matthew 6: 19-21

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Treasure in Heaven

From: Our Daily Bread

Treasure in Heaven

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:21

When I was growing up, my two sisters and I liked to sit side-by-side on top of my mother’s large cedar-lined chest. My mom kept our wool sweaters in it and handiwork that was embroidered or crocheted by my grandmother. She valued the contents of the chest and relied on the pungent odor of the cedar wood to discourage moths from destroying what was inside.

Most earthly possessions can easily be destroyed by insects or rust, or can even be stolen. Matthew 6 encourages us to place a special focus—not on things that have a limited lifespan but on those that have eternal value. When my mom died at fifty-seven, she had not accumulated a lot of earthly possessions, but I like to think about the treasure she stored up in heaven (vv. 19–20).

I recall how much she loved God and served Him in quiet ways: caring faithfully for her family, teaching children in Sunday school, befriending a woman abandoned by her husband, comforting a young mother who had lost her baby. And she prayed. . . . Even after she lost her sight and became confined to a wheelchair, she continued to love and pray for others.

Our real treasure isn’t measured in what we accumulate—but in what or whom we invest our time and our passions. What “treasures” are we storing up in heaven by serving and following Jesus?

Dear Father, help me to choose to invest my life in things that are eternal.

Our real wealth is what we invest for eternity.

The Habit of Keeping a Clear Conscience

By Oswald Chambers

The Habit of Keeping a Clear Conscience

God’s commands to us are actually given to the life of His Son in us. Consequently, to our human nature in which God’s Son has been formed (see Galatians 4:19), His commands are difficult. But they become divinely easy once we obey.

Conscience is that ability within me that attaches itself to the highest standard I know, and then continually reminds me of what that standard demands that I do. It is the eye of the soul which looks out either toward God or toward what we regard as the highest standard. This explains why conscience is different in different people. If I am in the habit of continually holding God’s standard in front of me, my conscience will always direct me to God’s perfect law and indicate what I should do. The question is, will I obey? I have to make an effort to keep my conscience so sensitive that I can live without any offense toward anyone. I should be living in such perfect harmony with God’s Son that the spirit of my mind is being renewed through every circumstance of life, and that I may be able to quickly “prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2 ; also see Ephesians 4:23).

God always instructs us down to the last detail. Is my ear sensitive enough to hear even the softest whisper of the Spirit, so that I know what I should do? “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God…” (Ephesians 4:30). He does not speak with a voice like thunder— His voice is so gentle that it is easy for us to ignore. And the only thing that keeps our conscience sensitive to Him is the habit of being open to God on the inside. When you begin to debate, stop immediately. Don’t ask, “Why can’t I do this?” You are on the wrong track. There is no debating possible once your conscience speaks. Whatever it is— drop it, and see that you keep your inner vision clear.

 

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From: Streams In The Desert

We know not what we should pray for as we ought (Rom. 8:26).

Much that perplexes us in our Christian experience is but the answer to our prayers. We pray for patience, and our Father sends those who tax us to the utmost; for “tribulation worketh patience.”

We pray for submission, and God sends sufferings; for “we learn obedience by the things we suffer.”

We pray for unselfishness, and God gives us opportunities to sacrifice ourselves by thinking on the things of others, and by laying down our lives for the brethren.

We pray for strength and humility, and some messenger of Satan torments us until we lie in the dust crying for its removal.

We pray, “Lord, increase our faith,” and money takes wings; or the children are alarmingly ill; or a servant comes who is careless, extravagant, untidy or slow, or some hitherto unknown trial calls for an increase of faith along a line where we have not needed to exercise much faith before.

We pray for the Lamb-life, and are given a portion of lowly service, or we are injured and must seek no redress; for “he was led as a lamb to the slaughter and… opened not his mouth.”

We pray for gentleness, and there comes a perfect storm of temptation to harshness and irritability. We pray for quietness, and every nerve is strung to the utmost tension, so that looking to Him we may learn that when He giveth quietness, no one can make trouble.

We pray for love, and God sends peculiar suffering and puts us with apparently unlovely people, and lets them say things which rasp the nerves and lacerate the heart; for love suffereth long and is kind, love is not impolite, love is not provoked. LOVE BEARETH ALL THINGS, believeth, hopeth and endureth, love never faileth. We pray for likeness to Jesus, and the answer is, “I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.” “Can thine heart endure, or can thine hands be strong?” “Are ye able?”

The way to peace and victory is to accept every circumstance, every trial, straight from the hand of a loving Father; and to live up in the heavenly places, above the clouds, in the very presence of the Throne, and to look down from the Glory upon our environment as lovingly and divinely appointed.
–Selected

I prayed for strength, and then I lost awhile
All sense of nearness, human and divine;
The love I leaned on failed and pierced my heart,
The hands I clung to loosed themselves from mine;

But while I swayed, weak, trembling, and alone,
The everlasting arms upheld my own.

I prayed for light; the sun went down in clouds,
The moon was darkened by a misty doubt,
The stars of heaven were dimmed by earthly fears,
And all my little candle flames burned out;

But while I sat in shadow, wrapped in night,
The face of Christ made all the darkness bright.

I prayed for peace, and dreamed of restful ease,
A slumber drugged from pain, a hushed repose;
Above my head the skies were black with storm,
And fiercer grew the onslaught of my foes;

But while the battle raged, and wild winds blew,
I heard His voice and Perfect peace I knew.

I thank Thee, Lord, Thou wert too wise to heed
My feeble prayers, and answer as I sought,
Since these rich gifts Thy bounty has bestowed
Have brought me more than all I asked or thought;

Giver of good, so answer each request
With Thine own giving, better than my best.
–Annie Johnson Flint

Take The Time

Romans 12:2

2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
(Biblical People Under Pressure)
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Take the Time

From: Our Daily Bread

Take the Time

Come down immediately. I must stay at your house today. Luke 19:5

Rima, a Syrian woman who had recently moved to the United States, tried to explain to her tutor with hand motions and limited English why she was upset. Tears trickled down her cheeks as she held up a beautifully arranged platter of fatayer (meat, cheese, and spinach pies) that she had made. Then she said, “One man,” and made a swishing sound as she pointed from the door to the living room and then back to the door. The tutor pieced together that several people from a nearby church were supposed to visit Rima and her family and bring some gifts. But only one man had shown up. He had hurried in, dropped off a box of items, and rushed out. He was busy taking care of a responsibility, while she and her family were lonely and longed for community and to share their fatayer with new friends.

Taking time for people is what Jesus was all about. He attended dinner parties, taught crowds, and took time for interaction with individuals. He even invited Himself to one man’s house. Zacchaeus, a tax collector, climbed a tree to see Him, and when Jesus looked up, He said, “Come down immediately. I must stay at your house today” (Luke 19:1–9). And Zacchaeus’s life was changed forever.

Because of other responsibilities, we won’t always be able to take the time. But when we do, we have a wonderful privilege of being with others and watching the Lord work through us.

How have others taken time for you? How might you show Jesus’s love to someone this week?

The best gift you can give to others may be your time.

 

The Habit of Having No Habits

By Oswald Chambers

The Habit of Having No Habits

When we first begin to form a habit, we are fully aware of it. There are times when we are aware of becoming virtuous and godly, but this awareness should only be a stage we quickly pass through as we grow spiritually. If we stop at this stage, we will develop a sense of spiritual pride. The right thing to do with godly habits is to immerse them in the life of the Lord until they become such a spontaneous expression of our lives that we are no longer aware of them. Our spiritual life continually causes us to focus our attention inwardly for the determined purpose of self-examination, because each of us has some qualities we have not yet added to our lives.

Your god may be your little Christian habit— the habit of prayer or Bible reading at certain times of your day. Watch how your Father will upset your schedule if you begin to worship your habit instead of what the habit symbolizes. We say, “I can’t do that right now; this is my time alone with God.” No, this is your time alone with your habit. There is a quality that is still lacking in you. Identify your shortcoming and then look for opportunities to work into your life that missing quality.

Love means that there are no visible habits— that your habits are so immersed in the Lord that you practice them without realizing it. If you are consciously aware of your own holiness, you place limitations on yourself from doing certain things— things God is not restricting you from at all. This means there is a missing quality that needs to be added to your life. The only supernatural life is the life the Lord Jesus lived, and He was at home with God anywhere. Is there someplace where you are not at home with God? Then allow God to work through whatever that particular circumstance may be until you increase in Him, adding His qualities. Your life will then become the simple life of a child.

Under Pressure

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By: Joe Stowell, Author

“You know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.” James 1:3

When our kids were growing up, we loved having picnics in the backyard. No picnic was complete without a plate full of big, juicy watermelon slices! From my kids’ point of view, part of the fun was playing with the seeds. As soon as a wet seed hit the table, they couldn’t resist the urge to press it with their thumb to see how far they could make it fly across the table.

I can’t help but think we’re a lot like that when life presses down on us. When the pressure gets too intense, we start looking for ways to bail out from under the thumb of circumstances that seem too much to handle. And all too often we are tempted to bail in terms of our attitudes, feeling angry, bitter, or even mad at God—or anyone else we can blame our problems on. Or, we are tempted to bail in our actions by refusing to persevere in righteous ways.

Thankfully, James offers some great advice about why it’s so important to stay under the pressure. He reminds us that God has a purpose in mind when He allows trials to press down on us. Like turning coals into diamonds, some things only happen under a lot of pressure. Staying under the pressure is how God tests our faith in order to make us “mature and complete” (James 1:4). But, if we bail in our attitudes or actions under the burden, we interfere with the productive intentions that God has for our lives.

It’s interesting that the Greek word James uses in our text for “perseverance” (James 1:3) is hupomeno. It’s derived from two Greek words: hupo (under) and meno (remain). James is making the point that in order to achieve God’s refining goals for our lives, we need to be willing to cooperatively remain under the pressure.

It boils down to whether or not you want comfort or character. You may think that life should be a bed of roses, but if that’s your take on life, you’re in for a big surprise—trouble happens! The issue is not if you will face trials, it’s how you will respond to the inevitable pressure that the problems of life bring.

It may be that you face pressure at work. In the face of a seemingly insurmountable project, it’s easy to think, “If I just fudge a little bit I could get this job done faster.” Or, when the problems at home won’t go away, we find ourselves wondering, “Maybe I’ll just leave so I won’t have to deal with this anymore.” The sin of pride causes us to respond to problems with thoughts like, “I don’t deserve this.” And soon our attitudes are in the dumper and God’s work is derailed.

In fact, the next time you’re tempted to bail on God and squeeze out from under the trouble, think of Jesus, who “humbled himself and became obedient to death” (Philippians 2:8). He “remained under” great suffering for the purpose of making you better.

So embrace the process and permit God to do His work of making you more mature and usable, for your good and His glory. Believe me—the pain will be worth the gain!

Perseverance By Faith

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Persevering with Peace

From: Our Daily Bread

Persevering with Peace
Read: Psalm 3 | Bible in a Year: 2 Kings 13–14; John 2

I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me. Psalm 3:5

As I continue trusting God through my struggles with chronic pain, even the simplest setback can feel like a fierce enemy attacker. Problem One jabs me from the right. Problem Two shoves me from behind. Problem Three punches me square in the nose. During these times, when my strength wanes and immediate relief evades me, running and hiding can seem like a good idea. But since I can’t escape my pain, change my circumstances, or ignore my emotions, I’m learning slowly to rely on God to carry me through.

When I need encouragement, comfort, and courage, I prayerfully read through the songs of the psalmists, who honestly bring their situations to God. In one of my favorite psalms, King David flees from Absalom, his son who wanted to kill him and take his kingdom. Though David lamented his painful situation (Psalm 3:1–2), he trusted God’s protection and expected Him to answer his prayers (vv. 3–4). The king didn’t lose sleep worrying or fearing what could happen, because he trusted God to sustain and save him (vv. 5–8).

Physical and emotional pain can often feel like aggressive adversaries. We may be tempted to give up or wish we could escape when we’re weary and can’t see the end of our current battle. But, like David, we can learn to trust that God will hold us up and help us rest in His constant and loving presence.

Lord, thanks for giving us rest in the peace of Your constant presence and assuring us of the victory You’ve already won.

God offers us peace as He holds us up and carries us through every trial.

“Love One Another”

By Oswald Chambers

 

Love is an indefinite thing to most of us; we don’t know what we mean when we talk about love. Love is the loftiest preference of one person for another, and spiritually Jesus demands that this sovereign preference be for Himself (see Luke 14:26). Initially, when “the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit” (Romans 5:5), it is easy to put Jesus first. But then we must practice the things mentioned in 2 Peter 1 to see them worked out in our lives.

The first thing God does is forcibly remove any insincerity, pride, and vanity from my life. And the Holy Spirit reveals to me that God loved me not because I was lovable, but because it was His nature to do so. Now He commands me to show the same love to others by saying, “…love one another as I have loved you” (John 15:12). He is saying, “I will bring a number of people around you whom you cannot respect, but you must exhibit My love to them, just as I have exhibited it to you.” This kind of love is not a patronizing love for the unlovable— it is His love, and it will not be evidenced in us overnight. Some of us may have tried to force it, but we were soon tired and frustrated.

“The Lord…is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish…” (2 Peter 3:9). I should look within and remember how wonderfully He has dealt with me. The knowledge that God has loved me beyond all limits will compel me to go into the world to love others in the same way. I may get irritated because I have to live with an unusually difficult person. But just think how disagreeable I have been with God! Am I prepared to be identified so closely with the Lord Jesus that His life and His sweetness will be continually poured out through Me? Neither natural love nor God’s divine love will remain and grow in me unless it is nurtured. Love is spontaneous, but it has to be maintained through discipline.

 

 

 

 

 

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We went through fire and through water: but thou brought us out into a wealthy place (Ps. 66:12).

Paradoxical though it be, only that man is at rest who attains

it through conflict. This peace, born of conflict, is not like the deadly hush preceding the tempest, but the serene and pure-aired quiet that follows it.

It is not generally the prosperous one, who has never sorrowed, who is strong and at rest. His quality has never been tried, and he knows not how he can stand even a gentle shock. He is not the safest sailor who never saw a tempest; he will do for fair-weather service, but when the storm is rising, place at the important post the man who has fought out a gale, who has tested the ship, who knows her hulk sound, her rigging strong, and her anchor-flukes able to grasp and hold by the ribs of the world.

When first affliction comes upon us, how everything gives way! Our clinging, tendril hopes are snapped, and our heart lies prostrate like a vine that the storm has torn from its trellis; but when the first shock is past, and we are able to look up, and say, “It is the Lord,” faith lifts the shattered hopes once more, and binds them fast to the feet of God. Thus the end is confidence, safety, and peace.
–Selected

The adverse winds blew against my life;
My little ship with grief was tossed;
My plans were gone–heart full of strife,
And all my hope seemed to be lost–
“Then He arose”–one word of peace.
“There was a calm”–a sweet release.

A tempest great of doubt and fear
Possessed my mind; no light was there
To guide, or make my vision clear.
Dark night! ’twas more than I could bear–
“Then He arose,” I saw His face–
“There was a calm” filled with His grace.

My heart was sinking ‘neath the wave
Of deepening test and raging grief;
All seemed as lost, and none could save,
And nothing could bring me relief–
“Then He arose”–and spoke one word,
“There was a calm!” IT IS THE LORD.
–L. S. P.

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)
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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)

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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?

 

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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

 

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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

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“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.

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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.