We all remember the custodian from school days. The fellow who was always there to clean up or maintain the building. If a light was out, a plug-in didn't work, and a faucet leaked, he was the one to make the needed adjustments. We have friends today that do the same kind of work for factories. They take care of plumbing or electrical problems for the plant. Now at home there are few sounds more recognizable as the telltale sound of a dripping faucet. And as bothersome as that drippy faucet can be, it provides us with some useful information. It tells us it's time for an adjustment; we may need a repairman.
But one thing is certain, left alone, it will only get worse. It needs our attention.
You know, in our Christian walk, we can have drippy faucet experiences. Every now and then, if we are paying attention, we may notice that something isn't quite right. Perhaps we are being less than loving. Maybe we notice a particular tone in our voice when speaking to a loved one. Perhaps we are being impatient, unkind, or boastful. Or maybe we realize, when we least expect it, that we are keeping a little mental scorecard of the ways that someone has hurt us.
As believers we need to be aware of these little drips in our faith walk. Left uncared for, they can become big drips that rob us, and those around us, of the joy of Christian fellowship. When this is revealed to us we don't call the custodian, but we call our loving Heavenly Father for He is the One who can heal by making that adjustment that is needed.
"Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrong-doing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things,endures all things." 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
May the Lord Jesus bless you and yours today, and remember that you are loved!!!
Anthony Roberts is glad to be alive. At first, Roberts claimed that he was shot through the skull with an arrow, while walking through a park in Grants Pass, Oregon. He later admitted that a friend was trying to knock a one-gallon gasoline can off his head. It was part of an initiation into a rafting and outdoor group called Mountain Men Anonymous. It cost him an eye, but doctors say it could have cost his life. If sin exacted its price as instantly as this, there might be a sharp increase in holiness.
A friend and I were golfing when a young man came along behind, and asked if he could join us. As the three of us continued together, the conversation turned to spiritual matters. He shared with us the fact that he belonged to the largest church in town, but said he could not be good for more than 20 minutes at a time.
Sin like cholesterol, appears to be harmless, even while setting us up for catastrophic failure. One sausage patty won't cause a heart attack. It may trigger indigestion, but an antacid will neutralize that. So we have a second sausage biscuit. Then, after the fats have accumulated silently for years, they strike without warning.
James wrote, "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." James 1:27 Peter instructs us to "make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with Him." 2 Peter 3:14
How can one keep himself spotless, blameless, and at peace with the Lord? Certainly not by continuing to regard sin in a flippant way, or even as an accepted thing in ones life. First; the serious soul can give himself to Christ without reservation. Don't give only your sins to Him. Give all of yourself to Him. He can take that emptied heart and fill it with His divine love, cleansing it. Secondly; that one who loves God can remain surrendered to Him without reservation, and Christ Jesus can keep that vessel clean as He puts it to use. "....present your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable unto God..."
May the Lord bless and keep you today; and always remember that you are loved!!!
A man was driving along a highway when he suddenly ran into a stretch of dense fog. While considering how he might stay on the road, he noticed a reflector light along the shoulder of the road catching the glare of his headlights. Slowly he inched himself up to the first reflector only to discover that a second reflector light was now showing in the distance. When he reached the second, he found a third shining up ahead. Slowly, light by light, he worked his way along the highway until he drove out of the fog.
This past week-end, Bev and I attended the 50th wedding anniversary held for two dear friends. It was also a real joy to be in the company of their 5 kids. Their children were in the church youth group we led some 30 years ago, and it was a blessing to know that they have been happily serving the Lord. Their lives have taken many different turns. One son is an Air Force pilot in Colorado, one works in administration for the State of Texas, the oldest daughter is a missionary and teacher to the Native Americans on a Reservation in Arizona, but the Lord has led step by step.
So often we Christians want to know what's ahead for us and our loved ones. We become so anxious because God doesn't reveal His plans for next week or next month or next year. But God is much more interested in developing our trust than He is in revealing the future. His light is always sufficient for the next step, but seldom for the entire trip.
Let God lead you step-by-step. Trust that as He has given you enough light to take the next step, He will continue to provide for each step along the way. Be content with God's provision for today and let the future rest with Him.
"The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: He shall preserve thy soul. The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore." Psalm 121:7-8
May the Lord bless you, keep you, and direct your way. Always remember that you are loved!!!
Is it not human nature to want to be accepted and part of what is popular; to be with the in crowd? The one who consecrates his ways to Christ doesn't choose to be different, unique, or in the minority, but it is what it is. Our Lord told us it would be this way and not to be surprised by it.
History shows clearly enough that true spirituality has never at any time been the possession of the masses. In any given period since the fall of the human race, only a few persons ever discerned the right way or walked in God's law. God's truth has never been popular. Wherever Christianity becomes popular, it is not on its way to die--it has already died. Popular Judaism slew the prophets and crucified Christ. Popular Christianity killed the Reformers, jailed the Quakers and drove John Wesley into the streets. When it comes to religion, the crowds are always wrong. At any time there are a few who see, and the rest are blinded. To stand by the truth of God against the current religious vogue is always unpopular and may be downright dangerous. And we believe it will become more so as we see the end of time ravel down.
So let's not be discouraged when we realize we are not part of the popular crowd. Let's be happy knowing we are chosen, and walking this road with the Lord, though it is less traveled.
"But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light:" 1 Peter 2:9
Be blessed today as you walk with the Lord, and never forget that you are loved!!!
"So he departed from there, and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he was with the twelfth. Then Elijah passed by him and threw his mantle on him. And he left the oxen and ran after Elijah, and said, "Please let me kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow you." And he said to him, "Go back again, for what have I done to you?" So Elisha turned back from him, and took a yoke of oxen and slaughtered them and boiled their flesh, using the oxen's equipment, and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he arose and followed Elijah, and served him."
On December 21, 1620, the Mayflower dropped anchor in Plymouth Bay. It had been a grueling voyage across the Atlantic, taking the small ship 66 days to make the perilous crossing. There had been disease, anxiety and even childbirth among the 102 courageous passengers. Furthermore, they arrived on the bleak New England shore during a hard winter that ultimately claimed the lives of half their number. But when spring came and the captain of the Mayflower offered free passage to anyone desiring to return, not a single person accepted. These folks had made a commitment and they were not turning back. "No turning back, no turning back."
Elijah's call to Elisha brought the same response. As a farmer, Elisha had been plowing with 12 yoke of oxen. When Elijah threw his mantle on this hardworking plowboy, Elisha took the very means of his livelihood, a yoke of oxen, and slaughtered them to provide a farewell feast for his friends. In doing so, he cut the ties to his old life and demonstrated his commitment to the ministry ahead of him.
Chester Swayzee, a dear friend that is now with the Lord, shared with me pictures of some beautiful black draft horses he used on his farm in southern Indiana. He explained when the Lord called him into the ministry, that it was necessary to leave the farm behind for Bible College. He sold the land and property but the most difficult part of all that was the giving up of those beautiful horses he had learned to love so dearly. Rev. Swayzee's journey with Jesus led him to preach, pastor, and become a beloved District Superintendent. It began with the breaking of the ties, and a commitment to not turn back. "No turning back, no turning back."
The happiest people, the most blessed we know, are those who have committed to follow Jesus, with no reserve, no retreat, and no regret.
May the good Lord bless and keep you today, and never forget that you are loved!!!
"Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised."
Job saw all that he had built lost. But God restored him and he rebuilt. Throughout England there are beautiful church buildings that are empty, or used for some other purpose today. Throughout the United States, small one room churches are scattered in rural areas, sitting empty. There were great sacrifices made by those who built those churches, whether in the city or countryside. They served the people of their time with great revivals, and thousands upon thousands of souls were brought into the Kingdom of God. Wesley gave good advice to his preachers and laity: "We are to serve the generation God has placed us in." This is our generation.
Has satan discouraged you because you have seen some things you have built torn down? Maybe you worked for years to build a home and family to see it crumble through divorce, or your finances disappear through economic recession, or layoff, or maybe it was church work you were involved in that went great for a while then fell apart; build anyway.
Job is a great example for us. Paul worked with the church at Corinth for one and a half years, just to see it being destroyed with jealousy, envy, sexual immorality, etc. But Jesus is our great example, for He taught us how to build out of love, though multitudes hated Him at every turn in His life.
Let's keep on doing the right thing. What we build today could be torn down tomorrow, but let's build anyway, Jesus did.
God bless today, and remember that you are loved!!!
"There is no greater love than this, that a man should lay down his life for his friends" John 15:13
Some people love rules. Generally, I suspect it is because they are the rule makers. Working for the federal government, we received many directives from Washington. In following those new guidelines, I always liked the word should better than the word ought, and the word ought better that the word must.
Rule makers love to post signs. There is one in England that reads: "Parking Restricted Between 1st April and 30th September
Each Year to Two Consecutive Hours At Any One Time Between The Hours 8:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. on Any Day." It's best to ride a bus in England. Americans are different, but the same in a lot of ways. I hear there is a sign in a Southern California retreat center that guards a large paved area, that simply says: "No parking, ever."
But when we see into the scripture Jesus gives us today, He is saying, should, not must, not even ought. Is "should" the way you hear Him typically speaking to you? Should seems to suggest more, what will come to me if I do. So it always seems to be coming to me as a gracious, gentle invitation. "If you do..."
If this is suggesting that more will follow, what would that be? It seems there are two outstanding: Joy and love. The third could be a number of others that we associate with happiness, such as, peace, or hope. or grace, or mercy.
"There is no greater love than this, that a man should lay down his life for his friends." John 15:13
May Jesus bless you and yours real good today, and remember that you are loved!!!
"Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy'. (Acts 2:18)
Like on the day of Pentecost, the abiding presence of God's Spirit opens the floodgates of heaven, where endless rivers of living water overwhelm our hearts. Full of transformational power, God's life not only revolutionizes our own nature, but compels us to see others around us with His own eyes and heart.
God continues to pour out His blessed Spirit, who fills us with steadfast love and hope. Oh that today we would respond to what he has shown us, in the very same manner that He would respond!
My prayer: "Oh, Lord the greatest need in my life is to be able to see others as you see them, and that is my desire today. I recognize that the only way that is possible is by the fullness of your Holy Spirit in my heart. Please grant it today."
The poet, Carlyle, wrote, "Let me make a nation's songs, and I care not who makes their laws." His point is well taken, for those things we spontaneously sing about have a way of shaping our minds, just as they reveal what is uppermost in our thoughts.
That's why, in our quite moments of meditation and prayer, we would want to add a line or two from some of our favorite hymns. Then take those songs with us throughout the day. If we could learn to sing with the ones around the throne, what a great benefit that would be.
The anthems we find throughout Revelation begin with the celestial creatures unceasingly exclaiming, "Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty, Who was, and is, and is to come" Rev 4:8 Now it is the elders turn, and they proclaim: "You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for You created all things, and by Your will they were created and have their being" Rev 4:11 Then in Chapter 5 the focus turns to the Son of God and they sing: "Worthy is the Lamb, Who was slain to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!" Verse 12 Then we find intermediately throughout the rest of Revelation similar scenes of praise, adoration, cries of worship, and proclamations, to the One who sits on the throne and to the Son of God.
Now we can have a little of heaven on earth, if we likewise praise our Lord throughout our days.
"Praise ye the Lord: for it is good to sing praises unto our God;...." Psalms 147:1a
May the Lord bless you today as you let Him know what is uttermost in your thoughts, because of the songs coming from your heart.
If one has to go to battle, he would want to take the best equipment he could get his hands on. One would not want to take just a knife to a gun fight. We are in a spiritual battle everyday, and will be until the end. Why not take the best we have into that battle.
Grip the word of God. It is God handing to you His sword. Therefore do not lose it. Do not let the devil rob you of this weapon by which you can defeat him, and by which you can implement the plan of God.
"So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it." Isaiah 55:11
Continue to pray for those poor souls in Japan. God bless and remember that you are loved!!!
Henry D. is from Southern Indiana and writes these wonderful daily devotionals to encourage those at the Dogwood Community Church located in Paoli, Indiana. Henry has graciously agreed to share these wonderful devotionals here at Without Excuse Ministries to encourage you our valued guest!