"When you have behaved well and suffer for it, your fortitude is a fine thing in the sight of God. To that you were called, because Christ suffered on your behalf" 1 Peter 2:20
Let's not be surprised at our difficulties, even if--no, especially if--we encounter them when we are truly seeking to obey the Lord. There are two kingdoms in deadly opposition to each other. If we do anything to further the kingdom of God, we may expect to find what Christ found on that road--abuse, indifference, injustice, misunderstanding, trouble of some kind. Take it. Why not? To that you were called. In Latin America someone who feels sorry for himself is said to look like a donkey in a downpour. If we think of the glorious fact that we are on the same path with Jesus, we might see a rainbow.
When you do the right thing and suffer for it, do the right thing anyway; Jesus did. He will bless you today, and always remember that you are loved!!!
"Cause me to hear Thy lovingkindness in the morning, for in Thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk for I lift up my soul unto Thee. Psalm 143:8
In today's modern, rushing world, many of us have all we can do to get out of bed in the morning and get to work on time. Often our schedule has already decide for us that there is no time for a morning devotional. Yet under the old dispensation of the law it was the duty of the priestly tribe of the Levites to rise at dawn and give thanks and praise the Lord: "And to stand every morning to thank and praise the Lord, and likewise at even:" 1 Chronicles 23:30
We are not under the dispensation of the law, but as New Testament priests we too should begin the day with God. If we do, we will have a keen sense of His presence with us throughout the busy hours that follow. "Ye also,as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ." 1 Peter 2:5 And again in verse 9: But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, shew forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light:"
This great truth was obviously known by David. One of the most enjoyable verses to come from his pen is: "Cause me to hear Thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in Thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto Thee."
With this start to our day, we can be sure that our faithful Lord will be near and will bless our day.
Most wars and unrest throughout the history of the world have been motivated by religion. However, within the past year we have seen riots in the streets of Europe, the Middle East, and now in the State Capital in Madison, Wi. Let's pray and hope not, but this could be followed by similar conditions in Indiana, Ohio, and other states; all motivated by the economy (money). Money can turn very peaceful people into very violent behavior.
Jesus promised peace and contentment. Peace that the world could not give, for He said it is My peace I give unto you. We hope you are experiencing His peace today. But if not, what might be robbing you of the peace He offers? Is it the economy, fear of a loss of income, or home, car, your standard of living? Broken relationships or ones failing health can certainly bring unrest. Or is it the increasing evidence of the end of time as we know it? We are not able to overcome these unsettling fears by trying to find peace with God on our own.
It is not peace with God, but the peace of God that [keeps our] hearts and minds. The peace which passeth all understanding is the very breath of God in the soul. He alone is able to keep it, and He can so keep it that "nothing shall offend us." Is this your experience? We pray that it is.
God's rest did not come until His work was finished. Nor will ours. We begin our Christian lives by working, trying and struggling in the energy of the flesh to save ourselves. At last, when we are able to cease from our own work, God comes in with His blessed rest and works His own divine will in us. We are not able to save ourselves, cleanses ourselves, or keep ourselves where we need to be in our relationship with Him. He is the Source of all this, plus the very Peace we enjoy. Some have referred to this as the "Rest of Faith".
"Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." John 14:27
Be blessed today as you let the very breath of God breath His peace into your soul. And let nothing keep you from knowing that you are loved!!!
When God does anything marked and special for our souls or bodies, He intends it as a sacred trust for us to communicate to others. "Freely ye have received, freely give."
It has pleased the Master in these closing days of His dispensation of grace to reveal Himself in peculiar blessing to the hearts of His chosen disciples in all parts of the Christian church. But this is intended to be communicated to a still wider circle. Every one of us who has been brought into these intimate relations with God becomes a trustee or witness for these higher truths to everyone we can influence.
If God has revealed Himself to us as our Sanctifier (the One who has cleansed our heart and sets it apart for His service), He expects us to help others see Him as a Sanctifier.
If He has become our Healer, it is because there are sick and suffering people to whom we can bring some blessing.
In like manner, if the hope of the Lord's coming has become precious to us, it would be worse than ingratitude for us to hide our testimony to this truth and hold it only for our own personal comfort. In 1 Thessalonians, Paul instructed us to not hide but to share this very thing. Chapter 4:18 "Wherefore comfort one another with these words." Chapter 5:11 "Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do."
Be blessed today as you recall Jesus' words on this subject: "And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh." Luke 21:28 Never forget that you are loved!!!
Years ago there was a great drought in Connecticut. The water disappeared from the hills, and the farmers drove their cattle into the valleys. Streams there began to fail, and the neighbors said to a certain godly man, "You must not send your herds down here anymore." The old man gathered his family around the kitchen table and, kneeling by their chairs, they cried with tears and supplications for water that the herds might not perish. Afterward he went out into the hills, and in a place where he had walked many times before, he saw that the ground was dark and moist. When he dug up the soil, water started to bubble to the surface. The family came with pails and watered the stock; then they made troughs reaching to the house. Water was plentiful. God's people called, and He answered.
The prophet Jeremiah was also in distressing circumstances. He was in a city under siege. To make matters worse, he had been put in prison because of his counsel to surrender to the Chaldeans. Everywhere he turned there was danger and opposition. But God assured him, "Call to Me and I will answer thee...." Jeremiah 33:3a And God did. He delivered the prophet both from prison and from the hands of his enemies. God could have rescued Jeremiah out of all his troubles at anytime, but He wanted Jeremiah to talk to Him about it all, and ask for help.
The Connecticut farmer was desperate for an answer, and Jeremiah was desperate for an answer. Is there something you are facing today that you feel is just as desperate in your eyes, and you must have an answer? Is Christ, in His still small voice, trying to speak to you, to get you to speak to Him? He can do more than we can think or ask, but He wants us to ask. Notice that the verse ends with a powerful promise: ".....and show thee great and might things, which thou knowest not." Jeremiah 33:3b
May you enjoy the Lords blessings today, and remember that you are loved!!!
A few years ago, USA Today carried the news that the Procrastinators Club was planning to form a political party, possibly in time for the November elections. "Our party will be the most harmonious of all the political parties," said club president Les Waas. "If we ever disagree on an issue, we'll never get around to discussing it." Waas, an expert at public speaking, said with tongue in cheek that the Procrastinator Party would like to hold its nominating convention by the first week in November. "If we don't get it done until the second week, we might ask the authorities to move the election back a couple of weeks to accommodate us."
The people of Elijah's day were procrastinators as well. The prophet confronted them with an important decision. Would they follow the Lord, or would they follow Baal? Their response to such an ultimatum, however, was to stall. They refused to answer.
"And Elijah came to all the people, and said, "How long will you falter between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, then follow him." But the people answered him not a word." 1 Kings 18:21
Has the Lord Jesus been dealing with you about some work He wants you to get involved in? Are we not all part of His ministry? However, if you have never been born again, if you cannot say from your heart, you are a Christian on your way to heaven, how long can you stall? This Monday morning would be a great day for us all to get out of that Procrastinator Party!
May the Lord richly bless you today, and remember that you are loved!!!
Freed from the slavery of sin, we were adopted by our heavenly Father and given a future home in heaven as well as a new family now—our brothers and sisters in Christ. We are no longer in darkness; instead, we walk in the illumination of the Holy Spirit. Now our calling is to carry the truth about salvation and eternal life to an unbelieving world. Jesus has commissioned us to share the gospel message and to live it out in our daily life.
"Sing to the LORD, praise His name; proclaim His salvation day after day..." -Psalms 96:2
"Deep in my heart there's a gladness; Jesus has saved me from sin!
Praise to His name, what a Savior! Cleansing without and within!
Why do I sing about Jesus? Why is He precious to me?
He is my Lord and my Savior; Dying, He set me free!"
"Who having not seen, ye love; in whom, through now ye see Him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:" 1 Peter 1:8
Jesus has made a way for whosoever will to enter in to the joy of the Lord. If you have not accepted His invitation, listen closely, He is speaking to you. Blessings on you and yours today, and as you live from day to day in this unloving world, never forget that you are loved!
One of my most favorite stories, after the resurrection of our Lord, is the story of the two men meeting Jesus on the road to Emmaus. As they were talking about all that had happened in Jerusalem that week Jesus came up and walked along beside them. But they didn't recognize Him.
Have you ever wondered why they were not able to recognize their Lord? More interesting than that though, is why did He not just tell them who He was? Why did He not run up to them and just say: "It's Me! It's Me!, It's over! I'm back! We won! It's Me!" Can we begin to see that it was more important for Him to wait until they said, "It's You! It's You!
Remember teaching your little toddler to walk? Mom would hold the baby while Dad would reach out as far as he could to encourage the baby to take that first step. If Dad grabbed the baby's hand and pulled him, the baby was not walking, but being pulled. Was this the very thing Jesus was trying to do? As the three walked along the road, Jesus reminded them of the things Moses and all the prophets had written about Him. Trying to get them to say with faith: "It's you! It's You!"
Now the sun began to drop in the west and they were to part company. But wait, they invite Him into the house for the evening meal. So the Lord has more time to lead them into that faith they needed to discover on their own. As they began to share the meal, the Lord broke the bread and blessed it. Cleopas and his friend may have shouted at the same time: "IT'S YOU! IT'S YOU!"
We live in a very rushed world, and a very noisy world. We are surrounded by people and things that are calling out: "It's me you need! It's me you need! Pick me! Pick me!" Don't wait for Jesus to yell at you as just one of the competing voices. In our scriptures, and in our own experience, we learn Jesus doesn't speak that way. But in spite of that noise, and even above that noise the voice of Jesus can be heard by that lost soul, softly and tenderly saying: "It's Me! Take that first step of faith, I'm right here."
"Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come into him and will sup with him and he with Me." Revelation 3:20
God bless you today as you listen to that still small voice.
P.S.--YOU ARE LOVED!
Our pastor just finished a series of sermons on "The Sermon on the Mount", and some of those great messages are still on my mind. There is hardly a paragraph in the "Sermon on the Mount" in which the life of the Christian is not shown to be in contrast. Sometimes it is with the Gentiles or the heathen, and sometimes with the Jews or the religious people. The Christian life is described as an ongoing choice of one way or the choice of another way. There are two roads, two gates, two masters, two treasures, two ways of seeing, two pre-occupations in life, two foundations to build on, and finally, two ways to respond to His words.
In the Old Testament, God set out to call a people to Himself. And words of Jesus, "Do not be like them," are giving the same call to be different, as the words God used when He told the people of Israel, "I am the Lord your God. You must not do as they do in Egypt, where you used to live, and you must not do as they do in the land Canaan, where I am bringing you. Do not follow their practices" Lev. 18:1-3
There is not a choice of a third road, and a choice to accept gray, for the gray is created by man as is the third road. Jesus only mentioned two choices, and the Bible tells us that it is not complicated or confusing, but anyone can see the differences and make the right choice. How blessed (happy) beyond measure is the man or woman who chooses the following road:
"And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not passover it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein." Isaiah 35:8
God bless you today, and always remember that you are loved!!!
In New York City, in front of the RCA Building on Fifth Avenue, there is a gigantic statue of Atlas, a physically fit, well-proportioned man who is holding the world up on his shoulders.
In this piece of art, Atlas is not having an easy time with this task. But rather, he is straining fiercely under the crushing weight of it.
When you are having one of those difficult days--a day when the storm is blowing and the battle is raging, when the burdens are heavy, when your heart is broken and your tears are flowing, when it feels like everybody has turned against you, including your Heavenly Father-you need to remember the One who has the strength to carry you and any burdensome load you have.
Just across the street from the RCA Building in Saint Patrick's Cathedral, there is a small shrine of Jesus as a boy that sits just behind the altar. Ironically, He is posed as Atlas is, holding the world. However, instead of straining under the weight of the world, Jesus is holding the world effortlessly in one hand.
If you are having "one of those days", remember what He said: "Come unto Me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28
Find a quiet place today, spend some time with Him, and be blessed! DO NOT FORGET 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!