In a little while I’ll be leaving out for a local event (Amp’d for Christ). It is a two-day event with praise and worship music, preaching, and much more, all aimed at the 30-ish and under crowd. I am blessed to be a small part of this event; I’ll be manning an outreach table, witnessing and giving away tracts. I have some 1500 neat (not your “ordinary” tract-stuff) tracts and would be ecstatic if I were to give them all out. This is the first year for this event, with the hopes of it being an annual one.
Please remember this event and the outreach table in your prayers. I know God will use it, us, and the materials as He sees fit. But the intercession of the saints can only help the increase He will see.
Joshua 1:8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
When I am tired, the Bible is my bed; Or in the dark, the Bible is my light; When I am hungry, it is vital bread; Or fearful, it is armor for the fight. When I am sick, ’tis healing medicine; Or lonely, thronging friends I find therein. If I would work, the Bible is my tool; Or play, it is a harp of happy sound. If I am arrogant, it is my school. If I am sinking, it is solid ground. If I am cold, the Bible is my fire; And it is wings, if boldly I aspire. Should I be lost, the Bible is my guide; Or naked, it is raiment rich and warm. Am I imprisoned, it is ranges wide; Or tempest-tossed, a shelter from the storm. Would I adventure, ’tis a gallant sea; Or would I rest, it is a flowery lea. Does gloom oppress? The Bible is a sun, Or ugliness? It is a garden fair. Am I athirst? How cool its currents run! Or stifled? What a vivifying air! Since thus thou givest of thyself to me, How should I give myself great Book to thee!
3 Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place?
4 He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.
5 He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.
Sunday night we were blessed to have The Godsmen with us to provide praise and worship music. They did a fantastic job, too, by the way. Their first song was one I really like and you may be familiar with, I believe it’s called Bread Upon the Water. The song speaks of casting our bread upon the water, helping our brothers by sowing a good deed that will come back home to us, which got me to thinking about our attitude of service and worship.
I wonder how many good works or deeds are done with the expectation of receiving back for our service? While I believe that we are often blessed for doing things that pleasing and obedient to our Lord, I don’t think that the thought of what we might reap ought to be any type of motivation for our deed. Scripture teaches that God judges our heart’s intent. If He looked at the intent behind a service and saw that we were motivated by self how do think He would feel? Rather if the motivating factor were obedience and love, won’t The Father be well pleased?
I have an iPhone that I use to write most of the emails with. As I write them, sometimes days in advance, I store them in my email drafts folder. This past week I had occasion to write several up for use this week and next. It seemed like a pretty good plan that has worked well for me until a few nights ago.
Apple updated their operating system not long ago. I waited to let the bugs get worked out before I upgraded it on my phone. This has also worked well for me in the past, allowing me to avoid issues that the first folks to try out the new stuff have to deal with. Well, right in the middle of the process my son calls me; I had forgotten to power the phone off. His call interrupted the back up portion of the process. A accidental click of the mouse in the wrong place then let the program proceed without backing up my data. Long story short: all that I had written and saved ended up lost.
We so often have to deal with changes in the things we are used to and how things operate. At times it can seem like the rules are being made up as we go along! I’m so thankful that I never have to worry about this with God or His Word. He has set out the perfect plan and given us all we need to know about how to go about doing His will and walking in His way. Thank God for His unchanging Word and Way.
John 14:13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
To Whom Shall We Pray
A little lad in Central Africa had learned to read the New Testament in the mission school. Some time later the Roman Catholic fathers persuaded him be baptized into the Roman Church. They gave him a medal to wear, on which was a representation of the Virgin. “It will be easier for you to pray when you look at that,” they said, “and the mother of Jesus will pray to her Son for you.” Several months passed, and the boy returned to the evangelical mission. Asked the reason, he said, “I read in the Gospels that Mary lost Jesus when she was on a journey; so I thought, If she forgot her own little boy, she will surely forget me, so I am going to pray straight to Jesus.”
As in most things, when praying it’s best to go straight to the Source. Christ Jesus is our Source, our Mediator, and Great High Priest. Take it directly to Him.
My speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom . . . ―1 Corinthians 2:4
In My Utmost for His Highest Oswald Chambers wrote:
“Paul was a scholar and an orator of the highest degree; he was not speaking here out of a deep sense of humility, but was saying that when he preached the gospel, he would veil the power of God if he impressed people with the excellency of his speech. Belief in Jesus is a miracle produced only by the effectiveness of redemption, not by impressive speech, nor by wooing and persuading, but only by the sheer unaided power of God. The creative power of redemption comes through the preaching of the gospel, but never because of the personality of the preacher.”
Preachers of old, along the lines of Whitefield, Spurgeon, and Wesley, some of the greatest of the past few centuries, took this very literally. Most often their sermons were written out word-for-word and delivered in a monotone voice. The results of what our generation would likely call boring presentation? Huge revivals with untold numbers being saved. Most assuredly the message not the messenger is what holds the key to salvation.
“Whereby they have made thee glad.” And who are thus privileged to make the Saviour glad? His Church his people. But is it possible? He makes us glad, but how can we make him glad? By our love. See, loving heart, how he delights in you. When you lean your head on his bosom, you not only receive, but you give him joy; when you gaze with love upon his all-glorious face, you not only obtain comfort, but impart delight. Our praise, too, gives him joy not the song of the lips alone, but the melody of the heart’s deep gratitude. He loves us, not for the value of what we give, but for the motive from which the gift springs.
Often we forget that our Lord looks at the intent of the heart in all matters, not only sin but also praise and worship. Ours need not always be a grand expression of our love to Him; the smallest gesture, the quiet whisper, the silent prayer, if they come from the heart with the attitude of love are just as pleasing to God as any other way we might praise Him.
Luke 10:26 He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou?
(read the entire parable here http://is.gd/dsmFJ)
Bro. Paul Luther taught on the parable of the Good Samaritan Wednesday evening in VBS. To start the parable we find a lawyer more-or-less twisting Scripture trying to justify his behavior. Jesus asks the question of what does the law say and how do you (the lawyer) read it? This is a good question for us to ask ourselves today.
God’s Word says what It says, about what It says. If it stings when we read it we should be glad; the Holy Spirit is pointing out a deficit that you need to address. Instead, today as in Jesus’ day folks will try to work around the Word, distorting it to fit their lives. What we need to do when we feel that piercing in our heart is to cry out to God in repentance. And be thankful that He loves you enough to chasten you.
John 8:36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free
Sunday evening Aunt Toots gave me a print out about the signers of the
US Constitution and the things they endured as a result of fighting
for our freedom. Some of the things I was familiar with and others
not. It was very interesting and eye-opening to read of the sacrifices
these forefathers had made for the birth of this nation. Without them
and their selfless acts we might well not have the freedoms we have
Christ was the ultimate Sacrifice. He bore our iniquities. He took our
punishment. He assured the birth of the Church. And He made it
possible for us to have true freedom, no matter our place of residence
here on earth.
The founding fathers ratified the Constitution with the stroke of
their pens and made their sacrifices afterward. Jesus ratified the New
Covenant through the stroke of hammers upon nails with His life’s
blood after He had endured much with even greater suffering yet to
come. It’s true: freedom never is free, someone has to pay for it.
Matthew 18:11 For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.
This past weekend my wife and I were in PA for her family reunion. One of my favorite parts of the reunion is the outdoor church service we have Sunday morning. Bro. Ron Overly brought the message again this year, one that would be titled something to the effect of “Last, Lost, Least”. It was a good illustration of who Jesus was, in Bro. Ron’s words, partial to.
In a nutshell, these three categories cover every person in the history of the human race. Though each one may not endeavor to be any of these things we all most certainly start out lost. And as we grow in our Christian lives we do begin to seek after being both last and least, in the example our Lord set for us. In other words, the more we grow and mature, the more we ought to desire a servant’s heart like Jesus’.