Comforting Assurance

Pastor Danny taught on one of my favorite Psalms tonight: Psalm 71. It was kind of funny because he started out by saying he was going to read from a Psalm that probably isn’t all that often read. Even though I have trouble some times, for some reason, remembering which number this one is, I seem to find my way back to it often.

The 73rd Psalm covers a lot of territory in a fairly short space. But the biggest thing in it that draws me to it is the assurance it gives of God being our Rock. Through out all the things we endure and encounter, we are never alone, never on shaky, unstable ground, and never are forgotten. I don’t know about you, but that sure gives me a lot of comfort and courage to know that the Almighty God has made those promises to me and to you.

Psalms 71:5 For thou [art] my hope, O Lord GOD: [thou art] my trust from my youth.

Turn on the Lights

You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. —Matthew 5:14

People often ask me what I miss most about serving as president of Moody Bible Institute. Without question it’s the students. I love their passion for Jesus and the way they demonstrate it to the world around them. Non-Christian employers often told me of the students’ exemplary work ethic. Chicago’s police super-intendent once said, “When the Moody students return to campus, it’s like somebody turned on the lights on the Near North side.”
This is exactly what Jesus had in mind when He said, “You are the light of the world” (Matt. 5:14). It’s a powerful word picture of the impact of contrast. There should be a recognizable difference between the integrity of Christians and the prevailing darkness of our world.
It’s not about making speeches for Jesus; it’s about people observing us. Even though they may not want to hear about Jesus, you can be sure they’re watching to see if He makes a difference in our lives. When Jesus said, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works” (Matt. 5:16), He was saying that before we can speak up we have to show up. Our capacity to shine for Jesus is measured by our good works, which reveal His compelling reality in our lives.

Let’s turn on the lights.
You are called with a holy calling
The light of the world to be,
To lift up the lamp of the Savior
That others His light may see. —Anon.

To lead others out of the darkness of sin, let them see the light of Christ in your life. -Joe Stowell

Shaking Hands or Saving Lives?

Shaking Hands or Saving Lives?

BIBLE MEDITATION:

“He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” John 3:36

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:
There was a preacher who kept a painting in his study of a shipwreck. There were sailors in lifeboats reaching out their hands to people floating on debris from the ship. A little boy looked at the painting and asked his daddy, “Are those in the lifeboats trying to save those people or are they just shaking hands?”

I wonder about us. It is all right to have friends; in fact, I encourage you to do that. But are you doing more than just socializing? Wouldn’t it be a shame if all you did was shake the hands of those around you, when you could be serving and showing them the way to God through Jesus Christ?

ACTION POINT:
We don’t pray, live, and witness as if people are dying and going to hell or heaven every day around us. May God have mercy on us. The need of the hour is for men and women to have a servant’s heart.

Sirens in the Distance

This morning I spent some time sitting on our back deck studying the Book of Hebrews. As I was reading I heard sirens coming in the distance. From our house you can heard them going along US Rt. 60 and on the interstate. As I listened I determined that the emergency vehicles were on Rt 60, possibly heading west, not in the interstate. I said a short prayer from whoever the emergency workers were going to and went back to my reading.

I don’t normally, out of habit, pray for someone because I hear a siren; maybe I should but that’s not been my normal reaction. On this occasion I felt promoted to pray though so I did. I later found out the emergency call was for a member of my church family; she is okay after having some relatively minor surgery.

I am not claiming in any way that the short prayer I said made THE difference in her prognosis, though I think all prayers from the heart of God’s children do make a difference in some way. No, the important lesson I took from this is to always heed the Spirit’s promoting.

Generally, when the Lord puts some one on my heart I do what He is prompting: midnight prayers, out of the blue call or email, etc. I know that I fall short on always doing what He wants but I do try. However, how often have I (or you) missed His prompt to do some thing for some one you may not or never know? If it’s once I would say too often.

God’s Word says we are to pray without ceasing. We have many, many examples of folks, the Apostle Paul comes to mind, always or very often praying for the children of God. Shouldn’t we, too, follow this instruction and example no matter what or when the prompting is given? I know I can do better than I have…

Another Divine Helper

Another Divine Helper

John 14:16-18

Have you ever wished you had a 911 number that rang in heaven whenever you had a need? Well, I have good news for believers. We all have divine assistance that’s even closer than a phone call: our Helper dwells within us. But if we are unaware of Him, we’ll miss many opportunities to benefit from the greatest asset in our Christian life—the Holy Spirit’s presence.

Christ knew that when He left the earth, His disciples would be totally inadequate for the task He was giving them—to evangelize the world. Though they’d spent three years with Jesus, all they had seen and learned would still not sufficiently equip them for what lay ahead. They needed supernatural help, and so do we—someone who will come to our aid, empower our service, and transform us from the inside out.

The Holy Spirit is the only one who can achieve all this. Consider His qualifications:

1. He is a personal Helper, not some inanimate force. God’s Spirit is a member of the Trinity and coequal with both the Father and Jesus Christ.

2. He is a practical Helper who involves Himself in every aspect of our lives.

3. He is an adequate Helper because He’s omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent.

4. He is an available Helper who permanently lives within us.

Do you have any need that requires more power than omnipotence? Are you facing a decision that requires more knowledge than omniscience? Nothing we encounter is bigger than the omnipresent One who lives within us. Be calm and confident. No matter what challenges you face, He can help.

Charles Stanley

Copyright © 2011 In Touch Ministries,

Rejecting a Global Flood.

Rejecting a Global Flood..

Very nice piece from the “Answers in Genisis” folks. I know that I was never presented the Biblical account as an option in school, even grade school. It’s little wonder that evolution is what most folks default to when the idea of the age of the earth or any thing else alongside this line comes up. We have to do a better job of teaching this concept to the world, starting with our families.

Submitting to One Another

Submitting to One Another

BIBLE MEDITATION:

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:
If we are going to survive in the tough times of our lives, we must learn to submit. That’s right. Now, I know that sounds like an oxymoron, but let me explain.

The Word of God teaches us that no one is inferior to anyone else. We are one in Jesus Christ. Submission is something we do to one another “in the fear of God” (Ephesians 5:21). Through submission comes power and victory.

Do you want to know a good definition of submission? Here it is: Submission is one equal willingly placing himself under another equal that God may therefore be glorified.

ACTION POINT:
We are never more like Jesus than when we submit. And never more like the devil than when we rebel.

– Adrian Rogers

Seeing Clearly

“The lamp of the body is the eye; if therefore your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!” – Matthew 6:22-23

Generous giving brings spiritual understanding.

When people see, their body is filled with the light that comes in from the world their eyes perceive. But if their eye is dark (blind), there is no light and they perceive nothing. The eye is like a window—if a window is clean and clear, light floods the building; if a window is blacked out, no light enters. In Matthew 6:22-23Jesus is saying the heart is like the eye. If your heart is toward God, your entire spiritual being is enlightened; but if your heart is toward material things and treasures of the world, you do not see spiritually as you should.

In verse 22 the Greek word translated “clear” is from a root word that means “generous.” If your heart is generous, your whole spiritual life will be flooded with understanding. In contrast to the clear eye is the “bad” eye (v. 23). A bad or evil eye is a Jewish colloquialism used regularly in the Greek Old Testament and the New Testament to mean “grudgingly.” Proverbs 28:22 says, for example, “A man with an evil eye hastens after wealth.” If you hurry to be rich, you will be ungenerous, grudging, and selfish.

Let me simplify Matthew 6:22-23 to one statement: How you handle your money is the key to your spiritual perception. If your heart is in Heaven, you will have a generous spirit. If your treasure is on earth, you will be blind because of your greed. How total is the darkness of one who should see spiritually but is blind because of his own covetousness (v. 23)! Jesus’ call to you and me is to see clearly by devoting ourselves to Him and laying up treasure in Heaven.

Suggestions for Prayer:
Ask the Lord to help you see opportunities where you can give generously to help extend His kingdom.

For Further Study:
According to 2 Corinthians 9:6-12, what are some rewards for generosity?

From Strength for Today by John MacArthur Copyright © 1997. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187,www.crossway.com.

Growing Faith

Growing Faith

2 Thessalonians 1:3-5

God’s desire is that our faith grow continuously as we walk with Him. He never intended belief to be a one-time event with a single purpose of ushering us into salvation. The older we get, the greater our trust should become. Yet I’ve met some Christians who have stayed at the same level of faith throughout life.

We need to realize that our willingness to trust the Lord affects every area of our lives—how we feel, what we do, the way He blesses us, and whether our prayers are answered. It all begins with our focus. When you face difficulties or heartbreak, do you notice only the impossibility of the circumstances, or do you see the greatness of our Father? To whose voice are you listening—the skeptical advice of others, the lies of Satan, or the Word of God?

Our focus in turn affects our emotions. Those who choose to believe what God says experience the peace and joy of knowing He has everything under His control. Because they trust Him, fewer situations bother them. But if our minds are filled with doubts, anxiety and fear rush in—then, we’re just not sure if the Lord is going to help us or not. Instead of resting in Christ, we fuss and fume, trying to anticipate all possible outcomes and solve every problem in our own strength.

I don’t think we realize how important faith is to God. He delights in us when we choose to believe Him; He will also move heaven and earth to act on our behalf and answer our prayers. By trusting Him, we’ll discover new excitement and adventure in life and find that He is always faithful.

Copyright © 2011 In Touch Ministries, Inc.www.intouch.org.

Unfriended

I was “unfriended” today on Facebook! After I got over my initial reaction, a slight grin, I thought “the tactful thing to do would have been to just “mute” me”. To be clear on this, to unfriend a person means to cut them off completely, totally severing their online relationship, while muting just ignores all the posts the person males; they are essentially the same thing, one just a little more tactful.

I’m sure this wasn’t the first, nor will it be the last, time some one has decided they no longer wish to “hear” from me. But it’s the first time that I’ve ever gotten a real thought from it: How often do we “mute” the Spirit of God?

When the Holy Ghost prompts us to do some thing and we ignore Him, are we not in essence hitting our spiritual mute button? Folks often want to pick and choose just how they serve God but that isn’t how He works. Jesus said we are to love God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength; it takes total commitment and 100% yielding to truly be a child of the King.

God’s Word says that Abraham by faith was a friend of God and we sing of “what a Friend we have in Jesus”. If we are going to hear those sweet words of welcome in some day we have to be listening to His Voice now and answering obediently in faith. If we mute Him (ignore His call) it’s really the same as unfriending the true Best Friend we will ever have.