Saturday, February 12, 2011

Words That Never Fail

"For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
         And do not return there without watering the earth
         And making it bear and sprout,
         And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; 
    So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth;
         It will not return to Me empty,
         Without accomplishing what I desire,
         And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it."
Isaiah 55:10-11

God sends the life giving rain and snow to the earth for a purpose. Water is necessary for the cycle of life. Without it the seeds could not produce plants for food, nor return to seed again to repeat the cycle. Moisture eventually returns to the heavens, but not until it has accomplished its purpose on earth. So it is with God's word. He sends it forth with a purpose and it will not return to Him without first accomplishing what He desires. It never fails; it always succeeds. 

Friday, February 11, 2011

A Blueprint for Church Growth

"Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart,
 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved."
Acts 2:46-47

What a wonderful model the church in Acts is for us. The believers were of one mind, meeting together not just in the temple, but in their homes too. They ate together and from the text we gather the atmosphere was joyous, and their love for God and each other was authentic. This was a group of Christians who put their faith into action. They lived intentionally and it showed. They impacted their community and the church grew. God has given us this blueprint for church growth. If we follow this example, He will add to our numbers. 

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Come to Me for Rest

"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and 
Matthew 11:28

This invitation from Jesus is good news for anyone burdened down with trying to earn their way to God.  The Pharisees told the people the way to God is through doing. But Jesus said the way to God is through coming. That was His invitation then, and it's still His invitation to us today. All over the world people are striving to find peace with God through their own work, when in fact all the work has already been accomplished by Christ on the cross. Jesus lovingly whispers, "Come to Me and I'll give you rest. Be my yoked disciple and learn more about Me. Doing My will is not a burden, and the more you know about Me, the more you will trust Me. And the more you trust Me, the more peace you will experience. In Me you will find rest for your soul." Are you exhausted by your own efforts? Jesus says, "Come."

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

I Love a Good Mystery

For thus says the high and exalted One
 Who lives forever, whose name is Holy,
         "I dwell on a high and holy place,
         And also with the contrite and lowly of spirit
         In order to revive the spirit of the lowly
         And to revive the heart of the contrite."
Isaiah 57:15

God is far beyond us in wisdom and majesty. He lives in glory and beauty, and He is eternal. No beginning, no end. And yet  this high and exalted One desires a relationship with us. When we are repentant, when we feel sorrow over our sin, God makes Himself known and with His indwelling presence brings forgiveness and restoration. Who can fathom this wondrous God? He's a mystery. But I love a good mystery, don't you?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Prayer of the Depressed

How long, O LORD? Will You forget me forever?
         How long will You hide Your face from me? 
    How long shall I take counsel in my soul,
         Having sorrow in my heart all the day?
         How long will my enemy be exalted over me? 
    Consider and answer me, O LORD my God;
         Enlighten my eyes, or I will sleep the sleep of death, 
   And my enemy will say, "I have overcome him,"
         And my adversaries will rejoice when I am shaken. 
    But I have trusted in Your lovingkindness;
         My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation. 
    I will sing to the LORD,
         Because He has dealt bountifully with me.
 Psalm 13

David is known as a man after God's own heart (1 Samuel 13:14), yet he sometimes struggled with feeling abandoned by God. In the beginning verses of Psalm 13 we get a sense of David's despondency. But he does not keep these feelings to himself. He takes them to God, pouring them out to Him as a desperate plea. How long, O Lord? How long, how long, how long? David has been taking counsel from his own soul and that brings him nothing but constant sorrow. And so he humbly asks God to give him insight -- enlighten my eyes. Again we get a glimpse of desperation. If God doesn't answer, David's sure he'll die to the express joy of his enemies. Does God answer David? Does He enlighten him? I think He did. I think God spoke right to David's soul, bringing him the fellowship and comfort for which he longed. David moves from depression to rejoicing, recalling God's love and kindness and his own salvation. Finally, he sings to the Lord in full-blown worship.  From the pit of despair to sacrificial joy, all because David came to the Lord in transparent prayer. Who else can bring about this  transformation, except God? He opens His heart and ears to the prayer of the depressed.

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Antidote

Acts 2:21

If you ingest a deadly poison for which you are given an antidote, the antidote will save you only if you take it. Simply believing it will save you has no affect. So it is with the Gospel. You can listen to the Gospel and give ascent to every word spoken, but until you take action and place your faith in Christ Jesus, you are not saved. You can believe that God's plan of salvation is a good one, but until you act on that belief and receive Jesus, you are not a member of God's family. You must call upon (appeal to) the Lord. If you do, you will be saved.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Rejoice in Him!

"The LORD is high above all nations;
         His glory is above the heavens." 
Psalm 113:4

How glorious is our God!  To think that the Almighty God of the universe would look with love upon us and send His Son to die for us. He is not some distant deity, aloof and uncaring. He is our loving heavenly Father and we are His beloved children. Thank Him today for His love and compassion. Exalt Him and give Him the glory that He is due. Rejoice in Him!
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