Saturday, September 10, 2011

In His Strength

"Do you not know? Have you not heard? 
The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth 
Does not become weary or tired. 
His understanding is inscrutable."
Isaiah 40:28

God is not like we are. He never gets weary or tired. He doesn't need caffeine or an afternoon nap to get Him through the day. In fact, He doesn't sleep at all (Psalm 12:4). God's understanding, His intelligence, is perfect. He can't lose intelligence, nor can He gain more intelligence. His intelligence was, is and always will be perfect and unfathomable. Now consider this, why would we trudge through this life in our own pitiful strength, when we can soar like eagles (Isaiah 40:31) in the strength of the One who understands far more about our situation than we do? Whatever trial or challenge you may be facing today that has you worn out, lay it at the Savior's feet. Just put it down right there and pray, "Lord, I'm tired. I need Your unending strength to get me through this. Come in all Your infinite understanding and help me, please." Ask Him in your weakness and He will answer You in His strength.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Taking the Good with the Bad

"In the day of prosperity be happy, 
But in the day of adversity consider— 
God has made the one as well as the other
so that man will not discover anything that will be after him."
Ecclesiastes 7:14

We can't predict how our lives will play out. There will be good days and there will be bad days, and God has made them all. But if God is good -- and His word says that He is -- then why does He permit bad things to happen? While we can't know or understand the entirety of God's purpose, it is clear from the Bible that suffering is not random and that God will use it to build our character. "And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us." (Romans 5:3-5)  Most of the important lessons in life are learned at the feet of grief. Talk to a Christian who has embraced it and allowed God to teach them through the pain, and you will find a child of God who has a stronger faith, a deeper understanding of grace and more compassion for others. 

"Those who don't let sorrow do its work, who deny it, trivialize it, or try to explain it away, remain shallow and indifferent. They never understand themselves or others very well. In fact, I think that before God can use us very much, we must first learn to mourn." —David H. Roper

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Silent Praise

"There will be silence before You, and praise in Zion, O God,"
Psalm 65:1

At times the most profound praise we can render to God is silence. To sit quietly and meditate upon His virtues. To think kind thoughts toward Him in an unhurried fashion. One loving thought leading to another, until we are worshiping from a peaceful, yielded heart. 

"Certainly, when the soul is most filled with adoring awe, she is least content with her own expressions, and feels most deeply how inadequate are all mortal songs to proclaim the divine goodness." -- Charles Spurgeon

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Called to Freedom

"For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another." 
Galatians 5:13

If we have received Christ as our Savior, we are no longer under the penalty of sin and death.  He has redeemed us with His blood. We've been set free. This freedom should inspire us to live in such a way that Christ will be honored. Our speech and temperament should be filled with grace, so that those who don't know the Lord will be drawn to Him through our words and behavior. Freedom in Christ is not a license to sin. It is freedom to live the life to which He has called us. We are no longer bound by our own sinful desires. Now the Holy Spirit living within us empowers us to live in purity. We will never do this perfectly; not until we reach our heavenly home. But we should see steady growth toward purity in our lives as we yield to the Holy Spirit living within us.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Narrow Way

"Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it."
Matthew 7:13-14

When I read these words, it's as if Jesus were speaking them today in our hometowns. His response to those who claim all religions lead to God is, "That is the wide gate. Don't go there." To those who say they don't need Christ, that they can get to heaven through their own goodness, Jesus says, "That is the broad way that leads to destruction." Unfortunately, many have chosen that wide gate and wide path, and many more will choose it. The wide gate is attractive. It leaves ample room for pride and self-indulgence, for gods of all sorts, for belief in anything, or belief in nothing at all. Everything that keeps one from receiving Christ can be taken along on the broad road. But entering through the small gate and taking the narrow path -- the way of the cross -- is another matter. We've got to drop our bag of self pride, and forget about taking along our basket of good deeds. They won't fit through the opening. In fact, metaphorically speaking, we've got to strip down to nothing to enter the narrow gate. Take off our own righteousness and put on the righteousness of Christ.  Jesus stands at the narrow gate and calls us to come. He says,"I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

"It bothers a lot of people that Jesus is the only way. If you're trapped in a burning building and a firefighter risks his life to bring you out, you probably won't say, 'Hey, wait, you mean there's only one way out of here?' No, you grab that rescuer and you say, 'Thank God there is a way out.'" -- Ron Hutchcraft

Monday, September 5, 2011

Eternal Celebration

"For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints."
Hebrews 6:10

Today in America we celebrate Labor Day. A National Holiday initiated to honor the workers of our country; to show that their labor is remembered and appreciated. Tomorrow life will go on as usual and most of what we remember about this day will be the picnics and barbecues. The laborers will be largely forgotten. But those who love the Lord and work in His name are never forgotten. It is not in God's nature to overlook the service of His children.  He tells us in Revelation 22:12: “Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done." A great celebration is coming. And it won't last for just one day. It will last for eternity.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Amazing Love

"But He was pierced through for our transgressions, 
He was crushed for our iniquities; 
The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, 
And by His scourging we are healed."
Isaiah 53:5

Jesus' torture and death was not a mistake. It was God's plan of redemption. He sent His Son to receive the punishment mankind deserved. Jesus was nailed to the cross, and pierced in the side by the Roman soldier for our sin, our transgressions. The weight of all the world's sin was borne on His shoulders. He took the punishment so that we wouldn't have to.  He accepted the scourging in our place. Through His wounds we are healed, both physically and spiritually. Christ may not choose to heal us physically until we pass from this earthly life to eternal life with Him. But He always heals spiritually. From the moment we receive Him as our Savior, spiritual healing is complete. Now, knowing this, consider the depth of God's love for you and me.  "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him." (Romans 5:8-9) "In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins." (1 John 1:10)

Amazing love, how can it be
That You, my King, should die for me?
You Are My King (Amazing Love) Billy James Foote

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