Saturday, September 17, 2011

Sing for Joy

"O satisfy us in the morning with Your lovingkindness,
That we may sing for joy and be glad all our days." 

Psalm 90:14

Nothing satisfies so fully as a relationship with Jesus Christ. To wake in the morning knowing that He is with us, that His eternal light will illumine our path no matter what darkness may befall us in these next 24 hours. In Him there is satisfaction that can never come from earthly treasures. For He is abundantly rich in love and kindness and His mercies endure forever. He is our joy. His spirit gives us a song of praise to sing back to Him. Sing for joy!  For whatever days we have to live, they will be filled with gladness if we remember the love of our Savior.

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Victory of Love

“But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men."
Luke 6:35

In Luke 6: 27-37, Jesus is teaching His disciples how to treat their enemies: Love them, do good to them, bless them, pray for them, don't take revenge, turn the other cheek, give to them -- expecting nothing in return, treat them as you want to be treated, don't pronounce judgment on them, don't condemn them, pardon them. When we Christians love those who hate us this way, we are showing them a kind of love they will never find in the world. We are showing them the merciful love of Christ, which we ourselves have received. "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8) To love our enemies is not just a nice thought that Christ has passed down to us. It is an imperative. It sets us apart from unbelievers and shows we belong to the Most High God. It is supernatural love that is only possible through the life of Christ within us.  "The love for our enemies takes us along the way of the cross and into fellowship with the Crucified. The more we are driven along this road, the more certain is the victory of love over the enemy's hatred. For then it is not the disciple's own love, but the love of Jesus Christ alone, who for the sake of His enemies went to the cross and prayed for them as He hung there." -- Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Stewards of God's Manifold Grace

"As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God." 
1 Peter 4:10

Have you ever thought of yourself as a steward of God's manifold grace? If you are a follower of Christ, that's exactly what you are. God's manifold grace -- His many-faceted grace -- is displayed through the many and varied spiritual gifts of His children. It's grace upon grace. We do nothing to deserve the gift (or in some cases gifts). Our Father graciously gives them to us as He chooses. His grace then moves through us to others, as we minister to them with these gifts. Upon receiving God's grace in this way, those we serve then praise Him and give Him the glory. F.B. Meyer paints a beautiful word picture of this action: "Manifold grace is many-coloured grace. As when a ray of light breaks into a spray of many hues, so each of us receives God's grace at a different angle, and flashes it back broken up into some fresh colour." 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Sometimes We Need Help Casting

Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing."
1 Thessalonians 5:11

Today has been one of those days when I wanted to go back to bed and start over. First, I couldn't seem to get my brain in motion to write a devotional. Even after two cups of coffee, my brain cells wouldn't cooperate. Two hours later I was still staring at the screen. Then I looked at the clock and realized I had a meeting in 45 minutes, for which I needed to print a document. My printer had other plans. No matter what I did, I couldn't get it to cooperate. Frustrated, I finally sent the document to my husband's email and he printed it with his printer. Watching me hurriedly prepare to leave the house, he could see my anxiety. He called me over, took my hand and prayed for me. A simple prayer asking the Lord to help me place the burden of my printer upon Him and restore my joy. Does God care about stubborn printers? You bet He does. He cares about everything in our lives, especially those things that rob us of our joy in Him. Sometimes, though, we get so focused on the source of our displeasure that we fail to look to the One who has told us, "Cast your burdens upon me, because I care for you." I'm so glad He uses other Christians to help us do the casting

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Faith That Moves Mountains

He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” 
Matthew 17:20

Faith like a mustard seed may start out very small. But as it is nurtured, it becomes great in size. However, this is not faith in just anything. It is not faith in ourselves or our abilities. It is not faith in the universe. It is faith in the Living God. It is faith that goes beyond what can be visibly seen to envision what is possible with Him. The obstacles in our lives -- even those as large as mountains -- can be moved by His hand. 

"Do not be discouraged. Like Gideon, you may be only a cake of barley bread, but by faith you may overturn the tents of Midian. Like the little lad, you may only be able to place five tiny loaves and two small fish in the hands of Jesus, but He will bless them and make them sufficient to feed the multitude. A stone may bring Goliath to the dust; an arrow may pierce through the armour of the mailed warrior. Have faith in God; Reckon on God's faithfulness to you!" -- F.B. Meyer

Monday, September 12, 2011

Abundant Comfort

 "For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ."
2 Corinthians 1:5

When I first became a Christian, I thought all my troubles would end. In truth, my greatest trials came after I gave my life to Christ. But through each sad event the Lord comforted me. The deeper my sorrow, the greater His solace. A. W. Tozer said, “Before God can use a person greatly, He must allow that person to be hurt deeply.” As much as we hate the process, the truth is we learn more about compassion and how to comfort others when we've been hurt ourselves and have experienced healing through Jesus. I do not believe for a moment that God takes pleasure in our pain, but He being omniscient can see the beauty and grace that will eventually come through our suffering, and can see us one day ministering to others with understanding and mercy. In that He takes great delight. 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Forever Faithful

"For the word of the LORD is upright, And all His work is done in faithfulness."
Psalm 33:4

God's character is above reproach. There is nothing He does that is not good and just. We may not understand His ways, in fact scripture tells us that His ways are not our ways, but all that He does is carried out in faithfulness. God is never caught off guard by events in our lives, He knows about them before they take place. He has an eternal plan that can't be thwarted by man's acts. He will bring justice one day. It will be carried out. It will be completed. God is forever faithful and He will do it.

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