Saturday, November 26, 2011

Joyful Discipline

"All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness."
Hebrews 12:11

Affliction comes in many forms and for many reasons. Poor health may result from poor choices we have made in regard to caring for our bodies. On the other hand, an illness may come through no fault of our own -- from genetics, virus or other mysterious reason. As much as we don't like to admit it, sometimes God allows an ailment to bring us to a point of complete dependence upon Him. When we have nothing else to lean on, we learn how important our relationship with Him is to our well being. There is no one who can minister to us as God can. When we are suffering, it is not a joyful time. We only want the pain to be over. And who can blame us for not enjoying pain? However, when we submit to the Lord, we gain something that the unbelieving world can never understand. We share in Christ's suffering, becoming more like Him. (Philippians 3:10)

Friday, November 25, 2011


"but they first gave themselves to the Lord"
2 Corinthians 8:5

Every Christians can point to a time in their life when the truth of Christ penetrated their hearts and lives. At that moment, they "gave themselves to the Lord". They consecrated their lives to Him. For Abraham Lincoln, it happened when he walked among the thousands of graves at Gettysburg in July 1863. As he explained to a friend:

"When I left Springfield [to assume the Presidency], I asked the people to pray for me. I was not a Christian. When I buried my son, the severest trial of my life, I was not a Christian. But when I went to Gettysburg and saw the graves of thousands of our soldiers, I then and there consecrated myself to Christ." 
The Holy Spirit works individually in the life of each man and woman to bring them to Himself. Like Lincoln, it is up to each of us to respond to His call.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Make Every Day Thanksgiving Day

"Enter His gates with thanksgiving 
And His courts with praise. 
Give thanks to Him, bless His name. For the LORD is good; 
His lovingkindness is everlasting 
And His faithfulness to all generations.”
Psalm 100:4-5

For the Christian, every day should be Thanksgiving Day. God's goodness and lovingkindness never end. His faithfulness endures from generation to generation. Therefore, our thanks to Him should never end. His praise should always be on our lips. Perhaps this Thanksgiving Day is a time to ask ourselves if we are truly thankful people. Do we thank God openly for our blessings, mentioning His name to others, whether they believe or not? God deserves our unabashed thanks and praise. Let's purpose right now to make every day Thanksgiving Day.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Bright Future

"joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light."
Colossians 1:11-12

Through Christ, we are qualified to share in eternal life -- "the inheritance of the saints in Light." We are no longer under condemnation. We have no reason to fear the afterlife. This knowledge should fill the Christian with inexpressible joy, overflowing into grateful thanks to God the Father. Even in the hardships of life, we can give thanks. For we know there is something better to come. Our future looks bright. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

One Voice

"Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus, so that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ."
Romans 15:5-6

Like-mindedness among Christians is a gift from God. We need His Spirit to unify us. The Lord Jesus prayed that believers would all be one, so that the world would believe that the Father had sent the Son. "Picture an orchestra warming up before a concert. The violins play one thing, the trumpets work on their scales, the trombones practice something else, the clarinets are doing their own thing, and the flutes, well, the flutes are in their own little world. That’s the way it is when you warm up. There is no melody, just a cacophony of unrelated sounds. But everything changes when the conductor lifts his baton. Suddenly the noise stops. Every eye is on him. When he brings the baton down, the music starts, and what had been unconnected noise now becomes beautiful music. If each person played whatever he wanted, the result would be chaos. But when those very different instruments blend together on the same song following the same conductor, the result is wonderful.  In the church we are called to blend our hearts and our voices to the purpose of our conductor, the Lord Jesus Christ. When we follow His lead, the church produces a symphony of praise that the world cannot ignore." -- Ray Pritchard

Monday, November 21, 2011

Another Life

"For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?"
Matthew 16:26

Jesus taught that there is a cost to discipleship.  “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it." (Matthew 16:24-25) These are hard statements for some people to accept. They want an easy believism that demands nothing of them. Jesus made it clear to His disciples that their lives would not be easy, but that He would never abandon them. They would walk through the valley of the shadow of death, but He would walk every step with them. The Lord said there is another life beyond this one. And all who receive Him in this life will be received by Him in the next. For the one who rejects Christ in this life, there is no hope. That person has exchanged something of temporary value for the gift of eternal life. But until he breathes his final breath, he still has an opportunity to come to Christ. "For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life." John 3:16 Amplified Bible

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Defeating the Enemy

"The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD.”
Job 1:21-22

Perhaps one of the greatest marks of true faith in God is the ability to say these words of Job 1:21-22. Not just that the Lord gives and the Lord takes away, but that in both events the name of the Lord is to be praised. Satan expected Job to curse God when calamity struck, but Job's faith held strong. His acceptance of God's sovereignty and his worship in a time of great personal loss defeated the enemy and glorified God. 

"Remember the story of a man who was going to give a pound to some charitable institution. The devil said, ‘No, you cannot afford it.’ ‘Then,’ said the man, ‘I will give two pounds; I will not be dictated to in this way.’ Satan exclaimed, ‘You are a fanatic.’ The man replied, ‘I will give four pounds.’ ‘Ah!’ said Satan, ‘what will your wife say when you go home, and tell her that you have given away four pounds?’ ‘Well,’ said the man, ‘I will give eight pounds now; and if you do not mind what you are at, you will tempt me to give sixteen.’ So the devil was obliged to stop, because the more he tempted him, the more he went the other way. So let it be with us. If the devil would drive us to curse God, let us bless Him all the more, and Satan will be wise enough to leave off tempting when he finds that, the more he attempts to drive us, the more we go in the opposite direction.” (Spurgeon)

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