Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Retirement Years

"And even when I am old and gray, O God, do not forsake me, Until I declare Your strength to this generation, Your power to all who are to come."
Psalm 71:18

Our retirement years could be some of our most productive years in service to the Lord. Yet often those who have reached that stage in life fail to see this. They think they've done their part and now it's time for the younger set to take the reigns, or they don't believe that they themselves have anything left to offer. The psalmist didn't hold to either of these views. He asked God to give him the strength to press on with his ministry, even through his elder years. Every Christian is given a spiritual gift to use in service to others (1 Peter 4:10-11) and there is no evidence in scripture that this is to end at any particular age. Perhaps the aging process will change the way we minister, but even if all we can do is pray or share the gospel in a feeble voice, God will be glorified. "Blessed are they who begin in youth to proclaim the name of the Lord, and cease not until their last hour brings their last word for their divine Master." -- Charles Spurgeon

Friday, January 27, 2012

Gathered Up

"When they were filled, He said to His disciples, 'Gather up the leftover fragments so that nothing will be lost.' So they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves which were left over by those who had eaten.
John 6:12-13

Jesus had fed the five thousand. The people had eaten until they were filled and there was still food leftover; twelve baskets full. When the Lord sees a need, He not only provides, He provides "abundantly beyond all we ask or think" (Ephesians 3:20). The Lord provides abundantly, but He is also concerned that nothing He gives be wasted. This goes not just for physical provision, but for the talents and abilities He has given us. They are to be gathered up and used for His glory. "Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen." We are abundantly blessed that He may be abundantly glorified.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Conspicuous Glory

"But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone."
Hebrews 2:9

I fear too often we take for granted the grace of God. The very thought that Christ could love us so much that He would willingly lay down His Heavenly crown and take up the humiliating cross should move us to sorrowful repentance and glorious praise. Repent to the Lord, for He who knew no sin became sin for us that we might become His righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21). Praise the Lord, for the obedience that caused His suffering raised Him to glory. "The crown of thorns and the purple robe, the mocking knee of the Roman soldier and the taunting scoff of the Jewish priest, though they called forth the grace, did not tarnish the glory of our suffering Lord. His holy obedience to his Father's will in drinking the bitter cup, his meek dignity amid the worst of insults, and his calm resignation to all the weight of suffering which God or man laid upon him, all shone forth the more conspicuously under every attempt to dishonor him." -- J. C. Philpot

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Let God Do It

"Thus Samuel grew and the LORD was with him and let none of his words fail."
1 Samuel 3:19

Here is the secret to Samuel's success: the Lord was with him and made sure Samuel's prophetic words did not fail. The Lord kept Samuel's words from being useless. He  caused Samuel's words to be fruitful; to accomplish His purpose. Believers can be like Samuel. God is with us and wants to work through us. I want my words -- especially those that speak of Him -- to mean something and not be idle words that fall by the wayside. Don't you want that too? The Lord gives wisdom and understanding, and will cause our words to be meaningful and true if we abide in Christ. "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing." (John 15:4-5) We can bear fruit, our words can glorify Christ and accomplish His purpose. We only need to abide in Him and let Him do the rest.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Always Victorious

 "To Seth, to him also a son was born; and he called his name Enosh. Then men began to call upon the name of the LORD."
Genesis 4:26

God had promised a redeemer from Adam's line (Genesis 3:14-15). But when Cain killed Abel it appeared Satan had thwarted God's plan. Ah, but nothing and no one can do that. Eve conceived again and gave birth to Seth, and the genealogy of Jesus Christ the Redeemer is traced through Seth to Adam (Luke 3:38). Worship of God began with Adam and Eve. Abel joined in the worship, but then Cain took Abel's life and ended it.  However, once more God was victorious. -- He used Seth to restore worship: "Then men began to call upon the name of the Lord." Throughout the Bible we see that God's promises are rock solid. What He says He will do, He does. The Lord is always victorious over the schemes of the enemy. 

Monday, January 23, 2012

Effective Prayers

"The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much."
James 5:16b

As a new Christian I read this scripture, closed my Bible and walked away believing there was no hope that my prayers would ever reach God. James said a righteous person's prayers are effective and I was far from that. But as I grew in the Lord I came to understand that it is not my righteousness James is talking about. It's the righteousness of Jesus Christ. I've been justified before a holy God by faith, and now stand before Him with a righteousness that is not my own. This is true of all who have come to Christ through faith. The door to God's throne room is open. It's as if Jesus is standing there holding open the massive door Himself and beckoning us to come in and ask the Father for what we need. In our own righteousness, prayers are futile. But in the righteousness of Christ they can accomplish much.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Say So

"Let the redeemed of the LORD say so
Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the adversary"
Psalm 107:2

For every person that has received the Lord's gift of redemption, who has placed their trust in Him for salvation, these words are their reality. They are the redeemed. Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ. "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us—for it is written, 'CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE'— " (Galatians 3:13). The redeemed of the Lord have a great testimony to share. How can we remain silent in view of so great a salvation? If you are redeemed, say so. Praise the Lord and share the good news.
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