Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Great Encourager

"Cast your burden upon the LORD and He will sustain you; 
He will never allow the righteous to be shaken."
Psalm 55:22

This has been one of those weeks when I questioned if I was really hearing God correctly. Ever have such times in your life? You've set your feet on a path that you believe is the one God has chosen for you, but then somewhere down the road the scenery looks unfamiliar and you wonder if you misread God's road map. The burden of doubt presses down on your shoulders. Maybe this isn't where God wants me to be after all. Maybe I'm supposed to be somewhere else. I hate to admit that I'm not alway good about taking this particular burden to the Lord. My tendency is to fret and stew and hope that very soon God gives me a sign that shows me I'm in the right place. How foolish! My Heavenly Father is compassionate and loving and kind. He wants me to come to Him when I'm discouraged and ask for the encouragement I need. I'm so glad this time I remembered that. Yesterday I prayed, "Lord, would you please encourage me in this?" And you know what? He did. Today He showered me with encouragement. Through an email I received, a phone call from an out-of-state friend and the words of a friend nearby the Lord spoke right to my discouraged heart and assured me that I am right where He wants me, doing just what He wants me to do. The enemy wants to keep us from taking our burdens -- whatever they are -- to the Lord. But let's not let him do that. Let's remember verses like Psalm 55:22 and cast our burdens upon the Lord. He's the Great Encourager.

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Joyful Sound

"How blessed are the people who know the joyful sound! O LORD, 
they walk in the light of Your countenance."
Psalm 89:15

The Hebrew word rendered ‘joyful sound’ is a technical word for the trumpet blast at Jewish feasts. This blast proclaimed God's presence in the festival and expressed the gladness of the worshippers. For those who know God -- who walk in His presence -- the knowledge that He is with them brings light into the darkest day. They are familiar with the "joyful sound" proclaiming His presence. "There is nothing in all the sky so grand as clouds smitten by sunshine, and the light is never so glorious as when it is flashed back from them and dyes their piled bosoms with all celestial colours. There is no experience of God’s Presence so blessed as that of a man who, in the midst of sorrow, has yet with him the assurance of the Father’s friendship and favour and love, and so can say ‘as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing.’ This sunshine shines in the foulest corners, and the most thunder-laden clouds only flash back its glories in new forms."-- Alexander Maclaren

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Pressing Onward

"Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." 
Philippians 3:13-14

If anyone had reason to believe he had "made it", it was the Apostle Paul. A great evangelist, church planter, exhorter, mentor. Paul did it all and did it well. But after all his years of faithful service, he did not see himself as having been transformed into the image of Christ -- of knowing "Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death" (Philippians 3:10). He didn't elaborate on where he didn't measure up, he simply stated that he hadn't yet arrived. Paul always sought to grow in his faith, to press on toward everything to which Christ had called him. And the closer he grew to Christ, the more humble he became. He is a wonderful role model for how we should approach the Christian life. In humility, always pressing forward to the goal of our calling, but never looking back in discouragement at where we've missed the mark. "The Christian life isn’t a 100 yard dash; it’s a lifelong marathon. You need the mentality of a long-distance runner if you’re going to make it. You may have been a Christian for 40 or 50 years, but you can’t start thinking, 'I don’t need to grow any more' and stop running. Long distance runners have to complete the entire course; they can’t decide after many miles that they’ve run far enough." -- Pastor Steven J. Cole

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Cling Tenaciously

"My soul clings to You; Your right hand upholds me."
Psalm 63:8

All through the winter, one lone leaf has clung to my lilac bush. Through harsh winds and heavy snow it has held fast to the branch, refusing to let go. That tiny leaf reminds me of how we must tenaciously cling to God during the bitter cold and howling wind of life's trials. If we let go, we will surely be tossed about in fear and doubt. But if we hold tight to the One who knows every breath we take, every hair on our head, we will see His faithfulness to bring us peace and joy even in the worst conditions. God is compassionate and full of mercy. He gives grace to all who cling to Him. He holds them up and keeps them close to His heart. May our souls cling tenaciously to Him.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Bought With a Price

"For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body."
1 Corinthians 6:20

Paul admonishes the Corinthian church to keep their bodies pure, for the body of a Christian is the temple of the Holy Spirit. He is speaking here of sexual immorality, but since Christ lives within us  -- since our bodies belong to Him -- everything we do matters. If we are lazy. we are certainly not glorifying God. Jesus paid a precious price to redeem us, and our bodies are a part of that redemption. Whenever we make a decision about how to use them, we choose whether we will or will not honor Christ. His Holy Spirit lives within us, giving us the power over anything and everything that dishonors Him. "Your body was a willing horse when it was in the service of the devil, let it not be a sluggish hack now that it draws the chariot of Christ." -- Charles Spurgeon. 

Monday, February 6, 2012

All Things Are Through Him

"For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen."
Romans 11:36

This is Paul's spontaneous song of praise. God is the originator of all blessings. They come from Him. They come through Him. And they are all for His glory. "Through Him were all things—from the high archangel who sings His praises in celestial notes—down to the cricket chirping on the hearth. The same finger paints the rainbow and the wing of the butterfly. He who dyes the garments of evening in all the colors of Heaven has covered the kingcup with gold and lit up the glowworm’s lamp. From yonder ponderous mountain piercing the clouds down to that minute grain of dust in the summer’s threshing floor—all things are through Him. Let but God withdraw the emanations of His Divine power and everything would melt away as the foam upon the sea melts into the wave which bore it!" -- Charles Spurgeon. To God be the glory forever.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Complete Joy

"These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full."
John 15:11

For the Christian, joy is not dependent upon happenings, but rather on the ongoing relationship he or she has with Christ. Jesus explained to His disciples that joy comes to those who abide -- or remain -- in Him. In John 15:1-8 Jesus says repeatedly "Abide in Me." Abide in Me to bear fruit and glorify the Father. Abide in Me so that your prayers will be in line with My will and, therefore, will be answered. Then in v. 9 Jesus says, "Abide in my love." He likened His love for His disciples and us to the love the Father has for Him (that love is rendered "dearly loved").  In v. 10 He says, "If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love." What commandments is He talking about? "This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you" (John 15:12). And how has Christ loved us? So much that He gave His life for us (v 13).  Jesus says to us, "I dearly love you. I gave my life for you. Remain in Me, stay close to Me, let me show you how to love others as I love you, and your joy -- not matter what the circumstances -- will be made full." This is complete joy.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...