Saturday, July 14, 2012

Spend Time with Jesus

But the Lord answered and said to her, 
“Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things;"
Luke 10:41

When we are worried and concerned about the affairs of our lives, we may tend to think the Lord doesn't know or care. But that's not true. The Lord knows when we are worried and what we're worried about. Martha complained to the Lord that her sister was not helping her with the cooking and that He didn't seem to care, but the Lord pointed out to Martha that she was, in fact, fretting about so many things." It's as if He was saying, "Martha, Martha, it's not just the meal preparations that are troubling you. You have a lot of other things on your mind, too. And I know what every one of them is." And what was His solution to the problems Martha had? To come and rest at His feet and listen to Him (Luke 10: 39, 42). It's interesting, isn't it, that Jesus didn't jump up and help Martha or send someone to assist her. He basically told her she was choosing bother and worry over spending time with Him. This is rather subtle, but do you see the significance of His statement? Are you worried and bothered by a load of things today? Go spend time with Jesus. Listen to Him. You'll see things in a much better light.

        Are we weak and heavy laden, 
cumbered with a load of care? 
Precious Savior, still our refuge; 
take it to the Lord in prayer. 

From the Hymn "What A Friend We Have in Jesus" 
Text: Joseph M. Scriven, 1820-1886 
Music: Charles C. Converse, 1832-1918 

Friday, July 13, 2012

Wholly His

Then a scribe came and said to Him, “Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go.” Jesus said to him, “The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests,
 but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” 
Matthew 8:19-20

Jesus never promised His followers an easy time. Here we find a scribe seemingly eager to follow the Lord. Yet Jesus doesn't say, "Great! Let's go." No, He responds with a poignant statement about the cost of following Him. Jesus never promised an easy time to those who became His disciples, but He did promise them that He would be with them through every hardship. And that in the end they would have the joy of eternity with Him. "You know how it is with some. They want to make up a good number and to report that so many have been converted and so many have joined the Church. Oh, that desire after big figures! What mistakes and misery it leads some people into! But Jesus does not want to count this man unless he is one who can be rightly counted as really made His follower—so He speaks to him discouragingly and testingly. He tries and tests him—and the man goes his way. The Lord Jesus Christ does not ask you to become His follower unless you mean to be wholly His! Body, soul and spirit—through and through, out and out! You must be His, or else you cannot be a follower of Christ at all. Hear that and remember it well." (Spurgeon)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The God of Jacob

"How blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
Whose hope is in the Lord his God,"
Psalm 146:5

This is the secret to true happiness. To know God and the hope we have in Him. Other relationships may falter and even fade away, but our relationship with God is secure; eternally sound. It will never die. We have His help while we are on this earth and when our time here is ended we have Him as our reward in Heaven. And make no mistake, He is the ultimate reward. We often talk about all the pleasures we'll have in that eternal dwelling place, but none will compare with the joy of being in the presence of our Savior. "The God of Jacob is the God of the covenant, the God of wrestling prayer, the God of the tried believer; He is the only living and true God. The God of Jacob is Jehovah, who appeared unto Moses, and led the tribes of Jacob out of Egypt, and through the wilderness. Those are happy who trust Him, for they shall never be ashamed or confounded. The Lord never dies, neither do His thoughts perish: His purpose of mercy, like Himself, endures throughout all generations. Hallelujah!" (Spurgeon)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

My "Goel" Lives

“As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives,
And at the last He will take His stand on the earth. 
Even after my skin is destroyed,
Yet from my flesh I shall see God;"
Job 19:25-26

Here Job tells his friends of the hope he has in his "Redeemer". In the original Hebrew the word for "Redeemer" is "Goel".  A Goel frees someone by either of two particular methods: the Goel may pay a debt for that person, or the Goel may fight to free the person. "It seems that Job found consolation not only in the fact that he had a Goel, a Redeemer, but that this Redeemer liveth. He does not say, 'I know that my Goel shall live, but that He lives,'—having a clear view of the self-existence of the Lord Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and forever. And you and I looking back do not say, 'I know that He did live, but He lives today.' This very day you that mourn and sorrow for venerated friends, your prop and pillar in years gone by, you may go to Christ with confidence, because He not only lives, but He is the source of life; and you therefore believe that He can give forth out of Himself life to those whom you have committed to the tomb. He is the Lord and giver of life originally, and He shall be specially declared to be the resurrection and the life, when the legions of His redeemed shall be glorified with Him. If I saw no fountain from which life could stream to the dead, I would yet believe the promise when God said that the dead shall live; but when I see the fountain provided, and know that it is full to the brim and that it runneth over, I can rejoice without trembling. Since there is one who can say, 'I am the Resurrection and the Life,' it is a blessed thing to see the means already before us in the person of our Lord Jesus Christ. Let us look up to our Goel then who liveth at this very time." (Charles Spurgeon)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Yet God is With You

"The patriarchs became jealous of Joseph and sold him into Egypt. 
Yet God was with him,"
Acts 7:9

The story of Joseph's life is a familiar one. Mistreated by his brothers, falsely accused by Potiphar's wife, thrown into prison and forgotten. . . it would be easy to wonder where God was when all this was happening to Joseph. "Yet God was with him" through all his trials and tribulations.  God "granted him favor and wisdom in the sight of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and he made him governor over Egypt and all his household" (Acts 7:10). God brought good out of Joseph's hardship, for it was his position in Pharaoh's administration that allowed Joseph to rescue his family from the famine in their land and bring them to Egypt to live.  To those who observed Joseph's circumstances it may not have looked like God was with him, but we can never trust the way things look. We have to trust the truth of God's promise to never leave, nor forsake us. 

No matter what's going on in your life today, no matter how hopeless things look, yet God is with you. Trust Him.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Rejoicing in Persecution

"So they went on their way from the presence of the Council, 
rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name.
Acts 5:41

“The following scene happened more times than I can remember. A brother was preaching to the other prisoners when the guards suddenly burst in, surprising him halfway through a phrase. They hauled him down the corridor to their beating room. After what seemed an endless beating, they brought him back and threw him—bloody and bruised—on the prison floor. Slowly, he picked up his battered body, painfully straightened his clothing and said, ‘Now, brethren, where did I leave off when I was interrupted?’ He continued his gospel message! I have seen beautiful things!”  Richard Wurmbrand - Tortured For Christ

Many years ago I read Pastor Richard Wurmbrand's autobiography of his life in a communist prison.  He courageously took a solitary stand among more than 1,000 leaders to denounce Romanian communists who were oppressing the church. And for his resistance he and his wife were imprisoned and tortured. Eventually the Wurmbrands were released and began the Voice of the Martyrs organization in America. Through everything they endured the Wurmbrands never lost their love for Jesus or people. Their sole desire was to share the gospel with others and lead them to the Savior. Like the disciples in Acts, they were continually "rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name." 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Peace is Possible

"Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, 
to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful."
Colossians 3:15

"We tend to think of peace as the absence of turmoil. We have peace, we say, when countries are not at war. But sometimes, that peace is only the two sides reloading." -- Rev. Bruce Goettsche

Paul is not speaking of peace being the absence of trouble. He is referring to the peace we can have in the very midst of trouble. That peace is supernatural and comes first when we have peace with God through Christ. He reconciles us to God through His sacrifice on the cross. Paying our sin debt; a debt we can never pay ourselves. When we know that God is no longer angry with us because we have claimed Jesus as our righteousness, then we have "peace with God". Now that we have peace with God we also have the Holy Spirit living within us, sending out constant messages to our hearts and minds. Messages that say, "Trust Christ". "Rely on Him". "Give your troubles over to Him."  "Let go." If we are listening and obeying, we will give control over to the Spirit; we will let Christ's peace take over. It really is a matter of yielding to Him. This same yielding needs to take place in our relationships. We too often forfeit peace with others because we are so intent upon having things our own way. The Holy Spirit calls us to reconciliation with God and with others. Christ said the greatest commandment is to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and spirit, and the second greatest commandment is to love others as we love ourselves. When we obey these commandments, peace rules in our hearts. All this leads to thankfulness. Thankfulness to Christ for making peace possible. Hallelujah!
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