|Posted on February 1, 2012 at 9:00 AM||comments (0)|
LORD, I wait for you; you will answer, Lord my God.
– Psalm 38:15 (NIV)
What amazing trust! When you read the rest of this Psalm, we see a person who is suffering greatly.
Yet in the midst of his personal anguish, King David takes a posture of waiting upon God, for David knows that God is merciful to all who call out to Him.
How about us? When we feel overwhelmed from our circumstance, do we go toward God or away from Him?
The Scripture reminds us that God wants us to seek Him in all situations.
|Posted on January 24, 2012 at 9:25 PM||comments (0)|
While we were out for a family drive, a spotless white sign with perfect red lettering caught my attention: “Gutters and Windows—Quality Work Guaranteed.” The sign was pristine, but I feared the house and barn directly behind it might collapse at any moment. The paint was peeling, the windows were cracked, and the gutters were nonexistent!
Many of us “advertise” for Jesus, but our spiritual houses are in disrepair. We may attend church, speak in “Christianese,” and mingle nicely with others. But when our conduct does not align with our hearts, our first-class behavior is just a performance of piety.
When Jesus confronted the Pharisees, He said, “You . . . outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness” (Matt. 23:28).
Jesus had a different but equally direct message for His followers: “Do not be like the hypocrites” (6:16). The Bible encourages us to “love from a pure heart . . . and from sincere faith” (1 Tim. 1:5). These inner attitudes should pour out through our words and actions (Luke 6:45).
Today, consider the state of your spiritual house. If people look beyond the beautiful outward display, will they discover an authentic heart?
Hypocrisy is a common sin
That grieves the Lord above;
He longs for those who’ll worship Him
In faith and truth and love. —Bosch
God desires that our actions be a reflection of a pure heart.
January 24, 2012 — by Jennifer Benson Schuldt
|Posted on January 16, 2012 at 9:15 AM||comments (1)|
Because of the busy lives many of us lead, it’s not hard to recognize ourselves in the over-extended situation of Moses in Exodus 18. As the sole judge for the masses, he was surrounded “from morning until evening” (v.13) by people who needed his help.
In fact, I’ve had people—particularly young parents—tell me that they identify with Moses. It seems that we need to learn two life skills for survival: an eagerness to listen (v.24) and the willingness to accept help (v.25). Sometimes we don’t accept help because of pride, but that’s not always the case.
With Moses, and often with us, it’s simply that life is moving so quickly and making so many demands on us (vv.13-15) that we barely have time to react—let alone to contemplate or go to someone else for advice.
Perhaps this is one reason the Scriptures remind us to surround ourselves with counselors who will offer their experience and wisdom even when we’re too busy to ask for it. We see this in the story of what Jethro did for Moses when he told his son-in-law to delegate some of his responsibilities (vv.17-23).
Don’t be overwhelmed. Instead, seek godly counsel and then follow through on what you are told.
Lord, give us ears to hear advice
From loved ones wise and humble;
So when life’s challenges appear,
We will not have to stumble. —Sper
He who will not be counseled will not be helped.
January 17, 2012 — by Randy Kilgore
|Posted on January 14, 2012 at 8:50 AM||comments (0)|
If money were missing mysteriously from your wallet, you would be angry. But if you discovered that your child was the one who stole it, your anger would quickly turn into grief. One use of the word grief is to describe the sorrow we feel when those we love disappoint us.
“Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God” (Eph. 4:30) essentially means not to hurt the One who loves us and is here to help us. For we read Jesus’ words in John 14:26 that the Holy Spirit is sent to us by the Father to be our Helper.
When the Holy Spirit in us is grieved by our actions or attitudes, the result can be tremendous tension. The Spirit pulls us in one direction, but the lusts of the flesh pulls us in another. Paul describes this in Galatians 5:17, “For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.” If this continues, we may begin to feel guilty and dissatisfied with life. Soon, joy and vigor may diminish within us, only to be replaced by listlessness and lethargy (Ps. 32:3-4).
So do not grieve the Holy Spirit who was given in love to help you. “Put away” the bad choices of the flesh (Eph. 4:31), and live faithfully for God.
Holy Spirit, all divine,
Dwell within this heart of mine;
Cast down every idol throne,
Reign supreme and reign alone. —Reed
The Christian’s heart is the Spirit’s home.
January 14, 2012 — by Albert Lee
|Posted on October 21, 2011 at 7:10 AM||comments (0)|
Quaker John Woolman was an itinerant preacher who waged his own personal campaign to end slavery in colonial America. Woolman met with slave-holders to speak of the injustice of holding other human beings as property. Although Woolman did not eradicate slavery completely, he did persuade many masters to free their slaves. His success was due to individual, personal persuasion.
The book of Philemon contains a similar one-on-one appeal. Onesimus was a runaway slave who had escaped from his Christian master Philemon.
Onesimus had come to faith through Paul’s ministry, and now Paul was sending him back to Philemon with these words: “Perhaps he departed for a while for this purpose, that you might receive him forever, no longer as a slave but more than a slave—a beloved brother” (vv.15-16).
Although we don’t know if Onesimus was set free from slavery, his new faith in Jesus had changed his relationship with his Christian master. He was now also a brother in Christ. Paul was influencing his world one heart at a time.
By the transforming power of the gospel, people and situations can change. Like Woolman and like Paul, let’s seek to influence our world one heart at a time.
If I can help some wounded heart,
If I can by my love impart
Some blessing that will help more now—
Lord, just show me how. —Brandt
The kindest thing you can do for another is to show him the truth.
October 21, 2011 — by Dennis Fisher
|Posted on October 10, 2011 at 6:30 PM||comments (0)|
"blessed are those who are merciful, for they shall receive mercy"