Saturday, September 27, 2014

86000 Seconds Each Day

email devotional from Love Worth Finding on Tue, 13 Mar 2012 
"My times are in Thy hand." Psalm 31:15
God's greatest gift to you is Jesus. His second greatest gift is time. Every second we have life is a gift from God. 
Has it ever occurred to you that for you to cease living, God would not have to take your life? All God would have to do is stop giving you life. 
Your time is in His hands. You are a steward of the time He has given you. We have 86,000 seconds in the day no more, no less. The difference is stewardship.
Today is check-up day.  How are you redeeming your 86,000 seconds each day to the glory of God? Are you lagging behind God or running ahead of Him?

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Wednesday's Answers to Life's Questions: Do I have a role to play in communicating God's truth to others?

Matthew 28:19-20
“…Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

God never wants us to keep what He teaches us to ourselves. Whether it is money, insight, or truth, He wants us to share it with others. There is a tremendous blessing to be gained by opening our hearts and lives to those who need to know about the unconditional love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ.

The truth is Jesus commands us to “make disciples of all the nations…teaching them to observe all that I commanded you” (Matt. 28:19-20). Just before He ascended to heaven, He told His disciples, “You shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth” (Acts 1:8). He never intended for the disciples to keep the truth of His Word stored away in personal reservoirs of knowledge. Instead, He instructed them to give away all they received from Him. He commands us to do the same.

Paul also admonished Timothy, his young protégé, to communicate the truth he has learned to others who would, in turn, pass it along (2 Tim. 2:2). Elsewhere he noted, “We are ambassadors for Christ” (2 Cor. 5:20). The sole purpose of an ambassador is to relay the policies and decisions of their superiors to the people of the countries where they serve. Likewise, we have an obligation to declare the divine plan and scriptural policies of our Master.

Each of us communicates something by what we say and don’t say, by what we do and fail to do. A father who never reads the Bible is essentially telling his family he does not care enough about the Lord to study His Word. His lack of desire in this area sends the message he believes he is smart enough to make his own decisions apart from God’s input. The child who never sees her parents praying mistakenly learns trials and tribulations can be handled without any direction from the Lord. This assumption is totally wrong. On the other hand, a father who tells his family, “We are going to trust the Lord to provide us with what we need,” declares God can be trusted in every facet of life. When children hear their parents praying, they quickly learn to trust God for every detail. They grow up viewing His has very loving—the God who has the very best in mind for their lives.

Even when we remain silent, we subtly state something. Although the apostle Peter recognized the Gentiles as rightful recipients of God’s grace, he developed the bad habit of withdrawing from them during meals. His fellow Jews soon picked up on his prideful practice, with the result “that even Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy” (Gal. 2:13). Without a word, Peter had effectively sent a message that the Gentiles were inferior.

We must honestly evaluate our response to the Lord’s commands. Are we deliberately and daily applying what He has taught us over the years? When we comprehend the truth, are we conforming ourselves to the image of Christ? Are we then communicating this truth to others?

~ pg 215 ~

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Law of the Harvest

LWF Daily email Devotional for Sept. 17, 2014 

“Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over. . .” Luke 6:38

When God created the herbs of the field, He said, “Let them bring forth after their kind” (Genesis 1:12).

Whatever we sow, we’re going to reap. If you sow to the flesh, then you’re going to reap what you sow. On the other hand, if you sow to the spirit, you cannot fail to reap good things. You can’t even give a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple and lose your reward.

Every seed you plant for Jesus is going to sprout. Whatever it is you want, plant it, sow it, give it, “and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together.”


Would you like to have better relationships? 

Then start sowing seeds of encouragement and good deeds.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Growing in Servanthood

Growing in Servanthood

God the Father also measures His children’s growth. 
He delights in seeing us reach new levels of spiritual maturity 
so we can accept greater responsibility. 

Because a new believer is like a little child in faith, 
his or her kingdom tasks are, at first, light. 

God is beginning the transformation process 
that will grow a saved human being 
into the image of Christ.

The call to servanthood requires us 
to do as the Lord Jesus did: 
act humbly on behalf of our fellow man. 

When we successfully minister where we are called, 
new opportunities will open up and offer fresh challenges.

Every opportunity to bless others honors the Lord 
and increases a believer’s wisdom and stature before Him. 

Much of God’s work goes on where only He can see it. 

But our heavenly Father is always measuring His children 
for future service. 

He’s gauging how much closer we are to His goal for us 
and what new task will draw us even closer.

God calls each believer to a life of service... 
...this should be an exciting prospect. 

But too many people get hung up believing 
they can’t be “as good” 
as the apostles of old 
or the preachers and missionaries of today. 

A popular idea in the church 
is that the Lord’s servants 
are only those doing full-time ministry. 

Everyone else is simply trying to live well. 
Nothing could be further from the truth. 

From God’s perspective, 
you and I are the same as Paul, Peter, and James: 
servants with important kingdom work to do.

Some kingdom jobs look more important than others.
But that’s only because we evaluate them with human eyes. 

Every work that advances the Gospel 
or serves a need is valuable...

Everyone can’t be on a foreign mission field. 
But we can all share the gospel with a neighbor. 

God invites us to do His work in the world, 
whether the task is great or small. 

We accomplish it by serving our fellow man. 

Ask Him what He would have you do.

Whatever your calling, remember… 
spiritual growth impacts our fruitfulness. 

The longer we’ve been believers, 
the greater our service should be. 

That does not mean tasks will be highly visible...

...Satan tries to convince people 
that some jobs are trivial...

but the moment a believer falls for that lie, 
growth is stunted. 

God will promote those who put forth the best effort, 

no matter what the task is.

And whatever you do, 
do it heartily, 
as to the Lord 
and not to men,

Colossians 3:23 (NKJV)

Friday, September 19, 2014

How Adversity Reveals Our Level of Faith

Mark 4:35-41……Jesus Stills the Sea
On that day, when evening came, He said to them, “Let us go over to the other side.” 

Leaving the crowd, they took Him along with them in the boat, just as He was; and other boats were with Him. And there arose a fierce gale of wind, and the waves were breaking over the boat so much that the boat was already filling up. 

Jesus Himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” 

And He got up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Hush, be still.” 
And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm. 
And He said to them, 
“Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” 

They became very much afraid and said to one another, 
“Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?”

When hardships come our way, do we respond, “God, I trust You to bring me through this” or do we tend to say, “I’m doomed, and there’s nothing anybody can do?”

At one point, Jesus allowed His disciples to sail straight into the path of a horrific storm. These men were seasoned fishermen, but the intensity of the waves and the wind caused them to believe they would die on the Sea of Galilee. Yet Jesus had a plan, and it did not include their destruction.

Instead, the Lord taught them a tremendous lesson of faith. He had instructed them, “Go over to the other side” (Mark 4:35). They should have taken his statement as assurance they would have a safe trip. He certainly was not worried. In fact, He was fast asleep in the stern of the boat. When the wind picked up and the waves threatened to sink their tiny ship, they panicked and cried out, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”

How many times have you felt the same way? Life turns stormy, and no matter what you do, it seems as though you will perish. You cry out: “Don’t You care, Lord, that this is happening to me? God, don’t You love me enough to do something about this hardship?”

The disciples woke Jesus, and immediately He rebuked the wind and a great calm settled on the lake. Then He turned to His disciples and said, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” (Mark 4:40)

God has given each of us the ability to trust Him, and He expects us to use this to overcome doubt, fear, and anxiety. Many times these feelings accompany adversity. Our trials tempt us to think the worst and wonder if we will ever recover. Satan loves to tell us that all hope is lost and that we will never achieve our goals. But his words are pure folly.

As we see in Scripture, Jesus has authority over all things. He is in control and will cause “all things to work together for good” for us who love God (Rom. 8:28). Therefore, we must stay the course, continue to trust, and know that because Christ is with us, we will make it to the other side. No matter how serious the difficulty, we will recover and our final state will be better than anything we have experienced.

Allow adversity to spur your faith to action rather than into question. When you do, you will find that it reveals areas in which you need to act in confidence rather than fear. When hard times come, instead of running for cover, make a commitment to trust God. The more you depend upon Him, the greater your faith will grow.

~ 245 ~

This is one of my favorite portions of Scripture. Reminding me just how great my Savior is…all things are in obedience to Him!!

His disciples saw Him do many astounding things yet in their moments of crisis…with the waves crashing all around them and their boat taking on water…they panicked…as I also have in similar moments…

But when they cried out to Jesus…
Jesus rebuked the wind and said to the sea…

“Hush, be still.” 

And still…They became very much afraid and said to one another, 

“Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?”

We can say this with awe as well, “…even the wind and sea obey Him!!” Praise God…our Savior is great and wonderful…who can know Him…who are we that He takes notice of us? Enter His gates with praise and thanksgiving!!

And remember…Romans 14:8...

“for if we live, we live for the Lord,
or if we die, we die for the Lord;
therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord's.”

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Wednesday's Answers to Life's Questions: How can I find renewal and restoration?

Psalm 23:2-4
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.
He restores my soul;
He guides me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

"He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul” (Ps. 23:2-3) More than likely you have heard this passage quoted more times than you can count. No matter how often this much-loved psalm is recited, however, we still seem to miss the full impact of the message: God restores our souls.

How does He do this? 
He restores our souls through fellowship with Himself. Even though at times we stray far from Him, He remains the Good Shepherd. Though we wander, He receives us back gladly and willingly pardons His wayward sheep.

Why would we ever leave such a loving Guide? 
Most likely you have never made a conscious decision to forsake the Father. Instead, you may have slipped away slowly and subtly as a result of wandering desires and selfish attempts to meet your own needs. But when you strive to attain comfort and safety apart from God, you stray farther and farther away from Him.

Luke 15 presents a wonderful picture of the warm reception awaiting a lost “sheep.” Did the shepherd scold or punish the wayward lamb? No. Instead, all of heaven celebrated because the lost had been found. Likewise, heaven rejoices when a wandering child of God returns “to the fold.” Jesus tells us, “There will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance” (Luke 15:7).

In restoring our souls, God is more than a pardoning Shepherd. He is also a providing Shepherd. He knows what we need before we even ask, and He delights in meeting our needs (Matt. 7:9-11). This means He knows what you need physically, emotionally, and spiritually, right now. In fact, He is already at work, accomplishing and providing the things you need, even though you may not have thought of them yet.

Finally, God is our protecting Shepherd. What comforts the psalmist in Psalm 23:4? It is the Lord’s rod and staff. Ancient shepherds used these tools to defend their sheep from vicious animals seeking a quick meal. In the same way, God moves before us, clearing the way of the enemy’s snares.

Have you experienced God’s provision, only to fall into subsequent doubt and fear because of loss or hardship?

God has not left you.
He remains your Good Shepherd,
leading you through the darkness
and into the light.

It is there in His presence that He will
pardon, provide for, and protect you.

~ pg 210 ~

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Wednesday's Answers to Life's Questions: When is the appropriate time to praise the Lord?

Isaiah 12

Praise the Lord often, regardless of your circumstances. Many people exalt Him only when something good happens to them or when they receive an unexpected blessing—but the Lord is worthy of our adoration at all times, in all circumstances.

However, we never should praise Him on the basis of our circumstances. 

We should exalt Him 
because He is worthy of our devotion 
and because we love Him. 

Therefore, praise Him on the basis of who He is 
in the midst of your circumstances.

Don’t limit your worship to the songs you sing at Sunday church services. Praise the Lord often, in both words and songs that you create spontaneously. All around you, at all times, you can find countless things for which to praise God. Look for those things, and throughout the day, voice your heartfelt praise and thanksgiving to Him.

When you ride alone in your car, get into an empty elevator, sit alone in your office or work place, or find yourself alone in your home, take every opportunity to voice praise to the Lord for who He is. 

Honor Him for what He has done in your life 
and in the lives of your loved ones, 
and for what you know without a doubt 
the Lord is doing for you 
and will do for you both now 
and throughout all eternity.

You can never run out of things 
for which to praise the Lord!

When you voice your gratefulness to God, you open yourself up to experiencing His presence with you. 

The Bible tells us that the Lord is “enthroned” 
in the praises of His people (Psalm 22:3).

The greater your praise, the smaller your problems will appear.

The more frequent your praise, 
the less you will find yourself 
with time to worry or feel anxious.

The more you praise Him, 
the more you are going to see things 
worthy of His praise.

As you exalt Him, your entire attitude will shift from an unhealthy “I focus” and “problem focus,” to a healthy and joyful “God focus” and “answer focus.” 

So take a cue from the prophet Isaiah and proclaim : 

“O LORD, You are my God; 
I will exalt You, I will give thanks to Your name; 
for you have worked wonders, 
plans formed long ago, 
with perfect faithfulness” 
(Isa. 25:1).

~ page 1133 ~

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

God alone‏…

If God alone is our rock, and we know it,
are we not bound to put all our trust in God,
to give all our love to God,
to set all our hope upon God,
to spend all our life for God,
to devote our whole being to God?

If God be all I have, sure, all I have shall be God's.

If God alone is my hope,
sure, I will put all my hope upon God;

if the love of God is alone that which saves,
sure, he shall have my love alone.

Come, let me talk to thee, Christian, for a little while,
I want to warn thee not to have two Gods, two Christs,
two friends, two husbands, two great Fathers;
not to have two fountains, two rivers, two suns, or two heavens,
but to have only one.

I want to bid thee now, as God hath put all salvation in himself,
to bring all thyself unto God.

Come, let me talk to thee!

In the first place, Christian, never join anything with Christ.

Wouldest thou stitch thy old rags into the new garment he giveth?

Wouldest thou put new wine into old bottles?

Wouldst thou put Christ and self together?

Thou mightest as well yoke an elephant and an ant;
they could never plough together.
What! Wouldest thou put an archangel
in the same harness with a worm,
and hope that they would drag thee through the sky!

How inconsistent! How foolish!
What! Thyself and Christ?

Sure, Christ would smile; nay,
Christ would weep, to think of such a thing!
Christ and man together? Christ and Co?

No, it never shall be; he will have nothing of the sort;
he must be all.

Note how inconsistent it would be to put anything else with him.

For meditation:
What candidates for an equal share of the devotion
due only to the Triune God
do you face?

Give them the same answer as Jesus gave Satan
at Matthew 4:10:
Then Jesus *said to him, 
“Go, Satan! For it is written,
You shall worship the Lord your God, 
and serve Him only.’”

Sermon no. 80
18 May (1856)

365 Days with C.H. Spurgeon, Vol. 1: A unique collection of 365 daily readings from sermons preached by Charles Haddon Spurgeon from his New Park Street Pulpit! Edited by Terence Peter Crosby.