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Sunday, May 29, 2016

Put On the Elect of God (and other devotionals)

Put on as the elect of God, kindness (Col. 3:12).
There is a story of an old man who carried a little can of oil with him everywhere he went, and if he passed through a door that squeaked, he poured a little oil on the hinges. If a gate was hard to open, he oiled the latch. And thus he passed through life lubricating all hard places and making it easier for those who came after him. People called him eccentric, queer, and cranky; but the old man went steadily on refilling his can of oil when it became empty, and oiled the hard places he found.
There are many lives that creak and grate harshly as they live day by day. Nothing goes right with them. They need lubricating with the oil of gladness, gentleness, or thoughtfulness.
Have you your own can of oil with you? Be ready with your oil of helpfulness in the early morning to the one nearest you. It may lubricate the whole day for him. The oil, of good cheer to the downhearted one--Oh, how much it may mean! The word of courage to the despairing. Speak it. Our lives touch others but once, perhaps, on the road of life; and then, mayhap, our ways diverge, never to meet again.
The oil of kindness has worn the sharp, hard edges off of many a sin-hardened life and left it soft and pliable and ready for the redeeming grace of the Saviour. A word spoken pleasantly is a large spot of sunshine on a sad heart. Therefore, "Give others the sunshine, tell Jesus the rest."
We cannot know the grief
That men may borrow;
We cannot see the souls
Storm-swept by sorrow;
But love can shine upon the way
Today, tomorrow;
Let us be kind.
Upon the wheel of pain so many weary lives are broken,
We live in vain who give no tender token.
Let us be kind.
"Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love" (Rom. 12:10).

~L. B. Cowman~

Heart Felt Praise
Heart Felt Praise 
My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior for the Mighty One has done great things for me—holy is his name. His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. Luke 1:46-47, 49-50

I could see love in their faces. Some leathery and wrinkled from the toils and trials of life, others youthful: smooth cheeked and white toothed— both beaming with the joy of Jesus captured on their countenance. My fifth trip in ten years to India felt like my first. Why? I’m not sure, but something about the heart of the people: pure, fresh and faith filled. Their unintelligible Hindi prayers and praise escorted my soul into the presence of our Savior. The Holy Spirit, like a knife through hot butter, cut to the depths of my being. I wept in the presence of great lovers of God.

Mary, the soon to be mother of Jesus, was caught up in rapturous praise and adoration of her Lord and Savior. Faith not fear, moved her once anxious heart closer to God in her time of challenge: pregnancy, travel and being in the spotlight. Shy perhaps, but submitted to the will of the One who called her to bear the Christ child. The dusty, rough road to Bethlehem—with its exposed and uncomfortable accommodations, only emboldened her heartfelt praise. History was altered, not about her, but Him. She glorified the Mighty One for His mighty work in and through her.

‘My heart rejoices in the Lord; in the Lord my horn is lifted high. My mouth boasts over my enemies, for I delight in your deliverance. “There is no one holy like the Lord; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God” (1 Samuel 2:1-2).

Magnify the Lord in worship, rejoice in and praise His holy name in song. God has done extraordinary things for you, in you and through you. He created you in His image and He saved you to grow into the image of His son Jesus. As you fear and adore Him—He pours out His abundant grace and mercy on you. A life compelled by willful worship is captured by Christ. Yes, your praise models gratitude to God for the next generation to mightily rejoice in Jesus Christ!

Gratitude is God’s gift to us out of our heartfelt praise to Him. Like the mighty Mississippi River, thankfulness fills to overflowing the soul that sings out to its Savior. As we adore the Lord for His loving presence—He awards us the gift of security. We worship the Holy One in the rarified air of His righteousness, while His Spirit bestows holiness into our hearts. Our heartfelt praise guarantees generational engagement with God. We are secure aliens—but the Holy Spirit’s influence is without borders. Like Mary, we are instruments of Christ’s work in and through us.

“I will perpetuate your memory through all generations; therefore the nations will praise you for ever and ever” (Psalm 45:17).

~Wisdom Hunters Devotional~

Today's reading: 2 Kings 6:1-7

The character and approach to life displayed by the sons of the prophets, a group of young men whose lives were committed to fulltime ministry, caught my attention. So I wrote down some of the things I noticed about these young men that would be wise to implement and follow. Here's my list:
  • Eager to learn more about God and His ways;
  • No attitude of entitlement or expectation of receiving charity;
  • Willing to work for what they need;
  • Don't want to move ahead without confirmation from their leader;
  • Desire the company and help of their spiritual teacher;
  • Not concerned with having possessions; and
  • Took care with, and were concerned about, the items of others.
As a follower of Christ, we are all in ministry. So how would you describe your mindset with regard to serving and representing God? What from the young prophets examples, stood out to you most, and why? 


Following Leads to Honor 

"If any man serve Me, let him follow Me; and where l am, there shall also My servant be: if any man serve Me, him will My Father honor"   (John 12:26).

The highest service is imitation. If I would be Christ's servant I must be His follower. To do as Jesus did is the surest way of bringing honor to His name. Let me mind this every day. If I imitate Jesus I shall have His company: if I am like Him I shall be with Him. In due time He will take me up to dwell with Him above, if, meanwhile, I have striven to follow Him here below. After His suffering our LORD came to His throne, and even so, after we have suffered a while with Him here below, we also shall arrive in glory. The issue of our LORD's life shall be the issue of ours: if we are with Him in His humiliation we shall be with Him in His glory. Come, my soul, pluck up courage and put down thy feet in the blood-marked footprints which thy LORD has left thee. Let me not fail to note that the Father will honor those who follow His Son. If He sees me true to Jesus, He will put marks of favor and honor upon me for His Son's sake. No honor can be like this. Princes and emperors bestow the mere shadows of honor; the substance of glory comes from the Father. Wherefore, my soul, cling thou to thy LORD Jesus more closely than ever.

~Charles Spurgeon~

Strive to enter in at the strait gate - Luke 13:24

The question which the disciples asked was for their gratification and curiosity. Men have always been curious to know what will be the numerical result of the Redeemer's work. But to such questions the Lord had no reply. He was only eager that none of those whom He loved should miss the full measure of blessedness that was within His reach; therefore He bade each be sure of entering the narrow door, so narrow that there is no room to carry through it the love of self, the greed of gain, the thirst for the applause and rewards of the world.
We may be saved from the penalty of sin by one single glance at the Saviour, who lived, and died, and lives forevermore; but we cannot be saved in the deepest meaning of the word, in the sense of being delivered from the love and power of sin, unless we are willing to enter through a door, so constructed and straight, that it seems impossible to effect an entrance. Art thou willing for this, willing to leave behind thy amassed and hardly-gained treasures, thy luggage and impedimenta, thy jewels and gew-gaws, thy certificate of merit and credentials, thy notions of self-importance, the weights which thou hast carried so long, the pillows with which thou art always sparing thyself from the stern realities and efforts of a noble life? If thou art willing for this, and prepared to strive, even to the rending of thyself asunder, then thou shalt be saved from the love and tyranny of that wild, dark power, which, hitherto, has always dragged thee downward.
It is not enough to eat and drink of the blessed memorial supper, nor to listen to the voice of Jesus teaching in His Church. Many may do all this, and yet never be included in the Kingdom of Heaven.

~F. B. Meyer~

“Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; And declared to be the Son of God with power…”Romans 1:3-4.

May I ask you a personal question? Do you believe that Jesus Christ is Lord?

You do? Then may I ask you another question? Is He your Lord?

Let’s be more specific.

• Is He Lord of your tongue?
• Is He Lord of your time?
• Is He Lord of your treasure?
• Is He Lord of your talents?
• Is He Lord of your testimony?
• Is He Lord in deed as well as word?

Is He truly Lord? Now, don’t answer too quickly.

Think about it: It’s one thing to sing “Bring forth the royal diadem and crown Him Lord of all.” It’s another thing to mean it. Crown Him “Lord of all” in your life today.

~Adrian Rogers~
Love Worth Finding Ministries

Revelation 3:4
Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.
We may understand this to refer to justification. "They shall walk in white"; that is, they shall enjoy a constant sense of their own justification by faith; they shall understand that the righteousness of Christ is imputed to them, that they have all been washed and made whiter than the newly-fallen snow. Again, it refers to joy and gladness: for white robes were holiday dresses among the Jews. They who have not defiled their garments shall have their faces always bright; they shall understand what Solomon meant when he said "Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart. Let thy garments be always white, for God hath accepted thy works." He who is accepted of God shall wear white garments of joy and gladness, while he walks in sweet communion with the Lord Jesus. Whence so many doubts, so much misery, and mourning? It is because so many believers defile their garments with sin and error, and hence they lose the joy of their salvation, and the comfortable fellowship of the Lord Jesus, they do not here below walk in white. The promise also refers to walking in white before the throne of God. Those who have not defiled their garments here shall most certainly walk in white up yonder, where the white-robed hosts sing perpetual hallelujahs to the Most High. They shall possess joys inconceivable, happiness beyond a dream, bliss which imagination knoweth not, blessedness which even the stretch of desire hath not reached. The "undefiled in the way" shall have all this-not of merit, nor of works, but of grace. They shall walk with Christ in white, for He has made them "worthy." In His sweet company they shall drink of the living fountains of waters.

~Charles Spurgeon~

Our Best Friend Is Jesus

John 15:9-17

Years ago the Sunday School teachers in my church would teach preschoolers a little chorus that included the line, “My best friend is Jesus.” As those children grew into adulthood, they naturally put aside juvenile songs like this one. But sadly, they also frequently seemed to grow out of the idea of Jesus being a friend.
As believers learn more about God, they rightly elevate Him to be the Lord of their lives and acknowledge Him as sovereign ruler over all the earth. It is easier to think of One so high and mighty as Creator, Savior, and Lord than to “lower” Him to the position of Friend. But Jesus makes a point of telling His disciples that He is both a transcendent deity—the Son of God—and their companion (John 15:15).
The offer of friendship extends to modern disciples as well. Like the original twelve followers, we are privileged to say that Christ laid down His life for us in a supreme act of love and devotion (v. 13). What is more, His Spirit reveals the truth of Scripture to our hearts so that we can learn more about God and His ways. In other words, Jesus has made known to us the things He heard from His Father. A man doesn’t tell secrets to slaves; he tells them to his friends (v. 15).

Teaching children to sing of their friendship with Jesus is a wise idea. But I wonder when some grown believers will learn to sing of that special relationship again? May we never become so religious, so pious, or so full of our own maturity that we will not say, “My best friend is Jesus Christ.”

~Charles Stanley~
In Touch Ministries

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Worthy Sayings of Great Christians

What! Get to heaven in your own strength? Why, you might as well try to climb to the moon on a rope of sand.
~George Whitefield~

God the most important relationship you can have. Embrace it every day.
~A. W. Tozer~

If someone has offended you, insulted you, or disappointed you, let it go! If you are remembering all the ways you have been hurt or forgotten, let it go! If you are remembering all the ways you have been hurt or forgotten, let it go! Ask yourself, what good does it do for me to hold onto this. It only burns a gaping hole in my soul and leaves me empty!

God will answer your prayer. He may say, "yes." He may say, "Wait," or He may say, "I've got something better for you."
~Charles Stanley~

It took me a long time to understand what it means to forgive someone. I always wondered how I could forgive someone who chose to hurt me? But after a lot of soul searching, I realized that forgiveness isn't about accepting or excusing their behavior ... it's about letting it go and preventing their behavior from destroying my heart.

If your religion depends upon a pastor's preaching, then you're a long way from being where you should be.
~A. W. Tozer~

The Christian is of all persons the most realistic. He demands to know the whole truth about God, moral accountability, and the world to come. He wants to know the worst about himself in order that he may do something about it. He is a realist, his expectations are valid, and his faith is well grounded in God.
~A. W. Tozer~

Not often, but every once in a while, God brings us to a major turning point - a great crossroads in our life. From that point we either go more and more toward a slow, lazy and useless Christian life, or we become more and more on the giving our utmost for His highest - our best for His glory.
~Oswald Chambers~

Those living the crucified life do not seek peace or wealth, fame or high positions. Rather, they want to know God and to be where Jesus is. Only to know Christ - that is all.
~Oswald Chambers~

When we complain about the weather, we are, in reality, murmuring against God.
~A. W. Pink~

Give me the grace to do as you command, and command me to do what you will.

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad (2 Corinthians 5:10) How solemn and searching! The Lord Jesus declared that "every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give an account thereof in the day of judgment (Matt. 12:36). If every idle word is going to be taken note of then most assuredly will be every wasted hour! Should we still be on earth when the closing days of this year arrive, let writer and reader earnestly seek grace to live and act with the judgment seat of Christ before us. His "well done" will be ample compensation to the sneers and taunts which we may receive from Christless souls.
~A. W. Pink~

I say that a Christian congregation can survive and often appear to prosper in the community by the exercise of human talent and without any touch from the Holy Spirit! All that religious activity and the dear people will not know anything better until the great and terrible day when our self-employed talents are burned with fire and only that which was wrought by the Holy Spirit will stand forever!
~A. W. Tozer~