Archive for February, 2009

Changes

Friday, February 13th, 2009

“I am the Lord, I do not change” (Malachi 3:6).

I don’t like change, and I don’t like surprises. I want everything done decently and in order. Predictability is just below godliness on my list. The problem is, I live in a very unpredictable world – and so do you.

From the time I was a young girl, however, I knew things weren’t as they should be. Inequity surrounded me, but I felt impotent to do anything about it. As a result, when I hit my teens, I became a champion of causes, defending the underdog at every opportunity and jumping on every soapbox that demanded justice for someone.

None of it did much good, though. You see, I recognized the problem but I didn’t know the Problem-Solver. I saw the injustice but had no relationship with the righteous Judge. I longed for people to be treated fairly and equally but erroneously believed that unfair and unequal human beings could dispense such treatment.

To be honest, I’m concerned with people who are satisfied with the status quo, who don’t see the need for equality and justice – even if they don’t know how to deliver it. If we have any compassion at all, we must look around us and see the pain and suffering of others and long to “change” things and make it all right.

But only God can do that. Only God is good – all the time. Only God is right – all the time. Only God is perfect – all the time. We are not. What we see around us that needs change is not circumstances, but human nature, sin nature, fallen nature, that all-about-me mentality that is so deep-seated within each of us. Perhaps that’s why, on a personal level, I resist change and cling to predictability and familiarity. It hurts to change. Real change means I have to let go of who I am, who I have become over many years and decades of walking this earth, who I am that is opposite of what I was created to be.

John the Baptist acknowledged that he needed to change by declaring that he must decrease and the life of Jesus increase within him. Why? Because Jesus is perfect; John wasn’t. And neither are we. We all need to change – daily – and to become more like the One who is already perfect and therefore is the only One who does not need to change. If that process of change is painful for us, so be it. The Cross was no picnic, but Jesus willingly suffered and died there so we could open our hearts to Him and let Him change us from the inside out. Because that, beloved, is the only way real and lasting change takes place.

Whether we enjoy a predictable lifestyle or prefer to “fly by the seat of our pants,” we will never see real change in this world until we allow that change to begin and continue daily in us. May our goal be to become more like the perfect, unchangeable God we serve – and may others be drawn to Him as they see that willingness to change radiating from our lives.

Macias
Copyright 2008 Kathi Macias, all rights reserved. Used by permission.
Kathi Macias is a multi-award winning writer who has authored 26 books. Her newest book “Beyond Me. Living a You-first Life in a Me-first World” (New Hope Publishers) The author can be reached at: http://www.kathimacias.com

Are You Accepting the Invitation?

Thursday, February 12th, 2009

“Come unto Me, all you who are weary and heavy laden–and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

What did our Lord here signify, when He bade all the weary and heavy laden to come unto Him?

It is quite evident that coming to Christ is something more than a physical act. Coming to Christ in the sense He here invited, is a going out of the soul after Him, a desire for Him, a seeking after Him, a personal embracing of and trusting in Him. It is the heart turning from the love of sin–to the love of holiness; from SELF–to the Savior!

A saving coming to Christ denotes a turning our backs upon the world–and turning our hearts unto Him as our only Hope and Portion. It is the abandoning of every idol–and the surrendering of ourselves to His Lordship. It is the repudiation of our own righteousness and every dependency, and the heart going out to Him in loving submission and trustful confidence. It is the entire going out of SELF with all its resolutions and performances, to cast ourselves upon His grace and mercy. It is the will yielding itself up to His authority to be molded by Him, and to follow Him wherever He may lead.

In short, coming to Christ is the whole soul of a guilty and self-condemned sinner–turning unto a whole Christ, in the exercise of all our facilities, responding to His claims upon us, prepared to unreservedly trust, sincerely love, and devotedly serve Him.

Arthur Pink, “The Call of Christ”

Lift Up Your Eyes

Wednesday, February 11th, 2009

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills,
from whence cometh my help.
My help cometh from the Lord,
which made heaven and earth.

He will not suffer thy foot to be moved:
he that keepeth thee will not slumber.
Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord is thy keeper:
the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand.
The sun shall not smite thee by day,
nor the moon by night.

The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil:
he shall preserve thy soul.
The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in
from this time forth, and even for evermore. Psalm 121 King James Version

When the heartaches come and the tears fall, we need to lift up our eyes to the One who can make everything right. Jesus Christ of Nazareth, the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords makes everything right in a world of fear and turmoil. Not only is Jesus the Saviour of the world; He is also our protector, our deliverer, our comforter and our encourager.

He restores the joy, the peace and the happiness to our hearts when we are discouraged, lonely and hurting. There are many times that we become discouraged and feel like giving up because of the criticizing, judgmental and sarcastic words that people say to us. If you are weary, hurting and discouraged today, lift up your eyes to Jesus. He really cares about you and He longs to take your pain away.

He will wipe away the tears in your heart that have been put there by criticizing and sarcastic words with His kisses. He will anoint your heart with His soothing salve of unconditional love, compassion and understanding. You will never have a better friend than Jesus. He will be with you through the bad times as well as the good times.

Thank You, Jesus, for being here for us when the tears fall and our hearts are breaking. You understand how devastating and painful it is when our loved ones say things and do things that hurt us. Thank You for being our friend and for never leaving us. Lift up your eyes and your heart to Jesus and allow Him to comfort and encourage you as only He can.

How do we discern the choices in our lives?

Tuesday, February 10th, 2009

How do we discern the choices in our lives?

Prayer.

What is so difficult about prayer that I cannot take time out and pray… pray with all my heart and soul and talk to the Lord? I cheat… I love to pray in the car…. Hear me now Lord, I have time… do you? You’re always there. So why can’t I pray to you on the run? Ask and it shall be given. Quick, Lord, hear me now. I’ll even say that I have “sinned” if that’ll make you happy… just be with me Lord as I muddle my way through life.

Does cyberspace count? Are you our there Lord? What about this time component? Does it count that I pound away at the keys? Or do I need to wait, listen and discern the answer? Answer. How does the answer come? People tell me they “talk” to you. More and more we even read about people who feel sure that You told them so. Are you talking to me, Lord? Why is the message broken? Or are you speaking in another language? Or maybe through nature? In pictures? Lord, I await your sign but my doubting, lazy mind is not receptive right now. Please Lord change my questioning to more relevant inquiries and let me find what more I need to do as my body remains strong but my will wavers.

“O God, Thou Faithful God”
By Johann Heermann, 1585-1647

1. O God, Thou faithful God,
Thou Fountain ever flowing,
Who good and perfect gifts
In mercy art bestowing,
Give me a healthy frame,
And may I have within
A conscience free from blame,
A soul unhurt by sin!

2. Grant Thou me strength to do
With ready heart and willing
Whate’er Thou shalt command,
My calling here fulfilling;
To do it when I ought,
With all my might, and bless
The work I thus have wrought,
For Thou must give success.

3. Oh, let me never speak
What bounds of truth exceedeth;
Grant that no idle word
From out my mouth proceedeth;
And then, when in my place
I must and ought to speak,
My words grant power and grace
Lest I offend the weak.

4. If dangers gather round,
Still keep me calm and fearless;
Help me to bear the cross
When life is dark and cheerless;
And let me win my foe
With words and actions kind.
When counsel I would know,
Good counsel let me find.

5.And let me with all men,
As far as in me lieth,
In peace and friendship live.
And if Thy gift supplieth
Great wealth and honor fair,
Then this refuse me not,
That naught be mingled there
Of goods unjustly got.

6. If Thou a longer life
Hast here on earth decreed me;
If Thou through many ills
To age at length wilt lead me,
Thy patience on me shed.
Avert all sin and shame
And crown my hoary head
With honor free from blame.

7. Let me depart this life
Confiding in my Savior;
Do Thou my soul receive
That it may live forever;
And let my body have
A quiet resting-place
Within a Christian grave;
And let it sleep in peace.

8. And on that solemn Day
When all the dead are waking,
Stretch o’er my grave Thy hand,
Thyself my slumbers breaking.
Then let me hear Thy voice,
Change Thou this earthly frame,
And bid me aye rejoice
With those who love Thy name.

“I will give you rest.” What a claim to make!

Monday, February 9th, 2009

“Come unto Me all you who labor and are heavy laden–and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

“I will give you rest.” What a claim to make! To impart rest of soul to another, lies beyond the power of the most exalted creature. Neither Confucius, Buddha, nor Mohammed ever made such a claim as this!

As Christ is the only One who can bestow rest of soul–so there is no true rest to be found apart from Him. The creature cannot impart it. The world cannot communicate it. We ourselves cannot, by any efforts of our own, manufacture it. One of the most pathetic sights in this world, is to behold the unregenerate, vainly seeking happiness and contentment in the things of time and sense–and finding that these are all broken cisterns which can hold no water. They are like the poor woman mentioned in Mark 5:26, who “had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better–she grew worse!”

What is the nature of this “rest” which Christ gives to all who truly come to Him? It is a spiritual rest, a satisfying rest, “rest for the soul” as the Savior declares later in this passage. It is such a rest as this world can neither give–nor take away.

It is a rest from that vain and wearisome quest, which engages and absorbs the sinner, before the Spirit of God opens his eyes to see his folly–and moves him to seek after the true riches. It is indeed pitiful–to behold those who are made for eternity–wasting their time and energies wandering from object to object, searching for that which cannot satisfy them–only to be vexed by repeated and incessant disappointments. And thus it is with all–until they come to Christ, for He has written over all the pursuits and pleasures of this world, “Whoever drinks of this water–shall thirst again!” (John 4:13)

Forcibly was that fact exemplified by the case of Solomon, who was provided with everything which the carnal heart could desire, and who gratified his lusts to the full, only to find that, “Behold, all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind!” (Eccl. 1:14). It is from this vexation of spirit, that Christ delivers His people, for He declares “whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him–shall never thirst!” (John 4:14)

(Arthur Pink, “The Call of Christ”)

What is the Purpose of Suffering?

Friday, February 6th, 2009

…that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection,
and the fellowship of His sufferings (Philippians 3:10).

Though I count it a great privilege to pray for the many needs that are sent my way via email or other means, there are times I feel overwhelmed at the magnitude of suffering endured by my fellow believers around the globe. The old saying that the devil never takes a vacation is certainly true, and yet…

Dare I suggest that sometimes suffering can be a positive thing? I don’t wish it on anyone, of course, and when I hear of it, I pray for the relief of all involved. Still, didn’t Jesus suffer—more than most of us can even imagine, let alone experience? Is there some reason, therefore, that we think we should be spared even of a hint of what He so lovingly endured for us?

Philippians 3:10 includes the Apostle Paul’s desire to know (have intimate, life-producing relationship/partnership with) the risen Christ, but also to experience the fellowship with Christ that comes only through suffering. Not only Paul but the other apostles as well considered it a privilege to be counted worthy of suffering for the One who had died for them. The late Rev. Richard Wurmbrand, founder of Voice of the Martyrs, felt the same way. He wrote that being a Christian “means to become a co-sufferer with Christ. The more of his pain we are ready to share, the more truth we will receive.”

Interesting. Have you at some point prayed to receive more of God’s truth, to know Jesus (who is the Truth!) better? And are you suffering now? May I suggest that your situation just may be part of God’s answer to your prayer?

I will never make light of anyone’s suffering or fail to pray for relief in the midst of it, but I am also coming to realize that many of the struggles and challenges we face in life aren’t so much attacks of the enemy as they are gifts from a loving God who wants to enable us to know Jesus better and to love Him more through the fellowship of His sufferings.

If this describes where you are today, beloved, know that I am praying for you, but know too that I rejoice that God counts you worthy to suffer for Him, even as He draws you closer to His great heart.

Macias
Copyright 2008 Kathi Macias, all rights reserved. Used by permission.
Kathi Macias is a multi-award winning writer who has authored 26 books. Her newest book “Beyond Me. Living a You-first Life in a Me-first World” (New Hope Publishers) The author can be reached at: http://www.kathimacias.com

You Will Have Many Trials and Sorrows

Thursday, February 5th, 2009

“You may have peace in Me. Here on earth you will
have many trials and sorrows.” John 16:33

There is no life into which do not come many things
calculated to cause anxiety and disturbance of mind:
there are great sorrows;
there are perplexities as to duty;
there are disappointments and losses;
there are annoyances and hindrances;
there are chafings and irritations in ordinary life;
there are countless petty cares and frets.

All of these tend to break the hearts’ peace and to
disturb its quiet. Yet, there is no lesson which is urged
more continuously or more earnestly in the Scriptures,
than that a Christian should never worry, or let anxious
care oppress his heart. He is to live without disturbance
and with unbroken peace–even in the midst of the
most trying experiences.

“The peace of God, which transcends all understanding,
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4:7

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts.”
Colossians 3:15

(J. R. Miller, “Counsel and Help” 1907)

Down Memory Lane (When Our Past Haunts Us)

Wednesday, February 4th, 2009

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17 King James Version

Last night I took a trip down memory lane. I didn’t deliberately start thinking about the past because my past is very painful. The reason I was remembering all of these painful things was because satan was trying to discourage me by reminding me of my past sins and mistakes. I didn’t like what I saw in my past.

I thought “How could I have done those stupid things?” I don’t even remember doing them. God spoke to my heart and said “You didn’t do them. I have made you a new creature through the blood of my beloved Son. You are a new person. Forget about the past and live for today.”

When satan reminds you of your past mistakes and failures, remember that you are not the same person. If you are in Christ, you are a new creature. Don’t let satan discourage and defeat you. Listen to God. He loves you unconditionally. He has forgiven you for your sins and He will never hold them against you again.

Instead of taking a trip down memory lane with satan and allowing him to fill your heart with negative things, take a trip down memory lane with Jesus. Our precious Saviour will fill your heart with good memories of all the joy, the peace and the happiness you have had in your heart since you invited Him into your heart to be your personal Saviour.

JoanneCopyright 2008 by Joanne Lowe, all rights reserved.
Used by permission. http://www.heavenwardbound.com
http://christians-in-recovery.org

Why is It?

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009

(Arthur Pink, “Fearing God in His Sovereign Majesty”)

“An oracle is within my heart concerning the sinfulness of the wicked: There is no fear of God before his eyes!” Psalm 36:1

Why is it that, today, the masses are so utterly unconcerned about spiritual and eternal things, and that they are lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God? Why is it that defiance of God is becoming more open, more blatant, more daring? The answer is, because “There is no fear of God before their eyes” (Romans 3:18).

Again, why is it that the authority of the Scriptures has been lowered so sadly of late? Why is it that even among those who profess to be the Lord’s people, that there is so little real subjection to His Word, and that its precepts are so lightly esteemed and so readily set aside?

Ah! what needs to be stressed today–is that God is a God to be feared! Happy is the person who has been awed by a view of God’s majesty, who has had a vision of . . .
God’s unutterable greatness,
His ineffable holiness,
His perfect righteousness,
His irresistible power,
His sovereign grace!

Time was, when it was the general custom to speak of a believer as “a God-fearing man”. That such an appellation has become extinct–only serves to show where we have drifted. Nevertheless, it still stands written, “Like as a father pities His children, so the Lord pities those who fear Him!” Psalm 103:13

When we speak of godly fear, of course, we do not mean a servile fear, such as prevails among the heathen in connection with their gods. No! We mean that spirit which Jehovah is pledged to bless, that spirit to which the prophet referred when he said, “To this man will I will look–even to him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembles at My Word.” Isaiah 66:2

Nothing will foster this godly fear, like a recognition of the sovereign majesty of God!

“I tell you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you–this is the One to fear!” Luke 12:4-5

The Happy Man

Monday, February 2nd, 2009

The happy man was born in the city of Regeneration
in the parish of Repentance unto Life. He has a large
estate in the county of Christian Contentment.

He was educated at the School of Obedience
–and often does jobs of Self-denial.

He wears the garment of Humility, and has
another suit to put on when he goes to Court,
called the Robe of Christ’s Righteousness.

He is necessitated to travel through the world on
his way to heaven–but he walks through it as fast
as he can. All his business along the way–is to
make himself and others happy. He often walks
in the valley of Self-Abasement, and sometimes
climbs the mountains of Heavenly-mindedness.

He breakfasts every morning on Spiritual Prayer,
and sups every evening on the same. He has food
to eat, which the world knows nothing of–and his
drink is the sincere milk of the Word of God.

Thus happy he lives–and happy he dies.

Happy is he who has . . .
Gospel submission in his will,
the love of God in his affections,
true peace in his conscience,
sincere Divinity in his breast,
the Redeemer’s yoke on his neck,
the vain world under his feet, and
a crown of glory over his head!

Happy is the life of that man who . . .
believes firmly,
prays fervently,
walks patiently,
labors abundantly,
lives holily,
dies daily,
watches his heart,
guards his senses,
redeems his time,
loves Christ, and
longs for glory!


“Happy is the man who does not walk in the
counsel of the wicked, or stand in the way of
sinners, or sit in the seat of mockers. But his
delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his
law he meditates day and night. He is like a
tree planted by streams of water, which yields
its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither.
Whatever he does prospers.” Psalm 1:1-3

(Lachlan MacKenzie, “The Happy Man”)