Archive for June, 2009

For Pastors and All Those Who Serve

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

“He is a dear brother, a faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord.” Colossians 4:7

Dear fellow pastor,
You have desired a good work–may the Lord give you the desires of your heart. May He give you . . .
the wisdom of Daniel,
the meekness of Moses,
the courage of Joshua,
the zeal of Paul, and
that self-abasement and humility which Job and Isaiah felt–when they not only had heard of Him by the hearing of the ear–but when they saw His glory, and abhorred themselves in dust and ashes!

May you be taught of God–for none teaches like Him–and come forth an able minister of the New Covenant, well instructed rightly to divide and faithfully to distribute the Word of truth.

In the school of Christ, you will have to learn some lessons which are not very pleasant to flesh and blood. You must learn to labor, to run, to fight, to wrestle–and many other hard exercises–some of which will try your strength, and others your patience.

You know the common expression, ‘a jack of all trades’. I am sure a minister had need be such a one:
a brave soldier,
an alert watchman,
a caring shepherd,
a hardworking farmer,
a skillful builder,
a wise counselor,
a competent physician,
and a loving nurse.

But do not be discouraged–you have a wonderful and a gracious Master, who does not only give instructions–but power and ability! He engages that His grace shall be sufficient, at all times and in all circumstances, for those who simply give themselves up to His teaching and His service.

“Be an example to all believers . . .
in what you teach,
in the way you live,
in your love, your faith, and your purity.”
1 Timothy 4:12

Letters of John Newton

Are We Listening?

Monday, June 15th, 2009

And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, “Where art thou?” Genesis 3:9 King James Version

A teenage boy was tempted to smoke pot at school but he didn’t do it. However, he did bring a joint home but again, he did not smoke it. His dad found the joint and he got very angry at his son and yelled at him. His son tried to tell his dad and mom that he did not smoke it; that he just brought it home but they wouldn’t listen to him or believe him. Finally, in desperation, the teenage boy ran out of the house and went to church to pray.

As the teenage boy cried out to God with a broken heart he said “You know I didn’t smoke it but my parents won’t believe me. They won’t even listen to me.” His parents thought that their son had gone to church. They followed him to the church and heard him praying. As they listened to their son praying, both of his parents got tears in their eyes. His dad said to him as the tears ran down his cheeks “Come home, son. Let’s talk and this time I’ll listen to you.”

Just as this teenage boy wanted to talk to his parents, so God wants to talk to us. However, I wonder if we are listening to Him when He talks. We get so involved with our daily schedules that we don’t even take the time to talk to God. O we may squeeze a few minutes here and there to talk to Him but we aren’t really listening because we are thinking about everything that we have to get accomplished that day. God also speaks to us through pastors but often we allow our minds to wander while our pastor is preaching so we don’t hear what God is saying to us.

Parents, are you listening to your children when they try to talk to you? Are you judging and accusing them without even giving them a chance to explain? If you want your children to listen to you, then you need to allow your children to talk and tell you what is going on in their lives. Don’t just automatically assume they are guilty. Let them tell you what happened before you start accusing them of doing something wrong. No matter what is going on, please be sure that you tell your children that you love them. If they have done something wrong, then you do need to correct them but it is vital that they know that you still love them.

Isn’t that what God does for us? He corrects us when we do something wrong but He tells us that He still loves us. We want God to listen to us so we had better start listening to Him. Imagine how we would feel and how devastated we would be if God said that He was too busy to listen to us. When we finally hear what God is saying to us and what He is telling us to do, then we need to do it. So often, we put things off until tomorrow or when it is more convenient for us.

We can not and we must not put off obeying God when He tells us to do something. He may want to use us to stop someone from committing suicide through something He gives us to say or do. May God have mercy on us and forgive us if someone commits suicide because we didn’t do what God told us to say or do! Are you listening to God? If so, do you what He tells you to do right away or do you put it off until it is convenient for you?

Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article !

JoanneCopyright 2009 by Joanne Lowe, all rights reserved.
Used by permission. www.hesetmefreeforever.blogspot.com
http://christians-in-recovery.org

Keeping Things in Proper Perspective

Friday, June 12th, 2009

“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways,
and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:9).

We humans were made in God’s image, not the other way around, though we often forget that great truth. As a result, we have a skewed view of God, of the world, of life, and of ourselves. The only way to make it right is to put God back in proper perspective. That means we can no longer examine Him under the microscope of our finite reasoning, but rather behold Him through the telescope of His Word.

Our pastor has been teaching on God’s sovereignty, including the fact that by virtue of His sovereignty we have only one choice if we are to live in proper perspective as those made in the Sovereign’s image—we must adopt a servant attitude. Because we live in a wonderful country that has allowed us to participate in government, we often lack the understanding of what it means to live under sovereign rule. Those who live under a king or dictator or some other form of sovereign leadership understand much better than we. The difference is that our Sovereign is not human and therefore not limited by human abilities or tainted by human sin. But our call to servanthood is no less a reality; rather, it is more so, as our relationship to the Sovereign of the Universe is eternal, rather than temporal.

True, Jesus said that He no longer calls those of us who follow Him “servants” but “friends.” And what a great privilege that is! But it does not negate the fact that we are still to walk in submission and obedience to the One who has numbered our days and ordered our steps.

America is a Republic, based on democratic rule that allows us a say in how we are governed. Not so in the Kingdom of God. We don’t get to vote on pending laws, protest existing ones, or elect a new ruler. God is in charge, period. He always has been and always will be, regardless of how humans may rant or rave, shake fists at heaven, or deny His existence.

God is beyond our understanding because He is perfect and we are not. He is beyond our comprehension because He is omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent; we are not. He calls ALL the shots, not just some of them, and He has no need to consult us before He does so or apologize if we don’t like the outcome. And He was under no obligation to send His Son to pay for our sins so that we could have once again have relationship with Him.

But He did. And that is the most stunning aspect of His personality to fathom. A perfect, all-powerful God, who needed nothing from us and owed us nothing, humbled Himself to come into our presence and reveal to us as much as we were able to understand about our Creator, as much as we needed to know to acknowledge Him as Sovereign Lord and willingly and joyfully give our lives over to His service. And because He did so, we are without excuse if we do not respond.

An old Dennis the Menace cartoon so aptly depicts our necessary stance before a sovereign God, as it shows the little guy kneeling at his bedside, cowboy hat askew and plastic gun still holstered around his waist as he folds his hands in supplication and says, “I’m here to turn myself in.”

We with our crooked cowboy hats and plastic guns may think we’re in charge of our lives, but it is only because we have not understood that it is we who are made in the image of God, not He in ours. Throw away that microscope that minimizes the Sovereign of the Universe to One who exists to serve our needs, and start studying God through the telescope of the Scriptures. I promise you that very soon your magnified view of God will give you a servant’s heart that wants nothing more than to fulfill the purpose for which He has created you.

Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article !
Macias
Copyright 2009 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” and Mothers of the Bible Speak to Mothers of Today (New Hope Publishers) The author can be reached at: http://www.kathimacias.com

Modern Psychology vs. the Word of God

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

Modern psychology is often used to gloss over the true issues of personal morality and accountability to God. Instead of encouraging personal responsibility society is blamed for our own addictions and dysfunctional behaviors. “Your upbringing is at fault.” “You were not nurtured properly as a child.” Was it society that lifted that drink to your lips or lit that joint…..or was it your own hands? Where does the responsibility rightfully lie?

If you accept the latest and greatest TV guru’s New Age philosophy, you will feel better about yourself. They offer the easy way out. “It is someone else’s fault.” “Do what makes you feel good.” “It is all about you and meeting your own needs.”

Jesus said, “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.” Matthew 7:13-14

God’s Hurricane Shelter

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me:
for my soul trusteth in thee:
yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge,
until these calamities be overpast.
I will cry unto God most high;
unto God that performeth all things for me.
He shall send from heaven,
and save me from the reproach of him that would swallow me up. Selah.
God shall send forth his mercy and his truth. Psalm 57:1-3 King James Version

Hurricane season is here where I live just as it will be starting where many of you live. When a hurricane is about to make landfall, there are times when we have to evacuate our homes and go to a shelter where we can find shelter from the storm. These hurricanes destroy property and homes. Sometimes the electricity goes out and it is not safe to drink the water. The greatest tragedy of all is that there are also people who are killed during these hurricanes.

There are other kinds of hurricanes and they are the hurricanes of life. It is in the shadow of God’s wings that we find peace, hope and protection from the hurricanes of life. His hurricane shelter can never be destroyed. No matter how many hurricanes of life are hitting you today, Jesus is more than able to bring you through every one of them victoriously. He will pick you up and hold you until the pain goes away.

Not only will He pick you up and hold you close to His loving and compassionate heart, He will also carry you through all of the dark valleys of your life. He will be faithful to set you once again on the mountain tops of peace, joy, excitement and happiness. There is nothing too hard for Jesus. He can do anything! Put your trust in the shadow of His wings. Run into His hurricane shelter and find safety from the hurricanes of life.

Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article !

JoanneCopyright 2009 by Joanne Lowe, all rights reserved.
Used by permission. www.hesetmefreeforever.blogspot.com
http://christians-in-recovery.org

From the Level of Instinct to the Level of Grace

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

I have sometimes said that there are three levels of life on which men live: the level of instinct, the level of conscience. and the level of grace. The personal pronouns and verbs which go with these are. “I want,” “I ought” and “I am guided.”

The lower level represents the place where we get what we desire, live as we choose, take what we like.

The next level represents the place where we scruple, where we follow duty. Where we behave ourselves and obey the law.

The third level represents the place where we have gotten above conscience and instinct alike, where desire and duty coincide, where the will of God has become our meat and drink, where we are at the beck and call of the Holy Spirit and where “His service is perfect freedom.”

I need not remind you that there are a great many Christians who think, not in three levels, but in two: good and evil; and they fit everybody into them. It is easy to know what to do with [those] who live for the present and the body and this world: they live by instinct. But can we lump the conscientious and the guided all in one? I think not.

Saul was as conscientious as he could be, but he was also as wrong as he could be. So were the Pharisees. So are all the I legalists from that time forward. So far as I can see, Jesus was just as anxious to get us up from the level of conscience to the level of grace, as He was to get us from the level of instinct to the level of grace.

–Samuel M. Shoemaker, From the book:
The Genius of Fellowship
Used by Permission from Healing-Habits.com

Jesus Always Wins

Monday, June 8th, 2009

For the horse of Pharaoh went in with his chariots and with his horsemen into the sea, and the Lord brought again the waters of the sea upon them; but the children of Israel went on dry land in the midst of the sea. And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances. And Miriam answered them, Sing ye to the Lord, for he hath triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea. Exodus 15:19-21 King James Version

I think if we are honest with ourselves that there have been times in all of our lives when satan attacked us with so many vicious poisonous darts that we became discouraged and felt like crying. Those vicious poisonous darts have penetrated my heart many times. I receive a lot of emails from people whose hearts are breaking due to difficult situations in their lives.

We can try to fight satan in our own strength but we will always lose. We don’t have the power to defeat satan but I know the One who does and His name is Jesus. No matter what satan attacks us with and no matter how many times satan attacks us, Jesus always wins. Our precious Saviour defeated satan at the cross. Jesus has already won the war but as long as we are in this world we will have battles.

If you are hurting and feel like you can’t take another step or give another smile, reach out and take His hand. He will pick you up in His strong protective arms. He will hold you close to His loving heart until the pain goes away. He will carry you through all the dark valleys of your life and set you on the mountain tops of joy, peace, happiness and excitement. There is no one like Jesus! No one loves you like He loves you. What a Saviour! What a friend, this Jesus of Nazareth!

Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article !

JoanneCopyright 2009 by Joanne Lowe, all rights reserved.
Used by permission. www.hesetmefreeforever.blogspot.com
http://christians-in-recovery.org

Today is the Day

Friday, June 5th, 2009

For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain (Philippians 1:21).

I said goodbye to Brian yesterday, even though I’d never had the opportunity to say hello to him. But that’s all right because Brian was a Christian and so am I, so I know I’ll have the chance to greet him one day soon.

Brian was thirty-three years old, the same age as Jesus when He died on the cross. Brian was raised in the Christian faith but, like many young people, walked away for a while. A few years ago, however, God gave Brian a “divine appointment” via a Christian hairdresser who led him back into the fold. As a result, Brian’s memorial service was the celebration of a young man whose heart belonged to the Lord and who had gone on ahead of us to be with Him—one more treasure in heaven, awaiting our arrival.

As a friend and colleague of Brian’s mother, Yvonne, I attended the service for her precious son, as did several other writer/speaker friends, to support our dear sister in her loss. And though saying a temporary goodbye to her beloved only child was undoubtedly one of the most difficult ordeals Yvonne has ever or will ever endure, she did so with such grace and faith, to the point of delivering a powerful eulogy to Brian, which she ended by lifting her hand to point heavenward as she declared the truth of Philippians 1:21: “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Then she added, “Brian has gained.”

How true that is! Though we grieve the loss of loved ones, we don’t as believers grieve as those who have no hope, for we know that we will again see those who have died in the faith, even as we continue to live in it. That’s why, though I never had the privilege of meeting Brian on this earth, I know I will one day say “hello” to him in heaven, for we share the same faith, the same Father, the same Savior. And in truth, there is no other.

For just as surely as those of us who have received Jesus Christ as Savior are assured an eternal home in the presence of God the Father, those who have rejected Christ are assured eternal separation from Him—unless they repent before they breathe their last. If you are living for Christ, then you’re in a win-win situation: serving Him here, or “graduating” to heaven to be with Him forever. But if you are not serving/loving Him here, you’re in a lose-lose situation, and only humbling your heart before Him and receiving His forgiveness can ever make the difference.

Don’t wait, beloved. Brian was only thirty-three years old when God called him home. We are not promised tomorrow—only today, which the Bible says “is the day of salvation.” Make it right in your own heart/life, and then commit yourself to praying for others who need to do the same.

Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article !
Macias
Copyright 2009 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” and Mothers of the Bible Speak to Mothers of Today (New Hope Publishers) The author can be reached at: http://www.kathimacias.com

No Mere Reformation, but a Radical Transformation

Thursday, June 4th, 2009

“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” 2 Corinthians 5:17

In the new birth, God exerts a quickening influence or power upon His own elect. Regeneration is very, very much more than simply shedding a few tears because of some temporary remorse over sin. It is far more than changing our course of life, the leaving off of bad habits and the substituting of good ones. It is something different from the mere cherishing and practicing of noble ideals. It goes infinitely deeper than coming forward to take some popular evangelist by the hand, signing a pledge-card, or “joining the church.” The new birth is no mere turning over a new leaf–but is the inception and reception of a new life! It is no mere reformation, but a radical transformation. In short, the new birth is a miracle–the result of the supernatural operation of God. It is radical, revolutionary, lasting!

In the new birth:

God lays hold of one who is spiritually dead–and quickens him into newness of life!

God takes up one who was shaped in iniquity and conceived in sin–and conforms him to the image of His Son!

God seizes a drudge of the Devil–and makes him a member of His holy family!

God picks up a destitute beggar–and makes him joint-heir with Christ!

God comes to one who is full of enmity against Him–and gives him a new heart that is full of love for Him!

God stoops to one who by nature is a rebel–and works in him both to will and to do of His good pleasure!

By His irresistible power, God transforms . . .
a sinner–into a saint;
an enemy–into His friend,
a drudge of the Devil–into His beloved child!

~ Arthur Pink

God’s Watering Can

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

Jesus answered and said unto her, “Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” John 4:13-14 King James Version

My neighbor bought a lot of pretty flowers that had already been planted in pots and she put them on her porch. Someone had planted them and she has been watering them faithfully but they haven’t grown very much. It rained yesterday and now the flowers are looking a lot better. It took the rain that God sent to make those flowers grow. The same is true with our hearts. We need God to water our hearts with His watering can.

Our Heavenly Father has given His beloved Son to us to water our lonely and discouraged hearts. We can look for happiness all of our lives but only Jesus can give us the water of true happiness. Until we drink of the water of salvation that Jesus gives us, our hearts will always be thirsty. Only Jesus can satisfy the longing in our hearts for someone to love us unconditionally.

If you have been searching for happiness all of your life and your heart is thirsty and dry, humble yourself, admit that you are a sinner, repent of your sins, ask God to forgive you for your sins and invite Jesus into your heart to be your personal Saviour. He will fill your heart to overflowing with happiness, joy, excitement and a peace that you have never known. Thank You, Heavenly Father, for giving Jesus to us to water our discouraged hearts. Amen.

Don’t miss CIR’s Daily Article !

JoanneCopyright 2009 by Joanne Lowe, all rights reserved.
Used by permission. www.hesetmefreeforever.blogspot.com
http://christians-in-recovery.org