Posts Tagged ‘Jesu’


“When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?” Psalm 11:3

In case you haven’t noticed, our world has dramatically changed. It wasn’t long ago that it would have been unthinkable that nearly 40 million unborn children would be murdered in America. There was a time when kids could pray in public schools. Nativity scenes dotted the lawns of county courthouses and municipal parks—without protest. Marriage was strictly a guy-girl arrangement. And you could even pray in Jesus’ name at graduation ceremonies.

I’m not interested in being like the grump who said, “In my life I’ve seen a lot things change and quite frankly I’ve been against them all!” But if you are talking about changing the face of America to the point where God is out and everything else is in, then I have a problem with that kind of change. My problem is wondering how to handle my heart and attitudes. Wondering how to live and respond in a world where the foundations of righteousness are being eroded on nearly every front.

How do we, as followers of Jesus, process right and wrong in a world that tells us there are no absolutes? How do we proclaim that Jesus alone is what people really need—that He is the “way and the truth” (John 14:6)—when most people no longer believe that there is such a thing as true truth?

You don’t have to be an industrial-strength theologian to realize that the current thought patterns of most Americans fly in the face of what we hold to be true. If there are no absolutes, you can forget about the Ten Commandments. If nothing is ever right or wrong, there is no sin and no need for a Savior. It’s easy to see that believing in what God tells us about righteousness, truth, and godly living leaves us marginalized and outdated. So our hearts cry out with David: “When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Psalm 11:3).

Let’s start with knowing what not to do. Notice that David didn’t wring his hands in despair. He didn’t “flee like a bird to [the] mountain” (Psalm 11:1). Instead, he decided to take refuge in the Unchanging One. His confidence was bolstered by the fact that God was on His holy throne and that His eyes were well aware of what was going on. Reminded of the ultimate judgment that God would pour out on wickedness, David knew that, in the face of unsettling change, staying on course with God is indeed the best and safest alternative. Looking at all the change from God’s point of view, he realized that though the change seemed overwhelming, God is still very much in charge and ultimately victorious.

Why would any of us want to go soft on God and His truth in order to feel more “with it,” when we know that the “with it” party train is headed for a disastrous train wreck? So, let’s quit all the hand wringing and feeling sorry for ourselves. Let’s cheer up, knowing that the things that can’t change—such as God’s righteous eternal reign—are still in place!

You can go with the change if you choose. I’m going with my changeless God!

YOUR JOURNEY…

  • Has the changing philosophies of our world changed your approach to life, sin, and righteousness in any way? Be specific.
  • What are some things that God loves and some things He hates? Do you love what He loves and hate what He hates?
  • Are you willing to take a few hits for God because you stand with Him and His truth? To what extent? In what ways was Jesus unwavering in His willingness to take a hit for you in this ungodly world?
  • Have you expected this changing, increasingly godless world to be a friend of Jesus? Read what Jesus had to say to us in John 16:33, and rejoice!

http://getmorestrength.org/daily/a-world-of-change/

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When He has come, He will convict the world of sin . . . —John 16:8

Very few of us know anything about conviction of sin. We know the experience of being disturbed because we have done wrong things. But conviction of sin by the Holy Spirit blots out every relationship on earth and makes us aware of only one— “Against You, You only, have I sinned . . .” (Psalm 51:4). When a person is convicted of sin in this way, he knows with every bit of his conscience that God would not dare to forgive him. If God did forgive him, then this person would have a stronger sense of justice than God. God does forgive, but it cost the breaking of His heart with grief in the death of Christ to enable Him to do so. The great miracle of the grace of God is that He forgives sin, and it is the death of Jesus Christ alone that enables the divine nature to forgive and to remain true to itself in doing so. It is shallow nonsense to say that God forgives us because He is love. Once we have been convicted of sin, we will never say this again. The love of God means Calvary— nothing less! The love of God is spelled out on the Cross and nowhere else. The only basis for which God can forgive me is the Cross of Christ. It is there that His conscience is satisfied.

Forgiveness doesn’t merely mean that I am saved from hell and have been made ready for heaven (no one would accept forgiveness on that level). Forgiveness means that I am forgiven into a newly created relationship which identifies me with God in Christ. The miracle of redemption is that God turns me, the unholy one, into the standard of Himself, the Holy One. He does this by putting into me a new nature, the nature of Jesus Christ.

http://utmost.org/when-he-has-come/

 


When any great blessing is awaiting us, the devil is sure to try and make it so disagreeable to us that we shall miss it.

It is a good thing to know him as a liar, and remember, when he is trying to prejudice us strongly against any cause, that very likely the greatest blessing of our life lies there.

Spurgeon once said that the best evidence that God was on our side is the devil’s growl, and we are generally pretty safe in following a thing according to Satan’s dislike for it. Beloved, take care, lest in the very line where your prejudices are setting you off from God’s people and God’s truth, you are missing the treasures of your life.

Take the treasures of heaven no matter how they come to you, even if it be as earthly treasures generally are, like the kernel inside the rough shell, or the gem in the bosom of the hard rock.

I have seen Jesus and my heart is dead to all beside,

I have seen Jesus, and my wants are all, in Him, supplied.

I have seen Jesus, and my heart, at last, is satisfied,

Since I’ve seen Jesus.

http://devotionals.ochristian.com/a-b-simpson-devotional.shtml

 


Experiencing God Despite the Distractions

In the normal course of things a certain number of distractions are bound to come to each one of us; but if we learn to be inwardly still these can be rendered relatively harmless. It would not be hard to compile a long list of names of Christians who carried upon their shoulders the burden of state or the responsibilities of business and yet managed to live in great inward peace with the face of the Lord in full view. They have left us a precious legacy in the form of letters, journals, hymns and devotional books that witness to the ability of Christ to calm the troubled waters of the soul as He once calmed the waves on the Sea of Galilee. And today as always those who listen can hear His still, small voice above the earthquake and the whirlwind.

While the grace of God will enable us to overcome inevitable distractions, we dare not presume upon God’s aid and throw ourselves open to unnecessary ones. The roving imagination, an inquisitive interest in other people’s business, preoccupation with external affairs beyond what is absolutely necessary: these are certain to lead us into serious trouble sooner or later. The heart is like a garden and must be kept free from weeds and insects. To expect the fruits and flowers of Paradise to grow in an untended heart is to misunderstand completely the processes of grace and the ways of God with men. Only grief and disappointment can result from continued violation of the divine principles that underlie the spiritual life.

http://www.cmalliance.org/devotions/tozer?id=738


“Make everything according to the pattern I have shown you.”                       Ex 25:40 NLT

The second element that marked the building of the Old Testament tabernacle was excellence. God condemns perfectionism because it stifles our creativity and robs us of all sense of progress. And Jesus condemned those who gave to impress others. “When you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward” (Mt 6:2 NKJV). But if you think this means you can just offer God anything you feel like, you’re sorely mistaken. When it comes to serving, God wants you to aspire to excellence. God said to Moses: “And this is the offering which you shall take from them: gold, silver, and bronze…And let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them. According to all that I show you, that is, the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of all its furnishings, just so you shall make it” (Ex 25:3-9 NKJV). Why did God ask for gold? Because He won’t accept anything sloppy or second-rate. Guess where Jesus sat when He went to church? Beside the treasury, watching people give. Luke records: “Then a poor widow came by and dropped in two small coins. ‘I tell you the truth,’ Jesus said, ‘this poor widow has given more than all the rest of them. For they have given a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she has’” (Lk 21:2-4 NLT). So, give God your best!

http://theencouragingword.wordpress.com/2012/11/19/thoughts-on-the-tabernacle-2/


“I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.” Romans 1:16

Douglas Coupland is a best-selling author known for his books about cultural trends in America. In his book Life After God, he no doubt surprises his readers when he shares:

Now here is my secret. I tell it to you with an openness of heart I doubt I will ever achieve again . . . My secret is that I need God—that I am sick and can no longer make it alone. I need God to help me give, because I no longer seem to be capable of giving; to help me be kind, as I no longer seem capable of kindness; to help me love, as I seem beyond being able to love.

Amazing—an author who has admittedly bought into the godless secularism in our world has let his godless philosophy of life run its course, and at the end of it all he recognizes that something is missing. The unanswered longing in his soul leads him to admit that his “life after God” has left him barren and hopelessly in need. He calls it his secret because it would be almost scandalous in post-Christian America to admit that we do need God after all—the God who has been banished to the outposts of irrelevance.

I love Coupland’s candor. Life after God—or actually life without God—inevitably leaves us hollow and disappointed. And if someone like Coupland feels this way, you can bet there are a lot of others who feel the same—a lot of others who live and work where you live and work. A lot of others who just may be in your family or your circle of friends.

Well, those of us who live life with God have a secret as well. Our secret is that God exists (Hebrews 11:6) and is all He has promised to be (Psalm 145:13). That He is indeed the answer to our deepest longings (Psalm 34:9-10), and that only He can give us the motivation and power to give, to be kind, and to love (Philippians 2:13). And not only that, but that He gives us the wisdom we need to navigate life’s most complex and confusing problems (Colossians 2:2-3). He brings meaning to suffering and peace in the midst of life’s storms (Psalm 119:50). And most importantly, only God can wipe our slate clean through the death of His Son (Isaiah 53:5). Our secret is that God is all He promised to be!

So, when you feel discouraged that no one in your world has any interest in God, remember Douglas Coupland. It takes time for life to come to the disappointing end of itself when it is lived without God. And you never know who around you is coming to the same conclusions as Coupland. When they do, will you be ready to share your secret? Will they have seen enough of the reality of God in your life to want to listen to your secret? And will you have the confidence that your secret is without a doubt exactly what they need and the boldness to share it enthusiastically?

My wife tells me that I am not a good secret keeper—and in this case, that would be a virtue! Come to think of it, the fact that the gospel is “the power of God for salvation” (Romans 1:16) should be on the tip of our tongues ready to be proclaimed whenever we get the chance!

I wonder if anyone who knows our secret was near to Doug Coupland when he shared his secret?

YOUR JOURNEY…

  • Get alone with God and meditate on salvation. How do you know you are saved? What has He saved you from? Why are you thankful for your salvation?
  • If you had the chance to tell someone how to become a Christian, what would you say? Write down the essential elements of the message of the gospel. Then commit them to memory and look for a chance to tell someone your secret!
  • Take some time to read through the verses referenced above pertaining to your “secret.” How do these verses encourage you to share the joys of life with God?
  • Have you ever been ashamed of the gospel? If so, ask Jesus to forgive you and to replace your fear with boldness to tell people about Him.

http://getmorestrength.org/daily/the-secret-that-should-not-be-kept/


If the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed —John 8:36

If there is even a trace of individual self-satisfaction left in us, it always says, “I can’t surrender,” or “I can’t be free.” But the spiritual part of our being never says “I can’t”; it simply soaks up everything around it. Our spirit hungers for more and more. It is the way we are built. We are designed with a great capacity for God, but sin, our own individuality, and wrong thinking keep us from getting to Him. God delivers us from sin— we have to deliver ourselves from our individuality. This means offering our natural life to God and sacrificing it to Him, so He may transform it into spiritual life through our obedience.

God pays no attention to our natural individuality in the development of our spiritual life. His plan runs right through our natural life. We must see to it that we aid and assist God, and not stand against Him by saying, “I can’t do that.” God will not discipline us; we must discipline ourselves. God will not bring our “arguments . . . and every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5)— we have to do it. Don’t say, “Oh, Lord, I suffer from wandering thoughts.” Don’t suffer from wandering thoughts. Stop listening to the tyranny of your individual natural life and win freedom into the spiritual life.

“If the Son makes you free . . . .” Do not substitute Savior for Son in this passage. The Savior has set us free from sin, but this is the freedom that comes from being set free from myself by the Son. It is what Paul meant in Galatians 2:20  when he said, “I have been crucified with Christ . . . .” His individuality had been broken and his spirit had been united with his Lord; not just merged into Him, but made one with Him. “. . . you shall be free indeed”— free to the very core of your being; free from the inside to the outside. We tend to rely on our own energy, instead of being energized by the power that comes from identification with Jesus.

http://utmost.org/winning-into-freedom/