Start living for God early in life

 “Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.” (Daniel 1:8)

I always admire Daniel determination to stay clean in a very corrupt environment. He was in his teen years when he took such a bold stand in front of the most powerful man of that time. What a great example for today Christian youth.  Lets pray for our own children and grandchildren that they will emulate “Daniel” dedication.

The words of the song, “Dare to be a Daniel,” emphasize this truth. Our verse reports that Daniel did a very daring thing. He made a holy resolve in his heart. We note the calendar in the resolve, the character of the resolve, and the courage in the resolve.

Calendar in the resolve. We often make resolves early in the year. Daniel made this resolve early in his life, for he was no older than a teenager when he made this resolve. You do not have to be up in years before you start living for God. It is better to start living for God when old than never; but when you start living for God early in life, you give a lifetime for God and prevent many wasted and sin-scarred years.

Character of the resolve. “Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself.” There are two important notes here about the character of Daniel’s resolve. They concern the site and the subject of the resolve.

First, the site. The resolve was made in his heart. It was not just words to impress people, but it was in his heart which gave it strength. Too much dedication today is only outward. It does not come from the heart and it will not last.

Second, the subject. The resolve had to do with purity, for Daniel would not “defile” himself with the king’s food and drink. Many folk resolve to do a lot of things, but few resolve to live a holy life. But the resolve to holiness is the kind of resolve we need more than anything else.

Courage in the resolve. Daniel had to have much courage when he made this resolve, for he was a captive under the authority and custody of wicked men, and he was going against the king’s wishes. If you are going to live a pure life, you will have to have courage. It will not be popular and many will protest and mock. But stick with your holy resolve, for it will bring you Divine blessings.

Extract from John G Butler, Daily Bible Reading: Sermonettes #1

Retirement

 

What a challenge? A person need a perspective that is larger than life. To have such motivation God must be in the picture.

Is there a time limit on losing our lives for the Gospel? I don’t think so. (Luke 9:23, 24; 14:33; 1 John 3:16)

When does one fold up his tent to go and play?

In my weariness, I dreamed of hitting that magical age of retirement and cruising a bit. You know, buy the big sedan, throw in the “sticks,” and meander across the country. Ease up. Back off. Slow down. In a word, “retire.”

Then I read of missions expert, Dr. Ralph Winter, who along with his wife, was diagnosed with terminal cancer. His response? “I can see the finish line, and Ive decided to sprint for it.” Retirement? No way.

I thought of Billy Graham, who, in his late-80’s, with Parkinson’s disease, is still holding city-wide crusades and satellite conferences that affect millions… or more. Retirement? No way.

Or Bob Cockerel, who, in his 40’s took time away from business to make trips to Africa to teach in a Bible school. When in his 60’s he was diagnosed with cancer, he bought a one way ticket and disappeared into the bowels of that continent to finish what he had started. Retirement? No way.

Or Mother Teresa, who died at 87, with 3 garments to her name, and $100.00 in the bank. Herself feeble and ill, she continued feeding and loving the disenfranchised to the very end. Retirement? No way.

I am reminded of that farmer who made it big. Or rather God allowed him to make it big by blessing his land. So he dreamed of larger barns and “party time“. Wanted to cruise. And God’s answer? “No way!”

The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. He thought to himself… ‘I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goodsTake life easy; eat, drink and be merry. But God said to him, You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you? This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.‘” (Luke 12:13-21)

QUESTION Tell me, is there a fire burning in your soul for the things that break the heart of God? Most everyone in the world knows about Coca Cola, but have yet to once hear the name “Jesus.” Yeah, let’s visit the grandkids, take the cruises, and play golf now and then. But retire? No way! Personally I have made a decision to sprint for the finish line, giving it 110% until I drop. How about you?

John G. Butler
Facts of the Matter: Daily Devotionals.

The Real Reason Most Of Us Fail To Spend Consistent Time With God

 

Another interesting reading from John G Butler done during my Quiet Time this morning. I hope it will be useful.

It’s not lack of discipline. But lack of appetite. If we don’t have a hunger for God it is because our affections have been drawn away to other loves. To name a few:

Recently a young professional shared with me the dryness of his times alone with God. He said that the Scriptures seemed flat. Irrelevant. He then explained that in his job, he and a team of analysts routinely submit reports to their superiors that affect company policy. It is a common practice, he informed me, to shade the reports in a manner that will put the team members in a favorable light with their higher-ups. If he chooses not to go along, his career is put in jeopardy. So play along he does.

Is there any doubt as to why he has little appetite for the things of God?

Last night I dined with a businessman who, for the past 3 years I’ve unsuccessfully attempted to motivate to spend consistent time with God. We’ve had “quiet times” together, talked about priorities, personal discipline, how to meditate on the Word. You name it. All to no avail.

John,” I asked, “hows your time with God?” Embarrassment, fumbling. Then, “Dwight, I wont lie to you. Its not very good.” Yet this man spends 10 hours a day in his career, and untold hours in church work. But he will not carve out personal time with God.

Let’s be honest. We find time to do what we really want! So the issue is not discipline, but appetite.

If we cannot recognize the value of simply being alone with God, as the beloved, without doing anything, we gouge the heart out of Christianity.

QUESTION: How would you evaluate your appetite for spending time with Christ? Are you eager? Or is it obligatory? If your times with God are the blahs, what do you think is the root cause?

John G. Butler, Facts of the Matter: Daily Devotionals.

On Becoming Like Jesus

 

During my devotional reading came across this devotion that I did found this very inspiring writing. The author is John G. Butler, Facts of the Matter: Daily Devotionals.


If we desire to be like Jesus Christ, then there are four of His characteristics we are to emulate:

1. Give up all our rights:

“Let Christ Jesus be your example as to what your attitude should be. For He, who had always been God by nature, did not cling to His prerogatives as God’s equal.”

Prayer: “Lord, I relinquish all my rights: To family. To finances. To recognition. To pleasure. To quietness. To health. To privacy. To be loved. To be treated with respect. To justice.

2. Become nothing:

“[He] stripped Himself of all privilege.”

Prayer: “Lord, I surrender my position. My status. My heritage. My career. My capabilities. My resources. My experience. My reputation. My education.

3. Become a servant:

[“He consented] to be a slave by nature and [be] born as a mortal man.”

Prayer: “Lord, I abdicate my desire to climb the social and economic scale. I renounce all my rights. I ask you to give me a heart to serve you and others on your terms, not mine. Lord, I love to be regarded by others as a servant; help me to be joyfully willing to be treated as a servant.

4. Surrender to His Lordship in total obedience:

And, having become man, He humbled Himself by living a life of utter obedience, even to the extent of dyingthe death of a common criminal.” (Philippians 2:5-8 – Phillips Translation)

Prayer: “Lord, I choose to obey you on your terms, not mine. Whatever the cost: Loss of health. Status. Finances. Family. As did Jesus, I pick up the cross you have assigned me, and by your grace I will carry it to the death. In Jesus Name. Amen.

 

 

Devotion to the Word of God

“Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart; for I am called by thy name, O Lord God of hosts.” (Jeremiah 15:16) KJV

When I discovered your words, I devoured them. They are my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, O LORD God of Heaven’s Armies. (Jeremiah 15:16) NLT

Jeremiah was devoted to the Word of God.

This verse shows his great devotion to the Word and the resulting effects which included his call into service. To look into the details of this verse about Jeremiah’s devotion to the Word, we note his pursuit, partaking, pleasure, and placement.

Pursuit.

“Thy words were found.” (KJV) “I discovered your words” (NLT)

You will not find the Word unless you look for it. This says you will not learn much Scripture if you do not study it. “Search the Scriptures” (John 5:39) is one of the keys to finding great truths in the Word. Our lack of learning of the Word is often a lack of industry in pursuing the Word. “Thy words were found” also says that when one moves to a new community, he needs to look for a church where the Word is preached faithfully. Do not settle in a church where the Word is not preached.

Partaking.

“I did eat them.” (KJV) “I devoured them.” (KJV) “They are my joy and my heart’s delight.” (NLT)

After the finding comes the feeding. Many get new Bibles but never read them. This is like filling your cupboard with food but not eating the food. Some do not eat the Word because of poor appetites. They have filled their soul with the junk food of the world (such as TV), and so they are about as interested in the preaching and teaching of the Word as children are in vegetables.

Pleasure.

“Thy Word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart.”

If you get into the Word faithfully and “eat” the Word spiritually, you will find it a great delight to your soul. But most people have little delight in the Word. They are like those Jeremiah spoke to whom “the word of the Lord is unto them a reproach, they have no delight in it” (Jeremiah 6:10).

Placement.

“I am called by thy name.” (KJV) “I bear your name.” (NLT)

This means Jeremiah was called into service for God. If you are devoted to the Word of God, you will have a place in the service of God.  Being devoted to the Word of God is absolutely essential if you want to truly serve God. Unfortunately, many churches and mission boards ignore this basic truth. This results in workers without a message and hence without value.

 

By John Butler,  Butler’s Bible Reading

The Second Reformation

During this morning reading from R. Dwight Hill, Facts of the Matter: Daily Devotionals.

“The first Reformation put the Bible in the hands of laymen; the second reformation will place the ministry in the hands of laymen.” – John R. Stott

Ever wonder why we are so sluggish in reaching the world for Christ? If so, consider this:

A few years ago I was attending a conference of Christian leaders when a businessman stood up and asked, “How many of you came to Christ through a ‘full-time’ Christian worker?” Out of the 5,000 delegates, (98% of whom were “full-time” Christian workers) about 50 people stood up.

He then asked, “How many of you came to Christ through a layperson?” The rest stood up.

Historian K. S. Latourette observes that throughout the history of the church, whenever the Word of God was put into the hands of laymen, the Gospel tended to spread like a prairie fire. When, the Word of God remained in the hands of the clergy, evangelism ground to a near halt.

It is significant to note that Jesus’ primary approach to world evangelization was to selectively invest His life in 12 laymen for three years. When He had completed His task of discipling, He then commissioned them to go out and repeat the process. The command, of course, applies to all of us:

“Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you… “(Matthew 28:19-20a)

They obeyed, and that next generation of believers “turned the world upside down.” (Acts 17:6)

So, which method, do you think would prove more effective in impacting the world with the Gospel?

  1. Imagine 20 Billy Grahams daily reaching 20,000 people for Christ, or

(2) One layperson discipling another for a year, after which the two of them would split off and each disciple another, etc.

The answer: In 30 years the Graham method would reach 2.9 billion people with the Gospel, while the one-to-one approach would reach 8.5 billion.

QUESTION: So, tell me, are you, as a lay person taking Christ’s “Great Commission” seriously by investing your life in others with a view toward their salvation and/or spiritual maturity? If not, what explanation do you plan to give your Heavenly Father the day you face Him in eternity?

Meditating on who God is

In Revelation 3: 20 Jesus said, “If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share (time) together as friends.”
John Calvin wrote, “All Scriptures must be received as if God, appearing in person, visibly & full majesty, were himself speaking.”
The Bible is a unique book. It is one of the oldest books in the world, and yet it is still the world’s best seller. It is a product of the ancient Eastern world, but it has molded the modern Western world. It is the most quoted, the most published, the most translated, and the most influential book in the history of mankind. From God to Us, Norman L. Geisler, p.7
In Genesis 24:63 we read that Isaac, son of Abraham, took time to be alone with God; he enjoyed meditating on who God is.
Did you heard His voice and open the door of your heart to let Jesus in your life? You cannot find a better friend than Jesus.