The Next Time You Are Down In The Dumps

The last few days were rather gray days in my mind, I felt like I was down in the valley. On the outside, everything seemed fine to others, but I knew another reality. Then this delightful meditation came along. Hope it will benefit some else and brighten your day.


Struggling with your worth as a person…

Or despairing of life…

Or nursing your wounds over being hurt, shunned, or put down,

Do a reality check as to just who you are in the eyes of God:

  • GOD HAS ALWAYS LOVED YOU – FROM ALL ETERNITY:

I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.” (Jeremiah 31:3b) (See Psalm 103:17; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; James 1:18)

  • GOD HAS ALWAYS PLANNED TO CHOSE YOU FOR HIMSELF:

For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.” (Ephesians 1:4) (See 1 Peter 2:9; Deuteronomy 7:6, 7; 14:2)

  • GOD THOUGHT ENOUGH OF YOU TO SPILL HIS SON’S BLOOD TO RESCUE YOU:

You were redeemed from the empty way of lifewith the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.” (1 Peter 1:18b, 19) (See Psalm 74:2; Hebrews 9:12-14)

  • GOD CONSIDERS YOU HIS SOLE POSSESSION:

(He) gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.” (Titus 2:14) (See Acts 15:14; Deuteronomy 4:20; 14:2)

  • GOD HAS INVITED YOU INTO HIS FAMILY TO BE A JOINT-HEIR WITH HIS SON, JESUS:

We areheirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” (Romans 8:17b) (See Luke 12:32; Galatians 3:29; 4:7)

So take heart, my fellow struggler – and heir. True, “we must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.” (Acts 14:22) But take comfort in knowing that Jesus is returning to take you with Him:

They will see the Son of Man comingwith power and great glory. When these things begin to take placelift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” (Luke 21:27b, 28)

By Dwight Hill, Facts of the Matter: Daily Devotionals.

Evil Priority

Luke 4:3 (NLT)

Then the devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, change this stone into a loaf of bread.”

Satan advanced an evil priority in telling Christ to make bread out of stones.

This evil priority can be stated in many different ways. We list ten ways it can be stated.

First, the priority of our will over God’s will. It was not God’s will to make bread out of stones here. Christ came to do the will of God, not His own will.

Second, the priority of body over soul. This temptation made the physical need (bread) more important that the spiritual need (obeying God). It is like the social Gospel. It puts more emphasis on feeding the stomach than saving the soul.

Third, the priority of reputation over character. In tempting Christ, Satan emphasized the Son of God’s identity. Doing this miracle would enhance His reputation as the Son of God. But Christ was more interested in character than reputation.

Fourth, the priority of privilege over responsibility. Christ had many privileges including miracle power. But Christ emphasized His responsibilities more than His privileges.

Fifth, the priority of circumstances over commands. Christ had some dire circumstances. But the commands of God, not circumstances, guided His conduct.

Sixth, the priority of pleasure over purity. Bread would give him physical pleasure. But it would defile Him because here bread would come through evil means.

Seventh, the priority of self over others. Had Christ done what the devil advocated, He would have sinned and thus ended the redemption plan to save others.

Eighth, the priority of temporal over eternal. Satan said to take care of the temporal need of bread and ignore eternal consequences for disobedience.

Ninth, the priority of sight over faith. Satan tempted Christ to live by sight—the bread you can see, and not by faith—trusting God to supply bread you cannot see.

Tenth, the priority of the false over the genuine. Satan tempted Christ to have a great achievement, but it would have been a false success, not a real success.

 

John G Butler, Daily Bible Reading: Sermonettes #1.

Intimacy And Immediacy

INTIMACY – Cultivating the practice of moment-by-moment communion with Christ.  Sensitivity to His prompting, sensitivity to sin, dependency upon Him in the littlest of things, humility, gentleness, perhaps even brokenness.

I am the vine itself, you are the branches. It is the man who shares my life and whose life I share who proves fruitful. For the plain fact is that apart from Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5 – Phillips)

IMMEDIACY – The antennas are up, aware, utilizing every opportunity to lovingly and graciously share the love of Christ with others. Reflective indeed of Paul’s mind-set:

So, naturally, we proclaim Christ! We warn everyone we meet, (evangelism) and we teach everyone we can, all that we know about Him, (discipleship) so that, if possible, we may bring every man up to his full maturity in Christ Jesus. This is what I am working at all the time, with all the strength that God gives me.” (Colossians 1:28, 29 – Phillips)

Perhaps their motto is: “if not you – who? If not now – When?”

Notice the guidelines Paul gives, derived from Colossians 4:5, 6; 2 Timothy 2:24-26:

  • Wise. Clever and skilled.
  • Utilizing every opportunity. Immediacy.
  • Gracious: Gentle, meek, humble, mild. Patient, enduring evil or ill-will.
  • Salty: Pointed; not insipid; “an edge of liveliness” (Knox Translation)
  • Correcting: Chastening, educating, teaching and training.
  • Not quarrelsome: Not disputing or striving.

SUGGESTION: Can you take a moment and ask God, “Lord, if I am not walking intimately with you, why? And if I lack a sense of immediacy in getting the Gospel to others, why?

Leadership Or Servanthood?

 

There are some “Leadership Conference” and the turnout is surprisingly high. The term “leadership” kind of titillates your ego, doesn’t it? Interesting, is it not, that Christ had little to say about leadership, but spoke profusely on servanthood. For example,

Whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:44b, 45) (John 12:26; 13:2-17)

Dr. R. Edmund understood the Biblical perspective on leadership and servanthood in stating that as Christian educators and disciplers “our job is to train servants. It is Gods responsibility to raise up leaders.

We often find the idea of “servanthood” similar to a chicken bone wedged in our throat because:

  • e don’t like to be treated like a servant. Yet, we like to be known as one: “Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh.” (1 Peter 2:18)
  • We don’t like to serve when the visible results are meager or nonexistent: “Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:58) (1 Thessalonians 3:5)
  • We don’t like to be taken for granted: “So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.‘” (Luke 17:10)
  • We don’t like to be maligned, misunderstood, or judged for our efforts: “As servants of God…: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger.” (2 Corinthians 6:4, 5) (1 Corinthians 4:13)
  • We don’t like what it costs us in terms of time, resources, comfort or safety: “Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtainsalvation… ” (2 Timothy 2:10a, c) (1 Corinthians 9:19-24; 2 Corinthians 6:4, 5; 11:23-29)

Christ’s true ungrudging toilers anticipate the day when He will utter to them,

Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your masters happiness!‘” (Matthew 25:21b) (2 Corinthians 5:9)

Slow Down!

I just came from two days away from home for business and visiting a good old friend. Much driving, stress driving in Toronto, sleeping away from home is never the same. This morning I am rather tired. During my Quiet Time this morning I came across a very timely devotion written by John G Butler. The title caught my attention “Slow Down”.

 

God is still in heaven. You are not responsible for doing it all – yourself – right now!

In a few minutes, I am having breakfast with a business executive who is experiencing recurring health problems (heart attack 5 years ago). Unabated work pressure, frequent travel, and little time for himself are taking their toll on his life. Perhaps slowing down is at least part of the solution. Six pointers:

  • Allow yourself some time to be lazy and unproductive. Rest isn’t a luxury; it’s a necessity.

Because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.‘” (Mark 6:31)

  • Once in a while, turn down the lights and the volume. Turn down the throttle, and the invitations. Less really can be more.

Make it your ambition to lead a quiet lifeBetter one handful with tranquillity than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind.” (1 Thessalonians 4:11a; Ecclesiastes 4:6)

  • Create a place in your home — At your work… in your heart… where you can go for quiet and recollection.

The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence foreverIn quietness and trust is your strength… ” (Isaiah 32:17; 30:15a)

  • Take time just to think — Action is good and necessary, but it’s fruitful only if we muse, ponder, and mull.

Watch your step. Use your head. Make the most of every chance you get. These are desperate times!

Dont live carelessly, unthinkingly… ” (Ephesians 5:15, 17b – The Message)

  • Talk and play with children – It will bring out the unhurried little person inside you.

Jesus said, ‘… Whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes meLet the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matthew 19:5, 14)

  • Take time to wonder — Without wonder, life is merely existence.

When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?” (Psalm 8:3, 4)

Learning To “Wait” On The Lord

 

I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning.” (Psalm 130:5, 6) (See Psalm 5:3; 130:5-7; 17:14; 37:7, 34; 38:15; 119:84)

Title: “WAIT” (Author Unknown)

Desperately, helplessly, longingly, I cried: Quietly, patiently, lovingly God replied. I pled and I wept for a clue to my fate and the Master who gently said, “Child, you must wait.”

“Wait?” You say, wait!” my indignant reply. “Lord, I need answers, I need to know why! Is your hand shortened? Or have you not heard? By faith, I have asked, and am claiming your Word.

“My future and all to which I can relate hangs in the balance, and You tell me to wait? I’m needing a ‘yes’ a go-ahead sign or even a ‘no’ to which I can resign.

“And Lord, You promised that if we believe we need but to ask, and we shall receive. Lord, I’ve been asking, and this is my cry: I’m weary of asking! I need a reply!”

Then quietly, softly, I learned of my fate, as my Master replied once again, “You must wait.” So, I slumped in my chair, defeated and taut, and grumbled to God, “So, I’m waiting… for what?”

He seemed, then, to kneel, and His eyes wept with mine, and He tenderly said, “I could give you a sign. I could shake the heavens and darken the sun. I could raise the dead, and cause mountains to run.

“All you ask me I could give, and pleased you would be. You would have what you want – but, you wouldn’t know Me. You’d not know the depth of My love for each saint: You’d not know the power that I give to the faint.

“You’d not learn to see through the clouds of despair: You’d not learn to trust just by knowing I’m there; you’d not know the joy of resting in Me when darkness and silence were all you can see.

“You’d never experience that fullness of love, as the peace of My Spirit descends like a dove; you’d know that I live and I save… (for a start), but you’d not know the depth of the beat of My heart.

“The glow of My comfort late into the night. The faith that I give when you walk without sight. The depth that’s beyond getting just what you asked of an infinite God, who make what you have last.

“You’d never know, should your pain quickly flee, what it means that ‘My grace is sufficient for Thee.’ Yes, your dreams for your loved one overnight would come true. But, Oh, the loss! If I lost what I’m doing in you!

So, be silent, my child, and in time you will see that the greatest of gifts is to get to know Me. And though oft may My answers seem terribly late. My most precious answer of all is still, wait.‘”

 

How Lasting Are Your Investments?

 

I normally try to be original, to write my own blog, but honestly, I am so touched by the writing of John G Butler that it seems a good idea to let you benefit as well. Money is always a sensitive topic, we think we always need a bit more in case of bad days. And there is wisdom in that way of thinking; yet, we also have to look at life with an eternal view. Here is what Butler have to say about investment.

As an old man, Solomon agonized over the futility of his investments:

When I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sunSo I hated life, because the work that is done under the sun was grievous to meA chasing after the wind… ” (Ecclesiastes 2:11, 17)

Do your investments parallel Solomon’s? Or are you making the kind of investments that will outlive you, lasting for eternity? If you want:

A one year return on your investment, plant grain.

A ten year return on your investment, plant a tree.

An eternal return on your investment, plant people.

It is God’s intention to destroy everything physical, including your earthly investments:

The day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass awayand the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.” (2 Peter 3:10)

Can we, therefore, grasp the fact that only God, His Word, and people are eternal?

God: “Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.” (2 Peter 3:8) (See Psalm 102:12; Ephesians 3:21)

His Word: “Your word, O Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens.” (Psalm 119:89) (See Psalm 119:152, 160; Matthew 5:18; 24:34; 1 Peter 1:25)

People: “Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.” (Daniel 12:2) (See Matthew 25:46; Romans 2:7, 8; 2 Thessalonians 1:5-9)

Consequently, the only investments that will withstand the coming holocaust will be those made in the lives of people. Thus, God regularly places individuals in our path with whom He desires our investment: The person at the club. That neighbor across the street. A business associate. A relative. Someone in distress.

QUESTIONS: As you encounter these people, are you blithely brushing past them to fulfill your agenda? Or are you viewing each one as a divine appointment? Are you responding to the prompting of the Spirit by graciously and determinedly investing in their lives for the purpose of bringing Christ to them? Or building Christ in them? Even when it means altering your predetermined schedule?

I suppose the answers to these questions are determined by whether we are living for the temporal, or investing in the eternal.