Income Tax Season

On a tax forms there is a line for “other income.” Jesus said, ‘Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal.’ Life’s best income is not tabulated on adding machines or kept in bank vaults. The good news is that tax collectors are unable to reach that “other income”. The real depressions are not the ones we read about when the stock market crashes. Most mortals live in depression all the time, bankrupt in spirit and destitute within. Most are unaware of their spiritual poverty. Even Christians and churches can, like Laodicea, be “rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing” (Revelation 3:17), not knowing that they are poor, miserable, blind and naked.

A man really lives only in proportion to his “other income” of the spirit. Can you list any such non-taxable revenues? The goodness of God day by day, good health, the love of dear ones, liberty and life itself! But the best of all is the gift of God, eternal life through His Son and the earnest of the Spirit, the first down-payment of a heavenly income from then on, forever. Can you list that?

A man may draw a financial income for a while, but without revenue from above he will be a pauper in his soul. Do you have another income?

Extract from: Peace in the Valley, by Vance Havner

February Blues

Many of us spend our whole lives discontented with our everyday routine. We constantly are told to live ‘in the moment’; nevertheless it seems impossible, especially when this ache for more, for something that’s missing gnaws away at us. It’s a distraction, becoming nearly unbearable to ignore and live ordinarily. Our search for fulfillment isn’t to be found anywhere, not in alcohol or drugs or sex or impulse shopping or speed. And during these long months of winter, it becomes even worse; the ache cannot be forgotten, not even for a moment, driving some people mad. It seems that no cure can be found.

If you’ll allow a brief moment of ‘nerdiness’, we find this same longing in the dwarves, elves, hobbits, and men in Lord of the Rings. The dwarves sing a song of better days and glories past before the fall of their people. We see here their yearning hearts for something long lost, something missing. Yet even in their longing, the inhabitants of Middle-Earth have hope that a day is coming when what is missing will be restored.

We can certainly identify with their ‘yearning hearts’ and with the hope of regaining what was lost. C.S. Lewis explained: “Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists. A baby feels hunger: well, there is such a thing as food. A duckling wants to swim: well, there is such a thing as water. Men feel sexual desire: well, there is such a thing as sex. If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”

So, as we can see, this discontentment is actually quite natural and I would go so far as to call it a gift, ingrained into us since the first sin. It is a reminder of the goodness we have never known but once existed and will someday be restored. This is the goodness of God that we rejected in our covetous appetite for rebellion. However, this rebellion will not always rule. Our world has been broken but it will not always be so. God’s goodness still rules and our hearts yearn for it. His goodness is found in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. When we allow Him to break the everyday routine, He makes that ache disappear and becomes the moment we live in.

Author Ruth Elizabeth Gaucher

Loving the Scriptures

An anonymous Christian said one day “When I was filled with the Spirit, I loved the Scriptures so much that if I could have gotten more of the Word of God inside of me by eating it, I would have eaten the Book. I literally would have taken and eaten it—leather and everything—if I could have gotten more of the Book inside my heart.”

Well, you don’t get it by eating it, but the Word of God is sweet to the Spirit-filled person because the Spirit wrote the Scriptures. The spirit of the world does not appreciate the Scriptures—it is the Spirit of God who gives appreciation of the Scriptures. One little flash of the Holy Spirit will give you more inward, divine illumination on the meaning of the text than all the commentators that ever commented.

It 1727 the Moravians who were quiet people, like you and me, but they waited and prepared their hearts, and one morning, suddenly, that which they called “a sense of the living nearness of the Savior, instantaneously bestowed,” came upon them.

Now, when the Holy Spirit is allowed to come with particular intimacy in a human soul, He never talks about Himself, but always about the Lord Jesus Christ.

Count Zinzendorf wrote that the small group of 75 German Christians arose and went out that building so happy and joyful that they did not know whether they were on earth or had gone on to heaven. The historian says that, as a result of that experience, within twenty short years those Spirit-filled Moravian Christians did more for world missions than the entire Church in all of its parts had done in 200 years. It made missionaries of them.

The New Testament speaks of the sense of “wonder” among the early Christians. The Church in our day seems to have lost this. I remember that Dr. R.R. Brown, of Omaha, once said to me, “God is so good to me that it frightens (amaze) me!”[1]

[1] A. W. Tozer, The Counselor: Straight Talk About the Holy Spirit from a 20th Century Prophet (Camp Hill, PA: WingSpread, 1993), 149.

I’m Not Giving Up!

Last Monday, as I was talking on the phone with a friend in Windsor it was snowing. I ask him what the temperature down his way was; I truly didn’t like the answer, a sunny and a beautiful 18C. I taught of giving up the North and move down South. Many things in life can provoke us to give up! Maybe it is unemployment, financial loss, infidelity in marriage, death of a loved one, etc.

Centuries before Jesus Christ, the nation of Israel was in a terrible shape, the future didn’t look too bright. Soon the nation would go into captivity (bankrupt), the enemy was exulting with Israel downfall. Yet, God was not done with his people. God is in the business of encouraging those who trust in Him. God did come to his prophet Micah to reassure him. If your world seems to collapse, remember that God want’s to come to you and reassure you. Micah was so uplift that he wrote these delightful words, “But me, I’m not giving up. I’m sticking around to see what God will do. I’m waiting for God to make things right. I’m counting on God to listen to me (Micah 7:7)”.

Do you feel depres? Do you feel like giving up, out of touch? Please, don’t give up! Remember, God is an expert to turn around desperate situations. Nothing is too hard for Him! Remember that discouragement is the Devil’s best tool. When I get this tool into a man’s heart, the way is open to plant anything there I may desire.”

Don’t give up! Obey Jesus telling you“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” (Mt 11: 28)

 

What happened to meeting with God?

Am I a religious person or am I seeking a relationship with God?

The author A.W. Tozer wrote, “From man’s standpoint the most tragic loss suffered in the Fall was the vacating of this inner sanctum (man’s spirit) by the Spirit of God.” When Adam and Eve disobey God in the Garden of Eden, something regrettable took place. Eloquently Tozer wrote, “At the far-in hidden center of man’s being is a bush fitted to be the dwelling place of the Triune God. There God planned to rest and glow with moral and spiritual privilege and must now dwell there alone. For so intimately private is the place that no creature can intrude; no one can enter but Christ, and He will enter only by the invitation of faith.”

The Good News is that it is still possible to restore our lost relationship with God. Jesus Himself said “Behold I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me” (Revelation 3:20). When a person “open the door” to Christ, He is invited into someone inner sanctum, the far-in hidden center of man’s being; then a miracle takes place, it is called the <new birth>. How does the new birth take place? It is operative by the Holy Spirit; the “divine nature” enters the deep-in core of the believer’s heart and establishes residence there. The apostle Paul add, “If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his,” for “the Spirit itself witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God” (Romans 8:9, 16). Such a one is a true Christian, and only such.

What happened to meeting with God? Did you take the time this morning to meet with God? “It is written: Man must not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Breakfast will feed your body, but what about your far-in hidden center? Don’t be content by reading a little devotional, instead take time to meet with God!

Written by a 18 years old young man

“After this my sense of divine things gradually increased, and became more and more lively, and had more of that inward sweetness. The appearance of every thing was altered; there seemed to be, as it were, a calm, sweet cast, or appearance of divine glory, in almost every thing. God’s excellency, his wisdom, his purity and love, seemed to appear in every thing; in the sun, moon, and stars; in the clouds, and blue sky; in the grass, flowers, trees; in the water, and all nature; which used greatly to fix my mind. I often used to sit and view the moon for continuance; and in the day, spent much time in viewing the clouds and sky, to behold the sweet glory of God in these things: in the mean time, singing forth, with a low voice, my contemplations of the Creator and Redeemer. And scarce any thing, among all the works of nature, was so sweet to me as thunder and lightning; formerly, nothing had been so terrible to me. Before, I used to be uncommonly terrified with thunder, and to be struck with terror when I saw a thunder-storm rising; but now, on the contrary, it rejoiced me. I felt God, so to speak, at the first appearance of a thunder-storm; and used to take the opportunity, at such times, to fix myself in order to view the clouds, and see the lightnings play, and hear the majestic and awful voice of God’s thunder, which oftentimes was exceedingly entertaining, leading me to sweet contemplations of my great and glorious God. While thus engaged, it always seemed natural to me to sing, or chant forth my meditations; or, to speak my thoughts in soliloquies with a singing voice.”

“Holiness, as I then wrote down some of my contemplations on it, appeared to me to be of a sweet, pleasant, charming, serene, calm nature; which brought an inexpressible purity, brightness, peacefulness, and ravishment to the soul. In other words, that it made the soul like a field or garden of God, with all manner of pleasant flowers; all pleasant, delightful, and undisturbed; enjoying a sweet calm, and the gently vivifying beams of the sun. The soul of a true Christian, as I then wrote my meditations, appeared like such a little white flower as we see in the spring of the year; low and humble on the ground, opening its bosom, to receive the pleasant beams of the sun’s glory; rejoicing, as it were, in a calm rapture; diffusing around a sweet fragrancy; standing peacefully and lovingly, in the midst of other flowers round about; all in like manner opening their bosoms, to drink in the light of the sun. There was no part of creature-holiness, that I had so great a sense of its loveliness, as humility, brokenness of heart, and poverty of spirit; and there was nothing that I so earnestly longed for. My heart panted after this,—to lie low before God, as in the dust; that I might be nothing, and that God might be all, that I might become as a little child.” —Jonathan Edwards

Gratitude is the Believers’ Emblem!

Christmas is the time of the year where most people become enthusiastic; very busy cooking, decorating the house and shopping for the perfect gifts. Unfortunately few people stop to find out the true meaning of the season. Imagine the joy of giving a very exclusive gift to a loved one. Regrettably that person does not even bother to show any gratitude; worst, she even pays no attention to the gift. How would you feel? Wouldn’t your emotions be disturbed? Of course they would. Ingratitude is a terrible disease, it reveals egotism.  Two thousand years ago God gave the most extraordinary gift possible, a gift that cost Him a lot. We read “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life”. (John 3:16) But regrettably people don’t even care about the gift. Christmas is more than parties, family getting together, riding snow machines, exchanging gifts, etc. The real Christmas story is the story of God becoming a human being in the Person of Jesus Christ.

Why was Christmas necessary? Simply because we needed a Savior!                                                                                                       Why do we celebrate Christmas each year?                                                                                                                                                  Out of gratitude for what God did for us! He provided a way—the only Way—for us to spend eternity with Him. He provided a gift, His only Son to take our punishment for our sins. “But God demonstrated His own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Some folks ask Jesus “What does God want us to do?” Jesus responded, “God wants to do something for you so that you believe in the one whom he has sent.” (John 6:28–29) The best gift you could give God is to believe that Christ was sent by God for you. This Christmas will you pay attention to the gift God send you?