Catch! Live! Impart!

 

Want to change your world for Christ? Then consider this:

CATCH the passion for God and the knowledge of the Holy from extended time alone with Him, or from people who are infected with Jesus Christ. Get around those who are impassioned with being used of God to make a difference in this tired world. Keep in mind that “it is easier to cool down a fanatic than to liven up a corpse.”

You know how we lived among you for your sake. You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia.” (1 Thessalonians 1:5b-7)

LIVE — Prayerfully delve into the Scriptures with the anticipation and trust of a child at Christmas time. Dare to unconditionally live out the truth God reveals to you from His Word. Respond sensitively to the conviction and leading of the Spirit. Claim and appropriate God’s promises to release you from life’s bondages: The fear of man, the love of money, the lust of the flesh, the desire to impress others; a wounded or embittered spirit; the ruts, the familiar, the safe… perhaps even the traditional. (James 1:22; Romans 8:14; Hebrews 6:11, 12; Romans 8:2; Psalm 34:4; Proverbs 29:25; 1 Timothy 6:6-10; 1 John 2:15-17; Hebrews 12:15; Matthew 15:8, 9)

If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you freeIf the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:31b, 32, 36b)

Allow the Spirit to lead you into areas that demand trust and stretching. Be prepared to be surprised by the goodness of God upon your life. That is because God loves to bless those who dare to take Him seriously! (Acts 4:31; 1 Corinthians 2:10-12; 1 Samuel 3:9; Psalm 30:5)

The eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him… ” (2 Chronicles 16:9b)

IMPART — As Biblical truth becomes living reality, pass it on to others. That is fish for men. Engage and infect people’s lives with yours. Take it a step further by making a sustained investment of your life into theirs. Embrace missionary martyr Jim Elliot’s impassioned heart-cry, “Lord, make my life a crossroad in the life of everyone I encounter.” (Matthew 4:19; 2 Timothy 2:2; 1 Corinthians 16:14)

QUESTION: Today, is your life “business as usual,” or is there a fire burning in your soul? If the fire is flickering close to extinction, ask yourself what root issues need to be reexamined? What changes need to be made? Jesus’ word of encouragement may be timely:

A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.” (Matthew 12:20a)

 

How do you and I plan to live the rest of our lives?

Being a senior this devotion grasps my heart. Will the rest of my life be live in ‘fear’ or ‘faith’? Does God still have significant works for me to do? Let’s see what Dwight Hill had to say on that matters.

Recently I asked a group of businessmen their greatest concern in life. Their answer? Fear:

Of the future, failure, the past, peers, financial ruin, superiors, bad health, the competition, death, personal inadequacies, parents, the rejection of their children, and the unknown.

Aristotle observed the paralyzing effect of fear upon our lives:

“Elderly men… have often been taken in, and often made mistakes. The result is they are sure about nothing and under-do everything. They ‘think’, but they never ‘know’; and because of their hesitation, they always add a ‘possibility’ or a ‘perhaps’, putting everything this way and nothing positively… They are cynical; that is, they tend to put the worst construction on everything.”

They are small-minded, because they have been humbled by life: their desires are set upon nothing more exalted or unusual than what will help them to keep aliveTHEY GUIDE THEIR LIVES TOO MUCH BY CONSIDERATIONS OF WHAT IS USEFUL AND TOO LITTLE BY WHAT IS NOBLE[They] lack confidence in the futurepartly because of their cowardice. They live by memory rather than by hope… ”

Obviously, “fear has to do with torment… ” (1 John 4:18b). But the good news is that God offers us deliverance from its bondage,

I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.” (Psalm 34:4)

If you are struggling with fear, refuse to allow Satan to gain the upper hand. Claim God’s promises. Memorize, meditate, and appropriate His promises for your life. By so doing, you will put yourself in a position where God can, and will, set you free from the bondage of fear:

If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31, 32) (See John 8:36; Psalm 119:45; Romans 6:14-18,22; 8:2)

“‘… Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. All who rage against you will surely be ashamed and disgraced; those who oppose you will be as nothing and perish.For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. Do not be afraidfor I myself will help you, declares the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.” (Isaiah 41:10, 11, 14) (See Psalm 27:1, 2; 46:2; 56:3; Isaiah 12:2; 2 Timothy 1:7; Romans 8:15; 1 John 4:18)

QUESTION:

How do you and I plan to live the rest of our lives?

Paralyzed and diminished by fear?

Or liberated by the promises in God’s Word?

As always, the choice is ours.

 

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.

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.

Why people grow weary and lose heart?

The little Greek word egkakeo describes a person who no longer is living life in step with the Holy Spirit. Instead, he has grown selfish and self-contained, exhibiting little concern for others.

Seven reasons:

  1. A failure to maintain a vital life of prayer — “Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.” (Luke 18:1)
  2. A failure to keep in mind the privilege of our divine calling to minister — “Therefore, since through Gods mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart.” (2 Corinthians 4:1)
  3. A failure to keep in mind the fact that we will share in Christ’s triumphant resurrection — “We know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presenceTherefore we do not lose heart… ” (2 Corinthians 4:14, 16a)
  4. A failure to keep in mind the immediate task of promoting believers’ spiritual welfare and the glory of God — “All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. Therefore we do not lose heart… ” (2 Corinthians 4:15, 16a)
  5. A failure to take the long view in reaping the fruit of our efforts — “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9)
  6. A failure to trust that God has a larger purpose when fellow believers suffer — “I ask you, therefore, not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are your glory.” (Ephesians 3:13)
  7. A failure to press on in righteous living, even when you don’t feel like it — “And as for you, brothers, never tire of doing what is right.” (2 Thessalonians 3:13)

Questions:

  1. Do you still have that spring in your step?
  2. Do you still look forward to getting up in the morning and getting at it for God?
  3. Or did you allow a dry rot of self-centeredness set in?

1 Corinthians 15:58 (NLT)
So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.

Inspire by John G Butler writing

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.