Monday, December 2, 2013

The Gift of Life

Each of us is unique and important in God's plan.

The Church, the body of Christ, is like the human body. None can claim independence from the body, nor can one part tell another that it is not required.

Some of us have gifts which are visible and spectacular; others always have to work behind the scene. It is easy to feel less important than others. But we mustn't forget each of us is uniquely created and highly valued by God. We are all an important part of the body of Christ to bring Him honor.

Never compare ourselves with others in God's family. Instead, always seek to know our gifts and how we may bless others today.

Our life is a gift from God;  make it our gift to please God and bless men.

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Sacrifice of Christ

Mother Teresa died in 1997. 
We marveled at her example of humble service
To Christ and to people in great need. 
Mother Teresa had spent 50 years ministering 
To the poor, sick, orphaned, and dying
Through the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta, India.

Jesus said: “If anyone desires to come after Me, 
Let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. 
For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, 
But whoever loses his life for My sake will save it” 
— Luke 9:23-24

Our Savior came to give us life abundantly (John 10:10). 
But to discover the fullness of life in Christ, 
We are to lose our lives for Him.

Remember the sacrifice of Christ!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Create in me a clean heart, O God

We cannot live a day without sinning. It would be foolish of us to claim we have not sinned in our thoughts or actions for a week. The apostle John said in 1 John : "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us" (1:8). "If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us" (1:10).

God knows our hearts and whether we are sensitive to the convicting power of His Holy Spirit. Our best response to God's Love is to confess our sin and our need for forgiveness. The apostle John said in 1 John 1:9, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

The Lord Jesus Christ had taken our sin problem upon Himself by dying in our place and rising again. Only Him can create in us a clean heart!

Create in me a clean heart, O God. (Psalm 51:10)

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Christian is for Life

Christians live by the Spirit of God; they do not gratify the desires of the flesh.

Christians walk in the Spirit of God; they keep in step with the Spirit and live holy lives.

Christians are led by the Spirit of God; they bear and exhibit the fruit of the Spirit.

Christians are filled with the Spirit of God. God displays His Power through them.

Christians are sealed with the Spirit of God. They are eternally saved.

Christian is for life; a commitment and a blessing.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Working for Food

Food is essential for survival.Without food we will all die.

Some of us live on bread; others on rice and beans. They are our basic needs and we can't live and progress without them.

For the rich and well off, they may not be a necessary part of the diet. But for the majority poor, they are the essential diet.

The crowd of  poor in Jesus' time sought for more food after Jesus had performed the miracle of multiplying loaves of bread (John 6:11, 26). 

Jesus told them that He was "the true bread from heaven." The people thought about literal daily bread. But Jesus was talking about daily spiritual needs that could bring them everlasting satisfaction.

Physical food satisfies the hunger of the body. Only spiritual bread can satisfy the hunger of the soul.

"Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.” (John 6:27)

Friday, October 18, 2013

An Example to Follow

King David was a good king who followed God with all his heart (1 Kings 14:8). He is an example to follow.

King Jeroboam, the first king to rule Israel after the kingdom was divided, was one of the worst kings. He sinned and made Israel sin (1 Kings 14:16). He was a bad example.

Each of us has our own sphere of influence.

We can use it for evil or for good.

May we be a shining light that bring glory to the Lord.

May others see God’s light shining through us and be drawn to His goodness.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Follow the Father

Asa, king of Judah, modeled devotion to God for a season in his life (2 Chron. 14:2). He removed the idols from his kingdom, restored the altar of the Lord, and led the people into a covenant with God (15:8-12). 

Asa’s son, Jehoshaphat carried on this legacy by seeking the God of his father and walking in His commandments (17:4). Jehoshaphat purged the land of idol worship (v.6) and sent out priests and Levites to teach God’s law in all of the cities of Judah (vv.7-9).

Jehoshaphat’s reign resembled that of his father; he faithfully honored Asa’s godly example. Yet even more important, Jehoshaphat’s “heart took delight in the ways of the Lord” (v.6). 

Today, if you’re looking for a father to follow, remember your heavenly Father and take delight in His ways.

Remember your spiritual fathers too!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Wait on God

Sometimes things don't go our way. We are thrown into difficult situation. It is easier to complain and grumble. But time and experience tell us not to.

We quietly continue our daily routines. Sometimes surprise ourselves with treat or favor. But inwardly we desire the trial to go away, and we are made to understand why.

Philip might have wondered why God pulled him off an assignment in Samaria (Acts 8:4-8) and plopped him in the middle of the desert. But then he discovered that the Ethiopian needed help understanding the Scriptures, and his place made sense.

God promised never to leave us alone (Hebrews 13:5), whether in good times or in bad times. Let us continue to serve Him and wait for Him to accomplish His purpose in our life.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Let's Run Our Race

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2)

  • We are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses. Hebrews 11 outlined many people in the past who were faithful to God. Although they are now dead, their lives are an encouragement to us to be faithful too. Their lives encourage us to persevere in the faith.

  • Let us lay aside every weight. We must put away every burden and problem. They will slow us down. We must not let that happen. Instead, we are to narrow the margin and keep up the pace.

  • And the sin which so easily ensnares us. We must watch where we are going. We must avoid every trap and temptation. They will pull us away from the race.

  • Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. We must go on in the Lord for the rest of our life. We don’t know for how long, or how difficult is our journey. We just move forward. No turning back; no regrets.

  • Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. We must fix our eyes on Jesus. We must stay focused, and stay on course. We are to look up to Him. Jesus is the beginning and the end of our faith. We are to run and finish our race in Him alone!

  • It is a race to Heaven. Jesus had finished His race. He had endured the cross for the joy of loving His Father and seeing us saved! He had endured the suffering and shame that is due to us. And He is sitting down at the right hand of the throne of God the Father waiting for us to finish our race!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

But God Don't Forget

Now it came to pass on the third day, which was Pharaoh's birthday, that he made a feast for all his servants; and he lifted up the head of the chief butler and of the chief baker among his servants. Then he restored the chief butler to his butlership again, and he placed the cup in Pharaoh's hand. But he hanged the chief baker, as Joseph had interpreted to them. Yet the chief butler did not remember Joseph, but forgot him. (Genesis 40:20-23)

  • Joseph was thrown into prison because of a false accusation. Like Joseph, we may be trapped and left alone to suffer, by fair or unfair circumstance.

  • Joseph walked with God in prison. Like Joseph, we should persevere in faith during difficult time.

  • Joseph helped fellow prisoners. Like Joseph, we should continue to help others in grim conditions.

  • Joseph’s kindness was forgotten. The cupbearer had been freed and returned to the king’s service, just as Joseph told him would happen. But Joseph remained in prison for some time. Memory is short; people tend to forget our good deeds after a period of time.

  • But God did not forget Joseph. He lifted him up to be the second in the kingdom of Pharaoh. At 30 years of age, Joseph became the prime minister of Egypt. Likewise, Jesus sits at the right hand of God, and our prayers reach the throne of the King without fail because our Savior is our Mediator.

  • God will not forget His children. He cares for all the things in our lives, big and small. When we feel alone, let’s remember to rest in the confidence of Jesus’ promise to be with us forever (Matt. 28:20).

Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Blessed Hope of the Coming of Christ

“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,” (Titus 2:12-13)

  • As Christians, We should deny ungodliness and worldly lusts.
    An ungodly person is one who doesn’t live for God; who has no desire to live for God; who has an indisposition to live for God; or who has failed to live for God. A worldly person is one who has a longing and craving for things forbidden. These includes the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.

  • As Christians, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly.
    We must be alert to our enemy Satan. We must be ever watchful and ready for the Second Coming of our Lord. We must live righteously before God and men. We must be godly by striving to be like Christ.

  • We should prepare now for our future with Christ.
    We must live expectantly and faithfully, awaiting Christ’s return. We must complete every good work God gives us. At and in the glorious appearing of Christ, the blessed hope of Christians will be complete. Christ will come to reign! Our King will return to make all things right and to rule forever. Oh! The blessed hope of the coming of Christ!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Our God is Greater

You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. (1 John 4:4)

  • God is stronger than any force of darkness. He does what He pleases. He controls all things, working out everything in conformity with the plan and purpose of His own will.

  • Satan’s power is limited to what God allows. Satan had to play by God’s rules. Satan cannot do anything without God's direct approval. Satan cannot attack God's people without first obtaining permission from God.

  • Because God is in charge over everything, we don’t need to fear Satan’s power over our lives or the lives of other believers around us.

  • Satan may try to tempt us and influence us, but He who is in us is greater than he who is in the world. The evil powers around us are no match for the power of Jesus within us.

  • God allows Satan to test us by means of painful problems. It is to humble us or to prevent us from becoming too arrogant or prideful, to prove us or to stretch us and to make us stronger and truer than before, or a host of other reasons.

  • And we will not be tempted beyond what we can endure. God will provide a way out of that temptation so we don't have to give in and sin.

  • Our God is Greater. Our God is Stronger. Our God is Healer. Our God is Higher than any other. We must press on and finish our race.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Victory Belongs to God

But a man of God came to him, saying, "O king, do not let the army of Israel go with you, for the LORD is not with Israel--not with any of the children of Ephraim. But if you go, be gone! Be strong in battle! Even so, God shall make you fall before the enemy; for God has power to help and to overthrow. "Then Amaziah said to the man of God, "But what shall we do about the hundred talents which I have given to the troops of Israel?" And the man of God answered, "The LORD is able to give you much more than this." So Amaziah discharged the troops that had come to him from Ephraim, to go back home. (2 Chronicles 25:7-10a)

  • The battlefield belongs to the LORD. He determines who wins. He has power to help and to overthrow.

  • To trust God is better than relying on our own strength and resources. Numbers and strength do not win a battle. Victory belongs to God.

  • To follow God’s order is better than to mourn for our loss. Besides, God can always supply our needs when we are faithful to Him.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Deep Root System

Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. (Matthew 13:5)

  • This is The Parable of the Sower.

  • The seed is sown. Some fall on stony ground, where there is not much earth. Immediately they spring up. Soon they die in the scorching sun.

  • Many people are like that. They receive the gospel quickly. But the message doesn’t take root. When trouble comes, they fall away eventually.

  • Many claim to be Christians. They show up for church, and participate in its activities. They are so real and true, sincere and earnest. But time proves them wrong; they are never a genuine believer in the first place. They don’t have any personal relationship with God. They know about God, but never want to submit themselves to Him as their LORD. It is a privilege to know God. But it is also our responsibility to believe in Him.

  • Developing a deep root system through compacted soils will ensure our survival and well-being. Developing a personal relationship with God through faith will make us grow stronger and bear much fruit.

  • Having a deep root system in God is truly the best thing in life.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

God's Gift of Sleep

It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows; for so He gives His beloved sleep. (Psalm 127:2)

  • Sleep is essential for good health. When we don’t get enough sleep, we put ourselves at risk of premature aging, weight gain, and diseases ranging from colds and flu to cancer.

  • What God accomplishes in our bodies while we sleep is nothing short of miraculous. God replenishes our energy, rebuilds and restores our cells, and reorganizes information in our brains.

  • There are many reasons for not getting enough sleep. But overwork should not be one of them. Sleep is a gift from God that we should receive with gratitude. If we are not getting enough, we need to find out why. Are we working too hard to earn money to acquire things we don’t need? Are we doing it because we think no one else is capable of doing?

  • Sometimes we are tempted to believe that the work we do when we are awake is more important than the work God does while we sleep. It is not good to refuse God’s gift of sleep. God does not want us to be a slave to work. He wants us to enjoy His gift of sleep.

  • Do enjoy enough sleep to be fresh everyday. You need enough sleep to have a nice day, to remain active the whole day, and to do work with zeal.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Home in Heaven

In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. (John 14:2-3)

  • Anyone who has been deprived of home will understand the comfort Jesus’ disciples drew from His words when He promised that an eternal home awaited them.

  • Then, to make their joy complete, Jesus told them He would prepare and guide them to that home, and He would be there too.

  • For Christians, the greatest comfort of this life is: Jesus promised that one day we will go home to be with Him.

  • Heavenly Father, we praise You for these words from Jesus that touch the deepest longing in our soul, the hope and comfort of home. We want to be with You. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

  • There is no place like home, especially when home is heaven.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

God's Strength in Our Weakness

And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

  • God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness, says the apostle Paul.

  • When we are weak in ourselves, then we are strong in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. When we see ourselves weak in ourselves, then we go out of ourselves to Christ, and are qualified to receive strength from Him, and experience most of the supplies of divine strength and grace.

  • Some of us are able to create an illusion of strength and self-sufficiency. We think we are strong and able to take care of ourselves. But sudden loss of health, employment, or a treasured relationship is a startling reminder of our total dependence on God. Vulnerability is the key to an intimate relationship with God, being able to come to Him with all our insecurities and sin laid bare.

  • When we experience the fiery furnace of suffering, whether physical or emotional, whether persecution from without or humiliation from within, God’s loving purpose is to make us pure and strong. God uses testing in our lives to rid us of impurity, and teach us that our strength is in Him and not in self-sufficiency.

  • Suffering is the fire that God uses to purify and strengthen us, to make us more usable in God's service and more like Christ.

Friday, July 12, 2013

The Worthless Dust

And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. (Genesis 2:7)

  • God chose dust as His medium to create Adam. He took the worthless dust and made it into something priceless; He made the first man from the worthless dust. He then used the bone of the first man to make the first woman.

  • You, and I, and every other person, are made from the same worthless dust and to the worthless dust we will return. Yet God has made something beautiful from the worthless dust of our lives.

  • The fact that God used the worthless dust to create humans should make us think twice before labeling someone as failure, loser, worthless, incompetent, unlovable, stupid, useless, and the likes.

  • Remember, any person who may annoy or irritate you, whom you may eagerly want to get rid of, is made by God out of the worthless dust to display His glory.

  • Oh Lord, all too often we want to quickly ignore or dismiss difficult people around us. Help us to be open to learn from You through them and to see Your glory.

  • Let us be merciful and just to others, since we all come from the same worthless dust. From dust we came, and to dust we will return. Yet God has made something beautiful out of our worthless dust.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Dealing With Difficult People

Now for a time of about forty years He put up with their ways in the wilderness. (Acts 13:18)

  • Today let us reflect on how our loving heavenly Father provides for His rebellious children.

  • The Israelites grumbled and rebelled against God throughout the exodus. They constantly murmured and disobeyed Him even though they saw all the miracles. They had crossed the Red Sea and saw the Egyptians drown within it. They had eaten manna, drank water from the rock, and caught the quail God provided. But they never stopped complaining about food and drink all through the exodus.

  • God was angry with the Israelites for not trusting Him, and for constantly sinning and rebelling against Him. But He put up with their ways in the wilderness for 40 years. He patiently bore with them. He provided for their needs despite their ungrateful response. He continued to lead them and watched over them. Despite their stubbornness and obstinacy, He treated them with grace and mercy at all times.

  • Some people may not react favorably to our efforts to show care and concern. They may grumble and complain against us. When this happens, let us remember that God is patient with us, and He has given us His Spirit to help us respond with love to those who are hard to love or who are ungrateful.

  • May God give us patience for anyone in our lives who is difficult to love; may He help us to sweetly bear whatever comes our way; and may He help us patiently endures the wrongs that come from our enemy or friend.

  • Oh! It is never easy to deal with a difficult person. But let us be as patient with others as God has been with us.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Struggling With Our Vision

While we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:18)

  • Christians who have known the Lord for a long time or who have gone through great trials seem to have a better heavenly vision.
  • Their eternal eyesight has gotten better and their close-up earthly vision is diminishing.
  • The apostle Paul had that type of eternal vision.
  • And he encouraged the church in Corinth with these words: “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. (2 Cor. 4:17-18).
  • Many of us are struggling with our eyesight.
  • There is a tension between enjoying all that God has given us in this life, and working hard for the future.
  • But seeing God will bring us perfect vision.
  • Our life on earth is but a moment compared to eternity. Let us enjoy the time we have been given, and tell others of God’s love and goodness, until that day when we see God.
  • Let us keep our eyes fixed on the prize.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Created in the Image of God

Adam and Eve were created in the image of God. They knew God personally and experienced God's love. They worshiped God and enjoyed God's presence and blessings.

But Satan tempted and deceived them. They rebelled against God by eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God banished them from the Garden of Eden. And a flaming sword was placed to guard the tree of life.

Men lived away from God. By their apostasy, men lost the image of God. They are born in a state of alienation and condemnation. They are by nature destitute of spiritual life. To men, God is far away.

Through Christ, the image of God is renewed in men as believers are transformed by the grace of the Holy Spirit.

Men worship God and experience His love again...

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Why All These Trials?

Therefore I will not restrain my mouth; I will speak in the anguish of my spirit; I will complain in the bitterness of my soul. (Job 7:11)

  • The OT Job had the worst days ever.

  • He loved God. But he lost his animals, his servants, and his 10 children in one day! (Job 1:13-19).
  • Job mourned deeply. He asked “Why?” He cried out, “Have I sinned? What have I done to You . . . ? Why have You set me as Your target?” (7:20).
  • Job’s friends accused him of sinning and thought he deserved his difficulties. But God said of his friends: “You have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has” (42:7).
  • God did not give Job the reasons for his suffering. But He listened to him and did not fault him for his questions. God assured him of His control over everything, and Job trusted Him (42:1-6).
  • The Lord may not give us the reasons for our trials. But we can know for sure we are loved by Him (Rom. 8:35-39).
  • God knows our hearts with our pain and joy. He will never leave us nor forsake us, as His Word tells us. We pray that He may hold us close during our trials.
  • God’s love does not keep us from trials, but sees us through them.

Friday, June 21, 2013

The Battle is The LORD'S

For the battle is the LORD'S and He will give you into our hands. (1 Samuel 17:47)

  • David fights Goliath with the methods he developed and practiced while caring for his sheep.
  • He killed him with a slingshot.
  • And he killed him with just one stone on his head.
  • David cut Goliath's head off with Goliath's sword.
  • The Philistines fled.
  • The armies of Israel pursued them.
  • And Israel was saved that day by a shepherd boy.
  • David defeated Goliath with the power of God.
  • God helped David kill Goliath and save Israel that day.
  • David became a national hero of Israel.
  • God blessed David and made him successful all his life.
  • The battle is the LORD'S.
  • It was God who gave Goliath into David’s hands.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Some Old Story...On Rubber Slippers

In the olden days, wearing rubber slippers was a luxury.

Not many folks in the countryside and villages could afford them.

Many children were seen walking and running around barefoot. And I was no exception.

Children presented with a pair of rubber slippers (during festive season) would giggle, laugh out loud, smile from ear to ear...

They would then walk slowly and carefully, then leaping and running around faster and faster, and disappeared many miles after that with their relatives, friends and neighbors...

It didn't matter if the slippers were of different sizes!

It didn't matter if they were of different colors!

It didn't matter if they were of different patterns and designs!

It didn't matter if they had a rubber slipper with a leather slipper or a worn-out adult shoe!

They were slippers!

And they were nice to wear!

And they gave comfort to their feet and protected them from thorns, sharp stones and bones, hot soil...

"Oh! How I wish I have a pair of slippers!" Children would cried and screamed and dreamed!

In the modern days...

No many children care to understand the meaningful joy and the true happiness of a pair of simple slippers.

Maybe they will understand someday...

... We really need to be thankful for what we are and what we have...

... Though it may just be a simple slippers.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

All for Jesus

Chenaniah, leader of the Levites, was instructor in charge of the music, because he was skillful. (1 Chronicles 15:22)

  • From the Old Testament, we learn that God appointed people with skill to be involved in temple worship.
  • From construction workers to worship leaders, people were chosen based on their skill.
  • The Lord gave each of us different talents and spiritual gifts to be used for His glory.
  • When we serve with the purpose of glorifying God, and not to lift up ourselves, we don’t need to be concerned with what others think.
  • God gave His very best to us, His Son Jesus, and we honor Him by giving our best to Him.
  • Our Master needs what we have to offer.
  • His work on earth is done through His children.
  • So let us give Him our best, our all.
  • We are at our best when we serve God from our hearts.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Our Daily Worship

So Samuel said: "Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams.” (1 Samuel 15:22)

  • It is one thing to worship and praise God at church.
  • It is quite another to move out into the real world and worship Him through daily obedience.
  • Do we confine our worship to church?
  • Or do we continue to worship Him by obeying Him in our daily life, looking for opportunities to serve?
  • Saul was asked by the Lord to do a task.
  • But he used worship (sacrifice) as an excuse for his failure to obey God.
  • God’s response was, “To obey is better than sacrifice”.
  • It is good to be involved in worship at church.
  • But let us also ask God to show us ways to continue to give Him the praise He deserves through our obedience.
  • May our worship of God extend beyond the walls of our church.
  • May we listen to God’s prompting and serve others wherever we can, no matter what day it is.
  • Our worship should not be confined to times and places.
  • It should be the spirit of our lives.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Shepherd My Sheep

The words of the wise are like goads, and the words of scholars are like well-driven nails, given by one Shepherd. (Ecclesiastes 12:11)

  • Some of us have wise spiritual leaders who make positive impacts on our lives.
  • They have made the Word of God come alive.
  • They have trained us in our study of the Bible.
  • They have shepherded us in building vital ministries to help others grow spiritually.
  • Each of these teachers has encouraged us in different ways.
  • King Solomon wisely observed some ways that spiritual leaders can help us grow: “The words of the wise are like goads, and the words of scholars are like well-driven nails, given by one Shepherd”.
  • Some teachers prod us.
  • Others build solid spiritual structures into our lives.
  • Still others, as caring shepherds, are there to listen to us when we are hurt.
  • The Good Shepherd has given our spiritual leaders a variety of gifts: exhorting, developing, and shepherding.
  • The Good Shepherd desires that we maintain humble hearts and a love for others.
  • What a privilege to be led and used by our Shepherd to encourage others in their walk with Him.
  • May our Lord God give us the wisdom we need to encourage others in their spiritual walk.
  • May He give us His Spirit’s power to do that.
  • May He use the gifts He have given us to help others along on their journey.
  • May our words always reflect the heart of God and His wisdom.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Full-Time Christians

"Fear not, daughter of Zion; Behold, your King is coming, Sitting on a donkey's colt." (John 12:15)

  • Public opinion changes very quickly.
  • When Jesus entered Jerusalem for the Passover feast, He was welcomed by crowds cheering to have Him made king.
  • But by the end of the week, the crowds were demanding that He be crucified.
  • Some of us are like those fickle crowds.
  • We love to cheer for a team that is winning.
  • But our interest wanes when they start losing.
  • We love to be part of a movement that is new and exciting,
  • But when the energy moves to other things, we are ready to move on.
  • We love to follow Jesus when He is doing the impossible.
  • But we slink away when He expects us to do something difficult.
  • It is exciting to follow Jesus when we can do it as part of the crowd.
  • It is easy to trust Him when He outsmarts the smart people and outmaneuvers the people in power.
  • But when He begins to talk about suffering and sacrifice and death, we hesitate.
  • We like to think that we can follow Jesus all the way to the cross.
  • But we have our doubts.
  • If we cannot speak up for Him in places where it is safe, what makes us think that we can do so in a crowd of His opponents?
  • How thankful we are to know that Jesus died for fickle followers like us.
  • Now we can become His devoted followers.
  • May our devotion to Jesus continue to grow every day.
  • Our Lord Jesus Christ deserves full-time followers.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Trusting God through the Storm

For He commands and raises the stormy wind, Which lifts up the waves of the sea. (Psalm 107:25) Then they cry out to the LORD in their trouble, And He brings them out of their distresses. (Psalm 107:28)

  • The ancient people discovered that the stormy winds of the monsoon season could be harnessed by sail for speedy navigation.
  • Rather than dreading the high winds and rains, they learned how to navigate their way through the storm.
  • Psalm 107 provides a wonderful word picture of how God allows storms to come our way, and then provides help for us to navigate through them.
  • Trusting God for guidance in troubled times is a biblical theme.
  • Hebrews 11 lists many who used their problems as an opportunity to exercise faith and to experience God’s grace, provision, and deliverance: “Who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.”
  • Stormy circumstances are inevitable.
  • Although our first reaction may be to run from the problem, we can instead ask God to teach us how to trust Him to navigate us through the storm.
  • When life feels like a storm-tossed sea, With crashing waves of pain and grief, Turn to the Lord and trust in Him, He will give you peace and bring relief.
  • Better to go through the storm with Christ than to have smooth sailing without Him.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Gospel Continues

But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." (Acts 1:8)

  • The Acts of the Apostles records the beginnings of the Christian church under the leadership of the people Jesus had appointed.
  • This book can also be called the Acts of the Holy Spirit, because the Spirit’s power supplied courage for the apostles in the face of every hardship.
  • Just before Jesus was taken up into heaven, He told the ones He had chosen: “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
  • With those words, one chapter in the story of God’s work on earth ended.
  • But a new one began. We are a part of that ongoing story.
  • The book of Acts describes the faithful witness of Peter, John, Barnabas, Paul and many others during the early days of the church.
  • These ordinary people depended on God to give them strength as they spread His Word and demonstrated His love.
  • That story continues through us.
  • As we trust God and obey His direction to make Jesus known, He writes through us new pages in His story of redemption.
  • People can know true faith stories only when they see them.
  • And we are the living testimonies of Jesus Christ.
  • For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life. (2 Corinthians 2:15-16).

Monday, May 13, 2013

Finding True and Lasting Joy

That you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts. (Ephesians 4:22)

  • Family’s rules provide a home with stability, guidance, and love.
  • These rules included behavioral standards and household chores that teach accountability to children.
  • Those standards allowed for an orderly household where both parents and children can find life enjoyable and peaceful.
  • Similarly, the standards God set forth in the Bible are necessary for us to enjoy life.
  • The boundaries God places protect us from our worst inclinations and foster healthy responses to Him.
  • In Ephesians 4, Paul provides some guidance how we are to live.
  • As we live by these and other loving instructions from God, we find protection and the opportunity for true and lasting joy.
  • Let us thank God our Father for the boundaries of life that protect us from sin and from ourselves.
  • Let us pray for the wisdom and grace of God to respond gratefully to His Word in areas of danger and temptation.
  • God’s Word is the compass that keeps us on course.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

God's Faithfulness In The Past

That all the peoples of the earth may know the hand of the LORD, that it is mighty, that you may fear the LORD your God forever. (Joshua 4:24)

  • Our photos and mementos represent the past.
  • But those reminders of people, places, and events may serve some purpose beyond nostalgia.
  • We need to discover the value of those items for today and tomorrow.
  • When God’s people crossed the Jordan River into the Promised Land, He told their leader Joshua to choose 12 men, have each one take a stone from the middle of the river, and carry it to their campsite that night (Josh. 4:1-5).
  • Joshua set up the stones as a memorial so that when future generations asked, “What do these stones mean to you?”, they could tell them about God’s faithfulness in holding back the water while they crossed (Josh. 4:6-7).
  • As followers of Christ, it’s good for us to have tangible evidence of God’s help in the past.
  • Those mementos remind us that His faithfulness continues today, and we can follow Him confidently into the future.
  • Our “stones” may also help others know that God’s hand is mighty, as they encourage us to fear the Lord our God forever (Josh. 4:24).
  • The memories of what God has done for us can become building blocks for today and tomorrow.
  • Precious memories of yesterday can strengthen our faith today and tomorrow.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

You Are Not Willing To Come To Me

John 5:31-47

When the Lord Jesus said, “If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true,” He was not suggesting that He was an untruthful or an unreliable witness. He is the truth and He is sinless.

What He means by this statement is that if He bore witness of Himself, His testimony would not be true in their estimation.

This was shown later in the attitude of the Pharisees on the occasion when He said, “I am the light of the world.” They responded, “You bear witness of yourself; your witness is not true”.

The Lord Jesus went on to speak of the threefold witness to His claim to be the Son of God, the Messiah :-
  • The witness of John the Baptist. The religious authorities had sent a delegation to John who had testified to the truth concerning the Lord Jesus.
  • The witness of His own mighty works which the Father had given Him to do. Among these miracles was the healing of the man at the pool.
  • The witness of God the Father. God spoke from heaven at the Baptism of Jesus saying, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased”. The Father had testified of Him through the Old Testament Scriptures.

Jesus said to these religious Jews who searched the Scriptures, “But you are not willing to come to me that you may have life”.

They stubbornly rebelled against Christ because they did not have the love of God in them.

They claimed to be disciples of Moses who wrote about Christ in the first 5 books of the Old Testament.

If they did not believe the writings of Moses, how would they believe the words of Christ?

Those who refuse to come to Christ will have no excuse to plead on the Day of Judgment!

They have refused the eternal life that is only to be found in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

He Must Increase, But I Must Decrease

John 3:22-36

After leaving Jerusalem, Jesus and His disciples went to the Judean countryside where they baptized new disciples.

John the Baptist was at the same time baptizing near Aenon which was a few miles southwest of Bethabara on the west bank of the Jordan.

The ministry of John the Baptist continued to run parallel with that of the Lord Jesus until it was brought to a close by his imprisonment and death.

We are not told why some of John's disciples were arguing with the Jews about purification.

It may have been that the Jews were taunting them about the disciples of Jesus baptizing more people than John. They were upset to see the ministry of their leader eclipsed and they went to him and complained.

John told his disciples that no one can receive anything unless it has been given him from Heaven. In other words, he had been given his ministry by God.

He again reminded them that he had testified that he was not the Christ, but had been sent ahead of Him.

When the Bridegroom (Christ) calls the bride (His people) to Himself, the friend (John) rejoices.

John knew that his ministry was coming to its end.

But he rejoiced at the fulfillment of his mission.

He declared, “He must increase, but I must decrease”.

In using the word 'must’, John was indicating that the increasing success of the ministry of Jesus was according to God's eternal plan.

He knew that he would fade into the background and that the work of the Lord Jesus would far surpass his own ministry.

Let us learn not to murmur when others are blessed in God's service, while we struggle with discouragement.

When God gives us work to do, let us persevere and trust Him to bless that work.

We must always seek to glorify Christ in our lives and in our work for Him.

We should have the same aim as John the Baptist: He must increase, but I must decrease.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Sharing The Good News

We have found the Messiah. (John 1:35-51)

John the Baptist pointed his own disciples to the Lord Jesus.

Andrew and the other disciple (probably John) then followed Jesus.

An excited Andrew decided to share the news with his brother, Simon. He said to him, “We have found the Messiah”.

Personal testimony is a vital part of witness. Though Andrew was not as pre-eminent as his brother among the disciples, it was through his witness that Peter came to Christ.

Jesus found Philip and said to him, “Follow me”.

Philip felt compelled to tell his friend, Nathaniel, about the Lord Jesus.

The new convert's theology was very defective at this point in time and he described Jesus as 'the son of Joseph', which He was not! The Lord Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit in order to take human flesh.

New converts have much to learn and we must be patient with them. But they are still used by the Lord.

When Nathaniel expressed his doubts about Jesus, Philip did not argue but said to him, “Come and see.”

Nathaniel was amazed to discover that Jesus knew all about him. His doubts disappeared as he confessed that Jesus was the Son of God. Nathaniel is called Bartholomew by the other gospel writers.

We often say that we have found Christ as our Saviour, but it was Jesus who first found us.

Have we found Jesus? Then follow Him in joyful obedience and tell others about Him.

If we really love the Lord and have a concern for the lost, we will want to make Him known, not only by godly living, but by sharing our good news.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

My Sister, My Bride

You are a garden locked up, my sister, my bride;
you are a spring enclosed, a sealed fountain.
- Song of Solomon 4:12 -

Observe the sweet titles the Son of God with intense affection addresses His bride the Church:

"My sister, my bride", one near to Him by ties of nature, partaker of the same sympathies.

"My sister, my bride", by His incarnation, which makes her bone of His bone and flesh of His flesh.

"My sister, my bride", one whom He knew of old, and over whom He watched from her earliest infancy.

The Lord Jesus Christ is not ashamed of us.

He dwells with manifest delight upon this twofold relationship.

His delights are with the sons of men, because they are His chosen ones.

He, the Shepherd, seeks the sheep, because they are His sheep.

He has gone about to seek and to save them who was lost.

The church is the exclusive portion of her Lord.

None else may claim a partnership, or pretend to share her love.

Let every believing soul drink solace from these wells.

The Lord Jesus Christ is near to us in ties of relationship.

The Lord Jesus Christ is dear to us in bonds of marriage union, and we are dear to Him.

"My sister, My bride".

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Prepare The Way For The Lord

"“A voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him."
- Luke 3:4 -

The voice crying in the wilderness demanded a way for the Lord.

Let us be attentive to the Master's proclamation.

Let us give Him a road into our hearts.

Low and grovelling thoughts of God must be given up.

Doubting and despairing must be removed.

Self-seeking and carnal delights must be forsaken.

A glorious causeway of grace must be raised.

Every mountain and hill shall be laid low.

Proud creature-sufficiency, and boastful self-righteousness, must be leveled, to make a highway for the King.

The Lord has respect for the lowly, and visits the contrite in heart. But the lofty are an abomination to Him.

Let us beseech the Holy Spirit to set us right with God.

The crooked must be made straight.

The wavering heart must have a straight path of decision for God.

Double-minded men are strangers to the God of truth.

Let us be honest and true before the heart-searching God.

The rough places must be made smooth.

Stumbling-blocks of sin must be removed.

Thorns and briers of rebellion must be uprooted.

May the Lord find in our heart a highway made ready by His grace.

May He make a triumphal progress through the utmost bounds of our soul.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Enemy With The World

“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword."
- Matthew 10:34 -

Christian will make enemies.

It will be best to make none.

But if to do the right, and to believe the true, should cause him to lose any earthly friend, he will count it but a small loss, since his great Friend in heaven will be much more friendly, and reveal Himself to him more graciously than ever.

Christ is the great Peacemaker.

But before peace, He brings war.

Where the light comes, the darkness must retire.

Where truth is, the lie must flee.

He who has the friendship of the world is an enemy to God.

But if we are true and faithful to the Most High, men will resent our unflinching fidelity, since it is a testimony against their iniquities.

Fearless of all consequences, we must do the right.

Better a brief warfare and eternal rest, than false peace and everlasting torment.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Fighting On God's Side

And the glory of the Lord will be revealed,
and all people will see it together.
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.
- Isaiah 40:5 -

We anticipate the happy day when the whole world shall be converted to Christ.

We know that the world and all that is in it will one day be burnt up.

We know that afterwards there will be a new heavens and a new earth.

We are not discouraged by the length of Christ's delays.

We are not disheartened by the long period He allots to the church to struggle with little success and much defeat.

We believe that God will never allow this world to be always the devil's stronghold.

Christ had come to deliver this world from the powers of darkness.

What a joy it will be when the glory of the Lord is revealed.

What a shout it will be when men and angels shall unite to cry "Hallelujah, hallelujah, for the Lord God reigns!"

What a satisfaction it will be in that day to have had a share in the fight for the victory of our Lord!

Happy are they who trust themselves with this conquering Lord, and who fight side by side with Him, doing their little in His name and by His strength!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Surely You Did Not Hear

"Surely you did not hear,

Surely you did not know;

Surely from long ago your ear was not opened.

For I knew that you would deal very treacherously,

And were called a transgressor from the womb."

- Isaiah 48:8 -

It is painful to know that this accusation may be laid upon believers. Too often we are spiritually insensible. We do not hear the voice of God as we ought.

There are gentle motions of the Holy Spirit in the soul which are unheeded by us.

There are whisperings of divine command and of heavenly love which are unobserved by our intellects.

Ah! We have been carelessly ignorant.

There are matters within which we ought to have seen.

There are corruptions which have made headway unnoticed.

There are sweet affections which are untended by us.

There are glimpses of the divine face which we do not perceived.

Surely we did not hear.

Surely we did not know.

As we think of it, we are humbled in the deepest self-abasement.

O Holy Spirit, give us the hearing ear, and the understanding heart!