A Promise in the Pain

When I called, you answered me; you made me bold and stout hearted. Psalm 138:3

A Promise in the Pain

About five seconds outside the womb I think we all discover that this life isn’t easy. And it seems that the older we get the tougher it becomes. Some people have problems or are attracted to difficulties like fleas to a dog. Others make it through life with relatively little difficulty.

But most likely, you’ll face some tough times in life, and it’s not important how your challenges stack up to the challenges of others. Sometimes you might wonder if you are going to be able to make it through, and you will if you hold onto God. He’s promised to see you through.

Are you weighed down? Do you feel overcome with grief or alone in your struggle?

You can choose to take steps to walk through your challenges and come through them a stronger person.

Remember, believing in God and in Jesus Christ doesn’t mean you won’t have problems. But it does mean you have resources, people, and God’s Spirit who will see you through your problems. What could be better?

- Steve Arterburn

Adversity causes some men to break; others to break records.” – William A. Ward (1921-1994)

Walk In His Truth

Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. John 14:23 KJV 

Elisabeth Elliot advised, “Obedience to God is our job. The results of that obedience are God’s.” These words serve to remind us that obedience is imperative, but we live in a society that surrounds us with temptations to disobey God’s laws. So if we are to win the battle against temptation and sin, we must never drop our guard.

walking in his truth

A righteous life has many components: faith, honesty, generosity, love, kindness, humility, gratitude, and worship, to name but a few. If we seek to follow the steps of our Savior, Jesus Christ, we must seek to live according to His commandments.

When we seek righteousness in our own lives—and when we seek the companionship of likeminded friends—we not only build our characters, but we also reap the spiritual rewards that God offers to those who obey Him. When we live in accordance with God’s commandments, He blesses us in ways that we cannot fully understand.

Are you ready, willing, able, and anxious to receive God’s blessings? Then obey Him. And rest assured that when you do your part, He’ll do His part.

Don’t worry about what you do not understand. Worry about what you do understand in the Bible but do not live by. Corrie ten Boom

Let us remember therefore this lesson: That to worship our God sincerely we must evermore begin by hearkening to His voice, and by giving ear to what He commands us. For if every man goes after his own way, we shall wander. We may well run, but we shall never be a whit nearer to the right way, but rather farther away from it. John Calvin

God wants man to fulfill His commands as a human being and with the quality peculiar to human beings. Martin Buber

Remember this: God has given us His commandments for a reason: to obey them. These commandments are not suggestions, helpful hints, or friendly reminders—they are rules we must live by . . . or else!

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear Lord, please guide my walk with you. I desire to obey your commandments. Help me to live a life that honors you. Amen

Temptations Everywhere

Temptations Everywhere

No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. - 1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV

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If you stop to think about it, the cold, hard evidence is right in front of your eyes: you live in a temptation-filled world. The devil is out on the street, hard at work, causing pain, stress, and heartache in more ways than ever before. Here in the 21st century, the bad guys are working around the clock to lead you astray. That’s why you must remain vigilant.

In a letter to believers, Peter offered a stern warning: “Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8 NASB). What was true in New Testament times is equally true in our own. Satan tempts his prey and then devours them. As believing Christians, we must beware. And, if we seek righteousness in our own lives, we must earnestly wrap ourselves in the protection of God’s Holy Word. When we do, we are secure.

In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus went through agony of soul in His efforts to resist the temptation to do what He felt like doing rather than what He knew was God’s will for Him. ~Joyce Meyer

Temptation is not a sin. Even Jesus was tempted. The Lord Jesus gives you the strength needed to resist temptation. ~Corrie Ten Boom

TODAY’S PRAYER
Lord, life is filled with temptations to stray from your chosen path. But, I face no temptation that You have not already met and conquered through my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the One who empowers me with His strength and His love. Amen

Counting Your Blessings

Counting Your Blessings

Blessings crown the head of the righteous . . . Proverbs 10:6 NIV

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Because we have been so richly blessed, we should make thanksgiving a habit, a regular part of our daily routines. But sometimes, amid the stresses and obligations of everyday life, we may allow interruptions and distractions to interfere with the time we spend with God.

Have you counted your blessings today? And have you thanked God for them? Hopefully so. After all, God’s gifts include your family, your friends, your talents, your opportunities, your possessions, and the priceless gift of eternal life. How glorious are these gifts . . . and God is responsible for every one of them.

So today, as you go about the duties of everyday life, pause and give thanks to the Creator. He deserves your praise, and you deserve the experience of praising Him.

God’s kindness is not like the sunset—brilliant in its intensity, but dying every second. God’s generosity keeps coming and coming and coming.   ~Bill Hybels

When you and I are related to Jesus Christ, our strength and wisdom and peace and joy and love and hope may run out, but His life rushes in to keep us filled to the brim. We are showered with blessings, not because of anything we have or have not done, but simply because of Him. ~Anne Graham Lotz

Do we not continually pass by blessings innumerable without notice, and instead fix our eyes on what we feel to be our trials and our losses, and think and talk about these until our whole horizon is filled with them, and we almost begin to think we have no blessings at all? ~Hannah Whitall Smith

TODAY’S PRAYER
Lord, I have more blessings than I can count, and I praise You for Your gifts. Let me use my talents and my possessions for  Your glory . . . and for Your Son. Amen

Neighbors in Need

Neighbors in Need

Each one of us needs to look after the good of the people around us, asking ourselves, “How can I help?”  That’s exactly what Jesus did. - Romans 15:2-3 MSG

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Sometimes, it’s not you, but instead your neighbors, who are experiencing stress. And, of course, we know that we’re instructed to love our neighbors, and yet there’s so little time . . . and we’re so busy. No matter. As Christians, we are commanded by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to love our neighbors just as we love ourselves.

This very day, you will encounter someone who needs a word of encouragement, a pat on the back, a helping hand, or a heartfelt prayer. And, if you don’t reach out to your friend, who will? If you don’t take the time to understand the needs of your neighbors, who will? If you don’t love your brothers and sisters, who will? So, today, look for a neighbor in need . . . and then do something to help. Father’s orders.

Make it a rule, and pray to God to help you to keep it, never, if possible, to lie down at night without being able to say: “I have made one human being at least a little wiser, or a little happier, or at least a little better this day.” ~Charles Kingsley

Encouraging others means helping people, looking for the best in them, and trying to bring out their positive qualities.   ~John Maxwell

Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can. ~John Wesley

 

TODAY’S PRAYER
Heavenly Father, help me be a Good Samaritan to the people You place along my path, today and every day. Amen

Are You Fitting In?

Are You Fitting In?

If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own.  As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world.  That is why the world hates you. – John 15:19

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“Don’t love the world’s ways.  Don’t love the world’s goods,” wrote the apostle John.  When he wrote of “the world,” he meant everything in life that ran counter to staying connected to Jesus; everything that contradicts what the Bible teaches and undermines a life of faith and discipleship.  Indeed, the world has a different take on how we should live.  Many today believe that all ideas are valid; that no one is wrong, because no absolute truth exists.

We are encouraged to believe whatever we want in the name of tolerance and diversity, no one’s viewpoint can be dismissed.  But Jesus presents Himself to us as the Truth, meaning all so-called truths must be measured against Him if they are to truly be considered truths.

Jesus Christ’s message to his disciples is His message to you: Fitting in with the world isn’t the mark of a follower of Christ.

A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his life, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul. – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe 

Lunch With A Friend

Lunch with a Friend 

Pray for us. We are sure that we have a clear conscience and desire to live honorably in every way. – Hebrews 13:18 NIV

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Only the good news of Jesus Christ encourages us to honestly think about who we really are and to address our shortcomings in a way that won’t cause us to wrongly rely upon our own efforts.

Let me explain with this example: A while back I had lunch with a non-Christian friend. As we ate, we began discussing spiritual things. I made reference to the prodigal son, and no sign of recognition crossed his face. He’d never heard the story; he knew nothing about the Bible.

As the conversation progressed, he got around to stating his theology: namely, good people make it to heaven. He considered himself a kind, loving, and good person. And without a doubt, he’s one of the nicest people I know. But as we talked longer, he discussed his internet relationships with women ready to leave their husbands to live with him. His “goodness,” as he called it, gave these women new hope about men.

I felt compelled to challenge his thinking. “What would these ladies’ husbands think of your so-called goodness?” I asked. “Has this ‘goodness’ ever prompted you to call one of these men and ask if he minded that you were having an internet relationship with his wife?” As it turned out, his “goodness” wasn’t as good as he thought it was.

Rely upon God’s goodness. As good as you think you might be, that goodness is nothing next to His.

Reason often makes mistakes, but conscience never does.
– Josh Billings

Called by Name

Called by Name

The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. – John 10:3-4

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There’s no group discount for the kingdom.  Instead, God tugs at your heart as an individual, calling you one by one.  When God calls someone, He calls him or her personally.  It’s a biblical pattern repeated time and again.

The Lord called young Samuel by name until he responded. (1 Samuel 3) Jesus stopped at the fishing boat of Peter and Andrew and said, “Come, follow me…and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matthew 4:19) Jesus halted Saul of Tarsus in his tracks in the middle of the highway, again calling him by name. (Acts 9:1-9)

And so it’s been through all of time. The manner and circumstances of the call are radically diverse, but its personal nature is the same. The Bible compares such a relationship to a shepherd’s intimate knowledge of his flock. The shepherd knows the peculiarities and habits of every one of his lambs.

Jesus Christ knows you intimately. He calls you by name. Listen for Him today!  When you hear Him—respond to Him!

 A leader takes people where they want to go.  A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go but ought to be. – Rosalynn Carter

 

The Key to Success

The Key to Success

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. - Psalm 42:1

Key to Success

Looking for an edge in life?  Consider this: God is the key to any success you may have in learning to control your desires.  He must be your strength, your counselor, and your sure foundation.

Why is God so important?  Because He’s the source and fulfillment of all human life, including yours.  In other words, you were created by God as well as for God.  We often forget the latter.

St. Augustine made this beautiful confession nearly seventeen centuries ago:  “Our hearts are restless until they find rest in You, O Lord.”  It was true for him then, and it’s true for you now.

“My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.” (Psalm 84:2)
“Whoever drinks the water I give Him,” said Jesus, “will never thirst…[it] will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4: 14)
“I am the bread of life,” said Jesus, “He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.” (John 6:35)

Behind all your cravings is a craving for God.  And this craving can only be filled through a relationship with Jesus Christ—your true food and drink.

I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free. - Michelangelo


 

Rest For The Weary Soul

Rest for the Weary Soul

My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear. ― Psalm 38:4

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There are plenty of roads in life that promise joy, health, peace, or transformation. Most of them, however, don’t lead in that direction. You can literally exhaust yourself seeking spiritual refreshment. And that doesn’t make any sense.

We work hard at building a good life, but instead of joy on the journey, we often feel weighed down by life. Have you grown weary going down one wrong road after another?

Proverbs tells us, “There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death.” (Proverbs 14:12) The fact that a way looks right at first glance doesn’t mean it’s leading toward spiritual renewal . . . it could be leading to a dead end. If you’re someone who has taken many paths but still finds yourself weary, turn to Jesus. He said these words for you: “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke fits perfectly, and the burden I give you is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

Any spiritual path that doesn’t lead to Jesus Christ won’t lead to true spiritual renewal . . . no matter how right it seems at first.  In fact, Jesus Christ Himself is our way. Remember, the burden He calls you to bear on your journey is light, and the yoke of His expectation fits you perfectly. When you do this, He promises rest for your soul.

Be assured, if you walk with Him and look to Him, and expect help from Him, He will never fail you. ― George Müller

We have a choice. We can carry the world on our shoulders, or we can say, “I give up, Lord; here’s my life. I give you my world, the whole world.” ― Bruce Larson

If we believe that God is always at hand, always ready to hear, surely we should take delight in telling Him all our little cares, and woes, and hopes, as they flit by. ― H.L. Sidney Lear