The Future Is As Bright As The Promises Of God

Archive for August, 2014

Be Humble And Modest

“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves.” Philippians 2:3 (NASB)
Believers should do everything they do with a desire to maintain the truth and glorify God in all things. But how often this Christian rule is violated, even by born again people.
Many times, Christians attempt to outdo each other, to see which can be most important. Pride enters the heart, and the glory that should be given to Christ is given to man instead.
We should have no vain opinions about our own ability and talents. Whatever we do, if we do it through “selfishness or empty conceit,” desiring honor and praise of men; if we do it to attract attention and make ourselves look important–we are sinning.
True believers are to do everything to the glory of God. We are to be modest and humble. We are not to perform our duties with the thought in mind that we want to receive due recognition of men for what we do. It is God who recognizes the right kind of stewardship and rewards us for the same.

Not So Easy Christianity

A teenager, writing for a newspaper’s Youth Talks About Faith series, complained that she found it “too easy to be a Christian.” She said that in spite of the fact that she felt her greatest need to be the “spiritual strength that only faith can give,” she tended to “drift into the stream of materialistic thinking.” Of course she was wrong in her thinking; the very statement of her problem proved her wrong. Yet we, too, carry misconceptions as to the implications of being “born again” and of entering “into the kingdom of God.”
There are some who keep saying that today’s need is for less emphasis upon evangelism and more emphasis upon the quality of the Christian life. Without evangelism, however, the world would soon run out of Christians of any description. Too, the development of “quality” in the Christian life depends in part upon the Christian’s bearing of a testimony to those who need the Savior. Evidently some who have an awareness of man’s lost condition feel no motivation whatsoever to carry the gospel message to the lost.
Many churches have such a shallow view of the meaning of the new birth and the Christian life that about all that is expected of members is loyalty to the church as an institution and a reasonable conformity to the social patterns of the community. Little or no sacrifice is expected unless tithing is considered sacrifice. The teenager referred to above also wrote, “I wonder what type of Christian I would have been in Jesus’ time. Would my faith have been strong enough to let wild beasts tear at my flesh, or would I have been another Simon Peter, denying Christ?” She may have been a bit mixed up on her historical chronology, but not on some basics of the Christian life.

Christ Possesses Total Knowledge

“In Him all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden.” Colossians 2:3 (HCSB)

Jesus Christ, being God, is omniscient, possessing total knowledge. He knows thoroughly and completely the most minute fact about every microscopic organism in the deepest sea, and the exact chemical composition of the largest star in the universe. He knows the future as perfectly as the past, and we can hide nothing from Him. Nothing can happen to us He does not see. He knows what’s on the surface and what’s out of sight. He knows our thoughts, motives, hurts, circumstances, feelings, and needs. He cannot learn anything for He already knows everything, being both infinite and intimate.

He knows my name (Ps. 91:14).
He knows the way I have taken (Job 23:10).
He knows the secrets of my heart (Ps. 44:21).
He knows what I am made of (Ps. 103:14).
He knows better than I what I need (Matt. 6:8).
He knows what is in the darkness, and light dwells in Him (Dan. 2:22).
He knows everything (1 John 3:20).

“You know how true it is that in Him are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge….But if you have not seen Christ, then you know nothing yet as you ought to know….What good will it do you in hell that you knew all the science in the world, all the events of history, and all the busy politics of your little day?” – Robert Murray McCheyne

All To Jesus, A Year Of Devotions; Robert J. Morgan, day 306

How Many Times Must I Forgive?

“Then Peter came and said to Him, ‘Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.'” Matthew 18:21-22 (NASB)
How often shall I forgive my brother? Peter wants to know. Seven times? That certainly ought to be reasonable. It is hard enough to forgive someone once, much less seven times.
We are like Peter. We want to know what are the demands for the minimal requirements for righteousness. What is reasonable to expect of disciples? Tithe? Give some of our income excess to the poor? Attend church at least once a week? Volunteer to drive the youth groups to the mountains next week? That ought to do it. That ought to be enough. Surely God wouldn’t expect more of us than that.
In response to this how-little-can-I-do-and-still-get-by-as-a-disciple question, Jesus tells the story of the forgiving king (vv. 23-35) to remind us all of how great a debt has been forgiven us. This reminder renders all our questions rather irrelevant. How small of us to expect some little, petty, minimal standard of righteousness when we have been so extravagantly, graciously forgiven. The very question shows that we have not fully grasped the greatness of God’s love toward us.
Jesus responds to peter, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but seventy times seven.” In other words, forgiveness is beyond calculation. We are to forgive others without limit, an infinite number of times for an infinitely terrible set of wrongs against us.
Even as God’s love and forgiveness of us has no limits, we are to love and forgive others. In our lives, in the way we forgive others our calling is to mirror some of the divine graciousness in the way we treat other people.
Such forgiveness would be impossible if it were based simply on human good will–for you know how shallow and short-lived is most of our good will.
Forgiveness is based not on good will but upon God’s forgiveness of us. Jesus says, in effect, “Your debts against God are forgiven, your sins against your Creator are blotted out–now you, go and do likewise.”

Death Has Lost Its Power

“When I saw Him, I fell at His feet as if dead. But He laid His right hand on me and said, ‘Do not be afraid! I am the First and the Last. And the Ever-living One [I am living in the eternity of eternities]. I died, but see, I am alive forevermore; and I possess the keys of death and Hades (the realm of the dead).'” Revelation 1:17-18 (Amplified)
Death is the cessation of physical life; Hades is the grave, the world of the dead. Jesus tells us to stop being afraid, either of the cessation of physical life or the grave, because He has control of both. So far as the Christian is concerned, Jesus has conquered both, and He has total control of them. Therefore, “Stop being afraid of death and the grave,” He says.
Christians ought to approach death simply and in faith. We are wrong to think of death as separating us from our Christian loved ones. Those who know Jesus never say “Good-bye.” We only say, “Until then.” Those who love Christ never meet for the last time.
When the day is over and our name is called, all of us who are true believers ought to answer our call without fear. With joy and expectation let us answer, “Present.” We are able to do it because Jesus has total control over death and the grave. Its power has been removed.
“Death be not proud! Do not rattle your noisy chains in my face as though you can frighten me! Do not tyrannize me with your fearful scepter, for my Savior has vanquished your terrible power!” – J. B. Fowler Jr.

A Beautiful Life

The beauty of a changed life can attract others to the One who makes us beautiful.

Rejoice Though Your Heart Be Broken

“I have told you these things, so that you might have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (NIV)

God never plows in the soul of man
Without intention and purpose
and plan…
So whenever you feel the
plow’s sharp blade
Let not your heart be sorely afraid,
For, like the farmer,
God chooses a field
From which He expects
an excellent yield…
So rejoice though your heart
be broken in two–
God seeks to bring forth
a rich harvest in you.

Helen Steiner Rice

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