Tuesday, September 22, 2020

THE HEART’S GREATEST DESIRE

"Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him, and He will act.”  (Psalm 37:4-5 ESV)

What kind of life does my heart want?  I find no easy answers to that question, but I know the answer means giving up the fantasy of always moving forward and allowing instead for seasons of dormancy.  And it is always time to listen.  Perhaps the heart's single greatest desire is to listen attentively to the voice of God … My heart wants the kind of life that leaves room for God… 

-- Elizabeth J. Canham in “Heart Whispers” 


#4934

Monday, September 21, 2020

CHOOSING TO TRUST GOD

“Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God.”  (Psalm 42:11 NIV)

For many years in my own pilgrimage of seeking to come to a place of trusting God at all times, I was a prisoner to my feelings. I mistakenly thought I could not trust God unless I felt like trusting Him (which I almost never did in times of adversity). Now I am learning that trusting God is first of all a matter of the will and is not dependent on my feelings. I choose to trust God, and my feelings eventually will follow…

Having been exposed to the knowledge of the truth that God is sovereign, wise, and loving, we must then choose whether to believe the truth about God, which He has revealed to us, or whether to following our feelings. If we are to trust God, we must choose to believe His truth. We must say, “I will trust You though I do not feel like doing so.” 

-- Jerry Bridges in “Trusting God”


#4933

Friday, September 18, 2020

A NEW COMMANDMENT

Jesus said, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.”  (John 13:34-35)

In Jesus’ day -- as in our own -- there was no lack of competing social, political, or religious movements, all of them with leaders who were promoting their philosophies and programs in the marketplace of ideas and trying to enlist others to join their particular crusades.

To many observers, Jesus appeared to be just another in a seemingly endless succession of Middle Eastern spiritual teachers or cultural rebels, all of whom sought to recruit their own disciples.

One of the major differences, though, between Jesus and the other teachers was that He preached a radical and life-transforming message based on love, and He backed up His message with His life. “My command is this,” He said, “love each other as I have loved you.” (John 15:12) 

-- Steve & Lois Rabey in “Side by Side: Disciple-Making for a New Century”


#4932

Thursday, September 17, 2020

COUNTERCULTURAL FAITH-FILLED LIVING

Jesus said, “Whoever does not carry the cross and follow Me cannot be My disciple.” (Luke 14:27)

To be a Christian man in the twenty-first century is -- essentially -- to be countercultural. Faith-filled living always involves standing out as somewhat different from the run-of-the-mill. That is a large part of what Christ means by “carrying the cross”; that’s what it means to really live. It is -- usually -- surprisingly easy to follow the crowd, and once we fall into that pattern, it becomes astonishingly hard to buck the system. To be honest, I have to admit that following Jesus in this way turns out to be one of my biggest personal challenges, because for me the greatest temptation has always been that of the easy, carefree life. 

-- Derek Maul in “Get Real: A Spiritual Journey for Men” 


#4931

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

PRACTICING WHOLE-LIFE WITNESS - Part 2

Whole-life witness is in the center flow of the Methodist tradition. Along with his call to a transformed life, John Wesley called for the transformation of the social structures of his time by confronting issues of poverty, economic injustice, imprisonment, and war.

Wesley continued the call for social reform until the end of his life. In fact, the last letter he wrote was to William Wilberforce, who had been converted through the Wesleyan Revival.  In the letter Wesley encouraged Wilberforce to continue his struggle for the abolition of slavery, writing with the same passion he expressed when sharing his personal faith in Christ. Wesley died just six days later on March 2, 1791. The struggle went on for sixteen years until [the British] Parliament abolished the slave trade in 1807…

Both as individuals and as congregations, the people called Methodists are called to whole-life witness by which growing disciples of Jesus Christ become a part of God’s transformation of the world. When Jesus said, “You shall be My witnesses” (Acts 1:8), He wasn’t speaking only to the first apostles. He was speaking to us! 

-- James A. Harnish in “A Disciple’s Path: Deepening Your Relationship with Christ and the Church”


#4930