Monday, December 5, 2016

ALMOST PERSUADED

“Almost persuaded” now to believe;
“Almost persuaded” Christ to receive;
Seems now some soul to say,
“Go, Spirit, go Thy way,
Some more convenient day
On Thee I’ll call.”

“Almost persuaded,” come, come today;
“Almost persuaded,” turn not away;
Jesus invites you here,
Angels are ling’ring near,
Prayers rise from hearts so dear;
O wand’rer, come!

“Almost persuaded,” harvest is past!
“Almost persuaded,” doom comes at last!
“Almost” cannot avail;
“Almost” is but to fail!
Sad, sad, that bitter wail—
“Almost,” but lost!

-- Philip P. Bliss


#3995

Friday, December 2, 2016

ADVENT LISTENING AND LOOKING


I once saw a quote -- maybe it was on a bumper sticker -- that went something like this: “If you feel distant from God, just ask yourself, ‘Who moved?’” If God seems hidden to us, maybe it is because we have stopped looking for God in the midst of our daily lives. In the Scriptures, heaven is not a far away place “way beyond the blue” as the old song says; but rather it is God’s realm, God’s dwelling, and it is quite near to us. All we need to do is put down the mirror and open a window in the relationship God wants to share with us. Rather than a booming shout from the clouds, God more often is revealed in the “still small voice” (1 Kings 19:12 KJV). We can hear if we are focused enough to listen.

Advent reminds us, too, that if we want to see the face of the hidden God, we do not do so by looking up for a heavenly sound or light spectacular. Rather, we find it by looking into the dark recesses of a stable and into the eyes of a humble, helpless child.

-- Robert Kaylor in Come to the Manger


#3994

Thursday, December 1, 2016

A NEW FUTURE AND A NEW HOPE


Have you ever stopped to wonder why Jesus was so patient with the Samaritan woman?  Here's my guess: Jesus understood that He wasn't dealing with an evangelistic project; He was dealing with a real person who had real needs.  He knew that before she could begin dealing correctly with her sin issues, she had to become a believer first.  Because He had His expectations set correctly, Jesus was able to treat her with dignity and encouragement instead of judgment and condemnation.  As the second person of the Trinity, Jesus had access to the entire universe of information about this woman that you and I wouldn't have had.  But despite His knowledge of the problem-laden past, He didn't rub her face in it.  Instead, He chose to fan a future flame in her.  "The days ahead don't have to be the same for you," He probably said.

Evidently, it was just the glimmer of hope she needed.  The text says that once the woman received grace, she ran back to the village to tell all of her friends about this man who "knew everything" about her.  In her haste, she left her water pot there at the well -- significant because water was such a precious commodity in those days.  Here she was, a sin-scarred woman who had been freshly converted.  Now, more than anything else -- even ensuring her water supply for the day -- she desired to tell everyone how Jesus gave her a new future and a new hope.  Despite countless details the Bible could have given us about the mental, spiritual, and physical state she was in when she first received grace, all we learn is that she dropped everything and ran off to tell her friends her good news.  Christ's patience paid off, wouldn't you agree?

You and I have been redeemed and restored for a similar purpose -- a purpose that is just as notable as spending eternity with God in heaven.  You and I are expected and encouraged to share our salvation with others so that God's ultimate agenda is served -- that all people would come to know Him as Father.

-- Bill Hybels in Just Walk Across the Room


#3993

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

MISSING THE POINT

It is Christmas time, and there is no other place on the calendar which can compare with it, no other season which makes its mark on the lives of so many people in so many ways. You can love Christmas, as most of us do, or you can dread it, as some surely do; but you can’t ignore it.

We can, however, miss the center, the point and the issue of the season, which is Jesus Christ. As a matter of fact, in our culture, you can very easily miss Him. Warren Lewis overheard a woman on a city bus in England mutter, “O, Lor’! They bring religion into everything.” She pointed to a creche in front of a church. “Look – They’re dragging it even into Christmas now.”  (William Griffin in Clive Staples Lewis, a Dramatic Life) For vast number of secular people, Jesus Christ is just that incidental to the Christmas season; so much so that they think of Him, and the religion which bears His name, as an intrusion on their conglomerate of Santa Claus, parties and shopping.

-- J. Ellsworth Kalas in a sermon entitled Matthew: Christ the Man


#3992

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

FACE TO FACE WITH THE SAVIOR

I am frightened by our ability in America to convince ourselves that we don't need Jesus.  We can amass fortunes, we can get degrees, we can own our house all on our own.  And yet, there's a certain affluence that we can attain when we become poverty-stricken  -- a certain humility that comes with trials, that brings us face to face with the Savior.

-- Max Lucado


#3991