Monday, November 20, 2017

AT THE CROSSROADS OF HOPE AND DESPAIR

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."  (Romans 15:3)

When tragedy strikes, when trouble comes, when life disappoints us, we stand at the crossroads between hope and despair, torn and hurting.

Despair cements us in the present. Hope sends us dancing around dark corners trusting in a tomorrow we cannot see because of the multiple pasts of life which we cannot forget.

-- Joan D. Chittister, quoted in “Hope: It’s More Than Wishful Thinking”


#4219

Friday, November 17, 2017

THE SPIRIT-CONTROLLED MIND

As I monitor my mind, I will encounter many thoughts that are unwelcome visitors:  I get anxious.  I catastrophize.  I envy.  But I will also begin to recognize what kind of thoughts the Spirit flows in.  The apostle Paul gives us a great framework for understanding which are the thoughts and attitudes that come from the Spirit.  He writes, “The mind controlled by the sinful nature is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace.” (Romans 8:6)

Take any thought, especially thoughts that feel weighty or that you find yourself turning over and over in your mind, and ask, What direction do those thoughts lead me in?  Are they leading me toward life -- toward God’s best version of me?  Or in the other direction?

-- John Ortberg in “The Me I Want To Be”


#4218

Thursday, November 16, 2017

ACCEPTING THE GIFT

“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.”  (Romans 6:23 NLT)

In 1830, George Wilson was tried by the U.S. court in Philadelphia for robbery and murder and was sentenced to hang. Andrew Jackson, President of the United States, granted him a presidential pardon. But Wilson refused the pardon, insisting it was not a pardon unless he accepted it. The question was brought before the U.S. Supreme Court, and Chief Justice John Marshall wrote the following decision: “A pardon is a paper, the value of which depends upon its acceptance by the person implicated. It’s hardly to be supposed that one under sentence of death would refuse a pardon, but if refused, it is no pardon. George Wilson must hang.” What was the outcome? George Wilson was hanged.

Jesus Christ is God’s only provision for our sin. Through Him alone we can know God intimately, be fully pardoned for our sin, experience His unconditional love, and have eternal life. We simply must accept the free gift.

-- adapted from “Remember the Rowboats” by Jim and Barbara Grunseth


#4217

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

MISSING THE MARK

“…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,...” (Romans 3:23 NIV)

Bob Harbick once noted that “Sin… blinds and deafens the human heart from ever enjoying the incredible goodness of Jesus Christ… Sin is defined as missing the mark of Jesus Christ. It is the process of taking careful aim with our lives, releasing our arrow of life and having it fall woefully short of the target that Jesus has established for you and me to live. Sin is broken fellowship with the King of kings and Lord of lords. It separates us from enjoying all that He had intended for our lives.”

What is happening in the world today is that instead of acknowledging our sin -- that we are missing the mark -- and turning to Christ our Savior, we are lowering the target to where our arrow falls and exclaiming “Bullseye!”

-- Rev. David T. Wilkinson


#4216

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

WHAT DO YOUR PAGES SAY?

Dwight L. Moody once said, "Of one hundred men, one will read the Bible; the ninety-nine will read the Christian."

What do your pages say, then? Do they talk about nice-guy Nate who helps his next-door neighbor?… Do they focus on good-person Gertrude who gives to Goodwill?… Do they talk about pleasant Peter and his wife Penny who preach about their passion for petunias?

Or are your pages filled with stories of self-less caring in the name of the suffering Christ?… Or are they exploding with the excitement of personally knowing Jesus?… Or, as each page is turned, are they pointing to the One who saved you from your sin -- the Savior, God's Son?

What do your pages say to a world that is lost and lonely, hungry and hurting, and desperately in need of a Savior?

"For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes -- Jew first and also Gentiles. This Good News tells us how God makes us right in His sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, 'It is through faith that a righteous person has life'." (Romans 1:16-17 NLT)

-- Rev. David T. Wilkinson


#4215