Friday, September 22, 2017

OUR DAILY LABOR

Let us consider a hymn of daily life, written by Charles Wesley and published in 1749...
Forth in Thy Name, O Lord, I go,
My daily labor to pursue;
Thee, only Thee, resolved to know
In all I think or speak or do.

What is your daily labor? You and I share at least one task in common: prayer. Jesus Christ calls us to pray. Our prayers cast out fear and open us to hospitality and friendship. Our prayers give us wisdom and courage to initiate relationships, to extend grace to strangers, and to entertain angels unaware. Our daily labor in prayer encourages us to fast from apathy, to serve others, feed the hungry, challenge injustice, and be the body of Christ in the world.

-- George Hovaness Donigian in “A World Worth Saving”, used by permission of Upper Room Books.


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Thursday, September 21, 2017

AN UNCOMFORTABLE CALLING

“Then Jesus told them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.’”  (Mark 16:15 NLT)

“Do you love Me enough to tell them?” Christianity is rare among the world religions in containing an explicit command to tell unbelievers the Good News and to urge them to convert. It is an uncomfortable calling… This obligation to evangelize is perhaps the aspect most resented by those outside the faith, and most neglected by those inside. It is an awkward calling. But it is commanded of Jesus, as blunt as the calls to love our enemies and to care for the poor… 

-- Frederica Mathewes-Green


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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

LIVING THE SURRENDERED LIFE

It is a paradox, yet a principle of effective… leadership you can count on: The best leaders are, first of all, followers. “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” asked Jesus of the soon-to-be leader of the post-Resurrection church. That question brought forth the second of Peter’s confessions. The first was at Caesarea Philippi: “You are the Messiah,” said Peter, “the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:13-20 NRSV) Now, on the shores of the Galilee, Peter declares his love and full surrender three times, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” (John 21:15 NRSV)

Jesus chose Peter, I think, not because he was the brightest and the bravest, but because he was the most fully surrendered. His two confessions testify to his faith. Faith is surrender. To follow Jesus is to trust Him as you trust no other; it is to live the surrendered life. Paul would later write, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who life, but it is Christ who lives in me.” (Galatians 2:20 NRSV)

There is a story told about General William Booth of the Salvation Army who, on one occasion, was asked the secret of the Army’s success. The former Methodist preacher answered: “I will tell you the secret. God has had all there was of me to have -- all the adoration of my heart, all the power of my will, all the influence of my life.”

-- Roger K. Swanson in the “Offering Christ Today” newsletter, Spring 1996


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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

A WORD TO TEACHERS

A word to Christians who are [public] school teachers and administrators: Most of the teachers my children have had in school were Christians, and for this I am grateful.  Though you cannot overtly seek to bring your students to faith in Christ, you can minister to them.  You can encourage children and believe in them.  You play such an important role, and God is honored by what you do with your lives.  You chose a career that may never pay six figures but that allows you to invest in the lives of our children.  Teachers are heroes, and we are grateful to them.  And you as Christian teachers, while you may not intentionally use your position to lead children to the Christian religion, you may certainly let Christ's love shine through you.

You teachers may pray for your children by name in the evenings at home.  You may live the gospel in how you love them at school.  You may ask the Holy Spirit to work through you as you work with the most challenging of these kids.  You may listen for the Lord to guide you in what you do.

-- Adam Hamilton in “Confronting the Controversies”


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Monday, September 18, 2017

THE POWER OF GOD

God is great and God is powerful, but we must invite Him to be powerful in our lives.  His strength is always there, but it's up to us to provide a channel through which that power can flow.

Some of you feel beat up and drained.  Some of you feel like a victim who has been picked on so thoroughly that your bones are clean.  Some of you face daunting tasks and stiff challenges, and you're worried that you don't have what it takes to carry on.  I challenge you to act as though you are empowered, and see -- just test it -- if God does not send His strength your way.  Determine this very moment to walk in the direction God is asking you to go and just trust that He will grant you power along the way.

Paul urges us, "Your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God."  (1 Corinthians 2:5)

-- Bill Hybels in “The God You're Looking For”


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