Friday, July 10, 2020

OUR BURDEN-BEARING SAVIOR

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”  (Matthew 11:28-30 NKJV)

The famous poem “Footprints” reminds us that in life’s most difficult seasons, Jesus does not abandon us; rather, at the times we are unable to go on, He picks us up and carries us.

We are amazed by the picture of a burden-bearing Savior. He took our sins upon Himself so that we might have freedom. He takes up our shame so that we are no longer hindered by it. What other burdens have never landed on our shoulders because He would not allow it? What other burdens has He taken upon Himself rather than letting them fall to us?

Whatever is loading you down today, you need to carry it no longer. Jesus will scoop the weight in one arm and put His other arm around your tired shoulders. Gently He’ll remind you that it is for these very things that He sacrificed His life.

Today, feel Him removing the weight of burden and holding you near. 

-- From “Hello God… It’s Me: 365 Day Devotional Journal”


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Thursday, July 9, 2020

BEARING MUCH FRUIT

Jesus said, "I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing… By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples" (John 15:5, 8).

How is it possible for us sinful, finite creatures to glorify God? How can we -- with all our limitations -- add anything at all to the majesty and blessedness of the everlasting Creator? It seems so impossible. Almost incredible. Jesus assures us, however, that we can do so by “bearing much fruit.” It is through such spiritual productivity, He says, that we become His disciples. Maybe, then, we should make a distinction. Maybe there are Christians who never pass from mere belief into the category of discipleship. For only in proportion as, and to the degree that, we bear fruit that we are entitled to call ourselves disciples of Jesus.

What is the supreme purpose of human life? A Christ-like discipleship that glorifies God. And how do we become Christ-like disciples? By bearing fruit. No, by bearing ”much fruit”, by becoming maximally productive for the praise of our heavenly Father. We must bear much fruit, and that requires a close relationship with Jesus Christ. 

-- Adapted from Vernon Grounds in “Radical Commitment”


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Wednesday, July 8, 2020

CHOOSING THE RIGHT COURSE

I have seen people make terrible decisions when they were drained, tired, discouraged, or afraid that they would never have made otherwise. Never try to choose the right course of action in the wrong frame of mind.

Wisdom may well have you wait to make a big decision until you’re rested. An anxious mind and an exhausted body will lead to a terrible decision nine times out of ten. Paul says, “The peace of God, which transcends all [human] understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7). If I’m going to make a good decision, I need that peace, that encouragement of knowing I’m with God. 

-- John Ortberg in “All the Places to Go… How Will You Know?”


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Tuesday, July 7, 2020

SPIRITUAL FREEDOM

“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”  (Galatians 5:13-14 NIV)

We who lived in concentration camps can remember those who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread.  They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms -- to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way...  It is this spiritual freedom which cannot be taken away that makes life meaningful and purposeful. 

-- Viktor Frankl 


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Monday, July 6, 2020

NEW EVERY MOMENT

So many of us love these words written by Jeremiah, the lamenting prophet, which have sustained us in dark days: “The steadfast love of the Lᴏʀᴅ never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22–23)

Have you ever wondered why Jeremiah says that God’s steadfast love and mercies never cease and yet they are new every morning? How is something that never ceases, new?

We might say that Jeremiah is simply speaking phenomenologically, meaning it appears like God’s love and mercies are new with each new day, even though it’s not really new. But I don’t think that’s true. Jeremiah is not merely being more than poetic (which he is). I think there is a very real sense in which God’s enduring love and constant mercies are not only new every morning, but new every moment.

Every single moment is new. Every moment is a completely unique creation by God the Father through God the Son who is upholding the universe at that moment by the word of His power (Hebrews 1:2–3). Never is a moment neglected. Never is a moment repeated. Each moment is a new, infinitely powerful and complex word spoken by the Word with deliberate intention (John 1:1). Every moment God makes He decides to be utterly faithful to His character and His purposes. Every new moment God commits to fulfill what He says He will do. 

-- Jon Bloom, from the blog desiringGod.org


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