Thursday, April 19, 2018

DON’T KEEP IT FOR OURSELVES

God never gives us anything to keep for ourselves. Whether it is money, insight, or truth, it has to be shared. Jesus said in His great command in Matthew 28:19-20, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you.” To those who witnessed His Ascension He declared in Acts 1:8, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”  Jesus very clearly let His disciples know that the truth He taught them during the past three years was not to be kept in a personal reservoir of knowledge. They were to give away everything they had received.

-- Charles Stanley in “How to Listen to God”


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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

GRACE-FILLED WORDS

“Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear.”  (Ephesians 4:29)

O Lord, give me ears to hear as You hear, discernment to understand others as You understand, and fitting words of wisdom for those I encounter today. May I speak life, hope, and love instead of suspicion, judgment, and criticism. Let the words of my mouth honor You, Amen.

-- Dorothy Johnson as quoted in “Alive Now” Jan/Feb 2017


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Tuesday, April 17, 2018

JESUS CALLS US FRIENDS

“I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from My Father I have made known to you.”  (John 15:15 NIV)

Jesus calls us to be His friend, and the friend of God. That is a tremendous offer. It means that no longer do we need to gaze longingly at God from afar off; we are not like slaves who have no right whatever to enter into the presence of the master; passing on some state occasion. Jesus gave us this intimacy with God, so that He is no longer a distant stranger, but our close friend.

-- William Barclay in his commentary on “The Gospel of John”


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Monday, April 16, 2018

ROOTED AND BUILT UP IN CHRIST

“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as LORD, continue to live your lives in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”  (Colossians 2:6-7 NIV)

At the edge of a rocky overlook in the Appalachian foothills stands a lone two-hundred-year-old evergreen tree... Through the years, it has defied heavy snow, hailstorms, and the steady, westerly winds rising off the valley floor. From it's vulnerable view of endless ridges and valleys, it has seen conditions that would snap most trees in half. Nevertheless, it stands strong.

What's the secret?... The answer lies below the surface. For literally two centuries, the elements have hurled their assaults against the tree. But while storms raged on the outside, the tree quietly developed an inner support system to sustain it. Every gust of wind sent the roots sprawling deeper into the soil, expanding the tree's tenacious grip on the mountain...

We are all like trees subjected to the stormy elements of life. And when they come, we either snap or grow stronger. What makes the difference is not the ferocity of the storm but the depth of our [relationship with Christ].

-- adapted from Andy Stanley in “Like a Rock"


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EDITOR'S NOTE: This quote reminded me of an image I captured last year and posted to my photography website...

Sell Art Online

Friday, April 13, 2018

IN GLORY

One of the most amazing teachings of the Scriptures is that in Jesus, God Himself knows the pain of surrender.  Jesus knelt in a garden and prayed, “Let this cup pass from Me.  Nevertheless, not My will, but Yours be done.” (Luke 22:42)  And just as surrender led to resurrection for Jesus, so it does for His followers.  The apostle Paul wrote, “For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.  When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.” (Colossians 3:3)

What does it mean that you will appear with Him “in glory”?  It means the day is coming when it will be a glorious thing to be you.  One of the noblest thoughts about God ever recorded by a human being came from Moses’ encounter on Mount Sinai.  Moses asked, “Now show me Your glory.” (Exodus 33:18)  We might expect special effects -- thunder and lighting and earthquakes and power.  But instead God said, “I will cause all My goodness to pass before you.”

The most glorious thing about God is how good He is.  One day you will share in that goodness.  Everything that is small or petty in you will be gone.  To glorify God means to be the kind of person people will look at and say, “What a great God God must be to have thought up such a creature!”

That will be you.  “In glory.”  Glorious.

The only way to glory is through humility.  The only way to freedom is through submission.  The only way to victory is through surrender.

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


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