Sowing Seeds


Many parents aren’t proud of their family trees. The harvest was taken, but no seed was sown. Childhood memories bring more hurt than inspiration. If such is the case, put down the family scrapbook and pick up your Bible. John 3:6 reminds us, “Human life comes from human parents, but spiritual life comes from the Spirit.” Your parents have given you genes, but God gives you grace.

Didn’t have a good father?  Galatians 4:7 says God will be your father. Didn’t have a good role model?  Ephesians 5:1 says, “You are God’s child whom He loves, so try to be like Him.”

You cannot control the way your forefathers responded to God. But you can control the way you respond to Him. The past does not have to be your prison. Choose well and someday—generations from now—your grandchildren and great-grandchildren will thank God for the seeds you sowed!

From When God Whispers Your Name

~ Max Lucado

And so I choose . . .


It’s quiet.

It’s early.

For the next 12 hours I’ll be exposed to the day’s demands.

It’s now that I must make a choice.

And so I choose—love.

I will love God and what God loves.

  • I choose joy.
  • I choose peace. I will live forgiven.
  • I choose patience—Rather than complain that the wait is too long, I’ll thank God for a moment to pray.
  • I choose kindness—for that’s how God has treated me.
  • I choose goodness.
  • I choose faithfulness.  Today I’ll keep my promises. My wife will not question my love.
  • I choose gentleness.  If I make a demand, may it be only of myself.
  • I choose self-control.  I will be impassioned only by my faith and influenced only by God.

Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

When this day is done, I’ll place my head on my pillow and rest.

~ Max Lucado

God will guard you from the evil one


riday June 27

Today’s promise:

What do I do when Satan attacks?

Be careful! Watch out for attacks from the Devil, your great enemy. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for some victim to devour. Take a firm stand against him, and be strong in your faith.Remember that your Christian brothers and sisters all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are.

1 Peter 5:8-9 NLT

So humble yourselves before God. Resist the Devil, and he will flee from you. Draw close to God, and God will draw close to you.

James 4:7-8 NLT

Not the real thing

 

Wickedness, when you examine it, turns out to be the pursuit of some good in the wrong way. You can be good for the mere sake of goodness; you cannot be bad for the mere sake of badness. You can do a kind action when you are not feeling kind and when it gives you no pleasure, simply because kindness is right; but no one ever did a cruel action simply because cruelty was wrong — only because cruelty was pleasant or useful to him. In other words, badness cannot succeed even in being bad in the same way in which goodness is good. Goodness is, so to speak, itself; badness is only spoiled goodness.…Evil is a parasite, not an original thing.

C. S. Lewis in Mere Christianity
Quoted in The Quotable Lewis edited by Wayne Martindale and Jerry Root (Tyndale) p 193

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House

It seems today is the day to emphasize “Forgiveness”


forgiveness5

Everywhere I turned today, I ran into new tidbits about “Forgiveness”.  I don’t believe in coincidence, because I believe in the verse Romans 8:28  which reads . . . And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. NIV

So . . . it seems He is trying to bring home to me a truth that needs to be reexamined!

forgiveness6

dont-judge1forgiveness4

forgiveness God's promise

forgiveness3

 

Forgiveness is an act of love and obedience

It isn’t dependent on who the person is, what the person has done or how many times they have done it.

In fact it really has nothing to do with the person who hurt you.

It is all about you and your relationship with God.

I’m so thankful that He loves me enough to command me to do this. Because at the end of the day I know I can say, “God of second chances and new beginnings … here I am again, Please forgive me…

Daniel 9:18

We make this plea, not because we deserve help, but because of your mercy.

Are you wearing the “belt of truth”?


The belt of truth

Stand your ground, putting on the sturdy belt of truth.

Ephesians 6:14 NLT

“You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free,” says Jesus (John 8:32). But what will the truth set us free from?

First of all, it sets us free from the snares of deception. When people know the truth, they can’t be taken in by a lie. You can’t convince people to believe in something that they know in their hearts and minds is false.

The truth will also set you free from guilt and shame. When you’ve held tightly to the truth, you don’t have to worry about a lie coming back to haunt you. You don’t spend your nights lying awake wondering what words of deception might trap and ensnare you. You are free to live with a clean conscience and an innocent heart.

Finally, the truth sets you free from judgment. When you trust in the truth of Jesus, you have no more fear of death — physical or spiritual. You know his promises to be true and his words to be life-giving. You can no longer be bound by Satan’s lies.

The belt of truth Paul writes about is the strap that holds together the entire armor of God. Without it, everything else would fall away and Satan would have an open target to your heart. So take the truth of Christ, and latch it firmly around your waist. Let it set you free!

From a devotional by Frank M. Martin in Embracing Eternity (Tyndale House) p 293

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House

Blessings come from applying God’s Word.

Faithful Perseverance


You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. For, “In just a little while, he who is coming will come and will not delay.” Hebrews 10:36-37

The greatest example of Christian perseverance for me is Sister Alice Yuan from China. Her pastor husband, Allen Yuan, was imprisoned for almost twenty-two years for refusing to join the government controlled church in the middle 1950’s. She says:

“When my husband Allen was sent to prison in April 1958, I was told that I would never see him again. I felt completely miserable and continually blamed God. The future looked so terribly bleak. I had the care of six children and my mother-in-law. I was only earning 80 cents a day. How could I keep my family alive on that?

“When it all became too much for me, one night I heard a voice: ‘My child, I have everything in My hands. These things come from Me.’ I replied, ‘If these things come from You, please protect me and my family. Do not allow me to dishonor Your name. I want to serve You and glorify Your name’

“Then I received peace in my heart. I was encouraged by Psalm 68:19, Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. In those difficult years, people let me down, but God never abandoned me. But he did put me through trials.

“The first trial was the struggle to survive. I was only earning 80 cents a day. How could we get by on that? But God took care of us, in the same way that he took care of Elijah. He promised to be my shepherd and provider.

“One evening, my mother-in-law said that there was no food anymore in the house. The next morning, at five to six there was a knock on the door. ‘Are you sister Alice?’ asked a woman in her sixties, whom I didn’t know. ‘God wanted me to give you this.’ She put a package in my hand and disappeared. When I opened the parcel I found there was rice in it and some other food and a banknote to the value of about four month’s salary of a professor! Praise the Lord. Where man comes to an end, God begins! This was only one of the many miracles which kept us alive all those years.”

RESPONSE: Today I will not complain about discomforts but thank God for all His blessings!

PRAYER: Lord, You desire faithfulness and perseverance. Help me develop these qualities in my life.

“But my righteous one will live by faith. And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back.” But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved. Hebrews 10:38-39

“The second trial came from the Communist party. Every day for nineteen years, I had to report to the police station, where for six hours, they put pressure on me. They said that I would never see my husband again, that I should divorce him and that I should give up my faith. With God’s help I kept going. Praying with my eyes closed, I endured the interrogations every day.

“The third trial consisted of the hard work. After I had been pressured by the security police for six hours, I still had to work for eight hours to earn a living. I had to push handcarts filled with building materials. The carts were much too heavy. I was completely exhausted and was already tired before I started. In the winter, it was even worse. Sometimes I had to shovel cement up onto a floor above my head. The work was dirty, hard and cold, but I achieved my quota. The others were surprised and wondered where I got the energy from.

“The fourth trial had to do with my natural desires. I was thirty-nine-years-old when my husband was taken away. The authorities put me under pressure to marry someone else. All my papers would be changed, so that I could start a new life without all the difficulties. I was offered money and clothing. God loved me so much that He gave me the strength to resist all these temptations. When I prayed to God, He gave me everything I needed, and even more than that.

“My favorite text is Psalm 68:6, God sets the lonely in families, he leads forth the prisoners with singing.”

It is a miracle that her husband, Allen Yuan, got out of the labour camp alive. In December 1979, he was released after twenty-one years and eight months. He was then sixty-five years old, thin but still healthy. At an age when many people are enjoying retirement, Allan again took up his vocation as a pastor. He died on August 16th 2005 at the age of ninety-one. Alice joined him in heaven in early August 2010 to hear her own “Well done!”

RESPONSE: I resolve to persevere, with faith in a good God, through all the trials that come my way.

PRAYER: Lord, may all Your children experiencing severe persecution today be filled with faith and refuse to shrink back. Help me to emulate these great examples of faithful perseverance.

Standing Strong Through The Storm (SSTS)
A daily devotional message by SSTS author Paul Estabrooks

© 2011 Open Doors International. Used by permission

Consume my life


Ed McCully, Peter Fleming, and Jim Elliot

God’s Word is powerful

He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.

Jim Elliot, 1949

God, I pray Thee, light these idle sticks of my life and may I burn for Thee. Consume my life, my God, for it is Thine. I seek not a long life, but a full one, like you, Lord Jesus.

Jim Elliot, 1948

Jim Elliot’s prayer

When he died [at the hands of the Auca Indians], Jim left little of value, as the world regards values.…Of material things, there were few; a home in the jungle, a few well-worn clothes, books, and tools. The men who went to try to rescue the five [missionaries — all of whom died] brought back to me from Jim’s body his wrist watch, and from…the beach, the blurred pages of his college prayer-notebook. There was no funeral, no tombstone for a memorial.…No legacy then? Was it “just as if he had never been”? Jim left for me, in memory, and for us all, in these letters and diaries, the testimony of a man who sought nothing but the will of God, who prayed that his life would be “an exhibit of the value of knowing God.”

The interest which accrues from this legacy is yet to be realized. It is hinted at in the lives of…Indians who have determined to follow Christ, persuaded by Jim’s example; in the lives of many who write to tell me of a new desire to know God as Jim did.…His death was the result of simple obedience to his Captain.

Jim Elliot and four other missionaries met their deaths trying to reach the Auca Indians for Christ.

Elizabeth Elliot, Shadow of the Almighty

Adapted from The Prayer Bible Jean E. Syswerda, general editor, Tyndale House Publishers (2003), p375.

Digging Deeper: End of the Spear by Steve Saint (Tyndale, 2005), son of Nate Saint, chronicles the story of the encounter with the Ecuadorian tribe, which also became a major motion picture.

Thou SHALT love . . .


. . . Thou shalt love the Lord thy God. . . .

Thou shalt love thy neighbor . . .
–Matthew 22:37–39

Here is the answer to the world’s problems today—“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God,” “Thou shalt love thy fellowman.” That teaching is not out-of-date; it is absolutely relevant today. It is the only way in which the problems of the world today can be solved, whether the problems are those of individuals or of nations. If we love God with all our heart, we will have a capacity to love our neighbors. True love will find an outlet in service—not merely in singing hymns, attending church, or even in praying—but in trying our utmost to prove our love, by obeying the will of our heavenly Father.

Prayer for the day

True love demands everything I have. Take all the hidden things in my life that keep me from loving You and my neighbor as I should. Let me obey Your will unequivocally, dear Lord.

Don’t take anyone else’s word . . .


“Don’t take anyone else’s word for God.

Find Him for yourself, and then you too will know by the wonderful,

warm tug on your heartstring,

that He is there, for sure.”

~ Billy Graham

(My note:

“Don’t take anyone else’s word for what’s in the Bible.

Read it yourself.

Many people,

including even some well-meaning pastors,

take scripture out of context

and use it for their own opinions to try to get a point across. ~ Sharon)

Wings like Eagles


 

Dear Lord,

I seek to have my strength renewed.

I know you are strong enough to carry me.

And YOU always soar!

You know why I feel lethargic.

Help me to know what is causing it, and how to combat it.

Please help me to be able to soar again.

Thank you.

In Jesus’ Name,

Your child,

Sharon

Joy in Sharing


by Billy Graham

We . . . offer our sacrifice of praise to God by telling others of the glory of his name.
–Hebrews 13:15 (TLB)

Jesus knew that one of the real tests of our yieldedness to God is our willingness to share with others.

If we have no mercy toward others, that is one proof that we have never experienced God’s mercy.

Emerson must have been reading the gauge of human mercy when he said, “What you are speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say.”

Satan does not care how much you theorize about Christianity, or how much you profess to know Christ.

What he opposes vigorously is the way you live Christ.

Some time ago a lady wrote and said, “I am 65 years old. My children are all married, my husband is dead, and I am one of the loneliest people in all the world.” It was suggested to her that she find a way of sharing her religious faith and her material goods with those around her. She wrote a few weeks later and said, “I am the happiest woman in town. I have found a new joy and happiness in sharing with others.” That’s exactly what Jesus promised!

Prayer for the day

There is no greater joy, Father, than sharing Your love. Help me to convey this in all my dealings with others.

A different side of Max Lucado


http://vimeo.com/40881634

I’ve been a great admirer of Max Lucado for years. To me he’s one of the most gifted writers and is a true inspiration.

I think you’ll enjoy this little movie about Joseph!