HE IS ALIVE INDEED!
We had a wonderful day at Dogwood yesterday. We had moved the worship service to the Community Building to have needed room, and it was almost filled to capacity. The songs about our Lords resurrection are my favorites and we enjoyed some of those yesterday, and a great sermon from Pastor "A".
Just a simple thought for us today: Sin is the very thing that brings sadness to a life, and the victory over sin is the very thing that brings real lasting happiness here, and eternal life hereafter.
Yesterday we had a picture drawn for us of two men in the very presence of the life changing blood as it flowed at Calvary; one on the right side of Jesus and the other on the left side of Jesus. One man chose to die in his sins, while the other accepted eternal life from His Lord.
"Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus." --Romans 6:8-11
May you experience the redeeming love of Christ today and every day. Because He is alive today just as much as He was two thousand years ago, and He is alive on this Monday morning just as He was yesterday morning. Let's continue to celebrate our life in Him.
One of the greatest promises is the promise we can abide in Christ. In earlier Christian times, believers called the Communion "the medicine of immortality," and God gave them the desire to pray:
"Be known to us in breaking bread, But do not then depart; Savior, abide with us and spread, Thy table in our heart."
Some churches have a teaching that you will find God only at their table-and that you leave God there when you leave. I am so glad that God has given us light. We may take the Presence of the table with us. We may take the Bread of Life with us as we go.
"According to Thy gracious word, In meek humility, This will I do, my dying Lord; I will remember Thee.
Thy body, broken for my sake, My bread from heaven shall be;
Thy testimonial cup I take, And thus remember Thee.
When to the cross I turn mine eyes And rest on Calvary,
O Lamb of God, my sacrifice, I must remember Thee.
And when these failing lips grow dumb and mind and memory flee.
When Thou shalt in Thy kingdom come, Jesus, remember me!"
Let's never permit what happened on Calvary, that Good Friday long ago, to become so familiar that we forget the Awesomeness of that great Sacrifice given for our redemption. Now because He arose in victory, we can abide with Him, and He with us.
"Abide in me as I abide in you....." John 15:a
Give the Savior your thanks on this Good Friday, and then look forward to celebrating Resurrection Sunday!
At her launch in 1936, the Queen Mary was the largest ship to sail the oceans. She served faithfully for four decades, even through a world war, until she was retired in a Long Beach, California harbor.
They converted her into a museum and hotel after repairs and a face lift. As they removed the smoke stacks for a new paint job they crumbled apart. There was nothing left of the ¾-inch steel plates that had once formed the stacks. All that remained were more than thirty coats of paint, which had been applied over the 40 years she was at sea. The steel had rusted away and left the stacks without substance.
Jesus told the Pharisees they were like "...white washed tombs...". There was no substance. In a word, they had only a face lift to impress others around them.
Oh that we, as followers of Jesus Christ, would never lack the real thing, as did the smoke stacks on Queen Mary! As children of the King, we must "first clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean" (Matthew 23:26).
The Scripture says God does not look at outward appearances or the things that man looks at, but instead He looks at the heart (see 1 Samuel 16:7). Jesus is the One who can help us with both our outward condition, and the inward condition of our totally surrendered heart. "If we confess our sins, He who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9
From his hymn, Rock of Ages, Augustus Toplady also gives us understanding of this great work of Jesus in our life. For he wrote:
"Rock of Ages, cleft for me, Let me hide myself in Thee
Let the water and the blood, From Thy wounded side which flowed.
Be for sin the double cure, Save from wrath and make me pure."
May the Lord bless and keep you today, and never forget that you are loved!!!
What a storm we had in Southern Indiana last night! Over the past two days we had viewed the pictures of devastation throughout the southern states. Homes and other buildings were leveled with over 40 people killed. Then in just before midnight we were awakened by this great wind. It seemed to go on like none I had heard before. Yes, we were praying in the middle of this storm, for our safety and all others to be safe as well.
"Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and He brought them out from their distress; He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed. Then they were glad because they had quiet, and He brought them to their desired haven. Let them thank the Lord for His steadfast love, for His wonderful works to humankind. Let them extol Him in the congregation of the people, and praise Him in the assembly of the elders." Psalm 107:28
This morning all is calm, with only damage to our trees and flag pole. Our scripture today says: "Then they were glad because they had quiet." If you are facing a different kind of storm today, He can bring quit to your soul. Verse 31 says: "Let them thank the Lord for His steadfast love, for His wonderful works to humankind."
May the Good Lord bless you and yours today, stay safe, and know that Christ loves you!!!
“Is it not written,” He cried, “‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a robbers’ den” (v. 17).
Jesus’ actions in the temple emphasized how extravagant the offer of salvation is. He showed that no one should restrain or interfere with those God calls to be saved. This week, consider people you know who need the eternal life Jesus promises. How can you help clear the way for them to worship?
Then invite them to join you at your worship service this coming weekend, and finally be in prayer that God will be speaking to hearts!
We are excited about the new Bible study Paul Walerczack will be leading, starting this Thursday. It will be at 7:00 and will cover this very subject of prayer. Let's come expecting God to make some positive changes in our prayer life, that can make some positive changes in the lives of our lost friends and family.
Have a wonderful week! Be blessed and always remember that you are loved!!!
Has terror ever filled your heart because of what you have seen; something that you really believe is coming at you, and that will destroy who you are? Well, I sure have.
Being very much of the earth--earthy--we always want tangible, visible things--proof, demonstrations, something to latch onto. If we always had them, of course, faith would be "struck blind." Many of our prayers are directed toward the quick and easy solution. However, it is with our patiently waiting that God receives the greater glory.
There is a story of a man who let a rope down into a shaft in order to lower himself to the bottom. As he reached the end he realized he didn't provide enough rope, for his feet were still dangling. He was totally exhausted, unable to climb back to the top, but he had convinced himself that to let go would be sudden death. When he could hold on no longer, he had no choice and as he fell just a few inches he landed on solid rock.
"Our troubles are slight and short-lived, and their outcome an eternal glory which outweighs them far. Meanwhile our eyes are fixed, not on the things that are seen, but on the things that are unseen" 2 Cor. 4:17
A person can get a bit tongue-tied trying to tell what happened in 1 Samuel 28. Saul saw a seer because of what he had seen. When Saul saw what he saw, he sought a seer to see what the seer would say about what he saw.
That may seem like a ridiculous set of sentences when you are reading the Bible and having devotions, but they make a point. What Saul did was ridiculous, a mistake we should not make.
The bottom line is that Saul was living by sight, not by faith. "When Saul saw the Philistine army, he was afraid; terror filled his heart" (1 Samuel 28:5). His first response was to pray, but God did not answer. His next response shows that he was not seeking God as much as he was looking for help, no matter where it came from. "Seek out for me a woman who is a medium, so that I may go to her and inquire of her." (Verse 7) Living by sight was a pattern with Saul. Living by faith was not. Yet living by faith is blessed by God. Living by sight is not.
How do you live? When God does not seem to answer quick enough for you, it is tempting to decide on the basis of what you see. Don't do it. Don't be like Saul, who let what he saw decide what he would do.
"Living by faith in Jesus above;
Trusting, confiding in His great love:
Safe from all harm in His sheltering arm
I'm living by faith and feel no alarm."
May the Lord bless you today, and remember that you are loved!!!
"But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord." 2 Corinthians 3:18
If today, you feel as if you have totally failed your family, or your boss, or your friends, or your church, or your God, there is hope.
We have all been in office buildings, banks, or hotels that were been renovated. There were such signs posted as: "Please be patient. Renovation in progress to produce something new and wonderful." Thinking of such signs, there are times I wish I could hang one around my neck for my family, friends, and fellow workers to see.
This reminds me also, of two songs the Gaithers have written: "Something Beautiful"; and the one for the children: "He's Still Working On Me". Therefore, as long as I have life, I have hope that God can and will make improvements.
Chiseled on the entryway to a little chapel on a back road in the Highlands of Scotland are some challenging words in Gaelic. Translated into English they still carry the customary directness and candor of the Highland Scot: "Come as you are, but don't leave as you came."
A paraphrase of Jesus' gracious word could read: "Come to Me. I will never cast you out. But don't you expect to remain the same."
So if you have failed, know that He loves you just as you are, but He loves you too much to leave you that way.
May the One who can truly transform, bless you today!!!
Have you ever been lost and disoriented to the point you did not know north from south? Are you standing at a cross road this morning? Are you in the "Valley of Decision" Billy Graham refers to? If you chose either road at the end of the valley you can know where you are going, where you will end up.
Lord Byron, who early in life abandoned himself to the pursuit of pleasure, a year before he died wrote, "My days are in the yellow leaf;/The flowers and fruits of love are gone;/The worm, the canker, and the grief/Are mine alone." That is the end of one road, but it is contracted by the other.
Adam Clarke, whose commentaries on the Bible are used throughout the world, took the other road. At age eighty-four he said, "I have passed through the springtime of my life. I have withstood the heat of the summer. I have culled the fruits of the fall., I am even now enduring the rigors of its winter, but at no great distance I see the approach of a new eternal springtime. Hallelujah!"
"....Thus saith the Lord; Behold, I set before you the way of life, and the way of death." Jeremiah 21:8b
Decide to give the Lord Jesus your life today, be blessed and always remember, you are loved!!!
"Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?" The expert in the law replied, "The one who had mercy on him." Jesus told him, "Go and do likewise." Luke 10:36–37
Good Samaritan living does not come naturally. We are afraid of rejection, of being robbed ourselves, of being taken advantage of. Jesus also said that as the end nears, because of lawlessness, "...the love of many will wax cold." But intercession for those around will eventually result in reaching out to them in Christ's name. It's not likely that they cannot resist genuine love forever.
Prayer: "O Lord, help me to see people, people around me, as You see them. To pray for them. To reach out to them. To be a "Good Samaritan" to them. I can't do it myself, I've tried. Change me, for Christ's sake."
May the Lord Jesus bless and keep you today, and may you always know that you are loved!!!
With the "Baby Boomers" reaching the age of retirement, reports are showing that one-fourth do not have enough funds to be able to call it quits with work, and many more cannot enjoy to retire in comfort during their golden years. This can be so disappointing to one who worked a lifetime in a job they received little pleasure from, only to see their retirement dissipate through a bad economy or great medical expenses. The one who sees his life's calling first in God, then his energy spent in trying to display the power and glory of God, has his hope and trust in Jesus. He then sees no place for retirement, but does see beyond this present life with all of it's difficulties.
"Then Elijah said to him, "Stay here, please, for the Lord has sent me on to the Jordan." But he said, "As the Lord lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you!" So the two of them went on. And fifty men of the sons of the prophets went and stood facing them at a distance, while the two of them stood by the Jordan. Now Elijah took his mantle, rolled it up, and struck the water; and it was divided this way and that, so that the two of them crossed over on dry ground. "
Serving the Lord is not just for the young. John Wesley preached until he died at age 90. Gladys Stall of Lake Magdalene, Florida, has taught Sunday school for 82 years. She began at the age of 14 and is still teaching six-and seven-year-olds at the age of 96.
As we study Elijah in the last few days of his ministry, we find a man still actively proclaiming the reality and glory of God. Proceeding toward his appointment with destiny and the fiery chariot of God, he demonstrated the power of God by parting the water of the Jordan. Even in his closing moments, Elijah dramatically revealed that the God of Israel is an awesome God. Though he may have been growing weak physically, God was not changing. He will be the same for us to the very end.
Christians never reach the age where they can completely "retire" from the Lord's service. Even when we may physically no longer be able to do the things we once did, God can still use us to reveal His power and glory. It may be in a ministry of prayer or encouragement, and that may prove to be the best ministry we've ever had. However, those people usually do not develop those ministries at the end of life, but have been to some extent, prayer warriors and encouragers through their Christian walk with the Lord. Perhaps God will demonstrate His awesome power through the life experiences of His more senior saints. However He chooses, our latter years should be as much at His disposal as our former ones.
God bless you and yours today, and what ever you may face today, know that you are loved!!!
Henry D. is from Southern Indiana and writes these wonderful daily devotionals to encourage those at the Dogwood Community Church located in Paoli, Indiana. Henry has graciously agreed to share these wonderful devotionals here at Without Excuse Ministries to encourage you our valued guest!