"I Say...unto All, Watch" Mark 13:37
What Christ, the Head of the church(Eph. 5:23-24), says should mean everything to us! His often repeated command is to "Watch." To watch means, in the original, "to be alert"; "to be aroused", "to be awake." In this hour of His Coming He has shown us in pointed warnings that the only way to escape the trouble coming upon the whole earth-is to "watch and pray always" ) Matt. 24:42, 25:13; Mark 13:35; Luke 21:34-36; 1 Thes. 5:6; 1 Per. 4:7; Rev. 3:2; 16:15).
Again the Lord says, "Strive to enter in..for many ..will seek to enter in, and shall not be able" (Luke 13:24). The Greek rendering of "strive" is "agonize"- agonize to enter in. Paul, seeking to win Christ as the Bridegroom said, "I press" toward the mark (Phil. 3:7-14).
If we are told that many times in the New Testament to watch and pray, we had better be alert, aroused, and awake. Jesus has also said strive, or agonize to enter in. If the Apostle had to press, we must. I cannot believe this way to heaven is like a cruise up a lazy river in the noonday sun.
His blessings will flow as we remain alert, aroused, awake; even agonizing, and pressing toward that mark set before us. And all the while we will know that we are loved!!!
Looking for Jesus
For Him we are looking and longing: For Jesus, and Jesus alone. " Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven." Acts 1:11b
Looking For Jesus
It is not for a sign we are watching,
For wonders above and below,
The pouring of vials of judgment,
The sounding of trumpets of woe;
It is not for a day we are looking,
Not even the time yet to be
When the earth shall be filled with God's glory
As the waters cover the sea;
Not for these, though we know they are coming:
For they are but adjuncts of Him,
Before who all glory is clouded,
Besides who all splendor grows dim.
We wait for the Lord, our Beloved,
Our Comforter, Master and Friend,
The substance of all that we hope for,
Beginning of faith, and its end;
We watch for our Savior and Bridegroom,
Who loves us and made us His own;
For Him we are looking and longing:
For Jesus, and Jesus along.
Annie Johnson Flint
What a day that will be! Until then be blessed and remember that you are loved!!!
Surrender to be set Free
Within the Christian life is the only place where one can through up the white flag of surrender, and instead of being taken captive, you are in reality set free.
Jesus who once suffered in Gethsemane will be our strength and our victory, too. We may fear, we may also sink, but let us not be dismayed, and we shall yet praise Him and look back from a finished course and say, Not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the Lord [our] God spake concerning [us] (Joshua 23:14).
But in order to do this, we must, like Jesus, meet the conflict, not with a defiant but with a submissive spirit. He had to say, Not my will, but thine be done, but in saying it He gained the very thing He surrendered. The submission of Gethsemane is not a blind and dead submission of a heart that abandons all its hope, but it is the free submission that bows the head in order to get double strength through faith and prayer.
We let go in order that we may take a firmer hold. We give up in order that we may more fully receive. We lay our Isaac on Mount Moriah, and we receive him back, no longer our Isaac, but God's Isaac and infinitely more secure because he is returned to us in resurrection life.
May our Lord bless and keep you, and remember that you are loved!!!
Many Christian homes are succumbing to the seduction of our culture. If you ask children what is most important, you might be frightened at their responses. Parents, the Lord has charged us to train up our children…and though many of us are trying hard to follow the narrow road, Satan is continuously widening it into a superhighway of distractions and evil intent.
But remember what Matthew 7:14 says, "Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." The right way has not grown more narrow, it's the same as it's always been. But because the wrong way has become that superhighway, the right way seems almost impossible. More and more of us have become weary in well doing, and grow tired of fighting – even when the lives of our children are at stake. We hope that somehow, everything will come out right for them.
We must not leave it to chance! Job sacrificed daily for his children, we must do the same. We must pray for them, pray with them, and study our Bible with them. It's reported that currently youth spend approximately 7.5 hours daily on some type of computer screen or text screen. Sacrifice time and energy; God doesn't want burnt offerings from us. Our children must be convinced of our loving relationship with Jesus, and even to the point that they feel they must have the same for themselves.
"O give us homes built firm upon the Savior
Where Christ is Head and Counselor and Guide.
Where every child is taught His love and favor,
And gives his heart to Christ, the Crucified.
How sweet to know that, though his footsteps waver,
His faithful Lord is walking by his side!"
God bless you and yours, and remember that you are loved!!!
Kept by Faith in Jesus
"The Pilgrim's Progress" is a wonderful story of Christian, who struggled to find salvation, and relieve himself of the heavy bundle on his back, the guilt of his sin. After he found Christ at the cross, the bundle of guilt rolled away. The rest of his life was spent on the path to heaven as he contended for his faith. We are saved by faith in Jesus, and we are kept by faith in Jesus.
Satan cared far less for Peter's denial of his Master than for the use he made of it afterwards to destroy his faith. So Jesus said to him, "I have prayed for thee that thy faith fail not.." (Like 22:32). It was Peter's faith Satan attacked, and so it is our faith that he contests. "The trial of your faith, being much more precious that of gold that perisheth" (1 Peter 1:7).
Whatever else we let go, let's hold steadfastly to our trust, "Cast not away therefore your confidence (Hebrews 10:35), and hold fast the confidence and rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end (Hebrews 3:6). And if you would hold your trust, hold your sweetness, your rightness of spirit, your obedience to Christ, your victory in every way. Whatever comes, regard it as of less consequence than that you should triumph and remain steadfast. Accept every circumstance as something God is pleased to allow. Wave the banner of your victory in the face of every foe. Go on, shouting in Jesus' name, "Thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ" (2 Corinthians 2:14).
Has there been times in your life, like in mine, when you felt like you were holding on by a thread. Hold on, and always remember that you are loved!!!
P.S. See you in church tomorrow
A Life Hidden in Christ
We live in a society that is driven by production. In the middle of this workweek, do you feel pushed and shoved to get things done. Are there deadlines, quotas, productions to meet. In your domestic life, is the work around the home overwhelming today. I am so thankful for the hidden life we have with the Lord. In spite of all the pressure or stress the world can bring on us, we can have the enter peace and joy that comes from the Lord. Praying before I got up this morning, this Psalm came to mind. Hope it helps today.
"THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD, I SHALL NOT WANT.
HE MAKETH ME TO LIE DOWN IN GREEN PASTURES;
HE LEADETH ME BESIDE THE STILL WATERS.
HE RESTORETH MY SOUL:
HE LEADETH ME IN THE PATHS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
FOR HIS NAME'S SAKE.
YEA, THOUGH I WALK THROUGH
THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW OF DEATH
I WILL FEAR NO EVIL; FOR THOU ART WITH ME;
THY ROD AND THY STAFF THEY COMFORT ME.
THOU PREPAREST A TABLE BEFORE ME
IN THE PRESENCE OF MINE ENEMIES:
THOU ANOINTEST MY HEAD WITH OIL;
MY CUP RUNNETH OVER.
SURELY GOODNESS AND MERCY SHALL FOLLOW
ME ALL THE DAYS OF MY LIFE: AND I SHALL
DWELL IN THE HOUSE OF THE LORD FOR EVER."
A saintly lady in her 80's told me once, that if I felt pushed, shoved, or driven, it was not the Lord. He gently leads. Please take time to read the Psalm again, and let Him lead you to those quite places today.
God bless and remember that you are loved!!!
Fellowship of His Suffering
"Let us also go, that we may die with him"-this was an outburst of impetuous love from the heart of Thomas. The disciples had been trying to convince the Master to not go back to Judea because of the hate which the raising of Lazarus had aroused and the certainty of danger if He did go back. But when Thomas saw that their efforts had no effect on Jesus, and that He was certainly going back to face His enemies, he cried in an impulse of desperation and devotion, "Let us also go, that we may die with him." Thomas's cry was that of a devoted soldier ready to follow his leader into the jaws of danger and death.
Thomas's words were wiser than he knew. It is true that he and his fellow disciples did not immediately share their Master's fate, but there was a deep and sacred sense in which they were to die with Him even before their literal persecution and martyrdom.
In a very real and solemn way, these words are true of every disciple of Christ. For His death is not only the source of our salvation, but it is also the pattern of our lives.
"I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,"
With an intelligent faith and a renewed dedication, let us with Thomas, "also go that we may die with Him."
"Let us also go, that we may die with him" John 11:16
God bless you and yours today, and never forget how much you are loved!!!
The Strength Of My Heart
What a wonderful day we enjoyed at Dogwood yesterday. Now as we face a new week, it is good to know that even as our circumstances change, our environment changes, our associates change; God is the same Monday as He was Sunday.
"Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."-Psalms 73:25-26
So we are rejoicing this morning in the glorious thought that when everything around us fades away and crumbles...HE is still there...our rock, our fortress our strong tower! Take a moment this morning & thank Him for His faithfulness...
God bless and remember that you are loved!!!
River of Grace
We have floated some of our smaller rivers in southern Indiana with a John Boat, fishing for bass. We are not able to go far until we run into log jams, which are an unpleasant sight. Logs backed up behind one another, and piled on top of one another. As a float fisherman it's something you always dread to see.
This reminds me of the scene we observe too often in the Church. We Christian travelers accept God's grace for salvation, but too many of us seem to believe it stops there. This results in a real congestion, with people just backing up behind each other. It's not just new converts that fail to move on, but too many of us that have been Christians for some years just have very little, if any, movement in our Christian walk. We are basically where we started.
As we look deeper into God's grace, let's praise Him for His saving grace, but also for growing in His grace from day to day, freeing us from that log jam of congestion. He not only wants, but He expects, movement from us in our Christian life. The scriptures says: "From Grace to Grace."
Grace literally means that which we do not have to earn. It has two great senses always; it comes without charge, and it comes when we are helpless. Grace does not merely help the man who helps himself-that is not the gospel. The gospel is that God helps the man who cannot help himself. In addition, God helps the man to help himself, for everything the man does comes from God. Grace is given to the man who is so weak and helpless he cannot take the first step. His grace can also help us take that next step and the next. That is the meaning of grace-at least a little of its meaning. We can never know the fullness of it.
This river of grace is as free as it is full, but some people, surprisingly, have the idea that when they get a little farther on they must pay an admission, or pay to reserve a seat, and they shrink back from the higher blessings of the gospel. Ordinary Christians scarcely dare to claim them. That's where the congestion starts, the "log jam", if you will. If I understand the meaning of the gospel, God has not put the higher blessings apart for a separate class who somehow are nearer to Him. God is no respecter of persons.
My heart yearns for ever person in our church to grow in God's grace. If after an honest assessment of your present Christian life, you feel you are standing still, in a "log jam", God's river of grace can move you. For me, it seems the simplest next move for many of us is to join a small group, where we can learn to grow with others and move on from there to help others in need. The Lord never wants us to stand still, to be congested in a "log jam".
The enemy would want to freeze us where we are, through fear of a small group setting, or by busying us so, we could justify no movement in the area of our Christian life. But God's grace is greater, and remember His grace can help move that person that feels he cannot move himself.
"Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh—"Galatians 3:3
God bless you and yours, be bless this Saturday morning, see you in church tomorrow, and remember that you are loved!!!
Our Influence Matters
We live in the information age for sure. People are strongly influenced from all the data poured into their lives daily. Information from TV shows, talk radio, movies, the internet, etc. Most of us feel that we have very little, if any, influence on others. But God has a different opinion, and He gives us a strong warning in His word.
"That no man put a stumbling block or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way" (Rom. 14:13).
Not only are we to be careful for our own soul’s sake, but for the sake of others – for our example’s sake. What effect will my conduct have on others? What influence will I bear upon others, upon my friends? If I participate in this activity, do I want my children to follow my example? Do I want my youngsters to follow in my footsteps in this activity? What kind of testimony will this be to my unsaved friends? Let's give our live in service to God and one another.
WE ARE PILGRIMS ON A JOURNEY;
WE'RE TOGETHER ON THIS ROAD.
WE ARE HERE TO HELP EACH OTHER
WALK THE MILE AND BEAR THE LOAD.
I WILL HOLD THE CHRIST-LIGHT FOR YOU
IN THE NIGHT-TIME OF YOUR FEAR;
I WILL HOLD MY HAND OUT TO YOU,
SPEAK THE PEACE YOU LONG TO HEAR.
I WILL WEEP WHEN YOU ARE WEEPING;
WHEN YOU LAUGH, I'LL LAUGH WITH YOU.
I WILL SHARE YOUR JOY AND SORROW
TILL WE'VE SEEN THIS JOURNEY THRO'.
BROTHER, SISTER, LET ME SERVE YOU
LET ME BE AS CHRIST TO YOU;
PRAY THAT I MAY HAVE THE GRACE TO
LET YOU BE MY SERVANT TOO.
God bless you today, as you serve one another in this way, and remember 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!