With caller ID and voice mail, sometimes we know who called us and what they want to talk to us about. But before caller ID and voice mail we had no idea who was on the line so we always answered the call when ever possible.
Are we listening to God’s call and understanding what he wants, and what He has called us to be. Because, this matter of what we are to be, must precede anything we are to do. From time to time we hear someone say the Church is living so much below the level God has intended for her. Matthew 22:14 says “For many are called but few are chosen”. Let's take the call so you can be chosen, and then be what He wants us to be.
But what will we become, if we accept the call? In writing to churches which God had helped Paul start or edify, Paul addresses the believers as "saints." Those in Rome, Paul addressed as "…beloved of God, called to be saints" (Rom. 1:7). To the church in Corinth he wrote "to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints" (1 Cor. 1:2), and writing again he addresses them as well as all those in Achaia as "saints" (2 Cor. 1:1). Paul writes "To the saints which are at Ephesus" (Eph.1:1) and "To all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi" (Phil. 1:1) and "To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse" (Col. 1:2).
In these passages, as well as throughout Revelation, the word saints is always used in the plural, and never refers to an individual. Now concerning the subject of God's calling, Paul expresses his hearts passion: "I press toward [am in earnest pursuit of] the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 3:14). To Timothy, Paul wrote of it as a "holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began" (2 Tim. 1:9). To the Thessalonians Paul "exhorted and comforted and charged every one of [them] as a father doth his children, that [they] would walk worthy of God, who hath called [them]unto His kingdom and glory" (1 Thes. 2:11-12). The writer of Hebrews speaks of it as a "heavenly calling" (Heb. 3:1).
So, like it or not, if you and I belong to Christ, we are called to be saints. It is a high calling, a holy calling, a heavenly calling; not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, in Christ Himself. In Paul's day, the Church, "the saints", turned the world upside down. What would happen today, if we did not shrink back from this call, but accepted it, and allowed Him to help us live it? Do you have Him on call waiting? A hurting world is waiting for us to answer.
Have a wonderful day, let Christ bless you, and always remember that you are loved!!!
Don't Blame My Hands
"Come now, and let us reason together," says the Lord, "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool."
A pastor discovered that the clock at the back of the sanctuary was unable to keep the correct time. Repeatedly he set the hands to the appropriate hour and minute only to find by the next week that it was either too fast or too slow. Finally he gave up and hung a sign above the clock that read, "Don't blame my hands. The trouble lies deeper."
That is where the trouble lies with man when he does wrong. He can blame his environment, his education, or even his parents, but the real trouble lies deep within his own heart. Our human nature God has blessed us with, is not the problem; just like the hands on the clock were not to be blamed. Jesus said, "For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies" (Matt. 15:19).
Fortunately, God has provided a solution for that heart problem? A heart yielded to Jesus, will be repaired.
God bless you and remember that you are loved!!!
In His Presence
As you end your work-week, has this one been a real struggle? Have you been wrestling or nestling? When we are totally submitted to Him, and are abiding in Him, some things just come naturally. Things, such as, gladness of heart, happiness, and the lack of pain and misery, in the spiritual sense. The following is from a lady who raised 19 children, and found the key to all of this in the presence of Jesus.
"He is so infinitely blessed, that every perception of His blissful presence imparts a vital gladness to the heart. Every degree of approach to Him is, in the same proportion, a degree of happiness. And I often think that were He always present to our mind, as we are present to Him, there would be no pain, nor sense of misery."
"There is a peace in my heart that the world never gave,
a peace it cannot take away.
Tho' the trails of life may surround like a cloud,
I've a peace that has come there to stay!
Constantly abiding, Jesus is mine.
Constantly abiding, rapture divine!
He never leaves me lonely; whispers, oh, so kind:
"I will never leave thee." Jesus is mine."
"Remain in Me, and I will remain in you." John 15:4a
God bless you today, and never forget that you are loved!!!
Responsible for the Present
In conversation with a dear friend this week, he shared with me his need to get back to the Lord. He had drifted from where he was at one time, and missed that close fellowship with Jesus. The joy of the salvation he once had was gone. When one with a sincere heart repents, he can stand right with God today, leaving yesterday behind him, and not be worried about tomorrow. If you happened to be in a similar situation to that of my friend, let me share with you a beautiful devotional I read this week.
LEVITICUS 9:4 "Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation." Paul also quotes this Old Testament passage: 2 CORINTHIANS 6:2
Do not let your growth in holiness depend upon surrounding circumstances, but rather constrain those circumstances to minister to your growth. Beware of looking onward, or out of the present in any way, for the sanctification of your life. The only thing you can really control is the present--the actual moment that is passing by. Sanctify that from hour to hour, and you sanctify your whole life; but brood over the past, or project yourself into the future, and you will lose all. The little act of obedience, love, self-restraint, meekness, patience, devotion, offered to you actually, is all you can do now, and if you neglect that to fret about something else at a distance, you lose your real opportunity of serving God. A moment's silence, when some irritating words are said by another, may seem a very small thing; yet at that moment it is your one duty, your one way of serving and pleasing God, and if you break it, you have lost your opportunity.
H. L. SIDNEY LEAR
Trust Jesus this moment, and then live with Him moment by moment, standing on His word: "But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God---and righteousness and sanctification and redemption-." 1 Corinthians 1:30
God bless you and have a Great Day. Never forget that you are loved!!!
My Arrest and Rescue
The Courtroom was packed with people. As I crouched in the corner of the dock, they were gazing at me with looks of accusation which seemed to say, “Judge, give him the full benefit of the law and save society from further trouble.” Finally the clerk announced the opening of the Court and my case came first. The Judge asked the clerk if the boy had anyone to represent him. “Represent” was a new word to me. I supposed my representative was to be my executioner. The clerk answered that I had no one.
It amazes me how open our society has become to almost everything; living life out loud. Time was when we wanted to know every detail of a celebraties' life. Now Facebook is an example of how people share almost everything about their own personal life, and receive personal information about others, even what they had for breakfast.
It seems Jesus had something different to say about some matters; such as giving to the poor, praying to your Father, and fasting. Do you have a secret life with Him? Do you have a secret place for just you and your Lord? Jesus speaks to us in Matthew 6:
"But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you."
"But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you."
"But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face so that your fasting will not be noticed by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you."
God bless you today, and always remember that you are loved!!!
He Is Answering Prayer
“I was crying to the Lord with my voice, and He answered from His holy mountain.” -Psalm 3:4
The Word of God assures us that our Father hears our cries and responds. Remember that there is strength in just speaking His name. When we cry out to God, He may remove the problem immediately, yet we often have to wait for His perfect timing. Harsh circumstances might even be allowed to remain for His good purposes. But we can always count on His comfort and presence, which enable us to live with joy and hope.
Keep praying, God is moving! Include the week-end services in your prayers, and never forget that you are loved!!!
Rest We Can Only Find In Christ!
Within Spring Mill State Park, I have a favorite spot. There is a stream coming out of a cave and running down the hillside. It is in heavy tree cover. When no one is around except the Lord, and I'm there on the bank of that little creek, it seems no different than being deep in the Smokey Mountains. It's for sure a place of quite rest. In the middle of this work week, and in the business of family life, do you need rest.
In 24 hours the average adult accomplishes much: his heart beats 103,689 times, his blood travels 168 million miles, he breathes 23,040 times, he inhales 438 cubic feet of air, he eats 3 1/2 pounds of food and drinks 2.9 quarts of liquid, he speaks 4,800 words, he moves 750 muscles, his nails grow .000046 inch, and he exercises 7 million brain cells. It's no wonder we need rest!
When God established the laws governing the lives of the Israelite people, He built into their schedule a time for rest. Physically it enabled their bodies to recuperate. Then he said to them, "This is what the Lord has said: 'Tomorrow is a Sabbath rest, a holy Sabbath to the Lord. Bake what you will bake today, and boil what you will boil; and lay up for yourselves all that remains, to be kept until morning.'" Spiritually it reminded them that their salvation was not complete. They needed a spiritual "rest" that would come only when the Messiah would take away their sins. The writer of Hebrews makes it clear that even though the Jewish people practiced Sabbath-keeping, the real "rest" was a future event. He declared, "For if Joshua had given them rest, then He would not afterward have spoken of another day. There remains therefore a rest for the people of God" (Heb. 4:8-9).
In the New Testament the command to "remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy" is the only one of the Ten Commandments not repeated, and I have heard much discussion about why and why not. The bottom line is that I know that I need physical rest and spiritual rest, as the Israelite people did, and that God wants to give me that rest. The spiritual rest that the Old Testament saints looked forward to and which the Sabbath represented is now a reality. Jesus said, "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matt. 11:28).
If we are to have real rest, it must come for Jesus. When we are fully trusting in Him, and only Him, we are not ringing our hands in stress, or laboring for salvation. When tired from a labor of love for God's Kingdom, He will, from time to time, calls us aside to rest in Him. Let me encourage you to find a little place of retreat, where you can only hear a small creek running down a hillside, and the still small voice of your Lord.
God bless you today, and remember that you are loved!!!
At Dogwood, the church is definitely oriented toward the family. And the role of a grandparent is part of that. We've all heard the add: "This is not your grandpa's Oldsmobile". And that was followed by, this is not your grandpa's this or that or the other. Well, let me say, this is not your grandpa's generation. Grandparents today are not the same as your grandparents. Do you know that every day in the U.S. four thousand people become first-time grandparents, and their average age is forty-seven? They are buying more and baking less, they are computing more and crocheting less. Many have replaced their writing tables , where they composed their handwritten letters and post cards, with desk tops or lap tops, phone texting or twittering. This "Baby-Boomer" generation has had a profound influence on our society throughout the years, and they should have a godly influence in the grand parenting years.
Think with me: If the average first-time grandparent is forty-seven years old, he or she can expect to continue to be a grandparent for approximately thirty to forty years. Think of the positive influence that these people can have on their extended family, whether they live in the same house, down the street or across the country. If God has blessed the grandkids with wonderful parents, who are their primary teachers and coaches, that's great. But the grandparent is given the task of showing them that a lifetime of faith can really carry a person through to the end and ultimately enable one to finish the race strong and well. Grandma and Grandpa, let them see that Christ is first in your life; that you are abiding in Him, step by step, moment by moment, and day by day. Convey that message to them by every technique you have available.
Let's you and me ask ourselves: What kind of spiritual inheritance am I passing on to my grandchildren? What will be my spiritual legacy to them? What difference am I really giving to them? Grandparenthood is not just another phase of life that you fall into; it truly is a sacred calling!
"One generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy majesty, and thy wondrous works. And men shall speak of the might of thy terrible acts: and I will declare thy greatness. They shall abundantly utter the memory of thy great goodness, and shall sing of thy righteousness." Psalm 145:4-7
God bless all you grandparents and all you grandparent "wanabes", and remember that you are loved!!!
“Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners” (I Cor. 15:33).
Work that we do with our children, developing good character, can be undone so quickly by bad company. If you see a spirit of discontent, disrespect, rebellion, etc., this may all be lumped into "bad attitude" in your children, look at a typical day to see if you can spot some of their “bad company.” These can be Christian or non-Christian children or adults, siblings, a television show, books, or video games.
Eliminate media that is negatively influencing your child; it is not worth the money you paid for it. Work with the child's siblings to create better character in them, and closely supervise their time spent together. Adjust or discontinue time spent with other individuals, closely supervising relations.
Never underestimate the possibility of other people or things negatively influencing your children. It's more difficult if the bad influence is coming from a family member or highway billboards, but it's another if you encourage and promote it on a regular basis. Deal with these “evil communications” as soon as possible, and when you do, think eternally, not temporally.
Though this is advice to parents of younger children and early teens, it is relevant to all of us. Throughout my years in the workplace, I saw many times, the person with a "good attitude" getting the promotions, advances, and good job performance ratings, though they may not have truly been the most productive worker. Many times a smarter individual, a more productive worker with a "bad attitude" would be passed over. These attitudes in adults, in you and I, are developed in the same way as within the child. As usual, God's word has great advice for us all.
"Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night." Psalm 1:1-2
May God bless you today, and always 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!