Sauntering

“I am old and move slowly.”   SOCRATES

When I was a much younger man, I used to run several miles a day.  When my knees gave out, I began to walk – first aerobically and then slowly.

Now I saunter.  Henry David Thoreau in an essay on walking, explains the origin of the word saunter.  He says the term comes from the Middle Ages when wandering pilgrims would beg for alms to finance their journey to “la saint terre,” the Holy Land.  Such people became known as “sainte-terrers,” or “saunterers.”

I can’t vouch for the origin of the word, and I understand Thoreau’s theory is in doubt these days, but I like his explanation better than any I’ve heard, for I myself am a saunterer, a wandering pilgrim, begging for grace, making my way toward the City of God.

Let’s hear it for sauntering!  My dictionary defines the word as “to wander or walk about idly and in a leisurely or lazy manner; to lounge; to stroll; to loiter.”  That’s me:  God’s loiterer, in no particular hurry, taking time to see the world around me and sample it along the way.

Very few people saunter these days.  Most folks are in a hurry – speed – walking or racing around on mountain bikes, rollerblades, and skateboards.  I wonder where they are going or if they know why.

The same may be said for those who follow Christ.  So many seem to be in a hurry to get somewhere and do something, running off to this meeting or that, signing up for one course or another, frantically working out their own salvation, sanctification, and service for God as though everything depends on them.  I wish they knew how to saunter.

Sauntering is an art.  It grows out of the conviction that “all this is from God”  (2 Cor. 5:18).  It’s rest and peace to know that every aspect of our pilgrimage is in His hands.  He has freed us from past sin and guilt and is freeing us now from its power.  Our destiny is not riding on anything we do or have done or have failed to do.  It rests on the work of One who is faithful to the end.

Writer Thomas Merton suggests that we “go for walks, live in peace, let change come quietly and invisibly on the inside.”

I find Merton’s words reassuring.  We can trust God to bring completion to the process He has begun.  Whatever change takes place in us will come quietly, slowly, occurring in some secret hidden part of us and often imperceptible except in retrospect.  It may be years later that we see what God has been doing all along.

In the meantime, while we saunter toward heaven and home, we can begin to pay attention to those around us.  We can take every occasion to listen, to love, and to pray, knowing that we don’t have to rush about and make things happen; God himself is preparing good works for us to do  (Eph. 2:10).

Thoreau often wrote with luminous insight.  Thus he concludes his essay on sauntering:  “So we saunter toward the Holy Land; till one day the sun shall shine more brightly than ever he has done….”

Thoreau was wiser than he knew.  Someday soon “the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in his rays”  (Mal. 4:2).  Then the Son “shall shine into our minds and hearts, and light up our whole lives with a great awakening light, so warm and serene and golden as on a bank-side in Autumn.”

And then we shall settle into a perfect pace.

David Roper

Our Daily Bread Ministries   ~   April, May, June 2017

ourdailybread.org

A Great Church Is A United Church Under The Headship Of Jesus Christ

Psalm 133:1  King James Version (KJV)
133 Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!

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The following is taken from the devotional Our Daily Bread, June 23, 2017:

Playing in Concert
June 23, 2017

Read: Romans 12:3–8
Bible in a Year: Esther 9–10; Acts 7:1–21

So in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.—Romans 12:5-6
During our granddaughter’s school band concert, I was impressed by how well this group of 11- and 12-year-olds played together. If each of them had wanted to be a solo performer, they could not have achieved individually what the band did collectively. The woodwinds, brass, and percussion sections all played their parts and the result was beautiful music!
To the followers of Jesus in Rome, Paul wrote, “In Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us” (Rom. 12:5-6). Among the gifts Paul mentioned are prophecy, service, teaching, encouragement, giving, leadership, and mercy (vv. 7-8). Each gift is to be exercised freely for the good of all (1 Cor. 12:7).
One definition of in concert is “agreement in design or plan; combined action; harmony or accord.” That’s the Lord’s plan for us as His children through faith in Jesus Christ. “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves” (v. 10). The goal is cooperation, not competition.
In a sense, we are “on stage” before a watching and listening world every day. There are no soloists in God’s concert band, but every instrument is essential. The music is best when we each play our part in unity with others. —David C. McCasland
Lord, You are the Conductor of our lives. We want to play Your song of love and grace in concert with Your children today.
There are no soloists in God’s orchestra.

INSIGHT: There are five listings of spiritual gifts in the New Testament: Romans 12:6-8; 1 Corinthians 12:7-11; 12:28-30; Ephesians 4:9-11; and 1 Peter 4:11. In each of these lists the emphasis is not on how many different types of gifts there are, but on how we are to use them in a loving way that promotes unity in the church, builds up the spiritual maturity of the believers, and brings glory to the Lord. To achieve this, Paul tells us not to think too highly or too lowly of ourselves (Rom. 12:3). We are to use our spiritual giftedness in humility (v. 3) and embrace diversity in the body of Christ with sincere love (v. 9) and mutual respect (v. 10).How has God gifted you? How can you use your spiritual gifts to promote unity and harmony in the church? Sim Kay Tee

The Chinese Believers Pray For American Christians To Suffer Persecution So We Can Understand The Suffering Of Jesus, And The Way That The Chinese Believers Have Suffered For The Cause Of Christ. The Following Devotional Is Eye Opening. In His Service, Pastor Steve

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Love Without Borders

November 18, 2016

 

Read: Luke 22:39–46
Bible in a Year: Ezekiel 8–10; Hebrews 13

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.—John 15:13

During the Boxer Rebellion in China in 1900, missionaries trapped in a home in T’ai Yüan Fu decided their only hope for survival rested on running through the crowd that was calling for their deaths. Aided by weapons they held, they escaped the immediate threat. However, Edith Coombs, noticing that two of her injured Chinese students had not escaped, raced back into danger. She rescued one, but stumbled on her return trip for the second student and was killed.

Meanwhile, missionaries in Hsin Chou district had escaped and were hiding in the countryside, accompanied by their Chinese friend Ho Tsuen Kwei. But he was captured while scouting an escape route for his friends in hiding and was martyred for refusing to reveal their location.

In the lives of Edith Coombs and Tsuen Kwei we see a love that rises above cultural or national character. Their sacrifice reminds us of the greater grace and love of our Savior.

As Jesus awaited His arrest and subsequent execution, He prayed earnestly, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me.” But He concluded that request with this resolute example of courage, love, and sacrifice: “Yet not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42). His death and resurrection made our eternal lives possible. —Randy Kilgore

Lord, may the world see our love for each other—and the deeds that come from it—as a great testimony to the bond of unity we have in You. May they want to know You too.

Only the light of Christ’s love can eliminate the darkness of hatred.
INSIGHT: The Bible speaks of God’s love for us in terms of a generous sacrifice. The apostle John writes of a God who “so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son” (John 3:16). To prove that God truly loves us, John directs us to Jesus’s sacrificial death: “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us” (1 John 3:16). Alluding to His own sacrificial love just hours before He went to the cross, Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13). Sim Kay Tee

I Am Sick And Tired Of All The Talk On Legacy. The Following Devotional Is A Great Priority Check For Glory Seekers.

Magnify Jesus Christ, And Hide Behind The Cross As You Do So.  Seek Not Titles Next To Your Name, Nor The Shallow Accolades From Fickle Man.  Leave The “Legacies” To The Worldlings, Not To The Child Born From Above.  Live For Jesus Christ And Others.  Trust And Obey The Lord Jesus Christ.  Seek, Find, And Perform His Will For Your Life, And You Will Find Peace And Perfect Fulfillment.  Here Is The Path To Joy:

JOY-

Jesus

Others

Yourself

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Romans 12:1 King James Version (KJV)

12 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

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Fame and Humility

November 23, 2016

Read: Philippians 2:1–11
Bible in a Year: Ezekiel 20–21; James 5

He humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!—Philippians 2:8

Many of us are obsessed with fame—either with being famous ourselves or with following every detail of famous people’s lives. International book or film tours. Late-night show appearances. Millions of followers on Twitter.

In a recent study in the US, researchers ranked the names of famous individuals using a specially developed algorithm that scoured the Internet. Jesus topped the list as the most famous person in history.

Yet Jesus was never concerned about obtaining celebrity status. When He was here on earth, He never sought fame (Matt. 9:30; John 6:15)—although fame found Him all the same as news about Him quickly traveled throughout the region of Galilee (Mark 1:28; Luke 4:37).

Wherever Jesus went, crowds soon gathered. The miracles He performed drew people to Him. But when they tried to make Him a king by force, He slipped away by Himself (John 6:15). United in purpose with His Father, He repeatedly deferred to the Father’s will and timing (4:34; 8:29; 12:23). “He humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross” (Phil. 2:8).

Fame was never Jesus’s goal. His purpose was simple. As the Son of God, He humbly, obediently, and voluntarily offered Himself as the sacrifice for our sins. —Cindy Hess Kasper

You are to be celebrated, Lord, above all others. You have been highly exalted and given a name that is above every name. One day every knee will bow and every tongue confess that You are Lord.

Jesus came not to be famous, but to humbly offer Himself as the sacrifice for our sins.

INSIGHT: In today’s reading, we see Paul’s eloquent treatment of how God became human. Jesus Christ had the attributes of God yet took on human flesh to become a servant. This self-sacrificial mission found its ultimate expression in Jesus’s death on the cross to provide salvation for all who believe in Him as Savior and Lord. C. S. Lewis wrote, “The Son of God became man so that men might become sons of God.” Dennis Fisher

Share your thoughts on today’s devotional on Facebook or odb.org.

This Passover ~ Holy Week 7

And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.   Luke 22:15

Not “the” Passover but “this” Passover-the last Passover before the cross.  The Lord fully knew what awaited Him after the supper; “before I suffer”.  He knew all about the arrest, the unrighteous trial, the mockery, scourging, thorns, cross and death that loomed before Him.  Yet there would be resurrection and joy too.  But before all of that, He earnestly desired this last supper with His own.  What about us?  Our Lord is alive and today may we say to Him, “Lord, with desire have I desired to eat this supper, to remember you, thank you, and worship you.  -Carl Knott

Break ye the bread and pour the wine, as ye have seen your Master do; This body and this blood of Mine, is broken and shed for you.  -John Pierpont

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Because of God’s love, we are never truly alone.

INSIGHT: The circumstances that took place on the night of Jesus’s betrayal seemed to be confused, chaotic, and out of control. But our Lord’s measured words in facing His betrayer showed His understanding of the big picture of God’s sovereign plan. Without the cross we could not be redeemed.     Dennis Fisher

Forgiveness ~ Holy Week 3

 

GODS Math 1 Cross + 3 Nails = 4GIVEN :-)

🙂

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.—Luke 23:34

discoveryseries.org/hp071.    < Key this link for more on forgiveness.

Even on the cross, Jesus forgave those who hurt Him.

INSIGHT: In the first century, the common attire for a Jewish man included five pieces of clothing—shoes, turban, belt, loincloth, and outer tunic. After crucifying Jesus, the soldiers divided the Savior’s garments as their spoils for performing the task. After each took a portion of clothing, one remained—the tunic. This infers that even the loincloth was taken—and Jesus’s last shred of human dignity with it.  In a heartbreaking fulfillment of David’s messianic song, they stripped Jesus naked and then gambled for the tunic. In Psalm 22:17-18, where crucifixion was prophetically described some 600 years before it was invented, David said it would be so: “All my bones are on display; people stare and gloat over me. They divide my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment.” The soldiers gambled for all they could get, unaware of the fact that mere feet away Christ was freely forgiving and giving all He had out of love for them.  Bill Crowder  ~  Our Daily Bread / Radio Bible Class

The Lord’s Mind Boggling Blend Of Grace And The Law

Our Daily Bread

 

Grace

Perfect Grace

 

“Neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. John 8:11

Jesus’s teaching about absolute ideals and absolute grace seem contradictory.

Jesus never lowered God’s perfect ideal. In His response to the rich young ruler, He said, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matt. 5:48). He told an expert in the law who inquired as to the greatest commandment, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (22:37). No one has completely fulfilled those commands.

Yet the same Jesus tenderly offered absolute grace. He forgave an adulteress, a thief on the cross, a disciple who had denied ever knowing Him, and a man named Saul, who had made his mark persecuting Christians. Grace is absolute and all-encompassing, extending even to those who nailed Jesus to the cross: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” were among the last words He spoke on earth (Luke 23:34).

For years I felt so unworthy when considering Jesus’s absolute ideals that I missed any notion of His grace. Once I understood this dual message, however, I went back and found that the message of grace gusts through Jesus’s life and teachings.

Grace is for the desperate, the needy, the broken, those who cannot make it on their own. Grace is for all of us.

Father, Your all-encompassing grace washes over us and astonishes us. May we live today as people who enjoy Your complete forgiveness and a restored relationship with You.

Jesus fulfilled the perfect requirements of the law so that we may enjoy the perfect peace of His grace.

 

INSIGHT: The life of the apostle Paul is another example of God’s grace. Because of Paul’s past, he considered himself the most undeserving recipient of God’s mercy and grace (1 Tim. 1:13–14). Although he was chosen to be an apostle to the Gentiles, Paul also gave another reason he was chosen: “God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in him and receive eternal life” (v. 16 nlt). God had you and me in mind when He saved Paul—an awesome thought. If Paul, the worst of sinners, could be saved, then there is hope for everyone else. No one is beyond the reach of God’s mercy and grace.

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Suffering / Part 3

Our trials, tribulations and suffering build us up.  Who has not heard of the common story of the overly protected child who later has trouble functioning in school and everyday life?  The devotional below reveals how trees placed in a protective space, collapsed under their own weight.  Why?  Because they were never exposed to the winds of adversity.  They never had a chance to develop strong roots and a solid trunk!  God grows us, and in order to grow us, He allows us to suffer and be tested.  Without a Goliath in his life, the strength of David’s character would have been dormant and not seen by man.  Goliath did not make David a heroic man of faith.  Goliath simply revealed what was already in David.  Trials do NOT make or break us, they reveal what is in us.

Following the devotionals from Our Daily Bread, the topic of suffering will be further expounded upon.  In Christ, Pastor Steve 

 

 Growing in the Wind

Growing in the Wind

Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him! Mark 4:41

Imagine a world without wind. Lakes would be calm. Falling leaves wouldn’t blow in the streets. But in still air, who would expect trees to suddenly fall over? That’s what happened in a three-acre glass dome built in the Arizona desert. Trees growing inside a huge windless bubble called Biosphere 2 grew faster than normal until suddenly collapsing under their own weight. Project researchers eventually came up with an explanation. These trees needed wind stress to grow strong.

Jesus let His disciples experience gale-force winds to strengthen their faith (Mark 4:36–41). During a night crossing of familiar waters, a sudden storm proved too much even for these seasoned fishermen. Wind and waves were swamping their boat while an exhausted Jesus slept in the stern. In a panic they woke Him. Didn’t it bother their Teacher that they were about to die? What was He thinking? Then they began to find out. Jesus told the wind and waves to be quiet—and asked His friends why they still had no faith in Him.

If the wind had not blown, these disciples would never have asked, “Who is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!” (Mark 4:41).

Today, life in a protective bubble might sound good. But how strong would our faith be if we couldn’t discover for ourselves His reassuring “be still” when the winds of circumstance howl?

Father in heaven, please help us to remember that anything that frightens us comes with an invitation to find the strength of knowing and trusting You.

God never sleeps.

INSIGHT:In Mark 4:35–5:43 the gospel writer tells of four miracles to prove that Jesus is “the Messiah, the Son of God” and therefore has absolute authority over the forces of this physical world (4:35–41), over the powers of the spiritual world (5:1–20), over physical illnesses (5:24–34), and over death (5:35–43). These miracles were designed to answer the question, “Who is this?” (4:41). The first miracle was Jesus calming the storm on Galilee. Because the Sea of Galilee is in a basin about 700 feet below sea level and is surrounded by mountains, sudden and violent storms are common (v. 37). That Jesus was tired and soundly asleep showed that He was fully human (v. 38); that the storm instantly obeyed Him showed He was divine (v. 39).

By Mart DeHaan | See Other Authors

 

  1. valedwards

    Because I live near Biosphere 2, I began a wonderful discussion with my husband about stress in our life and how God is asking us why we are so afraid which then led to prayer. Thank you Mart for your inspirational message. It was very timely in my l

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  2. Charlie

    It is such an honor to lift up in prayer the requests on this forum. Thank you for sharing, and to hear God say I am with you, causes our heart to know His strength and presence.

  3. bofosu

    Oh, what a Mighty God we serve. Hmmm, this a timely word for me. Confirmation of what God is doing behind the scenes. Greater is HE that is I’m me that whatever is opposing me that is in World. Thank you Lord that you WILL calm every storm that rise

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  4. Rocky

    Thank you Mart DeHaan, I’ve always been intrigued by this passage, I agree with what you point out that Jesus was fully human and divine.

    But when he was awaken by his disciples, and he questions their faith. Now this is before we read that they ask “who is this?”. With all that Jesus had taught them already, should they have had enough faith to have commanded the wind and the sea to calm down?

    I know personally, my faith has grown and I have learned through my personal trials and losses, but the bible teaches us to seek understanding like we’re seeking fine jewels, I must tell you, that since I have been seeking to understand what God requires of me, my knowledge and understanding of our relationship has caused my faith to grow more than any trial or loss has ever made it grow.

    Although, I do believe that my trials, losses, & understanding of who God is and what He requires of me all work together.

    1. bofosu

      Rocky, I noticed that the Disciples questioned who Jesus is after all the miracles that He has performed with them , around them and before their very eyes. This is the revelation I got when I read this….. God does wondrous things in our Lives. H

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  5. servant50

    God is still in control and I thank him for all his grace and mercy, because I would not be here without them, Amen!

    1. holypat2014

      Amen and Amen!

    2. Rocky

      servant50, I have to respectfully disagree when you say “God is still in control” the bible teaches us that God is in control of the atmosphere, but we are to be of self control.

      If God was in control of everything, we would be like robots, we would not even have to worry about combing our hair, because He would be in control.

      The bible teaches, the day will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine, but only what their itchy ears want to hear.

      If the word of God is so powerful, why aren’t our little one liners actual bible quotes? Instead they are cute little sayings that man has made up. I’m reminded of the one little almost chant that I often hear when I walk into many churches. When the person behind the pulpit says “God is good all the time” and the audience response with “all the time, God is good” yes it’s true, and it sounds good, but it’s not scripture. I believe that if we’re going to chant something it should be scripture and sound something like “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”.

      Just my personal thoughts.

      1. servant50

        Rocky, thank you for your thoughts! And my saying of God is still in control meaning is that he’s in controls of the atmosphere (wind, waves, healing, saving and peace that surpasses all understanding). Therefore, however you word your saying or I wo

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        1. bofosu

          yes, He is in control. God is the one who can turn every situation around when we seek him, when we take our petitions to him in prayer and supplication. God is the one in control when we pray for salvation for us and our families. He is the one in c

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  6. seeker1944

    A great message. Please join me in praying for our son in law as he is battling cancer for the third time. His faith is strong. We pray for healing, but I pray that he gets close to God in this and has a peace that passes all understanding. Thank

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    1. dakwil

      Praying for you! Thankful that he has faith that has been strengthened through the battles with cancer.

    2. ynothis

      In JESUS name Amen! I’m in agreement with you.

    3. canadian angels

      I have prayed a prayer of healing for your son in law. I have witnessed miracles of healing for those who were given no hope by their doctors but had prayer warriors on their side. Visualize his healing as you pray every day & keep the faith

    4. bofosu

      I stand in agreement with you and our fellow brethren. That he is healed by the blood of the Lamb. He will come and testify and overcome the enemy of cancer by the word of his testimony. In Jesus Name. It seems today is a timely word for him. Ame

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    5. servant50

      seeker1944, I am praying for your son-in-law that he will keep the faith and in trust in God and have peace that surpasses all understanding. And I am praying the same for the family too. I too have been battling stage IV cancer since diagnosed f

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  7. a servant

    Esther’s Child, please go to YouTube and search for James Cleveland “Peace Be Still.” You should be able to enjoy the tune. God Bless You.

    1. hbee

      Thanks, a servant! James Cleveland’s rendition of “Peace Be Still” is usually the first song that comes to mind when I read or hear any part of the miracle.

  8. poohpity

    I have often thought that Jesus knew the strong winds were going to blow and still fell asleep. He forewarned us that we would come across several trials, troubles, suffering during this life in this physical body but offered us comfort in knowing th

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    1. poohpity

      The Biosphere 2 has run into several problems trying to emulate nature so it failed. It is about a 2 hour drive from where I live. I hope the one thing they learned is God created something wonderful that all works together and everything has purpose

      See More

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ead: Matthew 10:37–42
Bible in a Year: Genesis 36–38; Matthew 10:21–42

Whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.—Matthew 10:39

When I married my English fiancé and moved to the United Kingdom, I thought it would be a five-year adventure in a foreign land. I never dreamed I’d still be living here nearly twenty years later, or that at times I’d feel like I was losing my life as I said goodbye to family and friends, work, and all that was familiar. But in losing my old way of life, I’ve found a better one.

The upside-down gift of finding life when we lose it is what Jesus promised to His apostles. When He sent out the twelve disciples to share His good news, He asked them to love Him more than their mothers or fathers, sons or daughters (Matt. 10:37). His words came in a culture where families were the cornerstone of the society and highly valued. But He promised that if they would lose their life for His sake, they would find it (v. 39).

We don’t have to move abroad to find ourselves in Christ. Through service and commitment—such as the disciples going out to share the good news of the kingdom of God—we find ourselves receiving more than we give through the lavish love the Lord showers on us. Of course He loves us no matter how much we serve, but we find contentment, meaning, and fulfillment when we pour ourselves out for the well-being of others. —Amy Boucher Pye

When I survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of glory died, my richest gain I count but loss, and pour contempt on all my pride. Isaac Watts

Every loss leaves a space that can be filled with God’s presence.

INSIGHT: When we choose to follow Christ, we won’t necessarily be popular. Our highest calling is not self-promotion or self-preservation. A hero jumps into deep water to save someone who is drowning, but that same person could well lose his or her life (to quote Jesus) in the process of seeking to save someone else. Jesus indicated that even family members (normally our closest natural connection) may be squared off against us. While others may become our obstinate opponents because of Christ, we are obligated to show unselfishness because of Him (Phil. 2:3-5). “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” (1:21). It’s a profound paradox. To lose our life for Him means to find it. Has there been a time when the choice to follow Christ has cost you? Jim Townsend

Suffering / Part 1

This is the first entry of a series with the theme of suffering.  Today’s posting features three different devotionals on this topic, that I have read in the last couple of days!  That indicates how relevant this subject is.  The Bible is an oxymoron to the world, never making sense to the lost because “His ways are not our ways.”  The Bible tells us (the Apostle Paul) that “…when I am weak, then I am strong.”  The Bible tells us that “the Lord uses the foolish things of the world to confound the wise.”  The Bible also contains the theme throughout, that God blesses and works through suffering – Jesus’ death on the cross being the greatest example.  I have found that this fascinating subject is readily received by born again Christians, yet eschewed by nominal Christians and worldlings.  The fact is, they have absolutely no comprehension of this topic.  Speaking for myself, my greatest growth has come under the crucible of testing, trials and tribulations.  In order to make us into His image, the Lord must break us from our sinful fallen nature and fleshly desires.  This is a lifelong process that never ends.  Suffering is the hallmark of the mature saint – there are no shortcuts to heaven.

Blessings, Pastor Steve

 

Work Together

Work Together

We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

My wife makes an amazing pot roast dinner. She takes raw meat, along with raw sliced white and sweet potatoes, celery, mushrooms, carrots, and onions and throws them into the slow cooker. Six or seven hours later the aroma fills the house, and the first taste is a delight. It is always to my advantage to wait until the ingredients in the slow cooker work together to achieve something they could not achieve individually.

When Paul used the phrase “work together” in the context of suffering, he used the word from which we get our word synergy. He wrote, “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Rom. 8:28). He wanted the Romans to know that God, who didn’t cause their suffering, would cause all their circumstances to cooperate with His divine plan—for their ultimate good. The good to which Paul referred was not the temporal blessings of health, wealth, admiration, or success, but being “conformed to the image of [God’s] Son” (v. 29).

May we wait patiently and confidently because our heavenly Father is taking all the suffering, all the distress, all the evil, and causing them to work together for His glory and our spiritual good. He wants to make us like Jesus.

Read 2 Corinthians 12:9, Philippians 1:6, and 1 Peter 5:10. What encouragement did you find for tough times?

The growth we gain from waiting on God is often greater than the answer or result we desire.

INSIGHT:“All things” (Rom. 8:28) is a phrase that treats the seemingly good and bad events of life as a whole. The idea is that there is a dynamic interaction between the good and bad to bring a desired outcome, though this positive outcome may not yet be visible. If we consider a young man nailed to a cross dying in agony, we might wonder if anything good could be found there. But if we understand that this is Jesus Christ atoning for the sins of those who love Him, we can see how even this terrible event worked together for good. God works for “the good” of those who are true believers in Jesus Christ. They demonstrate the authenticity of their faith because they respond back with love to the One who first loved them (1 John 4:19).

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Hast thou considered my servant Job?       Job 1:8

Obviously God had considered Job.  He said that there was none like him on earth, perfect and upright, one who feared God and shunned evil.  Well might we wonder what God says when He considers us.  Nevertheless Job suffered to the extent that now he is seen as an example of suffering.  What was the end of the matter?  It is that we should consider God who is eternal, all-knowing, all-powerful, and pure.  “Stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God.”  (Job 37:14)  -D. Pickup

I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder, Thy pow’r throughout the universe displayed, Then sings my soul, my Saviour God to Thee; How great thou art, how great Thou art!  -Carl Boberg

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Open Windows   A Guide For Personal Devotions    Winter 2016-2017    LifeWay

A Sign Of Hope

Exodus 12:13 King James Version (KJV)

13 And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.

Do you ever wonder why God does not protect His own from the calamities of life?  As Christians, we are covered with the blood of the Lamb of God – death no longer holds power over those who belong to Him.  Yet, the waves of trial and sorrow hit the lives of Christians just as catastrophically as they crash into the lives of unbelievers.  Why does suffering not “pass over” those marked by the blood of Jesus?

Consider the horrors left in the aftermath of the plagues.  Death and decay all around – men, women, children, and livestock all struck dead where they stood.  The faithful were protected from death, but they were left with a world filled with festering, disease-breeding corpses and mourning.

Regardless of how difficult the circumstances they faced, their victory was not to be found in earthly condition but in the hope only God could provide.  They could celebrate His goodness in the face of devastation.

When trouble strikes, may we remember that hope in God will see us through.

Father, when trouble comes, help us to hold on to the hope found only in You.  Remind us that our victory in Christ is secure, no matter what life brings our way.

 

 

Our Daily Bread / January 7, 2017

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Our Source of Provision

January 7, 2017

 

Read: Matthew 6:9–15
Bible in a Year: Genesis 18–19; Matthew 6:1–18

The Lord is near to all who call on him.—Psalm 145:18

In August 2010, the attention of the world was focused on a mine shaft near Copiapó, Chile. Thirty-three miners huddled in the dark, trapped 2,300 feet underground. They had no idea if help would ever arrive. After seventeen days of waiting, they heard drilling. Rescuers produced a small hole in the mine shaft ceiling, and that hole was followed by three more, establishing a delivery path for water, food, and medicine. The miners depended on those conduits to the surface above ground, where rescuers had the provisions they would need to survive. On day sixty-nine, rescuers pulled the last miner to safety.

None of us can survive in this world apart from provisions that are outside of ourselves. God, the Creator of the universe, is the one who provides us with everything we need. Like the drill holes for those miners, prayer connects us to the God of all supply.

Jesus encouraged us to pray, “Give us today our daily bread” (Matt. 6:11). In His day, bread was the basic staple of life and pictured all the daily needs of the people. Jesus was teaching us to pray not only for our physical needs but also for everything we need—comfort, healing, courage, wisdom.

Through prayer we have access to Him at any moment, and He knows what we need before we even ask (v. 8). What might you be struggling with today? “The Lord is near to all who call on him” (Ps. 145:18). —Bill Crowder

To learn more about prayer, read Let’s Pray at discoveryseries.org/hp135.

Prayer is the voice of faith, trusting that God knows and cares.

INSIGHT: Notice the basic themes Jesus teaches us to address when we pray. The prayer begins with worship on several different levels. First, we celebrate our relationship with our Creator that allows us to call Him “our Father.” His exalted nature is brought to mind as we remember that He is in heaven and bears a holy name. When we understand His character and wisdom, it should drive us to long for His purposes and rule to be realized here on earth, in the same way it is in heaven. We are then challenged to look to Him for all our needs. His daily, faithful provision is a source of great comfort and assurance for the child of God. Bill Crowder

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