8. February 2018

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Have You Called Yet?

I love the Book of Joel, (835 B. C.) in the Old Testament. It is only 3 chapters, yet, there are some amazing gems in it.  A very famous verse is:

 

“32 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those who escape, as the Lord has said, and among the survivors shall be those whom the Lord calls.”    (Joel 2:32  ESV)

 

 

Notice the Apostle Paul loved it and referred to it in his powerful letter to the Roman Christians in the New Testament.

 

 

“For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’”  (Romans 10:13)

 

Do you know of someone who has not yet, to your knowledge, call on or cried out to the Lord Jesus Christ to save them from their sin, and eternal damnation in Hell? I most certainly do. Consider praying about copying and sending this and similar devotionals to them. Seeing them receive eternal life is well worth it. Even if they reject you and devotionals like this, at least you were faithful to be an effective witness to them.

Let’s pray for each other.

 

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6. February 2018

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Can You Relate to Prophet Jeremiah?

The prophet Jeremiah (627-585 B. C.) was known as “the weeping prophet”, “the prophet of loneliness” and also “the reluctant prophet”. From before the time he was born, God had chosen him to be a prophet who, “for more than 40 years, faithfully proclaimed God's judgment on apostate Judah, all the while enduring opposition, beatings, and imprisonment.” ¹ His was literally a thankless job: almost no perks, at-a-boys, thanks, or encouragement. The leaders hated what he kept telling them.

5 Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” 6 Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth.” 7 But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a youth’; for to all to whom I send you, you shall go, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. 8 Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, declares the Lord.”  (Jeremiah 1:5-8 ESV)

Do you feel like very few people listen to you? Do you minister, witness, share your faith, do your job, but you don’t see much fruit and no one seems to care one way or the other? Are you fearful, at times, of taking a stand for God and the Bible in this “dark ages” culture? I have felt these.

Our brother in the faith, Jeremiah, knows these fears quite well. He can relate to us. May we remember this, however! Verse 8 above is God encouraging Jeremiah and, I believe, us. “There is no need to be afraid. I, God, am with you and will deliver you. That is all you have to focus on. I will take care of the results my way, and in my time.”

(Verse 8 paraphrased) 

 

Let’s pray for each other.

 

¹Ryrie NIV Study Bible, Book of Jeremiah Introduction, p. 1008.

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5. February 2018

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Can You Relate to King David?

Can you relate to King David?

Here is a man chosen by God. He has courage against Goliath.

 

 

 

 

 

Later, he falls into sin with Bathsheba.

At one point, his honor for God prevented him from slaying his pursuer, King Saul. Later, his honor is out the window when he sets up Bathsheba’s husband, General Uriah, to meet his end on the front lines of combat. I can relate: Inconsistent, honorable at times, carnal at other times. Yet, David loved his God and, in general, was honest and authentic with Him. Take in his humble sincerity.

1 In you, O Lord, do I take refuge; let me never be put to shame; in your righteousness deliver me! 2 Incline your ear to me; rescue me speedily! Be a rock of refuge for me, a strong fortress to save me!

 

3 For you are my rock and my fortress; and for your name's sake you lead me and guide me; you take me out of the net they have hidden for me,  for you are my refuge. 5 Into your hand I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O Lord, faithful God.”

(Psalm 31: 1-4 ESV)

 

The Lord does not want us to wallow in the past with its troubles and sins. Once we come clean, He washes all our sin from us.

9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  (1John 1:9 ESV)

Rather, He desires we look to Him, be completely honest before Him, and then unashamedly surrender our will, our plans, and our very lives to Him. Over all, this was Kind David’s heart. Lord Jesus, may it be ours as well. Let’s pray for each other.

 

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10. September 2017

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A Chance To Die

“Amy Carmichael (1867 – 1951) was a small-village girl from a devout Presbyterian family in Northern Ireland (her father founded an evangelical church in Belfast). She was called first to work among the mill girls of Manchester and then overseas, finding her life-long vocation in India.

Key achievement: In those days, Hindu priests kept “temple children” — mostly young girls who were forced into prostitution to earn money for them. Carmichael tried to rescue them by setting up a sanitarium in Tamil Nadu, thirty miles from the southern tip of India…

She would dress in Indian clothes, dye her skin with dark coffee, and travel long distances on hot, dusty roads to save just one child from suffering…

She died in India at the age of 83. She asked that no stone be put over her grave. Instead, the children she had cared for put a bird bath over it with the single inscription Amma, meaning “mother” in Tamil.

While serving in India, Carmichael received a letter from a young lady who was considering life as a missionary. She asked, “What is missionary life like?” Carmichael wrote back saying simply,

 

‘Missionary life is simply a chance to die.’¹ Note: Elizabeth Elliott wrote a fine book entitled A Chance To Die ²

 

When we get to a certain maturity in life,  we realize that the Lord Jesus, if we follow Him, has given us this gift and that we have a chance to live for Him. In reality, following Jesus is a serious call to death…death to self and death to me. As we pray today, let us ponder this.

“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”  (Philippians 1:21   ESV)

 

¹ https://thedisplacednation.com/2011/11/07/called-to-travel-overseas-for-the-benefit-of-others-7-female-missionaries-of-the-victorian-era/

² https://www.amazon.com/Chance-Die-Life-Legacy Carmichael/dp/0800730895/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1504032417&sr=8-1&keywords=%22a+chance+to+die%22

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9. September 2017

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Half Man and Half Beast

“Betsey Stockton (c. 1798 – 1865) was a freed African-American slave who left domestic service to travel as America’s first single female missionary to Hawaii, then known as the Sandwich Islands. In fact, she went partly as a missionary and partly as a servant to one of the couples on the mission, the Reverend and Mrs. Stewart.

After being asked by the son of the Hawaiian king to teach him English, Stockton started up a school in… West Maui for the… fishermen, farmers and craftsmen who lived off the land …which continued after she left.

Stockton’s diary: Stockton kept a detailed written record of the mission, which conveys her somewhat turbulent, occasionally agonized, inner spiritual life; her interest in the natural world — including the kinds of fish caught from the ship, the color of the waves, and various bird life; and her spirit of adventure. Like others on board she was frightened at her first sight of the Hawaiian men who come out in canoes to greet the ship:

‘half man and half beast—naked—except a narrow strip of tapa round their loins…’” ¹

As we pray today, let us be strengthened by Betsey’s authentic faith in Christ. It was not ‘holier than thou’ but rather it was genuine, real, with ups and downs, fears, and joys. Have you ever experienced turbulence and even agony? I most assuredly have as did Jesus and His disciples. Good news! You and I are not alone.

“For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “’Fear not, I am the one who helps you.’”  (Isaiah 41:13  ESV)

¹ http://www.cslewis.com/us/about-cs-lewis/

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8. September 2017

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Sorrow, Love, Faith, Loss… I’ve Been There.

“Clive Staples Lewis (1898–1963) was one of the intellectual giants of the twentieth century and arguably one of the most influential writers of his day. He was a Fellow and Tutor in English Literature at Oxford University until 1954, when he was unanimously elected to the Chair of Medieval and Renaissance Literature at Cambridge University, a position he held until his retirement.” ¹

An author of many works such as Mere Christianity  and The Great Divorce, he went on to write The Chronicles of Narnia which has sold over 100 million copies and has led to 3 motion Pictures. Time magazine stated he was one of the top 100 Christian authors of the Twentieth Century.

This Irish born intellectual giant was a man who loved the Lord Jesus. He often used fantasy fiction to convey enduring truths about God, Scripture, and the Christian life. As many of you have experienced, he also knew much sorrow for the love of his life, his wife, Joy, battled cancer and died. They were together only 4 years. If you’ve ever lost a love one, words cannot describe the depth of sorrow and soul groaning that occurs in the pit of grief. If he were alive today, I bet he would comfort those of you experiencing grief, pain, and loss with his nearness, not his words. The suffering you go through often has no explanation and is miserable at best. Our great Comfort is that Jesus knows your pain. Even, at times, if you feel He is silent, He is very close. He will hold you, cry with you, and help you. It may not be with words but with His presence.

 

“I will never leave you nor forsake you.”  (Hebrews 13:5b  ESV)

 

¹ http://www.cslewis.com/us/about-cs-lewis/

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7. September 2017

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But They Murdered My Family!

“Corrie ten Boom was the first licensed female watchmaker in the Netherlands. She learned the trade from her father, who was so fascinated by the craft that he often became so engrossed in his own work he would forget to charge customers for the services.” ¹

The Nazis invaded the Netherlands in 1940. Some Jewish folks humbly asked if her family would hide them from capture. Corrie’s family said, “Yes!” Most of you know the rest of the story having read her book The Hiding Place or seen the movie that followed.

Corrie and her brave family trusted God. They did the right thing in God's eyes. That was all that mattered to them. The Nazis eventually arrested all of them and most died in the death camps. Corrie was miraculously spared. She travelled the world speaking to audiences and churches on the fact that God's forgiveness and love are greater and go deeper than any sin, evil, or darkness.

After the war, she was confronted face to face with one of the prison guards that was partly responsible for her sister’s death. A battle ensued in her mind and heart. She reached down deep and remembered what her Lord and Savior Jesus had done for her on that despised cross 2000 years ago. By a gut choice of the will, she grabbed his outstretched hand and greeted him. She chose to forgive. She was free.

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.”   (John 13:34  ESV)

¹ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corrie_ten_Boom

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