"Just A Moment"
Daily Devotional Guide
"Just A Moment" By Rev. Garry H. Fricker
“The harvest is plentiful, but workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest therefore, to send out workers into His harvest field.” Luke 10:2
The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada was birthed from a desire of a group of pastors to combine their efforts for a foreign missions outreach. The purpose of the coming together was to share in the common vision of the Great commission to seek the lost at any cost in other parts of the world. God blessed the common desire and raised up our Organization to make an impact in many nations around the world. The principle is still the same today: “The lost must be found.” It was necessary that someone should go to the regions across the seas where multitudes were dying without the hope of the gospel message. A number of Assemblies united their resources and sent out the first pioneer missionaries. The small beginnings were very difficult but necessary. The sowing of the seed of the Word of God in the lives of the nationals was done with much sacrifice. Some of the pioneer missionaries literally gave their lives under unhealthy and austere conditions. But it was a beginning.
Today, many of the early mission fields have outgrown our Mothering Fellowship. However, there are still, “untold millions yet untold” in other parts of the world. They are people ignorant of the most wonderful story never told them. Their gods are gods of wood, stone and jewels. They continue a lengthy heritage of spiritual darkness, in fear of the anger of their created gods. To this tremendous need, the Lord of the Harvest would send out labourers to the harvest fields. “How then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent?” (Romans 10:14)
Somewhere along this line of God’s plea to mission-minded people, there is a place for you. But before we are quick to point the finger at others who should go, it’s important to understand that the word “sent” means more than pushing people out the door. Somehow, we must get the picture that when they go out the door they are holding on to our hand. Although they may be physically thousands of kilometres away from us, they don’t let go of the hands of those who stand in the comfort and shelter of the homeland. Our concern for the lost will be demonstrated by how much we care for those who are ministering directly on the frontlines where the gospel is reaching out to the needs of men.
We, as Christians, should at least commit to the partial support of a number of people who represent the Lord and us in various parts of the world. That’s the reason for Missions giving on a regular basis. Plan to give to Missions.
We Serve an Awesome God
“How precious to me are Your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake I am still with You.” Psalm 139:17, 18
We serve a Big God. He is Great in size, in power, in love, in wisdom and in time. There are no limits to the immensity of His majesty and influence. He is a Great, Big, Awesome God.
He is the God of the impossible. God of the miraculous. There is no thing that He cannot do. There are no mysteries that He does not understand nor secrets, in all of creation He does not know. There are no enemies that He fears because He is greater than them all, nor are there any surprises that catch Him off guard because He is aware of every microscopic detail in His vast creation. To Him, every miniscule fragment of the future in minutes, seconds and milliseconds are all as clear to Him as the happenings of yesterday. There is nothing throughout His entire handiwork that does not function to fulfill His purposes. Even the deepest, darkest of life’s difficult experiences serve to accomplish His goals.
There is no room for despair for the child of God, no matter how deep our sorrow and distress, because God is in control. He rules and over-rules. He makes the painful things to work together for good, that His will be seen in the dark places of life as well as the happy times. Only He can do that. He is the Master of the Rescue plan of the ages. The Author of every unfinished chapter of our lives. The Master Builder of broken dreams. The Giver of life to dying hopes. The Satisfier of our hearts desires. He is the Lover of the unlovable, the lonely and the lost. He is the Creator of purpose for those who are seeking for a reason in life. He never forgets us, never leaves us, nor ever stops loving us.
We serve an Awesome God. He watches over us as a loving Father over his little children. He’s available as our protector, provider, counsellor and friend. He’s our midnight Watchman and daytime Guide, the Supplier of our daily bread and our spiritual needs. He makes no mistakes and He forgives and repairs ours. He’s Gentle and Kind to us but Powerful and Dramatic in Who He is.
He is the best companion anyone could ever have. He does not force Himself on anyone but freely makes Himself available to us all. If you have never met the Lord I’m talking about, I ask, today, that you invite Him to take control of your life and trust Him. You’ll find that, in surrendering to Him, you lose nothing but your heartache, guilt and despair. He is a Wonderful Friend.
Patience and Prayer
“Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive and your joy will be full.” John 16:24
James chapter 5 brings to light two parallel themes that are connected throughout scripture. We don’t always see them so pronounced in their relationship but they are interwoven in the practical aspects of the Christian life, as inseparable entities. I wish to remind us of the important aspects of PATIENCE and PRAYER. They go hand in hand. We need to acknowledge that our God is Awesome in His works and His ways are marvellous. However, let’s not forget that He is Sovereign to do as He wills. We must not attempt to rob Him of His prerogatives and demand that He conform to our will. His ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts above our thoughts. ( Isaiah 55:9 ) He remains the Master of every situation. He knows the end from the beginning and His plan will prove to be absolutely perfect. That does not mean that everything will be ‘peaches and cream’ in our lives but it should give us the assurance that, based on His love, He will never allow anything to come to us that is not for our benefit, ultimately.
Patience in prayer is understanding that Gods love remains true in spite of the fact that we may not get our answers in an instant. He still hears and answers prayer. He cares about the things that cause us distress and discomfort but sometimes the delays of His answers are tuned specifically to our needs to develop His higher purposes. Our impatience may rob us of the joy of seeing the greater gain that we receive because His designs for us are more important than what we could ever imagine. Perhaps we need to possess the patience of the caterpillar who, for a period of time, awaits his personal transformation into the beauty of the Creators ingenuity, and eventually comes forth from his cocoon in rainbow radiance.
But prayers must be made for all men and for all kinds of needs. It is not sufficient to think good thoughts and dream nice dreams. We need to purpose in ourselves that this world, indeed, would be a far better place if we learned the real value and the practice of prayer. Who knows what would happen in our generation if every child of God was prepared to give a portion of each day to solicit Divine intervention in our families and in our society? Let God be God and let us be subject to Him in humble recognition that His plans are spectacular. He has promised to hear from heaven and give us the desires of our hearts in leading us into the joy of what He has reserved for us at just the right time.
Let us learn to pray and continue to be people of prayer.
“Train a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not turn from it.” Proverbs 22:6
It’s easier to place your initials in soft clay than in a fire hardened brick. The saying goes, “You can’t teach old dogs new tricks.” It’s children that are most receptive to the gospel message. It’s their young lives that can be moulded to form life-long Godly characteristics and wholesome attitudes. To neglect the children and youth of our generation is to allow the weeds of the enemy to take over where the good seed should have been planted. It’s true, that no one is beyond repair and the Gospel message has been powerful to transform the most vile life and redirect it into service for God. Jesus often used the little children as His examples of faith because of the trust and confidence that is so natural to a little child. He took them up in His arms and blessed them. Scriptures describe children in very loving terms:
“Sons are an heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him. Like
arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one’s youth. Blessed is
the man whose quiver is full of them.” (Psalm 127:3 – 5)
Of course there are great responsibilities that all parents need to accept. Children are entrusted to us as a treasure from God. We need to feed, educate, care for and protect their young lives. But most of all, we need to commit to them our commitment to serve and honour the Lord. That doesn’t happen all by itself. We must make a plan to train our children in the ways of the Lord and by example and word lead them into a personal experience with Jesus Christ. Let me tell you a few things that may help you in this project.
1. Teach your children to pray. (for meals; before bed time; for healing with the bumps and bruises they get; for the problems they face with their friends and schooling, etc.)
2. Be thankful. Watch for opportunities to let your children know how wonderful the Lord really is, throughout the normal activities of each day. Let it be known that God does good things for us all the time, not just on Sunday.
3. Get involved with some area of ministry in the Church. Your children will follow your example in their commitment to the House of the Lord.
4. Be careful to not speak bad things about anyone in the Church. That includes the Pastors, Board members, Department executives and teachers. We all have our flaws and weaknesses, but the kids don’t need to hear about them. It undermines the authority of the leadership and is seen as a lack of respect.
5. Read to your children. ‘I said, read to your children.’ There are lots of Bible story books that will help you to spend a few minutes each day reading or telling them of the things that God has done.
Rejoice With Real Joy
“This is the Lord, we trusted in Him; let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation.” Isaiah 25:9
Jesus came into the world to make a difference. The truth is that, for too long, the enemy of our souls has been robbing Gods creation of the joy and peace that we were designed to possess. Selfishness and sin has taken its toll upon mankind and burdened all of us with needless cares and countless struggles because we were not living in the victory planned for humanity.
Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10) Jesus was not at all interested in half-way joy. His offer is fullness of joy; living life to the full. Let’s not be content with anything less than what God wants for us.
But let’s be real! There is a joy and a pleasure that the world knows. It’s the kind of stuff that the people demonstrated nearly 2000 years ago today when they welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem with great cries of rejoicing and acts of celebration. It was done in His honour and Jesus was worthy of all that. But less than a week down the road the same voices that were lifted in jubilation were changed to angry tones and “crucify Him” filled the dusty air of that early Friday morning. What on earth happened?
Emotion can be a wonderful thing but when it is based on selfish desires or the “bless me now” attitude, it stands on an insecure foundation. The lasting joy that Jesus offers us does not depend upon what we get out of Him but what we give to Him. That becomes a day by day experience as we surrender ourselves to Him. You see, Jesus is honoured more by our lifestyle than be our vocabulary. If we stop praising Him when we don’t get what we expect, we become embittered, prune faced, lemon lipped, spoiled brats. However, when we learn to praise Him through every circumstance then the “joy of the Lord will be our strength.” And that’s the kind of life He wants us to have all the time.
Our special joy of this time of the year is based on the fact that, just like Jesus, for the Christian, every valley of the shadow has a resurrection experience, some day, that will liberate us from the encumbrances of our present experiences. That is true of every trial and test of these days of our lives. We ought to rejoice in the truth that God lovingly, cares for us and His promises are sure. “Let us rejoice and be glad.” Our God is good. He is a Faithful friend.
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; ..…if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me.” John 14
Why Go To Church?
“What then shall we say, brothers? When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the Church.” 1 Corinthians 14:26
There’s an interesting phrase found in Acts 19 concerning the report of the riot in Ephesus, which made me think about the purpose of our assembling together. Listen to this. “Most of the people did not even know why they were there.” (Acts 19:32) Maybe you could relate to that feeling as you sit in Church, occasionally. It is possible that some would be thinking that they should be out on the golf course or at some secret lake where the fishing is really good, or _________, well you could probably fill in the blanks. But, here they were at the meeting place and they didn’t know why.
In case that question is floating in your mind, let me give you a few reasons why we go to Church:
1. We are exhorted, “Let us not give up on meeting together as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another...” (Hebrews 10:25) It is a fact that we are encouraged when we come together in a large group and focus, unitedly, on our worship and service to the Lord. Jesus in coming soon.
2. The Lord has promised to be, “Where two or three are gathered together in my name...” (Matthew 18:20)
3. We come together to learn through the teaching, exhortations, and reproving ministries of the Church.
4. We place ourselves into the security of body ministry where each one comes, with a contribution of talents and abilities, to share with the rest, while at the same time, giving correction and guidance so that we grow into maturity together.
5. We affirm a positive testimony, to the world, that we are Christians. We’re people of like faith. Our priorities are different from those of the world. We unite on a regular basis to let them know where we stand.
6. We gather together to offer a place of refuge to a world that is hurting. Our meeting place serves as a hospital to offer tender and loving care for people who are bruised and abused by the enemy of our souls. The fact is that we need more willing workers to be involved in the outreach of concern for those who come in and are looking for a God to answer their prayers and a people who will be a friend and help them in their search for peace and wholeness.
By the way, do you know why you are on this earth? We are involved in a Mission to honour the Lord in His creation.
We’re Part Of The Mission Team
“Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” Matthew 9:38
Psalm 126:6 is a verse that we often designate specifically for our Missionaries. “He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him.” The question that comes to mind is, are the reapers supposed to be the weepers too? If I understand the work of Missions, to reach the lost, and that it is not a task given only to certain individuals but to all of us, I think it follows true that if we are going to see souls saved we need to get serious about it and learn to be concerned enough that we will be moved to tears at the thought of those without Christ. Why should our missionaries be delegated such depth of emotion and the rest of us be exempt? We are a part of the same team as they are. The only difference is that they are front-line warriors in foreign situations while we have the comforts of home and family.
We should be participating directly in financial support of missionaries and projects all around the world. There are many other places that we can be personally involved as well. Some of the lost and the needy live right next door to us. The kind of weeping of the sower ought to touch us as we see the distress that is happening in the homes in our own neighbourhoods. There are hurting people everywhere that are looking for some kind of solution to the things that cause them grief. We need to learn what it means to weep for the lost. Then, how about our own families where our own loved ones are ‘existing’ without any hope of heaven and the Love of Christ? Could it be that our vision of service for the Lord is in the ‘long distance’ while we miss the ones nearby are looking for solutions, too. Perhaps we need to be stirred to weep for our own families in concerted intercession for a transformation in their lives because Jesus is their only answer.
We are not doing ourselves any favours by thinking that the task of sowing seed for the harvest depends on others. We need to learn the principle that if the world is going to be won for Christ it is going to take everyone of us doing our part. Some need to fight for the lost in battles of prayerful intercession where weeping before the throne brings great victories to other members of the team on Mission fields at home and abroad. We need to be concerned for the lost wherever they may be. Jesus loves them as much as He loves you and me.
Let’s be committed to doing what we can.
The Key to Revival
“They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are my people,..” Zechariah 13:9
What is the key that brings revival? What keeps revival growing? What strengthens new believers and old ones too? What makes the preaching of the gospel most effective? What helps us to understand God in a more clear way? What helps to prepare the heart of the unbeliever to be more receptive to the gospel? What makes the stony heart soft? What makes the shadows of a discouraging day turn a heart to peaceful understanding? What lifts the burdens of depression and weariness? What brings comfort to a sorrowing heart? What eases the pain of separation and loneliness? What makes the presence of the Living God more real? What gives us hope when the future doesn't look so bright? What helps us to resist temptations that press us to surrender? What is it that helps influence the lives of wayward children to return to Jesus Christ? What causes the powers of darkness to tremble? What causes joy to rise in the heart of the believer each day and gives us the confidence that God is still on His throne and in full control of all the details of our lives?
Do you know the one answer to all those questions? We all need to realize that God has given us the most wonderful privilege of prayer. There is a great need for people to pray. We can't offer you a monitory pay cheque nor can we extend any particular credits of prestige and popularity. But God has other ways of rewarding those who apply effort to calling on Him and waiting in His presence. We have all wondered, at some time, why the world is in such a sad condition. We have all been concerned about the emphasis of violence and sex that are subtly destroying the lives of this generation. The question is, are we concerned enough to make it a matter of prayerful intercession that God would intervene in these matters and in the lengthy list of questions above? It's not going to go away all by its self. Someone has to be willing to pay the price to get some answers. The truth is, we think that somebody else will do it and we'll be able to share in the benefits. It just doesn't work that way.
God answers prayer. That means that we've got to pray if we want answers. If we don't want to pray, why should we expect answers? I think it's interesting that when Jesus described the Temple, he didn't call it the House of preaching. He didn't even call it the House of music. Excuse me, one more time, He didn't even call it the House of worship. He did say, "My house will be called a house of prayer." (Matthew 21:13)
I want to call us all to be people of prayer. Let's begin at home. Then let's be people of prayer at the pre-service prayer time. Let's pray by ourselves, with our families and let's seek for opportunity to pray with our Church family.
Call To Worship
“Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.” Psalm 95:6
Only folk who know what worship is all about can get excited with this kind of invitation. This is a call to humble ourselves in the presence of the Creator of all things. It’s an acknowledgement of His Majesty. The writers of many of the Psalms often broke out in expressions of praise as they put their thoughts to song. The great issues of the Old Testament were almost always related to worship. For example: the very first murder recorded in the history of the world was committed following a worship service. (Genesis 4) Let me add, I don’t believe that the offering was the issue. It was the attitude of the heart that was the problem.
That brings us to an important matter concerning worship. God has always looked at the heart. He has been seeking people who will worship Him in spirit and in truth. God is looking for people of integrity and surrendered to come into His presence. Of course He begins with people everywhere who haven’t a foggy idea about entering into His presence. We all were there at some time in our lives. But He will not leave us there. He wants to set us free from the bondages that hold us to the world and liberate us into a life that honours Him and enjoys His presence.
As the Spirit of God brings us into maturity, one of the very important lessons we need to learn is that of acknowledging the Lord’s power, love and majesty. That should be expressed by our words and actions in ways that humbly demonstrate our surrender to Him as His servants. That’s where the attitude of our lives becomes very important. It is true; there is no One like the Lord. There is no greater power. Everything that exists is a result of His plan and workmanship. All the honour, praise and glory belong to Him. Besides that, His faithfulness endures forever and He works with us to develop higher plans than we could ever accomplish on our own. We need to learn to Worship Him with a clear understanding (in spirit and in truth) that our God is Awesome and completely worthy of our praise.
How, then, should we worship?
1. It all must begin in the heart. We need to recognize the important principle: “Without Him we can do nothing.” That’s a humbling process.
2. We live our lives in a way that our considerations will always puts Him first. In each situation we encounter we should ask ourselves the question, “What would Jesus do?”
3. We ought to learn about the power of our words. Our expressions of worship and praise cause the gates of Hell to tremble. Speak out your worship!
Worship takes us directly into the presence of the Lord. We should learn to wait on the Lord. In case you didn’t know, wait means wait.
The Law of Love
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking. It keeps no record of wrongs.” 1 Corinthians 13:4, 5
Wouldn’t you know that it would be ‘foot in the mouth’ Peter who would ask the question? “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother, when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” (Matthew 18:21) The truth is that he already had vengeance in his heart but he was waiting for the legal/right moment to arrive before he released his anger. He wanted to draw the line in the sand and remind his ‘brother’ that there are limitations to how much anyone can get away with.
The question comes to my own mind. Did Peter think that forgiveness is an item that you measure out in grams and kilos or centimetres and meters? His question was, ‘How much is the allowable personal limit for each offence or offender?’
Jesus set a pretty high figure of permitted transgressions but the number is not important. It’s the principle: forgiveness comes in super, extra-large, double roll quantities that should be liberally administered under the gracious name of Jesus Christ because that’s exactly what He would do. You see, the fruit of the Spirit, that should be a developing part of our Christian character, leads us to a greater tolerance to the offences, failures and inadequacies of others. Jesus spoke about suffering for His sake as being a part of our Christian witness. The whole principle is contrary to what the world believes. But then, so is the Love of God. God sets the example by pouring out His patience, kindness, love and mercy through endless occasions and under some pretty grimy circumstances on our behalf. I think it’s high time that we learned to practice that same kind of lifestyle. That may not alleviate the hurt and pain that others cause but God has promised rewards for those that will live by His principles.
My Mother used to say, “It takes two to make a fight.” Her message was simple. If one does not respond in anger, the fight’s over and the time for rebuilding has arrived. Perhaps we are too sensitive in our own expectations concerning the intrusions of others upon our kindness and not so sensitive to the needs of others who don’t have the same experience we have with the Lord Jesus.
I think Peter learned his lesson because later, he wrote, “Above all, love each other deeply because love covers over a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8) That sounds like a public confession to me.
I Want Your Love
The “Living Bible” translates the spoken words of God in Hosea 6:6 as “ I don’t want your sacrifices… I want your love. I don’t want your offerings, I want you to know me.”
It’s obvious that God wants us to have a sincere heart affection and a personal relationship with Himself. I almost hear a tear in His voice as He cries those words to a people who had totally missed His plan.
What appears to have happened is that the believers, somehow, continued what they interpreted as an obligation in their giving and sacrifices but had disconnected their hearts from what they did. To them, it was a simple case of ‘pay your dues and you’ll be O.K.
You should know that you can’t do that with God because He wants the whole, heart and soul. Not just the effort but the heart. Not just the silver and gold but the will in surrender to Him. If what we do or give to God somehow is not wrapped up in trusting and loving God, then all we do is in vain.
Jesus warned the Pharisees of their hypocrisy because they were so precise in caring for their tithe but had forgotten to be concerned about ‘justice, mercy and faithfulness.’ (Matthew 23:23) We too, can get caught up in making sure we do everything according to ‘hoyle’ but neglect to be compassionate with others and personal with our God. The heart of the matter is the heart. Someone has said, “The important things in life are not things.”
As we come to the house of the Lord, we pause in our rush, to catch a fresh glimpse at the example of our Lord, who was willing to give His all, a true illustration of sacrifice with heart. He gave Himself completely as an offering to please the Father but, at the same time, in complete love for mankind. There was no separation between the sacrifice and the true worship of love. I repeat, it’s an example; an illustration of what we should be doing as well. Could we call it, “anointed duty?” That’s doing what we know we ought to do but always based on the principle of our personal relationship with our Lord. We do things because we love Him. That is not based upon our feelings and emotions but is a decision of the heart. Let’s learn to put something of ourselves into what we do for God; to combine our love with our service. Even as we listen to the ministries of Music and the Preaching we want to do it in a loving and worshipful attitude. We come to Him to let Him know that we love Him and appreciate His kindness to us.
As we bow to worship, let us thank the Lord for His faithfulness in giving us another opportunity to begin again, I trust that our hearts will reach out to Him in sincere gratitude. What a wonderful Saviour we serve!
Loving Our Children
“He took the children in His arms, put His hands on them and blessed them.” Mark 10:16
You can’t help but admire the prayerful concern of the Mother who came to Jesus on behalf of her boys to plant the suggestion that she would be so pleased if Jesus would allow one of her boys to sit on His right hand and the other on His left. (Matthew 20:20) She had no intentions of laying claim to the centre throne. She understood and respected that position but as far as she was concerned, she would be ‘eternally grateful’ if Jesus would just “arrange” this little matter for her. Well, that’s a great mother for you!
Who hasn’t dreamed great dreams for our kids? We want only the best for each of them. That’s part of the loving desires of every good parent. I’m sure that if there was any way that you could fix up that same arrangement with the Lord, as the request of that dear mother, you would do your utmost to make it come to pass. The response of Jesus was courteous but direct. Those places are reserved already and the Father knows all about it. That may appear to be bad news unless you interpret His answer in a positive way. God knows all the kids in the world and yours might be the ones that occupy those positions in Heaven.
Let me give you some suggestions on preparing our kids for that possibility.
1. “Train a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not turn from it.” (Proverbs 22:6) That position is not given to just anyone. It belongs to the one who goes through the training processes first.
2. Teach your children to respect their parents under all circumstances, as well as their elders. “Honour your Father and Mother, which is the first commandment with a promise.” (Ephesians 6:2)
3. Set a Godly example for them to follow: May your steps often lead to the house of God, to the Word of God, to the place of Prayer, to the works of service, to the place of Worship with your tithes and to a Compassionate attitude to the lost of the world. Let your lifestyle be above reproach. Somebody is watching you.
4. Love your spouse with all faithfulness and devotion. A healthy love relationship teaches children to be that kind of person too.
5. Let your faith be so practical that you use it at home, at work, where you do business as well as in Church. You can not separate what you are ( a Christian ) from who you are ( a parent and a citizen. )
It is very possible that what we invest in kids today will bring them closer to the Lord than we could ever have imagined.
Love Is Hard Work
“Love is patient; love is kind.” 1 Corinthians 13:6
Poets, through the centuries, have sought for words that could describe love. They talk about flowers and chocolates; of birds that twitter a joyful song; of starlit nights and bright moon beams.... and their search goes on. Now all of these things may have something to do with Romance but that’s not love.
Love is best spelled out in 1 Corinthians 13 in the words of the Holy Spirit. God sees love as commitment, sacrifice, faithfulness and loyalty. There may be no kick in the heart to talk about these kinds of things when it comes to working for enduring relationships but they are the necessary ingredients that make for a strong bond. In plain and simple words, true love requires a lot of work. Prime Minister Churchill, during the second world war ‘encouraged’ the people of Britain that they would win the war by “blood, sweat and tears.” You might say anything that is worth much is worth fighting for. It’s simply plain hard work.
But I’m not sure that we view the Church and each other with that kind of love. As much as we profess that we ‘love one another’ we can easily let things slip so that our commitment to each other and to the Church is not so strong. You see, I believe that we need to work at strengthening our mutual relationships. We need to apply effort. The kind that goes the second mile, and forgives when we fail. The kind that reaches out to the weak and encourages them to carry on. It’s the kind of effort that does not grow weary in well doing because we know that there is a great reward following. It’s the kind of effort that takes us out of our comfort zone to where we can be a blessing to others. Sometimes, that’s simply hard work. But please don’t shy away from it ‘cause that’s the thing that is closest to the heart of God.
Jesus demonstrated His love for us in coming to our situations and rescuing us from the drudgery of life. He came to give us ‘life to the full.’ But what a price He had to pay. He was willing to pay the price for our best interests, not His own. Let’s reach out to each other and give some love away; not expecting anything in return but the satisfaction that if Jesus would do that for us, surely we could do the same for Him.
“This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” 1 John 4:10
It was love at first sight. From the hillside he watched her as she brought the sheep to the well as she had done so many times before. In the words of the Bible, “She was lovely in form and beautiful.” Rachel was the younger of the two daughters of Laban but the favourite choice of Jacob. “I’ll work for you seven years in return for your younger daughter Rachel,” he offered. Laban agreed. A warm handshake, a big bear hug, roast of lamb and the deal was set.
Let me see. With my calculator, a little bit of information and I come up with cost of the arrangement. 7 years wages. Around a quarter of a million dollars by the average workers salary today. It appears to Jacob that he was still getting the best part of the arrangement. As a matter of fact, as the story goes, he was willing to work an additional seven years in order to have her as his wife. Make the whole agreement a half a million dollars and he would still say, “She is worth her weight in Gold.” Now that’s a true picture of what falling in love may cost ‘a fellow.’
My father-in-law told his daughter that she would not be allowed to marry until she was twenty-one. However, when she was nineteen I asked him for her hand and he agreed that I could have his daughter as my wife. We were married when she turned twenty and all I had to do was say ‘thanks.’ Mind you, I’ve been paying the price ever since. (joke) At this writing we have passed the 42 year mark of married life together.
My question is, ‘How much are you willing to pay for true love?’ You see, when God wanted to demonstrate His love, He was willing to pay a great price to show what value He placed on the arrangement. When I, sincerely, consider what He was getting in return I think the price He was willing to pay for me and you was still ‘too high.’ But it is not what I see my worth to be that determines His willingness to go to such an extreme price: it’s what He sees me and you to be worth that ultimately tells me how much He values our eternal relationship. On the other hand, in return for such a fabulous expression of love, what should I do in return? What price should I be willing to pay to show how much I love my Lord? Silver and gold don’t bring Him any pleasure. Neither do the sacrifices of lambs and goats. There is, however, one thing that He desires more than anything else that would serve to satisfy the longing of His heart. It may sound simple but it must become a lifestyle. BE HIS! Committed, devoted, adoring, trusting, serving, seeking, pure and separate from the world. That should be no big deal when you consider the eternal arrangement He has reserved for us in ‘His house.’ We’re going to move there, soon.
Love Is Blind
“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8
Someone has said that, “Love is blind but marriage is the eye opener.” Now I would never say that nor do I necessarily agree with that statement. The fact of the matter is that Love should be blind to the weaknesses and failures of others and that we should not be quick to condemn anyone, especially in a marriage relationship.
However, we should be aware that we live in a very imperfect world with a lot of imperfect people; except me and you, of course. We need to recognize that the relationship we have with each other was designed in heaven by a Loving Heavenly Father Who has purposed that we all be a part of His Church. It is a very humbling thought, that when God speaks of His Church as a Bride, radiant, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless (Ephesians 5:27) He was speaking about the potential in every one of us. Is it possible that God sees more in the people of our generation than we do? We ought to be satisfied that the weaknesses and frailties settle into the blind spots of our vision. Those are the things that we can recognize as not being the priorities of our lives. We are inclined to major on the negative and not to be consistent with emphasizing the positive.
Peter sums up the matter concisely when he wrote, “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” You see, the depth of our love is not that we explore to discover the faults of others but that we work at concealing others weaknesses. Isn’t that what Jesus did when He wrote in the dust as the self-appointed judges awaited the passing of the sentence of condemnation upon the woman caught in adultery? “If any of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” (John 8:7) Talk about silence in the Church that day. It was deafening. There must have been a lot of self-inspection that suddenly shamed the congregation into honest inactivity. The love of the ‘Dust-writer’ reached out to one who was given another opportunity to change the direction of her life. We’ve all been there. At least I have and I’m grateful that His love reached out to cover me.
So, ‘love is blind.’ May God grant us hearts that have learned to be longsuffering and patient, kind and faithful and always willing to follow His example. May His love flow through us to reach out and accept the wayward into the kind of relationship that we have in Christ Jesus. May our love become an action word that compels us to care for others.
Reaffirm Our Love
“Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honour one another above yourselves.” Romans 12:10
We take a lot of things for granted in our lives. Blessings and favours we receive are accepted with no second thought. We know that is especially true about the wonderful things God shares with us on a regular basis because God is good. But it’s also very true on the human level that ‘most people’ are very kind and considerate. It’s when we run into someone who is obnoxious or inconsiderate that you realize that not everyone is polite and gracious. But don’t let that be an excuse to become negligent in expressing your appreciation to those you should love. Paul wrote to the Corinthian Church and said, “I urge you to reaffirm your love.” (2 Corinthians 2:8)
His letter was written to a Church with a lot of problems but it seems that one of the issues that he wanted to address was the lack of love that should be displayed in Christian circles, too. We often think of our relationship with God as being the total focus of our spirituality but the Bible teaches that next to loving God we ought to love our neighbour as ourselves. When the Apostle Paul mentioned this matter as one of the things they lacked he ‘urged’ them to take positive steps to declaring and displaying their love. The situation merited a reaffirmation. That is a word that is used to persuade someone else to do what they are not already doing. Reaffirming our love means that we should double up on our efforts to show our love for the Church family. It is strange how easily we can take the family for granted when they fulfill such an important role in our lives. A reaffirmation of our love could take many forms: a gracious ‘thank you;’ a warm handshake or quick hug; a letter or card especially written to express appreciation in a thoughtful manner; a phone call to just keep in touch during the week; a flower and lots of other ways.
People need to know they are appreciated. No one should be taken for granted. The saying goes that ‘the squeaky wheel gets the grease’ but that intimates that the silent ones are neglected. There are a lot of folk, especially in our families and in the Church who go about their duties without a complaint. If they would fail to do what they have been doing, we would notice with great regret. They need to be recognized from time to time, with expressions of gratitude. That’s the kind of care and concern that is an affirming love. It becomes an energy builder; a spirit encourager; a purpose director; and a reward for faithfulness. We all know that true love is a rare ingredient in our world today and it’s the real stuff that we all need. Love is a lot like a smile; you can never give it away; like a boomerang, it keeps coming back. You see, as a smile begets another smile, so love given receives love in return. Let’s reaffirm our love!
Lust At First Sight
“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13
Would someone please stand up and tell this generation the difference between the 'love' of romance and the 'love' of service. The world has these matters confused. The Bible gives us clear teachings and examples for us to be equipped for both. Let me tell you something. Usually, when people tell me that it was "love at first sight," I believe that what they really intended to say was that it was "lust at first sight." That is not all bad because it could still be the beginning of a permanent lasting relationship if the lid is kept on the lust until a more mature love in romance is developed. Without the "rush" that comes into the lives of people who 'fall in love,' the follow through that makes the development of a loving relationship will be built on duties and responsibilities without the necessity of the thrill or spark of excitement. I speak with the authority of personal experience plus the observation of thousands of couples through the years of my ministry. What I've discovered is that true love is willing to wait, serve and sacrifice with no view of recompense. That kind of love is willing to give and forgive without remembering the weaknesses and frailties of those we love.
It may be hard for some to comprehend, in their youth, that for a loving relationship to endure it must be based on the principle of giving and surrendering not the 'what can I get out of this' principle. As a matter of fact a lot of marriages, today, could use an adjustment in refining these facts. Too many homes have delegated responsibilities according to gender. "Dish washing is a woman's job." "Mowing the lawn is a mans job." "Vacuuming the house is a woman's job." "Washing the car is a mans job." I don't believe that legislation of those matters is right. Love must view all these concerns as "ours" as a husband and wife and that we equally work together because it is for our mutual benefit that all these things be taken care of as efficiently as possible.
True love makes us all servants/slaves. True love looks for ways to ease the load of others. We count it a privilege to give of ourselves for the better of others. You've probably discovered that some people are hard to love. That is quite human and natural. But we still need to work at the difficult as well as continue doing what comes easy to us.
Let me come back to remind us that the love of romance should lead to the love of service in our homes. And, let me add, real brotherly love should show the same willingness to usefully serve those we are in contact with on a regular basis. Take the time to show some "real" love in your home, at the work place and in your Church. We'll all be the better for it. "Love is patient. Love is kind." (1 Corinthians 13:4)
What Does God Want?
“Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground.”
The important matter is, “What does God want?” The funny thing is that in our hurry to do our own stuff we sometimes forget that, in everything, He is interested in all the details that make up our lives. He does have a perfect plan for us that includes His protection and provision in order to fulfill His purposes if our lives are put into His care. The bottom line is that when we do it Gods way, we will be blessed and He will be glorified. The big issue occurs with the battle on the inside. We want God but we want Him our way. We want His blessings but we want Him to bless our choices. It doesn’t always work that way. You’ve probably discovered that on your own.
What does God want of you and me? Let me start by saying, I don’t think that He wants us to be puppets that are without intelligence and limp in His hand. As yielding and surrendered as that may sound, that is not what God had in mind when He formed us. He has created us with emotions, a free will and a measure of intelligence in order to be His representative on earth. What God is looking for is for us to exercise our free will to surrender our choices to Him. That doesn’t happen ‘once for all.’ Daily the tests are laid before us. The devil will do his best to persuade us to disregard the prior claims that God has on our lives and to make the choices we want for our own pleasure. That game backfired on Adam and Eve and the rules of encounter have not changed since then. Here is a basic suggested list of regulations that we all need to learn and practice every day:
1. Let God know that you want to serve Him in every area of your life.
2. What does Gods revealed will through His Word say to us on this matter? Once we know that, the choices should be easy. (Example: “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers.” 2 Corinthians 6:14) If you need an explanation on that one, you’re not listening very closely.
3. When the Word doesn’t clearly spell out Gods counsel, it is wise to seek the wisdom of mature believers. (Example: Should I buy a new car with my present budget?) Be honest and let wise people give you advice.
4. When that isn’t easily available, we should proceed in the direction of our heart with a willingness to back up if His prompting speaks of His disapproval. There is nothing wrong with making mistakes if we learn a lesson from them and get back on track. The Spirit of God is good at rescuing us and extending the mercy of God to us in what seems to be a failure. This can be a very intimate experience with God as He speaks to our hearts.
“Teach me to do your will, for you are my God.” (Psalm 143:10)
On Being Lost
“Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.” Luke 15:6
We had just returned from four and a half years in Argentina a couple of weeks before Christmas. Our son was only 3 years old and apart from “cookie please” his complete vocabulary was Spanish. We took him to shop with us in one of the biggest stores in the city, amongst the crowds of the seasonal rush and push everyone hurrying to get their Christmas gifts together as quickly as possible. As we sought out the presents that would bring delight to our family on Christmas morning we suddenly realized that Kevin was no longer with us. Panic filled our hearts. Somewhere in the crowd of shoppers, our little boy was lost. He was, of course, too short to see us. There was too much noise around, so he could not hear us.
English was a foreign language to him so that whatever he did say to anyone around him, no one would understand, nor could he understand anyone who tried to communicate with him. We moved quickly through the crowd, calling his name, searching under clothing racks that had become hiding places for him and around the tables and bins loaded with merchandise. At some point, he would realize that he was without a Father and Mother; that everyone around him were strangers. His protection, care and nurture were gone. He may have thought farther than that. His home was gone; his family and those who loved him were gone. In the business and rush of the people that were all around him, he was all alone and it looked like no one seemed to care.
At one moment, the crowds parted and I saw our little boy, with tears streaming down his cheeks, one finger clicking on his front teeth but not a sound came from his lips. Our embrace was nervously joyful.
I think I learned a personal lesson on “lostness.” Would someone who suddenly came to the realization that they were helplessly, hopelessly, without a home for eternity feel the kind of emotions that a little 3 year old must have felt? Then there are many who only become aware of the despair of their “lostness” after they’ve been found. What of the multitudes of our world today who have never heard the story of Gods searching love and provision for a home in heaven? What of the generations in our own land who have given up listening to pompous sermons and watching the empty phoney faith of believers who have not learned to exercise our trust in God? The truth is, they may not be asking the questions that we think should concern them but they are looking for answers that would bring solutions to the confusion around us. Jesus Christ is the only answer to mans “lostness.”
We need to carry that message, wrapped in sincere love and whether in foreign lands or right here at home, make it clear that there is a God in heaven who cares about us.
“LORD, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure.” Psalm 16:5
Security has become a big issue to this computer generation. Information that flies around the world in a matter of seconds can be tapped into by invisible intruders who know how to convert personal information into a new identity. Then, through electronic processes they can divert finances, shares in stocks and bonds into their own accounts and disappear. It has become a high-tech game. Computer companies are continually upgrading Anti-virus programs to monitor and control the unseen invaders from entering and changing their programs. Someone has said that the best place to be secure is to put your savings in a sock and stick it under your mattress. Now, that is not my personal recommendation but obviously, there aren’t many perfectly secure places in the world anymore.
That reminds me that Jesus said, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven…” Treasures in heaven! ! That is an interesting concept. Is there a more secure place in all of creation. Consider, after all the effort we put into many things in this world, it is terrible to think that someone can come along and take them from us and we have no way of getting them back. What a waste of time and energy! No wonder they call it criminal. But Jesus is looking at the matter in a different light. There are some things that you can store to enjoy at a future date. His concern was that we get too involved in building, possessing and saving things that will eventually disappear. He reminds us that there is another option. We can begin to put away things that are of eternal value and that will bring us benefits in heaven.
For example, the bible teaches that intercessory tears are saved in heaven; that prayers ascend before God like precious incense. I believe that the gifts of tithes and offerings are noted in Gods book of records of things done in the body that will be evidence of our trust and confidence in God. Jesus said, “A cup of cold water to one of these little ones ….will certainly not lose his reward.” (Matthew 10:42) I know that Jesus does not intend to tell us that working for earthly things is not important. I understand that He did express concern that we are taken up so much in gaining earthly treasures that we forget they will fade away but what is done for the Lord will remain to bring us eternal benefits. It has been said that you cannot out give God. Any investment in His kingdom in even small ways will bring great rewards. It takes faith to see that as a possibility. The carnal mind will struggle with that. The mind of faith will say, ‘If God said it, I believe it.’
Now let’s get out there and try it. The process involves investing our earthly goods to prosper heavenly principles.
You Can Run but You Can’t Hide
“But if you fail to do this, you will be sinning against the LORD; and you may be sure that your sin will find you out.” Numbers 32:23
He sat on the edge of his seat as the prophet related his message. His emotions rose to anger as the sermon progressed. He could never remember seeing the prophet so involved in his illustration. His own emotions, from his Shepherd and warrior years, rose to in a fury of anger as the sermon progressed. It was all so vivid to him. How could anyone commit such an injustice. The rich farmer was abusing the tender love of a poor farmer while he possessed an abundance of sheep? “ Stop! - that man does not deserve to live!”
If it weren’t so serious, we would say it’s almost funny. David had never felt a message so personally as he did this one and had never reacted so judiciously. He noted the nervousness of the restless prophet as he took another deep breath, paused for but a brief moment; then with a dramatic piercing look he replied, “You are the man!”
David was caught in the message, hook, line and sinker. He was the man who had abused his rights and privileges. He was the man who had taken another mans wife and had her husband killed. His was the plan to hide his sin as. It was his lust, fear and deceit that so far, had gone uncovered. BUT GOD had seen it all. He could argue that he was not to blame; that it was the woman who caused him to fall. He could have silenced the voice of the prophet with a simple command to, ‘take off his head.’ He could have persuaded his leaders and his kingdom that, as King, he had every right to all that was under his royal domain. He could have insisted that other Kings had done worse things than this and that it was quite acceptable by all worldly standards. But he bowed his head and cried, “I have sinned against the Lord.” His own confession became a song in the hymn book of Israel. He tells his own story of repentance in Psalm 51, as he humbly wept his way into the presence of God and cast himself upon His mercy and forgiveness. As you read the Psalm, you feel his pain as, broken, he seeks for Gods favour to return upon his life once again.
My Mother used to repeat an old proverb to us, in our youth; “Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.” The Bible says, “You may be sure your sin will find you out.” (Numbers 32:23) That can be a very humiliating experience. I think we all need to remember that the Devil is an evil taskmaster and deceives us into thinking that pleasure is the real reward of what we do. But sin has other consequences that we may not see at first.
Be assured, child of God, God loves you too much to let you get away with sin. But He most certainly wants you to get it out and repented of, before it’s too late. It is not in His pleasure to condemn anyone, but it is His joy to stop the ravages of sinning that rob us of the joy and fellowship of His presence. God is LOVE and He still forgives those who come to Him.
“God is love.” 1 John 4:8
That’s the most simple and profound explanation of who God is. That explains who He is and why He does what He does. Now, it is true, that we don’t always see the emotion, in God, that we expect from a loving relationship but the long term evidences are to be seen throughout history. Many are the stories throughout the scriptures of the Lord exercising patience and kindness to a people who were rebellious and unthankful. He has been faithful to His promises and sensitive to the cry of His people in need. Generations attest to the fact that God is a tender, loving, compassionate Friend who cares for His people. The psalmist David drew on his years of experience, through the good and the bad times, to say, “Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; His love endures forever.” (1 Chronicles 16:34) That is God!
When God created humanity in the beginning He had expectations that man, made in His image would somehow reflect the same characteristics of His Divine nature. However, after less than one generation of human existence Cain, fresh from a ‘worship’ service, in a fit of anger, killed his brother. Generations since have carelessly neglected the developing of the kind of love that God is. No wonder Jesus would say, “A new command I give you: Love one another.” (John 13:34) You’ve noticed, that’s not a suggestion. Although it is not listed with the other 10 commandments of the Old Testament, it is clear that all of the details of the Decalogue are superseded by this commandment. “The entire law is summed up in a single command: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.” (Galatians 5:14) Love was not intended to be a romantic experience only. It is a lifestyle. We have confused it with the theatrical terminology of Hollywood influence.
Around Valentines day the world of commerce takes advantage of the oozy, lovely dovey sentiments that we think are the true expressions of love. Let me tell you that the kind of love that God expects from us is not measured by the value of a gift but by the attitude of the day by day lifestyle. Please don’t be snowed by the rant of commerce that invites you to spend $50 + dollars for a dozen roses that are supposed to say, “I love you.” There is no escape from the fact that true love takes the attitude of a servant; it forgives, is patient, restores, holds no grudges, blesses, surrenders, speaks no evil, thinks only the best and gives of oneself. If that is supplemented by the roses then it’s O.K. But you can’t put a gift in a box that can replace the lifestyle expressions. By the way, love is intended to reach to everyone who can be influenced by our gracious conversation and benevolent acts. The bottom line is that God wants us to love like Jesus does and there is no substitute.
“Let us love one another, for love comes from God.” (1 John 4:7)
“But when the kindness and love of God our Saviour appeared, he saved us…” Titus 3:4
Poets through the centuries have tried to describe love in terms of endearment and romance as from the heart of a lover. Most will admit that there is no way that one could properly portray the bubbling emotions of the heart and the dreams that fill the minds of two who have ‘fallen in love.’ When it comes to explaining the love of God the task becomes infinitely more difficult. We know that we are dealing with someone whose basic nature is love. And, because He is God, we are dealing in infinite values. We have difficulty finding words that will adequately portray the magnitude of the love of God. There is no thermometer, barometer or other kind of gauge that can measure the fullness of His love. We can use some of the things that He has said to help us understand more about Himself and His love for us.
“For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
“Many, O Lord my God, are the wonders you have done. The things you planned for us no one can recount to you: were I to speak and tell of the, they would be too many to declare.: (Psalm 40:5)
“The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (Deuteronomy 31:8)
“I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving kindness.”
Jesus came into the world to be a living example of the Love of the Father. All the things He said and the things He did represented the feelings and emotions of God towards humanity. He came as the Healer, Supplier, Teacher, Counsellor, Miracle-worker, Companion/Friend. His actions confirmed the compassion and mercy of God as he reached out to all kinds of people, from the ‘uppermost’ to the ‘guttermost,’ across the span of generations and nationalities. He came because He loved people and knew that there was no other way they could be brought into His Fathers presence without His intervention. That’s the reason why He came to my ‘house’ one day and why He came to yours.
During one of His teaching sessions He shared a principle that He intended to live by. “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13) He showed the whole world the full extent of His love by becoming the servant of God and the substitute of man by taking the consequences of all our sin upon Himself on the cross at Calvary. Because of His love, He was willing to be the replacement for all mankind and pay the absolute price that would make a way for us to be brought back to God. That’s what we remember each Holy Communion service. The cost was high! He paid it with His own life out of His love for each of us.
“Rise in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the LORD.” Leviticus 19:32
Growing old is both a pain and a pleasure. The joyful side comes with the recognition of the lessons learned through the many experiences of life. Both the good and the foggy memories of the bad become the fuel of the quiet times. The examination of how things used to be compared to how they are today, remind the older folk that growing old is a real accomplishment worthy of special recognition. There ought to be a heroes badge given to those who have traversed the years to becoming a Senior; those who have kept the faith and retained their joy. After all, just surviving life is a kind of war in itself.
Probably no generation in all of history has witnessed the dramatic changes from the ‘simple’ but often strenuous way of life of past years, to the dynamics and often confusing ways of modern technology. And there is still more to come. The painful part comes with the realization that these bodies weren’t designed to live for ever. Every Senior knows that. Although on the inside, they feel there is no change from the earlier days of life, when it comes to moving the outside part to fulfill the youthful activities of the mind they discover that physically it’s just not there anymore. It’s that stage of life when the scriptures remind us, “Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” (2 Corinthians 4:16)
It’s that inward part that is spoken of in this passage that needs to be acknowledged as truly being a hidden treasure that should be discovered and enjoyed. Some older folk have given up on life and have stepped out of the arena of ‘life.’ Let me remind you, you are not a ‘has been.’ You are capable of being a spiritual activist by the exercise of your faith in the God who is the Ancient of Days. We are told that most things get better with age. Never is that more true than when we are talking about people. Lessons from life’s experiences are invaluable and our Seniors are a treasure house of wisdom gleaned from years of struggle and stress. Add to that the factor that our Seniors have centuries of cooperative involvement in trusting and proving the faithfulness of the Lord through some very troublesome times. Theirs is that kind of contribution that needs to be recognized in a generation of changing values. God has not failed to be there through the struggles and stresses of past experiences and He will still be available for those of this and future generations because God never changes. Our Seniors will tell us that God still answers prayer. They will remind us that the pleasures of the world can not compare to the joy of keeping the pledges of commitment to honouring God.
When it comes right down to the sunset side of life, believers will tell us that there are no regrets for those who have served the Lord. God is good. I believe that the Bridegroom has saved the best wine to the last. (John 2:9,10) A final word to all Seniors and wanna be Seniors – enjoy yourself! I say, “Rejoice in the Lord always.” God is faithful.
What A Day That Will Be!
“Look, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him…. So shall it be, Amen.” Revelation 1:7
Jesus is coming back again, just like He said He would. The event will take a lot of people by surprise in spite of the fact that Pastors and Prophets have been sounding out the message for centuries. For the Church, we look forward with eager expectation to His returning and to the clear triumph of the procession of the saints, who will be caught up to meet Him in the air.
What a day that will be! There will be family reunions with loved ones who have walked through the valley of the shadow of death. Together our physical frames will be changed into “spiritual” bodies that will be able to enjoy Gods presence for timeless eternity. Those who struggled with physical disabilities will be set free with new, transformed abilities to see, hear, smell, touch, taste, leap and hold as never before. Pain and sickness will be left behind. Sorrow and discouragement will be history. The struggle against the Tempter and the Destroyer of our souls will be finished. His sting and his power will have no effect on us any longer. We’ll be caught into the presence of the One who loves us with an everlasting love. He will take us to His Fathers house where we will humbly bow in grateful praise and worship for Who He is and for all He’s done for us. We will be embraced by ‘Boundless Love.’
The beauty of that place is beyond our present ability to understand. The Apostle John, in his description of heaven in the book of Revelation struggled for adequate adjectives to paint the heavenly portrait. Suffice to say, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9)
Without a doubt, the most wonderful part of the whole transition will be the moment we see our Saviour face to face. Yet, I imagine that the longing I have to see my Master is greatly superseded by His desire to present us to the Father in heaven. He’s the One who loves us, came into the world to set us free from sin; Who died and rose again; Who ascended into His Fathers presence to prepare a place for us. He’s the One who intercedes for us at the Fathers right hand and He’s the One who will welcome us Home. After all His suffering on our behalf, what a joy it will be to be able to express our appreciation without the limitations of our present weaknesses.
Jesus is coming back again. Let’s be watchful and doing what He has left us to do. He may return today.
The Real Gentle Giant
“Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him.” Psalm 34:8
We are first introduced to the Spirit of God as He is reportedly seen in the darkness, over a formless and empty world. (Genesis 1:1) Like a gigantic Eagle fluttering over a bunch of sticks that would soon become her nest, the Holy Spirit hovered over the earth. He was about to begin a project that was going to be the object of Gods special attention for centuries to come.
We meet the Holy Spirit many more times, throughout scripture, as He works in the lives of calling sinners and empowering saints each for special purposes in the Divine plan of God. He often exercises His supernatural abilities to give wisdom and to anoint those who were chosen for extraordinary responsibilities. It is obvious that He has a continuing occupation of developing exceptional evidences of Gods interest in humanity. One of His primary focus, at this time, is directed toward the Church.
1. He works on the hearts of sinners to make them realize their need of a Saviour. (impressing conviction and calling to repentance.) He then makes them a part of the Church universal.
2. He works in the Church to make us more like Jesus in the daily routine of our lives. (love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness and self-control.) If you don’t think that is an extraordinary purpose, you haven’t met some of the people that I know who are still growing in their spiritual walk with God.
3. He works with individuals to empower them with special giftings that makes evident an exceptional ability for a particular task. (healings, messages, faith, wisdom and special insights into situations.)
4. He comes into the lives of believers in an experience known as the Baptism of the Spirit, (being filled with the Spirit) where the believer surrenders to the Lord in praise and worship with the evidence of speaking in other tongues by the Spirit.
He always works as an “absolute Gentleman” in the things that He does. He forces no one; He speaks in gentle tones, heard more by the heart that the ear; He nudges as He leads us by inner promptings rather than by pushing and shoving; He is a Comfort to us when we are in distress. He is a Faithful Friend and Counsellor.
“Stand up and praise the Lord your God, who is from everlasting to everlasting.” “Blessed be your glorious name, and may it be exalted above all blessing and praise.” Nehemiah 9:5
When Jesus was upset with people, He did not hide His feelings. Most often His indignation was against the self-righteous religious leaders of His day who would give the outward appearance of deep devotion but who inwardly were spiritually dead. That brings me to say what I want to talk about today.
I believe it is imperative for the Christian to be ‘real,’ through and through. To be the kind of people whose integrity is beyond question; whose lives are not just words, nor just an act but whose faith is built on a real experience with a wonderful, living Saviour. After all, we are who we are by the Grace of God. This is not a day to step back from letting the world know what has happened in our hearts. It is very possible that some are hesitant to make a public statement of their faith because they suspect that there may be an adverse reaction to their testimony.
The counsel of a wise King may help some to be encouraged to be true to their Lord. “The fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord will be safe.” (Proverbs 29:25) The situation in Jesus day was that people professed to be what they were not and Jesus knew it. I wonder if that is any worse than not professing what we really are because we’re afraid of what people will think. The point I want to make is that we have received so much from the Lord that we, in humble gratitude, ought to demonstrate what we really are and what we really believe. Be real! That should not change with the weather nor the company we keep.
Perhaps you’ve heard of the Bible College student who found summer employment in a logging camp. When he returned to College in the fall, some asked him how he survived the summer in such ungodly circumstances. His response? “Oh that was easy. No one even suspected that I was a Christian.”
I’m afraid that kind of hypocrisy must be very upsetting to the Lord. Plain and simple, we are called to be the light of the world. Our lives need to fearlessly reflect the light of the SON. Something about Him should be seen through us on a regular basis or else we are bad examples of a good God. Paul wrote Titus chapter 3 saying, “I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good.”
You see, a true Christian experience is demonstrated through our deeds as well as our words. The verbal profession without the lifestyle is like clouds without rain.
May the Lord help us to be all we were called to be and nothing less.
Just In Time
“There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1
I’ve always wondered who we are trying to fool by changing the clocks back an hour during the spring and ahead in the fall. It seems to me that the day is still 24 hours long. They tell me that you’re supposed to get an hour more of daylight to enjoy in your waking hours, but I’ve discovered that I still wake up in the dark and go to bed in the dark. So what’s new. The truth is, we have so much control over time and still, so little control over time. It’s obvious that we have the responsibility to regulate what we do with every moment of our life and yet, time moves on and waits for no one.
When the Bible refers to, “Redeeming the time... “ (King James Version) the modern translations say, “.. making the most of every opportunity,” the thought is to remind us that time ‘will’ come to an end at some point. Whether it’s through the process of dying or the trumpet call of God, time will cease to exist. At the same time, any opportunity to do something in this world for God, will be history. We need to plan our lives in such a way that the opportunities to serve God do not slip by without an effort on our part to do what He has created us to do.
I always find it interesting too, that God, who is timeless, so designed us with time limitations but so established His program that His only begotten Son would be confined to the same conditions. Can you imagine that God, who never slumbers nor sleeps, is suddenly bound to a daily schedule like every one of us. He knew the time of day and the eating habits of society so He provided, lunch at least two times and breakfast at least once. He knew when it was safe to go to certain places and when to delay His arrival, all for very special reasons according to His reading the clock.
But most important, the Bible makes it clear that He came into the world, “when the time had fully come,” (Galatians 4:4) to be the Saviour of the world. He came just in time. He came to die at Calvary, just in time. (It was the feast of the Passover) Instead of a little lamb dying for the annual covering of sins, Jesus became the Lamb of God to take away all the sin of the world at one time.
And it’s about time, that we recognized what Jesus Christ came into the world to do. His death was to give us access to the Father who longs to pour out living blessings upon those who trust Him. We must not delay the wonderful opportunities that He offers us to be a very blessed people. Soon the timelessness of eternity will claim us as we join the saints of history in a great reunion in the Presence of our Eternal Lord.
Call to Prayer
“When ( not if ) you pray… “ Luke 11:2
Occasionally, in Church, an invitation is extended for a special week of prayer emphasis. We want God to do what He wants us to do in the Church and prayer is always the starting point. We need to learn to place ourselves before Him to hear His voice and to learn the lessons that He wants us to learn. We are a needy people living in a needy world. God alone has the answers to the many problems that perplex our society and each congregation. We need to hear from Him. Each believer should set aside a special time to make the extra effort to be a part of a united emphasis to seek the Lord from time to time. Prayer is time invested into the Spiritual Development of His Church and each believer in the world. It is also the beginning process of reaching the ‘Lost’ of our generation.
We have many promises in His word that remind us that when we seek the Lord, He will hear and answer prayer. “If my people who are called by my name shall humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)
“And you will seek me and find me when you seek me with all you heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13)
1. I believe in the importance of our private times of prayer when we are alone with God. Jesus often spent quiet times, alone, with His heavenly Father.
2. I see, as well, the value of a united prayer effort when we do our best to meet together to encourage each other in prayer. The early Church believers had a regular plan for united prayer where they ministered to each other and waited on the Lord. It’s times like that when we have a sense of belonging to a wonderful, caring body of friends.
I think that it is important to be built up in the Lord through our personal prayer lives on our own but it is so much more of a blessing to the whole church when we are prepared to build up others by making the extra effort to being ‘together’ in a group sharing one another’s burdens and cares. After all, that’s one of the reasons that the Lord leaves us here on earth after we come to know Him. We need to learn how to encourage each other in prayer.
God answers prayer.
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©Copyright - Used with permission from the author Rev. G. H. Fricker.