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His by Donation, Dedication, and Relation.

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DAILY DEVOTIONAL JANUARY 12, 2019

You are Christ’s.
1 Corinthians 3:23

“You are Christ’s.” You are His by donation, for the Father gave you to the Son; His by His purchase of blood, for He paid the price for your redemption; His by dedication, for you have consecrated yourself to Him; His by relation, for you are named by His name and made one of His brethren and joint-heirs. Labor practically to show the world that you are the servant, the friend, the bride of Jesus.

When tempted to sin, reply, “I cannot do this great wickedness, for I am Christ’s.” Immortal principles forbid the friend of Christ to sin. When wealth is before you to be won by sin, say that you are Christ’s, and touch it not. Are you exposed to difficulties and dangers? Stand fast in the evil day, remembering that you are Christ’s. Are you placed where others are sitting down idly, doing nothing? Rise to the work with all your powers; and when the sweat stands upon your brow, and you are tempted to loiter, cry, “No, I cannot stop, for I am Christ’s. If I were not purchased by blood, I might be like Issachar, crouching between two burdens; but I am Christ’s and cannot loiter.” When the siren song of pleasure would tempt you from the path of right, reply, “Your music cannot charm me; I am Christ’s.” When the cause of God invites you, give your goods and yourself away, for you are Christ’s.

Never contradict your profession. Be ever one of those whose manners are Christian, whose speech is like Jesus, whose conduct and conversation are so reminiscent of heaven that all who see you may know that you are the Savior’s, recognizing in you His features of love and His countenance of holiness. “I am a Roman!” was of old a reason for integrity; far more, then, let your argument for holiness be, “I am Christ’s!”

Truth For Life

Devotional material is taken from “Morning and Evening,” written by C.H. Spurgeon, revised and updated by Alistair Begg. Copyright (c) 2003, Good News Publishers and used by Truth For Life with written permission. Today’s Bible Reading material is taken from McCheyne Bible reading plan and used by Truth For Life with permission. Scripture quotations are taken from Holy Bible: English Standard Version, copyright (c) 2001, Good News Publishers.
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PROMISES MADE, PROMISES KEPT

Most believers have a favorite promise in Scripture that they have memorized and cling to during hard times–often even more than one. Personally. I have always been partial to Isaiah 40, in which we read, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (v. 10). I remind myself, on a regular basis, of this biblical promise as well: “…nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:39).

The promises that God gives us are almost too numerous to count. He promises to provide our needs (Philippians 4:19), forgive our sins (1 John 1:9), produce fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), grant eternal life in Christ (John 11:25-26), and to be with us always (Matthew 28:20). Some Christians look at such promises and say that we must claim them in order for them to be true for us. We must believe them with all our heart and they will come to pass. As though we can click our heels three times, squeeze our eyes shut, and recite a verse over and over and the next thing we know, God’s promises are delivered into our hands.

God’s promises are not true because we believe in them. They don’t come to pass because our faith is great. God’s promises will come to pass simply because God said them.

The Power of God’s Word

When God speaks, things happen. At the beginning of the world, God said, “Let there be light” (Genesis 1:3). He merely spoke and light entered the world. When Jesus was on the boat with the disciples and a ferocious storm rose up, Mark tells us, “And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.” (4:39). There was chaos and then there was calm—an immediate response to the powerful word of God. We cannot speak and make anything happen. If we want light, we have to turn on a switch or a flashlight. If there’s a storm outside, we have to take shelter and wait for it to pass. Only God can speak and cause the creation to respond at just the sound of his voice.

His word also does all that he wills it to. Whatever he says is going to happen; it will take place and nothing and no one can stop it. “So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11). We can make plans and say what we hope will happen tomorrow but only God can ensure that his plans come to fruition. In fact, our own plans are governed by and submissive to God’s plans, “The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps” (Proverbs 16:9).

God’s written word is just as powerful as his spoken word. It is truth which sanctifies (John 17:17). It gets down deep in our heart and reveals our thoughts and motives, “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). Faith comes through hearing the word of God preached, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17). God’s word is our very life, “For it is no empty word for you, but your very life, and by this word you shall live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to possess” (Deuteronomy 32:47). “My soul clings to the dust; give me life according to your word!” (Psalm 119:25).

The Word Made Flesh

For centuries, God’s people heard Him speak through His chosen mediators: prophets, priests, and kings. But then one day, God the Son left the throne room of heaven, stepped into human flesh and became the Word incarnate. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind” (John 1:1, 4). Jesus Christ, the image of the invisible God, is God’s message to us in the flesh. Who Jesus was and what he came to do is the very truth of God. “I am the way, and the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). The writer to the Hebrews tells us, “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son” (Hebrews 1:1-2).

It is in Jesus, the Word, in which all of God’s promises are met, carried out, and fulfilled. The meta-promise of all God’s promises—“I will be their God and they will be my people”—was met in Christ when he came to earth, lived a perfect life, and bore the punishment for our sins. In fact, his death is a marker for us, a sign post and reminder of God’s faithfulness to keep his promises. As Paul asked in Romans, “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32).

For those who are in Christ, who are united to him by faith, God’s promises are ours. “For all the promises of God in Him are yes, and in Him Amen, unto the glory of God through us” (2 Corinthians 1:20). All God’s promises are yes in Christ—from the temporal promises of meeting our daily needs to the eternal promises of glory in heaven and every promise in between.

The truth is, God is not anxiously waiting for us to claim his promises or try with all our might to believe they are true. They will come to pass because God said them. There is no need to name them and say they are ours for they already are—in and through the Word made flesh. So learn them, memorize them, and post them around the house, marveling at the grace of our God whose powerful word always comes to pass.

Credit Christina FoxI  i

 

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The Journey Begins

Thanks for joining me!

After much pondering, I’ve come to the realisation that one aspect of being a Christian means accepting loneliness. I found in my own personal walk with God, that often despite going to church and having fellowship with fellow Christians,  I often still feel lonely and unsatisfied. 

At first, I thought I was being unappreciative and unable to feel happiness. But I realised it is because I am always reflecting on my walk with God and my experiences in life and how true joy can only come from leaving everything behind and taking up my daily cross.

Mark 8 verses 34-35 says; “”If anyone would come after me (Jesus), he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it.” 

This verse really is about obedience, commitment, sacrifice and loneliness. Loneliness is manifested in the image of, when you take up your cross; you carry it on your own. Nothing and no one can help you. If you want to follow Christ, you are required to give up or at least be ready to give up all the temporary things of this world in order to obey the call of Christ.

 

Jesus did not come to live as an example of how to die as a martyr, but as a substitute, taking the place that we deserve in order that we might enjoy what we don’t deserve. This is good news. Let us tell all our friends!”

– Alistair Begg

 

May I Soon Not Forget ~

May it be a blessing!

CHRISTian poetry ~ by deborah ann

Lord, may I not soon forget,
the favors You’ve granted me
nor how You made a path . . .
across my own Red Sea.

May my praises for You,
keep me humble all my days
may I not forget to walk
and follow all Your ways.

Lord, may I not complain,
nor forget Your mighty deeds
may I always acknowledge
it’s You who supplies my needs.

May my praise rise each day,
and lay upon my lips at night
may I not forget Your counsel
nor the pillars of Your light.

Lord, may I not forget,
the works of Your mighty hand
nor how a path for me . . .
You made to the promised land!

~~~~~~~~~~~

Psalm 106:13-14

“They soon forgat his works; they waited not
for his counsel: But lusted exceedingly in the
wilderness, and tempted God in the desert.”

King James Version
Public Domain

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Defending Martha

 

Defending Martha

Defending Martha

“God established peace for us, for all we have done, He has already accomplished”
Isaiah 26:12

I remember reading the story of Mary and Martha as a young child. There was a day when Yeshua came with His disciples to their home in the village of Bethany. Sitting in the main room of their humble house, he was teaching all who were gathered there. As time wore on everyone sat around Yeshua’s feet, drinking in the wisdom He was sharing with them. Everyone, that is, apart from Martha.

I imagine Martha sat there for a while, listening to the beautiful life-giving things Yeshua was saying, but then with a sense of urgency she rose and departed, her mind busy with thoughts of what needed to be done. Her sister Mary, on the other hand, sat at Yeshua’s feet listening, unmindful of the work that was going on in the other room.

Martha, you see, was quick to realize the practical reality of the situation. The Bible tells us that she was the one who had invited Yeshua into their home. Martha knew people needed food, and at some point, when Yeshua’s incredible teaching would end there would be the basic human need for sustenance. Thinking strategically ahead, Martha must have mapped out in her mind an inventory of what she had in the kitchen, and once there, she likely inspected the situation and made a plan.
Nowadays, good home-made food requires a lot preparation; in Bible times, much more so. So, Martha, having figured out the need in advance, took action to resolve the problem ahead of its impact.

Now having spent all her energy preparing the meal, Martha comes back and takes issue with her sister’s indifference to the situation. She had expected that at some point, Mary would have noticed she was not in the room and assumed that Mary would come to the realization that Martha must be working and that she, Mary, needed to come and help. But Mary didn’t do that. After working in the kitchen, missing out on the precious time with Yeshua in order to take care of what needed to be done, Martha decides to let Mary know her apparent “ignorance” was not helpful, it was even irresponsible. In fact, she says, “it’s not fair that you Mary should get to do nothing, while I do all the work”.

At that very moment Yeshua turns around and rebukes Martha, strongly. Yeshua tells Martha that all these things she thinks are essential, are in fact not needed and that Mary chose the better part by sitting at His feet and listening to him.

Even as a child I could feel Martha’s indignation at this statement. I could imagine her cheeks going bright red with embarrassment at being “told off” by the Master, in front of everyone.
For the life of me, I couldn’t understand what was wrong with Martha’s choice. Martha saw ahead, and realizing the need she took action. Someone had to do the work! Martha made sure that what had to be done, got done and yet apparently she was incorrect. I was upset on her behalf, that she had to endure such a public reprimand for choosing to accomplish the needs of hospitality instead of sitting down.

In fact, to be perfectly honest, I spent years of my life disliking those “super spiritual” people who just passively go through life saying “God will provide”, and spending hours of their time in “Spiritualville”. Even worse, have you met the kind that never plans, nor once properly manages whatever they are doing and yet, miraculously, everything somehow falls into place for them?
They are always so happy. I want to say: “Yeah, you know why it all works out in the end? It’s because people like me see what needs to be done to save the situation, swing into gear and get it done!”.

Now if you are one of those blissful people, I apologize. But if you’re getting frustrated right now, and feeling Martha’s pain, I’m with you. It took me years to accept the reason Yeshua acted the way He did with Martha.

As Yeshua walks the earth, before His ultimate act of defeating sin and death on our behalf forever, He spends His time teaching people. He teaches them about the kingdom of God and what a true believer’s life looks like. In Matthew chapter 25, He tells them a parable about ten virgins. Note that all ten virgins are waiting for the bridegroom in the story. This parable is not about becoming a believer because the ten virgins symbolize those who do believe, or at least think they do. However, only five of these virgins will be found to be true believers and enter the marriage supper of the Lamb.

The rest will be shut out for eternity.

The five who are found faithful are those who had spent their time and resources wisely, so that they had oil (the Holy Spirit) to keep their lamps lit during the long wait for the bridegroom. Their actions were steered by true Godly wisdom, not human or worldly wisdom. It wasn’t about what they said, it was about the choices they made during the time of preparation that resulted in the favorable outcome – entering into the kingdom of heaven.

Yeshua said that Mary chose the better part. Has it occurred to you that Martha not only missed out on spending precious time listening to Yeshua’s life-giving teaching, but she also might have missed out on an awesome miracle? Yeshua had no problem multiplying food; we read of several occasions when He did just that. How incredible it would have been for Martha, if at the end of listening to Yeshua, she had brought him whatever she had on a humble tray and said “Lord this is what I have, may it be a blessing to feed Your people” and Yeshua taking the food and blessing it would have told her “Martha, now pass it out to all who are hungry”.

How Martha would have marveled, watching the food on that tray re-appear and multiply. I’m sure she would have never forgotten that moment, and would have thought about it perhaps even daily, or whenever she felt the need to worry about provision or supplies. A greater assurance of the supernatural caring power of the God she served, would have entered her life.

I’m sure the five foolish virgins thought they were doing the right thing. After all, they were waiting for the bridegroom to come. They had their lamps in hand, and initially they did have oil to keep them alight. It turns out however, that what we do while we are waiting for the Lord to return, is crucial to our eternal outcome. In this life it’s so easy to get busy, distracted, focused on ‘the doing’ of many good things, but if we do not adopt a position of spending time with the Lord above all else, receiving wisdom, revelation and the infilling of the Holy Spirit, we may be on the path to losing out on our real destiny.

I actually find it comforting to stop, sit, and listen to the Lord; to surrender everything to His rulership. All of our God-given dreams, the provision for them, the accomplishments we were made for, all these come from listening to God. You cannot compare earthly wisdom and strategy to the inspiration of Your Creator. I find security, and that His peace in me passes understanding, when my life is absolutely aligned with the will of God. I find true joy in the life of His spirit within me and in the people around me.

I want to encourage you today to take stock of your life, to make an honest assessment of how the way you spend your time reflects your priorities and make a commitment before the Lord to be like Mary. A commitment to spend time with the Lord, seeking His kingdom, whenever you have that precious opportunity and also to make time for it purposefully. If we resolutely seek to listen to the voice of the Lord, the Bible shows us that miracles will follow.

Sarah Liberman

 

“Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and ALL these things will be added to you.”
(Matthew 6:33).

Sarah Liberman