Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left.”
Psalm 23 If you’re facing a decision large or small, spend time in God’s Word seeking direction.
In his book, The Lord is My Shepherd, Robert J. Morgan wrote about decision making: “Open the covers of the Bible and seek Scriptural direction. This doesn’t mean there will always be a specific verse telling us exactly what to do. That’s seldom the case; but in the process of fellowshipping with the Lord in His Word, He’ll use Bible texts to give wisdom. Certain Scriptures often become helpful in the decision-making process. It’s hard to explain, but it’s wonderful to experience. As we meet with the Lord each day for regular Bible study, or as we spend special times in prayer and Scriptural meditation, we’ll very often uncover some passage that seems to clarify our thoughts or give direction.”1
Isaiah likened this to hearing a word behind us, whispering directions for the pathway ahead. In making your decisions, read the Bible, pray for guidance, use your best judgment, and trust the Lord. He will lead you in the right path.
His faithful follower I would be, for by His hand He leadeth me.
Hymnist Joseph Gilmore
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.
John 15:12-15 With the aid of the Internet, it is not uncommon to find stories about unusual animal friendships—an elephant and a Labrador, a gorilla and a kitten, and perhaps one of the most remarkable—an 11-pound dachshund and a 500- pound lion. These unusual pairings could make the case that there is something to be gained from knowing someone outside our regular circle of friends. Many times we seek friendships with people who are just like us; but there is much to be gained by meeting people who have different life experiences and backgrounds.
Take Milo, the dachshund. Five years ago he met a lion cub by the name of Bonedigger the Lion. As it turns out, the lion has a metabolic bone disease that has caused him to be disabled. His small friend Milo took the little cub under his wing, and today they remain close companions.
That story and others like it should serve as a reminder that friendships are important, and they are often forged through trials and difficulties. True friends remain close to us and offer the aid we need in times of strife. Strive to be that kind of friend as well.
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched—they must be felt with the heart.
Isaiah 35 is one of my most favourite passages of the Bible.
In a dry time of my life when I couldnt feel the presence of God, God breathed life into this chapter and claimed it as my own.
His promise is that in the dry places, in the desert of our life, that springs of living water will flow, that the deserts will bloom and that there will be new life and new growth.
The phrase “deserts will bloom” sings of such hope and power. The promise that life will flourish in a place where no life is possible. Miraculous refreshment.
Sometimes we hold back from God, in our desperate spaces, because of our own unfaithfulness. We got ourselves in a dehydrated state, so thus, how can we ask God to help, to ease our sorrow, to fall afresh upon us. But God’s presence and power is not dependent upon my own faithfulness but His own. He is faithful. When I am dry He breathes new life into my soul. Deserts will bloom. Will.
There is no situation too far away from God’s grace.
What desert do you need to bloom today?
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May they prosper who love you.”
Psalm 122 The Jewish word for “peace” is shalom, which means welfare, good fortune, peace, and prosperity. Israelis regularly greet one another with the word shalom--Peace. Now look carefully at the word Jerusalem. In the days of Melchizedek, this city was called Salem, or Shalom. It was the City of Peace. Later the prefix Jeru- (probably “foundation of” or “city of”) was added to the name. As early as Joshua 10:1, we read about the city of Jerusalem—the City of Peace.
How ironic! No city has seen more destruction, bloodshed, wars, battles, or threats than Jerusalem. It has been totally destroyed twice, besieged 23 times, attacked 52 times, and captured 44 times.1 Today, Jerusalem is a city surrounded by conflict, and some have called it the “powder keg” of today’s geopolitical tension.
The people of Jerusalem have the right to live in peace; but we know that total and lasting peace will only come when Jesus returns. To pray for the peace of Jerusalem is to pray for the Second Coming of Christ. Add Israel to your prayer list. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.
Lord Jesus, You loved the city of Jerusalem when You were on the earth. Come quickly, Lord Jesus, and establish the New Jerusalem where peace shall reign forever. Amen.
Ray Pritchard, in Green Pastures, Quiet Waters
We are now filling 100 backpacks with food for
EB Ellington Elementary
school children every weekend!
When they had read [the letter] they rejoiced because of its encouragement.
Acts 15:31, NASB
1 Corinthians 1:4-9
In 2014, the Greeting Card Association reported that Americans purchase approximately 6.5 billion greeting cards annually. Just think of the occasions where we buy cards—Valentines’ Day, Christmas, birthdays, weddings, graduations, special occasions—and sometimes just to encourage someone going through a difficult time.
Without a doubt, Paul was one of the most prolific letter writers in the New Testament, and one of his motivations behind his writing was his desire to encourage his friends. The early believers were members of churches scattered throughout the Roman Empire, and they were persecuted and isolated followers of Christ. They needed the encouragement that those letters (epistles) brought with them.
It is no different for people in our day. Whatever situation someone is going through—whether it is filled with sadness and loss or celebration and joy—a written word from someone who cares is an invaluable treasure. Today we have many options on how to write to someone—social networking, cards, letters, even tweets! Whatever media you choose to employ, take a moment to encourage someone today with your words. “Now we exhort you, brethren, … comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all” (1Thessalonians 5:14).
You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.
Today we were blessed by The Rev Rich Robinson's preaching and in addition he played the djembe along with Lindy! The children did a skit and we had some new folks visiting. God is good!
God’s Work, Today’s World: Prophecy
And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.
2 Peter 1:19
1 Peter 1:10-12
As far back as 1500 B.C., the planet Venus was noted as the “morning star” and “evening star” depending on the time of year—the brightest object in the nighttime sky after the moon. When in its “morning star” phase, it became a symbol—a sign that the darkness of night was about to be replaced by the light of day.
The idea of darkness being replaced by light was a prophetic image as well: “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined” (Isaiah 9:2). Isaiah also saw the Servant of the Lord coming as a “light to the Gentiles” (Isaiah 42:6; 49:6; 60:3), a prophetic theme that continued with the coming of Christ (Luke 2:32; Acts 13:47; 26:23). Peter reminded his readers that the prophetic word about Christ has been confirmed; we should heed that word until Christ the Morning Star returns to fill the world with His light (Revelation 22:16).
Prophecy is the light that cuts through the darkness with hope in Christ’s return.
No Bible subject holds more practical implications than the matter of prophecy.
Come One, Come All
But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him.
In 1883, American poet Emma Lazarus wrote a sonnet to raise money for the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty; it was later mounted inside the Statue. The most well-known lines of the sonnet say, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” Those words became prophetic as millions of immigrants from many countries entered the U.S. through the immigrant station on nearby Ellis Island between 1892 and 1934.
Just as America opened its doors to the world, so God through the Gospel has opened the doors of His kingdom to humanity’s “huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” Even though God worked through Israel, He always had a heart for the nations (Genesis 12:3; Isaiah 11:10; 42:1, 6). Reluctant at first, the Jews finally saw that the Gospel of Christ was for the Gentiles as well: Jew, Gentile, slave, free, male, female—all are “one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).
If you are yearning to be free, embrace the Savior of all mankind. He invites all to come unto Him (Matthew 11:28-30).
There is room enough in Christ for all comers.
Kindness on Aisle 5
Here am I! Send me.
Last year, a Florida supermarket employee noticed an elderly customer struggling to bend over and tie his shoelaces. The employee walked over, bent down, and tied the man’s laces for him. A fellow employee snapped a picture of the two, whose backs were turned, and posted it on Facebook. It quickly generated 200,000 “likes.” When local news programs picked up the story, it went viral.
Why should such a simple deed generate so much attention? Perhaps it’s because the world is starved for love. In the darkness, even the flicker draws attention. The Gospel gives us the opportunity and mission to reach out with acts of kindness and to show compassion to those around us. When the Lord sends us into the world, it’s both to preach and to practice the Gospel.
It’s wonderful to take mission trips to needy areas of the world; but every day when we leave our driveway, we’re taking a mission trip into a needy world. Learn to pause as you leave home each day and say, “Here am I! Send me.” Learn to embrace small tasks that you can kindly do for Him.
Let us scatter seeds of kindness, for we pass this way but once.
Amanda R. Meusch, poet
Sending and Sent
How shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent?
Romans 10:10-15 The story of the Church is interwoven with the history of missions. It’s the record of an endless parade of characters who have been sent—and who have willingly gone. Take, for example, Robert Morrison, who was born in Scotland in 1782. He became a Christian as a teenager and joined a prayer meeting that met every Monday in his father’s workshop. The London Missionary Society sent him out in 1807 as the first Protestant missionary to China, and his story is more exciting than a movie.
Morrison served 27 years and saw less than a dozen people come to Christ during the entirety of his ministry. Yet he opened the door and paved the way for the millions of conversions that have reshaped the story of modern China.
The priority of the Church is the Great Commission, to go into the world and preach the Gospel. We must share Christ wherever we are, and we must keep sending others to go where we cannot. You may feel the results may sometimes seem meager, but don’t be discouraged. Your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time, and always start with the person nearest you.
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What Is It About This Book?
“Is not My word like a fire?” says the LORD, “And like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?”
Psalm 119:161-168 In one of his books, Charles Colson asked, “What is it about this book, the Bible, that causes people to give their lives for it, causes oppressors to try to destroy it, and so infuriates the cultural elite today?” His answer: “The reason is what the Bible claims for itself. Although it is in many respects a book like many others, a collection of ancient writings that includes a variety of genres from historical narrative to introspective philosophy, it is much more; it purports to be the Word of God itself.”
Because the Bible conveys God’s full authority, we cannot ignore it when things are going well or cast it aside during times of persecution. As Christians we must resist the lure of allowing the Bible to be marginalized in our lives, as it too often is.
Read it every day. Memorize key texts. Learn to mull over its words as you drive, shower, jog, or go to bed. Quote it to others. Teach and preach it at every opportunity. Respect its authority, for it’s like a fire and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces.
The Bible, written by men but through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, gives us God’s eternal perspective on the world—truth not bound by any time or place.