Loving like Jesus
I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, - Phil 1:3
Note how constantly love thinks of those loved. “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you”. Paul could not measure the love that he felt for the Philippian Christians. When a mother and father go away from home for a vacation and leave a child behind, can you imagine their not thinking of their child, not wondering how their child is getting on? When a husband must go on a trip an leave his wife, if he loves her, he thinks of her often. If you have a loved one in the hospital, you think of that one all the time.
Do you, in the fellowship of your church, think like that of one another? “I think my God upon every remembrance of you.” How constantly and how intimately love thinks of those loved. Paul says, “I have you in my heart.” Everywhere I go, I carry you around with me, as I think of you, your needs, your successes, and your work. What a wonderful love was this!
What a difference this kind of warmth and fellowship makes in the church today. “I think my God upon every remembrance of you.” What warmth of affection and love there was in this wonderful group-between Paul and themselves and between themselves and Paul. Such a love should characterize the fellowship we have of one another.
In the second century, Aristides described Christians to the Emperor Hadria in the following manner: "They love one another. They never fail to help widows; they save orphans from those who would hurt them. If they have something they give freely to the man who has nothing; if they see a stranger, they take him home, and are happy, as though he were a real brother. They don't consider themselves brothers in the usual sense, but brothers instead through the Spirit, in God."
It was said of Jesus, "…having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end." John 13:1
Some Truths for Living…
At one time William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, wanted to send a message to his fellow workers around the world. A long cablegram would have cost too much money, so he sent only one word. It was "OTHERS "!
A writer for a great newspaper once visited India. While there he met a missionary nurse who lived among the lepers and ministered to their needs. He noticed how tender and loving she was to those poor souls. Looking at her in amazement, the reporter commented, 'I wouldn't wash their wounds for a million dollars!' 'Neither would I,' said the Christian worker, 'but I gladly do it for my Savior. The only reward I'm looking for is His smile of approval!'"
A little fellow had been sent to his room because he had misbehaved. A short time later he came out and said to his mother, "I've been thinking about what I did and I said a prayer." "That's fine," she said, "if you ask God to make you good, He will help you." "Oh, I didn't ask Him to help me be good," replied the boy, "I asked Him to help you put up with me.
Building for Eternity
For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Luke 14:28
Our Lord refers not to a cost we have to count, but to a cost which He has counted. The cost was those thirty years in Nazareth, those three years of popularity, scandal and hatred; the deep unfathomable agony in Gethsemane, the onslaught at Calvary and the glorious resurrection— the pivot upon which the whole of Time and Eternity turns.
Jesus Christ has counted the cost. Men are not going to laugh at Him at last and say—“This man began to build, and was not able to finish.” Those passionate, consuming words at Calvary "It is Finished" describes the payment, in full, for all sin and clinches the victory for those who believe for all eternity.
The conditions of true discipleship laid down by Our Lord in Luke 14:26, 27 and 33 mean that the men and women He is going to use in the mighty building of His kingdom are those in whom He has done everything. “If any man come to Me, and hate not . . . , he cannot be My disciple.” Our Lord implies that only the men and women He can and will fully use in His eternal endeavor are those who love Him personally, passionately and devotedly beyond any of the closest ties on earth. The conditions are stern, but they are glorious.
All that we build is going to be inspected by God. Is God going to detect in His searching fire that we have built on the foundation of Jesus some enterprise of our own? These are days of tremendous needs and opportunities, days when we are facing ever mounting obstacles in trying to work for God, and therein is the snare.
Profoundly speaking, we can never, in ourselves, work for God. Jesus must be given the permission by each of us to indwell our lives with His own. His building plans for you and me are entirely out of our reach and only through Him can we reach our potential and accomplish the wonderful plans He has for us. No soul has any right to claim where he shall be put but utterly trust and depend on Him who knows all. To override His glorious plans with our own will thwart the plan of God for each of us and cost us much sorrow and regret.
Those who have understood this, and echoed the chorus," I'll go where you want me to go; I'll do what you want me to do; I'll be what you want me to be;" are the ones that will experience the sweetness and glory of almighty God. Join with me in truly, fully, declaring Jesus Christ as "Lord" of your life and truly experience the wonder and glory of God.
If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife,
and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be
my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.
Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise & honour & glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ 1 Peter 1:6-7
The Christian often asks why. Why did God allow Adam and Eve to be exposed to sin? Why does he let the devil go on about his business? Why are some poor while others are rich? Why do some suffer and others do not? Why do I still struggle with this weakness? Why are some so sure of their salvation while others are plagued with doubts?
Some of these answers we have, but we do not have them all.
Jesus, on the cross and dying amidst the noise and ridicule of the mob, asked a question, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” He was not answered while on the cross. Of course God forsook Jesus in order that He could die for us, that we might obtain forgiveness of sin and receive eternal life.
Just as then, many of our questions will never be answered in this life. Not until “then” shall be have the whole answer-when we look into the face of Him who has all the answers to all the questions we have ever asked. Then we will be given full knowledge far beyond what we have now, and then we shall understand why things are as they are.
Often it seems like a long time between “now” and “then” but weeping endures only for a night. Joy comes in the morning. So, if we must, let us live and die without the answers, knowing that one day He will fully unveil the “why” we could not understand here.
Remember-Jesus has no unanswered questions now and when He returns to us-AND HE WILL-we shall be like Him; and know all the painful questions of today.
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths. Proverbs 3:5-6
God knows, not I, the reason why
His winds of storm drive through my door;
I am content to live or die
Just knowing this, nor knowing more.
My Father's hand appointing me
My days and ways, so I am free.
Parenting by Faith
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.…
And ye, fathers, provoke not your children to wrath,
but bring them up in the nuture (training) and admonition of the Lord.
Ephesians 6:1, 4
There is no such thing as painless parenting. Pain—even excruciating pain—is a natural part of the family process in our broken world. Women know better than anyone that pain is how the family got started. And the aches and pains, the hurts and hassles will continue to intrude into the parenting pathway through the years, whether we like it or not.
That’s why a vital faith in Jesus Christ is so crucial to a happy family. God equips us through faith to meet all the challenges of parenting, even in a toxic environment.
Consider Ephesians 6:1, for example: “Children, obey your parents.” How? “In the Lord.” Or read Ephesians 5:25: “Husbands, love your wives.” How? “As Christ loved the church.” Or Ephesians 5:22: “Wives, submit to your own husbands.” How? “As to the Lord.” All these instructions to the family wrap around a core of faith in God and Jesus Christ.
Don’t try to build your family without faith in God. Throw yourself on His grace and mercy and say to Him, “Lord, I know that apart from You, I can’t do anything but mess this thing up. So I’m going to hang onto You with both hands. Together, we’ll make this family work.”
There are no disappointments to those whose wills are buried in the will of God
Not as I will, but as thou wilt...Matt. 26:39
Heaven bound … but not yet
Jesus said, “I pray not that thou shouldst take them out of the world” John 17:15
It is a sweet and blessed event which will occur to all believers in God’s own time—the going home to be with Jesus. In a few more years the Lord’s soldiers, who are now fighting “the good fight of faith” will have done with conflict, and have entered into the joy of their Lord.
Although Christ prays that his people may eventually be with him where he is, he does not ask that they may be taken at once away from this world to heaven. He wishes them to stay here. Yet how frequently does the wearied pilgrim put up the prayer as the psalmist, “O that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away and be at rest;” but Christ does not pray like that, he leaves us in his Father’s hands, until, like shocks of corn fully ripe, we shall each be gathered into our Master’s garner.
Jesus does not plead for our instant removal by death, for to abide in the flesh is needful for others if not profitable for ourselves. He asks that we may be kept from evil, but he never asks for us to be admitted to the inheritance in glory till we are of full age. Christians often want to run or even wish to die when they have any trouble. Ask them why, and they tell you, “Because we would be with the Lord.” We fear it is not so much because they are longing to be with the Lord, as because they desire to get rid of their troubles; else they would feel the same wish to die at other times when not under the pressure of trial. They want to go home, not so much for the Saviour’s company, as to be at rest.
The great Apostle Paul rightly summed it up in this way, "For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you." Phil 1:23-24
Now it is quite right to desire to depart if we can do it in the same spirit that Paul did, because to be with Christ is far better, but the wish to escape from trouble is a selfish one. Rather let your care and wish be to glorify God by your life here as long as he pleases, even though it be in the midst of toil, and conflict, and suffering, and leave him to say when “it is enough.”
I love the quote by John Wayne, "Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway." Amen!!! Let's face the days ahead knowing that "Greater is HE that is in me than he that is in the world."
Power through Praise!
Thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel - Ps 22:3
When we go forth into the battle—whether we battle through financial issues, severe health problems, or an on-going pandemic—we have two strategies. We can go in our own weakness and face defeat, or we can go in the power of the Lord.
How do we do the latter? We simply, through it all, love, adore, worship, and praise His name. We know that God makes His home in our praises, and He will march with us even to the farthest corners of the earth and the end of the age. As we worship, our life strategies come together in ways we could never have formulated on our own. Then, as we face the challenges head-on, we keep right on praising, right on singing to the Lord, who is greater and stronger than any challenge that might stand in our path. The wonder of worship, guiding our everyday experiences, will totally change the way we see everything that confronts us.
What is that challenge for you today? I would urge you not to focus on the misery of the crisis, but on the mastery of Christ. Then follow Him into battle. See if the demons themselves don’t turn and flee from the doorway, terrified by the sounds of godly praise and adoration.
And they overcame him (Satan) by the blood of the Lamb,& by the word of
their testimony; & they loved not their lives unto the death.
The Right Focus!
In II Chron 26, we read about a young sixteen year old King Uzziah who began a reign over the people of Judah that lasted for 52 years. The Bible says that he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, and God caused him to prosper. Even in the midst of a sinful, selfish people, King Uzziah was always seeking the kingdom of God.
What a challenge to us!
Let’s face it; we live in a time that can often be discouraging and disheartening. The constant array of battles, temptations, coupled to the troubled times in which we live can quickly lead to bitterness, emptiness or even an attitude of what’s the use. We can easily become bitter at heart, hateful toward others, judgmental and often can cause great harm to ourselves and to others. King Uzziah faced those same battles, suffered the same defeats, and yet, continued to do the will of God.
Can we do less? When to us, the Lord has entrusted His precious work and given us a great charge to win the lost at any cost. But how?
Keep your eyes on the only thing that matters-Jesus Christ !
Loving Hm (Matt 22:37),
Knowing Him (Phil 3:10),
Seeking Him (Ps 105:4)
Becoming more like him every day (Ps 17:15).
As Jeannie Churchill (Winston Churchill’s mother) stated,
“We are forever throwing away substance in pursuit of shadows”
“Wherefore gird up the lions of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace
that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ -1 Peter 1:13
I have a Christ that satisfies, since I have been redeemed.
To do His will my highest prize, since I have been redeemed.
Edwin O. Excel
"At Thy Word I Will"
And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net. And when they had this done, they enclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake. And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord. For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken: And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men. And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him. Luke 5:5-11
How those words could mold and make our lives if we dared to say them honestly and without reservation to Jesus Christ! How wonderfully challenging and exciting our Christian experience would become instead of being the humdrum sort of thing that many know, month after month, year after year.
The first lesson of Christian experience that we have to learn is that of instant and complete obedience to the will of God. Delayed or incomplete obedience can and usually becomes disobedience. So often we have arguments and reasons for disobeying, just as Peter may have had, but our own ways prove to be empty and fruitless. Yet his way, however unpromising it may seem in advance, always proves blessed and fruitful. Are you ready to say every day, at any time, “At thy word I will”?
We need to realize that the Master was asking for obedience even in the simple task of throwing a net overboard. The disciples might have asked Him to wait until the nets were mended or until they had been able to get fresh ones or even to continue the argument, as experienced fishermen, they knew what was best. But no, the nets they had used all night, even torn and half mended, were the nets the Master wanted them to use. The miracle speaks for itself, that God in his marvelous grace can use even a torn, blemished net to fully accomplish His will.
Is it possible that God in His infinite power and grace can use torn, imperfect lives that are obedient to His will? Of course, if those imperfect lives listen and obey the voice of the Master they love. The responsibility for help and guidance is always His. The responsibility for obedience is always ours.
The scripture says, "Our spirit is willing but our flesh is weak." These words ring, all too often, very true. The "I can't" mentality has robbed God of much glory and robbed ourselves of many blessings. Hatred for weakness and inadequacy is why we tell our kids never to say, “I can’t.” It’s why we love the inspiring words of Thomas the Tank Engine: “Yes, you can!” However, If we aren’t careful, we’ll be deceived into thinking we’ve “got this” apart from the power, provision and the presence of God motivating and empowering us.
Consider a familiar passage. Many of us can recite it from memory. It’s one of the clearest passages on finding and fulfilling God's will for our lives.
Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 1 Thess 5:16-18
God couldn’t be clearer: His will for his people is always found in a life steeped in rejoicing, prayer, and thanksgiving! We never have to wonder if we’re on the right and godly path to the perfect will of God with these actions. Yet, they can be some of the most difficult commands to obey.
Why does God command us to “rejoice always”? Because it’s more natural for us to grumble and complain about our circumstances than to see God’s character and purposes at work in them.
Why does he tell us to “pray without ceasing”? Because, in an age of distraction and entertainment, it’s easier to give our focus and time to nothingness, wasting it on self-centered, temporary pleasures, than to give ourselves to eternal, Kingdom matters.
And what about his command to “give thanks”? We usually forget or refuse to because, somewhere deep within our hearts, we fail to remember that everything is a gift from God. We think we’re entitled to what we want and deserve an easy life.
By ourselves, obedience to the will of God is impossible. We need his help and power, secured for us through our union with Christ, to do his perfect and complete will.
Help me to be willing to follow wherever you lead,
realizing the future, my future, lies in your hands.
Help me today and always to fully obey your will,
knowing that blessing and fruitfulness will be mine.
- Pastor Rudy
Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. 1 Peter 4:12
Why God? Why is this happening to me, to my family? What have I done? Where did I go wrong? Please God, please help me!
Most, if not all, have went through times such as this…anguish, questioning, searching, pleading. These are not happy times, however in the life of a Christian they can be fruitful. Times of growth, closeness to God, trust, and believe It or not, times of extreme joy.
Please understand. God could have kept Daniel out of the lions' den…he could have kept Paul and Silas out of jail…he could have kept Paul from stoning…but God has never promised to keep us out of hard places…what he has promised is to go with us through every hard place, and to bring us through victoriously.
The issue is not how great the trouble is. What really matters is where the trouble lies-whether it comes between you and God or whether it presses you nearer his heart.
Oswald chambers said it best, “A saint's life is in the hands of God as a bow and arrow in the hands of an archer. God is aiming at something the saint cannot see; he stretches and strains, and every now and again the saint says, "I cannot stand any more." But God does not heed; he goes on stretching until his purpose is in sight, then he lets fly. We are here for God's designs, not for our own.”
Trouble and adversity are like the rains of Spring…You can look through the window and dwell on the present clouds and darkness or you can look toward the blessings of life that it brings. You can stubbornly look at what the normal phases of life have taken away, or thru eyes of trust; look at the wonderful blessings that still remain.
It’s wonderful to know that the Child of God, in every situation, has the awesome responsibility and the blessed privilege of trusting in their almighty, loving, God. There is always exceeding joy as we walk together with our Lord.
What though my joys and comforts die? The Lord my Savior liveth;
What though the darkness gather round? Songs in the night he giveth;
No storm can shake my inmost calm, while to Him I’m clinging;
Since Christ is Lord of heaven and earth, how can I keep from singing? -R. Lowry
Remember the teakettle: when it's up to its neck in hot water; it sings.