Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Day of Reckoning...

"Bring here those enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, and slay them before me." (Luke 19:27, NKJV).

There is a finality to unbelief. Those who reject Jesus Christ and refuse God's only provision for salvation will most surely die in their sins. The Bible leaves nothing vague on this matter, for the stakes are high and eternal.

The writer of the Book of Hebrews presents the clearest case regarding this weighty issue: "Anyone who disobeys the Law of Moses is put to death without any mercy when judged guilty from the evidence of two or more witnesses. What, then, of those who despise the Son of God? who treat as a cheap thing the blood of God's covenant which purified them from sin? who insult the Spirit of grace? Just think how much worse is the punishment they will deserve! It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God!" (Hebrews 10:28—31, Good News Bible).

Moreover, Jesus said, "Whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder" (Matthew 21:44). Christ is the Rock. You and I must fall upon Him and be broken – redeemed from all self-righteousness and sinful independence. Otherwise, the Rock will fall on us and we will be crushed—separated forever from God, and from all things good and holy.

C.S. Lewis wrote, "In the end there will be two categories of people. Those who say to God, "Thy will be done,' and thus enter Heaven; and those to whom God says, 'Thy will be done,' as they enter Hell.”

A Day of Reckoning is coming for believers and unbelievers alike. For those who reject Christ it will be a day of terror—and finality. For those who love the Lord, and served Him faithfully in life, it will be a day of reward and great joy.

What are you doing to be best prepared for that coming Day?

Daily Devotion by James Ryle

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Those Who Answered the Call...

"Therefore we also pray always for you that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness and the work of faith with power" (2 Thessalonians 1:11).

Abraham traveling into the unknown, Joseph remaining faithful in Egypt, Moses crossing the Red Sea, Joshua conquering the Promised Land, Deborah lifting her sword in battle against the Midianites, Ruth returning with Naomi to the land of Canaan, David slaying a Giant and becoming a King, Isaiah telling his visions, Zechariah telling his dreams, Daniel in the Lion's den, Nehemiah rebuilding the Walls, Zerubbabel rebuilding the Temple, Simon Peter leaving his fishing nets, Paul preaching the Gospel, John writing the Revelation—each one of these ordinary men and women heard and answered the call of God, and as a result lived extraordinary lives.

Vision, passion, discipline and risk—these are the marks of a noble fellowship assembled by the Son of God down through the ages; men and women called out of mediocrity into magnificence; followers of Jesus from each generation who have left their world better than they found it. They each heard God's voice and followed Him with trusting hearts—marked by vision, passion, discipline and risk. And now it's your turn.
The Lord longs for you to answer the call on your life and be a part of this timeless Team. And in your heart you know it's what you want to do more than anything else in the world!

I pray, in the words of Paul, that God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness in your life, and bring to pass with His power each and every work of faith you perform for His honor!

Culled from Daily Devotion by James Ryle

Friday, April 27, 2012


Jesus sent his twelve harvest hands [Disciples] out with this charge:

"Don't begin by travelling to some far-off place to convert unbelievers. And don't try to be dramatic by tackling some public enemy. Go to the lost, confused people right here in the neighbourhood. Tell them that the kingdom is here. Bring health to the sick. Raise the dead. Touch the untouchables. Kick out the demons. You have been treated generously, so live generously. "Don't think you have to put on a fund-raising campaign before you start. You don't need a lot of equipment. You are the equipment, and all you need to keep that going is three meals a day. Travel light.

"When you enter a town or village, don't insist on staying in a luxury inn. Get a modest place with some modest people, and be content there until you leave. "When you knock on a door, be courteous in your greeting. If they welcome you, be gentle in your conversation. If they don't welcome you, quietly withdraw. Don't make a scene. Shrug your shoulders and be on your way. You can be sure that on Judgment Day they'll be mighty sorry--but it's no concern of yours now.

"Stay alert. This is hazardous work I'm assigning you. You're going to be like sheep running through a wolf pack, so don't call attention to yourselves. Be as cunning as a snake, inoffensive as a dove. "Don't be naive. Some people will impugn your motives, others will smear your reputation--just because you believe in me. Don't be upset when they haul you before the civil authorities. Without knowing it, they've done you--and me--a favor, given you a platform for preaching the kingdom news!

"And don't worry about what you'll say or how you'll say it. The right words will be there; the Spirit of your Father will supply the words. "When people realize it is the living God you are presenting and not some idol that makes them feel good, they are going to turn on you, even people in your own family. There is a great irony here: proclaiming so much love, experiencing so much hate! But don't quit. Don't cave in. It is all well worth it in the end. It is not success you are after in such times but survival. Be survivors! Before you've run out of options, the Son of Man will have arrived. "A student doesn't get a better desk than her teacher. A laborer doesn't make more money than his boss. Be content--pleased, even--when you, my students, my harvest hands, get the same treatment I get. If they call me, the Master, 'Dungface,' what can the workers expect? "

“Don't be intimidated. Eventually everything is going to be out in the open, and everyone will know how things really are. So don't hesitate to go public now. "Don't be bluffed into silence by the threats of bullies. There's nothing they can do to your soul, your core being. Save your fear for God, who holds your entire life--body and soul--in his hands. "What's the price of a pet canary? Some loose change, right? And God cares what happens to it even more than you do. He pays even greater attention to you, down to the last detail--even numbering the hairs on your head! So don't be intimidated by all this bully talk. You're worth more than a million canaries. "Stand up for me against world opinion and I'll stand up for you before my Father in heaven. If you turn tail and run, do you think I'll cover for you?

"Don't think I've come to make life cozy. I've come to cut-- make a sharp knife-cut between son and father, daughter and mother, bride and mother-in-law--cut through these cozy domestic arrangements and free you for God. Well-meaning family members can be your worst enemies. If you prefer father or mother over me, you don't deserve me. If you prefer son or daughter over me, you don't deserve me. "If you don't go all the way with me, through thick and thin, you don't deserve me. If your first concern is to look after yourself, you'll never find yourself. But if you forget about yourself and look to me, you'll find both yourself and me. "We are intimately linked in this harvest work. Anyone who accepts what you do, accepts me, the One who sent you. Anyone who accepts what I do accepts my Father, who sent me. Accepting a messenger of God is as good as being God's messenger. Accepting someone's help is as good as giving someone help. This is a large work I've called you into, but don't be overwhelmed by it. It's best to start small. Give a cool cup of water to someone who is thirsty, for instance. The smallest act of giving or receiving makes you a true apprentice. You won't lose out on a thing."  

(Matthew Chapter 10 Verses 5-42 ~The Message Translation of the Bible)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Higher Life....

Imagine for a moment that I could offer you a life that is guaranteed to give you: joy that is greater than any human feeling on earth, a blessing that is happiness in its fullest measure with access to all the resources of the earth, a peace that surpasses all human understanding, and an assurance of entering the eternal rest in the arms of the Almighty God at the end of it all..... Would you be interested?

I know I cannot, but Jesus can. In fact, not only can He - He is also willing, and has even been longing to give you all that has been stated above and even more. In the Bible Book of John 10 verse 10, Jesus Christ declares His aim for visiting mankind 2,000 years ago: “I have come so that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” He also promises everyone who believes in Him this same life of abundance, no matter what situation or circumstances they have faced or are still facing. Jesus gives the assurance that if you “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew chapter 6 verse 33). He promises to meet all our needs and to give us more than enough if we will let Him direct the affairs of our lives.

There are several kinds of abundance that we are promised as believers in Christ. First and foremost, there is spiritual abundance as indicated in Ephesians chapter 1 verse 3, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies in Christ.” Then there is the promise of abundance of good health as found in Jeremiah chapter 33 verse 6, “I will heal this city and its people and restore them to health. I will show them abundant peace and security.”

Then there is also an abundance of material resources and means to earthly livelihood, as found in 2 Peter chapter 1 verse 3, Jesus has the power of God, by which he has given us everything we need to live and to serve God. We have these things because we know him. Jesus called us by his glory and goodness” (New Century Version). We also enjoy a life of righteousness when Jesus (who is the righteousness of God) is made the one and only Lord over our lives (1 Corinthians chapter 1 verse 30; Philippians chapter 3 verse 9).

Its true that in life, times may come when we face difficulties of diverse forms. In James chapter 1 verses 1 to 12, the Bible advices us believers to consider trials and temptations to have an end result of joy because endurance is being produced in our lives. We are directed to ask God for wisdom so that we can see and understand the benefits of the trials we face. Jesus however promises in John 16 verse 33, “I have spoken these things to you so that you might have peace in Me. In the world you shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer. I have overcome the world.” Jesus paid the highest price of death on the cross so that you and I can enjoy every blessing in Him. This is worth holding on to in times when life isn’t quite exactly the way we desire it to be and ultimately gives us a hope of the promised abundant life in Christ.

Now picture this: A life filled with prosperity in wealth and health, plus a righteousness that lasts forever (Psalm chapter 112 verse 3), all granted to you by God Himself! What is more? That’s the kind of life I want, how about you? That’s the life Jesus promises us! That’s the higher life in God!

Whose Builder and Maker is God...

"Abraham looked for that City, whose builder and maker is God" (Hebrews 11:10).

God designed the Church to function as a unified community of spiritually gifted, ethnically diverse, men and women loving and serving one another in humility, availability, and submission; thereby presenting to the world a compelling case for trusting Christ alone for salvation.

If we are faithful in following the teachings of the Bible, and are being filled with and led by the Holy Spirit (who authored the Bible), then this is the Church we will become. To the measure that we are not becoming this Church, then we are following the teachings and traditions of men, and are being filled with and led by the spirit of another instead of Christ.

Satan, who is called the Accuser of the Brethren, takes great delight is soliciting our unwitting participation in his campaign to divide and discredit the Church. The Greek word for accuser is kategoros, from which we get the English word category. It means to be against another in a criticizing way; to put another down by elevating oneself as a judge. The moment you find your heart categorizing other believers who differ from your traditions of faith, you are at risk of being complicit in Satan's destructive schemes against the City, whose builder and Maker is God.

While you may enjoy God's presence, and experience His power in the context of your local assembly, with its particular history and practices, never lose sight of the fact that you are nevertheless part of a vastly larger Kingdom — in which diversity plays a major role. Rather than sitting in judgment over those who may do it different from you, or who emphasize things other that what you personally deem most important, rejoice in knowing that Christ is being preached far beyond your own borders and abilities.

It is His Church, not yours. He is the Head; not you. Take your place with humility, and give thanks to God that many others are also taking their place as the Lord directs.

Remember, the Church is both local and global. On a global scale it appeals to all who hunger and thirst after righteousness, and therefore is filled with such variety of people that there is no other organization on the earth that rivals it. Yet, on a local scale it may be more tempered to a particular people group than the broader audience of the world, and thus might seem somewhat narrow and exclusive.

Both are legitimate expressions of the Body of Christ and, as such, should be held in highest esteem. Neither holding the other in contempt, nor seeking to defame in any way those who call upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Be a part of a local church, but also be a citizen in that City whose builder and maker is God. That is what the Lord is doing in today's world.

What are you doing?

Adapted from Daily Devotions by James Ryle

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter to y'all!

In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, my song
This Cornerstone, this solid ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm
What heights of love, what depths of peace
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease
My Comforter, my All in All
Here in the love of Christ I stand

In Christ alone, who took on flesh
Fullness of God in helpless Babe
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones He came to save
Til on that cross as Jesus died
The wrath of God was satisfied
For every sin on Him was laid
Here in the death of Christ I live, I live

There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain
Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave He rose again
And as He stands in victory
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me
For I am His and He is mine
Bought with the precious blood of Christ

No guilt in life, no fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me
From life's first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny
No power of hell, no scheme of man
Could ever pluck me from His hand
Til He returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I stand

In Christ Alone lyrics
Songwriters: Getty, Julian Keith; Townend, Stuart Richard

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Connecting the Dots....

Have you ever found yourself suddenly with so many challenges and puzzling situations that seem to be overwhelming you? Or perhaps if you are the type who prays, and when you begin to pray to God about these situations there seems to be so many of them to be prayed for that you even begin to tire in the place of prayer, because you don’t even know which ones of the many challenges you should begin with. If you have ever found yourself in any of these situations, then you are not alone.

Lately, I have had series of giant-sized challenges fly at me at very high speeds, and with each challenge before me, I pray and ask God to help me connect the dots between the challenge and His ultimate plan for my life. I ask Him to give me the wisdom to see the relationships between various pieces of information I have, and to enable me take intuitive steps that lead me to His truth and wisdom.

I have realized that the solving of puzzles or many problems in life is often a matter of connecting the dots. Many times all the clues are there for us, but we have not made the necessary connections. It then becomes important to learn to look for the bigger picture, and then see patterns emerge from there.

Sometimes, however, we may even have to go beyond the dots in order to connect them, as the infamous exercise of “connect these dots without lifting your pen” teaches us.

According to Laurie Beth Jones, in her book Jesus in Blue Jeans, “people hire consultants to see the patterns that they themselves may be too close to see. Diagnosticians connect the dots between different tests and medical data. The act of neurons leaping from one synapse to another constitutes the act of thought itself. If the dots are not connected, a thought does not occur.”

When Jesus Christ took all the laws and the prophecies and explained them in simple stories, he was connecting the dots for us. As He speaks, through the Bible we begin to see the pattern emerging of God’s love.

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you (Matthew 6:33).”

Jesus taught us to connect the dots, and so I must.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

1 If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don't love, I'm nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. 2If I speak God's Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, "Jump," and it jumps, but I don't love, I'm nothing. 3-7If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love.

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn't want what it doesn't have.
Love doesn't strut,
Doesn't have a swelled head,
Doesn't force itself on others,
Isn't always "me first,"
Doesn't fly off the handle,
Doesn't keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn't revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.

8-10Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled.

11When I was an infant at my mother's breast, I gurgled and cooed like any infant. When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good.

12We don't yet see things clearly. We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won't be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We'll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!

13But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.

Courtesy of