Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Headlines in Heaven...

"Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand!" (Matthew 3:2)

After 400 years of silence from Heaven, a man is sent from God with a message. His name was John, and they called him the Baptizer. His message was singular — "Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand!" Thus does the New Testament begin.

These words were not spoken with a snarl, like we see on many tired and angry pulpit faces these days. No! John's message was filled with hope and wonder. When he said the word repent, it was not a rebuke — but an invitation. An invitation extended from God Himself, offering His fallen and captive sons and daughters a way out of the darkness.

The word means "to change." It signifies the turning from one thing, and unto another. In this case, it is the turning away from the bondage of sin unto the liberty of Christ's kingdom. Thus John says, "for the Kingdom of God is at hand!"

In other words — you can turn from sin to God because His ruling authority has now over-ruled all other claims to your soul. There is no title, nor deed, nor any papers of authorization clutched in greedy hands, that surpass the unyielding power of the Lord's decree that you be free. And free you are, despite all lies to the contrary. Now, you may indeed not be walking in your freedom ; but that does not mean it is not yours. It just means you need to repent — you need to change. You can now because the power of God is present to help you.

As Light is immeasurably greater than darkness, so is Jesus far greater than the prince of darkness. And His Kingdom is superior in every way to the kingdom of darkness. There is no law from that dark world that can now do anything but wither like a weed in the blaze of Christ's royal ruling power. All satanic decrees have now been overruled, and all tried cases have been overturned. The captives have been released from the dungeons of doom, and restored to their better estates.

And this made the Headlines in Heaven.

Now then, what will you do today on Earth? What good turn can you make that demonstrates the present power of Christ's rule in your heart. What stand can you take that shows openly the defeat of the devil, and the withering weakness of his wicked kingdom. Oh, prove it to a watching world that the Kingdom of God is at hand!

And your life will also make the Headlines in Heaven!

Culled from James Ryle's Daily Devotion.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Titanic Decision...

"God is not willing that any should perish..." (1 Peter 3:9)

The RMS Titanic, that ill-fated luxury liner now known all over the world, had a passenger list of some of the world's richest and most influential people. It also carried on board a host of middle class, and blue collar workers.

Its full compliment of travelers ranged from the very rich, to the very poor; very successful men (and their doting women), along with those who were struggling just to make ends meet. There were those who were highly educated and well traveled, alongside those who had no education to speak of, and for whom The Titanic voyage would be their first....and last trip.

The Great Ship was supposedly unsinkable, yet she went down in the icy waters of the North Atlantic on her maiden voyage in the early morning of April 15, 1912.

Over 1500 perished at sea; there were fewer than half as many survivors. Despite all the aforementioned things that distinguished this vast group of people from one another, at shore their names were posted in two simple and unmistakable columns – SAVED and LOST. In the end that was the only difference that truly mattered.

This planet Earth, a Great Titan on its maiden voyage among the stars of God's heaven, is itself on a collision course with a great and dreadful Day of Judgment. Though many scoff at the thought, the unthinkable will happen – the unsinkable will sink.

And on that final Day when the names are posted on the shores of God's heaven, we will not be listed according to our wealth, status, fame, achievements, religious affiliation or ethnicity. No. There will be but two columns of names recorded in sobering finality – SAVED and LOST. On which list, my friend, will your name appear?

You are faced with a titanic decision. God is not willing that any should perish, but that all would come to the knowledge of the truth and be saved. This means you. Even now, if you will call upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, He will save you — and secure you in His strong and loving arms, both now and forever.

Oh, why not take this decision today my dear reader and friend — an iceberg approaches, and your Saviour stands at shore, waiting to record your name in the Book of Life.

Culled from James Ryle's Daily Devotion.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

A Genuine Lightbulb Moment...

"Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love." ~~~1 John 4:8 (NIV)

The Bible tells us God is love. The Bible also tells us that love is patient. Doesn't it stand to reason, therefore, that God is patient? Of course! With this thought in mind, I believe that when the Apostle Paul wrote 1st Corinthians 13, he was not attempting to give us a definition of Love; rather, he was in fact giving us an inspired description of God Himself!

The following is my paraphrase of that most famous passage of Scripture, inserting God in the place of the word love. Brace yourself — this is a genuine lightbulb moment. You are about to see what God is really like.

"God is always patient; He waits, and waits, and waits; and does not grow anxious or hurried. God is always gracious and kind. Always. God does not behave indecently, or inappropriately. There is nothing He would ever say or do, that would intentionally embarrass or humiliate us. Never.

God is never envious, insolent, or rude. He is not sarcastic in His speech, cutting in His wit, nor condemning in His tone. God is not puffed up, nor conceited. He does not cherish inflated ideas of His own importance. He does not walk about heaven staring at Himself in mirrors.

God does not behave in an unseemly manner in any situation, or towards anybody. He is never vulgar nor haughty. God does not pursue His own things; He does not seek, nor demand His own way. God is not irritable or touchy. He is not easily annoyed, nor quickly provoked. He is not resentful. God hardly notices when He is wronged, and doesn't even take it much into account when it occurs. He certainly does not keep a personal record of petty offenses; a scorecard of all the times others have tried to tick Him off.

God does not impute evil on anybody. He doesn't even think evil; such things do not enter His mind. God is never glad with sin, but always glad to side with truth. He is never glad about injustice of any kind, and He sings the loudest whenever the truth wins.

God quietly covers all things that could otherwise bring shame and dishonor to your life, and He graciously bears you up under everything that tries to put you down. God believes the best about you at all times and in all things, and He will never give up on you. Never.

His hope is unlimited, His love is unfailing, His commitment is unflagging, and His power is unending — no matter what the circumstances of your life may be, you will find Him there at your side...and on your side.

He will always stand His ground defending you, no matter what it cost Him. Dear friend, God loves you. He not only loves you in what you are facing, but He will also love you through it. And in the end, you will love Him for it." (from I Corinthians 13:4-6)

Do you hear that popping sound? It's light bulbs going on all around the world!

Culled from James Ryle’s Daily Devotion.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


Sunday, March 6, 2011

Pressing On the Upward Way....

"I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus" (Philipians 3:14).

Notice the cooperative partnership in the above verse of scripture — God calls us upward, and we press toward the goal. Both are necessary. If God calls, but no one answers – nothing happens. If man presses, but God's not with him – nothing happens. Nothing good, anyway.

Have you ever taken a volley ball into a swimming pool, pushed it down into the water, and then tried to balance yourself by standing on it? Did you notice that the deeper you pushed the ball into the water, the greater the force it exerted to rise back up to the top? The air inside the ball belongs with the air above the water, and it will press upward to return back to where it belongs. That's the way it is with us as followers of Jesus. There is something inside us that urges us to the summit; it's the upward call.
unfortunately some merely drift along, hoping for a break here or there. But in Life, as in nature, nothing ever drifts upstream. Left to ourselves we will not rise, but retreat. However, God does not leave us to ourselves; He calls us upward. Something deep inside us is hooked to heaven; there's a pull on our hearts which lifts us towards the higher way.

As the old hymn says, "I'm pressing on the upward way; new heights I'm gaining everyday. Still, praying as I onward bound, 'Lord, plant my feet on higher ground!’”

When you hear God calling, press upward. One day heaven will be your home.

Adapted from James Ryle's Daily Devotions.