Friday, October 28, 2011

Ashamed of Jesus?

Jesus said, "Whoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels." (Mark 8:38).

Sometimes following Jesus is not the popular thing to do. Thus, these words strike at the coward that lingers within our hearts during those times when social trends are decidedly anti-christian.
God knows we must be motivated outside ourselves in order to rise above that within us which holds us down — namely, the fear of failure, embarrassment, and rejection. This fear can be defeated by openly embracing Jesus Christ.

Paul said, "I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek." (Romans 1:16).
He wrote his young disciple, Timothy, and encouraged him to take a stand for Jesus. He said, "God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God."(2 Tim 1:7,8).
Our response to Christ's presence and purpose makes Him proud to stand up for us as our God! The writer of Hebrews tells us, "He is not ashamed to call them brethren" (Heb.2:11), and, "God is not ashamed to be called their God" (Heb.11:16).

Turning the pages in an old book, I came upon this wonderful poem by Joseph Grigg entitled Ashamed of Jesus?

Jesus, and shall it ever be, a mortal man ashamed of Thee?
Ashamed of Thee, whom angels praise, Whose glories shine through endless days?
Ashamed of Jesus! Sooner far let evening blush to own a star!
He sheds the beams of light divine O'er this benighted soul of mine.
Ashamed of Jesus! That dear Friend On whom my hopes of heaven depend!
No! When I blush, be this my shame, that I no more revere His name.
Ashamed of Jesus! Yes, I may, when I've no guilt to wash away;
no tear to wipe, no good to crave, no fears to quell, no soul to save.
Till then, nor is my boasting vain, Till then I boast a Savior slain.
And, O, may this my glory be, That Christ is not ashamed of me!

My friends — when darkness increases our lights shines brightest. Do not be ashamed of Jesus under any circumstance. And He will not be ashamed of you!

Culled from Daily Devotions by James Ryle

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Delivered into Delight!

"He brought me forth also into a large place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me." (Psalm 18:19, KJV).

The Psalmist is overwhelmed with wonder at not only how the Lord acted on his behalf — but why.
When we read about how the Lord dramatically delivered him from his enemies we are stirred more deeply than any action movie could ever do. For he portrays the Lord as a Mighty Warrior unleashing His dreadful wrath against His enemies —
"Then the earth quaked and trembled. The foundations of the mountains shook; they quaked because of His anger. Smoke poured from His nostrils; fierce flames leaped from His mouth. Glowing coals blazed forth from Him. He opened the heavens and came down; dark storm clouds were beneath His feet. Mounted on a mighty angelic being, He flew, soaring on the wings of the wind. He shrouded Himself in darkness, veiling His approach with dark rain clouds. Thick clouds shielded the brightness around Him and rained down hail and burning coals. The LORD thundered from heaven; the voice of the Most High resounded amid the hail and burning coals. He shot His arrows and scattered His enemies; His lightning flashed, and they were greatly confused." (Psalm 18:7-14, The Living Translation).
This is HOW the Lord delivered the Psalmist — but here is WHY. "He delivered me because He delighted in me."

Did you know that God loves you so much that when the enemy messes with you to the point that in your distress you cry out to God — He goes on the warpath just for you! He brings you out of the distress into the delight of His presence and shows you the pleasure He has over your life.

Wow. How great is that?

Culled from Daily Devotions by James Ryle.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Enlarged in Distress

"Thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress." ~Psalm 4:1(KJV)

The poetry of this verse is too beautiful to overlook. David is deliberately placing two extremes side by side to demonstrate the profound difference that God's power makes in our lives when we call out to Him for mercy.

Distress means "a tight spot." Enlarged means "a spacious place."
From the very moment of our birth we have known that in order to get to a spacious place, we must first pass through a tight spot. Our mother's labor pains pushed us through the distress of delivery and ushered us into the largeness of Life itself.
Is it not the same when we are born again? Wasn't it some pressing weight of sorrow, some overbearing load of guilt and shame, some driving fear, or suffocating loneliness that distressed your soul sufficient enough for you to call upon the Name of the Lord? And didn't He answer in the day of your trouble and deliver you into a large place?
It is a law in the Kingdom of Heaven — God always enlarges us when we are in distress.
Therefore, when God wants to make us larger than we have settled for being, what do you suppose He does? He introduces distress into our comfortable lives, and thereby invites us to ascend to a larger place.

Charles Spurgeon wrote, "I must confess that all the grace I have got out of my comfortable and easy times and happy hours might almost lie on a penny. But the good that I have received from my sorrows and pains and griefs is altogether incalculable. What do I not owe to the hammer and the anvil, the fire and the file!"

If you are in a tight spot — God is enlarging you my friend, and the best you can do right now is to thank Him for it.

Culled from Daily Devotions by James Ryle.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Your New Job Description — BLESS!

"This goes for all of you, no exceptions. No retaliation. No sharp-tongued sarcasm. Instead, bless—that's your job, to bless. You'll be a blessing and also get a blessing." (1 Peter 3:9, The Message).

We have been called to live exemplary lives — the kind that inspire others to do the same. This is our assignment from Jesus. The challenge is that we have been placed in a world filled with un-exemplary conduct.

From Main Street to the Back Streets; from Broadway to the Belt-Way; from Wall Street to the Waysides — name calling, finger pointing, blame-fixing, sass and sarcasm are the standard fare. We are living in a grown up school yard — but no one seems to have grown up.
So the Lord has given us a job.

"BLESS," He says to each one of us, "That's your job — to bless." And then He adds this wonderful promise: "You will BE and blessing, and will also GET a blessing."

Culled from James Ryle’s Daily Devotions.

Monday, October 3, 2011

It’s All Still in There...

“For God’s gifts and his call can never be withdrawn”~(Romans 11:29, NLT)

Today, I want to remind you that you are full of incredible potential. When God created you, He deposited seeds of greatness inside of you. He’s given you your own dreams and desires. You have something to offer that no one else has. But too often, we allow adversities, disappointments and setbacks to push these things down, until one day, we find that we’re not pressing forward anymore. We’re not stretching; we’re not believing to rise any higher.

When adversity comes, it’s easy to think, “Why is this happening to me?” The answer is because the enemy knows what’s on the inside of you. He’s going to do everything he can to keep that seed from taking root. But, he will only be successful if you let him. He can’t stop you unless you quit.

During the difficult times, remember that the gifts and callings God has placed within you are still there. Don’t become stagnate in pursuing your dreams. It’s time to get your fire back! It’s time to press forward. It’s time to dig deep inside and take hold of the marvelous destiny God has prepared for you!

Father, thank You for the gifts and dreams You’ve placed within me. Today, I release my cares and concerns to You. Give me the strength, wisdom and clarity to keep moving forward so I can boldly embrace the good things You have in store for my future in Jesus’ name. Amen.

— Joel & Victoria Osteen

Sunday, October 2, 2011

...And who is my neighbor?

“....Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.” Also, “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.”~Luke 10:27 (NCV)

A religion scholar once asked Jesus this question: “......who is my neighbor?”~Luke 10:29b (NCV)

Jesus answered by telling a story.

"There was once a man traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho. On the way he was attacked by robbers. They took his clothes, beat him up, and went off leaving him half-dead. Luckily, a priest was on his way down the same road, but when he saw him he angled across to the other side. Then a Levite religious man showed up; he also avoided the injured man. "A Samaritan traveling the road came on him. When he saw the man's condition, his heart went out to him. He gave him first aid, disinfecting and bandaging his wounds. Then he lifted him onto his donkey, led him to an inn, and made him comfortable. In the morning he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, 'Take good care of him. If it costs any more, put it on my bill--I'll pay you on my way back.' "What do you think? Which of the three became a neighbor to the man attacked by robbers?" "The one who treated him kindly," the religion scholar responded. Jesus said, "Go and do the same."~ (Luke 10:30-37 -The Message)

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Its not what it looks like...

“...for when I am weak [in human strength], then am I [truly] strong (able, powerful in divine strength)”(2 Corinthians 12:10, AMP)

No matter what weakness you think you may have, no matter what inadequacies or setbacks you’ve encountered, God wants to give you His divine strength. He wants to make up the difference and put you further ahead than you ever thought possible.

One time in the Old Testament, God simply multiplied the sound of four men’s footsteps and caused them to sound like a mighty army. When their enemies heard them, they took off running. There were thousands of enemy troops running for their lives, scared to death, thinking they were being attacked by a massive army when in fact, it was just four people! What happened? God made up the difference.

Friend, God can make you seem bigger than you really are. He can make you look more powerful. He knows how to multiply your influence, your strength, your talent and your income. Don’t just look at what you have in your hand; look at what Almighty God can do with it! You don’t have to figure it all out. All you have to do is put your trust in Him and let Him work because when you do, He will lead you and guide you into victory all the days of your life!

Heavenly Father, today I commit every area of my life to You. I trust that You are working behind the scenes on my behalf. Use me for Your glory as I put my faith and hope in You in Jesus’ name. Amen.

— Joel & Victoria Osteen