15I do not ask that You will take them out of the world, but that You will keep and protect them from the evil one.16They are not of the world (worldly, belonging to the world), [just] as I am not of the world.17Sanctify them [purify, consecrate, separate them for Yourself, make them holy] by the Truth; Your Word is Truth.
John 17:15-17 (Amplified Bible)
According to our Pastor, to be set free, to do God’s work and to live healthy and holy, requires one to be sanctified in truth.
Many years ago, Carl Stuart Hamblen was a very successful singer/songwriter on a self-destructive, downward spiral due to alcohol, gambling and a few other vices.His life changed after attending a “Youth for Christ” revival by Rev. Dr. Billy Graham in Los Angeles in 1949.
In the wee hours of the morning after the revival, Stuart and his wife stopped by Dr. Graham’s hotel room asking to be saved.Stuart was broken up and crying and Dr. Graham responded “we’ve been praying for you for weeks.”
After that night, Stuart pursued a new life, continued to compose songs and even appeared in a few movies with the legendary actor, John Wayne.When the Duke commented “What’s this I hear – you got religion?” Stuart answered, “It is no secret what God can do in a man’s life.”The Duke told him “that sounds like a song,” thus planting a seed in the songwriter’s mind.
A few years later, he penned “It Is No Secret,” (words appear below) and composed some 225 songs before his death in 1989.
It Is No Secret
The chimes of time ring out the news
Another day is through
Some one slipped and fell,
Was that someone you?
You may have longed for added strength
Your courage to renew
Do not be disheartened
I have news for you.
It is no secret what God can do,
What he has done for others,
He'll do for you.
With arms wide open,
He'll pardon you
It is no secret what God can do.
There is no night, for in His light
You'll never walk alone.
You'll always feel at home
wherever you may roam,
There is no power can conquer you,
While God is on your side.
Take Him at His promise,
Don't run away and hide.
Hamblen hosted a radio show for a number of years, the Cowboy Church of the Air, but lost it after refusing to do a commercial promoting alcohol.The Prohibition Party nominated him as their candidate for the President of the United States in 1952 due to his principles.He garnered 73,000 votes and finished fourth in a field of 12, despite appearing on the ballot in only 21 states.
GospeLines Prayer:Father, we come before You acknowledging that we need You to set us free, to show us how to do Your work in order to live healthy and holy.We need You to sanctify us in Your truth; no matter how difficult it may seem.It is only through Your love and truth that we see the light according to…
"You have saved me from death.You have kept me from tripping and falling.Now I can live with you in the light that leads to life."Psalm 56:13 (New International Reader's Version)
It is no secret what You can do!
In His Love,
≈ Devotional for Wednesday: September 5, 2007
"A Life with Purpose"
REAL MEANING IN LIFE IS FOUND WHEN ONE BEGINS TO FOLLOW CHRIST AS HIS DISCIPLE
Now, real meaning in life is not found merely in finding Jesus as Savior (as wonderful as that is). Rather, real meaning in life is found when one begins to follow Christ as His disciple, learning of Him, spending time with Him in His Word, the Bible, communing with Him in prayer, and in walking with Him in obedience to His commands. If you are an unbeliever (or perhaps a new Believer) you are likely saying to yourself, "That doesn't sound very exciting or fulfilling to me!" But please read on just a little longer. Jesus made the following statements:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30). “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10b). “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it” (Matthew 16:24-25). “Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4).
What all of these verses are saying is that we have a choice. We can continue to seek to guide our own lives (with the result of living an empty life) or we can choose to pursue God and His will for our lives with a whole heart (which will result in having a life lived to the full, having the desires of your heart met, and finding contentment and satisfaction). This is so because our Creator loves us and desires the best for us (not necessarily the easiest life, but the most fulfilling).
In closing, I want to share an analogy. If you are a sports fan and decide to go to a professional game, you can fork over a few dollars and get a "nose-bleed" seat in the top rows of the stadium or you can cough up a few hundred dollars and be up close and personal to the action. It is like that in the Christian life. Watching God work FIRSTHAND is not for the Sunday Christians. They haven't paid the price. Watching God work FIRSTHAND is for the whole-hearted disciple of Christ who has truly stopped pursuing his/her own desires in life so that he/she can be pursuing God's purposes in life. THEY have paid the price (complete surrender to Christ and His will); they are experiencing life to its fullest; and they can face themselves, their fellow man, and their Maker with no regrets! Have you paid the price? Are you willing to? If so, you will not hunger after meaning or purpose again.
The first line of Engelbert Humperdinck's 1967 hit Release Me asked:
"Please release me, let me go"
Lately I have heard many Christians also saying, "Please release me, let me go."However, they're not talking about the significant person in their lives; they're talking about their church.Why would a Christian want "released" from their church?
The Christian's "church" is not a building, a Pastor, or a body of believers.Our church is the church of Jesus Christ, built on the confession that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of the Living God (Matthew 16:18).Assuming Christians don't want to be released from their faith in Jesus, what are they asking?
Many only want to be released from the ordinances of their church; they want the freedom of the Bereans to "examine the Scriptures every day" to see if what they are being taught is true (Acts 17:11).They want to be released from the idea that the Holy Spirit only reveals the will of God and the truth of the scriptures to a select few.
Engelbert Humperdinck's song ends with the words:
To live a lie would bring us pain So release me and let me love again
My dear Brothers and Sisters, do not ask God to release you from your church; ask Him to release you (and your church) to seek so you will find and to knock so the door will be opened to you (Matthew 7:7).You will "live a lie" only if you allow Satan's deceptions and misrepresentations to replace the truth of the Word.Satan was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth; there is no truth in him.When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies (John 8:44).If you feel your worship is "living a lie" (that you're not truly worshiping in spirit and in truth) and you're seeking "release", begin practicing the habits of the Bereans and be released from the snares of the devil, not the joy and comfort that comes from belonging to the body of Christ.Only then can you truly begin to "love again."
"My eyes are ever on the Lord, for only He will release my feet from the snare." (Psalm 25:15 - NIV)
"…we can face Him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world."
≈ Devotional for Friday & Monday: September 7 & 10, 2007
"When God Saves the Best for Last"
By Dr. Tommy Harrison
You’ve been there before, that place that pushes you to your knees in defeat; you’ve done all you can do and nothing seems to fall into place.Waiting upon the Lord has become your life’s work, no longer your past-time.
Praying about your circumstance is a chore and you wonder if God is as tired of hearing the same old prayer as you are.When it falls rapidly from your lips again and again it sounds like you’ve prayed it for so long that you’ve memorized the words.“God, help me!My finances (health, relationships, etc.) are in such terrible condition.Please open the right door for me.Oh, God… I am miserable!Give me a job I enjoy, one that will bless my family and give honor to You.Please, God, just give me one more chance!”
Some of you know my testimony.For 25 years I served God as a pastor.Believing that the door of full-time ministry was closed forever, I made myself think that there were other professions which would make me happy and I pursued many of them since 1991.But the calling I received as a teenager would not go away.So I prayed, and prayed!
Often my prayers were impatient, showing my frustration.My dream of serving in a church again was over.Deeply rooted bitterness oozed out of me unnaturally, which affected my work, influenced decisions and destroyed my relationships.
But my wife, Sherry, would not give up.I listened to her prayers, the way I used to pray about it with genuine sincerity and hope.Soon she had me believing it, too!So we prayed, and prayed!
Sometimes God just does things backwards by saving the best things for last.At my age (I’m 63), it just doesn’t seem like the time for starting over.But God has another plan.
Sherry and I want to humbly announce to you that God is allowing me to serve on the support staff of Calvary Church in Cordova, TN.I start Monday, September 10th.As the Office Manager, my primary role will be to give direction in the performance of special projects.The exciting part is that I will have the opportunity to work with a pastor whom I love and respect.And wouldn’t you know it?All the skills I’ve accumulated from working 16 years in the business world will be utilized in the performance of the tasks.
Beloved, if you feel as if you are in the wilderness do not give up!I can say from experience that God is faithful.He WILL carry you through.
“He Will Carry You”
There is no problem too big God cannot solve There is no mountain too tall He cannot move There is no storm too dark God cannot calm There is no sorrow too deep He cannot soothe
If He carried the weight of the world upon His shoulders I know, my brother that He will carry you If He carried the weight of the world upon His shoulders I know, my sister that He will carry you
He said come on to me all who are weary And I will give you rest