Dr. A.L. Jordan served as pastor of Memorial Baptist Church in Baytown, TX for more than thirty years. At his retirement party, he was asked the question, “How does a man stay at one church for that long?”“I made it a point never to discuss religion or politics,” he joked.
That’s good advice for everyone. People are more apt to listen to the testimony of the principles of God’s nature and works than they are a persuasive patriotic speech from an overzealous religious fanatic. Changes in government occur when Jesus heals a man’s heart, rather than when we try to change their thoughts and practices.
As far as religion is concerned, I stopped thinking Christianity was a religion years ago. “Devotion to Jesus” is not just another cult, nor is it a denomination or a para-church group. It is a way of life! We must stop believing that we can only worship Jesus once a week in a beautiful building (Do NOT think I am opposed to the local church.That would be a mistake).
Unless we nurture our relationship to God daily, what we do on Sundays will make little difference in the world.The next time we have the opportunity to share with a co-worker or friend, rather than debate the merits of my church or denomination, let us speak to them about Jesus the Redeemer! Amen and amen.
It is often thought that what’s past is past.And, often that is the case.However, God may have other ideas.He sometimes uses our past circumstances to bring us full circle… to teach us a lesson.
Recently, I was talking to Freda, a Christian woman who had gone through a particularly difficult marriage and who had moved on in her life, raising her children and making a way when the road was not straight and times were truly difficult just making ends meet.
Of course, the former spouse, Henry, was on a different course and it “appeared” that all was well in his world.Satan had lured him through money, luxurious trips, and lavish gifts and he fell into the trap that was laid before him.For a number of years it “appeared” he was flying high and living the good life.But, he didn’t quite dance the devil’s dance and his world came crashing down.
After moving from pillar to post, losing his most recent job, etc., one would never expect Henry to need or to seek help from his former wife, the mother of his children.But, he made an appeal… asking to camp out on the couch while he attempted to get back on his feet.
While Freda had forgiven him years ago, she had not totally forgotten the pain of the divorce and subsequent problems with child support payments, his deteriorating relationship with their children, etc.Admittedly, she was not anxious to have anything to do with him.PERIOD.But, she prayed and prayed on it and God opened her heart to do what was right, despite past circumstances.
Somewhere in those awkward moments, Henry admitted that he had destroyed his marriage and family and he had many regrets.
He has since moved on and she has resumed her life.Even that process, difficult as it may have been, was a time for healing once and for all… perhaps for both of them.
Have you "hit the wall" in your relationships? Is your life upside-down; are you struggling to find your way right now?Your God is big enough to change your situation and restore you to a healthy relationship with Him. Place your problem in God's hands and see what He will do.
GospeLines Prayer:Father, we can’t possibly know Your plans for us, how You will use us and our circumstances to minister to one another. We need to tread carefully in each other’s lives, as what goes around, comes around and we may have to come back [to someone we’ve hurt] for help.While the process can be, and often is painful, You’re bigger than our perceived slights and problems.
Robert Farrar Capon said it well in his devotional, "Rather than saying ‘God, here is my problem,' we should put the problem into perspective by saying ‘Problem, here is my God!'"
Your abilities are limitless!
Thank You God for Your son who went to Calvary for our sins…to save this “sin-sick soul” according to Your word found in… Isaiah 53:1-6 (The Message)
" 1Who believes what we've heard and seen? Who would have thought God's saving power would look like this?2-6The servant grew up before God - a scrawny seedling, a scrubby plant in a parched field.There was nothing attractive about him, nothing to cause us to take a second look.He was looked down on and passed over, a man who suffered, who knew pain firsthand.One look at him and people turned away.We looked down on him, thought he was scum.But the fact is, it was our pains he carried - our disfigurements, all the things wrong with us.We thought he brought it on himself, that God was punishing him for his own failures.But it was our sins that did that to him, that ripped and tore and crushed him - our sins!He took the punishment, and that made us whole.Through his bruises we get healed.We're all like sheep who've wandered off and gotten lost.We've all done our own thing, gone our own way.And God has piled all our sins, everything we've done wrong, on him, on him."
In His Love,
≈ Devotional for Wednesday, October 10, 2007
"Repeating Life’s Mistakes"
Do you wonder, as I do, why we continue on those man-made collision courses, repeating the same mistakes time and time again? I was thinking about that when I read a little story by Chris Eddy.
“I was making Play-Doh animals with my four-year-old niece, Chris, and her three-year-old brother, Neil. While Chris was clearly molding a crude but recognizable dog, figuring out what Neil was making was a bit more challenging. ‘It’s a cat,’ he told me. ‘But a truck ran over it.’
Sometime later, Chris had made another simple animal shape, but Neil had a rather flat slab of dough on the table in front of him.
‘What happened to this animal?’ I asked.
Neil shrugged and said simply, ‘Same truck.’ “
(READER’S DIGEST, JULY 2001, P. 95)
GospeLines Prayer:Father, deliver me from “same-truck-itis.” Help me to see clearly that life’s mistakes need not be repeated. Lead me by Your strength, not mine... and push me out of the pathway of speeding blunders. Amen and amen.
Three times Jesus asked Peter, "Simon son of John, do you love me?" (John 21:15-18)Each time, Peter answered, "Yes!You know that I love you."After the third time, Peter must have been getting worried... Why didn't Jesus believe him?
Jesus heard Peter; but, He was making a point.If Peter truly loved Him, he'd do what Jesus asked.What did He ask of Peter (and of us)?
"Feed my sheep." (John 21:17)
Who are His sheep... those who hear His voice and follow Him (John 10:2-4).So, what does this mean?How do we "feed His sheep"?
If you have children, you know that when they're very young, they would choose cake and ice cream for every meal if allowed.They'd eat candy daily and never eat vegetables.When we say "No" to these preferences, we often hear, "You don't love me!"
Fortunately for our children, we do love them.That's why we insist that they eat their fruit and vegetables even if they don't want them.We know good nutrition will insure that they will grow up strong and healthy.
It's the same with God's children.We need "good nutrition" from the Word if we're to grow up strong and healthy in the Lord.So, how do we "feed His sheep"?We love them and we do what we can to "feed" them the truth of the Word - the Gospel of Christ - even if they'd prefer something more acceptable to the world.
"Do you love me?"
"Yes!You know that I love you."
"Feed my sheep."
"…we can face Him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world."
I didn’t grow up on a farm, exactly, but we had chickens, a cow, and an occasional pig or two. The little place we were renting had a barn, a chicken house, and a little feed shack where we stored all the food for the animals. It was one of my favorite places to play because we also kept an old empty barrel on the dirt floor of that little eight by ten building.
One of my favorite pastimes was to turn the barrel on its side, straddle it with my little short chubby legs, and ride it like a horse. Funny thing, though, no matter how long I rode it, I never got beyond the four walls of that little feed shack.
When my friend mentioned the need to make progress in his walk with God, I recalled those barrel rides to nowhere. My question to him was, “Tell me about your quiet time with God?” He seemed almost reluctant to tell me that it was spasmodic and often nonexistent. “You need to trade in your empty barrel for a thoroughbred,” I joked. Then I told him about riding my imaginary horse as a child.
A well-trained horse is a beautiful animal, with rippling muscles and shiny coat. And, a disciplined Christian is the loveliest creature on the face of the earth. It doesn’t take much, but it does require just a little bit of effort on our part to journey with the Lord into the blissful world of spiritual growth.
Saddle up! And begin that wonderful adventure which is anything but make-believe.“When I was a child, I behaved as a child. When I became an adult,
I put away childish things.”
GospeLines Prayer:Father, I want to know what it is like to travel with you down the road of spiritual maturity. I am tired of this feeling of stagnation, and long to feel the exhilaration of growing into spiritual adulthood with You. Take the reins of my life and lead me down the path of discipleship. Amen and amen.