“Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day He visits us.”
(1st Peter 2:11-12)
The Christian church to which Peter wrote faced many false accusations from the pagan world. They were accused of cannibalism because they partook of the body of Christ in the Lord’s Supper; they were said to have tampered with family relationships, and turned slaves against their masters. The most serious charge against the church was that they were disloyal to Caesar.
To Peter, the only way to dispute those charges was to live a life that was beyond reproach.
When Plato was confronted with slanderous charges, his answer was: “I will live in such a way that no one will believe what he says.” And that’s exactly what Peter was saying.
The grave danger Christianity faces today is that our testimony changes from
Sunday to Monday, and the world is learning to recognize the disparity. More so, unbelievers love to confront us with their favorite sarcastic comeback... "And
I thought you were supposed to be a Christian?" The best way to overcome evil is to live above the expectations of our adversary by focusing on Godliness rather than goodness, and holiness instead of morality. Trying to live a good moral life is useless apart from the power of God.
GospeLines Prayer:Father, for these two things I yearn: teach me that I cannot be good without God, and that living a moral life is far less challenging than living a holy life. And when these are accomplished, I delight that you will have silenced my accusers. Amen and amen.
Mother Teresa, up for canonization in the Roman Catholic church, has been the subject of some discussion lately since her private letters are about to be published.(Excerpts of "Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light," a collection of letters written to colleagues and superiors over a 66 year period, have been posted by Time magazine.)These letters show her human, if not dark, side.She had periods where she doubted God.Imagine that?
"I spoke as if my very heart was in love with God -- tender, personal love," Mother Teresa wrote to one adviser. "If you were [there], you would have said, 'What hypocrisy.'"
The letters probably will not impact her cause for sainthood; church history is dotted with saints who have been tormented about their faith. Saint Thomas the Apostle -- the "Doubting Thomas" -- doubted that Jesus had risen from the dead until, according to Scripture, he touched the wound of a resurrected Jesus. Christ himself wondered "God, why have you forsaken me" while on the cross, the Bible says.
Mother Teresa’s public image was as a selfless and tireless minister for the poor who was driven by faith.Despite the public perception, and during these dark periods, she continued God’s assignment… ministering to the poor, sick and dying.
GospeLines Prayer:Father, we can’t possibly imagine the depth and intensity of Mother Teresa’s “spiritual darkness.”But, each one of us, no matter where we are on our spiritual path, has doubted You from time-to-time.We need to be honest with ourselves and You… when You don’t respond at the time, or in the manner we expect, we have our doubts.We question whether You’re working in our lives.
It is a relief to know that we are not alone.Even Your son had doubts too.
Despite our humanness, You are with us.Even when we don’t understand the bigger picture, You have the vision.
We must dedicate ourselves to You and Your ministry in our lives, despite what we see, and feel.Our path is set before us by Your commandment and we are privileged to carry on Your work.
When we begin to doubt, give us a word to assure us that Your love and direction is more than enough.Let Your light continue to shine before ALL of us!
In His Love,
≈ Devotional for Wednesday, October 17, 2007
I have always had heroes. Oh, not the kind that most people have, like the
Michael Jordan's or the President Reagan's, but my heroes were the real thing.They were mostly my pastor, or my youth minister, or my Sunday School teacher.There never were many, but I know them all by name. They were my heroes not because of their status or occupation, but because they had a dynamic walk with God. Their lives really stood for something that was important.
We are lacking that kind of person today.
Are you somebody’s hero? Is there anyone who has singled you out as their life-mentor because of your testimony? Every day someone is looking at you who is starving for a Christian example, someone they can follow who will lead them in the paths of righteousness. God grant you wisdom to walk in the right direction.
GospeLines Prayer:Father, I am embarrassed to say that after all these years of being a Christian, I am nobody’s hero. Not for my glory, O Lord, but for those whose only opportunity to see the Gospel is through my life; I pray for the kind of testimony that will bring honor to your name. Amen and amen.
Have you ever had an experience that affected you deeply?Years ago I heard a professor named Dr. Massey (from the University of Colorado, I think) who said that once we are set in our beliefs and attitudes; we're only changed by a "significant emotional event."
Authors Jenkins and Lahey just released the 13th book in their Left Behind series entitled Kingdom Come.Although the series is fictional, their description of Biblical prophesy is both accurate and profound.This book starts with a description of Christ's return and His righteous judgment of mankind.
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, He will sit on His throne in heavenly glory.All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left... Then He will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from Me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels... Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” (Matthew 25:31-33, 41-42, 46)
The book's description of this event is so vivid that you can almost hear the weeping and gnashing of teeth and see the horror in the eyes of the damned as Jesus stretches out His hand and the earth swallows them.Can you imagine witnessing these events... hearing and seeing millions as they're cast away into eternal punishment?I cannot... It's too horrific for me to imagine.
Remember, this image isn't just the brainchild of Jenkins and Lahey - God's Word gives us this picture.Why does He want us - His children - to know about these terrible events?God wants His words to cause a "significant emotional event" in our lives.He wants us to be so horrified by this scene that we will do everything we can to help people find the Lord before it's too late.
Are you helping take the Gospel to a lost and dying world?Do your life and your words reflect the words and heart of our Savior?If not, think about the millions - billions - who are lost.Think about how you will answer our Lord when He asks, "How did you use the talents and gifts I gave you to help save my people?"Think about these things and let them cause a "significant emotional event" in your life.Let them change your attitude to be the same as that of Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:5) - to a sincere desire that "wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth." (1st Timothy 2:3-4)With the Holy Spirit's help we can change the world... one soul at a time.
"…we can face Him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world."
There will come a time in the life of every Christian living in the United States of America when we will finally say, “Enough is enough!I will no longer accept bureaucratic intolerances toward practicing my faith.”Prayer, while deeply personal, is a spiritual right to be practiced in a manner befitting the individual, whether privately or publicly.For any branch of government to deny my expression of religious freedom is a hypocritical practice, given the hundreds of times various religious slogans and words are displayed in our nation’s capitol.
Any court decision which “disallows the posting of the Ten Commandments in a public school, or prayer on a public occasion legitimizes the public expression of religious beliefs and sentiments.”(Community Works:The Revival of Civil Society in America, E.J. Dionne)
Seventeen-year-old Andrew Larochelle wanted to honor his grandfather.
Andrew was being inducted into the Eagle Scouts, and he thought a wonderful way to celebrate this achievement would be to honor the man of patriotism and faith who was his inspiration.
So, as approximately 100,000 other Americans do every year, he requested, through his congressman's office, to have a flag flown over the U.S. Capitol. It would be a gift for his grandfather, an Army veteran. Andrew asked that the certificate accompanying the flag have this inscription:
"This flag was flown in honor of Marcel Larochelle, my grandfather, for his dedication and love of God, country and family."
But when Andrew received the flag he had requested, government bureaucrats had censored his tribute to his grandfather. The Architect of the Capitol, which administers the flag program, had removed the word "God" from the certificate.
The House Speaker initially defended the censorship, which is particularly ironic, seeing as how references to God are found throughout the Capitol where she serves.
But this story of a government bureaucrat's attempt to censor references to religion in the people's House has a happy ending -- unlike many stories of faith being purged from our public life.
The heroes are Andrew Larochelle and his congressman, Michael Turner of Ohio.
Andrew and his family contacted Rep. Turner, and the congressman refused to let the bureaucracy's religious censorship stand.
More then 100 of his colleagues joined Turner in writing a letter to House Speaker Pelosi demanding that the policy of deleting references to God from flag certificates be abolished.The Architect of the capitol negotiated the revision of the policy and Andrew Larochelle honored his Grandfather as planned.
This article has intentionally omitted references to Republicans or Democrats, because this is not a political problem.It is a spiritual one which demands our attention, no matter where we live or what our political persuasion might be.
These are dangerous times and the discrimination of Christianity in this nation has gone far enough!We can do better.We MUST do better.Join me in a serious season of prayer to let our voices be heard above the grinding wheels of bureaucratic injustice run amuck.
GospeLines Prayer:Heavenly Father, You are the Guardian of nations, the ruler of the just and the unjust; I thank you that in the course of time Your laws will permit righteousness to prevail above those who would despise your precepts.Until that day, my prayer is that those who bear Your Name will fight courageously for what is right, and stand against everything that would deny us the privilege of prayer both public and private.As long as I have words to speak, grant that I should say them with boldness, at church and at home; in the marketplace and the workplace, in the school room and the court room, that it is in God we trust and in whose kingdom we fearlessly stand.Amen and amen.
(A portion of this devotional was inspired in part from outside sources)