Admittedly, my level of pain tolerance is decreasing with age, and the older I get the more aches and pains I feel all over my body.Have you ever noticed that when you don’t feel well the first thing you want to do is lie down and rest?As I was exploring this thought one day (probably during one of my opportunities to “rest in the Lord”… a.k.a. “a nap”), my mind drifted to a verse of scripture that caught my attention and made me think differently about laying down because I “did not feel well”.
Jesus said in John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”Consider that for a moment.Jesus literally lay down on the old rugged cross for your benefit.We lay ourselves down to feel better, to pause from life, or simply because we are tired and it is time to go to bed.But Jesus, oh my friend… JESUS LAY DOWN so that he could be sacrificed for you!Imagine in your mind’s eye for a moment:The Master of everything ever created, humbly kneeling to the ground, then climbing atop the cross, and then turning himself over - positioning Himself on the wood that would soon help to end His time on Earth.
Today, I want to ask you a very simple question.When was the last time you laid down for someone else?Each day we are given the opportunity to give of ourselves for someone else, and I wonder as you consider all you have to do today:Will you lay down your desires, your wants, your needs, maybe even your life for someone else?Let it be so, for Jesus said there is nothing greater.
GospeLines Prayer:Precious Father, I ask you to come into my life right now, remove from me the pain and suffering of yesterday and grant me Your peace today.I pray that You would speak to my heart today, guide me on how I might know You more intimately, and show me where I can be a servant to someone else.Thank you for the model You have given us in your Son, let us be willing to lay down our lives for His glory.Amen!
Rev. T.J. Conwell
Rev. Conwell is a bi-vocational pastor serving in the United States Air Force in Montgomery, Alabama.
≈ Devotional for Tuesday, November 18, 2008
“Working His Plan”
When you were a young adult did you have lots of plans for your life?Perhaps you planned to backpack in Europe; to study abroad; to marry the star quarterback on the football team; to have a high-powered job on Wall Street; to be a stay-at-home mother or to be a successful politician.
Where are you now?Did your plans materialize?According to Proverbs 19:21(NIV),
“Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”
Many of us didn’t realize until much later that God has the perfect plans for our lives, but we have to do our part to accomplish them.As Rev. Mia Wright pointed out recently, our “attitude determines our altitude.”
There are several steps needed to adjust our attitudes.We must –
1.have an open mind to accept God’s will
2.have a discerning spirit
3.have determination to see the best despite a bad situation
4.completely trust God
Some of us have taken detours along the path of life; some because of our own choices and some situations that God has used for His purpose.Things haven’t always gone as planned.
Rev. Wright made that message apparent when she highlighted the excuses given to Jesus by the invalid at the pool of Bethesda.The man explained that he had been waiting for someone to help him into the pool for 38 years.People always jumped in ahead of him.He chose to be a victim.(John 5:1-9)
In another example, Jesus healed the infirmity of a crippled woman, bent over for 18 years, who gave no excuses.She was set free because of her obedience to God.(Luke 13:10-13)
Different situations for the two examples, but both gave praises and thanks and told others.
Which one are you; a victim or a victor?Are you crippled by sin?Are you on the same Ferris wheel?Can’t go forward and can’t go back?If so, God wants to deliver you from your rut.
Many of us have demons to be conquered.It’s a fact that we will always be in a spiritual battle.But, hear God’s promise in Malachi 3:6-7
6-7"I am God - yes, I Am. I haven't changed. And because I haven't changed, you, the descendants of Jacob, haven't been destroyed. You have a long history of ignoring my commands. You haven't done a thing I've told you. Return to me so I can return to you," says God-of-the-Angel-Armies.
GospeLines Prayer:What a mighty word, Lord, I haven’t been destroyed and Your unchanging hand is still there for me!
Help me to reposition myself to serve You and to continually sing your praises.I am not a victim; I am a victor!
Help me to stop ignoring Your commands and to start working Your plan!I have a hope and future with you.
In His Love,
≈ Devotional for Wednesday, November 19, 2008
“Generic Bumper Sticker”
The bumper of the car in front of me proudly displayed the words, "Generic Bumper Sticker."I have seen more offensive words on a bumper. I have had them threaten me, rebuke me, suggest where I could go, and coerce me to honk at them.Usually these little strips of paper announce something about the individual sporting them on their vehicles, letting me know something about that person and their passions.Not this one.It didn't say a word about anything and gave me no clue about the driver of that car.
Generic:"relating to a whole group; not protected by trademark registration."Maybe we have allowed ourselves to become generic Christians, not passionate about anything, unwilling to announce our beliefs to others, and so much like the status quo that what we think doesn't offend anyone anymore because we relate to a whole group of people who are no different than we are.If that is true, then we "are not protected by the trademark registration" of the Holy Spirit.Think about it.
GospeLines Prayer:Father, I want to be different but I am afraid.What will my friends think of me?Lord, give me courage to be unique in my walk with You even if it sometimes means rubbing someone the wrong way.Amen and amen.
Why do I keep forgetting just how much smarter Jesus is that me?I know, that should be obvious to any believer; so, why do I keep ignoring His teaching?
If you asked me, I could give you a long list of all the things I do that show (prove?) just how much I love and obey our Lord.I know I’m saved and a citizen of His Kingdom; so, why do I ignore (some) of His teaching?
Many of us tend to ignore His admonition to “let it go.”We’ll “do” for the Lord; but, we have a very hard time just sitting still and letting the Lord “do” His thing.In other words, we haven’t learned to wait for the Lord.
He told us in Psalms:"Be still, and know that I am God.” The Hebrew word for “still” is “raphah” which means to relax, to withdraw, to let go or to be quite and let it alone.We translate “yada`” as “know;” but, its full definition is learn to know, to perceive, to find out and discern; or, to know by experience.In other words, God said: “Relax; leave it alone and let Me show you that I am God.”
Look at what happened when God told Abram and Sarai His plan.They decided to give God a “helping hand” and the world has been paying for it for almost 3000 years.
Most Christians remember that Jesus told the disciples “If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town.” (Matthew 10:14)We know that the disciples heard and understood Jesus’ words because in Acts 13 we read that when the Jews stirred up the city against Paul and Barnabas, “they shook the dust from their feet in protest against them and went to Iconium.”Unfortunately, most of us fail to keep reading.The very next verse states that “the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 13:52)
Do you hear what God is trying to tell us?Be still and let Him be Who He is and let Him do what He does.Try, of course.Do your best and then relax and leave it alone.Shake the dust off your feet and move on.In doing so, you will be at peace and God will fill you with joy and with the Holy Spirit.
Maybe it’s our nature to want to fix everything; but, we’re not Jesus.Do your best, plant the seed; and then, give it to the Lord; relax, and move on.
GospeLines Prayer:Father, in the precious name of Jesus we ask that you give us the strength to change the things we can; the serenity to accept the things we cannot change; the wisdom to know the difference; and the faith to leave those things that are beyond our ability to You.Help us to be quite when we should be quite and to speak when we should speak.Fill us with Your joy Father, and fill us with Your Holy Spirit in Jesus’ name.Amen.
“…I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father,but byMe.”
- John 14:6 (KJV
≈ Devotional for Friday, November 21, 2008
“Hope of Heaven”
The disciples didn't want to believe it.Jesus tried to prepare them for the end, but wasn't getting through to his faithful followers.The time had come for Him to say just how bad it was going to get, and told them that one would even betray, and another would deny Him.Could Jesus see their despair?Was the doubt inscribed upon their faces?At the appropriate time, Jesus said:
"Do not let your hearts be troubled.Trust in God; trust also in me.In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you.I am going there to prepare a place for you.And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.You know the way to the place where I am going."(John 14:1-4)
Beloved, I remember well the content of a favorite verse by Thomas Moore:"Earth hath no sorrow which heaven cannot heal."The mere notion that our troubles upon this earth will one day be forgotten may be the best news we hear today, and may tempt us to slow down in our diligence. Just so we will not forget that we have work yet to be done upon the earth, let us remember that heaven is a prepared place.And it is for prepared people.
GospeLines Prayer:Father, teach your children that the "Hope of Heaven" is not a bus we are waiting to catch!Let us know that we are ALWAYS to be in transit, until the day You come for us, teaching and preaching, preparing others for that glorious event.Amen and amen.