17 May 2017
08 May 2017
08 May 2017
DRAW NEAR:Psalm 148:1 NIV
 Praise the Lord. Praise the Lord from the heavens; praise him in the heights above.
Richard Wurmbrand tells of the joy believers knew while confined in Nazi prison camps. Although many were cursing their lot, hating their captors, and plotting revenge, believers were serving their Christ faithfully, sincerely, and with great joy. Both the believer and unbeliever were subjected to the same conditions. However, one reacted as a saint while the other reacted as a sinner.
Viktor Frankl reminds us that true happiness in life depends not on conditions but on decisions. If our hearts are firmly turned toward Christ then we can and will joyfully worship Him--in good times and bad. This seems to be the essence of Psalm 148. Wherever we are, with whatever we have, we should still praise the Lord.
When our praise is based on God's goodness, rather than the conditions of our lives, then we have reached the state of true faith. No matter what the conditions, we will remain true. Like Paul, we learn both to be abased and to abound. Circumstances do not dictate our happiness--that is a result of a living relationship with Christ. And when He is in our hearts, we cannot help but sing--whether it be from the mountaintop or from the cellar.
EVERYWHERE I GO:
James 4:2 NIV
 You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God.
LEARN TO PRAY BY PRAYING!
Do you know who prayer intimidates the most? Christians!
A lost person who wants to be saved can pray a prayer of repentance and forgiveness without giving much thought to form or style. He or she simply cries out to God, and asks for what is needed. Many Christians do not have because they do not ask. They do not know how to pray because they do not pray.
George Beverly Shea told me he had a dream one night that he was in Heaven. As the Lord was showing him around, Bev says they came to a large room filled with seemingly endless compartments, each one bearing a person's name. Bev asked what the compartments were, and God replied, "These belong to every person who has ever lived and been my servant." Bev asked the Father to show him his own compartment, and God did so. As they opened it and looked through its contents together, Bev was overwhelmed. It was full of wonderful things. Fabulous things. It was literally a treasure chest of blessings.
"I don't understand," Bev said. "These things are fantastic, but are you sure they're mine? I don't remember having any of them."
God nodded in agreement. "You didn't have them, Bev. But I would have given them to you if you had only asked."
We do not have because we do not ask. And we do not ask because we do not know how to ask. In other words, we don't know how to pray. But the secret to prayer is this: we learn to pray by praying. When Jesus' disciples asked Him to teach them how to pray, He did not give them a step-by-step, how-to list. He said to them, "Pray, then, in this way - ".
How do we learn to pray? By praying. Begin today. Begin now. Ask.
03 May 2017
Sanballat and Tobiah were leaders in surrounding cities who wanted to spread their influence into Jerusalem. When the rebuilding of Jerusalem’s wall continued, they responded with opposition.
Taunted, ridiculed, threatened. Instead of giving in, Nehemiah and the Israelites chose to find new strength and determination through their faith in God.
What would happen if we took our places and played our parts? If we played the music the Maestro gave us to play? If we made his song our highest priority?
Would we see a change in families? We’d certainly hear a change. Less “Here is what I want!” More “What do you suppose God wants?”
What if a businessman took that approach? Goals of money and name making, he’d shelve. God-reflecting would dominate.
And your body? Ptolemaic thinking says, “It’s mine; I’m going to enjoy it.” God-centered thinking acknowledges, “It’s God’s; I have to respect it.”
We’d see our suffering differently. “My pain proves God’s absence” would be replaced with “My pain expands God’s purpose.”
Talk about a Copernican shift. Talk about a healthy shift. Life makes sense when we accept our place. The gift of pleasures, the purpose of problems—all for him. The God-centered life works. And it rescues us from a life that doesn’t.
But how do we make the shift? How can we be bumped off self-center? Attend a seminar, howl at the moon, read a Lucado book? None of these (though the author appreciates that last idea). We move from me-focus to God-focus by pondering him. Witnessing him. Following the counsel of the apostle Paul: “Beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, [we] are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” ( KJV).
Beholding him changes us. Couldn’t we use a change? Let’s give it a go. Who knows? We might just discover our place in the universe. (From It’s Not About Me by Max Lucado)
The Israelites teach us to regard God as our only source of confidence! When we let God show us what He has for us, when we make Him our highest priority, we find true fulfillment.
“Confidence—; ; .”