Friday, March 25, 2016

Jesus, our continuous gift

1 John 4:15-16Revised Standard Version (RSV)

15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 So we know and believe the love God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.

   I AM the gift that continuously gives - bounteously, with no strings attached. Unconditional Love is such a radical concept that even My most devoted followers fail to grasp it fully. Absolutely nothing in heaven or on earth can cause Me to stop loving you. You may feel more loved when you are performing according to your expectations. But My Love for you is perfect; therefore it is not subject to variation. What does vary is your awareness of My loving Presence.
   When you are dissatisfied with your behavior, you tend to feel unworthy of my Love. You may unconsciously punish yourself by withdrawing from Me and attributing the distance between us to My displeasure. Instead of returning to Me and receiving My Love, you attempt t earn my approval by trying harder. All the while, I am aching to hold you in My everlasting arms, to enfold you in My Love. When you are feeling unworthy or unloved, come to Me. Then ask for receptivity to My unfailing Love.

I JOHN 4:15-18; DEUTERONOMY 33:27; PSALM 13:5

Young, Sarah. Jesus Calling. Nashville: Thomas Nelson. page 377.

Friday, March 18, 2016

The Reason for Our Boldness

Philippians 1:19-20Revised Standard Version (RSV)

19 Yes, and I shall rejoice. For I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, 20 as it is my eager expectation and hope that I shall not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death.
   Even though Christians are familiar with the gospel, many are reluctant to share their faith with others because they don't feel capable of explaining it. When we lack confidence in our knowledge of salvation through Jesus Christ, fear of negative reactions or possible questions can keep us silent. What if we don't have the answers or end up looking like a fool? It's just too intimidating.
   But remember, God has given us the most important message in the world. Since were confronted by so many unscriptural philosophies and religious deceptions, we need to understand the gospel and be able to present it with confidence and boldness. We can't let fear or ignorance keep us from giving lost people the only message that can change a person's eternal destiny.
   The apostle Paul welcomed every opportunity to tell people about Christ, because he focused on the gospel's life-changing power rather than the possible negative reactions. Often, the reason we're ashamed to talk about our faith is that we're concerned about ourselves. If we look at the hurting people around us, express a genuine interest in them, and ask God to open a door for us to share our faith with them, he will answer that prayer.
   We tend to be motivated by temporal activities that eventually fade away. But souls are forever, and people need to know the Savior. Look for opportunities to reach out to those around you - notice their expressions; ask how they're doing. When their need stirs your heart, you'll be eager to offer them the gospel.
Stanley, Charles F., "The Reason for our Boldness," In Touch: Daily Reading for Devoted Living December 2015, Atlanta, In Touch Ministries, page 19.

Friday, March 4, 2016

The God Who Speaks

God’s Final Word: His Son

In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son,whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe.
Hebrews 1:1-2New International Version (NIV)

   Throughout human history, God has been speaking to man-kind in various ways. His prophets and apostles were moved by the Holy Spirit both to proclaim and to write His words, but His ultimate expression came through the birth of His Son Jesus Christ. Today, most believers acknowledge that God speaks primarily through Scripture, yet the voice that dictated the Bible has not ceased. Through His Holy Spirit, the Lord still communicates to every Christian who listens with an open and receptive heart.
   Consider the wonder of having a God who speaks-not a distant deity who thunders orders and admonishments from heaven, but one who actually wants to have a conversation with you! Why? Consider the following:
  • God loves you and desires a relationship with you.
  • He wants you to know Him personally through an intimate communication.
  • He longs to encourage you to trust Him. As you experience the fulfillment of His words, your faith grows strong.
  • He wants to guide you. The Lord has a good purpose for your life and is willing to direct your decisions and ways so you can experience all He has planned for you.

. . . Take time this week away from the distractions to listen to the God who wants to talk with you.
Stanley, Charles F. "The God Who Speaks." In Touch: Daily Readings For Devoted Living December 2015. Atlanta: In Touch. page 18.