When my children were young they would often ask me what I wanted, as a Holiday or my Birthday was approaching, They often remind me that I said, “I want you to BE GOOD.” Truly, my hearts desire was for them to live for Christ and I don’t remember my exact words I used, but I did make it clear to them that more important to me than gifts was that they live for the Lord.
A few weeks ago I heard one of the boys preaching on his church’s web site and he said, “Whenever we asked my mother what she wanted for mother’s day or her birthday she would always say she wanted us to ‘Be Good’.” Now that is not exactly what I said… Isn’t it interesting that they interpreted “obedience to God and being in the center of God’s will” as “Being Good”. Praise the Lord they got the message.
Sometimes they would say, “Why don’t you ask for something easy”. Our son Ken, recently called me for my birthday and said, “ Happy Birthday, Mom, I am being Good!!” They all know that is my greatest heart’s desire, for myself and all of God’s children.
“TRUE HAPPINESS AND PEACE DO NOT EXIST APART FROM GOD”
Why do I say that so often, have it on my little hand outs which I place in cards and letters and post it on my emails and website? Because I need to continually remind myself of this important truth. God says, “Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me.” This implies that knowing and following Christ is a process of learning, making mistakes, correcting those mistakes, little by little, not perfection. The Lord says, “Come unto me,.. my yoke is easy and the burden is light.” Mt.11: 28-30. The ultimate goal is to become more like God. Our faith is not an escape but a refuge in Christ. True faith in God and His grace is our great strength, not a crutch..
If you want REAL JOY you will follow these Scripture truths.
Deut. 6:5…”..And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
Deut. 10:12,11:1,19:9, say,“..love the Lord thy God and walk ever in his ways..”
Duet 30:6 “And the Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.”
Mt.22:37 ”There is none other commandment greater than these.”;
Mark 12:30 “ And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
God’s WORD is very clear that this should be our priority.
It is Never Too Late to Change the course of your life….
Matthew 28: 18 Then Jesus came to them and said,“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, bap-tizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
Ken’s father gave His life to the Lord in his 50’s and began studying for the ministry, was ordained, and served as a pastor for 17 years. He preached from a chair the Wednesday night before his weak heart gave out he following Wed. He spent himself for His Saviour.
My brother-in-law and his wife in their retirement years took their RV and gave their lives to the Lord for His service as volunteers for a Christian organization that built churches. His wife Bille fixed meals for the workers for YEARS. Then Bill managed the camp grounds for Wycliff Bible Translators and Billie volunteered in the office for a while and then did alterations for people for a donation to the mission. They sang together also at various meetings. (I had the privilege of donating my commercial sewing machines to Wycliff which she used). When she developed Alzheimer’s they had to return home where they still were faithful as lay-workers in their local church. While they were able they did what they could to win people to the Lord.
My mother in her retirement years was a faithful caller in the nursing homes and also took the leadership of Nancy DeMoss’ Women’s Bible class for several years until her heart became too weak. My sister took over that Bible class and she also has a ministry of her own to nursing homes. She is faithfully trying to win people to Christ and bring them to a closer walk with Christ.
My younger adopted Brother had many shortcoming in his youth, and as an adult surrendered to Christ. Today he is volunteering his life with the Christian Motorcycle Association seeking to win others to Christ.
It is never too late to serve the Lord and become involved in winning people to Christ… Are the things you do a true ministry for Christ? Have you ever led someone to a saving knowledge of Christ? Ask yourself …Are the things I do from day to day a service for the Lord. What will these things that I do count for in eternity?
Whatever it takes, learn to share the gospel and lead others to the saving knowledge of Christ before it is too late.
Go ye into all the world and teach the Gospel. Matt. 28:18-20.
This is the great commission to Christians to share the Gospel.
What is the Gospel? That Christ died for our sins, was buried and rose again and is coming again. Let’s not keep your faith a secret.
Have you ever considered what the Lord would have you to do with your life. Have you ever considered giving your life to the Lord for some kind of Christian service?
You might say, ” I don’t know, I want to do this or that”. Perhaps you should pray and ask the Lord to reveal to you what He would have you to do. Have you ever asked HIM? I wonder how long it has been since a person from this church has gone out from here to serve the Lord full time or even just said,” Lord, I am willing to serve you here at SLBC or in my work place or school while I am waiting on God’s leading in my life.” Today is the Day for full surrender!
-BIILL BRIGHT CAMPUS CRUSADE FOR CHRIST said:
“UNTIL THERE IS TOTAL SURRENDER, THERE IS NO VISION.”
The first thing a Christian should do is Surrender his or her life to the Lord and tell the Lord that you want to do what He wants you to do every day and every hour and then start pursuing what type of Christian service the Lord has for you. If that is not HIS choice for you He will shut the door. When you do surrender to Him you will want to set out to obey Him in baptism and reading the Word and show Him you are determined to follow Him, He is not going to show you the next step until you obey in the first step. He will then show you one step at a time what He has in store for you.
In Nancy DeMoss’s Devotion for Sept. 9, entitled, “King over All” Acts 17:28 says “In Him we live and move and have our being.” The concept of a Sovereign King who exercises absolute control over His subjects is one that our Western mind finds difficult for us to accept. We want to have a say in the matter, to vote for the leader of our choice. We might say the thought of someone exercising control over us is insufferable and demeaning, but for the Christian the Lordship of Christ is a nonnegotiable reality. He is God.
There is such a safety and security afforded us in yielding to that control. Do you relish or resist the thought of relinquishing control of every area of your life to God? Surrender is the KEY to great freedom and peace.
Children on the way to school in the morning do not have the privilege of voting whether Mom or 8 year old Suzie is in control of the minivan today. The fact that Mom doesn’t share the driving privileges with her preschooler does not make her a control freak, but rather a loving responsible authority, appropriately asserting her role over her children.
Adults sitting here, have you ever asked the Lord what He want you to do for Him. I know some are failing in health, but we can still maintain a testimony of Christ love to our families or caregivers and do what we can to show others what an obedient Christian looks like even through trials.
Those who are able, ask the Lord for a clear mind..not for yourself but for His glory and set out to serve him. It is never to late to surrender to HIM. He will do the rest.
Let’s talk about Bible reading and the importance of preparing our hearts to focus on HIM and listen to God as we read HIS WORD and then obey it.
This is a neat Acrostic from Nancy DeMoss’s book, “ A Place of Quiet Rest” which will help us to give the Lord a response in PRAISE AND PRAYER.
A C T S
A – doration
Worship God, Focus on His attributes
(holiness, mercy, majesty, omnipotence)
C – onfession
Agree with God about anything he has shown
You in His word that is not pleasing to HIM
Receive His forgiveness provided by HIS
sacrifice on the Cross
T – hanksgiving
Thank God for what He has done, His gifts and
How he speaks to you in the Word
S – upplication
Take your needs to Him for yourself
and for needs of others (intercession)
Ask for Grace to obey His Word.
Do not allow yourself to become encumbered by the mechanics as you journal. You may not always have an answer to all the questions we have in our little song…. What does it say? What does it mean? What is God saying to me? Or what does He want me to do?
The object is to get into the Word and get the Word into you. Then the words of Scripture will become indelibly written on your heart so that you will begin to know God intimately and reflect (like a light) His heart and ways to others. Then when we have been successful in our daily personal worship we will also desire to have a Godliness of Worship and prayer in our homes. Is your home devoted to God’s glory. In an article by A. W. Pink the “Herald of his Coming”, May 2014, he discusses the need for our homes Devoted to God’s glory using Abraham as being “an example as a father of the faithful and a friend of God.” Ge. 18:19 “For I know that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment.”
If we are faithful in our own personal daily devotions we will also want to have family devotions. I Sam. 2:30 “Them that honor me I will honor.” In Jos. 24:15. Joshua said, “As for me and my house we will serve the Lord.” Time will not permit us to name David, Timothy, Lois and Eunice as examples of those who followed the Lord.
Let us sit down and divide up the hours of the week and how we spend them. Are we even tithing a 10th of our time in worship and service for our Lord.
Let us have a life of Praise and worship in our Homes.
BE NOT AFRAID….
Let me share this story from Elisabeth Elliot’s book, Trusting God in a Twisted World, Elisabeth, her eighteen month old grandson Walter, and his father decided to go to one of those automatic car washes, which can be a bit scary on the first run-through, even for an adult. She watched little Walter’s face as the car was drawn into the dark tunnel. The water suddenly began to roar down over all four sides of the car, and his big eyes got bigger — but went immediately from the windows to the face of his father. He was too small to understand what it was all about, and he’d had no explanation before hand, yet he knew his Daddy would take care of him. The giant brushes began to close in, whirling and sloshing, and making a tremendous racket… His eyes darted again to the face of his father. He was afraid but he didn’t cry. Then the rubber wheel banged down on the wind-shield and the hot air began to blast… Little Walter clung to one thing; he knew His father and he had never given him any reason not to trust him,…When the car finally broke out into sunshine, the little boy’s face broke into a big smile. Everything was Okay; Daddy knew what he was doing after all.
Are you going through times you might call, “ a car wash experience?” Like little Walter…. We need to trust the FATHER. We can say with JOY and confidence that He is a faithful God! He will bring us through.
While living in Evanston, Illinois in 1956, just a few days after Ken and I were married, while I was listening to the WMBI Christian radio station from Moody Bible Institute, they announced the terrible news that five missionaries were killed by the Acua Indians to whom they were seeking to minister. Elisabeth Elliot was the wife of Jim Elliot, one of those missionaries. As she suffered through this trial the Lord brought to her mind the promise from Isaiah 43: 1-2. “I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, and through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned…. For I am the Lord your God”. Just a few days later she and her little daughter, Valerie, returned to the mission field to minister to and win many of that tribe to Christ. Think of that! Elisabeth said. “Peace came, not by removal of suffering but through acceptance.”
No matter what dark tunnel we may have, Christ has been there. Faith is not just feeling good about God, but a conscious choice to obey his Word when he says, “Trust Me” “..It is by this that we know what love is: that Christ laid down His life for us.” John 3:16
He is the Father, “Back of the Clouds the Sun is Always Shining.” “Be Not Afraid”
A few weeks ago Pastor pointed out a chapter in Warren Weirsbe’s book… Be Joyful, a chapter on Sacrifice. Let’s look at Phil.2:1-11 I will just read the first five verses.
Philippians 2 New International Version (NIV) 1. Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. 5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Wiersbe asks, “Is it costing you anything to be a Christian?” He states that submissiveness to God leads to JOY. If what we do for the Lord does not really cost us anything it is worth nothing. Sometimes our sacrifice consists of suffering, sorrow and pain. This means giving Him a life of service, your finances, your children, your health. If we hold anything back that thing we hold back is worthless. If it costs us nothing it is worth nothing.
When visiting Nathan & Jennifer last week she loaned me a book she just read by Jennie Allen entitled “anything”, She is basically saying the same thing…. “If you say, I love you, Lord. I want to serve you and I will do “anything“… but __________.”
My childhood pastor always taught, that until we were willing to go and do anything for Him (even the most dreaded place that we could imagine) that he would not use us right where we are. Until we are willing to give our all to Him, what we hold back is worthless.
Mary, the mother of our Lord willingly surrendered to the rejection of her fiance’, persecution from her community, the pressure of raising the Son of God, and ultimately the pain of watching Him die an excruciating and humiliating death. In Luke1:38 she said: “Let it be according to your Word.” Mary said that she was wiling to do as the angel said and agreed with God that she was willing to do “anything”.
Look at the scrap book of your life. Does “anything” stand out as a sacrifice for the Glory of God. If there is “anything” in your life more significant or important than God, it is a “false God”, it is an “idol” and it has power over your life and it is stealing your JOY. Your life many consist of many good things yet not a sacrifice for Christ.
it is never too late to change the course of the rest of your life. Do we live more afraid of losing what we love here than of facing God in eternity, Solomon says in Ecccl. 1:14 “ I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind. Are you clinging to “anything”?
HOW LONG HAS IT BEEN http://www.metrolyrics.com/how-long-has-it-been-lyrics-jim-reeves.html
“My Heart has heard you say, Come and talk with me.” and my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming”.” Psalm 27:8 NLT
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. I Pet. 5:7
Enjoy a regular time when you talk to the Lord,
Read the Word of God so that He can speak to you.
Take time to, just be quiet and let the Lord work in your heart.
I love reading the Word of God. For several years I have listened daily to the Bible on CD following the Our Daily Bread Devotional’s guide reading the Bible through in a year. I also read along in my Bible (a different version each year).
Then I especially enjoy going back through the same selection each day underlining important things using a color code. [such as, highlighting the names of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit = Yellow. A red cross through the name = Christ]. The reason I do this is to just concentrate on the meaning more and help myself to glean special truths from God’s Word. [Truths, knowledge, laws = green. sing, pray and rejoice = blue].
I also love to just pray the “Scriptures”. I have found Germaine Copeland’s book, “Prayers that Avail Much for Women” especially helpful to me. Harrison House, 1997.
I also love to read several devotional writers:
Corrie ten Boom
Joni Erickson Tada
Mrs. Charles E (Lettie) Cowman “Streams In The Desert” Series
George Beverly Shea often sang “How Long Has It Been”, and wrote this comment in his book, How Sweet the Sound. Tyndale 2004
“Our friendship with God can be like that. He looks forward to having
Us share our most intimate secrets regularly with Him. He doesn’t
want us to forget that He is there and He desires to share our burdens.”
HOW ABOUT PRAYING THIS PRAYER EVERY MORNING:
Psalm 25:4-5 “Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths.
Lead me in the truth and teach me.” NKJV
“Good Morning Glory!” Those words are etched in my memory and re-occur in my mind whenever I see a lovely Morning Glory, as I on Face Book just few weeks ago. “Good Morning Glory” was a daily greeting of my mother’s cheery voice as she came to our bedroom and sang out to waken us. What a happy memory.
My father always said to us “Remember Whose You Are” as we parted. I wonder what positive lasting memories my descendants will have of me.
While I was a patient at Oaklawn Hospital in Marshall, our youngest son Nathan and his family came to visit and I could see the very seriously subdued looks on the faces of even the smallest child.
Seeing grandma with an NG (nasogastric) tube in her nose didn’t present a very pleasant picture, drab hospital gown, disheveled hair and ashen countenance. I waved and said just a few words to assure them that I was, OK, but the tube caused me so much discomfort, I was not able to talk or swallow, so I lay quietly and everyone else carried the conversation. Ken and our son Nathan stood talking in hushed tones at the foot of my bed. Jennifer and the children seated in the area provided for guests and little Hudson (2 1/2) fearfully pressed against his mother’s knees, looking back and forth at me and the men. I smiled to reassure him. Cautiously he stepped away from his mother and moved to stand between the men obviously mimicking their stance and looking up from them and to me he tried to duplicate their conduct. When they all lined up to give me a hug as they left, he fearfully came over to the side of my bed and reached up to join the family in a farewell hug. Mommy picked him up and he laid his sweet little red head on my chest.
Yes, children watch us and react as we do. What a great responsibility we have as God’s children to allow our children to see by our conduct, through the joys and trials of life, what is really important to us. To point them to the proper responses to things that come our way. Not to shield them from the trials of life but to include them and show them by example how we can truly trust God.
That evening Lissy stopped to visit on her way from LCC to her home in Kalamazoo and after our visit she and her grandpa prayed for my situation and then her safety on the road. As he closed his prayer, without the slightest hesitation, Lissy began praying and poured out her heart to her Saviour for my healing.
Deuteronomy 6: 5 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. 6. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: 7. And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. 8. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. 9. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.
Psalm 23: 6b “…and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
The shepherd leads his sheep back to stay close to him. To arrive home safely in the valley they follow their shepherd and obey him all along the way.
Jesus wants to lead you on the journey of your life. One day He will take you to the special home He’s made ready just for you in heaven.
John 14: 1-3 in the J.B. Phillips New Testament (PHILLIPS)
“You must not let yourselves be distressed—you must hold on to your faith in God and to your faith in me. There are many rooms in my Father’s House. If there were not, should I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? It is true that I am going away to prepare a place for you, but it is just as true that I am coming again to welcome you into my own home, so that you may be where I am.
Are you ready to “dwell in the house of the Lord forever?”
If you aren’t ready, you can bow your head and pray this prayer.
“Thank you Lord for sending your Son to die on the cross for me. Forgive all I’ve done wrong. Come into my heart. Thank you for loving and forgiving me. Thank you for promising me a home in heaven. Help me to turn my back on sin and live for you now that I have received you as my Lord and Saviour. In Jesus name I pray. Amen
Remember: Now that you know Christ…. I John 1:9 says “If you confess you sin, HE is faithful and just to forgive you your sin and to cleanse you from all unrighteousness.
“…and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”