“Thy Sweetness, Lord”

Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Matthew 6:10

Missionary Amy Carmichael once crossed paths with Bible teacher F. B. Meyer, who told her he frequently had trouble with his temper when he was younger. But a wise man gave Meyer some practical advice. The man suggested that Meyer pray, “Thy sweetness, Lord” when he felt irritated. Dr. Meyer turned the suggestion into a lifelong habit.

Amy Carmichael took the advice to heart and built upon it, saying, “I have found it a certain and a quick way of escape. Take the opposite of your temptation and look up inwardly, naming that opposite: Untruth—Thy truth, Lord; unkindness—Thy kindness, Lord; impatience—Thy patience, Lord; selfishness—Thy unselfishness, Lord; roughness—Thy gentleness, Lord; discourtesy—Thy courtesy, Lord; resentment, inward heat, fuss—Thy sweetness, Lord, Thy calmness, Thy peacefulness.”

Remember, our prayers do not need to be long. Sometimes only a word or two will suffice. Sometimes just a whispered word can change the atmosphere in a room or in a relationship. The next time you’re tempted to react with irritation, try saying, “Your gentleness, Lord”—and see what happens.

I think that no one who tries this very simple plan will ever give it up. Amy Carmichael

Building for Eternal Rewards

1 Corinthians 3:10-15

Today’s passage contains a sobering message about heavenly rewards and how they are acquired. Paul is comparing kingdom work to the efforts of a master builder. He says Christ is the only foundation on which to build, but each of us is responsible for the materials we use on that foundation. We can build with wood, hay, and stubble or with gold and costly stones. Each man’s work will be tested with fire in the judgment in order to determine the quality of the materials used. Paul then tells us that if our works survive the trial by fire, we will receive a reward (1 Cor. 3:14).

For our works to survive, we must learn to build with nonflammable materials. God deplores shoddy effort. We will be judged not just by our “church work” but also by the way we handled other responsibilities, such as our vocation. This means that we are to go about our daily jobs with the same diligence that we would show when serving the heavenly Father in spiritual matters.

In order to accomplish this, we must avoid practices like criticizing the boss, manipulating circumstances to our own advantage, checking in late, leaving work early, and using company materials for personal projects. This is a test of genuine Christianity.

Ask yourself if you’re being real with the Lord. Remember, He knows the truth of every situation—and He abhors laziness and poor workmanship. Our Father expects us to do our very best, and He has given us His Spirit to sanctify our efforts and provide the quality of work that He desires.

The Land of Uz

“There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job.” (Job 1:1)

Uz was a son of Aram and a grandson of Shem (Genesis 10:22-23). Shem’s first son, Arphaxad, was born two years after the Flood, and his remaining sons would have been born in some reasonable sequence thereafter, probably around 36 years apart (Genesis 11:10-26). It is unlikely that Aram, Uz’s father, was born past the first century after the Flood. The events at Babel took place during the fifth generation (the generation of Peleg), and Uz would have been alive then.

The land of Uz is later associated with the territory of Edom (Lamentations 4:21), which is near the area southeast of the Dead Sea, toward the upper reaches of the Sinai Peninsula, east of Egypt and just north of the Red Sea. Although that area is not very pleasant now, at the time of Abraham it was “well watered every where, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar” (Genesis 13:10). Quite likely, this was one of the more beautiful spots that was safely away from the rule of Nimrod and farther away from the climate shifts that were leading to the coming Ice Age.

We must guard against seeing the message in the light of our own experience, education, and entertainment. When we read that Job had vast herds of “camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she asses, and a very great household” (Job 1:3), our first reaction is to reject that as pure exaggeration since we “know” that that whole area is desert and could not possibly support that kind of lifestyle. Perhaps we need to “let God be true, but every man a liar” when we approach the words of Scripture (Romans 3:4). HMM III

Adapted from The Book of Beginnings  by Dr. Henry M. Morris III

“He that believeth on Me hat everlasting life.”

Exodus 16:32-35

Exodus 16:32

The education of future generations should be the earnest care of the people of God, since the Lord himself so constantly ordained means for perpetuating the memory of his deeds of grace. The Lord knows that the race is apt to forget even his greatest wonders, and therefore he puts them in remembrance.

Exodus 16:33, 34

Even thus should we treasure the memory of the Lord’s great goodness to us. In the ark of our memory, the golden pot should be kept in store.

Exodus 16:35

The storehouses of Jehovah are never exhausted. All the while the Lord’s people are in the wilderness, whether it be forty years or eighty years, their bread shall be given them, their waters shall be sure. Trust ye in the Lord for ever.

John 6:47-58

The manna was a very full and instructive type of our Lord Jesus, who is the spiritual bread of his people. In order to understand this, let us read his own words in

John 6:48

He is life to believers and the support of their life.

John 6:48

Though the manna came from heaven, yet it brought not immortality with it as Jesus does. The Jews died, and died very terribly too, many of them; but those who feed on Jesus live for ever.

John 6:50

This spiritual bread confers, supports, and preserves spiritual life.

John 6:52

They looked at the words and did not discern the sense, and hence they asked this very natural question.

John 6:53

Our Lord would not explain his parabolic speech to them. It was not given to them to understand.

John 6:55

Some persons dream that this applies to the Lord’s supper, which was not even instituted at the time. It refers neither to the supper, nor to the mass, nor to any sacrificial bread, but to our Lord himself, who must be fed upon spiritually and not in symbol only. Too many even now are like the Jews, and. cannot understand spiritual truth, but stumble over the literal meaning.

John 6:56

The nearest possible union is established between Jesus and the believer.

John 6:57, 58

Have we all in our hearts received Jesus? Are we trusting in Him alone? Do we commune with him? For this is to feed upon him, and enter into living union with him.

 

Bread of heaven! on thee I feed,

For thy flesh is meat indeed;

Ever may my soul be fed

With this true and living bread.

 

Those who feed on thee are blest,

Never more by hunger pressed;

Day by day with strength supplied,

Through the life of Him who died.

 

Run Like You Are In the Race of Your Life!

1 Corinthians 9:24

The main goal of all believers should be to find God’s plan for their lives and then to go after it with all their might and strength. But most Christians have never even awakened to the fact that God has a special race for them to run! This is why Paul asked the Corinthians, “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but only one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.”

Paul teaches us here that we are in a “race.” The word “race” is the Greek word stadion, which later became our word stadium. However, it first described a race course that was 600 feet in length or one-eighth of a Roman mile—the exact length that was used in the Olympics of the ancient world and in the Isthmian Games that were held near the city of Corinth. Because Paul was highly educated, he knew precisely what he was doing when he used a word that described the Olympic race course of his day.

As noted above, eventually the word stadion became the word for a stadium, a place where athletic competitions were held. Since this is the picture Paul has in his mind as he uses the word “race,” let’s stop to consider the Olympic competitions and competitors of that time.

The winners of the Olympic competitions were rewarded both materially and with great honor; however, if you study the Olympic champions in the ancient world, you will see that the primary emphasis of reward was not on material wealth, but on the distinguished honor bestowed on the winners. These people were only able to achieve victory in the Olympic games by being disciplined, balanced, and committed to excellence; for these qualities, they were held in high regard. They became revered as heroes, gods, or icons in their society. Respect, honor, notoriety, and fame became their lifelong reward.

In addition to these ideas, it is also important to note that the word “race,” from the Greek word stadion, depicted the huge arena where athletic competitions were held. Paul uses this word to tell us that when we enter the race of faith, it puts us in the center of the arena. People see us as we walk by faith. They know of our struggles, and they watch as spectators to see if we will win our battles.

We must always keep in mind, therefore, that we’re not running a private race of faith, but a race that has influence on many people’s lives. Hence, Paul urges us to run our race in a way that encourages the bystanders who are watching from the sidelines to jump into the race themselves and pursue their destiny in God!

By using these ideas, Paul was communicating to the Corinthians (and to us) that we need to see ourselves as spiritual Olympic competitors! This life we lead is no game; it is the most serious competition we will ever face in this world. The rewards of a life well lived are enormous. Not only will God materially reward us as we are faithful to His call, but He also reserves eternal rewards of honor and glory for those of us who run our race well in this life (Romans 2:10).

It is interesting that Paul says, “… They which run in a race run all….” Notice particularly the emphasis “run all.” It means every believer is in some kind of race. A believer may not have awakened to the race he is in yet, or perhaps the race hasn’t yet been revealed to him. Nevertheless, the fact remains that God has a specific plan for every individual.

Our task is to find the divine plan for our lives; to get in shape so we can start running our race; and then to run like mad so we can finish in first place! That’s why Paul exhorted us, “… Run, that ye may obtain” (1 Corinthians 9:24).

You see, runners have one thought foremost in their minds—the finish line! With this analogy in mind, Paul tells you to run your spiritual race with all your might, keeping your focus on the goal—the divine call on your life as God has revealed it to you. You may ask, “How long am I supposed to keep running and trying to reach my God-given goals?” The answer is until you “obtain” what God called you to do!

The word “obtain” is the Greek word katalambano, which is a compound of two words, kata and lambano. The word kata describes something that is coming downward, and the word lambano means to take or to seize something. When compounded together into one word, katalambano means to grab hold of, to seize, to wrestle, to pull down, and to finally make a desired object your very own. This is the picture of someone who finally sees what he wants—and instead of letting that goal he desires slip away, he pounces on it, seizing it and latching hold of it with all his might!

Paul uses this word katalambano to depict the attitude of a runner who is running with all his energy, straining forward as he keeps his focus fixed on the finish line. At last the runner reaches the goal, and the prize is now his! He gave that race all he had to give, and it paid off! Had he approached the race with a casual, lazy attitude, the prize would have gone to another. But because he ran to obtain that prize, in the end that’s exactly what he did!

There is no doubt that you have a divine purpose for your life, something God has called you to do. God has marvelous ideas and plans for your life! The question is this: Do you want to fulfill His plans for you? If your answer is truly yes, then set your heart on your goal. Don’t be half-hearted, mealy-mouthed, touchy, or easily discouraged. It’s time for you to develop some resolve!

Do you see yourself as someone who is running the spiritual Olympic event of his or her life? Or are you simply “jogging for Jesus”? If you’re serious about fulfilling God’s plan for your life, it’s time to shift into high gear and to start putting all your spiritual, mental, and physical energies into getting the job done. You have to remove all distractions and commit yourself to a life of discipline, balance, and devotion.

Your attitude must be, “I’m going to run this race, and I’m going to WIN it! I’m not going to live my whole life missing out on what God has for me! No matter what inconvenience I endure, what price I have to pay, or what adjustments I have to make, I am going to faithfully run my race so that one day I can obtain the prize—the fulfillment of God’s call on my life!”

MY PRAYER FOR TODAY

Lord, I want to set my eyes on the finish line and never lose my focus until I know that I’ve accomplished the task You have given me to do. I know it’s going to take all my spiritual, mental, and physical energies to get this job done. So I am turning to You now, Holy Spirit, and I’m asking You to empower me and to help me make it all the way to the completion of the dream You have given to me!

I pray this in Jesus’ name!

MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY

I declare that I have a divine purpose in life! I am not half-hearted, mealy-mouthed, touchy, or easily discouraged. I am like a runner who is seriously running a race. Because I’m serious about achieving God’s plan for my life, I am shifting into high gear and putting all my spiritual, mental, and physical energies into getting the job done.

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!

QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER

  1. Do you know what race you are supposed to be running in your life?
  2. Are you running that race with 100 percent of your effort, or are you just halfheartedly jogging along in your life?
  3. For you to achieve what God has told you to do, what changes of attitude and behavior do you need to make in your life? Write these changes down so you can pray about them!

 

Dads: Do You Want A Simple Outline On Raising Your Kids?

Ephesians 6:4 lays out four basic principles:

 

1. “Fathers, do not PROVOKE your children to anger.”

 

Literally: “Dont exasperate them

 

“Don’t overcorrect them”

 

“Don’t be harsh with them.”

 

How easy it is when we return home from work to bark at the kids… Let ’em know who is boss!

 

2. “Fathers… BRING THEM UP… ”

 

Literally: “Cherish them

 

“Treat them with tenderness”

 

“Esteem and appreciate them”

 

When was the last time you took your kids off “trial,” gently embracing one of them and saying, “You are precious to meI love you… ” .

 

3. “Fathers… bring them up in the DISCIPLINE… of the Lord.”

 

Literally: “Training” — Visualize the training necessary in turning a floppy puppy into a prize-winning show dog.

 

“Correcting” — Visualize the painful resetting of a poorly healed broken arm: Excruciating initially, but promising long range usability.

 

4. “Fathers… bring them up in the… INSTRUCTION of the Lord.”

 

Literally: “Mild rebuke“: Reprimand, disapproval

 

Admonition“: Counsel, advice, exhortation

 

Warning“: Caution, forewarning, prediction

 

Kids need your mature perspective on the potholes that lie in the road ahead.

 

As busy as we are, God has entrusted the primary responsibility of discipline and instruction to us Dads.

 

May God grant us the wisdom and the resolve to discharge with dispatch our responsibility in a Biblical fashion.