May 25, 2013
Taylor and Rylie Miles sing a Mother’s Day song, “God Gave Me You.”
May 25, 2013
Taylor and Rylie Miles sing a Mother’s Day song, “God Gave Me You.”
The command to “honor . . . your mother” isn’t a suggestion, and nobody is exempt. Her character or effectiveness as a parent is not the issue. God established this guideline for Israel because a respectful home was crucial to the nation’s future success. The same is true for us today. God blesses our homes when we respect our mothers with words, attitudes, and actions.
LOVE HER UNCONDITIONALLY. We’re called to love our moms as God does. He didn’t qualify His love with expectations or conditions to be met first. He lavished affection on us “while we were yet sinners” (Romans 5:8).
FORGIVE HER COMPASSIONATELY. Since there are no perfect mothers, at times we’ll have to forgive them. If your mom seems harsh or unloving, show compassion. As a child, she may have experienced hardships that wounded her spirit.
REMEMBER HER GRATEFULLY. This Mother’s Day, thank Mom for all she did for you when you were young. But don’t let it end there. Nothing is more hurtful than feeling forgotten. Make room for her in your busy schedule. After all, she made countless sacrifices for you.
TREAT HER KINDLY. Let your mother know she’s valued. Take time to listen attentively to her words, and help her out when she is in need.
Does your mother feel loved and honored? What can you do to bring a big smile to her face? In our adult years, it’s easy to distance ourselves from our moms because life gets hectic and multiple demands steal our time. Make it a habit to pray for her daily and contact her regularly.
There’s more to revolutions than meets the eye. Journalist Barbara von der Heydt, a television correspondent in Germany in 1991, reported on the peaceful revolution that undermined the Soviet Union.
As she interviewed people throughout Russia and Eastern Europe, she came to a startling conclusion. The most overlooked part of the story, she realized, was the nature of the crisis: “It was a moral and spiritual revolution,” von der Heydt later wrote. “It was not simply a clash of political realms; it was a clash of moral realms that triggered a political earthquake. Indeed, the conflict began long before 1989 as a revolution of the spirit in individuals who exposed the moral poverty of Communism and rejected it. Christian involvement in the revolution was not peripheral; it was central. Key Christians provided moral leadership.”
Von der Heydt went on to explain that the real revolutionaries were “protesters gathered under the roofs of the churches … armed only with Bibles.”1 Behind the headlines were thousands of praying Christians, who over the decades had drawn courage from the Lord to withstand persecution and to subdue kingdoms, work righteousness, obtain promises, and proclaim the Gospel of freedom.
That’s what we see in the book of Acts, and that’s what we see today. Every follower of Christ is a soldier of the Cross. We’re defenders of the faith and change agents in the world. Amid the evils of the age, you and I must gather under the roofs of our churches armed with our Bibles, intent on turning the world upside down.
Perhaps you’ve never thought of yourself in those terms. The word revolutionary is a daring term to use for oneself. But at its core, revolution is simply change, which is what Christianity is about. A revolution occurs within those who enthrone a new King, the Lord Jesus Christ. Life comes under new governance. As that happens in one person after another, the effect on society is inevitable.
The little boy wasn’t far off who said we should read and obey our Bibles from Genesis to Revolutions. Using God’s Word and the power of its message, we can change this world, but it begins in us. The revolution always starts in the same place—within each of our own hearts. It’s easy to want to see change in others, but true change begins with the person in the mirror.
Reese Kauffman, president of Child Evangelism Fellowship, often says, “In our organization, the person I have the most trouble with is the man who sits in the chair behind my desk.” He’s speaking for us all, isn’t he? While we lament the condition of the world and often notice the failures of others, it’s vital for us to search our own hearts, spot our own faults, and constantly ask the Lord to continue the construction process He’s begun in our hearts.
How do we do that?
1. Evaluate Areas That Are Failing
First, evaluate areas in your life that seem to be failing. These aren’t usually hard to spot; they’re often painfully obvious. Perhaps your mind is strained by anxiety or stained by lust. Maybe covetousness is contributing to credit card debt. Maybe your anger toward someone has damaged a relationship. Maybe you have an unresolved grief in your life. Or you’re overbooked, resulting in spasmodic church attendance. What if your lazy streak is acting up and you’re not diligent at work anymore? Maybe you’ve become depressed. It’s hard to keep our lives well regulated, and we must constantly be honest with ourselves about areas needing attention. Don’t let things fester. Decide to deal with them today.
2. Ask God to Show You What to Do
For believers, this kind of self-evaluation leads to prayer. Psalm 139 marvels at how thoroughly God knows our strengths and weaknesses, our days and moments, our thoughts and motives. As the psalmist David contemplated the omniscience of the Lord, he composed a petition at the end of the Psalm: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
That’s a prayer we can adopt whenever we need to change something about ourselves. Our lives don’t improve simply by turning over a new leaf. The true revolution of Christ requires overthrowing strongholds. It’s a spiritual work accomplished within us by the Holy Spirit. He longs to perfect what concerns us, so ask God for help and guidance.
3. Sit Down and Develop a Revolutionary Strategy
Next, sit down and develop a strategy. For example, you might schedule an hour or so at a coffee shop for an appointment with yourself. Take a notepad. Order your coffee or tea, pull out a pad of paper, and begin jotting down changes you could make to some neglected area of life. Let’s say, for example, you’ve realized you have a habit you want to break. Habits are ingrained patterns that often become addictive. They’re stubborn. But with God’s grace and guidance you can replace bad habits with healthy ones. We know it’s possible. Our Lord specializes in sanctification, but in the process we have to “work out” our salvation as God “works in” us (Philippians 2:12).
Think about a strategy. How can you bring yourself to commitment? Are there people who can help you? Are there books you can read? Are there steps you can take? Are there places you should avoid?
It’s amazing how helpful it is to commit to a simple written plan—your own prayerful, powerful revolutionary strategy. A revolution often starts with a resolution—not the January kind, but a consecrated resolve to let the Lord change something about us. Reducing it to writing makes the process more tangible and certain.
4. Adopt the Changes Onto Your Calendar
Fourth, you have to adopt the changes onto your calendar, for true change almost always means some modification of our daily routines. If you want to start getting up earlier for your morning devotions, when should you go to bed the night before? If you want to make time for dates with your spouse or children, how do those translate to your calendar? If you want to resolve a difficult issue with a friend, make that appointment. If you want to start leading a Bible study, rearrange your weekly agenda to make room for it. If you want to break an addiction, is there a Christian support group you can attend? The Bible tells us to make the best use of our time (Ephesians 5:16). To change a pattern in life, it takes both time and time management.
5. Develop a Treasury of Bible Verses
Fifth, develop a war chest of Bible verses. Only the words of Scripture are powerful enough to bring change to our lives! Only by hiding God’s Word in our hearts can we avoid sinning against the Lord. If you need a personal revolution in your attitudes, search out Bible verses on love, joy, and peace. If you need to overcome worry, find verses about trusting God and post them where you can see them through the day. Become as familiar with those verses as with your own address and phone number. Meditate on them while you drive, shower, and exercise. The Sword of the Spirit (God’s Word) is the best weapon for staging a revolt against the world, the flesh, and the devil.
6. Recruit Reinforcements
Sixth, recruit reinforcements. The apostle Paul, who never lost his revolutionary spirit, constantly surrounded himself with friends and coworkers who could encourage him. Find someone with whom you can be honest. Find a small group to encourage you. Ask certain friends to pray with you. Surround yourself with fellow believers who will strengthen your faith.
Finally, don’t give up. Change is hard to sustain. Modifying your lifestyle and changing your habits is like rewiring a house, but don’t be shocked—you can do it if you make up your mind. Proverbs 24:16 says, “A righteous man may fall seven times and rise again.”
Revolution starts with you and your determination. Perhaps it’s time for a change in an area of your life. Ask God for guidance, direction, and strength to follow through; and press on to victory. Remember Romans 8:37: “In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”
Our Revolutionary Redeemer has already won the victory.
By David Jeremiah
“I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called.” (Ephesians 4:1)
The Christian’s calling in Christ is a high calling. Since we are encouraged to walk in a manner worthy of this calling, it behooves us to make careful study of it, lest our lifestyle bring reproach to the One who has called us. Consider the following sampling of the uses of this important word:
First, the calling is “of God” and irrevocable (Romans 11:29). We are called “by his grace” (Galatians 1:15) and “into the grace of Christ” (Galatians 1:6). We are called “out of darkness” and “into his marvellous light” (1 Peter 2:9). Furthermore, we are “called to be saints” (Romans 1:7). He has “called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace” (2 Timothy 1:9). We are “partakers of the heavenly calling” (Hebrews 3:1), and in response, we should “press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14).
The New Testament writers as well mention many things to which we are called. We are “called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:9). We are “called unto liberty” (Galatians 5:13) and are now free to “serve one another,” even though it means accepting the call to suffering. “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps” (1 Peter 2:21). The “eternal life, whereunto thou art also called” may not come easily, for it involves the “good fight of faith” (1 Timothy 6:12). We are called “to glory and virtue” (2 Peter 1:3), even “his eternal glory by Christ Jesus” (1 Peter 5:10), for we are “called the sons of God” (1 John 3:1). “Give diligence to make your calling and election sure” (2 Peter 1:10). JDM
Where there is no revelation [or prophetic vision], the people cast off restraint… —Proverbs 29:18
There is a difference between holding on to a principle and having a vision. A principle does not come from moral inspiration, but a vision does. People who are totally consumed with idealistic principles rarely do anything. A person’s own idea of God and His attributes may actually be used to justify and rationalize his deliberate neglect of his duty. Jonah tried to excuse his disobedience by saying to God, “…I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm” (Jonah 4:2). I too may have the right idea of God and His attributes, but that may be the very reason why I do not do my duty. But wherever there is vision, there is also a life of honesty and integrity, because the vision gives me the moral incentive.
Our own idealistic principles may actually lull us into ruin. Examine yourself spiritually to see if you have vision, or only principles.
Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp,
Or what’s a heaven for?
“Where there is no revelation [or prophetic vision]….” Once we lose sight of God, we begin to be reckless. We cast off certain restraints from activities we know are wrong. We set prayer aside as well and cease having God’s vision in the little things of life. We simply begin to act on our own initiative. If we are eating only out of our own hand, and doing things solely on our own initiative without expecting God to come in, we are on a downward path. We have lost the vision. Is our attitude today an attitude that flows from our vision of God? Are we expecting God to do greater things than He has ever done before? Is there a freshness and a vitality in our spiritual outlook?
by Oswald Chambers
He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him freely give us all things? Romans 8:32
Were the church a pure and Spirit-filled body, wholly led and directed by spiritual considerations, certainly the purest and the saintliest men and women would be the ones most appreciated and most honored, but the opposite is true!
Godliness is no longer valued, except for the very old or the very dead!
The saintly souls are forgotten in the whirl of religious activity. The noisy, the self-assertive, the entertaining are sought after and rewarded in every way, with gifts, crowds, offerings and publicity. The Christlike, the self-forgetting, the
otherworldly are jostled aside to make room for the latest converted playboy who is usually not too well converted and still very much a playboy.
The whole shortsighted philosophy that ignores eternal qualities and majors in trivialities is a form of unbelief. These Christians who embody such a philosophy are clamoring after present reward; they are too impatient to wait for the Lord’s time! The true saint sees farther than this; he cares little for passing values; he looks forward eagerly to the day when eternal things shall come into their own, and godliness will be found to be all that matters.
The wise Christian will be content to wait for that day, and in the meantime, he will serve his generation in the will of God!
A living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. ROMANS 12:1
I am convinced that anyone who brings up the question of consequences in the Christian life is only a mediocre and common Christian!
I have known some who were interested in the deeper life but began asking questions: “What will it cost me—in terms of time, in money, in effort, in the matter of my friendships?” Others ask of the Lord when He calls them to move forward: “Will it be safe?” This question comes out of our constant bleating about security and our everlasting desire for safety above all else.
A third question that we want Him to answer is: “Will it be convenient?”
What must our Lord think of us if His work and His witness depend upon the security and the safety and the convenience of His people? No element of sacrifice, no bother, no disturbance—so we are not getting anywhere with God!
We have stopped and pitched our tent halfway between the swamp and the peak. We are mediocre Christians.
Lord, I pray for Christians in other countries who face persecution as a routine event. Protect and strengthen them, Father. May many come to know Christ as a result of the testimony of believers who remain faithful to You.