Jul 19, 2012
Hosea 6:1-6 (NKJV)
1 Come, and let us return to the Lord; For He has torn, but He will heal us;
He has stricken, but He will bind us up.
2 After two days He will revive us; On the third day He will raise us up,
That we may live in His sight.
3 Let us know, Let us pursue the knowledge of the Lord.
His going forth is established as the morning;
He will come to us like the rain, Like the latter and former rain to the earth.
4 “O Ephraim, what shall I do to you? O Judah, what shall I do to you?
For your faithfulness is like a morning cloud, And like the early dew it goes away.
5 Therefore I have hewn them by the prophets, I have slain them by the words of My mouth;
And your judgments are like light that goes forth.
6 For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, And the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.
Music Copyrighted by Esther Mui.
I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds. Psalm 77:12
Joan was struggling with some difficult issues with her children when she sat down for a worship service. Exhausted, she wanted to “resign” from motherhood. Then the speaker began to share encouragement for those who feel like quitting. These four thoughts that Joan heard that morning helped her to keep going:
Look up and pray. Asaph prayed all night long and even expressed feelings that God had forgotten and rejected him (Ps. 77:9-10). We can tell God everything and be honest about our feelings. We can ask Him anything. His answer may not come right away or in the form we want or expect, but He won’t criticize us for asking.
God is the God of great wonders and can be trusted.
Look back and remember what God has done in the past for you and others. Asaph didn’t talk to God only about the pain; he also recalled God’s power and mighty works for him and God’s people. He wrote, “I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago” (v. 11).
Look forward. Think about the good that might come out of the situation. What might you learn? What might God want to do? What do you know He will do because His ways are perfect? (v.13).
Look again. This time look at your circumstances with eyes of faith. Remind yourself that He is the God of great wonders and can be trusted (v. 14).
May these ideas help us gain perspective and keep moving in our faith journey with Jesus.
Our problems are opportunities to discover God’s solutions.
Lord, I can’t help but see my problems. Help me not to be discouraged and weary, but to see You in the midst of them.
In our lives, we may have had opportunities to experience amazing things, see beautiful views, and hear wonderful music. But more marvelous than any earthly event is what Christians will experience at the return of Jesus Christ.
The apostle Paul urges believers to become familiar with what will occur at that remarkable time (1 Thess. 4:13). Just imagine…
What we will hear: Jesus “will descend from heaven with a shout” (1 Thess. 4:16). Perhaps the Lord will say something similar to the words He spoke when raising Lazarus back to life: “Come forth!” (John 11:43). The voice of the archangel Michael—the leader of the angelic host—and a heavenly trumpet will also be heard, calling the saints to assemble.
What we will see: Jesus will descend (Acts 1:11), to be met in the air by newly resurrected deceased saints and then, a moment later, by living believers.
What we will feel: Though it’s impossible to know exactly what the experience will be like, we can expect it to be magnificent. We’ll be transformed physically: Unlike our present body, our new form won’t be susceptible to pain, sin, sadness, sickness, or death. And in an instant, we will be brought into the presence of our heavenly Father, to remain with Him for eternity.
It’s not hard to become disheartened by the materialism, selfishness, and hopelessness surrounding us in this world. However, we can encourage one another—and ourselves—with a reminder about Jesus Christ’s return (1 Thess. 4:18). So when hardships get you down, think about this exciting event in your future. The best is yet to come!
“And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.” (Acts 4:18)
Every Christian knows that he or she should witness for Christ, but most are very reluctant to speak in His name very often. The most obvious reason for this hesitancy is fear. Sometimes we may be actually forbidden, as were the apostles, to teach of Him, but their courageous answer was: “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29), and so they prayed: “Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word” (Acts 4:29).
More common than fear of physical persecution or personal harm, however, is fear of ridicule, or loss of prestige or position. Such fear is out of character for real Christians, “for God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7). If we love the Lord and those for whom He died, we must learn to conquer our fear of men.
One of the saddest rebukes that could come to a Christian is the indictment lodged against those believers who, because of their high position, refused to take an open stand for Christ: “Among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God” (John 12:42-43). How often do modern professional and business men—even theologians—compromise their stand for Christ and His inerrant Word because of fear of peer pressure in what should be their spheres of influence and testimony?
May God give us the courage of Paul. “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ,” he wrote, “for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth” (Romans 1:16). HMM
Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing. —Philippians 3:16
It is hardly a matter of wonder that the country that gave the world instant tea and instant coffee should be the one to give it instant Christianity…. And it cannot be denied that it was American Fundamentalism that brought instant Christianity to the gospel churches….
Instant Christianity tends to make the faith act terminal and so smothers the desire for spiritual advance. It fails to understand the true nature of the Christian life, which is not static but dynamic and expanding. It overlooks the fact that a new Christian is a living organism as certainly as a new baby is, and must have nourishment and exercise to assure normal growth. It does not consider that the act of faith in Christ sets up a personal relationship between two intelligent moral beings, God and the reconciled man, and no single encounter between God and a creature made in His image could ever be sufficient to establish an intimate friendship between them….
Instant Christianity is twentieth-century orthodoxy. I wonder whether the man who wrote Philippians 3:7-16 would recognize it as the faith for which he finally died. I am afraid he would not.
Lord, keep me from falling into the patterns of instant Christianity. I want to participate in an ever-changing, ever-expanding relationship with You. Amen.
Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 5:1)
There are many legal and governmental reasons why lost men and women should not go to heaven!
It should not be difficult for us to acknowledge that a holy and righteous God must run His universe according to holy laws—and we do not belong there because we have broken every one of those holy laws in some way!
Therefore, there must be an effective redemption, a justification of some kind if we are to have God and He is to have us!
Thank God, it has been done!
The New Testament language is as plain as can be—in Christ through His death and resurrection, every legal hindrance has been met and satisfied: taken away! There is nothing that can keep us from assurance except our own selves.
Let us quit trying to think our way in, to reason our way in. The only way to get in is to believe Him with our hearts forevermore!
Cultivate a cheerful disposition; endeavor, as much as lieth in you, always to bear a smile about with you; recollect that this is as much a command of God as that one which says, “Thou shalt love the Lord with all thy heart.”
Let us take the pure gold of thankfulness and the jewels of praise and make them into another crown for the head of Jesus.
When it is the Lord’s work in which we rejoice, we need not be afraid of being too glad.
Cheerfulness is most becoming in Christian men.
Contentment is the crown jewel of a happy life.