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We did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 2 Peter 1:16
Raucous laughter marked the guests in my father’s hospital room: Two old truck drivers, one former country/western singer, one craftsman, two women from neighboring farms, and me.
“…and then he got up and busted the bottle over my head,” the craftsman said, finishing his story about a bar fight.
Shape my words and phrases to share Your love.
The room bursts into laughter at this now-humorous memory. Dad, struggling for breath as his laughing fought with his cancer for the air in his lungs, puffs out a reminder to everybody that “Randy is a preacher” so they need to watch what they say. Everything got quiet for about two seconds, then the whole room exploded as this news makes them laugh harder and louder.
Suddenly, about forty minutes into this visit, the craftsman clears his throat, turns to my dad, and gets serious. “No more drinking and bar fights for me, Howard. Those days are behind me. Now I have a different reason to live. I want to tell you about my Savior.”
He then proceeded to do just that, over my father’s surprisingly mild protests. If there’s a sweeter, gentler way to present the gospel message, I’ve never heard it.
My dad listened and watched, and some years later believed in Jesus too.
It was a simple testimony from an old friend living a simple life, reminding me again that simple isn’t naïve or stupid; it’s direct and unpretentious.
Just like Jesus. And salvation.
Go and make disciples of all nations. Matthew 28:19
Nothing hits home for people like a straightforward, unembroidered recounting of personal testimony about how Christ has changed our lives. The blind man of John 9:25 blurted out, “One thing I know. I was blind but now I see.” His healing was unarguable. There is nothing quite like the unadorned truth of testimony—“Tell it like it is.”
By Randy Kilgore
Followers of Christ can get caught in the trap of trying to justify their wrongs. But when we dispense with all the creative excuses, everything can be boiled down to four reasons for rebellion:
• I refuse to do what God commands. There are obvious ways to ignore God’s laws, such as committing murder. But more often the subtle, private methods of disobeying become obstacles in our path. These might include harboring unforgiveness or ignoring pleas for help.
• I pursue what is forbidden. The Lord has declared certain things off limits. (See Rom. 1:28-32; Gal. 5:19-21.) He doesn’t desire to ruin our pleasure, but He does know that some actions can have devastating consequences.
• I pursue something God allows, but in a forbidden manner. We have a lot of freedom in the Christian life—wealth, success, and relationships are all available to us. But believers are not at liberty to achieve goals through theft, deceit, injustice, or the like.
• I pursue what God allows, but in my own timing. Impatience is oftentimes the reason people end up in debt or bad relationships. We decide to go after something before getting clear guidance from God.
Whenever you are faced with a decision, ask yourself this question: What is the wisest thing for me to do? Then stop, ask the Lord for direction, and wait until He answers. When we are doing the will of God, we never have to make excuses.
“And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen.” (Genesis 22:14)
Abraham had just passed the most severe of tests. He had been willing to offer up his beloved son Isaac as a sacrifice to the Lord. He must have wondered why God had asked him to slay the son of promise, through whom many descendants were promised, but he didn’t refuse or even question God. He was convinced that “God was able to raise him [Isaac] up, even from the dead” (Hebrews 11:19). Yet, he must have been greatly relieved when God stopped him from slaying his son, and thankful indeed when he found that God had already provided a ram to be used as “a burnt offering in the stead of his son” (Genesis 22:13).
While journeying to the place of sacrifice, Abraham had said that “God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering” (v. 8). Appropriately, after the incident, Abraham named the mountain Jehovah [the Lord] Jireh [will provide].
In Hebrew there is not a specific verb form to designate the future tense, and so the word Jireh could easily be translated “is providing.” Actually, where the Lord’s provision is concerned, the tense makes little difference. The Creator of time (Genesis 1:1) stands outside of time. We may sometimes be frustrated and disturbed because we see only the present, and we don’t even see that very clearly. But God sees and answers in the proper time, perhaps later than we have asked, or perhaps, as in Abraham’s case, beforehand, providing the ram already caught in the thicket.
How often have we received an answer to prayer only to realize events had been set in motion long before we prayed? We should be aware of and thankful for God’s anticipation of our needs. “And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer” (Isaiah 65:24). JDM
The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne. —Revelation 4:10
All of the examples that we have in the Bible illustrate that glad and devoted and reverent worship is the normal employment of moral beings. Every glimpse that is given us of heaven and of God’s created beings is always a glimpse of worship and rejoicing and praise because God is who He is.
The Apostle John in Revelation 4:10-11 gives us a plain portrayal of created beings around the throne of God….
I can safely say, on the authority of all that is revealed in the Word of God, that any man or woman on this earth who is bored and turned off by worship is not ready for heaven. WHT013
Lord, revive my worship so that it may indeed be a foretaste of the worship I will enjoy for all eternity. Amen.
That ye might know the things that are freely given to us of God. (1 Corinthians 3:12)
Every Christian believer should be aware that our God has given us definite promises of an amazing inheritance to be realized in the eternal!
The blessings and riches of our divine inheritance are not riches that will come to us for anything that is worthy or superior in ourselves; but will come because of our relationship in faith to the One who is the fount of every blessing.
We must remember that an inheritance has not actually been earned. Such bequests come from One who owns everything and gives to another whom He delights to honor and who can establish his rightful claim.
Inheritance is a right resulting from a relationship. In this case, the right belongs to the children of God by virtue of the fact that their identification as children of God by faith in the eternal Son of God has been established and is in the heavenly records! The apostle said of us: “Men and women cannot imagine or even dream of all the things which God has prepared for those who love Him!”
At this hour we rest in the promises of our faithful. God, knowing that his words are full of truth and power; we rest in the doctrines of his word, which are consolation itself; we rest in the covenant of his grace, which is a haven of delight. The person of Jesus is the quiet resting place of his people; and when we draw near to him in the breaking of bread, in the hearing of the word, the searching of the Scriptures, prayer, or praise, we find any form of approach to him to be the return of peace to our spirits. The God of Peace gives perfect peace to those whose hearts are stayed upon him.