VIDEO The Aware Life

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
Romans 8:28

The centuries-old idea of mindfulness found a place in Western therapeutic practices in the twentieth century as a way to reduce the effects of stress, depression, and anxiety. The idea is by practicing awareness, it creates moments where a person focuses solely on the present. This concept is not new for the Christian. We are to taught to live each day in continual awareness that God is with us and working in our life.

Awareness is behind the idea of Romans 8:28—that God is always at work to accomplish His purposes. The lengthy story of Joseph and his brothers contains many moments where the brothers would have benefitted from stopping and asking, “What is God doing in this situation? What is He showing us? Let’s pause and seek Him before going forward.” Twice Joseph spoke the principle of Romans 8:28. The brothers acted wrongly toward Joseph, yes. But God used it for good in all their lives—ultimately it resulted in the preservation of Jacob’s family (Genesis 45:5-7; 50:19-21).

Live an aware life today. Instead of responding impulsively or reacting intuitively, go more slowly and see what God may be saying.

It is a sin as much to quarrel with God’s providence as to deny his providence.  Thomas Watson


Groanings Too Deep for Words (Romans 8:26-28)

The Spiritually Vigorous Saint

A saint is not to take the initiative toward self-realization, but toward knowing Jesus Christ. A spiritually vigorous saint never believes that his circumstances simply happen at random, nor does he ever think of his life as being divided into the secular and the sacred. He sees every situation in which he finds himself as the means of obtaining a greater knowledge of Jesus Christ, and he has an attitude of unrestrained abandon and total surrender about him. The Holy Spirit is determined that we will have the realization of Jesus Christ in every area of our lives, and He will bring us back to the same point over and over again until we do. Self-realization only leads to the glorification of good works, whereas a saint of God glorifies Jesus Christ through his good works. Whatever we may be doing— even eating, drinking, or washing disciples’ feet— we have to take the initiative of realizing and recognizing Jesus Christ in it. Every phase of our life has its counterpart in the life of Jesus. Our Lord realized His relationship to the Father even in the most menial task. “Jesus, knowing…that He had come from God and was going to God,…took a towel…and began to wash the disciples’ feet…” (John 13:3-5).

The aim of a spiritually vigorous saint is “that I may know Him…” Do I know Him where I am today? If not, I am failing Him. I am not here for self-realization, but to know Jesus Christ. In Christian work our initiative and motivation are too often simply the result of realizing that there is work to be done and that we must do it. Yet that is never the attitude of a spiritually vigorous saint. His aim is to achieve the realization of Jesus Christ in every set of circumstances.

WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS

The truth is we have nothing to fear and nothing to overcome because He is all in all and we are more than conquerors through Him. The recognition of this truth is not flattering to the worker’s sense of heroics, but it is amazingly glorifying to the work of Christ. Approved Unto God, 4 R

The Message Parents Send

1 Samuel 20:30-34

When someone asks, “What do you do?” the reply usually includes a job title. But anyone who is raising or interacting with children has a role far more important than career duties.

Parents are communicators. Yet unlike conference speakers, moms and dads don’t get to pre-plan their entire message. Everything we do and say—especially that which happens “off the cuff”—molds our kids. Think about your childhood days. What did your parents do that illustrated their priorities, beliefs, and passions?

Even without speaking, we send messages by our body language, interests, kindnesses, absence or presence, and silence. Add words to the mix, and we have a recipe for remarkable impact, either positive or negative.

Inevitably, our children will be greatly affected by what we communicate and how they interpret it. Be conscious of the way each young one processes information—sometimes our intended message becomes skewed by their limited understanding. What an incredible responsibility we’ve been given. No wonder parents depend on God’s help.

Only troubled parents—like the angry, jealous King Saul in today’s passage—would ever set out to hurt their children. But in our busyness, or because of past wounds, the messages we send might inadvertently be damaging.

What are you communicating to your kids? Ask yourself: What do my actions point to as priorities in my life? Do my children sense a hunger in my heart for God’s direction, counsel, and sustenance? Above all, would they know how to have a thriving relationship with Jesus Christ by watching my life?

Strength Through Weakness

“Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:10)

Here is one of the great paradoxes of the Christian life. How could the apostle Paul actually find pleasure in being persecuted or reproached, in being placed in distressing situations, and having to endure bodily pain or weakness? There could be no pleasure at all in such things were it not “for Christ’s sake.”

Paul was a great man of faith and prayer, and he prayed earnestly that God would remove what he called a “thorn in the flesh” (v. 7), evidently some painful infirmity that he felt was hindering his ministry. God answered his prayer, however, by saying, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness” (v. 9).

Somehow, one of the most powerful testimonies to the truth of Christianity is given when Christians exhibit patience and joy and fruitfulness in the midst of suffering—whether that suffering be due to illness, or persecution, or loss, or any of a hundred situations that could be unbearable apart from Christ. In Paul’s case, he said that his “thorn” could not be removed “lest I should be exalted above measure” (v. 7) because of the great experiences God had given him as a Christian.

“Grace groweth best in the winter,” and we can testify with the psalmist, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes” (Psalm 119:71). One thinks, for example, of Fanny Crosby, blind since early childhood yet enabled to write 8,000 beautiful hymns in her 95 years.

The struggling church at Philadelphia was assured of an open door because it had “little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name” (Revelation 3:8). It is precisely when we recognize our own weakness in the flesh that we can become strong in Christ. HMM

More Than Just Talk and Prayer

Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest.

—Joshua 1:7

It will take more than talk and prayer to bring revival. There must be a return to the Lord in practice before our prayers will be heard in heaven. We dare not continue to trouble God’s way if we want Him to bless ours….

If we are foolish enough to do it, we may spend the new year vainly begging God to send revival, while we blindly overlook His requirements and continue to break His laws. Or we can begin now to obey and learn the blessedness of obedience. The Word of God is before us. We have only to read and do what is written there and revival is assured. It will come as naturally as the harvest comes after the plowing and the planting.

Yes, this could be the year the revival comes. It’s strictly up to us.   SIZ010-011

Lord, I pray that this would be the year when Your people will get serious about heart-felt obedience to Your commands. Then send the great revival among us! Amen.

 

Commit thy way unto the Lord, trust also in Him

Commit thy way unto the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass.—Psalm 37:5.

 

Plan not, nor scheme,—but calmly wait;

His choice is best.

While blind and erring is thy sight,

His wisdom sees and judges right,

So trust and rest.

Adelaide A. Procter.

 

“Great peace have they which love My law.” They see that from Me, the sovereign Ruler of the world, who governeth all things with infinite wisdom, order, and love, nothing but good can spring; and that I can take care of them and their affairs far better and more successfully than they could of themselves. Thus, considering that all that happens to them comes from Me, they are strong with an invincible patience, and bear all things, not only with resignation, but with cheerfulness and joy tasting in all things that befall them externally or internally the sweetness of My ineffable love. And this is to believe, and meditate with a cheerful and grateful spirit, even in the midst of tribulations and difficulties, that it is I who sweetly dispose all things, and that whatever happens springs from the inexhaustible fountain of My goodness.

St. Catharine of Siena.

 

Be Among the Redeemed

“Lo, the people shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations.” Num. 23:9

Who would wish to dwell among the nations, and to be numbered with them? Why, even the professing church is such that to follow the Lord fully within its bounds is very difficult. There is such a mingling and mixing that one often sighs for “a lodge in some vast wilderness.”

Certain it is that the Lord would have His people follow a separated path as to the world, and come out decidedly and distinctly from it. We are set apart by the divine decree, purchase, and calling, and our inward experience has made us greatly to differ from men of the world; and therefore our place is not in their Vanity Fair, nor in their City of Destruction, but in the narrow way where all true pilgrims must follow their Lord.

This may not only reconcile us to the world’s cold shoulder and sneers, but even cause us to accept them with pleasure as being a part of our covenant portion. Our names are not in the same book, we are not of the same seed, we are not bound for the same place, neither are we trusting to the same guide, therefore it is well that we are not of their number. Only let us be found in the number of the redeemed, and we are content to be odd and solitary to the end of the chapter.

 

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