VIDEO April Showers of Love – Triumph and Tears

[The crowd] took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Him, and cried out: “Hosanna! ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ The King of Israel!” John 12:13

Every missionary has to make the same decision: to exchange a familiar, secure, and probably safe environment for an unfamiliar, insecure, and possibly dangerous new environment. That decision is a choice, an act of the will, made on the basis of sacrificial love for those who need to know about Jesus. That decision reflects Jesus’ own words: “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” (John 15:13).

Jesus demonstrated that same choice, that same sacrifice, and that same decision when He “set [His] face like a flint” (Isaiah 50:7) and went to Jerusalem knowing that His death would shortly come. He entered into the praises of many who welcomed His arrival, but He soon found Himself the object of His opponents’ plans for His demise. Yet, His love for us overcame His knowledge of what He would face. This is the love of God that knows no bounds and is extended to all.

God’s love falls gently like April showers. Don’t fail to receive the refreshment He offers you today.

The true measure of God’s love is that He loves without measure. Unknown


Triumph and Tears (John 12:12–17)

 

Our Deepest Longings

Today's Devotional

Whoever loves wealth is never satisfied.   Ecclesiastes 5:10

As a young man, Duncan had been afraid of not having enough money, so in his early twenties, he began ambitiously building his future. Climbing the ladder at a prestigious Silicon Valley company, Duncan achieved vast wealth. He had a bulging bank account, a luxury sports car, and a million-dollar California home. He had everything he desired; yet he was profoundly unhappy. “I felt anxious and dissatisfied,” Duncan said. “In fact, wealth can actually make life worse.” Piles of cash didn’t provide friendship, community, or joy—and often brought him only more heartache.

Some people will expend immense energy attempting to amass wealth in an effort to secure their lives. It’s a fool’s game. “Whoever loves money never has enough,” Scripture insists (Ecclesiastes 5:10). Some will work themselves to the bone. They’ll strive and push, comparing their possessions with others and straining to achieve some economic status. And yet even if they gain supposed financial freedom, they’ll still be unsatisfied. It’s not enough. As the writer of Ecclesiastes states, “This too is meaningless” (v. 10).

The truth is, striving to find fulfillment apart from God will prove futile. While Scripture calls us to work hard and use our gifts for the good of the world, we can never accumulate enough to satisfy our deepest longings. Jesus alone offers a real and satisfying life (John 10:10)—one based on a loving relationship that’s truly enough!

By:  Winn Collier

Reflect & Pray

What brings you true satisfaction and fulfillment? How can you more fully live out the fact that only God is enough?

Gracious God, allow me to find my true fulfillment and joy in You. Keep me from a wrong view of work and material things.

A Training Course in Obedience

Luke 5:1-11
In today’s passage, Peter’s initial interaction with Christ seems unimportant. We assume Jesus asked Peter for the use of his boat, which meant that the weary fisherman put aside his cleanup duties in order to steer the craft for an itinerant preacher. It was a small decision, but Peter ended up with a front-row seat for a miraculous display of Jesus’ power that day.

Then, Peter obeyed Jesus’ second request —to let down the nets for a catch—even though doing so contradicted his expertise in fishing. The results were incredible: a catch so great that a second boat had to come and take part of the haul.

Though Peter probably considered both of these decisions fairly insignificant, Jesus found them telling. He was preparing the disciple and teaching him to follow. It’s often obedience in the small details that prepares the believer for obedience in all things. What Peter did with regard to the boat and net eventually convinced him that giving up everything to follow Christ was the wisest choice.

This is how God teaches us to follow His will, too. Our decisions can set us on a course to fulfill God’s good purpose for our life and His kingdom—if we choose to heed His voice.

Praising the Lord

“Praise ye the LORD. Praise the LORD, O my soul.” (Psalm 146:1)

Each of the last five psalms (146–150) begins and ends with “Praise ye the LORD”—i.e., “Hallelujah.” They comprise a sort of “Hallelujah Chorus”: a grand epilogue to the five books that make up the complete book of Psalms.

Each of these five books also ends in a doxology. Note:

Book 1: “Blessed be the LORD God of Israel from everlasting, and to everlasting. Amen, and Amen” (Psalm 41:13).

Book 2: “And blessed be his glorious name for ever: and let the whole earth be filled with his glory; Amen, and Amen” (Psalm 72:19).

Book 3: “Blessed be the LORD for evermore. Amen, and Amen” (Psalm 89:52).

Book 4: “Blessed be the LORD God of Israel from everlasting to everlasting: and let all the people say, Amen. Praise ye the Lord” (Psalm 106:48).

Book 5: “My mouth shall speak the praise of the LORD: and let all flesh bless his holy name for ever and ever” (Psalm 145:21).

It is interesting, even if coincidental, that these five final praise psalms—all thanking God for past deliverances and the promise of an eternal future—contain a total of 153 verses. This is the same as the number of great fishes caught in a strong net by the disciples after Christ’s resurrection, symbolizing their going forth to fish for men in all nations, bringing them safe to the eternal shores of glory (John 21:10).

Then come the last five songs with their 10 cries of “Hallelujah!” In the New Testament, “Hallelujah” (or “Alleluia”) occurs only in the setting of the victorious marriage supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19:1-6). This suggests that these “Hallelujah Psalms” may be sung by the redeemed multitudes as they gather at His throne in heaven. HMM

Long for the Lord

But when Moses went in before the LORD to speak with him, he tool me vail off, until he came out. And he came out, and spake unto the children of Israel that which he was commanded.

—Exodus 34:34

 

It is written of Moses that he “went in before the LORD to speak with him…. [a] nd he came out, and spake unto the children of Israel.” This is the biblical norm from which we depart to our own undoing and to the everlasting injury of the souls of men. No man has any moral right to go before the people who has not first been long before the Lord. No man has any right to speak to men about God who has not first spoken to God about men. And the prophet of God should spend more time in the secret place praying than he spends in the public place preaching….

One swallow does not make a spring nor one hot day a summer; nor will a few minutes of frantic praying before service bring out the tender buds or make the flowers to appear on the earth. The field must be soaked in sunshine over a long period before it will give forth its treasures. The Christian’s heart must be soaked in prayer before the true spiritual fruits begin to grow.   ROR105-106

Quiet my heart today, slow me down I pray. Amen.

 

The Fruit of Obedience

But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

—James 1:22

 

Look at the fruits of obedience as described in the New Testament: The house of the obedient man is builded upon a rock (Matthew 7:24).

He shall be loved by the Father and shall have the manifestation of the Father and the Son, who will come unto him and make their abode with him (John 14:21, 23).

He shall abide in the love of Christ (15:10)….He is set free from sin and made a servant of righteousness (Romans 6:17-18). The Holy Spirit is given to him (Acts 5:32).

He is delivered from self-deception and blessed in his deeds (James 1:22-25). His faith is perfected (2:22).

He is confirmed in his assurance toward God and given confidence in prayer, so that what he asks is given to him (1 John 3:18-22)….

What does all this add up to?…Just that the power of God is at our disposal, waiting for us to call it into action by meeting the conditions which are plainly laid down. PTP028-029

We…have a power within us to do what we are commanded to do. What is it we lack? The power? No; the will. JAS084

 

Easter Is Exciting!

1 Corinthians 15:57

What makes Easter so exciting is its cosmic quality. Easter has less to do with one man’s escape from the grave than with the victory of seemingly powerless love over loveless power.

I personally believe in the resurrection of Christ for two reasons. The first is the documented enthusiasm of the disciples. A historian may find little objective evidence to support the story of the empty tomb, but no historian will dispute the fact that, after Easter, the disciples became ten times the people they were before. Promise-making, promise-breaking Peter, that fearful fellow we remember on Good Friday, suddenly after Easter was so aflame with faith that he gladly lived and bravely died for the Master he had thrice denied.

In fact so great was the enthusiasm of all the disciples that we can say Christianity really began at Easter. Had there been no resurrection of Christ, there would have been no gospels, no epistles, no New Testament, no Christian Church, including The Salvation Army.

But Easter was not a function of the disciples’ faith; their faith was a function of Easter. They were convinced Christ had risen from the dead. Christ was a real presence. What is dear is that the disciples recognized Christ’s identity, His personality and His character. Instead of death, they beheld a metamorphosis. As it is written in the preface of the Roman Catholic Requiem Mass: Life is changed, not ended.

But the historical reason is only a buttress for my second reason for believing in the resurrection. I, like so many throughout the centuries, have experienced in my own life the presence of the risen Christ and the Holy Spirit. I experience the risen Christ as a mirror to my humanity, showing me what human beings should be about. I experience the risen Christ as a window to divinity, revealing as much of God as is given mere mortal eyes to behold. I experience the risen Christ as strength above my own, as joy deeper than the heart’s understanding. Best of all, I experience the risen Christ as that love which indeed does “make the world go round,” the love that binds us, one to another and all to God.

What is beyond the grave we may not know, but we do know Who is beyond the grave. Life is eternal and death is only a horizon, and a horizon is nothing but merely the limit of our sight. What then shall we declare but, “Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57).

Peter & Grace Chang, The Gift of God