VIDEO Jailhouse Blues – Seek the Things That Are Above

 

If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is….  Colossians 3:1

While Ruth Bryant was celebrating her 100th birthday party, police arrived at her assisted living center with handcuffs. “Are you Miss Bryant?” said an officer. He handcuffed her to her walker and led her to the police car. When she kicked at him, he said, “Don’t kick me; I’ve got a bad knee.” Ruth replied, “I’ve got two bad knees!” She was taken to the county jail and given an orange jumpsuit—and then everyone posed for pictures! Apparently one of the remaining items on Ruth’s bucket list was being arrested for something.

Do you have a bucket list—things you want to do before you kick the bucket?

Whatever you miss on earth will quickly be forgotten in heaven, for that’s when our life truly begins in splendor. This world is a brief prologue to the real story—our eternal home in heaven. Sometimes we think we’re missing out because we can’t visit every country, fulfill every desire, experience every adventure, and enjoy every opportunity. But earth is fading away, and our future is glorious—heaven with God!

What a blessed thought! Our eternity in heaven is secure through Christ.

Heaven is a realm of unsurpassed joy, unfading glory, undiminished bliss, unlimited delights, and unending pleasures. John MacArthur


Seek the Things That Are Above

Prayer Eggs

Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay. Habakkuk 2:3

 

Just outside my kitchen window, a robin built her nest under the eaves of our patio roof. I loved watching her tuck grasses into a safe spot and then hunker down to incubate the eggs. Each morning I checked her progress; but each morning, there was nothing. Robin eggs take two weeks to hatch.

Such impatience isn’t new for me. I’ve always strained against the work of waiting, especially in prayer. My husband and I waited nearly five years to adopt our first child. Decades ago, author Catherine Marshall wrote, “Prayers, like eggs, don’t hatch as soon as we lay them.”

The prophet Habakkuk wrestled with waiting in prayer. Frustrated at God’s silence with Babylon’s brutal mistreatment of the Southern Kingdom of Judah, Habakkuk commits to “stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts,” to “look to see what he will say to me” (Habakkuk 2:1). God replies that Habakkuk is to wait for the “appointed time” (v. 3) and directs Habakkuk to “write down the revelation” so the word can be spread as soon as it’s given (v. 2).

What God doesn’t mention is that the “appointed time” when Babylon falls is six decades away, creating a long gap between promise and fulfillment. Like eggs, prayers often don’t hatch immediately but rather incubate in God’s overarching purposes for our world and our lives.

By:  Elisa Morgan

Reflect & Pray

How difficult do you find it to wait while God works? While you wait, how can you obey God in what He has already given you to do?

Dear God, help me to trust You to work while I’m waiting.

To learn more about the prophet Habakkuk, visit bit.ly/35b7xTE.

Depend on the Grace of God

Romans 5:1-11

God’s grace is miraculous. It allows hearts to beat, bodies to heal, and love to be given, regardless of peoples’ opinions of Him. He offers forgiveness to the rebellious, freedom to sinners, and intimacy with Himself to all who trust Christ as Savior. God’s children can approach Him confidently because there is no condemnation for those who belong to Him (Rom. 8:1). What amazing grace!

But that’s not the way things always were. Israel, God’s chosen people, lived under the Law—not under grace. Like us, they were disobedient, so God established the sacrificial system to provide a symbolic way for their wrongdoing to be forgiven.

But since it was humanly impossible to obey every aspect of all 613 commandments God handed down through Moses, the Father graciously sent Jesus to fulfill the Law for us. Our Savior’s sinless life gives us permanent forgiveness because He died once for all sins (Heb. 7:27). The result is that we can approach God’s throne directly.

Believers stand upon the immovable foundation of God’s grace. It covers us like a canopy and surrounds like a protective wall. Let the truth of that sink into your heart and mind so you can become a vessel of the Lord’s love, kindness, and goodness to others.

The Truth, What Is It?

“And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” (2 Timothy 4:4)

This is the last of 11 occurrences of “the truth” in Paul’s two letters to Timothy. He was not writing about the importance of being truthful in general but about a specific body of factual information concerning Jesus Christ and its vital importance. Thus, “the truth” was a very important theme in both of Paul’s letters to this young pastor—and, by implication, to all God-called pastors.

Paul first speaks of “the knowledge of the truth” required for salvation (1 Timothy 2:4), then of his own teaching as “the truth in Christ” (1 Timothy 2:7), then of “the church of the living God” as “the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:15), and of Christians as those who “believe and know the truth” (1 Timothy 4:3). He stresses the importance of studying the Bible as “the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15), and also that true repentance requires “the acknowledging of the truth” (2 Timothy 2:25).

Paul also warns of false and covetous teachers who are “destitute of the truth” (1 Timothy 6:5) and who therefore “concerning the truth have erred” (2 Timothy 2:18). There will even be false prophets who “resist the truth” and are “reprobate concerning the faith” (2 Timothy 3:8).

As a result of the teachings of these false teachers, there will be many so-called seekers of truth who are “ever learning” yet who seem “never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 3:7). The reason they never find the truth is because they “turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (2 Timothy 4:4).

The fact is that Jesus said: “I am…the truth” and also that “thy word is truth” (John 14:6; 17:17). For any who would say with Pilate “What is truth?” (John 18:38), there is the definitive answer! HMM

Commotion, Certainly Not Devotion

And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.

—1 Kings 19:12

 

The accent in the Church today,” says Leonard Ravenhill, the English evangelist, “is not on devotion, but on commotion.” Religious extroversion has been carried to such an extreme in evangelical circles that hardly anyone has the desire, to say nothing of the courage, to question the soundness of it. Externalism has taken over. God now speaks by the wind and the earthquake only; the still small voice can be heard no more. The whole religious machine has become a noisemaker. The adolescent taste which loves the loud horn and the thundering exhaust has gotten into the activities of modern Christians. The old question, “What is the chief end of man?” is now answered, “To dash about the world and add to the din thereof.”…

We must begin the needed reform by challenging the spiritual validity of externalism. What a man is must be shown to be more important than what he does. While the moral quality of any act is imparted by the condition of the heart, there may be a world of religious activity which arises not from within but from without and which would seem to have little or no moral content. Such religious conduct is imitative or reflex. It stems from the current cult of commotion and possesses no sound inner life.   ROR078-076

Lord quiet my heart today in the midst of the rush and din of church busyness, that I might be able to hear the “still small voice.” Amen.

 

God Does Not Play on Our Emotions

Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way…?

—Luke 24:32

 

I do not know how familiar you are with the ways of God and the tender movings of His Spirit. But I will tell you this quite frankly: God does not play on our emotions to bring us to the point of spiritual decision.

God’s Word, which is God’s truth, and God’s Spirit unite to arouse our highest emotions. Because He is God and worthy of our praise, we will find the ability to praise Him and to glorify Him. Some religious and evangelistic techniques are directed almost entirely to the emotions of those who are listening to the appeal. They are psychology, not Spirit-directed conviction….

I have to disagree with religious appeal that supposes if someone in the audience can be moved to shed a tear, a saint has been made….[T]here is no connection whatsoever between the human manipulation of our emotions, on the one hand, and, on the other, the confirmation of God’s revealed truth in our beings through the ministry of His Holy Spirit. When in our Christian experience our emotions are raised, it must be the result of what God’s truth is doing for us. JMI083-084

Whatever else it embraces, true Christian experience must always include a genuine encounter with God. POM010

 

An Obstetrician’s Point of View

Mark 10:14

In the book Letters to Salvationists on Love, Marriage and the Home, the Army’s founder, William Booth, writes, “Children are, or ought to be, a great boon. It was the divine intention in the beginning that they should be the crowning blessing of a happy and useful life, and, beyond all question, that is the divine intention still.”

On a Sunday morning while listening to the junior songsters at my corps, I was awed at God’s handiwork. Each life, once a single cell upon conception with absolutely unique DNA, is now a trillion cells in the process of reaching full potential. These beautiful faces, some saved from the abortionist’s curette, now sing to the honor and glory of God, each one touched in some way by the programs of The Salvation Army.

In the United States since 1973, one-third of the children antepartum (residing in the womb) have been sacrificed on the altar of human choice. Over 32 million lives have been summarily extinguished through elective in utero extermination.

William Booth has declared: “To possess children is a natural and all but universal desire. A society in which this is not the case is a rotten society. Where children are not desired, there is an unnatural perverted state of things, generally resulting from utterly selfish and worldly, if not devilish causes.”

The gospel quotes our Lord as saying, “Let the little children come to Me and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these” (Mark 10:14). He entreats us to stand as children of the light, and we are admonished not to shed innocent blood. What could be more innocent than an in utero boy or girl in its amniotic maternal environment?

May we not consciously dehumanize the vulnerable or commit the sin of omission, standing by as children of all ages are persecuted, neglected and abandoned. May we truly be found faithful by those who follow in our footsteps, those tiny feet and tender hearts that are guided by our every word and example. May we not forget nor neglect our role to all, from the embryo to the grave, and all that is life in between.

Norman Raymond M.D., The War Cry