VIDEO Never Forget

“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” Ephesians 5:15-17 ESV

Each of our lives is a precious story that must be shared, so the world will never forget our unique chapter of God’s great story. Every page of history is a page of His-story. September 11th is a day on which Americans patriotically declare, “We must never forget!” September 11, 2001, left a deep irrevocable impression on me, but not necessarily for patriotic reasons.

After working for years in the modeling industry, I decided I wanted to pursue a career less compromising to my faith in Jesus Christ. So, I moved on to a new chapter in my life, pursuing a new business I deeply enjoyed. All the while, I knew God was calling me to do something more for His Kingdom. I knew He wanted me to share my testimony of His love and forgiveness with other women, but I was afraid. As a person who had always received a great deal of my self-worth from excelling academically, my past as a model was embarrassing.

How on earth could God take something so vain and worldly and use it for His glory? I wanted to be remembered for something more than great skincare and makeup skills. So, I threw myself into my new business and ignored His call to step out in faith and fulfill my Kingdom purpose.

On the morning of September 11, 2001, I was standing in the living room of a co-worker and friend, when the newscaster announced that two airplanes had crashed into the Twin Towers. We watched as the towers fell, instantaneously inducing a mass exodus of souls into eternity – many having never placed their faith in Jesus Christ.

My friend was not a believer and could not possibly fathom what I did next. I handed her my briefcase, containing the entire infrastructure of the business I had allowed to consume my life – and walked away. God had gotten my attention. This world is full of people who are lost, dying, and going to Hell for all eternity without the gospel of Jesus Christ. My response had been so pathetically inadequate. But, no more.

None of those people could possibly have known the morning of September 11th would be the final page of their story. If they had known, I wonder if they would have filled the page with a different ending.

None of us know how many pages are left in our own story. If we treated each page of each new day as if it was our last, would it have a different ending?

If we poured ourselves and our testimonies of God’s salvation and faithfulness onto the pages of other people’s lives, would their stories have a different ending?

How will the final pages of your story end?

Sin threatens to destroy each of our lives. Whatever ending we choose in this life will determine the pages of our eternity. Jesus died to save the world from sin and Hell. He offers an alternate ending filled with pages of abundant life to be shared with anyone and everyone who will listen. He has called us to be:

“… children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.” Philippians 2:15 ESV

We must never forget.


America will never forget’: US marks 20th anniversary of 9/11 • FRANCE 24 English

From Wisdom to Joy

[Wisdom] will guide you down delightful paths. Proverbs 3:17 nlt

The phone rang and I picked it up without delay. Calling was the oldest member of our church family—a vibrant, hard-working woman who was nearly one hundred years old. Putting the final touches on her latest book, she asked me some writing questions to help her cross the finish line. As always, however, I soon was asking her questions—about life, work, love, family. Her many lessons from a long life sparkled with wisdom. She told me, “Pace yourself.” And soon we were laughing about times she’d forgotten to do that—her wonderful stories all seasoned with true joy.

Wisdom leads to joy, the Bible teaches. “Joyful is the person who finds wisdom, the one who gains understanding” (Proverbs 3:13 nlt). We find that this path—from wisdom to joy—is a biblical virtue, indeed. “For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will fill you with joy” (Proverbs 2:10 nlt). “God gives wisdom, knowledge, and joy to those who please him” (Ecclesiastes 2:26 nlt). Wisdom “will guide you down delightful paths,” adds Proverbs 3:17 (nlt).

Reflecting on the matters of life, author C. S. Lewis declared that “joy is the serious business of heaven.” The path there, however, is paved with wisdom. My church friend, who lived to be 107, would agree. She walked a wise, joyful pace to the King.

Reflect & Pray

What paths have you taken in trying to find joy? How can wisdom lead you to joy?

When I might take a rocky road, loving God, please point me back to Your path of wisdom and joy.

Learn more about joy here.

Renewed Youth

 Genesis 18:1-15Genesis 21:1-7

Have you been waiting for God to do something about a situation in your life? Perhaps you’ve prayed about it for years or even decades, yet nothing has changed. If that’s the case, you may at this point feel hope is gone.

That’s probably how Sarah felt. Though God had promised to give Abraham a son, the aged couple remained childless. So when the Lord told Abraham that Sarah would have a son the following year, she laughed—not with joy, but with skepticism, saying, “After I have become old, am I to have pleasure, my lord being old also?” (Gen. 18:12). Thinking it was too late for God to keep His promise, she had lost her hope.

The next year, however, when Sarah held Isaac in her arms, she laughed with the joy that comes from seeing God keep His promise (Gen. 21:6). Her youthful outlook was renewed by experiencing the Lord’s faithfulness, and He will do the same for you. But even if He doesn’t give the specific answer to prayer that you desire, one thing is certain: God is just as faithful to you as He was to Sarah. Remember that He sees the future and knows each of us better than we know ourselves—and will answer prayer accordingly in order to give us what is best. Let this truth rejuvenate your flagging spirit and fill your heart with joy.

Evil Men

“Fret not thyself because of evil men, neither be thou envious at the wicked; For there shall be no reward to the evil man; the candle of the wicked shall be put out.” (Proverbs 24:19-20)

Many of us remember the horror of September 11, 2001. The United States had not been attacked on its continental soil since the Civil War, and the whole country stood glued to their TV sets in stunned agony at the evil atrocity of the terrorists’ hostility.

Loud and often have been the vows of retribution since then, but “wars and rumours of wars” continue unabated (Mark 13:7). Nothing (according to the Scriptures) will stop the hatred of evil men against that which represents the name and lifestyle of the Lord Jesus (John 15:18), but the vengeance belongs to God alone (Hebrews 10:30).

The challenge for most of us is that we forget that the Enemy is not merely this or that terrorist group (there have been countless such groups over the millennia), but “the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). If we are constantly in turmoil over the latest iteration of evil displayed in living color every day on our evening news, our souls will never gain peace.

It is the “joy of the LORD” that brings us strength (Nehemiah 8:10). It is the delight of being “rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate” (1 Timothy 6:18) that allows us to sense something of the unilateral love of the Lord Jesus. Seeking “the kingdom of God, and his righteousness” first (Matthew 6:33) is what brings our heavenly Father’s steadfast supply of all that we may need (Philippians 4:19).

Perhaps when evil days creep into our lives or our memory, we would do well to focus our “affection on things above, not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3:2). HMM III

His Sovereignty-Psalm 110

The Lord declared to my Lord: “Sit at My right hand until I make Your enemies Your footstool.” The Lord will extend Your mighty scepter from Zion. Rule over Your surrounding enemies. Your people will volunteer on Your day of battle. In holy splendor, from the womb of the dawn, the dew of Your youth belongs to You. The Lord has sworn an oath and will not take it back: “Forever, You are a priest like Melchizedek” (vv. 1-4).

This important psalm is quoted many times in the New Testament (Matt. 22:44; Mark 12:36; Luke 20:42; Acts 2:34-35; Heb. 1:13). From these references we learn that Jesus himself quoted this psalm often. We also learn that the Holy Spirit inspired it, David wrote it, and that it is definitely Messianic.

By “listening” carefully, I can “hear” the voice of God speaking to his Son, who would not be born for yet another thousand years! David says: “The Lord [Yahweh] declared to my Lord [David’s Lord, the Messiah]: ‘Sit at My [the Father’s] right hand until I make Your [the Son’s] enemies Your footstool.’” David could have written this amazing prophecy only by divine inspiration! In this conversation between God the Father and God the Son (Messiah), Messiah is seated at the right hand of God—the place of authority. At the end of time, the Messiah will wield his holy scepter, ruling all peoples righteously, and his enemies will consequently become his footstool. Vigorous young warriors, adorned in holiness, will fight in a massive battle against the forces of evil.

Yahweh has proclaimed that the Messiah will be an eternal Priest in the order of Melchizedeck (see Heb, 5-7). Priest and King will be united in One Person, Israel’s true Messiah. As Priest, Christ became his own sacrifice when he died on the cross. As King, he is destined to rule and reign righteously at the end of time, the consummation of the ages.

In a few lines of exquisite Hebrew poetry, the Lord gives us a glimpse into some of the mysteries of his glorious plan of redemption. Old Testament history is full of motifs that will only find their fulfillment at the end of time in Messiah’s reign.

Personal Prayer

Dear Lord, because of the sacrifice of your Son, I have eternal life. Because of his predicted rule and sovereign reign, my future is secure!

A Position of Strength

Then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to God the Father, when He abolishes all rule and all authority and power.—1 Corinthians 15:24

If people are to live securely in this world, then they must cultivate a worldview. They must see the “big picture.” Is this why Jesus, when laying down a pattern for prayer, taught His disciples to focus on the “big picture” of the kingdom of God? Whether it is or not, one thing is certain—when we start off in prayer, gripped by the certainty of God’s coming kingdom, our prayers are launched from a position of strength.

Just as I was about to begin this page, a sales bulletin came in the mail, and on it were the words: “Get the idea—and all else follows.” I thought to myself: When the idea is God’s idea (the kingdom) then, indeed, all else follows. What if we were to begin our prayers, however, by focusing, not on the kingdom of God, but on the kingdoms of this world? We would receive very little motivation from such an action. Man-made empires come and go. Egypt came and went. Syria came and went. Babylon came and went. Greece came and went. Historians tell us that at least twenty-one former great civilizations are extinct. Earthly kingdoms go the way of all flesh.

The kingdom of God, however, unlike earthly kingdoms, is destined for success. Call it triumphalism if you like, but the eventual accomplishment of God’s kingdom has more reliability about it than tomorrow’s dawn. When our minds are permitted to focus on such a tremendous truth, it will not be long before the heart leaps up in confident, believing prayer.

Prayer

Father, I think I get the idea. When I focus my mind on the glory of Your coming kingdom, then, against such a wonderful backdrop, my prayers take on a new boldness and authority. “Get the idea, then all else follows.” Thank You, Father. Amen.

Further Study

Ps 115:1-18; Php 2:10; Heb 1:8; Rv 11:15

How does the psalmist relate heaven and earth?

How can we help to bring the kingdom of heaven to earth?

Reflection

Psalm 139:13-16

My life

was in the mind of God

before I came to birth.

This dwelling place I call “myself”

was planned precisely, pleased

His purpose to fulfill.

My Lord,

the Architect Divine,

constructed by His power

an edifice with gracious scope

for righteousness and peace

reflective of His own.

How come

I do so often mar

the line and shape He gives

to life, the precepts which He sets

and which, within His will,

would hold me to His plan?

Oh, could

it be that ripples on

the surface of my soul

disturb the calm, disintegrate

the very shape of things

He had in mind for me?

Or, could

it be that wayward winds

of dire adversity,

encroaching on life’s pleasant scene,

disturb the tranquil heart,

the soul’s serenity?

O Lord,

restore Your calm to me

which once I knew within

Your perfect plan for life. I would

reflect Your purposes

well harbored in Your peace.

Lucille L. Turfrey, The War Cry