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Monday, December 26, 2011

The Road Least Recognized

Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide, and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter by it.  For the gate is small, and the way is narrow that leads to life, and few are those who find it.  Matthew 7:13, 14 (New American Standard Bible)


One Christmas when my children were young I attempted to assemble their Christmas toys without reading the instructions. Who needed to be constricted to complicated assembly instructions?  It couldn’t be that difficult and doing it the way I thought it ought to be done seemed easier.  I took the wide and easy way and wound up having to return to the instructions and reassemble the toy.  From that time on I’ve always followed the steps in assembling anything new.

Jesus spoke of seeking the easy way when He addressed how easy it is to choose the wide way of the world’s choices missing God’s less recognized way totally.  The human heart, much like water, follows the path of least resistence.  The wide boulevard of self and denial of Christ is easier to find and follow for it’s always much easier to go with the flow.  The narrow way is more difficult but Christ says it is the way that leads to eternal life.  At times of discouragement in our walk with Christ it is good to stop to reconsider why we chose the narrow gate and way in the first place.  We obviously saw something of worth in going that way and obviously continue too as we remain there.

Jesus used the illustration of people being like sheep without a shepherd (Matthew 9:36). That, of course, is metaphorically speaking.  Sheep are pretty much helpless on their own and need a guiding hand. He said He is the Good Shepherd (John 10:11).  Jesus didn’t drive us through that narrow gate; we followed Him through it.  We put our total hope in His love and protection trusting that He knows that narrow way perfectly.  The wide way is easier to find but leads to destruction while the narrow way leads to eternal life through Christ.  For those of us who have discovered that narrow gate and way it is a source of hope and comfort.  Jesus said He is the only way through (John 14:6).  It is the gate least recognized but the gate that is most worthwhile.    

Ken

www.devotionstoday.blogspot.com

Monday, December 19, 2011

Regift It


But to each of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.  Ephesians 4:7 (New American Standard Bible)


A regift is when Aunt Hilda gives Uncle Harry a tie for Christmas and Harry doesn’t like it, so he rewraps it and gives it to his nephew Oscar.  It gets rid of the problem for Uncle Harry, that is, until Oscar inadvertently wears the tie in the presence of Aunt Hilda.

Regifting is looked upon as a somewhat humorous practice but it still remains to some extent a minor disgrace to do to another individual.  There is no preconceived plan to give the gift to the person and the action is done purely for the convenience of the giver. 

There is one gift, however, that it is all right to regift and that consistently.  It is the message of God’s gift to us of His Son and of His redemption to the world.  The gift of God’s love and eternal life through his Son is not only astounding it is life changing.  Only God can truly turn a life around and give the dependable power to live it in Him.  Tis the season to meditate upon the announcement of the ultimate gift made known first to the shepherds by the angels.  It is a wonderful gift to give away for in giving it we also get to keep and enjoy it. It is a gift that arrives in swaddling clothes and concludes in the highest glory at the right hand of God.  It is indeed the most valuable regift ever and one we are encouraged to give throughout the year. 

Merry Christmas,

Ken

www.devotionstoday.blogspot.com

Monday, December 12, 2011

Gloria in Excelsis Deo


And great multitudes came to Him, bringing with them those who were lame, crippled, blind, dumb, and many others, and they laid them down at His feet; and He healed them, so that the multitude marveled  as they saw the dumb speaking, the crippled restored, and the lame walking, and the blind seeing; and they glorified the God of Israel.  Matthew 15:30, 31 (New American Standard Bible)


As we are in the season of Advent it is good to remember the birth of our Savior.  While there is little known of Jesus’ childhood the recording of His conception and birth tell us that He was conceived by the Holy Spirit without the biology of a human father (Matthew 1:18, Luke 1:35).  Jehovah God was His Father both in eternity and in the flesh which made Jesus uniquely both the Son of God and the Son of Man.  He was human in every sense of the word yet fully God. 

Jesus did not begin His existence in that stable in Bethlehem but had always existed with God sharing the glory of His heavenly Father before the world was created (John 17:5).  In becoming a man He did not forsake or leave that glory behind but kept it veiled from human eyes.  He went from the highest glory and splendor of heaven to a body of flesh, bone, blood and breath to show us the Father (John 14:9).

The star over the stable is gone and the babe in the manger now sits enthroned at the right hand of His Father as the God/Man Jesus Christ (Romans 8:34).  Without His birth we would still be in sin and error pining.  When He came to us it was with the greatest compassion and power to restore us from that sin and error.  When the babe grew to manhood He expressed the redemptive will of the Father qualified by giving the blind their sight, restoring the crippled and lame and the bringing speech to the dumb.  From His birth shepherds proclaimed Him (Luke 2:17), wise men worshiped Him (Matthew 2:11), the multitudes marveled at Him (Matt 15:30, 31, Luke 11:14) and in His death and resurrection He invites the entire world to follow Him (Matthew 28, 19, 20, Acts 1:8).  His flesh and blood birth reveals His God/Man humanity.  His life, works and miracles reveal God’s humanity to mankind.  God has revealed Himself to us in both ways.   Glory to God in the highest.

Ken

www.devotionstoday.blogspot.com

Monday, December 5, 2011

No Defense

And when He had come into the temple, the Chief priests and the elders of the people came to Him as He was teaching, and said, “By what authority are You doing these things, and who gave You this authority?”  Matthew 21:23 (NASB)

When we’re challenged it’s easy to get off the subject as we try to defend ourselves.  At that moment many of us focus on protecting our honor and character instead of bringing the focus back to the problem.   Defense and justification have a way of quickly turning into the blame game.   

Jesus never defended or justified Himself to anyone. Then by what authority did He do the things He did?  He did not quote scholarly rabbis, as was the custom but said, “You have heard it said…but I say to you…” The Jews recognized in Him speaking as He did there was some authority for it.  The authority of Jesus did not threaten or try to impress with self-importance. To be sure, there were times when His temper flared righteously as when He called the religious leaders ‘sons of the devil (John 8:44)’ and when he angrily drove the money changers out of the Temple (Matthew 21:12, Mark 11:15). But He didn’t do it with hatred or pride.  What He said was steeped in love and later He even wept over the lost souls of Israel (Luke 13:34).

The life and words of Jesus Christ were always truth and revelation.  Even though He was often critically questioned by the Scribes and Pharisees He remained unquestionable in whom He claimed to be.  He held those He interacted with accountable while modeling decorum and healthy relations-even with those who disliked Him. The witness of who He was was qualified by His Heavenly Father.  God spoke from heaven on two occasions confirming that Jesus was His Beloved Son (Matthew 3:17, Luke 9:35). His Heavenly Father alone qualified Him with the authority to do what He did.  There was no justification needed, for God alone speaks perfect truth.

Ken

www.devotiontoday.blogspot.com

Monday, November 28, 2011

Envious Eyes


“But he answered and said to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for a Denarius?  Take what is yours and go your way, but I wish to give to this last man the same as you.  Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with my own?  Or is your eye envious because I am generous?”  Matthew 20:13-15 (New American Standard Bible)

In my youthful naiveté I was once asked by an inquisitive co-worker at a new job what my starting pay was.  With little experience in workplace matters I told the guy. As soon as I did the co-worker’s face went dark and he angrily turned on his heel and hot-footed it to the boss’s office.  He faced our boss and angrily demanded to know why he was paying me the same as him when I was new to the job and he had worked there longer.  I’m always reminded of this incident when I read this parable. 

At the outset this parable told by Jesus does seem unfair.  The men who worked the least were paid the same as those who had worked the longest.  The story illustrates the chasm between God’s grace and man’s corrupted nature.  Instead of seeing the blessing the owner bestowed upon the late comers and applauding his benevolence those who had started working that morning found fault with his generosity.

Jesus was teaching that any matter of award is under God’s Sovereign control.  God is the one before whom all accounts will be settled.  What will God do with the person who in their final hour accepts Christ?  There were only brief minutes for that person to enjoy His saving grace.  What kind of reward will He give to the person who had no time to live the Christian life over those who were Christians all their lives?  It’s an unanswerable question but I do know He will offer the ideal reward to them and when He does we will say “Isn’t that the perfect and just reward for that person?”  In the final accounting it will be the Lord’s will and insight that will carry the greatest weight.  His reward comes through grace and not merit.  He is indeed generous and gives many gifts to us.  What He gives to us is perfect and instead of running to the boss with complaints we can bow and be thankful for His wise and loving beneficence. 

Ken

www.devotionstoday.blogspot.com

Monday, November 21, 2011

A Friend of Us All


And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and said to him, “Zaccheus, hurry and come down, for today I must stay at your house.   And he hurried and came down, and received Him gladly.  And when they [the Jews] saw it, they all began to grumble saying, “He has gone to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.”  Luke 19:5-7 (New American Standard Bible)

If you pay taxes you can have an idea how much the Jews disliked the Publicans, or tax collectors of their time.  These men were hired by Rome to wring revenue from the people under their rule.  The average tax collector was not paid a salary by the Roman Government.  Rome assigned these people a certain amount to be collected.  As long as Rome got their portion it didn’t care how much ‘payment for services’ the Publicans took so most of them took more than Rome demanded.  They were just not relentless extortionist they were ruthless.

So the Jews were offended that Jesus was not only going to the house of a tax collector but was going to dine with him.  In today’s terms think of the most notorious figure you know.  Now picture Billy Graham going to his or her home, maybe sitting poolside with them and acting like they were his good friend.  In voicing their displeasure at Jesus’ action the Jews were saying Zacchaeus was only worthy of God’s punishment.
Think of how many times we have the same feelings toward someone.  I just wonder that if this example of Jesus’ grace and love had been modeled in the childhoods of the John Dillinger’s, Al Capone’s, Josef Stalin’s and Adolf Hitler’s of history how their stories would read today.

Jesus had a heart for people, just like the ones around us every day that are outside of the redemption of Christ.  There is some hesitancy to sit down with these “sinners” and just be their friend. How will those who hunger and thirst after righteousness taste it unless we bring the Bread of Life to their table?  Those who taste of the Lord will see He is good.  He will become a refuge and blessing to all who dine with Him.  Jesus has always been a friend of those who could demonstrate ruthless qualities.  Jesus has been a friend to us all.

Ken

www.devtionstoday.blogspot.com

Monday, November 14, 2011

Because He's Worthy

“You shall not  worship them [other gods]  or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.” Exodus 20:5 (New American Standard Bible)


I heard a famous talk show host tell why she turned her back on the Judeo-Christian God when her pastor mentioned in a sermon that God was a ‘jealous’ God.   She wrongly concluded that jealous meant He was vindictive, selfish and angry without further investigating what the phrase meant.  She rejected the God of Scripture and instead embraced a philosophical god of her own choosing.  Now when she speaks of God she is not speaking of the God of the Bible but one of her own preference.

Isn’t it wrong to be jealous? It usually ends in discord.  Not concerning God for in this case He is saying He does not want our fullest devotion given to another.  There is no one else in the universe that can make the claim to ultimate power and glory except God alone and He demands worship only be ascribed to Him.  Some would say it’s audacious of God to demand worship and they’re right it is audacious but along with that He is the ultimate supremacy in space and time and therefore mighty enough to warrant it.  But the other side of the coin is even though He demands we worship Him He doesn’t force us to do it.  A jealous lover will interfere, threaten, rage and sometimes use physical force to keep the other person within their sphere of influence.  God gives everyone free rein to choose Him or to give their allegiance to another as they please. 

The jealousy of God reveals a whole different definition of the idea.  It is the definition of supreme worth because of the holy and pure perfection it represents.  God deserves to be venerated and He wants no other to usurp His place.  It isn’t ego but Who He is that makes Him praiseworthy in the most holy sense.  He is never influenced by the Green-Eyed Monster.  He is the only one who is worthy of worship and because of who He is He is the only One who rightly deserves it.

Ken

www.devotionstoday.blogspot.com

Monday, November 7, 2011

Light of Hope

Jesus answered, “It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was in order that the works of God might be displayed in him.  John 9:3 (NASB)



One day Jesus and His disciples passed a man born blind.  The disciples, ever curious, asked, “Who sinned that this man was born blind, him or his parents?”  It would be interesting to know what the blind fellow thought about his situation having never seen the light of day.  I wonder if in his darkness he was angry at where God had allowed him to be and felt alone and confused.  It was at this unexpected moment that Jesus chose to heal his vision.

A little later after his healing Jesus found him and asked him if he believed in the Son of Man.  The newly sighted fellow asked, “And who is He Lord?”  This is one of the few times Jesus admitted publicly that He was the Messiah. When the man heard Jesus say He was the Christ he confessed his belief in Him and worshipped Him. I’m sure through all those years the man expected to die blind yet he kept a spiritual vision that sustained him.  Even if his hope in healing was not set, his faith in God was.  And in his blindness God was very aware of where this child was and what he suffered. 

Circumstances aside, he knew whether God healed him or not that He was still true and worthy of his fullest trust.  When he met Jesus face-to-face he already knew Him.  In his blindness he had seen Him illuminated in the light of hope.

Ken

www.devotionstoday.blogspot.com

Monday, October 31, 2011

There Really is Something Free

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 6:23 (NASB)


We all know that pleased feeling when we get our paycheck.  Even if it isn’t as much as we need to make all our ends meet there’s still a satisfaction in having it placed in our hand.  We’ve earned it.  Many make their life’s work to receive wages that are at odds with God.  Some work harder than others at that job but when it comes to payday all that reject the Son rejects the Father who sent Him (Luke 10:16).  It’s interesting that Paul talks about wages for it connotes labor and loyalty to something or someone.  The thing about the final wages of sin is that even if we did nothing we still have earned it because we were born alienated from God through Adam’s sin. 

Satan’s wages are separation from God and eternal death.  His workshop at first can seem beautiful and exciting until the harshness of the job catches up to us through the evil that comes from the tools of the trade.  There’s not enough room here to list the terrible things we can learn to do to ourselves and others.  Satan is not only a harsh taskmaster he absolutely hates his employees.  Murder is in his heart for there is no truth in him (John 8:44).

Notice Paul doesn’t say the ‘wages of eternal life’ for eternal life is a gift.  God says if we trust in His way of salvation, that is the Perfect Sacrifice of His Son Jesus, then we won’t receive wages for that choice-we’ll receive a present (a present is always free) in the gift of righteous eternal life.  There is no labor needed to gain it.  It’s the gift that keeps on arriving; a lifeline of peace and spiritual sustenance.  How much easier is it to receive a gift rather than a paycheck?  That’s not too simple; that’s the gift of grace.

Ken

www.devotionstoday.blogspot.com©

Monday, October 24, 2011

Building Fires

But when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and laid them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat, and fastened on his hand.  Acts 28:3 (NASB)



When the apostle Paul came to a saving faith in his Messiah he was told what great things he would suffer for the name of Christ (Acts 9:16).  It seemed an understatement.  During his ministry he received 195 lashes from the Jews (39x5) not counting the 3 additional beatings he took with the rod.  He was stoned once and left for dead, shipwrecked 3 times, bitten by a poisonous snake, in danger of rivers, robbers, his own countrymen, Gentiles, the seas, false brethren, hunger, thirst, cold and exposure.  Paul seemed like the first century poster boy for pain.

The thing that has astounded me about this account is when Paul landed here on Malta he continued unwavering in his faith.  He could have as easily walked up the beach and found a warm and cozy inn but instead he remained on that inhospitable beach to help build a fire.  This act of servanthood to the rest of the group far outweighs anything else that was witnessed that day, including suffering no ill effects after being bitten by a viper.  At this moment being shipwrecked on a cold and windy beach Paul found Christ trustworthy. 

There are times of adversity we feel like throwing our hands up and pursuing another avenue of our own choosing. Stopping to build a fire instead of cutting and running looks beyond the battle to the prize of our high calling in Jesus Christ.  It isn’t a physical fire like Paul’s but one made with the matches of patience and trust.  Christ is with us in every way and knows where we stand for He is familiar with every grain of sand on our cold and windy beach.       

Ken

www.devotionstoday.blogspot.com©       

Monday, October 17, 2011

Ill Annoyed


“Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it shall be opened.”Matthew 7:7, 8 (NASB)

            


How it seems like yesterday I would just get home from work, sit down and put my feet up when I’d hear, “Daddy, would you get me some juice?”  “Daddy, would you come here and look at this?”  “Daddy would you come out in the backyard with me?”  It was just yesterday because now I have grandchildren.  Sometime it feels like most kids have ‘adult radar.’ It seems they won’t ask for something while one is in the vertical position but that radar detects ‘horizontal’ like bat sonar immediately followed by a request.  I must say that a lot of times when I’m interrupted I do not remain sweet and agreeable. Even if I stop what I’m doing to interact I can still get annoyed in my mind and heart at the cutting in on ‘my time.’  I’m so thankful God is never annoyed or short with any of His children when we ask Him for anything. 

Jesus encourages us to ask our Heavenly Father for our needs through His name (John 14:13).  We have the perfect picture of what God’s nature is through His only begotten Son, Christ Jesus.  He told his disciples if they had seen Him they had seen the Father.  Christ was known for His great love and compassion.   He is always willing to hear us and answer with pleasure.  When we seek of Him we shall find and when we knock on His office door it shall be opened to us with the greatest approval.  Our Heavenly Father has never lived in the state of ill annoyed and never will.


Ken


www.devotionstoday.blogspot.com©

Monday, October 10, 2011

What a Break

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. Roman 8:28 (New American Standard Bible)




Did you know one of the most successful Christian endeavors in the United States happened because of a broken leg? It began at the beginning of the 1800s with a young Vermont farmer named Cephas Washburn. Washburn’s goal was to devote his life to working the family farm. One day while working on the farm he broke his leg and became too disabled to farm any longer. He thought his life was over but one day a local clergyman came to see him and persuaded the pious young man to enroll in theology school and enter the ministry. Washburn did, graduating in 1818 becoming a missionary to the Cherokee Nation. In 1820 he pioneered a successful Christian school, Dwight Mission, established first in western Arkansas and then relocating to the Oklahoma Territory. He served in the capacity of missionary, teacher and pastor until his death 40 years later. The school was finally closed for good in 1948 but for the years it was in operation hundreds of Cherokee, Osage, Choctaw and other Indian tribes were blessed with an education, job training and spiritual guidance. God didn’t break Cephas Washburn’s leg nor cause it. It happened in the course of choices the young man made that day. Who would have thought God could bring all this good to many through a broken leg? Cephas Washburn came to be known as the ‘Apostle to the Cherokees.’

At times when we’re in the throes of disaster this verse can be like swallowing a pill sideways-good for you but who wants to deal with the pain? It’s an easy burden when we realize God will perfect His will for those called according to His purpose through any circumstance, whether it is fortunate or regrettable. Though we may not understand it Christians know it intuitively even if it not experientially.

God’s plan for a simple Vermont farmer was not to break his leg but to use that broken leg as an opportunity to touch hundreds with the love of Christ. As he lay in his bed Cephas Washburn saw only a broken leg but God saw a heritage and used a broken bone to bring healing to a Nation.

Ken

www.devotionstoday.blogspot.com

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Fish That Chewed Bubblegum

Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”John 20:29 (New International Version)



When I was a lad of eleven I was fishing at Shasta Lake with my cousin Janet. I soon ran out of cheese I was using for bait. I was chewing bubble gum and thought I’d put a piece of it on my hook. I was holding my pole while the hook dangled above the water as Jan and I chatted. To our surprise a small mouth bass jumped at the hook and temporarily was stuck to the gum. All I could figure was he wanted to blow better bubbles. When I tried to pull it in he fell off the hook. One of the most amazing fishing stories of my life, if not the funniest. When I got back to camp I told the story to my dad and Aunt Dorothy. They both smiled skeptically and Dorothy said, “Ah, the one that got away…” My story made me look like a junior member of the Fisherman Liar’s Club. They had good reason to doubt my story as they had not witnessed it.

The religious leaders of Israel had no excuse to doubt who Jesus was. They saw Him bodily and witnessed the great miracles He did. They couldn’t deny what they saw Him do so they consigned His mighty works to the Devil declaring He was an agent of Satan (Matthew 12:24). Tragically they saw yet refused to believe.

Jesus offers a divine blessing upon all who would come to faith in Him without a visible, bodily manifestation. This blessing comes to all who believe through the gospel accounts and the validity of the evidences available to us. We who believe on Him are not deprived by not seeing Him physically. Because He is true when we believe on Him we become recipients of His special blessing. Sometime seeing doesn’t necessarily mean believing. The greater blessing comes in believing in something true even if we have not yet seen it.

Ken

www.devotionstoday.blogspot.com

Monday, September 26, 2011

Treasured Stories

“But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in and steal; for where your treasure is so will your heart be also.” Matthew 6:20, 21 (New American Standard Bible)



There are some pretty funny stories about thieves and their not-so-smart moves. Like the guy why robbed a bank and left his driver’s license with the teller. Or the two guys in Texas who broke into a video surveillance shop, packed up around $10,000 dollars worth of surveillance equipment while 17 security cameras recorded them and got a read on the license plate of the car they’d parked out front. They were soon back on camera facing front and side.

One thing we can be sure of is there will always be people with valuable things and people who are more than willing to take it away from them. Where we currently live thieves do break in to steal, moths make holes and metal rusts. Jesus was pointing toward an attitude of reliance and trust. There are all kinds of things we can invest in our lifetime which temporary as they are can’t go with us to the undertaker. I’ve never seen a casket with pockets. The Lord is keen on rewarding faithful servants. He encourages us to put our minds and actions onto things that are spiritually substantial that will not rust, can’t be stolen or suffer decay.

We cannot serve both God and material things for where our treasure is our heart’s motive will be evident. We can be assured that what the Lord has waiting for us will be pristine with no blemish at all and most of all will remain untouched and in perfect condition. Things wear out, rust and rot. What remain imperishable are the treasures we lay up in heaven. Our service to God and the good we do here on earth will remain safe with Christ. What we don’t leave with will be waiting for us when we arrive.

Ken

www.devotionstoday.blogspot.com

Monday, September 19, 2011

Golden Axes

“And why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye?” Matthew 7:3, 4 (New American Standard Bible)




A colorful yet out of place term to come out of England during the Anglo-Dutch Wars of the 17th century was ‘Dutch Uncle.’ It was originally meant as an insult. A Dutch Uncle was one who ‘educates’ someone through frank, harsh and severe criticism in order to better the person of their attention. Self righteous judgment is like listening to fingernails on a blackboard. While the other person is saying their peace in words that are meant to be ‘instructive and encouraging’ the manner and tone of the person giving it nearly shrivels the soul and spirit with ridicule and disdain. I believe every one of us has encountered someone like this in our lifetime.

The Pharisees were ignoring the Law and the Prophets concerning Jesus the Messiah. Jesus had become the target of self-righteous men’s judgment because in their eyes He did not fulfill the Jewish vision of what the Messiah would do. He moved on to illustrate His point with a word picture that is the best in history when it comes to judging another’s sawdust speck while peering around the log in their own eye. It is a humorous illustration from the Master story teller. I’m sure as He gave this illustration there were giggles and smiles from many in the crowd at the audacity, yet all too true reality, of how many of us are all too quick to self righteously judge another person. These so-called ‘wood expert’ do-gooders swing golden axes. They are meant to look pretty but they still cut deeply.

This passage does not teach that judgments should never be made. Christ speaks of removing the speck from a brother’s eye. Christ here was warning that those who habitually lean toward critical judgment become hypocritical. If we do speak to another about a trespass Paul tells us to gently restore such a one with gentleness, looking to ourselves, lest we too be tempted (Galatians 6:1). Golden axes are pretty but their sole purpose is to cut. Christ calls us to lay aside those kinds of tools and depend on the word of God given in a spirit of humility. It is sharper than any tool in our kit and is able to judge the thoughts and intent of the heart better than any uncle could.

Ken

www.devotionstoday.blogspot.com©

Monday, September 12, 2011

Real Life

But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve, as to the rest who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep. 1st Thessalonians 4:13, 14 (New American Standard Bible)




In the 1960 Disney version of the movie Pollyanna there is a scene on a Sunday morning in church where Reverend Ford gives a sermon called ‘Death Comes Unexpectedly.’ It is slightly humorous even though the reverend’s hellfire and brimstone sermon causes the chandeliers of the church to tremble. While what he said is true from a biblical standpoint, the vehemence of his sermon was not meant to comfort his flock but to tell them to ‘turn or burn.’ Fortunately for his parish at the end of the story Pastor Ford has a real heart change and adopts a profound attitude of grace. We are all too aware that death just doesn’t come unexpectedly but that it’s also guaranteed. The losses we feel in partings are indeed painful and leave those left behind wondering what it is all about. Is it true there is an afterlife? Do those who die believing that Jesus Christ is the resurrection and the life open their eyes to a new world of wonder, beauty and holiness?

I am convinced by the evidence of the eyewitnesses who saw and lived with Christ that He is indeed the Truth of God, the Power of Resurrection and Eternal Life to those who believe. It is with the greatest confidence I believe when I finally pass over to the ‘other side’ I will again be with my loved ones who have died in Christ and we will be able to recognize one another. Meanwhile we wait with some grief at parting yet with the hope and comfort that they are in a place of beauty and peace before God’s throne and await a very real and physical reunion with us. Some call the death experience a ‘dream’ occurrence and our earthly existence the real thing. I believe it is just the opposite. Earth’s existence is the dream and we will never be as alive as when we enter into the spiritual realm. We are spiritual beings first, covered with a tent of flesh. Those who have gone ahead of us are fully aware of the full reality of spiritual life for they are partaking of an experience through Christ that is fully complete, wholly healthy and eternally vibrant. They are seeing and experiencing things we can only envisage and then things much greater than anything we could envision in our wildest imagination.

We will grieve the parting of our loved ones yet that heartache comes attached with a sure hope that they are truly alive at this moment beholding a world that is beyond description. Christ has purchased that life for us. Surely these words in Scripture are some of the most encouraging in the Bible. To be absent from this body is to be present with Christ. We can only be present with Him because of His finished work. He is, in the truest reality, our Resurrection and our Life.

Ken

http://www.devotionstoday.blogspot.com/©

Monday, September 5, 2011

In for the Duration

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12 (New American Standard Bible)



There is a phrase most people who served in the military during World War II remember; “In for the duration.” It meant that during a time of war once you were in the military you couldn’t leave it until the war was over. My own father was drafted in May of 1941 for a two year stint. All of that changed when war was declared the following December and he was in to the finish finally being discharged at the end of 1945. The ‘duration’ for Dad turned out to be an additional 2 ½ years in the Army Air Force.

The apostle Paul tells us we are in a very dangerous and extended war. It is a war not fought in physical arenas but in spiritual realms. This war was declared way back in Genesis when Satan moved to destroy mankind’s relationship with his Maker. It is a fact, whether saint or sinner, everyone is in this spiritual war for the duration and we’re in it whether we like it or not. The saint fights to bring God’s light, grace and love to the battlefield called Earth and the sinner struggles to find meaning and spiritual peace in a fight he is not even aware he is in.

This war will end when the Prince of Peace vanquishes Satan forever. Christ in His great authority and power will bring a universal kingdom of eternal righteousness and harmony. True peace can only come through Him. Meanwhile if we do not fight we remain Satan’s targets of opportunity for his intense hatred of us will not allow him to rest in his mission to destroy Adam’s seed. The weapons of our warfare are not of this world but they are from Christ our Commander. We may be in for the duration but there’s no worry as to who will be the winner when we are finally discharged.

Ken








Monday, August 29, 2011

War and Peace

Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 2nd Timothy 2:3 (New American Standard Bible)




One of the great Christian hymns of the 19th and 20th centuries was “Onward Christian Soldiers” penned by The English Anglican priest Sabine Baring-Gould in 1864. The hymn was eventually adopted by the Salvation Army as its favored processional. It speaks of the Christian life being one of struggle against an enemy host that stands against the fortress of God. In past years certain elements within Christendom have brought this hymn into disrepute stating its theme is “too violent.” That view certainly shoots to pieces the reality of the continuing war we saints fight daily against a brutal and pitiless enemy. It becomes at times a vicious hand-to-hand spiritual combat with Satan and his minions that taxes both strength and will.

An army cannot lay its arms down in the face of an enemy and expect them to ‘play fair.’ It is the same with the Christian Army when it abandons the rules of engagement and puts aside the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:13-15). Satan and his host take no prisoners and exploit every opportunity to pour down destruction on us.

It is unfortunate that in this dimension of time and space a war of gigantic spiritual proportions is being waged against the children of God. The winning of this war was accomplished by one Man nailed to a weapon of the enemy on a lonely hill called Calvary. The irony is that very weapon became the beloved emblem the Christian army carries before it into battle. We are called to stand fast and fight the good fight. As we meet the enemy we know our Commander, Jesus Christ, goes before us with encouragement and strength. The resurrected power of Christ bids His soldiers onward. We can follow no greater One into battle.

Ken

www.devotionstoday.blogspot.com



Monday, August 22, 2011

Other Worldly


“If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of this world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” John 15:18, 19 (NASB)



My grandson celebrated his 16th birthday recently with a party attended by around 20 friends. Jaren is a committed Christian and I wrote a short paragraph in his card commending his growth and maturity in Christ. The sentiment was intended for him to read privately but he chose to read it to the group, which was fine with me. I guess I ought not to have been surprised at the response but many of his teenage friends jeered when he mentioned Christ along with a sprinkling of derisive laughter. It hurt to hear such open antagonism from kids that were just 15 or 16 years old, not because they were laughing at my grandson but because of the obvious disdain I heard concerning my Lord Jesus Christ.

I tend to want to jump in and defend God forgetting He needs no defense. Every second He hears a lot more unsavory thoughts and comments about Him than I could ever imagine but responds with tremendous grace and restraint. That grace is truly astounding. I am daily thankful for the trite and overused expression ‘God is love’ for it remains true. It will be evident at the final day when those who reject Him see Him as He is in all His love, beauty, and holiness. At that time they will ask “Why did I push this person and such love away from me?” They will have time to reflect on that question as they, by their own choice to be separated from Him on earth, are separated from Him for all eternity.

Christ said people would hate us because they hated Him first. It is amazing that there would even be deep seated hatred of one so pure and good. If we were following the world’s view of self we would be familiar to it and would not be held in such contempt for the world would love us as their own. We are ‘other worldly.’ He warned us of this so when we felt the sting of the world’s hatred we would be reminded they hated Him before they hated us. It’s OK. The burden is on His shoulders and they’re big enough to carry it.

Ken

www.devotionstoday.blogspot.com

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Finer Points of Navigation

If I take the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, even there Thy hand will lead me, And Thy right hand will lay hold of me. Psalms 139:9, 10 (New American Standard Bible)



There are many methods of navigation to help find where one is today. All navigation techniques involve locating the position of the navigator, not the destination. There’s Dead Reckoning (projecting a course) Celestial navigation, (setting a course by the planets and stars), Pilotage (based on land and maritime landmarks), Radio and RADAR navigation and satellite global positioning systems (GPS) that can pinpoint a person’s position to within feet. Before the twentieth century navigation was chiefly plotted with instruments called sextants and chronometers; stop watches were added later to give greater precision.

It’s easy to get off course in our relationship with God. Cares of the everyday world can mount; we become desensitized to wickedness around us, we become discouraged or we can get caught up with ‘little sins’ we think God will overlook and finally find ourselves in over our heads. Whatever the reason we sometimes drift off course and lose sight of our First Love wondering why life has become such a burdensome journey.

One of the finer points of Christian navigation is we have an instant Global Positioning System with the Lord. He knows exactly where we are in our lives, where our journey is taking us and in addition He also knows exactly where we will be later today and tomorrow. Being off course and wandering aimlessly can be a miserable experience. While many of us remain on a good course some of us become lost and adrift in a huge salty sea of our own choosing. There is comfort and reassurance in knowing we are following the right track and if we do happen to wander off course at times there is an easy way to return to the track. Getting back on course is as easy as sighting our faith and hope on Christ and taking a new bearing on Him.

Ken

www.devotionstoday.blogspot.com

Monday, August 8, 2011

Benediction


And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you. To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen. 1st Peter 5:10, 11 (New American Standard Bible)



Suffering comes in so many different forms. What one person can endure will bring another to their knees. Why believers have to suffer is still a mystery. The Bible doesn’t give a definition of what suffering is. If it did many who are hurting would be told “That isn’t what suffering is, you need to stop whining and suck it up.” Unfortunately, many people, Christians included, say such unkind things to those who are struggling with their pain. Who’s to say the pain I deal with is no less painful than the pain you deal with? Even a little pain hurts. Pain is personal.

Peter offers a special benediction to believers in pain saying that the grace of God will perfect (complete thoroughly, adjust and repair) our lives. He will confirm us (bring stability), strengthen us (enable through anything) and establish (turn resolutely in a certain direction). God has answers for every phase of what hurts. One thing pain is not is pleasant but God even turns that to our advantage for pain has a way of maturing us in Christ, tempering and hardening our faith when we allow it.

Pain will not always be a problem. The weight of the world will stay with the world. Christ has called us to eternal glory with Himself. The pain we now suffer is but a pinprick compared to the glory we will share with Him. Right now as it throbs within our hearts, spirits and bodies we take heart that it will not last. Even as we are going through it Christ in His grace enables us in every way to get through it. The higher power of glory we shall have far outweighs what we endure now. Repairing of broken lives and situations, stability, strength and a positive direction; Christ sees ahead to what we will have and gives us hope and a way through what we suffer now. That is an encouraging benediction that is both perfect and timeless.

Ken

www.devotionstoday.blogspot.com

Monday, August 1, 2011

Let Your Hot Mic be Cool

Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth. 1st John 3:18 (New American Standard Bible)


One of the most embarrassing things anyone can do after speaking in public is to say something rude and not know their microphone is still on or ‘hot’ as it is sometimes referred to. People in the audience, watching on television or listening to the radio can hear every tactless word. These kinds of gaffs have been made by speakers since the mic was invented and it gives a good insight into the critical nature of humans. It really doesn’t take much practice to become desensitized to being critical. I see it every day on comment pages on the internet and at times I am truly aghast at the cruel remarks made by people toward others.

We tend to talk and act in ways we think God doesn’t hear or if He hears He doesn’t really care. It is very easy for our annoyance to turn to judgment at times simply because a person wears a certain kind of clothes, has too much hair or drives a certain kind of car. It sounds absurd but we know it’s true.

As we practice Christ’s presence daily our hearts and minds will begin to show constraint, understanding and love toward others. We certainly don’t know the hard road a person has traveled that has brought them to where they are. We can only know that the blood of Jesus Christ included all humans, even the vilest person you can think of. Christ died for all. That grace can be the first thing that pops into our mind and obedience can help us remain silent in the urge to disapprove of others. When our ‘mic’ is hot there is a way through the power of Christ that can help us to either be silent or to pray for someone. Why it may even bring us to say something positive about the people we dislike. It is loving in deed and truth. Abiding in Christ can keep our ‘hot mics’ cool.

Ken

www.devotionstoday.blogspot.com

Monday, July 25, 2011

From Travail to Triumph

For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. And not only this, but we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. Romans 8:22, 23 (New American Standard Bible)



Living today can be compared to the guy on the Titanic that said after it hit an ice berg, “Well, it couldn’t get any worse.” Day to day most of us are constantly astounded how horribly things can become when we think it couldn’t possibly get any worse. The evil in the world and its constant rejection of God makes the righteous groan within their spirits and creation groan and travail for redemption.

Jesus foretold exactly how things would be developing in the days just before His second return (Matthew chapter 24, Luke chapter 21). Knowing what He said and watching the evening news can be a real jaw dropper. The point of Him telling us what would be happening was to serve as a sign that when all these things come together and happen to such an extent people begin to take notice His reappearing is imminent.

The way the world is now brings stresses to creation and the entire human race. We would be completely ruined if we knew the great evil of today was to flourish with no hope of ever stopping. The believer’s travail is a deep longing to be out of this world and present with Christ. His Holy Spirit brings to our hearts hope and optimism that His return is real and will be very soon. Even though we are groaning this hope causes us to eagerly await the redemption of our bodies and all creation. The patience of the saints will be rewarded. He will take those who have believed in Him from travail to triumph. He will keep His word; it is just a matter of time.

Ken

www.devotionstoday.blogspot.com

Monday, July 18, 2011

Angels Can't Say

And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” Mark 16:15 (New American Standard Bible)


Why doesn’t God just use His angels to proclaim the Gospel? One of the answers is angels can’t really understand the Gospel experience, yet it is so fascinating to them they long to examine it (1st Peter 1:12). While it is possible for them to repeat the Gospel message they have not experienced it personally. That is only reserved for the human race. Who can explain it better than those who have experienced being brought out of the mire of sin and degradation and had their feet set upon a straight path?

With all the massive global communications today there are still millions in the world who perhaps have heard of Jesus Christ yet know no more about Him than just His name. It’s interesting that the Gospel has been proclaimed to all nations yet for whatever reason there are people who have been denied the truth about Him either through government censorship or religious persecution. There is still a need to share the Gospel with the world and there are thousands of courageous missionaries who are giving up an easier life to bring the good news to those still in spiritual darkness. These men and women are lesser known than some of the great missionaries like Hudson or Livingstone yet their effort and contribution is none the less as important.

Missions are still a vital part of taking the Gospel to the entire world. Some people who work to fulfill the Great Commission do so at the very peril of their lives. In any case they are the touch of Christ’s hands and the bearer of His message of hope. Everyone loves good news and there is extremely good news in the Gospel story. Amazingly it is only shared through human to human interaction. There will be countless people of different nations and tongues who will stand in white robes before the Lamb there through the devotion, sacrifice and love of Christian missionaries. Those who leave home to bring this message to the nations are worthy of the greatest honor. Missions are the vanguard of God’s desire for the nations. Those who take up the call are keys to unlocking the hearts of the nations.

Ken

www.devotionstoday.blogspot.com

Monday, July 11, 2011

Stars in Our Eyes

He counts the number of the stars; He gives names to all of them. Great is our Lord, and abundant in strength; His understanding is infinite. Psalms 147:4-5 (New American Standard Bible)

As we continue to look at Creation and its Creator we turn our eyes toward the heavens. The vast expanse of the universe can be terrifying to contemplate. The speed of light, according to physicists, is the fastest thing in the universe. To travel across the known universe at that speed would take approximately 28 billion years. There are estimated billions of galaxies with diameters hundreds of thousands and possibly millions of light years wide. Our own Milky Way Galaxy is 100,000 light years across estimated to hold 200-400 billion stars. It is part of a local group of galaxies and is one of 200 billion galaxies in the observable universe. Astronomers estimate there are around a million trillion stars. Our own sun is considered to be a small star but gives off more energy in 1 second than mankind has produced since the beginning of history. Yet as ‘small’ as our sun is it would take a million earths to fill it. In comparison the star Arcturus is 20 times larger than our sun. Arcturus is outsized by the red super giant Betelgeuse by 600 times, Betelgeuse being dwarfed some 1500 times by red super giants within the universe.

The Psalmist in considering the heavens asked of God ‘What is man that Thou dost take thought of him? (Psalms 8:4).’ As we consider the creation of the universe we have to wonder at the cause that created it. It was not created by a ‘thing’ for things wear out but was created by someone without beginning or end with the power, knowledge and infinite wisdom to put it all together and hold it in its celestial course. Though the earth is marred by the Curse the Creator’s wisdom, beauty and care are still evident. The immensity of a God who calls 100 billion trillion stars by name is mind numbing. A God that large cannot be boxed by tiny imaginations. God fills the universe and yet is compassionate enough to hear us and care for us individually. He is powerful enough to guide our daily paths and be interested enough to conquer sin and death on our behalf. He would have to be the God of the impossible. This very One who stretches out the heavens like a curtain has made Himself known to us, humanly speaking, in the form of His Only Begotten Son, Christ Jesus. The universe is too large and the stars too numerous to count them all individually but those numbers are as many as His thoughts for us (Psalm 139:17). The heavens declare the glory of God and His special and precious love for us continues to shine like the stars.

Ken

www.devotionstoday.blogspot.com

Monday, July 4, 2011

Like a Bolt

O Lord, how many are Thy works! In wisdom Thou hast made them all; The earth is full of Thy possessions. Psalms 104:24 (New American Standard Bible)


The world around us points to creation and an awesome and mighty Creator. Consider some of the works of His power. In an average thunderstorm millions of gallons of water are dropped equivalent to the amount of water that flows over Niagara Falls in 6 minutes. One lightning bolt can generate 10 million kilowatts of electricity.  This same storm can release enough energy equivalent to the power of a 20 megaton nuclear warhead. Lightning creates its own fertilizer by charging rain drops with nitrogen and hydrogen. God is the creator of all energy and matter. If an average size tree’s mass could be converted into energy and harnessed it would give enough energy to run the electrical needs of the United States for 10 years. A single grain of salt converted to pure energy could run a household for several months. God created the atom which is the foundation of all matter yet is mostly empty space. If an atom could be enlarged to 1 inch its surrounding electrons would be over one and a half miles away. Science knows the makeup of atoms yet as entities that are mostly empty space it is mystified at how they manage to hold all matter together.

DNA is the building block of all life on our planet. It has the densest storage mechanism known in the universe. The amount of DNA the size of a pinhead holds enough information that would fill a stack of books 500 times higher than from here to the moon. We all begin as a single cell no larger than a period. DNA is the engineering plan that tells that tiny cell how to replicate a body with 100 trillion cells with thousands of different cells operating under their own direction and code. Science has found that DNA is self-correcting. Special enzymes constantly scan a DNA molecule looking for problems and making repairs.

These are only a few insights of God’s creation out of millions of examples. He is a lover of life and an astounding engineer. When we contemplate the startling majesty of the universe we can be all the more astounded and appreciative of the shame and reproach the Creator bore for sinful humanity on the cross. Never has a Being so powerful, so holy and so wise deemed to die for anyone, let alone sinful humanity. That sacrifice is so amazing that as we consider it in the quietness of our thoughts it staggers the mind. He is mighty enough to be outside of time while being in it yet He desires to fellowship with us and has shown us how through His Holy word. He reminds us of that every day through His manifold creation. He is. There is no one greater. There is no one who loves us with greater love.

Ken

www.devotionstoday.blogspot.com

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Justice

All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each has turned to his own way; But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him. Isaiah 53:6 (New American Standard Bible)



Back in the days of corporal punishment there’s a beautiful story told of a teacher who had been trying to teach the concept of justice to his class. One of his students was a boy who was unruly and defiant. The teacher had warned the boy repeatedly there would be consequences for his rebellion. One day when the teacher had had enough of the boy’s defiance he called the principal to his class and handed him the discipline paddle. “John,” he said to the student, “you deserve this punishment but today I’m going to take it for you.” To the gasps the students the teacher bent over his desk and let the principal administer John’s punishment to his backside. The boy finally jumped up with tears in his eyes and said “No, I deserved this punishment” and he begged the principal to stop the punishment. When the class had calmed down the teacher crossed his arms and said, “Students that is justice and grace.”

It is an eloquent word picture of what Christ did for us on the cross and the simplicity of it puts a lot of people off. It’s too easy. There ought to be more punishment involved for us to come to Christ. Jesus not only took our beating He paid the full price by also dying as our substitute. Justice was served at the cross resolving the problem of sin. Paul says ‘the free gift of God is eternal life’ (Romans 6:23). The only cost for any human is to believe in what God did at Calvary. When we see it served with deep and personal mercies we can only fall to our knees.

Ken

www.devotionstoday.blogspot.com

Monday, June 20, 2011

K.I.S.S.

But what does it say? "The word is near you, in your mouth and heart”-that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved; for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness and with the mouth confesses, resulting in salvation. Romans 10:8-10) (New American Standard Bible)




I was talking to a person years ago about the Lord and His saving grace. The person had to continually stop me and say, “I don’t understand that. What does it mean?” I realized later that I was talking in terms and words the person had no reference for. I call it ‘Christian Speak.’ We Christians have a whole terminology for speaking of things we know which many of those outside of Christ don’t. For some it is confusing and frustrating. From the point of that conversation with that person my philosophy has been to follow the simple acronym K.I.S.S. Keep It Sweet and Simple.

The main reason we speak of Jesus is to bring people ‘into a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ’ which is a Christian Speak term. That means to bring a seeker into accepting and believing Jesus is God’s way so they can approach God without shame and guilt. Many don’t know what it means to be saved or how to even get there. If you’re reading this and you’ve been wondering and interested in Jesus then this is for you. Salvation is God’s plan of forgiving people of their sins. You see God’s word tells us we are in rebellion against Him and do not naturally seek to know Him. We are born with this anti-God nature and there is no work we can do that can bring us into friendly fellowship with Him. We simply don’t have that kind of spiritual power. The Bible also tells us that the penalty for sin is death. That equates to a miserable life of sinfulness in this life and eternal death when we die. That was mine and your penalty. But the most incredible story in all of human history is that the great and holy God of the universe intentionally took our sin on Himself so we could have a highway to complete fellowship with Him and He did that through the life, death and resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ. Believing on Jesus means you understand the price He paid on the cross for you and you believe in that work of spiritual intervention. Some people feel the need to ask Jesus to forgive their sins through praying a short prayer to God but belief is the foundation. It is a life changing choice that can bring great awe and relief of soul. When Christ cleans up our inner spirit we do want to confess His reality to others.

The message of the cross is a mystery. It can be understood by a five-year-old but some of its message still baffles religious scholars. You aren’t forced to believe in Christ but I ask why not trust Jesus? What do you have to lose? The ease of believing in Christ can be summed up by a great Christian scholar who on his deathbed was asked what the greatest spiritual thing was that he’d ever learned. His reply was “Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so.” That’s not Christian Speak that’s simply the honest truth.

Lord Jesus, I confess at this moment that I need your love and power in my life. I ask you to forgive my sins and make my soul a new creation in You.

Ken

www.devotionstoday.blogspot.com

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Beauty of Boldness

And now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming. 1st John 2:28 (New American Standard Bible)



Many of us grow up being taught through various methods, overt and understated, that we are worthless in the sight of man and God. I have been surprised at how many folks I’ve spoken to that feel that way. That view can bring self-loathing that taints how we respond to Christ and His love. We see ourselves as eligible to have our sins forgiven but after that we only see ourselves standing under the scrutiny of a nitpicky and judgmental God who never approves of us.

Those who abide in Christ are assured they will have complete confidence that on that day we meet Him we will be able to hold our heads up with assurance and happiness. The confidence John speaks of here in the Greek also has the meaning of a ‘bold freedom of speech.’ We can only speak boldly to someone we have confidence in.

While this means future confidence it also communicates how we can relate to God right now. The love and grace Jesus demonstrated reveals the depth and acceptance of God of His children. Communication has been opened to us by God through His Son Jesus Christ. He calls us friends (John 15:15). Friendship with God brings assurance and confidence to approach the Throne of Grace and speak directly and bravely with the King any time we choose. The King’s ear is always open and we are always welcomed to approach in sweet communion. He has great interest in what we have to say and takes the greatest pleasure when we say it in the beauty of boldness.

Ken

www.devotionstoday.blogspot.com

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Kind of Job He'd Do

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God not as a result of works, that no one should boast. Ephesians 2:8,9 (New American Standard Bible)

A minister was holding a tent revival at the turn of the 20th century. As he was preaching one night a drunk entered the tent and weaved his way to the pulpit. “Hey preacher, remember me?” he sneered. “You saved me five years ago.” The minister looked down at the drunk and said, “Yes sir, I have no doubt. You look like the kind of job I’d do.”

Permanent spiritual change only comes through the power of God. The most popular notion is “If I live a good life then God will accept me into heaven.” That kind of thinking is like a sieve for the logic of it soon flows away. When people say that to me I ask, “OK, imagine this; if you knew you would be standing before God's glory and holiness in the next five minutes what would you feel?” The standard response is the person’s eyes get large and they say “I’d be terrified because I know all the bad things I’ve done.” So how bad is bad? Kicking the dog? Losing your temper? Cheating your employer or the IRS? Murder? While some of these things bring more grief they all are all hurtful. And how good is good? Is anything we do powerful enough to hear God say “Wow, what a perfect job you did cleaning up your soul. There is nothing else I need to do for you. Come and live in my presence.” In our hearts we know what it would be like to stand before a Holy and Pure God in our own merit.

We can be positive that anyone who trusts in Christ can come into His presence with total confidence. They will be there not because of any works they’ve done but because of the work of Jesus Christ on the cross. When we see Him face to face He might say “I remember you my righteous one. You’re exactly the kind of job I’d do. Welcome home.”

Ken

www.devotionstoday.blogspot.com