Daily Devotional; formerly Chaplains Corner

Discussion in 'Religious Discussions' started by ampaterry, Apr 24, 2011.

  1. BlackEagle

    BlackEagle Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2011
    Messages:
    10,107
    Location:
    UK
    Jigsaw puzzles. I don't do them very often because they are so addictive. I'm not the type to leave something unfinished. Naturally the edges of the puzzle come together first. I pick up a piece and look for where it might fit. When I can't find the place, I pick up another, then another, and pretty soon half the day has gone if it's a puzzle of any size. But they have their rewards...that small sense of accomplishment when a piece fits in, that sigh of satisfaction when a "chunk" of pieces find its place, and it's nice to see the picture develop as the pieces fall into place. Then there is the great sigh of satisfaction when you fit that last piece in to make the picture complete.

    It occurred to me that we are pieces of God's jigsaw puzzle. Look at the last verses of Hebrews 11. They form an interesting picture.

    39 And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, 40 because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect.

    Perfect: The Greek word means complete. You could say we are pieces of God's jigsaw puzzle. He has the edges put together with the lives of people like Abraham, Sampson, Joshua, Abel, Elijah, Paul, John, and all the other heroes of the Bible, and now He is putting together the interior part of the puzzle with us. Without us the puzzle is not complete. The picture of God's redemptive plan for creation still has holes in it where He intends for us to fit. The picture is not complete without us.

    We all say God has a plan for our lives. But that plan also includes how we will fit into the rest of God's picture, His grand design of things. Each piece of a jigsaw puzzle is unique and helps to form part of the final picture. God has made each of us unique, and He has a unique place for each one of us in His picture, His plan.

    When we were visiting Dad a few years ago we went to see an exhibit of the Chinese Terra Cotta soldiers. Archaeologists estimate there are 8000 clay figures, plus chariots, plus horses. The astounding thing is that each one is different. The time and effort and artistic ability it took to form 8000 man-sized figures and make each different from all the others must have been incredible. Yet God makes each of us different from anyone else who has ever lived before us, and who will live after us. And each one of us has a unique place in God's jigsaw puzzle.

    Psalm 139 describes the care with which God has put us together as individuals, and the fact that He has a place for each of us in His plan.

    13 For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb.
    14 I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.
    15 My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret,
    And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;
    16 Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written
    The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them.


    God has another analogy. We are His building blocks. See what He says in 1 Peter 2: 4 And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God, 5 you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

    We’ve all been involved in construction one way or another over the years. The stone-built houses over here have lasted hundreds of years, and when you look at some of them, the stones are all different sizes and shapes. The builders would have picked up one stone, looked at the building, and decided that this particular place was where that stone should go. Then he picks up another, decides it should go there, and so on and the walls of the building take shape. Each stone has a particular place to be in that building. Without each stone in its place, the building is incomplete. In the same way God is takes each of us and plants us in our place in His building. The big difference is that instead of random choice, God has shaped each of us, prepared each of us, for our place in His building. Instead of being cold grey granite, we are warm, colorful living stones to make a living house of God. Each of us is specially chosen by God, and we are precious in His sight.

    May God bless us as we find the unique place He has for us in His puzzle, His plan for this world, and help to make His picture complete.
     
  2. BlackEagle

    BlackEagle Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2011
    Messages:
    10,107
    Location:
    UK
    Matthew 5 13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.

    We are the salt of the earth. That means we influence more than just ourselves. When God made his covenant with Abraham He said in Genesis 22 "18 In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.” Jesus sent us out into all the world when He commissioned us in Matthew 28. He means for our influence to extend far beyond our own lives.

    Remember how He described the influence of leaven or yeast in Matthew 13? 33 He spoke another parable to them, “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three pecks of flour until it was all leavened.” Leaven is small, but its influence goes throughout the entire lump of dough. It works quietly, behind the scenes, but it makes a big change in that lump of dough. That's what Jesus wants us to do.

    Salt has many uses. For one thing, it's a preservative. In past days, one way to preserve meat was to salt it down. So we as Christians are a preservative to the world around us. Proverbs 14 says 34 Righteousness exalts a nation, But sin is a disgrace to any people. A nation that follows God's ways will prosper. We've seen with sadness and even anger the decline of the US as it tries to kill off God's influence in the nation. The same thing happened to Israel. Israel fell as she rejected God.

    Salt has healing properties, cleansing properties, and a whole host of other uses that our grandparents knew about, but have been forgotten in today's world. But as Christians, God can use us to clean, to heal others around us.a

    To be useful, salt needs to be spread around. When we salt our food we don't put a little pile of it somewhere on the plate, eat it and then eat the rest of the food. The granules of salt do their best job to flavor the food when they are scattered over the entire steak or eggs or whatever. Each granule of salt flavors the area immediately around it. So we as Christians "flavor" our immediate vicinity--neighborhoods, workplace, clubs, local government, schools, you name it...wherever God puts us. I see that happening here big time on this forum. The salt of Christ flavors this entire forum and makes it a great place to be.

    Have you ever noticed people moderating their language when around you? They may even apologize for swearing in your presence. That’s nice, and I am grateful for it. It means they see a difference between me and the rest of the people and they have some respect for that. But I’m not the one they should apologize to. God is the One who hears everything they say (and think) 24/7, 365 days a year, and they should ask His forgiveness. That’s part of what being “salty Christians” means. It also means bringing God’s perspective into life situations we are in. When people are talking about something, it’s easy enough to throw in a verse from Proverbs or some other place in the Bible that simplifies or summarizes the discussion.

    Now there is a warning here also. but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.

    For salt to become tasteless it has to lose something, or become combined with something that takes its character away. It gets compromised somehow. The sodium breaks away from the chloride and links up with something else. Then it's useless. The best thing to do is put it out on the road and hope it keeps the weeds down. That's what we see all too often in churches that have gone PC. We hear platitudes from the pulpit, we hear nice sounding words, but nothing that changes us permanently, nothing that heals us completely, nothing that meets our real needs deep down inside. These churches have lost their savor, along with their Savior. The bond between man and God has been broken. The Sodium or Chloride has combined with the world to produce something tasteless. The best thing for these PC churches is to throw them out and walk all over them.

    Jesus didn't mince words with the church in Sardis there in Revelation 3: 15 ‘I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. 16 So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. The Greek word for "spit" is the word we get emesis, vomit, from. These lukewarm Christians who have lost their savor make Jesus physically sick to His stomach.

    May God grant that we would keep that bond between Him and us tight, unbroken, so we will not lose our saltiness. May God grant that we would add His flavor, preserving, cleansing and healing to the places He has put us into, the people with whom He brings us into contact.
     
    reflex1 likes this.

  3. BlackEagle

    BlackEagle Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2011
    Messages:
    10,107
    Location:
    UK
    Matthew 5 14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; 15 nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

    We call ourselves Christians. That term was coined by the Greeks or Romans almost as a term of derision to refer to the followers of Christ in Antioch. They were "little Christs" back then, and the name has stuck...we are "little Christs" now. So we represent Jesus in this world. We are ambassadors here on earth of His Kingdom.

    Jesus said in John 8 12 ... “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.” So if we follow Jesus, we have His light in us and we become the light of the world, representing Jesus and His good news to the world.

    Now light does a couple of things. It helps me see in the dark. I took a headlamp out to the shed the other night to look for something. So we shed light on the world around us, helping people see things they need to see, helping them to find the right direction to go, helping them to find help.

    Light also has a way of showing up imperfections, dirt, things that need to be fixed or changed. It reveals problems. We use lights to peer into car engines, we use X-rays to see where the bones are broken so they can be fixed. We are the light, representing Christ, shining in the world, showing where it has problems, showing where it needs to be fixed. The trouble is, John 3 says 19 This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. People don't like having their faults brought to light. They would rather stay in the dark because that means they won't have to see their problems and have to deal with them.

    Light attracts attention. If you are in a dark place and someone lights a match your eyes automatically go to look at the light. One of the necessities for a bug out bag and EDC is light of some sort to signal for help and to help see in the dark. Snipers go to great lengths to keep anything from reflecting light and revealing their position. But Jesus says we should take this light that is in us and put it up for all to see. He doesn't want us to be "secret Christians". He wants us to shine so all the world can see us.

    We shine in a couple of ways: by our words, and by our lives. Going back to yesterday's, Colossians 4 says 6 Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person. Ephesians 4 says 29 Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.

    Our lives need to back up our words. The world, totally ignoring its own sets of double standards, loves to examine our lifestyles so they can call us hypocrite. So back to Colossians 4: 5 Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. And 1 Timothy 4 sets the pace for us: 12 Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe. So we need to 16 Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

    I really like what Daniel 12 says: 3 Those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.

    May God bless us with a clear, bright light that attracts people to Him through our words and through our actions. And may God make us shine like the stars forever and ever.
     
    reflex1 likes this.
  4. BlackEagle

    BlackEagle Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2011
    Messages:
    10,107
    Location:
    UK
    When you are looking up to see the bottom

    Samuel Rutherford was pastor of a rural church in southwest Scotland during the turbulent 1600’s. One book he wrote got him into trouble with the church authorities, who exiled him to Aberdeen in the northeast of Scotland. He loved his congregation, pastoring them the way Jesus told Peter to take care of His sheep in John 21. Those were difficult years for him, but God blessed him, his congregation, and now us because from his exile he kept in communication with his flock through a series of letters that have been kept for us to read.

    I like one gem he wrote: You could call it “The secret formula of the saints”. He said “When I am in the cellar of affliction I look for the Lord's choicest wines.”

    And God has a way of providing us His gentle, special comfort when we are in a hole.

    Do you remember what happened to John the Baptist? You remember that he was the man who baptized Jesus in the river Jordan, and in effect introduced Him to the world there in John 1 as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

    He preached plainly, openly, and bluntly. King Herod was offended by what he said and had him thrown in prison there in Luke 3. It must have been very discouraging for him. Then we read this in Luke 7: 18 The disciples of John reported to him about all these things. [All the things Jesus was doing.] 19 Summoning two of his disciples, John sent them to the Lord, saying, “Are You the Expected One, or do we look for someone else?”

    WHAT??? Here’s the man who introduced the Messiah to the world, and he’s wondering if there is someone else we should look forward to? If anyone should have never doubted Jesus, it was John.

    Friends, it doesn’t matter how strong we are in our faith. There can, and will be times when doubts creep in, usually when we are under intense persecution or stress. It’s a thing we can expect to happen. And do you know what? Jesus understood that, and had just the right answer for John. He didn’t chastise him for doubting. He just told the messengers to report back to John what they were seeing.

    Those doubts can also creep in when things are going well for us. God warned Israel to keep their focus on Him at all times, especially when they were prospering because they might start thinking “I made this” and forget that God is the source of all their strength and wealth and ability.

    Back to Jesus’ answer for John:

    20 When the men came to Him, they said, “John the Baptist has sent us to You, to ask, ‘Are You the Expected One, or do we look for someone else?’” 21 At that very time He cured many people of diseases and afflictions and evil spirits; and He gave sight to many who were blind. 22 And He answered and said to them, “Go and report to John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have the gospel preached to them.

    And that’s the answer we need when we are discouraged about our relationship with God, our faith in Him. We need to go back and remember what He has done in our lives. We need to keep our eyes and ears open and see and hear what He has done and is doing in the lives of others, and what He is doing for other people.

    And we need to be ready to tell others about what God has done for us, so we can be an encouragement to others.

    That’s part of what David was saying in Psalm 40: I waited patiently for the Lord; And He inclined to me and heard my cry. 2 He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, And He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm. 3 He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God;

    He gives us a new song to sing to the world when He pulls us up out of some hole, with the end result that

    Many will see and fear And will trust in the Lord.

    That’s the way God is with us. If we are hurting, He heals us. If we are doubting, He reassures us. He said in Isaiah 42 3“A bruised reed He will not break And a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish;

    No…instead those times when we are feeling abandoned by God, when we are in the cellars of affliction, those are the times God has for teaching us some of his greatest lessons, of showing us His love in the most special ways. Those times, as Samuel Rutherford observed, are the times to look for God’s choicest wines.
     
    reflex1 likes this.
  5. BlackEagle

    BlackEagle Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2011
    Messages:
    10,107
    Location:
    UK
    Decisions, decisions.

    We have to make them. Some are small ones—what’s for dinner; which shirt to wear today. Some are intermediate—which car to get? This gun or that one? Some are life changing—should I marry this person; should I take that job?

    God has promised to guide us through life each step of the way. He said in Psalm 119: 105 Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.

    We get the facts about a purchase. We evaluate the facts, see how they stack up. Is this something I need? How will it perform? Is it reliable? Will it do what I need it to do? We get the facts about the company. Does it have a good reputation? How do they treat their employees? Will the salary and benefits meet my needs? What are the working conditions? Can I do the job? We ask the questions, get the answers, mull over the facts, and come to a decision. There is one more step.

    Proverbs 3: says 5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.

    In all our ways acknowledge Him. Whatever we are thinking about doing or getting, or going, we need to ask for God’s confirmation on that decision. Look to Him for that nod of approval. Does He want us to do this, go there, get that?

    We come to a fork in the road of our lives. We need to say in effect, “God, I have as much information about this as I can get, and this is what I think I should do. But I want to be in the center of Your plan for my life, so would You please confirm it by giving me reassurance that this is the right way to go?"

    Proverbs 16 says 3 Commit your works to the Lord And your plans will be established.

    I sometimes go back to the 6-8-10 rule.

    1 Corinthians 6 12 All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything. I can choose to do anything I want, go where I please, but will it be good for me? What will its effect be on me? Will it control me, or will I control it?

    1 Corinthians 8 13 Therefore, if food causes my brother to stumble, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause my brother to stumble. If others see me doing this, how will that affect them? Will it help God’s light to shine through me into the world to draw people to God? If other Christians see me doing this, how will it affect their own relationship with God?

    1 Corinthians 10 31 Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Will this glorify God? Will He be happy with me doing this?

    God told Joshua to saturate himself in His Word in Joshua 1 8 This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.

    If our minds are saturated with God’s Word, even subconsciously we will start seeing things from His perspective and make decisions He approves of. They say it’s a good idea to sleep on a decision. Psalm 16 says 7 I will bless the Lord who has counseled me; Indeed, my mind instructs me in the night.

    Jesus said He would give us a helper in John 14 16 I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; 17 that is the Spirit of truth, He gives us His Holy Spirit to counsel us, to help us understand His Word. His Spirit of truth is that still, small voice that says “go this way” or "Don't do that". Isaiah 30 says 21 Your ears will hear a word behind you, “This is the way, walk in it,” whenever you turn to the right or to the left.

    Two more verses.

    Psalm 73 24 With Your counsel You will guide me, And afterward receive me to glory.

    Psalm 48 14 For such is God, Our God forever and ever; He will guide us until death.

    He will guide us every step of the way through our lives if we ask Him to do that, and if we don’t lean on our own understanding.
     
    reflex1 likes this.
  6. BlackEagle

    BlackEagle Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2011
    Messages:
    10,107
    Location:
    UK
    Matthew 5 17 “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. 18 For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 “For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.

    Jesus says here that He came to make the Law that God gave Moses and Israel all those many years ago complete. He came to fill it full. He did just that on the Cross, when He suffered an eternity of torment on our behalf, taking on Himself the penalty for our sins. But in the next few passages of Matthew 5 he describes what fulfilled law looks like in us, His disciples.

    We used to have an inflatable boat that we would paddle up and down the river. We had a lot of fun in it. The hardest part was inflating it. We would take this shapeless mass of plastic out of the car, spread it out on the ground and start pumping air into it. It would gradually begin to take shape and become recognizable as a boat as we filled it full of air. Jesus came to fill the law full so we could see it for what it really is.

    What He says here implies that there is more to fulfilling the law than just having our slates wiped clean. Our lives need to be cleaner than clean. Jesus said earlier in this chapter that we are the salt of the earth, the light to the world.

    Remember what we saw happening in the churches in Pergamum and Thyatira? Pergamum was harboring someone that was teaching them that it is OK, in fact maybe a good idea to emulate the immorality of the world around them, so they could "fit in". Thyatira had a teacher that was teaching the Christians there that exploring satanic rituals was a good idea because it would give them extra power. Both these ideas are completely wrong when it comes to God's law. God said in the Old Testament that witches and mediums were to be destroyed. He said immorality was wrong. He said idolatry is not to be tolerated. Nothing has changed with the advent of Jesus on this earth. Wrong is still wrong. Someone will ask why we don't still do animal sacrifices. That's a question for another time.

    Jesus was here to show us what it means to fill the law full of meaning for us. First He tells us that whoever says "this is no longer applicable"; or "We can throw that out; God doesn't mean it anymore" will have no place with God. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven. But that’s exactly what churches are doing today when they approve of immoral activities and relationships. They basically cut out portions of God’s Word and say that it is no longer relevant; people and the times have moved on and they need to go with the flow of changing mores in society. They are annulling God’s Commands and God’s Word.

    He then goes on to give us some examples of what a law filled full of meaning looks like in the next few passages.

    The temptation is to say what Paul warned against in Romans 6: 1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? 2 May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? Some people abuse God's grace thinking "It's OK. God will forgive me. He always has before." Trouble is, we are living as light in this world, and as salt. Ongoing sin puts dirt in front of the light; spoils the salt so we are no longer light and salt to the world.

    Having a Holy Christ living in us should make us more acutely aware of the sin that clouds the message Jesus wants to have through our lives. Our consciences should become more sensitive the more we become what God wants us to be.

    We grieve and complain about how our countries are going down the tubes. The only way our countries can be made great again is to bring them back to God’s standards, bring them into compliance with God’s commands.

    May God be gracious to us and keep us from trying to throw any of His commands out. May God grant that we would become great in His Kingdom as we not only keep but also teach His Commands.
     
    reflex1 likes this.
  7. BlackEagle

    BlackEagle Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2011
    Messages:
    10,107
    Location:
    UK
    One of the things Jesus deeply desired for us, and that He prayed for in His last recorded prayer here on earth, was that we would have unity, that we would all be one.

    John 17 20 “I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; 21 that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.

    That does not mean that we are to be clones of each other. God makes that abundantly clear in 1 Corinthians 12 12 For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.

    Just think about your body. You have a head. On that head are a couple of ears, a nose, a mouth, a couple of eyes, maybe some hair; inside that head are nerves, bones, blood vessels, and hopefully some brains. Then there are the arms, hands, legs, feet, toes, fingers, all the internal organs. All of these go to make up a human body. They are all different from each other, yet they go together to make up a single body. The body would be incomplete without any one of these individual components.

    So God says 15 If the foot says, “Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear says, “Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be?

    You can’t have a body that is all eye, or all nose. A body is incomplete if it is missing a hand or a leg. And a foot can’t unilaterally up and decide that since it doesn’t look like a hand or a head or an ear it is no longer a part of the body and cut itself off from that body.

    Likewise, every part of the body has its own function…eyes for seeing, ears for hearing, hands for handling things, feet for walking and kicking, and so on.

    Now, we are all members of Christ’s body. We are not clones of each other. We all complement each other; all together we form a complete body. What one member doesn’t have or can’t do, another member does. God equips each of us for our particular task in His body.

    It’s as we do that task that we find real fulfillment in life. We are doing what we are meant to be doing, and God makes us able to excel in that task. Our task may be running the sound board; it may be cleaning the church; it may be preaching or praying or leading the singing; it may be counselling; it may be giving.

    Just as our bodies have a million and one components, so God’s body has a trillion and one components and He has designed each of us to fit into His body in a particular way to do a particular, unique task.

    Hebrews 10 24 and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, 25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.

    Two things from this:

    1. We have to work at it. We have to take time to think, consider, how we can add our own bit into what God is doing. I like to sing; I like to sing harmony. Everyone else is singing the melody; I like to add something that complements the music—bass, tenor if I know the music and it’s in my vocal range. (Some would say it's a very unique bass, if they are being kind!!) I also like to fit into God’s body the same way…adding something slightly different from everyone else, that complements the entire work. We each have to put some thought into what our unique contribution to God’s work is.

    2. We have to be in God’s body to be able to do this. We must be part of a fellowship of other Christians. I can sing bass but it is meaningless if I’m not part of a quartet or choir or congregation. Without me the quartet is missing a bass, is missing part of the complete sound. We need to be in the fellowship of the Church in order to find the thing God has for us to do. Without us the body is missing one of its parts.

    Each of us makes our unique contribution, plays our own specific part in the body of Christ. 1 Peter 2 says 5 you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. Each of us is a living stone and God has just the perfect place for us in His body, His spiritual house.

    We need to be part of a local church to have fellowship with other Christians, in order obey God when He says in Colossians 3 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

    May God bless us richly as we find how to make our own unique place in God’s body and fit in, in obedience to Him.
     
  8. Rewind

    Rewind Active Member

    Joined:
    May 18, 2017
    Messages:
    59
    Location:
    Mississippi
    Thank you, well written.
     
    BlackEagle likes this.
  9. BlackEagle

    BlackEagle Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2011
    Messages:
    10,107
    Location:
    UK
    Thanks, Rewind.

    He knows us by name

    I am really bad with names. I did take a Dale Carnegie course, and in it he emphasized how important a person’s name is to him, and if you want to win friends and influence people, learn their names and use their names when talking to them. One of the best things a person can hear all day is someone greeting them by name. I try…but all too often I just can’t remember. That’s my weak mind and memory.

    But God knows our names and uses them. Do you remember that scene in the Old Testament when God wanted to get one young kid’s attention? It happened in 1 Samuel 3. The boy Samuel was working in the House of the Lord. One night as he was getting ready to go to sleep, he heard a voice calling “Samuel, Samuel.” He got up, went to Eli, the high priest and his boss, to find out what he wanted. Eli said “I didn’t call you. Go back to bed”. The same thing happened again, and then the third time, Eli finally cottoned on and figured God was calling to Samuel, and told him what to do.

    Now here’s a really intriguing thing. Samuel was living and working in the Temple there in Shiloh but it says 7 Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, nor had the word of the Lord yet been revealed to him. If anyone should have known God, it should have been the people working in God’s House. But do you know, there are many people working in the churches around the world today that do not know God, and have not had the word of the LORD revealed to them. Those are what Jesus calls the “wolves in sheep’s clothing”. He also calls them thieves and robbers. They are false prophets because they do not know God or His Word, and they do not proclaim that from the pulpits.

    There’s something else here. Samuel didn’t know God, but God knew him. And that’s the way it is with all of us. Even before we know God, He knows us, by name. That’s what Romans 8 says: 9 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, … 30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.

    Isaiah 43 says it this way: 1But now, thus says the Lord, your Creator, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel, “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine!

    He has our names with Him all the time. Check out Isaiah 49 (He’s talking about Jerusalem here, but He is also talking about all of His people.) 16 “Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; Your walls are continually before Me.

    God knew us before we knew Him. He chose us (predestined us), and He called us. He justified us, made us right with Himself through the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross for our sins, so that He could glorify us.

    But God called Samuel by his name to get his attention. And He knows us and calls us by name, to get our attention, to show how much He loves us, to show how well He knows us, as individuals, not as a “mass of humanity” or part of a larger group of people. God doesn’t have my memory problem with names. When someone calls you by name, you are much more likely to respond to them, instead of reacting to someone yelling “Hey You!!”

    Jesus talked about this in John 10 3 To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice.

    Jesus calls each of us by name; we hear His voice, and respond to Him, to His voice.

    You want an example of that? Go to John 20. Jesus’ body had been buried. That first Easter Mary and some other women went down to the tomb to tend to his body and found the tomb empty. She was heartbroken, grieving because her Lord had been executed, and now she couldn’t find His body to give Him the tender care she wanted to give Him.

    There was some guy standing nearby whom Mary took to be the gardener, and she asked him where they had taken his body. At that point 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to Him in Hebrew, “Rabboni!” (which means, Teacher). She knew His voice!! Can you imagine the sudden joy that flooded her as she recognized Him and cried out that one word Rabboni? Her tears of grief suddenly turned to tears of joy as she heard His voice call her name.

    That’s what God has in store for each of us as He calls each of us by name. He can take whatever tears of grief we are shedding and turn them to tears of joy if we will hear, listen to His voice as He calls us by our names.
     
    reflex1 likes this.
  10. BlackEagle

    BlackEagle Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2011
    Messages:
    10,107
    Location:
    UK
    Greater is He who is in you...

    The War of the Worlds. Everyone remembers that. H. G. Wells wrote it in 1897. Then in 1938 I suppose it became the first piece of fake news to cause widespread panic across the eastern seaboard of the US when Mercury Theatre on the Air broadcast it on Halloween. As the story goes, Martians invaded the earth and, ensconced in their machines, destroyed cities, killed thousands of people, and defied military forces. They couldn’t be stopped by anything man could throw at them.

    Then when all seemed lost and the invaders seemed to have conquered all, everything went quiet. Those remaining ventured out to find that the Martians were all dead, killed by bacterial infection. The line in the story is "slain, after all man's devices had failed, by the humblest things that God, in his wisdom, has put upon this earth."

    I was reading 2 Corinthians 12 this morning. Paul has reviewed his amazing experiences as an apostle—shipwrecks, beatings, imprisonments, starvation, poverty, and special revelations. Then he says God gave him a thorn in his side to keep him from becoming proud. 9 And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10 Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.

    Paul learned that only when he is small in his own eyes can God use him in great ways, because it is not Paul who is doing the work, it is God doing it through him.

    And God really loves to use the small things in the world to show His power, His authority. Jesus called us salt. We are tiny granules of a substance that has a great effect on the world around us. A little salt melts ice. A little salt preserves meat. A little salt flavors food. A little salt dissolved in water can help gargle a sore throat away. As Christians, even though we may be small, spread thin, we still have a preserving, healing, effect on society around us. We add God’s flavor to society.

    Jesus called us yeast, little organisms that, when mixed into flour, make bread. The yeast quietly multiplies throughout the lump of dough, transforming it. As Christians, we quietly spread throughout society, multiplying, and transforming the lives of people around us. Only it’s not us that do the transforming, it’s God who does it through us.

    Look at 2 Corinthians 4 7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves;

    When we become Christians, we become hosts to a great treasure—the treasure of the Good News of the Gospel. People in the world want peace? God gives peace. He gives the peace of a cleared conscience because we have forgiveness of our sins through the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross for us. He gives us the peace of an open relationship with Him, no longer blocked by sin that would stand between us and Him.

    People want satisfaction in life? God gives us a purpose in life that brings greater satisfaction than all the money and power and possessions in the world can bring.

    People want joy and happiness? Jesus brings us new joy that comes with a new relationship with Him.

    We have a great treasure that, whether it realizes it or not, the world is desperate to find.

    It is also a powerful treasure. Remember Romans 1? 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

    That same power God used to create the universe and everything in it is the power God uses to create new life, eternal life, in each of us. He transforms our lives from what we were to what He wants us to be. We house this treasure in our bodies, in our lives. And God means us to spread it around. It is a treasure that, the more we try to give it away, the more God gives us to give.

    But, and this is a major “but”. It needs to be God who works through us. Paul could have become proud of his ability to spread the gospel, to convince people to turn to God. That’s why God gave him that thorn in his side—to remind him that God needs to do the work through him. It’s not Paul’s work. It’s God working through him. So Paul says in Ephesians 6 10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.

    It’s not “be strong in your own strength and skills and dedicate them to God’s service”. It’s “be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might.”

    And guess what? That power God has for us is infinite. Just think about Colossians 1 11 strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously 12 giving thanks to the Father…

    It makes us able to say Philippians 4 13 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. When God gives us a task, He will give us the means, the ability, the strength to do it. We just need to be alert to His provision and not squander it on temptation.

    We need to use His resources for His purposes. That’s part of what Paul is saying in Colossians 1 29 For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me.

    Yep. We may be small, few, weak, and stretched thin. The task God gives us may seem impossible from our perspective. The world is a dangerous, hostile place, especially for Christians. But just remember…1 John 4 4 You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.
     
    reflex1 likes this.
  11. Rae Harrison

    Rae Harrison Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2017
    Messages:
    95
    Location:
    Ferndale California
    I really don't want to share my problems...... just please pray for me....... thanks.
     
  12. BlackEagle

    BlackEagle Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2011
    Messages:
    10,107
    Location:
    UK
    Gladly, Rae. We do have a Prayer Requests thread here, and people actively read it and pray for each other, and you are more than welcome to put your prayer requests there as well.

    For now, Father, I pray that you would show Rae your answers to her problems. Help her as she learns to look to You for answers for her difficulties, and also finds help to do that from other Christians and Your Word. You know her needs even better than she does, and Your Spirit will help us all as we pray for her and as she prays...You said in Romans 8 26 In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; 27 and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

    You have promised that you would bring us through the valley of the shadow of death, not just dump us in it. Now, I ask that You would let Rae know You are holding her by the hand, leading her through whatever valley she is in now and reassure her. Grant her Your peace. You said in Philippians 4: 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

    Father, I pray that Rae would grab Your promises here with both hands and hang on for dear life.

    In Jesus' name, Amen.
     
    reflex1, One Shot and Rae Harrison like this.
  13. BlackEagle

    BlackEagle Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2011
    Messages:
    10,107
    Location:
    UK
    Watch out for each other

    One of the things I really like about this forum is how we watch out for each other. If someone new to reloading wants load information, members of the forum jump in with helpful advice. Someone asks advice about getting a new gun, car, tires, knife, where to go on vacation, whatever, members of the forum are more than willing to share their insights and experiences. If someone has a problem, forum friends offer their help, sympathy, prayers. We are about helping others, building each other up. Someone has a prayer request, we jump in and pray. And we see how God answers those prayers.

    That’s the kind of thing God is talking about in Romans 15: Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves. 2 Each of us is to please his neighbor for his good, to his edification.

    Each of us is to please his neighbor for his good. God is talking about building relationships with our “neighbors”. Do you remember how Jesus defined “neighbor” in Luke 10? That’s where He told the parable of the Good Samaritan. The Samaritan, an “untouchable” to the Jews, was the one who helped the Jew who had been mugged. He just happened along and turned into a good neighbor. Our neighbors are the people God brings us into contact with, people who have needs that God can meet through us.

    Each of us is to please, help, his neighbor for his good. Now, we can go about “helping” people in such a way as to increase their dependence on us. That’s called facilitating. It only really works out to make us feel good, because we build up a large following of people dependent on us. Psychologists revel in that. They offer a listening ear and sympathy for an hour, then a new appointment for next week and a huge consultation bill. That gives the patient a short-term good feeling but it doesn’t solve his real problem.

    However the best way to help people is to teach them to solve their own problems. You know the saying, “Give a man a fish and feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”. The best way we can help people is to help them learn to find God’s answers to their problems in His Word, to teach them how to let Him work in their lives, teach them how to go fishing in God’s Word. The best way we can please, or help our neighbor is to wean him off ourselves and onto God’s Word.

    Back to reloading, we could just hand out pet loads, but that is dangerous. Our best advice is to teach the newbie to go do his research in the reloading manuals and find out what the manufacturers recommend. That way he knows how to develop new loads for new rounds, and he learns to help himself when we aren’t around. In just the same way we need to teach, first ourselves, then others, to find God’s answers, God’s help for problems and life situations in “the manufacturer’s manual”—the Bible.

    For his good. We could pander to his appetites, help him find excuses for his problems and just put a band-aid over the cancer in his life. A girl gets pregnant, offer abortion. Afraid of getting aids or some other STD? Find a pill that will prevent that. Depressed? Another pill. Angry? Find people to blame. Bankrupt? Get welfare from the government. That may please people, but it doesn’t do them any good. The underlying problems have not been fixed.

    We need to go to work with the scalpel of God’s Word to cut out that cancer, deal with the underlying problems. That is the real good.

    Each of us is to please his neighbor to his edification. I like the Greek word for edification. It’s oikodomay (οίκοδομή). It means to “build a house”.

    Paul talked about building materials in 1 Corinthians 3. We can build with cheap materials like wood and hay and straw, or we can build with expensive materials like gold, silver, precious stones. The wood, hay and straw are cheap, plentiful, easily found and easily worked…and don’t stand up to the test of time or trials. So much for human ideas and ways of helping, pleasing people. They are plentiful (everyone has his own ideas of what is best), cheap, and easily molded to whatever popular notions are prevailing at the time.

    Gold, silver, precious stones are rare and expensive and harder to work…but they will stand the test of time and trials. Those materials come from mining into God’s Word, and never change. So if we are going to build into a person’s life, see him edified, built up properly so that he won’t fall apart at the first storms that come into his life, we need to get the materials from God’s Word, the Bible.

    Building with gold, silver, precious stones means watching what we say. God says in Ephesians 4 29 Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. That should cut our comments down by at least half.

    Looking out for others means we are just following in Jesus’ footsteps when we do that. 3 For even Christ did not please Himself;

    Philippians 2 says 3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; 4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. 5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.

    And it means putting our egos down. 2 Corinthians 13 9 For we rejoice when we ourselves are weak but you are strong; this we also pray for, that you be made complete.

    May God bless us richly as we become skilful in pleasing our neighbors for their real good, and help to build them up, edify, them.
     
    reflex1, One Shot and Rae Harrison like this.
  14. Rae Harrison

    Rae Harrison Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2017
    Messages:
    95
    Location:
    Ferndale California
  15. Rae Harrison

    Rae Harrison Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2017
    Messages:
    95
    Location:
    Ferndale California
    That verse in Phill. Was at my sweet Stephen's service
     
    BlackEagle likes this.
Similar Threads
Forum Title Date
Religious Discussions Daily verse and comment Jan 21, 2012
Religious Discussions Funny thing happened on the way to the devotional this morning - Oct 4, 2012