20 But you did not learn Christ in this way, 21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, 22 that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, - Ephesians 4:20-22 (NASB)
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
You, however, are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God lives in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. - Romans 8:9 (HCSB)
Energy Under Control
A harnessed horse contributes much more to life than a wild donkey. Energy out of control is dangerous; energy under control is powerful. God does not discipline us to subdue us, but to condition us for a life of usefulness and blessedness. In His wisdom He knows that an uncontrolled life is an unhappy life, so He puts reins on our wayward souls that they may be directed into the “paths of righteousness.” That is what God seeks to do with us; to tame us, to bring us under proper control, to redirect our energies. He does in the spiritual realm what science does in the physical realm. Science takes a Niagara River with its violent turbulence and transforms it into electrical energy to illuminate a million homes and to turn the productive wheels of industry.
Direct all my energy, Father, so that I may be a blessing to others.
- Billy Graham
If, then, ye were raised with the Christ, the things above seek ye, where the Christ is, on the right hand of God seated, - Colossians 3:1 (YLT)
Distance Makes the Heart Grow Fonder
Have you ever been separated from someone you love? A boyfriend or girlfriend whom you have not seen in three or four months? Wait until you see each other! My wife and I have said goodbyes to each other; but when we met again, it was a honeymoon all over again. And that is what it will be like on that glorious day when Jesus Christ comes. We will be caught up in the air to meet Him, and it will be like two lovers coming together. What hope we have!
Lord Jesus, when You come again, how many hearts will rejoice. Until then, with expectant anticipation I eagerly wait for that glorious day!
- Billy Graham
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
making the most of the time, because the days are evil. - Ephesians 5:16 (NRSV)
Practice Good Stewardship
We are stewards of our time. God has given each one of us a little “chunk of eternity” called time. These golden moments of opportunity are doled out to us for our benefit and for God’s glory. If we use them wisely, they are woven by God’s omnipotent hand into the fabric of eternity. Henry Thoreau cautioned, “You cannot kill time without injuring eternity.”
“He who has no vision of eternity,” said Carlyle, “has no hold on time.”
“Only one life, ’twill soon be past; only what’s done for Christ will last” is the sentiment of every man who desires to be a good steward of his time. We are entrusted with a small portion of the capital of time. If we invest it wisely, it will pay dividends throughout eternity.
Take away my procrastinating nature—how easy it is for me to waste time. I want to be able to leave a legacy of time spent for You, Lord, because that is eternal.
- Billy Graham
Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. - 1 John 3:1 (AKJV)
Cast Your Cares
As God’s children, we are His dependents. The Bible says, “Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear Him.” Dependent children spend little time worrying about meals, clothing, and shelter. They assume, and they have a right to, that all will be provided by their parents. Because God is responsible for our welfare, we are told to cast all our care upon Him, for He careth for us.Because we are dependent upon God, Jesus said, “Let not your heart be troubled.” God says, “I’ll take care of the burden—don’t give it a thought—leave it to me.” Dependent children are not backward about asking for favors. They would not be normal if they did not boldly make their needs known. God is keenly aware that we are dependent upon Him for life’s necessities. It was for that reason that He said, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.”
How magnificent, almighty Father, that I, dependently, can rely on You to take the burden of my heart!
- Billy Graham
The Spirit of Truth and the Spirit of Error
4 Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to determine if they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
2 This is how you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit who confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God. 3 But every spirit who does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist; you have heard that he is coming, and he is already in the world now.
4 You are from God, little children, and you have conquered them, because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. 5 They are from the world. Therefore what they say is from the world, and the world listens to them. 6 We are from God. Anyone who knows God listens to us; anyone who is not from God does not listen to us. From this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of deception.
Knowing God through Love
7 Dear friends, let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 The one who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent His One and Only Son into the world so that we might live through Him. 10 Love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.11 Dear friends, if God loved us in this way, we also must love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God. If we love one another, God remains in us and His love is perfected in us.
13 This is how we know that we remain in Him and He in us: He has given assurance to us from His Spirit. 14 And we have seen and we testify that the Father has sent His Son as the world’s Savior. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God—God remains in him and he in God. 16 And we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and the one who remains in love remains in God, and God remains in him.
17 In this, love is perfected with us so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment, for we are as He is in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; instead, perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment. So the one who fears has not reached perfection in love. 19 We love because He first loved us.
Keeping God’s Commands
20 If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For the person who does not love his brother he has seen cannot love the God he has not seen. 21 And we have this command from Him: The one who loves God must also love his brother.
- 1 John 4 (HCSB)
But if you suffer because you are a Christian, do not be ashamed. ·Praise [Glorify] God ·because you wear that name [or because you are called by his name; L in that name]. - 1 Peter 4:16 (EXB)
Courage to Stand
A great problem in America is that we have an anemic and watered-down Christianity that has produced an anemic, watered-down, and spineless Christian who is not willing to stand up and be counted on every issue. We must have a virile, dynamic, aggressive Christian who lives Christ seven days a week, who is ready to die, if necessary, for his faith. We need Christians who are ethical, honest, gracious, bold, strong, and devoted followers of the Lord Jesus Christ.
I realize how spineless and pampered my Christian walk is. Give me Your courage, Lord Jesus, to follow You more devotedly.
- Billy Graham
And Noah doth according to all that God hath commanded him; so hath he done. - Genesis 6:22 (YLT)
Salvation Through Trust
One day God spoke to Noah about the wickedness of the human race. The actions of men and women grieved Him to the heart. God said that He intended to send a flood that would destroy mankind, and He told Noah to build an ark to save his household and the animals. The Bible says that Noah believed God. Now Noah had never seen a flood. He had never seen a 40-day rain. He had no weather map, no satellite photograph or meteorologist to tell him that a big storm was coming. All he had to go on was the Word of God. But when the flood came, Noah was spared and saved with his family, and the rest of the generation was swept away. Noah was saved because he put his trust in God. The days of Noah are returning to earth, and a catastrophe as great as the flood awaits those who refuse to enter into the ark of salvation, which is Jesus Christ.
Forgive me, Father—so often I question, when I should be trusting You, like Noah.
- Billy Graham
Monday, July 21, 2014
for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His children.’ - Acts 17:28 (NASB)
Keep Moving Forward
When I was seven years old, my father bought me my first bicycle. I had never ridden one. Patiently, my family and friends tried to teach me the art of cycling. I soon found out there was one thing I must do if I was to stay on the bicycle—keep moving forward. If I ceased to go forward, I would fall and hurt myself. So it is in the Christian life. We can never live this life on the highest plane unless we are continually growing and moving forward. You should be closer to God today in heart, soul, and body, than at any other time so far in your life.
Lord, I have progressed far too slowly in my pilgrim walk with You. Might I be drawn closer to the light of Your love and grace.
- Billy Graham
24 As Jesus was leaving the Temple grounds, his disciples came along and wanted to take him on a tour of the various Temple buildings.
2 But he told them, “All these buildings will be knocked down, with not one stone left on top of another!”
3 “When will this happen?” the disciples asked him later, as he sat on the slopes of the Mount of Olives. “What events will signal your return and the end of the world?”
4 Jesus told them, “Don’t let anyone fool you. 5 For many will come claiming to be the Messiah and will lead many astray. 6 When you hear of wars beginning, this does not signal my return; these must come, but the end is not yet. 7 The nations and kingdoms of the earth will rise against each other, and there will be famines and earthquakes in many places. 8 But all this will be only the beginning of the horrors to come.
9 “Then you will be tortured and killed and hated all over the world because you are mine, 10 and many of you shall fall back into sin and betray and hate each other. 11 And many false prophets will appear and lead many astray. 12 Sin will be rampant everywhere and will cool the love of many. 13 But those enduring to the end shall be saved.
14 “And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations will hear it, and then, finally, the end will come.
15 “So, when you see the horrible thing (told about by Daniel* the prophet) standing in a holy place (Note to the reader: You know what is meant!*), 16 then those in Judea must flee into the Judean hills. 17 Those on their porches must not even go inside to pack before they flee. 18 Those in the fields should not return to their homes for their clothes.
19 “And woe to pregnant women and to those with babies in those days. 20 And pray that your flight will not be in winter, or on the Sabbath. 21 For there will be persecution such as the world has never before seen in all its history and will never see again.
22 “In fact, unless those days are shortened, all mankind will perish. But they will be shortened for the sake of God’s chosen people.
23 “Then if anyone tells you, ‘The Messiah has arrived at such and such a place, or has appeared here or there,’ don’t believe it. 24 For false Christs shall arise, and false prophets, and will do wonderful miracles so that if it were possible, even God’s chosen ones would be deceived. 25 See, I have warned you.
26 “So if someone tells you the Messiah has returned and is out in the desert, don’t bother to go and look. Or, that he is hiding at a certain place, don’t believe it! 27 For as the lightning flashes across the sky from east to west, so shall my coming be, when I, the Messiah, return. 28 And wherever the carcass is, there the vultures will gather.
29 “Immediately after the persecution of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give light, and the stars will seem to fall from the heavens, and the powers overshadowing the earth will be convulsed.*
30 “And then at last the signal of my coming will appear in the heavens, and there will be deep mourning all around the earth. And the nations of the world will see me arrive in the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. 31 And I shall send forth my angels with the sound of a mighty trumpet blast, and they shall gather my chosen ones from the farthest ends of the earth and heaven.
32 “Now learn a lesson from the fig tree. When her branch is tender and the leaves begin to sprout, you know that summer is almost here. 33 Just so, when you see all these things beginning to happen, you can know that my return is near, even at the doors. 34 Then at last this age will come to its close.
35 “Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words remain forever. 36 But no one knows the date and hour when the end will be—not even the angels. No, nor even God’s Son. Only the Father knows.
37-38 “The world will be at ease—banquets and parties and weddings—just as it was in Noah’s time before the sudden coming of the Flood; 39 people wouldn’t believe what was going to happen until the Flood actually arrived and took them all away. So shall my coming be.
40 “Two men will be working together in the fields, and one will be taken, the other left. 41 Two women will be going about their household tasks; one will be taken, the other left.
42 “So be prepared, for you don’t know what day your Lord is coming.
43 “Just as a man can prevent trouble from thieves by keeping watch for them, 44 so you can avoid trouble by always being ready for my unannounced return.
45 “Are you a wise and faithful servant of the Lord? Have I given you the task of managing my household, to feed my children day by day? 46 Blessings on you if I return and find you faithfully doing your work. 47 I will put such faithful ones in charge of everything I own!
48 “But if you are evil and say to yourself, ‘My Lord won’t be coming for a while,’ 49 and begin oppressing your fellow servants, partying and getting drunk, 50 your Lord will arrive unannounced and unexpected, 51 and severely whip you and send you off to the judgment of the hypocrites; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
- Matthew 24 (TLB)
26-31 For look at your own calling as Christians, my brothers. You don’t see among you many of the wise (according to this world’s judgment) nor many of the ruling class, nor many from the noblest families. But God has chosen what the world calls foolish to shame the wise; he has chosen what the world calls weak to shame the strong. He has chosen things of little strength and small repute, yes and even things which have no real existence to explode the pretensions of the things that are—that no man may boast in the presence of God. Yet from this same God you have received your standing in Jesus Christ, and he has become for us the true wisdom, a matter, in practice, of being made righteous and holy, in fact, of being redeemed. And this makes us see the truth of scripture: ‘He who glories, let him glory in the Lord. - 1 Corinthians 1:26-31 (PHILLIPS)
Jerusalem’s Salvation Is Coming
62 For Zion’s sake I will not remain silent.
For Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest,
until its righteousness shines like the dawn
and its salvation burns brightly like a torch.
2 The nations will see your righteousness.
All kings will see your glory.
You will be given a new name
that the Lord will announce.
3 Then you will be a beautiful crown in the hand of the Lord,
a royal crown in the hand of your God.
4 You will no longer be called Deserted,
and your land will no longer be called Destroyed.
But you will be named My Delight,
and your land will be named Married.
The Lord is delighted with you,
and your land will be married.
5 As a young man marries a woman,
so your sons will marry you.
As a bridegroom rejoices over his bride,
so your God will rejoice over you.
6 I have posted watchmen on your walls, Jerusalem.
They will never be silent day or night.
Whoever calls on the Lord, do not give yourselves any rest,
7 and do not give him any rest until he establishes Jerusalem
and makes it an object of praise throughout the earth.
8 The Lord has sworn with his right hand and with his mighty arm,
“I will never again let your enemies eat your grain,
nor will foreigners drink the new wine which you made.”
will eat it and praise the Lord.
Those who gather grapes
will drink wine in my holy courtyards.
10 Go through! Go through the gates!
Prepare a way for the people!
Build up! Build up the highway!
Clear away the stones!
Raise a flag for the people!
11 The Lord has announced to the ends of the earth:
“Tell my people Zion,
‘Your Savior is coming.
His reward is with him,
and the people he has won arrive ahead of him.’”
12 They will be called Holy People, Those Reclaimed by the Lord,
and you will be called Sought After, a City Not Deserted.- Isaiah 62 (GW)