Growing together in the Spirit of Jesus Christ...

"Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another - and all the more as you see the Day approaching." - Hebrews 10:25 NIV

Saturday, April 30, 2011

April 30, 2011 (unspeakeable wonder)


unspeakable wonder
photo by Lee Keefer

“The proper understanding
of everything in life
begins with God.
No one will ever understand
the necessity of conversion
who does not know
why God created us.
He created us ‘in His image’
so that we would image forth
His glory in the world.
We were made to be prisms
refracting the light of God’s glory
into all of life.
Why God should want to give us
a share in shining with His glory
is a great mystery.
Call it grace or mercy or love –
it is an unspeakable wonder.
Once we were not. Then we existed –
for the glory of God!”
- John Piper

Friday, April 29, 2011

April 29, 2011 (His faithfulness)


His faithfulness

“Children of God... will you not bear witness,
that, through all your trials and troubles,
the faithfulness of your Savior's love
has been the ‘very joy of your hearts?’
You have had many crosses and losses –
has He ever deserted you?
You have been in severe afflictions,
and have seen the flowers
of many a “sweet hope” wither and decay –
did your Friend desert you then?
Others may have proved faithless –
all other help may have failed you –
friendship’s help, promised help, expected help –
all, all may have been
but as the foam upon the billow,
as the footsteps in the sand –
but, has Christ ever failed you?
Could you, in the darkest
and the saddest hour of your grief,
say to Him?
‘Lord, You have promised what You did not perform.’
Will you not bear witness concerning the past? –
‘Not one good thing has failed,
of all that the Lord has promised –
all has come to pass.’”
- John MacDuff

Thursday, April 28, 2011

April 28, 2011 (His fingerprints)


His fingerprints
photo by: Dolores Myers

“God has left the indelible mark
of His fingerprints all across
the vast face of the universe...
This revelation is sufficiently clear
and inescapable that it renders all
without excuse (see Rom. 1:20).
Consequently, there is no such thing as
‘an innocent native in Africa’
any more than there is
‘an innocent pagan in America’...
The problem is not a lack of evidence.
The problem is the innate, natural,
moral antipathy of mankind to God.
The problem is not that the evidence
is not open to mankind.
The problem is that mankind
is not open to the evidence.”
- Sam Storms

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

April 27, 2011 (let the bells ring)


let the bells ring

“Love [so some say] is supposed to start
with bells ringing
and go downhill from there.
But it was the opposite for me.
There's an intense connection between us,
and as we stayed together,
the bells rang louder
[and more sweetly].”
- Author Unknown

“When love is felt, the message is heard.”
- Jim Vaus

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

April 26, 2011 (In Christ)


In Christ

“In Christ we have a love
that can never be fathomed;
a life that can never die;
a righteousness that can never be tarnished;
a peace that can never be understood;
a rest that can never be disturbed;
a joy that can never be diminished;
a hope that can never be disappointed;
a glory that can never be clouded;
a light that can never be darkened;
a happiness that can never be interrupted;
a strength that can never be enfeebled;
a purity that can never be defiled;
a beauty that can never be marred;
a wisdom that can never be baffled;
and resources that can never be exhausted.”
- Author Unknown

Monday, April 25, 2011

April 25, 2011 (to fulfill a certain end)


to fulfill a certain end

“There may be circumstances in your earthly lot
which at this moment are peculiarly trying.
You look around and wonder
how this or that circumstance will terminate.
At present it looks very dark -
clouds and mists hang over it,
and you fear lest these clouds may break,
not in showers upon your head,
but burst forth in the lightning flash
and the thunder stroke!
But all things are put in subjection under Christ's feet!
That which you dread cannot take place
except by His sovereign will -
nor can it move any further
except by His supreme disposal.
Then make yourself quiet.
He will not allow you to be harmed.
That frowning providence shall only
execute His sovereign purposes,
and it shall be among those all things which,
according to His promise,
shall work together for your good.
None of our trials come upon us by chance!
They are all appointed in weight and measure -
are all designed to fulfill a certain end.
And however painful they may at present be,
yet they are intended for your good.
When the trial comes upon you,
what a help it would be for you
if you could view it thus,
‘This trial is sent for my good.
It does not spring out of the dust.
The Lord Himself is the supreme disposer of it.
It is very painful to bear;
but let me believe that
He has appointed me this peculiar trial,
along with every other circumstance.
He will bring about His own will therein,
and either remove the trial,
or give me patience under it,
and submission to it.”
- J.C. Philpot

Sunday, April 24, 2011

April 24, 2011 (He is risen!)


He is risen!

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.
Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.
You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.
Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”
- Romans 8:1-17 NIV

Saturday, April 23, 2011

April 23, 2011 (the way of escape)


the way of escape

“Along with everybody on the face of the earth,
you are constantly sinful.
These thousands of sinful thoughts, words,
and actions cause the perfectly holy God
to judge you as deserving of hell.
But Christ’s death
in the place of sinful people,
as a true substitute,
provides the way of escape.
God pardons the one who comes to Him
because Jesus took the punishment in his place.
In simple terms we may say
that the just penalty for sins
either falls on you or Christ.”
- Jim Elliff

“He came to pay a debt He did not owe,
because we owed a debt we could not pay.”
- Author Unknown

Friday, April 22, 2011

April 22, 2011 (the common dandelion)


the common dandelion

“It gives one a sudden start
in going down a barren, stony street,
to see upon a narrow strip of grass,
just within the iron fence,
the radiant dandelion,
shining in the grass,
like a spark dropped from the sun”
- Henry Ward Beecher

“If dandelions were hard to grow,
they would be most welcome on any lawn.”
- Andrew V. Mason

Thursday, April 21, 2011

April 21, 2011 (open up)


open up and share

And then the day came,
when the risk
to remain tight
in a bud
was more painful
than the risk
it took
to blossom.
- Anais Nin

The joy of Jesus Christ…

“We must not treat that knowledge
simply as a source of delight.
We must do something more.
We must follow in the train of those who,
knowing God, have proclaimed Him.
Here is our task. Here is an additional delight.
This knowledge, like all knowledge,
is enjoyed best when it is shared.
And this knowledge of God,
like no other knowledge,
will bring life and health
to a sin-sick world.
It is the glory of the Christian
to tell out the glory of God.
God made us for this.
Let us arise and do it with all our might!”
- Tom Wells

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

April 20, 2011 (Divine goodness)


Divine goodness

"To cultivate the sense of the beautiful
[in the Lord’s creation],
is one of the most effectual ways
of cultivating an appreciation
of the Divine goodness."
- Christian Nestell Bovee

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

April 19, 2011 (bleeding heart)


bleeding heart

“The heart must be the principal point
to which we attend in all the relations
between God and our souls.
What is the first thing we need,
in order to be Christians? A new heart.
What is the sacrifice God asks us
to bring to him? A broken and a contrite heart.
What is the true circumcision?
The circumcision of the heart.
What is genuine obedience?
To obey from the heart.
What is saving faith?
To believe with the heart.
Where ought Christ to dwell?
To dwell in our hearts by faith.
What is the chief request
that Wisdom makes to every one?
‘My son, give me your heart.’”
- J.C. Ryle

Monday, April 18, 2011

April 18, 2011 (He hideth my soul)


He Hideth My Soul

He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock,
That shadows a dry, thirsty land;
He hideth my life in the depths of His love,
And covers me there with His hand,
And covers me there with His hand.

When clothed with His brightness transported I rise
To meet Him in clouds of the sky,
His perfect salvation, His wonderful love,
I’ll shout with the millions on high.
- Frances J. Crosby

Sunday, April 17, 2011

April 17, 2011 (Be reconciled to God)


Be reconciled to God

“God gave his beloved Son
to be a sin offering for your sake.
Therefore, he is not counting
your offenses against you.
In fact, he gives you
his own righteousness in Christ
and is at peace with you.
Why has God done this?
It is because, in his love,
he knows that you
cannot do it yourself.
God is actually pleading
with you to be conciliated,
to be at peace with him.
He has done everything necessary
to make this possible.
All you need do is respond to his plea.
Be reconciled to God.”
From 365 Daily Devotionals
from Favorite Hymns,
published by Barbour Publishing, Inc.

Used by permission.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

April 16, 2011 (satisfying delights)


satisfying delights

“Christians can be and ought to be
content with the simple necessities of life…
First, when you have God near you and for you,
you don’t need extra money or extra things
to give you peace and security…
God is always better than gold…
Second, we can be content with the simplicity
because the deepest, most satisfying delights
God gives us through creation
are free gifts from nature
and from loving relationships with people.
After your basic needs are met,
accumulated money begins to
diminish your capacity for these pleasures
rather than increase them.
Buying things contributes absolutely nothing
to the heart’s capacity for joy…
Third, we should be content with
the simple necessities of life
because we could invest the extra we make
for what really counts (God’s kingdom).”
- John Piper

Friday, April 15, 2011

April 15, 2011 (merely rusted metal)


merely rusted metal

“By repenting of our hope
in the promises of this world –
the greatest of which
become merely rusted metal
and short-lived pleasures –
and trusting in God's promises,
we develop a new lifestyle
of growing obedience to God,
rather than following
the cadence of our culture.
And as our hope in God increases,
our obedience to his commands
becomes more consistent.”
- Scott Hafemann

Thursday, April 14, 2011

April 14, 2011 (God?)


I can understand why an atheist cares not to know God…
he doesn’t believe He exists…
but I will never understand how a professing
believer spends little to no time
learning about Him, spending time with Him,
and developing an intimate relationship with Him.

And it is no wonder that they can’t find Him…
even in a game of hide and seek,
you can’t find anyone
if you do not seek or if
if you spend all your time hiding from them.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

April 13, 2011 (subtle magnetism)


subtle magnetism

“I believe that there is a subtle magnetism in Nature,
which, if we unconsciously yield to it,
will direct us aright.”
- Henry David Thoreau

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

April 12, 2011 (bloodroot)


bloodroot

The bloodroot is a Spring wild flower.

It is one of the most beautiful
wild flowers… yet it only graces
the forest floor a short time.

The Lord’s grace is forever.

“Let us then approach
the throne of grace with confidence,
so that we may receive mercy
and find grace to help us
in our time of need.”
- Hebrews 4:16 NIV

Monday, April 11, 2011

April 11, 2011 (faith)


grace and power

“Faith upholds a Christian under all trials,
by assuring him that every painful dispensation
is under the direction of his Lord;
that chastisements are a token of His love;
that the season, measure,
and continuance of his sufferings,
are appointed by Infinite Wisdom,
and designed to work for his everlasting good;
and that grace and strength
shall be afforded him,
according to his need.”
- John Newton

“The deepest need that you and I have
in weakness and adversity is not quick relief,
but the well-grounded confidence
that what is happening to us is part of
the greatest purpose of God in the universe –
the glorification of the grace and power of his Son -
the grace and power that bore Him to the cross
and kept him there until the work of love was done.”
- John Piper

Sunday, April 10, 2011

April 10, 2011 (enter in)


enter in

“Prayer is the key to heaven
But faith unlocks the door
Words are so easily spoken
Prayer without faith is like a boat without an oar.

How faith when you speak to the Master
That's all he asks you for
Prayer is the key to heaven
But faith unlocks the door.”
- Samuel T. Scott
and Robert L. Sande


Saturday, April 9, 2011

April 09, 2011 (presence of hope)


presence of hope

“Understanding Bible prophecy
encourages in two unique ways.
First, it serves as a reminder
that God controls history.
When, you read from the pages of Scriptur
e how He keeps His promises,
your faith is strengthened…
By reflecting on the
fulfilled promises of the past,
you can find great comfort
as you look toward the future.
Second, understanding God's promises
for the future provides a solid foundation
to which you can anchor your hope -
a sturdy shield with which you can deflect
your doubts and fears about tomorrow…
When you reflect on God's plans
and promises for you and for the world,
you can face the future without fear.”
- John MacArthur

“The presence of hope
in the invincible sovereignty of God
drives out fear.”
- John Piper

Friday, April 8, 2011

April 08, 2011 (chaos?)


chaos?

“Chaos in the world brings uneasiness,
but it also allows the opportunity
for creativity and growth.”
- Tom Barrett

“We are assured and know that
[God being a partner in their labor]
all things work together and are
[fitting into a plan]
for good to and for those who love God
and are called according
to [His] design and purpose.”
- Romans 8:28 AMP

Thursday, April 7, 2011

April 07, 2011 (empty church?)


empty church?

The Church is not a bunch of empty pews
or even a complete church building
but people “called out”
(ekklesia in Greek) by God…
a fellowship (or group) of believers.

“But to as many as did receive and welcome Him,
He gave the authority (power, privilege, right)
to become the children of God,
that is, to those who believe in
(adhere to, trust in, and rely on) His name…”
- John 1:12 (AMP)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

April 06, 2011 (have your wish)


you may have your wish

“We should observe that God
does not send anyone to hell.
He desires that none should perish (2 Pet. 3:9).
God created humans to have fellowship with Him
and provided the means by which
they can have that fellowship.
It is a human's choice to experience to agony of hell.
His or her own sin sends the person there,
and his or her rejection
of the benefits of Christ's death prevents escape.
As C.S. Lewis has put it,
sin is the human being saying to God throughout life,
"Go away and leave me alone."
Hell is God's finally saying to the human,
"You may have your wish."
It is God's leaving the person to himself or herself,
as that individual has chosen.”
- Millard Erickson

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

April 05, 2011 (experience true love)


joy of my heart

“O blessed Jesus, Your love is wonderful!
It is the admiration, joy and song of glorified saints.
The experimental sense of Your love on earth
sweetens the bitterness of life
and disarms death of all its terrors!
It was love which moved You to bow the heavens,
to come down and sojourn on earth,
to humble Yourself,
to take on You the form of a servant,
and become obedient onto death,
even the death of the cross!
You pitied me in my lost estate.
You sought and found me when I sought You not.
You spoke peace to me in the day of my distress,
when the clouds of guilt and darkness
hung heavy on my soul
and I was brought to the borders of despair.
You have borne with all my weakness,
corrected my mistakes,
restored me from my wanderings,
and healed my backslidings.
May Your loving kindness be ever before my eyes
to induce me to walk in Your truth.
May Your love be the daily theme of my meditations,
and the constant joy of my heart!”
- John Fawcett

“He loved us not because we are lovable,
but because He is love.”
- C.S. Lewis

Monday, April 4, 2011

April 04, 2011 (stego)


stego

Do we see the imperfections here
or do we see
the beauty of the innocent child?

Stego is a Greek word that means,
”to cover over in silence”…
to protect.

Love, Divine love (Agape)…
the love of God…
always protects.
That kind of love covers over us
so that our imperfections cannot be seen.

“Love bears up under anything
and everything that comes,
is ever ready to believe the best of every person,
its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances,
and it endures everything [without weakening].
Love never fails
[never fades out or becomes obsolete
or comes to an end].”
- 1 Corinthians 13:7,8 AMP

Sunday, April 3, 2011

April 03, 2011 (Now I know in part)


Now I know in part

“For now we are looking in a mirror
that gives only a dim (blurred) reflection
[of reality as in a riddle or enigma],
but then [when perfection comes]
we shall see in reality and face to face!
Now I know in part (imperfectly),
but then I shall know
and understand fully and clearly,
even in the same manner as I have been fully
and clearly known and understood [by God].”
- 1 Corinthians 13:12 AMP

Saturday, April 2, 2011

April 02, 2011 (broken)


broken

“To love at all is to be vulnerable.
Love anything, and your heart
will certainly be wrung and possibly broken.
If you want to make sure of keeping it intact,
you must give your heart to no one,
not even to an animal.
Wrap it carefully round
with hobbies and little luxuries;
avoid all entanglements;
lock it up safe in the casket
or coffin of your selfishness.
But in that casket
- safe, dark, motionless, airless -
it will change.
It will not be broken;
it will become unbreakable,
impenetrable, irredeemable.”
- C.S. Lewis

“How else but through a broken heart
may Lord Christ enter in?”
- Oscar Wilde

Friday, April 1, 2011

April 01, 2011 (wisdom)


wisdom

“Human wisdom sometimes sees
the immediate cause of a problem
but it does not see the root,
which is always sin.
It may see that selfishness
is a cause of injustice,
but it has no way to remove selfishness.
It may see that hatred causes misery
and pain and destruction,
but it has no cure for hatred.
It can see plainly that man
does not get along with man,
but it does not see that the real cause
is that man does not get along with God.
Human wisdom cannot see
because it will not see.
As long as it looks on
God's wisdom as foolishness,
its own wisdom will be foolish.
In other words, human wisdom itself
is a basic part of the problem.”
- John MacArthur

“If knowledge comes by study,
wisdom comes by Holy Spirit filling.”
- Oswald Sanders