What Would You Have Me Do?

What Would You Have Me Do?

So he, trembling and astonished, said, “Lord, what do You want me to do?”
Acts 9:6

Recommended Reading – Acts 9:1-9

If you pick up a five-pound British note, you may see the image of one of England’s great heroes — Elizabeth Fry, a Christian reformer whose lifelong efforts on behalf of prisoners changed the laws of the land and the tone of prison ministry. Her heart went out to those behind bars, and she fought to give them humane treatment and dignity. For this she is remembered today with her image on British currency.

When Elizabeth was dying at the age of 65, she revealed the secret of her lifetime of service. Speaking to one near her bed, she said, “My dear Rachel, I can say one thing — since my heart was touched at seventeen years old, I believe I have never awakened from sleep, in sickness or in health, by day or by night, without my first waking thought being how best I might serve my Lord.”1

Whatever we’re facing today, we should say, as Paul did in Acts 9:6: “Lord, what do You want me to do?” Whatever circumstances we’re confronting, we can bathe them in prayer. God has a plan for us today. It’s our joy to pray and proceed in obedience.

What He would have me to do, that may I do; where He would have me to go, there may I go.
Elizabeth Fry

1Francis Cresswell, A Memoir of Elizabeth Fry (London: James Nisbet, 1868), 316, 214.

 

 

June Bugs: The Locust

June Bugs: The Locust

So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the crawling locust, the consuming locust, and the chewing locust, my great army which I sent among you. Joel 2:25

Recommended Reading – 2 Peter 3:8

A car company commercial portrays a father and teenage son getting ready for a camping trip. As they load the pickup truck, it’s obvious the teenager wishes he wasn’t going; he thinks it will be boring. Predictably, as the commercial unfolds, they have a great time together. You can almost hear the teen thinking, “I wish I had done this a lot sooner.”

Regrets — we all have them. Whether it’s waiting decades before accepting Christ or procrastinating about giving up a bad habit or negative behavior, we wish we could go back and live those days, months, or years over. While we can’t reverse the calendar, we can trust a promise of God: “So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten.” That promise was made to the nation of Israel, but it reflects the character of our God. His grace is deeper than all our sin (Romans 5:20), and His mercies and compassion are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23).

If you have a regret today, thank God that He can restore to you the blessings you may have missed.

There are no regrets in heaven, no remorseful tears, no second thoughts, no lost causes.
John Blanchard

 

God Versus Mammon

God Versus Mammon

“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” (Matt 6:24 NKJV)

The New Testament contains 2,084 verses dealing with money and finance. Sixteen of Jesus’ thirty-eight parables deal with money. The reason Jesus spoke so much about money was because He was always trying to see where a person’s loyalty resided. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matt 6:21 NKJV). He said a person could not serve two masters. Instead, he will love one but hate the other.

Many people believe money is synonymous with mammon. This is incorrect. Mammon is an Aramaic demonic spirit that was worshipped as a false god by the Philistines. Mammon desires to be worshipped, have influence, and control of peoples’ lives to require love and devotion through the use of money. Money is simply the instrument by which mammon seeks to have power.

Any spirit that opposes God seeks to influence people through deception. It wants to gain loyalty and love without you knowing it has done so. The primary lie behind the spirit of mammon is that money contains power. It encourages people to place disproportionate value on money because of the power it has to influence and control others.

The symptoms of being controlled by the spirit of mammon are revealed when we allow our activities to be governed by the amount of money we have instead of God alone. It makes us believe one’s provision is his/her employer, spouse, investments, or other money source. So, when we allow money to rule the choices in our lives we have yielded to the spirit of mammon. This leads to other problems as Paul writes to Timothy:

“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” (1 Tim 6:10)

Today, ask God if you have been influenced by the spirit of mammon. If so, renounce it and place your total trust in Christ as your source for all provision.

Always Praying

Always Praying

Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. Ephesians 6:18a

Recommended Reading – Philippians 4:6-7

One of the great records of correspondence by mail was between John and Abigail Adams during the founding of the American republic. She was in Massachusetts, he in Philadelphia or Europe, and the stream of letters never ceased. Likewise, the correspondence between Winston and Clementine Churchill was equally nonstop. Even when they were in the same house, working in different rooms, servants carried a constant stream of love notes back and forth between them.

Those stories are examples of “communicating without ceasing.” Though not formally conversing at every moment, each spouse kept the other in mind continually so that communication was only a note away. Likewise, Paul admonishes Christians to “pray at all times in the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:18a) and “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). That means take up the pen of faith and pray to our beloved God whenever there is a need. Keep Him in mind at all times so He is only a prayer away.

Let God be on your mind continually today so words of praise, intercession, or supplication may arise as needed.

I live in the spirit of prayer. I pray as I walk about, when I lie down and when I rise up. And the answers are always coming.
George George Müller

Tiny Bibles

Tiny Bibles

These words which I command you today … you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. Deuteronomy 6:6-8

Recommended Reading – Deuteronomy 6:1-9

According to the Guinness Book of Records, the smallest New Testament in the world can fit on your fingertip. It can be read with a powerful magnifying glass and is designed to be worn as a pendant or lapel pin.

There’s nothing wrong with wearing our witness or having lapel pins to spark conversations about Christ. But the Bible isn’t a talisman. The words the Bible contains are what make it special. The Lord told the Israelites to teach the Scriptures to their children, to wear them as a sign on their foreheads, and to write them on the doorposts of their homes. It was God’s way of reminding them to keep Scripture close and accessible. Some turned this into a ritual and began wearing phylacteries, little leather boxes containing a verse from the Law.

It’s all right to have verses at our fingertips, and there are great ways to display our love for Scripture. But remember, the best place for the Word of God is in our hearts and minds. It’s not about a ritual but a relationship.

If we understood what happens when we use the Word of God, we would use it oftener.
Oswald Chambers

 

 

A Concealed Weapon

A Concealed Weapon

Lay up His words in your heart.  Job 22:22

Recommended Reading – 1 Peter 1:13-16

The human brain is arguably the climax of God’s creation, the most incredible invention in His universe. It’s a fabulous, living super-computer with unfathomable circuitry and unimaginable complexity, a collection of billions of neurons, each as complex as a small computer. They’re all interconnected, and one scientist said that the number of connections within one human brain rivals the number of stars and galaxies in the entire universe.

With a brain like that, you can memorize Scripture. In fact, Scripture memory is the most therapeutic thing you can do with and for your brain. In the days before the printing press, many people didn’t have access to their own copies of the Bible; so they memorized vast portions of God’s Word. How tragic that now, with all our modern versions and translations, we’re memorizing it less and less.

It’s important to memorize Scripture in order to stand strong during life’s difficult circumstances. When you have Bible verses inscribed in your mind, you’re carrying a concealed weapon. You’re wielding the sword of the Spirit. Find a passage today and begin laying up His words in your heart.

“Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” Psalm 119:105

Bible memorization is absolutely fundamental to spiritual formation. If I had to choose between all the disciplines of the spiritual life, I would choose Bible memorization.
Dallas Willard

 

Your Position is a Result of Your Actions

Your Position Is a Result of Your Actions

“Even a child is known by his actions, by whether his conduct is pure and right” (Prov 20:11).

In the marketplace companies and products are known by their position in the industry they represent. Lexus, Cadillac and Mercedes hold the top position among luxury automobiles. They are known for their high quality. Nike is a sports merchandise company known for its products serving those who play sports and they own the number one position in their industry. Coca-Cola is a soft drink company that currently has the number one position in the world among soft drinks. Companies spend millions trying to gain the number one position.

You also are called to achieve a certain position in what and how you do it. Your position is often a result of your actions taken over several years. Usually when your name is mentioned, your position is revealed. It is the most distinguishing attribute of your life and work and people associate you with your perceived position.

In the workplace you are known more by what you do and what you achieve. Your reputation is often built either around productivity or the lack of it. Years of productivity in an industry can allow you to own the number one position in your industry.

Do your actions line up with the position God desires for your life? Are you modeling the fruits of the Holy Spirit in all aspects of your life? Paul prayed that “you would live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God?”( Col 1:10-11). Paul desired that we all have a position of a person who bears fruit from our knowledge of God.

May each of us strive to have an excellent position for the benefit of the Kingdom.