Christ will return

Christ will return

Everyone will see

[Jesus said], “Then everyone will see the Son of Man arrive on the clouds with power and great glory. So when all these things begin to happen, stand straight and look up, for your salvation is near!”

Luke 21:27-28

No fear of judgment

 

What images come to mind when you think of “end times prophecies”?…Most people, if they were honest, would admit that their view of the end times is a frightening one.…They imagine an angry and vengeful God hovering high above it all, bent on destruction and raining terror on all who have rejected him.

Have we missed something? In many ways I think we have. God didn’t reveal these graphic images of the coming judgment to express his wrath or even to frighten us into believing. He revealed them to show us his wonderful grace and mercy in the midst of our sin and unworthiness. The story isn’t about pending gloom and doom, but it’s about a loving Father who will do anything he can to help people escape the consequences of evil.

Bible prophecy isn’t intended to frighten us, but it’s to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that God is real and omnipotent and active in our lives; to warn us of the very real danger lying ahead for those who reject his love and mercy; and to encourage us to accept his gracious and free offer of salvation through his Son, Jesus.

In his first letter to Timothy, Paul tells us that God “wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth” (2:4).…Time and again in Scripture we are told that God longs for his people to be with him in heaven. The Bible is not a story of wrath and judgment but of unconditional love and redemption. God longs to be with us and wants desperately for us to accept his hand of salvation. What we do is up to us.

Adapted from Embracing Eternity by Tim LaHaye, Jerry Jenkins and Frank M. Martin, Tyndale House Publishers (2004), entry for January 3.

 

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House

What is security?

God is our security

It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man.
Psalm 118:8

What is security?

Put on the whole armor, and take up your shield. Prepare for battle, and come to my aid.

Psalm 35:2

Security is our nearness to God, not our distance from danger.

Kenneth R. Hendre

In the gun sights

 

When Ira Sankey was at the height of his ministry, he was traveling on a steamer in the Delaware River. Some passengers had seen his picture in the newspaper and knew he was associated with evangelist D. L. Moody. When they asked him to sing one of his own compositions, Sankey said he preferred a hymn by William Bradbury, “Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us.” One of the stanzas begins, “We are thine, do thou befriend us; be the guardian of our way.”

When he finished, a man stepped out and inquired, “Were you in the army, Mr. Sankey?”

“Yes, I joined up in 1860.”

“Did you ever do guard duty at night in Maryland, about 1862?”

“Yes, I did.”

“Well, I was in the Confederate Army,” said the stranger. “I saw you one night at Sharpsburg. I had you in my gun sight as you stood there in the light of the full moon. Just as I was about the pull the trigger, you began to sing. It was the same hymn you sang tonight,” the man told an astonished Sankey. “I couldn’t shoot you.”

I. M. Anderson in Moody

Life is filled with near misses. We know only a fraction of the many situations in which God preserves us from severe physical and emotional injury.

Adapted from Men of Integrity Devotional Bible with devotions from the editors of Men of Integrity, a publication of Christianity Today International (Tyndale, 2002), entry for May 14.

 

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House

God is always fair and just

God is always fair and just

2 Timothy 3:12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.

Do you deserve justice or mercy?

 

O Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your rage.

Have compassion on me, Lord, for I am weak. Heal me, Lord, for my body is in agony.
I am sick at heart. How long, O Lord, until you restore me?

Psalm 6:1-3

“You have heard that the Law of Moses says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting like true children of your Father in heaven.”

Matthew 5:43-45

About this week’s promise

 

When others wrong us, we cry out for justice. When we wrong God, we cry out for mercy. Fortunately, God is merciful. But if we don’t accept his merciful gift of salvation, we are subject to God’s justice, the punishment of eternal death and separation from God. Until God sets up his eternal kingdom, where perfect justice prevails, justice will continue to be needed here on earth — both God’s justice to urge us toward his kingdom, and law and order to keep anarchy from ruling. But we would do well to learn some lessons about God’s mercy as we mete out justice. While justice provides law and order, mercy provides hope and forgiveness — God’s formula for restoration.

From TouchPoint Bible with commentary by Ron Beers and Gilbert Beers, Tyndale House Publishers (1996), pp 1220-21

Digging Deeper

For more on this week’s promise, see To Fly Again by Gracia Burnham and Dean Merrill (Tyndale House Publishers, 2005), the follow-up to the bestselling In the Presence of My Enemies.

 

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House

Obeying God brings great joy

Obeying God brings great joy

Is obeying God worth it?

If they listen and obey God, then they will be blessed with prosperity throughout their lives. All their years will be pleasant.

Job 36:11 NLT

The benefits of obedience

 

Sometimes you may wonder if obeying God is worth it. Job’s friend, Elihu, concluded in Job 36:11 that God is just and does bless those who obey him. If you don’t reap the benefits of obedience in this life, you will in the next.

The Pharisees in Jesus’ day obeyed the law, but for all the wrong reasons. Jesus warned in Matthew 5:20 that God looks at people’s hearts. He wants obedience that flows out of love for him.

But I warn you — unless you obey God better than the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees do, you can’t enter the Kingdom of Heaven at all!

When the religious leaders commanded Peter and the apostles to stop preaching the gospel, their priorities were put to the test. Their answer, recorded in Acts 5:29, teaches us that obedience to God must come first, even if it requires personal sacrifice.

But Peter and the apostles replied, “We must obey God rather than human authority.”

God has not hidden the secret of obedience — he has made his expectations clear. Micah 6:8 summarized the way people can please God.

No, O people, the Lord has already told you what is good, and this is what he requires: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.

Adapted from Living Water for Those Who Thirst Tyndale House Publishers (2000), pp 139-40

 

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House

Do You Understand Justice?

God is always fair and just

Do You Understand Justice?

Evil people don’t understand justice, but those who follow the Lord understand completely.

Proverbs 28:5

 

Awareness of justice

 

Justice means righteousness, lawfulness, and moral rightness, the quality of being true or correct, the moral principle determining just conduct. So justice has a moral quality. It contains a concept of what is right and, therefore, must also have a concept of what is wrong. Only people who understand these concepts of right and wrong can understand and administer justice. By extension, only those who follow the Lord can understand justice. Why? Because they subscribe to the foundational laws of the one who created them.

Thus, as this proverb points out, evil people don’t understand justice. Because they refuse to subscribe to justice’s moral underpinnings given by God in his Word, they are left to discover their own truths. As a result, many conclude that there is no truth. Others conclude that everyone can have different truths. Both perspectives are hopelessly doomed. And as a building without a foundation will crumble, so justice can never be served without the foundation of right and wrong as given by God in his Word.

WISE WAYS  What are you using for your foundation? Where do you get your concept of truth, of right and wrong?

Today, Lord, teach me the foundational truths about life that are given in your Word.

Adapted from The One Year® Book of Proverbs, by Neil S. Wilson, Tyndale House Publishers (2002), entry for February 28


Children are innocent and love justice, while most adults are wicked and prefer mercy.
G K CHESTERTON

Delay of justice is injustice.
WALTER S LANDOR

 

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House

Overcoming discouragement

Overcoming discouragement brings great blessing

How do you remind yourself of God’s leading in the past?

Joshua said to the people, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: …I took your ancestor Abraham from the land beyond the Euphrates and led him to the land of Canaan. I gave him many descendents through his son Isaac.… Then I sent Moses and Aaron, and I brought terrible plagues on Egypt; and afterward I brought you out as a free people.… With your very own eyes you saw what I did.… Finally, I brought you into the land of the Amorites on the east side of the Jordan. They fought against you, but I gave you victory over them, and you took possession of their land.… When you crossed the Jordan River and came to Jericho, the men of Jericho fought against you. There were also many others who fought you. … It was not your swords or bows that brought you victory. I gave you land you had not worked for, and I gave you cities you did not build—the cities in which you are now living. I gave you vineyards and olive groves for food, though you did not plant them.

Joshua 24:2-13

Joshua’s story of hope

Joshua reminded a discouraged people of all the times God had provided for them and demonstrated his goodness. Reviewing past blessings can encourage us to continue to serve God faithfully. Keep records—through a journal or a scrapbook—of the love God has shown for you. When you need encouragement, review what God has already done, revisiting the mementos of his work in your life. And read the Bible in order to refresh your knowledge of the many blessings God has given his people throughout history.

adapted from TouchPoint Bible with devotional commentary by Ron Beers and Gilbert Beers, Tyndale House Publishers (1996), p 208

 

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House

Hearing God

Hearing God

“My sheep recognize my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”

John 10:27

He knows our name, our nature

“Usually, when someone says, “God has been speaking to me lately,” we get a little suspicious (justly so, in many cases). Many who say God speaks to them are far too often what I describe as a few clowns short of a circus.

Yet as our Good Shepherd, Jesus promises that we can hear and know His voice. This does not, however, need to be some mysterious, mystical process. In fact, you may be surprised to learn that God speaks to you quite often.

You see, the Good Shepherd knows not only your name (John 10:3), but your nature.

Yes, God speaks—but we do not always like what He says. Have you sensed the conviction of the Holy Spirit when you were in a relationship or a place you did not belong? At times, God’s Holy Spirit whispers in the stillness of your heart, “What are you doing here?” How else can we know when God is speaking to us?

God speaks to us through His word. (Psalm 119:105)

God speaks to us through circumstances (Psalm 119:67)

God speaks to through His peace (Colossians 3:15)

And once we have heard God’s voice, what should we do? We must follow. Jesus calls, we responds. He whispers, we move. We follow—and then we keep on listening.

from the Breakfast with Jesus by Greg Laurie (Tyndale) pp 243-45

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House


 

Nathan- God Provides

God helps those who help the poor

 

Why should I help the poor?

Oh, the joys of those who are kind to the poor. The Lord rescues them in times of trouble. The Lord protects them and keeps them alive. He gives them prosperity and rescues them from their enemies. The Lord nurses them when they are sick and eases their pain and discomfort.

Psalm 41:1-3

He will rescue the poor when they cry to him, he will help the oppressed, who have no one to defend them. He feels pity for the weak and the needy, and he will rescue them. He will save them from oppression and from violence, for their lives are precious to him.

Psalm 72:12-14
A greedy person tries to get rich quick, but it only leads to poverty. Greed causes fighting; trusting in the Lord leads to prosperity. Whoever gives to the poor will lack nothing. But a curse will come upon those who close their eyes to poverty.
Proverbs 28:22,25,27

About this week’s promise

To be poor means that something is lacking from our life.

The Bible focuses primarily on two kinds of poverty — people who are in need of basic necessities (like food and clothing) and people who are in need of God (for they lack the Holy Spirit’s presence in their life). We are called — commanded — to help both of these kinds of people as much as we possibly can.

From the TouchPoint Bible (Tyndale House) p1244

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House


Word Study:  Hebrew “Nathan’

Nathan

(1), provide (1), provided (2), provides

Source


 

Good News

The whole earth will hear

To those who have not heard

My ambition has always been to preach the Good News where the name of Christ has never been heard, rather than where a church has already been started by someone else. I have been following the plan spoken of in Scriptures, where it says, “Those who have never been told about him will see, and those who have never heard of him will understand.” Romans 15:20-21 

Under a haystack

John 6-51 – Harvest Time

Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, was just twelve years old in 1805 when the Second Great Awakening reached the school. In the spring of 1806 Samuel Mills joined the freshman class with a passion to spread the gospel around the world. He began leading a group of four other students, who met three afternoons a week in a nearby maple grove.

One sultry day in August 1806 a violent thunderstorm interrupted their prayer time, and they took refuge on the sheltered side of a large haystack. God spoke to them as they prayed, and four of the five committed themselves to serving God overseas if he so led. The Haystack Prayer Meeting was not only the beginning of the first American student mission society but also the beginning of the American foreign missionary movement itself.

Two years later many of the group enrolled at Andover Seminary where they were joined by Adoniram Judson and others interested in foreign missions, but there was no foreign missions board in America to send them. Acting on the advice of a teacher, the students wrote a letter to the General Association of the Congregational Church. Two days later, on June 29, 1810, the association responded by forming the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions.

From that humble beginning the foreign missions force of the United States has grown to over sixty thousand missionaries sent out by hundreds of mission boards.

Adapted from The One Year® Book of Christian History by E. Michael and Sharon Rusten (Tyndale, 2003), entry for June 29.

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House

God is our security

God is our security

Trusting in God’s promises

I bow before your holy Temple as I worship. I will give thanks to your name for your unfailing love and faithfulness, because your promises are backed by all the honor of your name.

Psalm 138:2 

God makes a promise, faith believes it, hope anticipates it, patience quietly awaits it.

unknown

Precious promises

When David Livingstone had to pass through the most dangerous country of the fierce native chief Mburuma and decide whether to furtively sneak through at night or go by day and risk being killed, he staked his life on the promise of Jesus’ presence in Matthew 29:19-20: “Go and make disciples of all nations.…And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” He wrote in his journal, “t is the word of a Gentleman of the most sacred and strictest honor, so there’s an end on it!” Livingstone knew that God backs up his promises with all the honor of his name, so he proceeded in broad daylight, trusting in his Savior’s promise. God fulfilled his Word, and Livingstone made the crossing safely because the Lord Jesus was beside him, just as he said he would be. God’s promises are just as true and alive today for those who will pray them, trust them, stand on them, and walk in them.

THANK YOU, FATHER, for backing your promises by all the honor of your name. It is a mighty and powerful and trustworthy name! I give thanks to you for your unfailing love and faithfulness. Help me to move forward under your direction in the light of your unfailing and precious promises.

Adapted from The One Year® Book of Praying through the Bible by Cheri Fuller, Tyndale House Publishers (2003), entry for June 20.

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House