A Time to Weep – 22 May

“A time to weep, and a time to laugh.” – Ecclesiastes 3:4

Fresh from the donut shop, I was savoring my cup of coffee and treat early in the morning. I had some work to do on the roof of the church, so I set my breakfast on a landing at the top of the stairs and proceeded to carry my tools up to the roof. As I stepped out on the roof, I heard the fateful shutting of the door behind me and knew that I was locked out.

Then I remembered that my coffee and donuts were sitting at the top of the stairs. For two-and-a-half hours I was stuck on that roof—while my treats grew cold and stale. Being so early in the morning, I was unable to get anyone’s attention to let me down. I decided to occupy myself by cleaning up the debris on the roof and stacking it in piles here and there. It was time well spent, but I could have wept over my donuts and coffee on the other side of the locked door. In contrast, everyone who heard about my roof episode laughed! Well, eventually I laughed too.

Our focus verse says there is a time to weep, and a time to laugh. That statement is so obviously true, yet sometimes we act as though this fact is a problem. Some of us simply do not like weeping, or more accurately, we do not like feeling sad, so we try to avoid it at all costs. However, the Bible says that there is a time when weeping is all right.

Feeling sorrow and weeping are not meaningless actions; they serve a purpose. For example, I learned a valuable lesson from my sorrow: I now eat my donuts at ground level! Even though my experience was not serious, it reveals the fact that when our mistakes cause us to be sad, we are much less likely to make the same mistake again in the future. Also, sadness that results from tragedy helps us heal, and in a way, sadness makes us appreciate the times of laughter a little more than we would otherwise. We may not like it, but there is a time and a purpose for weeping.

Having a positive attitude is commendable and appropriate in most circumstances; but when we go through a difficult time in life, we must not deny the reality of what we are experiencing. When it is time to laugh, we should laugh, and when it is time to weep, we should weep. That is what life is all about.

Father in Heaven, Thank You for giving spice to life, even if it sometimes means weeping. There is a time for every thing under the sun; may You give me grace to take advantage of each moment. Amen.

Why Not Ask? – 21 May

“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” – Matthew 7:7

The knock on my door came on a frantic Sunday morning. I had put dinner in the oven for company, and was hurriedly trying to get myself ready for church. My husband had gone on ahead with my parents, who were visiting from out of town. “Is that white car in your driveway for sale?” the man asked. “Actually, yes, we would like to sell it!” I exclaimed in surprise, as there was no “For Sale” sign on the car. Because it was Sunday, I told him I would rather not discuss it in depth, but gave him a phone number so he could call the next day and talk to my husband. I expected that my husband would also be glad to hear about the man’s initiative in asking about the car.

When telling my husband about the visitor, I said he was a man after my husband’s own heart. The man apparently believes in what my husband frequently tells me: “You won’t know if you don’t ask.” I agree, but I am often too bashful to act on that statement. The Bible, however, backs this thought up, especially when it comes to claiming God’s promises. James 4:2 says, “Ye have not, because ye ask not.” If we are living in obedience to God’s Word, then when we need something from Him we only have to ask—it is that simple!

Unlike my car that had no sign stating it was for sale, the Bible proclaims many promises of blessings that are available to us. However, like the man who knocked on my front door, we also must “knock” on the Lord’s door, so to speak, to claim His promises. We won’t receive if we don’t ask!

God has so much for us, and the wonderful work of salvation is only the beginning. Are we willing to gather a little courage, and start claiming those promises? They are available to all!

Lord, I thank You for the many promises You have given in Your Word. I know these blessings are for me to claim. Help me to remember to ask and to have the faith to receive. Amen.

Magnetic Personality – 20 May

“And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” – John 12:32

Early last spring, I transplanted a large peony from the side of our house to a flowerbed in our backyard. After a few days, I realized I had planted it in such a way that all of the leaves were facing away from the yard—when we walked outside, all we could see was the backs of its leaves. I tried to rearrange the stems so they faced the other direction, but my efforts were futile and I finally gave up. However, in a few weeks I noticed that all of the peony stems were facing the yard. The sun had drawn them toward itself.

As I thought about my peony bush, I was reminded that man, in his unregenerate state, is turned away from God. He needs to be turned around, and the only One in the universe who has the power to do that is the Sun of righteousness, Jesus.

Sin is what separates man from God, but by dying on the Cross, Jesus became our remedy for sin. His death can free souls from sin in three ways: He offers forgiveness for sin, which is deliverance from the penalty of sin; He sanctifies us to live holy lives, which is deliverance from the power of sin; and ultimately He will glorify us, which is deliverance from the very presence of sin. Because Jesus can liberate in these ways, souls are instinctively drawn to Him.

Jesus not only offers deliverance from sin, but He has also given us the ultimate example as to how we should live among men here below. When we study the life of the Son of God, we begin to realize the great sacrifice He made to come to earth. The life He lived, the death He experienced, and His resurrection fills us with wonder, love, and praise. As we lift up Jesus to others and tell them who He is, His magnetic personality will draw them. When they open their hearts and lives to the Son of God, they will find that something happens: their lives will be turned around.

Father in Heaven, Thank You for Jesus, Your own dear Son. Thank You for His magnetic personality, which draws men because of His redemptive power, His sustaining graces, and His hope of eternal life. Amen.

How Is Your Heart? – 19 May

“Then hear thou from heaven thy dwelling place, and forgive, and render unto every man according unto all his ways, whose heart thou knowest; (for thou only knowest the hearts of the children of men).” – 2 Chronicles 6:30

When I was growing up, we always had chickens on our farm. One year, Mom and Dad bought huge incubators and filled the small living area of our house with them. We were warmed by lamps night and day as the eggs developed into hatching chicks.

The incubators had double shelves of trays with rows of eggs, which had to be turned every day. The part that fascinated us children was the “candling.” That was when each egg was held up to a light so we could look into it and determine if a chick was developing inside. If a chick was developing, you could actually see the embryo growing in the egg! If there was no life evident in the egg, it was discarded.

Anyone can see through an eggshell with a light that is bright enough, but there is only One who can see into the hearts of men, and that is God. When a sinner is hungry for salvation, though you and I might not think that one would ever surrender, God can see through the facade and pretense. He sees past the false bravado of a soul that is crying inside for Him, and can melt the hardness of that heart. Then, when that one surrenders, God gives a new heart, removing all the confusion, guilt, and turmoil, and replacing it with peace, joy, and confidence in Him. How thankful we are that He sees past our sinful actions to our true longings!

Even after we are saved, it is important for God to keep looking into our hearts. He watches to make sure we are developing properly and nurtures us each day. He knows when we hurt, when we are lonely, when we are discouraged, and when we are faithful. No matter what we face, He knows how to help us through because He sees what we need—even when we do not.

It is a comfort to know that God can see past what others see, to the thoughts and intents of our hearts! As we walk with Him, let’s remember to ask Him to search our hearts, that we might grow to be more like Him each day.

Our Avenger – 18 May

“Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.” – Romans 12:19

In a physical education course, our class divided up for a scrub football game. Being tall and thin, I was no candidate for a football team, much less a lineman, which is where I ended up. I do not know why, but before the game started, the coach told an all-conference tackle to hit me hard. The ball was hiked and I traversed the field with the tackle chasing me, and as one would expect, I was soon picking myself up from the ground. His rough playing seemed excessive and unfair; however, I put the incident behind me.

During the spring of the next year, we started playing softball. In one of our most important games, I again found myself on a team playing against the all-conference tackle. He came up to bat with the bases loaded and two outs. A hit would win the game for them, or he would be the final out and we would win. I was in the outfield, and as the pitcher threw the ball, he took a hefty swing and hit the ball my direction. Running back, I leaped as high as I could and caught the ball barehanded—we won! From then on, that tackle seemed to have a respect for me that he had never had before.

After the football game, when I was feeling frustrated for being so harshly tackled, I could have easily let my pride get the best of me and tried to get back at my opponent. But that was surely not what the Lord wanted me to do. By not acting on my desire for revenge, I allowed the Lord to have His perfect way. In the end, it is clear that the Lord’s way was far better than my way, as my enemy almost certainly would not have ended up respecting me if I had tried to take revenge myself.

Some people say they don’t get mad, they just get even. However, a Christian really does not have to retaliate. God emphatically says to avenge not ourselves, for “vengeance in mine; I will repay.”

Heavenly Father, Thank You for being my shield and defender, and for giving Your angels charge over me to keep me in all my ways. May I always remember that I do not need to be overcome with evil, but that I can overcome evil with good. Amen.

A Way Out | Light of Hope

She never dreamed rebellion and self-will would take her so far.

Lost in a maze of sin, I could not find my way out, but when I was nineteen years old, God found me. He knew exactly where I was, and He reached down and picked me up.

[gview file=”http://afmyouths.eu/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/L001-A-Way-Out.pdf” save=”1″]

Not looking back – 17 May

“And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” – Luke 9:62

When my children were small, one of their favorite stories was about a mischievous monkey named Curious George. Curious George lived in a zoo, but one day he got out of his cage and ran to the outside world. He was finally free and the other animals cheered him on as he swung through the trees. Just then George remembered—he had left his favorite food, a beautiful red apple, inside his cage! So he swung back to the corner of the cage, reached through the bars, and grabbed it. Only one problem: he could not get his hand back through the bars with the apple in his hand. He twisted it and turned it this way and that, but it would not go through. As he continued struggling, the zookeeper found him and put him back into the cage.

Why didn’t George let go of the apple and just leave it behind? George’s struggle reminds me of what we sometimes do as Christians. Before we were saved, we were trapped in a “cage” of sin, but when we repented and forsook those sins, Jesus set us free, allowing us to live without sin through the power of the Holy Spirit in us. Then we finally had a clear conscience and peace in our souls. Yet, as glad as we are to be out of that cage of sin, we can still be tempted by the sins we left behind. Like the apple that enticed George, sometimes the devil tries to lure Christians back into bondage with sins from their past.

If only we could see the bigger picture in times of temptation! When we choose to follow the Lord, He sets our souls at liberty and blesses our obedience with protection, peace of mind, provision for physical needs, comfort in grief—everything we need. The short-lived pleasures of any sin could never compare with those blessings, so why would we ever look back?

Being tempted is not a sin itself, but contemplating temptation is dangerous. No one can force us back into sin, but the longer we ponder the notion, the better chance the enemy has to persuade us to make a bad choice. Rather, when temptation comes, let us hold on to God’s promises of deliverance (see 1 Corinthians 10:13; 2 Peter 2:9) and follow the instructions in His Word:

“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).

God’s Provision for Healing

13th May 2012

Rev. Isaac Adigun

Psalm 91:1 was the opening bible reading for the sermon. Rev. Isaac Adigun referred to the Sunday School (the lame man healed at the temple). The man was not healed inside a church, “he may have got used to sitting outside the temple but little did he know that that day was his day of healing”.

His day of Healing

Every Sunday should be our best. We should give it our best shot. “When everyone is singing, you sing with your whole heart because you never know what the Lord will do”. You never know the day that will be your day. When we are we’re we are meant to be there’ll be no fear.

sing with your whole heart

When you run for that cover, it takes effect immediately. God heals today as he healed in the past. It doesn’t matter to Jesus the extent of your sickness because he can heal all. The Lord is looking at us pitifully. We are to trust God for healing.

If you are not saved from your life of sin, you are not covered

God is concerned about a little pain or the case that has been written off. “By his stripes we are healed”. We just need a faith as “little as a grain of mustard seed”.  “let the weak say that I am strong” exercise your faith. This day can be a special day in your diary “I heard that God has made provision for our healing, I believed and was healed”

 I believed and was healed

In the book of Genesis chapter 3, “disobedience brought sin, death and pain” God did not include pain when he created this world (verse 17). The death of Jesus Christ on the Cross is the power of healing “…the chastisement of our peace was upon him and by his stripes we are healed”.

He was bruised for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquity, the Chastisement of our Peace was UPON Him and By HIS stripes WE ARE HEALED | Isaiah 53:5

Measured Success – 16 May

“They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace.” – Jeremiah 6:14

When I first heard the phrase, “measured success,” it seemed like an oxymoron. Success means “accomplishing a purpose,” so anything short of accomplishment is simply not success. This contradiction seemed especially obvious when someone said we had “measured success” in fixing a leak in the church roof. We contained the leak in the ceiling by catching the water in a plastic container and pumping it away to a catch-basin with a condensation pump. However, the leak was still there.

A few months later, we uncovered an area of the roof where someone had inadvertently put a nail through the roofing membrane, and then covered it over with a layer of roofing. Once we fixed that problem, we no longer had “measured success,” but real success through resolution of the problem.

In the context of our focus verse, the Lord was angry with some Israelites who had tried to pacify others with gentle words, ignoring the fact that the nation was full of sin and God’s wrath was imminent. The guilty Israelites wanted to cover up their problems rather than resolve them—settling for what seemed to be measured success, but was really no success at all.

In our spiritual lives, we must understand that being a Christian is more than just saying, “I’m a Christian.” Declaring the Name of Christ is empty unless we also display His character, and that is only possible if we have had a real experience of salvation which has resolved our debt of sin.

After we are saved, at times the Lord will teach and correct us in our walks with Him. Learning those lessons can be difficult, but we know that the Lord chastens us because He loves us (Hebrews 12:6). When He corrects us, it is critical that we listen to His reproof and obey His directions. Ignoring His call or making excuses may look like success from the outside, but it will ultimately cause us to lose our salvation.

We can avoid the mistake the Israelites made. If God is speaking to our hearts about something that needs to be corrected, let’s not settle for “measured success,” which is really no success at all. God can resolve the issue completely and give us real success!

Lord, I know You are the God of peace, and that because I am justified by faith, I have peace with You. As I trust You more and more, may the peace which passeth all understanding keep my heart and mind through Christ Jesus.

Consider the Lilies – 15 May

“The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.” – Psalm 19:1-3

Flowers are so much a part of spring. Tulips, lilies and daffodils color many yards, and they are beautiful! Whenever I see lilies, I think of the parable in Matthew 6, when Jesus asked, “Why do you fret about being clothed? If God remembers to clothe the lilies, He will certainly take care of you.”

It amazes me to think that God would be mindful enough to speak to us through so many facets of nature. By simply walking through a garden and enjoying the flowers, we can discern that He is telling us He cares for us. How comforting that is, and it is just one example of God showing His love through creation! He filled this world with messages of love for us.

God used the sparrow to let us know we will never be forgotten (Matthew 10:29-31), and a sturdy tree illustrates God’s promise to bless our obedience and prosper us in life (Psalm 1:3). At every meal we eat, we can remember that Jesus is the Bread of Life, and every time we drink a glass of water, we are reminded of the Living Water. We cannot look at nature without seeing God; lessons for life await us at every turn.

It is possible to be so busy that we miss the messages God has for us. Today, we can purposely take time to consider the lilies, look at the stars, and enjoy the clouds. We can list all the little things God shows us, and then try to see the lessons He is teaching. Perhaps some of the people we know would even be encouraged or edified if we shared these thoughts with them.

God is good to His children, and we should be learning every day. His wonders, lessons, and parables surround us if we will only take time to look.