Be found faithful

“It is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.” – 1 Corinthians 4:2

The choir had sung a stirring anthem, and its theme stuck with me for days. It stated that after we have stepped into eternity, the final assessment of our lives will be revealed in the things we leave behind, and we want to be found faithful. “Lord,” I prayed, “I want to be found faithful. When I pass from this earth, I don’t want any hidden things of dishonesty to come to light, casting a shadow over what Youhave done in my life. How can I accomplish this?”

This thought had never come to me before, and I pondered it for days. How can we be sure that wehave done everything we could for the sake of the Gospel? How can we know we held nothing back?Then one day when I was praying, the answer came. It was so simple: just be faithful! How obvious it seemed. If we are obedient to God’s Word and consistently follow His instructions, He will let us know if anything in our lives needs to change. And if we heed His correction, there will be no hidden, shadowy things to find later on.

From time to time, opportunities come that seem to hold a promise of personal gratification or fulfillment. It may be a new hobby, group of friends, career opportunity, or any number of things. Often there is no problem with those choices, but sometimes it seems as if a shadow is hanging over the attraction. It is like a warning: “Do not go that way.” We may not understand immediately, but after wehave honestly examined the situation, we will probably see that it is not in line with God’s will for ourlives—perhaps it could easily lead us astray, or distract from more important activities. This is God’s way of helping us be faithful to Him. He knows the end of our decisions, and He leads us to make the right ones.

The Lord faithfully builds an invisible barrier to keep us on the right path. What a blessing it is to know that God is interested in showing us how to be faithful to Him. He knows how to get our attention, and how to help us understand what He is telling us. May we listen and be faithful to His promptings.

Thank You, Lord, for caring what happens to me. Thank You for walking beside me and guiding me, even when I do not understand. Help me to faithfully follow You. Amen.

 

Author: Dixie Matthew

In God’s Time

“These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them.” – Hebrews 11:13

After my brother-in-law became ill, he wanted to find a home for him and my sister to live in near their church. He became interested in a house that had not been occupied for a couple of years. Through much inquiry, he found out that the person who owned the house had no interest in selling, although the house was not being used.

Many times he would drive by the property hoping a “For Sale” sign would be posted, but it did not happen. I am sure that as he passed that house, he must have asked the Lord to make it available. Yet, months went by and my brother-in-law’s health continued to deteriorate. He went to be with the Lord just before Christmas.

After my sister sold their house, she found a place to rent that was near the church. In fact, it was just across the street from the house her husband had wanted to buy. Then, a short time after she had moved, the house was put up for sale. She was finally able to purchase the house that her husband had desired so much.

I know God heard my brother-in-law’s prayer, and I believe God answered it. When he was a teenager he had committed his way unto the Lord, and he knew that God hears our prayers and does answer them. Through the years, many Christians have prayed to God but did not live to see the answers in their lifetimes. We may not understand why God does not answer right away, but He has a timetable for everything. The answers come when it is God’s time.

Most of us have prayed for loved ones, perhaps for years, and still have not received the answers yet. But do not give up! Some of those prayers may be answered after we leave this earth.

Keep on praying! God will answer in His time!

 

Author: Rosemary Buss

Author Title: Clarence’s Faith

Bless Them

“Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.” – Romans 12:14

The small, dark-haired lad standing on the corner shouted a curse word across the sidewalk at a tall middle-school-aged girl who stood quietly waiting for the school bus. Then he paused and said in a voice full of mockery, “Sorry Miss Christian! Hey Miss Christian, I burned a cross today!”

This verbal abuse went on for a number of days; then came the rock throwing. As my daughter walked up the hill to our home from the bus stop, this boy would chase after her and throw small stones in her direction. He laughed when one would hit her.

During this time of persecution, my daughter would walk into the house in distress telling me about how mean the neighbor boy had been once again. He knew she was a Christian because his stepsister was my daughter’s friend and had come to church with us several times. I decided to start praying for this young boy, and my daughter did too. We prayed that he would stop bothering her, and we also made a point to be nice to him when he was around, despite his harshness and disrespect.

A little more than a week after we started to pray, he came over and apologized to my daughter for all that he had said and done! I was amazed, and my daughter did not believe him at first. However, his actions from that day on proved that he had meant what he said. My daughter was glad that she had not talked back to him or told other schoolmates about his rudeness. In fact, she had even helped him by sharing notebook paper and a pencil with him in class when he had forgotten his at home.

No form of persecution is fun, but if we pray for those causing us grief and ask the Lord to help us be kind and polite to them, the Lord will guide us and help us get through the situation.

Is some form of persecution touching your life today? Instead of getting angry or wishing misfortune on those who torment us, we can pray for them. Then, we could bring them their favorite coffee and a donut, or share something we have that they need. If we do this, we will be blessed and strengthened spiritually. Our response to persecution may even help someone learn about the Lord and His love!

May we remember to bless them that persecute us, and treat them with unconditional love, as the Lord does to each of us.

 

Author: Myma Rudolph

Good Directions

“O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.” – Jeremiah 10:23

Recently I moved to a new city, so I have been relying on my GPS to help me get around. One particular day I knew the general area where I needed to go, but not the location of the specific street. So I entered the address into the GPS and began to follow the instructions.

The guide directed me to turn off the freeway, onto an exit which I knew would not take me directly to the area I needed to go. I ignored the voice, but it was insistent that I turn around. Every minute the instruction was repeated to turn around, but I knew that exit was not the best way to get where I needed to go. Finally, when I made it to the next exit, there was a long pause while the GPS recalculated my position and then began new instructions. I arrived at my destination with no further problems.

Out of curiosity, the following week I chose that same address and this time I followed the instruction, getting off the freeway at the intended exit. About a mile off the exit, I was instructed to proceed straight ahead. There was no road. Instead, there was a rocky bluff and dangerous waters. There was an abandoned railroad trestle, but no legal road.

That GPS reminded me of what the devil does. As Christians, we are headed for Heaven, and we know the general direction but rely on God for making the right decisions. The devil comes and tells us to get off the road we are on, saying his way is faster and easier. Even if we ignore his voice, he does not give up easily, but continues to badger us with temptation and doubt. If we are too caught up with daily life, we may not realize he is lying until it is too late. We may end up driving off the road onto rocky bluffs or into treacherous water.

Once we have determined that we are going the way that is right, the voice backs off. There are some things we cannot be persuaded to do, no matter how hard the devil tries. We know they are wrong and by God’s grace, nothing will sway us.

Let us be careful not to allow doubt to enter and lure us from God’s path for us. We can be sure that His path will take us to our heavenly reward!

Author: Tina Weaver

Author’s Title: Jeremiah 10:23

An Open Opportunity

“These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth; I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.” – Revelation 3:7-8

About a month ago, my family drove by an estate sale. The garage door was open, so we decided to check it out. We saw a very nice looking suitcase, and when we asked how much they wanted for it, they said it was only five dollars! We said, “We’ll take it.”

We proceeded to look around and saw a few other items that caught our interest. However, as I walked about I started to get a funny feeling. I noticed that the other “shoppers” were putting price tags on items! As we made our purchases I looked at their sign, which said: “Estate Sale: Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.” I got to thinking, This is Thursday! The sale had not begun yet!

My family benefitted from simply walking through an open door. We saw an opportunity and took it, and our boldness paid off. Similarly, God places an open door of opportunity before us. Our focus verse is part of the message that Jesus gave to the church at Philadelphia, but really it can be taken as Jesus’ message to anyone who is faithful and loyal to Him. Jesus said, “I have set before thee an open door”—an opportunity!

The “key of David” referred to a man who was something like a Chief of Staff in David’s realm. He had the authority in matters of the kingdom. Doors that he shut were shut, and doors that he opened were open. In the spiritual realm, God has that authority. And He “opens up” many types of opportunities for us—opportunities for blessings, opportunities to witness and spread the Gospel, opportunities to follow His guidance for our lives, and more.

At the garage sale, we saw an open door and we saw treasures there—things that appealed to us. So we went through that open door and took advantage of the opportunity. As Christians, are we taking advantage of the doors God has placed before us? He gives them to all who are faithful. Let’s not miss an opportunity!

 

Taken from Wayne Butler’s sermon – 09/07/08

God’s Handiwork

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. – Psalm 19:1

One beautiful summer morning I was driving along a road that I had traveled many times. It was not a very attractive road because pedestrians often dropped garbage there, perhaps from snacks they bought at the small store by the bottom of the hill.

That particular morning, I glanced at the side of the road and was amazed to see several different species of wild flowers growing there among the rubble and trash. There were yellow and white daisies, white Queen Anne’s lace, wild sweet peas of a reddish-purple color, and light-blue bachelor buttons. What a pretty sight it was to see!

As I drove on toward my destination I thought, That is what God can do for us. Even though we must live in this sinful world and see and experience unpleasant things around us, God can give us the beauty of holiness as we serve Him. We become bright spots in our neighborhoods and workplaces, and people cannot help but notice the difference in our lives. As we grow in Him, we reflect His beauty even more, testifying to others of the goodness of our Creator.

Sometimes we might feel disheartened by the sin in the world around us. Remember that God has put us where we are for a reason, and He can sustain us even in an unpleasant environment. He will also help us to see the beauty of His handiwork in the lives of others. It is all around us!

God makes lives beautiful. That is what He did in my life when I answered His call and repented of my sin, and He will do the same for anyone who comes to Him in honesty. Today, look around at God’s handiwork—in nature and in people’s lives. It will give you joy and make your day beautiful.

 

Author: Rosemary Buss

Waiting to Ask

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: for every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. – Matthew 7:7-8

My wife and I just celebrated our twenty-fourth wedding anniversary. From time to time we tell each other, “I’m glad I married you.” But on our anniversary, I went a little further and said, “Blessed be the day that I asked you to marry me!”

For me, asking was a great thing. When I prayed through about whether she should be my wife, I was a Christian and in the Lord’s work. However, I did not know how to ask her. Many people go to different places and great lengths to propose marriage, but I went to my pastor. He said, “Since you have prayed and you have the conviction that this woman is to be your wife, it is best for you to go and tell her.” I wished that my pastor would help with that aspect, but he made me understand it was my duty.

At the time I was a student in a small town, and occasionally I went to the city to attend church services. So I wrote a note and put it in my future wife’s hymnal on the church platform. Then I left for my college town. The note said, “Will you marry me?” When she found it, her reply was “I’ve been waiting.” How fantastic for me! She was waiting for me to ask!

Often, the Lord is waiting for us to ask. He is waiting for people to ask to be forgiven of their sins; He is waiting for souls to ask to be sanctified; and He waits for us to seek the baptism of the Holy Ghost. Some may feel unworthy of such blessings or believe that walking close to God is too hard. However, in our focus verses we read, “Every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” That means we have no reason to be hesitant or unsure when we come to God seeking His will—everyone who asks will receive!

Imagine if I had not asked my wife to marry me. What joys and blessings I would have missed! We will miss even greater joys and blessings if we neglect bringing our needs to God. To ask is not complicated, and God is waiting to hear our requests. Why not ask today?

Author: From an Isaac Adigun sermon 07/03/08

Spiritual Deposit

Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. – 1 Peter 1:18-19

When our children were small, sometimes they would ask my wife and I if we would buy a particular item for them. One time my wife said, “Well, I don’t have any money.” One of our children replied, “Just go to the machine!” Of course, we know that it is useless to go to the ATM machine for money unless we have previously made a deposit into our account, but they were blissfully unaware of that fact!

Jesus made a deposit in our spiritual accounts when He died on the Cross. Our salvation was not paid for with money, but as our focus verses say, “With the precious blood of Christ.” Jesus made the deposit to remedy the sin problem so that we could be the people of God, and He did that because He loved us.

After we have been born again, we can continue to draw upon His deposit for our needs. The Bible tells us that our sanctification and baptism of the Holy Spirit have already been paid for by Jesus’ Blood (see Hebrews 13:12; 10:19), as well as our healing (Isaiah 53:5). It is also His Blood that gives us victory every day, as we read, “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony” (Revelation 12:11).

The New Testament tells of many who availed themselves of the power deposited for us through Jesus’ shed Blood. Paul and Silas drew on the deposit when they were in prison. With their backs bleeding and their feet in the stocks, they began to sing. They understood that God wants His people to praise Him even when things are looking grim. They rejoiced in the investment God had made in their lives, and He worked for them. God sent an earthquake that released their bonds, and the jailer was so shaken that he and his family repented!

Philip drew on the deposit when he went to the desert. He was in the middle of a revival in Samaria, but the Lord told him to go to the south toward Gaza. Philip could have said, “The desert? Who lives down there? I’m in the ministry; I’m an evangelist, and I need people to talk to.” But Philip knew the importance of obedience, and he did as he was instructed. In the desert, he met a man with a hungry heart, and that man was saved.

The spiritual deposit has been made for us, and God wants us to draw on it for grace and power to do His will. He wants us to be witnesses and laborers for Him. We can draw from Him so we will have the abilities, skills, and attributes that He wants to put into our lives, and then He wants us to share the Gospel with those around us.

The deposit is there. Will we take advantage of it?

Author: From a Rob Wakefield sermon 07/10/08

Refreshing Water

When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the Lord will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them. – Isaiah 41:17

 

Growing up in St. Paul, Minnesota, in the 1940s, we never quite became used to the hot, sticky summers. The upstairs of our home was so hot at night that we children would take blankets and pillows and go lie on the kitchen floor in front of the screen door, trying to stay cool enough to sleep. In fact, it was so warm in one bedroom that some slender wax candles my sister had used to decorate her dresser melted and bent over into upside-down U shapes. Air conditioners were rare and not in our budget, and our one oscillating fan did little to cool off a two-story house.

During this time, my father did roofing for a living. He could not work much beyond noon as the heat was unbearable on a roof. He would come home and pile us kids into the car and we would go to a nearby lake to swim and cool off. What a pleasure that was! I do not remember anyone ever turning down the opportunity to go along. We had a great time, and we left feeling completely refreshed.

As Christians living in a sinful world, the darkness around us can feel suffocating at times. It has a way of sapping our joy in the same way that stifling heat saps one’s energy. That is why it is so important to fill up daily on the living water. When we commune with God through reading His Word and prayer, we are refreshed and prepared to start another day with zeal for the Gospel. During the “heat of the day,” when we need to be recharged the most, God has promised to hear our cry and not forsake us.

Without water, a person will not survive long—about ten days at the most. Without being refreshed

Author: Avis Engle

Song of Victory

The song of victory – the portion of the righteous

Psalm 18:29 – 35
Perhaps you are battle weary, when will there be a rest but there’s victory, don’t give up.
Victory is so near no matter how far it may seem
We are all comrades with battles to fight everywhere, just as David was surrounded by the flood of the ungodly but let the servants of God be bold.
God doesn’t just give victory, he gives you a profile to be victorious.
The whole bible is a documentary of battles and victory. While David sang the songs of victory, it was hidden in his message the secret of victory. 1 timothy 6 :12,13 if you do not want to lose your testimony, you need to fight to keep your testimony. Kneel inside you if you can’t kneel to pray. In the midst of darkness, you can pray from your heart. When the altar is far wherever you are, God is there and he will give you a testimony of victory. 1 John 5:4 the faith in your redefines the victory. Numbers 13:29,30.  Children are never sent to battle.  Faith is based on your relationship/profile with God. You cannot dine with the devil and expect to sing the song of victory. Psalm 18:19-24. The first battle to fight is the battle for the reestablishment of righteousness. 1 Samuel 6:30
When you move by fear to a destination, the song of victory will be temporary, we pray for God’s relocation. Faith finds a way. When you encourage yourself in the Lord, something new will happen.