Sunday, November 28
It is because of Him
I'm less than a week and a half away from my due date; exciting! Below is an excerpt from an article by David Brickner, the Executive Director of Jews for Jesus. I also included a passage I read recently in 1 Corinthians. It is very encouraging to me that the power of the Gospel is not limited by our human wisdom!
"Please do not let anyone discourage you from giving a verbal witness on the grounds that you must first prove yourself worthy by your actions. In reality, good works and good words spring from the same place and the two go together. One is not more important than the other, nor does God tell us that they need to follow a certain order to be effective. It is His Spirit that wins hearts and it is only through His power that anything we say or do will make a difference." - Brickner, David. Christmas Warfare. 29 November 2010. Jews for Jesus.
1 Corinthians 1:27-2:5 (NIV)
But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”
And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.
Tuesday, November 16
Make Thy Paths Known
Since my due date is fast approaching, I plan to use upcoming posts to share devotionals and articles by some of my favorite Christian writers. The devotional below was posted earlier this month on Elisabeth Elliot's Daily Devotional site:
Title: How to Discover What God Wants
Author: Elisabeth Elliot
A young woman came in great perplexity to a Scottish preacher, asking how she could resolve the question of her own desires when they seemed to be in such contradiction to the will of God. He took out a slip of paper, wrote two words on it, handed it to her with the request that she sit down for ten minutes, ponder the words, cross out one of them, and bring the slip back to him. She sat down and read: No Lord. Which to cross out? It did not take her long to see that if she was saying No she could not say Lord, and if she wanted to call Him Lord, she could not say No.
No question comes up more often among Christian young people who face what seem to be limitless options than this one of how to discover what God wants them to do. What, exactly, is one's calling?
There are two very simple conditions to discovering the will of God. Paul states them clearly in his letter to the Romans, chapter 12. The first is in verse 1 (Jerusalem Bible): "... offering your living bodies as a holy sacrifice, truly pleasing to God." The place to start is by putting yourself utterly and unconditionally at God's disposal. You say Yes Lord. You turn over all the rights at the very beginning. Once that's settled you can go on to the second, in verse 2: "Do not model yourselves on the behavior of the world around you, but let your behavior change, modelled by your new mind." I said that the conditions were simple. I did not say they were easy. Exchanging a No Lord for a Yes Lord has often been painful for me. But I do want a "new mind"--one that takes its cues from the Word of God, not the mass media. I pray for a clear eye to see through the fog of popular opinion, and a will strong enough to withstand the currents--a will surrendered, laid alongside Christ's. He is my model. This means a different set of ambitions, a different definition of happiness, a different standard of judgment altogether. Behavior will change, and very likely it will change enough to make me appear rather odd--but then my Master was thought very odd.
Paul goes on to say that these conditions are "the only way to discover the will of God and know what is good, what it is that God wants, what is the perfect thing to do." No wonder we scratch our heads and ask, "What is the secret of knowing the will of God?" We haven't started at the right place--the offering of that all-inclusive sacrifice, our very bodies, and then the resolute refusal of the world's values.
"Make Thy paths known to me, O Lord; teach me Thy ways. Lead me in Thy truth and teach me; Thou art God my Savior."
Psalm 25:4, 5, NEB
"When we cannot see our way
Let us trust and still obey;
He who bids us forward go
Cannot fail the way to show.
Though the sea be deep and wide,
Though a passage seem denied,
Fearless let us still proceed,
Since the Lord vouchsafes to lead."
"If there is any man who fears the Lord, he shall be shown the path that he should choose."
Psalm 25:12, NEB
Tuesday, November 9
In Psalm 40, David publicly praises the Lord for his deliverance and faithfulness. It was a great reminder that I need to remember to share the blessings and mercies the Lord has shown me with my fellow believers. It is good to share both our burdens AND our joys; let us encourage one another with all He has done for us!
Psalm 40:9-10 (NIV)
I have told the glad news of deliverance
in the great congregation;
behold, I have not restrained my lips,
as you know, O LORD.
I have not hidden your deliverance within my heart;
I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation;
I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness
from the great congregation.