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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Inspirational Christian Devotions # 19

Inspirational Christian Devotions # 19

Seeing that we deserve nothing--we should be content with, and thankful for anything!

(Ralph Venning)

It has been every man's lot to come into and go out of this world naked--to show that he has no right to anything, but lives on the alms of God's charity and grace. All that we have or hold between our birth and death--is the mere gift of God. 

God might choose whether He would allow us anything or not; and when He has given--He may take back again, and none of us has cause to say anything but what Job said: "Naked I came into the world--and naked I shall return. The Lord has given--and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord!" Job 1:21 

All that we have, our food and clothing and belongings--are only lent to us. Therefore, seeing that we deserve nothing--we should be content with, and thankful for anything.

"For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that." 1 Timothy 6:7-8


My times are in Your hand!

("Every Day!" Author unknown)

"My times are in Your hand!"  Psalm 31:15

Is not this truth a joy to you, my soul?

It would be a sorry thing for me, if my times were in my own hands--and it would afford me little satisfaction, if my times were in an angel's hands. How restful should I be in knowing that my times are in my precious Savior's hands! 
He sees the end from the beginning. 
He knows how to apportion my sorrows and my joys. 
He knows what to give--and what to withhold. 
He knows also when to give--and when to take away. 

But, alas! how often is my heart mistrustful--how often have I murmured under the trying dispensations of His providence! O my soul, be ashamed and confounded--be humbled in the dust that you should ever call in question the wisdom or kindness of the dealings of Him who so loved you as to give His only Son for your redemption!

Help me, O God of my salvation, henceforth, with childlike confidence and peaceful trust--to yield all to You, and to rejoice in the assurance that "My times are in Your hand!"

"My times are in Your hand;
 Why should I doubt or fear?
 My Father's hand will never cause
 His child a needless tear!"

Friday, May 26, 2017

Inspirational Christian Devotions # 18

Inspirational Christian Devotions # 18

Is Miss Much-Afraid here?

(Charles Spurgeon)

"I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of My hand!" John 10:11, 27-28 

There is a day coming when all Christ's sheep shall pass again under the hand of Him that counts them--and in that day, not one of the whole redeemed flock shall be missing! 

As the long roll of God's ransomed family is called, it shall be asked, "Is Little-Faith here?" And he will answer to his name not at all in the trembling way in which he used to speak when he was upon earth. 

When it is asked, "Is Miss Much-Afraid here?she will reply, in jubilant tones, "Glory be to God, I am here!" 

No matter how weak and feeble you may be, if you are a child of God--you shall certainly be there and the inheritance shall assuredly be yours!

"For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,  neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation--will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!" Romans 8:38-3

I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection. (Philippians 3:10 NIV)

Resurrection always means that we are outside of the world. After His resurrection the Lord Jesus never again appeared to the world. He never manifested Himself personally to the world after His resurrection. The resurrection means that He had passed, in that sense, out from the world and stood apart, and His power over the world was His apartness from it. His ability to deal with the situation is because He is no longer involved in the situation. Resurrection Life means that we are outside of the world spiritually, and in a superior position....
We have to learn how to live by the power of Christ's resurrection, so that the death around us is not able so to impinge upon us as to bring us into its grip. Resurrection union with the Lord Jesus means that we are not involved in the death that is all around us. We can move in scenes of death and not be touched by death. This is a very important lesson to learn, how to be in Life in the midst of death.... In the resurrection of the Lord Jesus we are delivered from the curse – that is, from the death which works vanity – and we have been brought into the place where we can go right through to the Divine end, the full realization that vanity no longer rests upon us. We are no longer held up; no longer in the position that we live and come to a point and that is the end, and we can go no further. We can go right on now! The fruit of Life can come to perfection because the power of death in the curse has been canceled in the power of His resurrection. The condemnation has been removed.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Inspirational Christian Devotions # 17

Inspirational Christian Devotions # 17

The Compelling Majesty Of His Power

"The love of Christ compels us ..." (2 Corinthians 5:14).

Paul said that he was overpowered, subdued, and held as in a vise by "the love of Christ." Very few of us really know what it means to be held in the grip of the love of God. We tend so often to be controlled simply by our own experience. The one thing that gripped and held Paul, to the exclusion of everything else, was the love of God. "The love of Christ compels us ..." When you hear that coming from the life of a man or woman it is unmistakable. You will know that the Spirit of God is completely unhindered in that person's life.

When we are born again by the Spirit of God, our testimony is based solely on what God has done for us, and rightly so. But that will change and be removed forever once you "receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you..." (Acts 1:8). Only then will you begin to realize what Jesus meant when He went on to say, " shall be witnesses to Me ..." Not witnesses to what Jesus can do - that is basic and understood - but "witnesses to Me ..." We will accept everything that happens as if it were happening to Him, whether we receive praise or blame, persecution or reward. No one is able to take this stand for Jesus Christ who is not totally compelled by the majesty of His power. It is the only thing that matters, and yet it is strange that it's the last thing we as Christian workers realize. Paul said that he was gripped by the love of God and that is why he acted as he did. People could perceive him as mad or sane- he did not care. There was only one thing he lived for - to persuade people of the coming judgment of God and to tell them of "the love of Christ." This total surrender to "the love of Christ" is the only thing that will bear fruit in your life. And it will always leave the mark of God's holiness and his power, never drawing attention to your personal holiness.

~Oswald Chambers~

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Inspirational Christian Devotions # 16

Inspirational Christian Devotions # 16

Christ Exalted!

(James Smith

If we look at the comparisons which are made use of by the Holy Spirit to set Christ forth--we behold something more of His loveliness.

He is compared to a MOTHER, and is said to have more than a mother's tenderness, kindness, and care.
His concern for His people is constant,
He never loses sight of them for a moment, and
He pledges His Word that He will never forget them!

He is the CITY of REFUGE, with . . .
  the broad and clear road,
  the gates wide open, and
  the hearty welcome awaiting every sinner who approaches to escape the threatened vengeance!

He is the STRONGHOLD, which emboldens, supplies, and secures all the prisoners of hope.

He is the ROCK, which shades, shelters, and refreshes the weary traveler. 

He is the DAY-STAR, which betokens brighter scenes, and guides the vessel of mercy across the boisterous deep--to the haven of perfect redemption and safety.

He is the SUN of RIGHTEOUSNESS, whose rising . . .
  cheers the benighted pilgrim,
  makes glad the weary citizen of Heaven, and
  produces moral beauty and fruitfulness in our world.

He is the APPLE-TREE among the trees of the forest . . .
  whose blossoms are beautiful,
  whose shade is refreshing, and
  whose fruit is sweet to the taste.

He is the BREAD of LIFE, which came down from heaven . . .
  satisfying the hungry,
  strengthening the weak, and
  giving life unto the world.

He is the BRAZEN SERPENT, which heals easily, instantly, and perfectly--all who look to Him by faith.

He is the WATER of SALVATION, which . . .
  cleanses the filthy,
  refreshes the weary, and
  makes glad the city of God.

He is the only WAY, which leads from sin, condemnation, and wrath--to life, holiness, and heaven!

He is the HEAD, which thinks, plans, and contrives for the welfare of the whole of His mystical body.

He is the DOOR, which admits to . . .
  the pastures of Divine truth,
  the privileges of His Church below,
  and His Father's glorious presence!

He is the FOUNDATION on which all must build for eternity, and which alone is able to support our hopes and sustain our souls--amidst the wreck of matter and the crash of worlds!

He is the CORNER-STONE, which unites, beautifies, and strengthens the whole building of divine mercy. 

He is the TEMPLE, where God . . .
  meets with us,
  accepts us, and
  imparts His blessing to us.

He is the ALTAR, which sanctifies both the gift and the giver.

He is the VINE, which communicates lifenourishment, and fruitfulness to all its branches.

He is the ROSE of SHARON and the LILY of the VALLEY--fragrant, lovely, attractive, perfuming, and unequaled in beauty and grace!

He is the FORERUNNER, who is gone before His flock . . .
  removing the obstacles,
  marking out the road, and
  ready to receive them as they finish their course.

He is the FRIEND . . .
  who loves at all times,
  whose mind never changes,
  whose love never cools, and
  who never neglects a friend in distress.

He is the greatestbest, and most glorious GIFT of GOD--including, securing, and conferring--every good thing upon those who sincerely receive Him.

He is the KINSMAN . . .
  who redeems the forfeited inheritance,
  who ransoms all His poor relatives from slavery,
  and whose name is held in renown.

He is the LAMB of GOD, who took up, expiated, and forever put away--the sins of all who trust in Him.

He is the MESSENGER of the COVENANT, who . . .
  brings good news from God,
  carries all our requests to God, and
  ever stands as a Mediator between us and God.

He is the PEARL of GREAT PRICE, or the priceless pearl, which . . .
  all who sincerely seek--find,
  all who find--may claim, and
  all who possess--are enriched forever!

He is the PHYSICIAN, who . . .
  heals all spiritual disorders,
  restores every patient to perfect health,
  and bestows medicine and care, freely.

He is the RANSOM, which . . .
  procured our release,
  ensures our liberty, and
  preserves us from going down into the pit!

He is the RIGHTEOUSNESS, which . . .
  justifies us from all charges,
  entitles us to eternal life, and
  enables us to lift up our heads with boldness in God's presence.

He is the TRUTH, which . . .
  enlightens the mind,
  purifies the heart, and
  regulates the life.

He is the FIRE, which . . .
  purges our dross,
  brightens our graces, and
  cleanses our consciences from works which deserve death.

He is the SHEPHERD, who . . .
  knows every sheep,
  watches over the whole flock, and
  never loses a lamb, by disease, accident, or beast of prey.

He is the CAPTAIN of SALVATION, who . . .
  collects His soldiers,
  disciplines His troops, and
  leads them forth to certain victory over sin, the world, and the devil.

He is the LADDER, by which we . . .
  rise from this earth,
  lose sight of carnal things, and
  ascend to the presence of God!

He is the SURETY . . .
  who engaged for us in the everlasting covenant,
  who is held responsible for our salvation,
  who has pledged to set us before His father's throne forever.

He is the WALL of FIRE, which surroundsenlightens and infallibly protects--all His redeemed people!

He is the chief among ten thousand, and the ALTOGETHER LOVELY ONE!

Precious Lord Jesus, allow me . . .
  to know You more fully,
  to trust You more heartily,
  to serve You more diligently,
  to enjoy You more frequently,
  to imitate You more closely,
  to exalt You more highly, and
  to show forth Your salvation from day to day!

Your love--is my Heaven,
Your presence--is my delight, and
Your service--is the joy of my heart!

Let me daily . . .
  walk with You,
  work for You, and
  bring glory to You!

Oh, send Your Spirit to my poor heart . . .
  to exalt You,
  to honor You,
  to endear You to my soul!

Use me to bring . . .
  lost sinners to Your cross,
  believers to Your throne of grace,
  backsliders to the path of obedience.

Be my . . .
  strength in life,
  solace in death, and
  eternal portion beyond the grave!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Inspirational Christian Devotions # 15

Inspirational Christian Devotions # 16

"Serve the Lord with gladness" (Psalm 100:2)

Delight in divine service is a token of acceptance. Those who serve God with a sad countenance, because they do what is unpleasant to them, are not serving Him at all; they bring the "form" of loyalty, but the "life" is absent. Our God requires no slaves to grace His throne; He is the Lord of the empire of love, and would have His servants dressed in the uniform of joy. The angels of God serve Him with songs, not with groans; a murmur or a sigh would be a mutiny in their ranks. That obedience that is not voluntary is disobedience, for the Lord looks at the heart, and if He see that we serve Him from force, and not because we love Him, He will reject our offering. Service coupled with cheerfulness is heart-service and therefore true. Take away joyful willingness from the Christian, and you have removed the test of his sincerity. If a man be driven to battle, he is no patriot; but he who marches into the fray with flashing eye and beaming face, singing, "It is sweet for one's country to die," proves himself to be sincere in his patriotism. Cheerfulness is the support of our strength; in the joy of the Lord we are strong. It acts as the remover of difficulties. It is to our service what oil is to the wheels of a railway car. Without oil the axle soon grows hot, and accidents occur; and if there be not a holy cheerfulness to oil our wheels, our spirits will be clogged with weariness. The man who is cheerful in his service of God proves that obedience is his element; he can sing,

Make me to walk in your commands,
It's a delightful road.

Reader, let us put this question - do you serve the Lord with gladness? Let us show to the people of the world, who think our religion to be slavery, that it is to us a delight and a joy! Let our gladness proclaim that we serve a good Master.

~Charles Hadden Spurgeon~

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Inspirational Christian Devotions # 14

Inspirational Christian Devotions # 14

"And God saw that the light was good, and God separated the light from the darkness" (Genesis 1:4)

Light might well be good since it sprang from that fiat of goodness, "Let there be light." We who enjoy it should be more grateful for it than we are, and see more of God in it and by it. Physical light is said by Solomon to be sweet, but gospel light is infinitely more precious, for it reveals eternal things and ministers to our immortal natures. When the Holy Spirit gives us spiritual light and opens our eyes to behold the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, we behold sin in its true colors, and ourselves in our real position; we see the Most Holy God as He reveals Himself, the plan of mercy as He propounds it,and the world to come as the Word describes it. Spiritual light has many beams and prismatic colors, but whether they be knowledge, joy, holiness, or life, all are divinely good. If the light received be thus good, what must the essential light be, and how glorious must be the place where He reveals Himself. O Lord, since light is so good, give us more of it, and more of Yourself, the true Light.

No sooner is there a good thing in the world than a division is necessary. Light and darkness have no communion; God has divided them - let us not confound them. Sons of light must not have fellowship with deeds, doctrines, or deceits of darkness. The children of the day must be sober, honest, and hold in their Lord's work, leaving the works of darkness to those who will dwell in it forever. Our churches should by discipline divide the light from the darkness, and we should by our distinct separation from the world do the same. In judgment, in action, in hearing, in teaching, in association, we must discern between the precious and the vile, and maintain the great distinction that the Lord made upon the world's first day. O Lord Jesus, be our light throughout the whole of this day, for Your light is the light of men.

~Charles Hadden Spurgeon~

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Inspirational Christian Devotions # 13

Inspirational Christian Devotions # 13

"Thou shalt call His Name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins" (Matthew 1:21).

As the Lord Jesus was a person, He had His own individual name. His mother, His disciples, all His friends called Him by this name - Jesus. But they probably thought little of what that name meant. And how little do the majority of Christians know what a treasure is contained in that name - Jesus - "He shall save His people from their sins."

Many think of His death on the Cross, they think of His work in heaven as Intercessor, but do they, or do we, realize that He is a living Person in heaven who thinks of us each day and longs to reveal Himself? And He desires us each day to bring Him our love and adoration.

Christians pray to Christ to save them from their sins, but they know very little how the blessed work is done. The living Christ reveals Himself to us, and through the power of His love, the love of sin is expelled. It is through personal fellowship with Him that Jesus saves us from our sins. I must come as an individual, with my heart and all the sin that is in it, to Jesus as an Almighty personal Saviour in whom God's holiness dwells. And as He and I commune together in the expression of mutual love and desire by the work of the Holy Spirit in my heart, His love will expel and conquer all the sin.

O Christian, learn the blessedness of each day in fellowship with Jesus. Finding the secret of happiness and holiness, your heart will long for the hour of prayer as the best hour of the day. As you learn to go apart with Him alone each day, you will experience His presence with you, enabling you all through the day to love Him, to serve Him, and to walk in His ways.

Blessed Father, through this unbroken fellowship with Thee, let me learn the secret of the power of a truly godly life. Amen

~Andrew Murray~

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Inspirational Christian Devotions # 12

Inspirational Christian Devotions # 12

The Spirit's Work In Salvation

~Charles Spurgeon~

The Holy Spirit lays bare his heart, lets him see the loathsome cancer that is there eating away his life, uncovers to him all the blackness and defilement of that sink of hell - the human heart; and then the man stands aghast - "I never thought I was like this! Oh! those sins to an immense stature. What I thought was a mole-hill has grown into a mountain; it was a hyssop on the wall before, but not it has become a cedar of Lebanon."

Then the man says to himself, "Oh, I will try to reform; I will do enough good deeds to wash these "black" deeds out."

Then the Holy Spirit comes and shows him that he cannot do this, takes away all his "fancied" power and strength, so that the man falls down on his knees in agony and cries, "Oh! once I thought I could save myself by my good works, but now I find that -

"Could my tears forever flow,

Could my zeal no respite know,
All for sin could not atone,
You must save, and You alone!"

Then his heart sinks, and the man is ready to despair. He says, "I can never be saved. Nothing can save me."

Then the Holy Spirit comes and shows the sinner the Cross of Christ, gives him eyes anointed with heavenly eye-salve, and says, "Look to yonder Cross. That Man died to save sinners; you feel you are a sinner; He died to save you."

And then the Holy Spirit enables the heart to believe, and come to Christ.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Sponges and Watering-cans

Inspirational Christian Devotions

Sponges and Watering-cans

~Charles Naylor~

It was Jesus' custom to draw spiritual lessons from the things surrounding Him - and by some similitude, to impress upon His hearers a profitable truth. In the same way, we may get many valuable thoughts from the simple things of everyday life. The articles mentioned in the heading bring to my mind pictures of two classes of people.

The most noticeable feature of a sponge is its power of absorbing a liquid and retaining it within itself. If dipped in or placed in contact with a liquid, it will absorb several times its weight.

Some people are like sponges. They go to church meetings and drink in the truth time after time. They love it. It delights their hearts. They love the singing, the preaching, the testimonies, and the prayers. They absorb and absorb - but, like the sponge, they give out nothing. The sponge gives up what it has taken in, only when it is subjected to pressure. So it is with these human sponges. While they love to listen - they have to be urged to 'do' anything. They only do something when they feel duty-bound to do so, or when they are urged by somebody else. They rarely pray in meeting. They are among the last in all such things. To go where a congregation are mostly sponges, is to find a few having all to do - and to find a dull,insipid meeting.

Wet sponges will not burn. Neither will the fire of God burn in a congregation of sponges. A preacher may be full of fire - but he cannot set sponges burning. Do you have to be urged to do anything? Are you ready to pray or do whatever you can win the meeting? Do you love to talk to people about salvation - or do you speak of it only when someone else starts the conversation? Do you have to be constantly urged to do your duty? Are you a sponge?

A watering-can is different. It too will take in to its full capacity; but, as soon as it is turned in the right position, it freely gives out again. Streams of cooling, refreshing water fall on the thirsty plants. The drooping flowers raise again their heads to blush in beauty,and their fragrance floats out on the balmy air once more. A delicious coolness surrounds the place, and we delight to be there.

While the sponge represents the selfish class; the watering-can represents the open-hearted, cheerful giver - one who is ready to pass on the good things and who in return reaps the promise, "He who waters - shall be water also himself." If the watering-can is emptied, does not the gardener fill it again, and with fresh water? So, if we are pouring out to others - then we shall be filled anew. We shall not be empty - but fresh and rich in our souls with the water of life. The great Gardener fills us, that we may pour out to others, not simply that we may be filled ourselves. It is said of Jesus that He "emptied Himself". He became poor - that through His poverty, we should be made rich.

O beloved, God wants us to be "ready unto every good work." Do not be a sponge! Do not have to be pressed into duty. Do not live in yourself and for yourself. Be no longer content with drinking in. Begin to pour out. Be ready to do your part in meeting, yes, everywhere. Be ready to water others. The world is indeed "thirsty ground."

A sponge, if left to itself, gives out by evaporation until it becomes hard and dry; and in such a state it is useless. Many people have drunk in the truth and delighted in it - but instead of pouring out to others, that they might be refilled - they have just given out by evaporation until they have become dry and formal and lifeless. That is the usual result with spiritual sponges.

Who are those who are fat and flourishing, those who have showers of blessings? Are they sponges? Nay, truly. "Give ... and it shall be given." "It is more blessed to give (to be a watering-can) than to receive (to be a sponge)."

Now, face the question squarely. Which of these things are you? Look over the past year. Have you been ready for duty? Is your testimony always ready for the opportunity? Are you ready for service of any kind? If you have been a sponge - then quit being one. Quit now. Ask God to make something better of you. If we not are now sponges, we can soon become so by neglect of duty. The only safe way is to keep pouring out!

Inspirational Christian Devotions # 11

Inspirational Christian Devotions # 11

The First Love

"I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love" (Revelation 2:4).

In Revelation 2:2-3, eight signs are mentioned showing the zeal and activity of the Church at Ephesus. But there was one bad sign, and the Lord said, "Except thou repent, I will come unto thee, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place." And what was the sign? "Thou hast left thy first love".

We find the same lack in the Church of the present day. There is zeal for the truth, there is continuous and persevering labor, but that which the Lord values most is wanting, the tender, fervent love to Himself.

This is a thought of great significance - a church or a community or a Christian may be an example of every good work, and yet - the tender love to the Lord Jesus in the inner chamber is missing.

There is no personal daily fellowship with Christ, and all the manifold activities with which people satisfy themselves are as nothing in the eyes of the Master Himself.

Dear brother and sister, this book speaks of the fellowship of love with Christ in the inner chamber. Everything depends on this. Christ came from heaven to love us with the love wherewith the Father loved Him. He suffered and died to win our hearts for this love. His love can be satisfied with nothing less than a deep, personal love to Him on our part.

Christ considers this of the first importance. Let us do so too. Many ministers and missionaries and Christian workers confess with shame that in spite of all their zeal in the Lord's work, their prayer life is defective because they have left their first love. I pray you, write this down on a piece of paper and remember it continually - The love of Jesus must be all - in the inner chamber, in all my work, in my daily life.

"Lord Jesus, I pray that Thou wilt be my all, in the inner chamber, in all my work, in my daily life. Amen

~Andrew Murray~

Inspirational Christian Devotions # 10

Inspirational Christian Devotions # 10

Let Us Keep To The Point

"... my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death" (Philippians 1:20).

My utmost for His highest. " earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed ..." We will all feel very much ashamed if we do not yield to Jesus the areas of our lives He has asked us to yield to Him. It's as if Paul were saying, "My determined purpose is to be my utmost for His highest - my best for His glory." To reach that level of determination is a matter of the will, not of debate or of reasoning. It is absolute and irrevocable surrender of the will at that point. An undue amount of thought and consideration for ourselves is what keeps us from making that decision, although we cover it up with the pretense that it is others we are considering. When we think seriously about what it will cost others if we obey the call of Jesus, we tell God He doesn't know what our obedience will mean. Keep to the point - He  does know. Shut out every other thought and keep yourself before God in this one thing only - my utmost for His highest. I am determined to be absolutely and entirely for Him and Him alone.

My unstoppable determination for His holiness. "Whether it means life or death - it makes no difference!" (see 1:21). Paul was determined that nothing would stop him from doing exactly what God wanted. But before we choose to follow God's will, a crisis must develop in our lives. This happens because we tend to be unresponsive to God's gentler nudges. He brings us to the place where He asks us to be our utmost for Him and we begin to debate. He then providentially produces a crisis where we have to decide - for or against. That moment becomes a great crossroads in our lives. If a crisis has come to you on any front, surrender your will to Jesus absolutely and irrevocably.

~Oswald Chambers~