Sometimes we make the mistake of thinking that once we are saved, we are beyond the devil’s grasp. Truth is, the closer you are to God, the greater the temptation will be. Temptation takes many shapes and forms and the devil knows exactly which one of your buttons to push. Jesus was the Son of God, and he too was tempted but sinned not. Others weren’t so fortunate:
Two brothers were talking one day, when one said to the other, "When I'm older, "I'll find me a hideout in the mountains and rob the rich guys." Before his shocked mother could respond, the other brother said, "Not me, I'm going to be a medical missionary somewhere in a needy continent like Africa." The next day the mother narrated the incident to her neighbor, finally exclaiming, "Can you imagine that? In the same home and with the same training!"
One day, a pastor was preaching a fiery sermon, and the congregation was carried away by the atmosphere generated in the church. The pastor strode boldly from one end of the altar to the other, carefully crafting his illustrations and skillfully weaving God’s word into the mix. Occasionally he pumped the air with his fists, bobbing one way and then the other, his voice rose and fell, captivating his audience with the power of God’s word, with his charisma and with his gift of oratory.
Almighty God, you are worthy to be praised. There is no one like you. You are the Ancient of Days, before time was, you were; and after time is passed, you will be. Receive all the honor, the praise, the worship, the exaltation and adoration, Majestic Lord.
In the middle of the 19th Century, a man in India named, Nokseng came to a saving faith in Jesus Christ through the efforts of an American Baptist missionary. The village chief instructed him to renounce his faith, but the convert declared, "I have decided to follow Jesus." His refusal led to the killing of his two children. When his wife was threatened, he continued to declare, "Though no one will join me, still I will follow." The chief responded by killing his wife. Undeterred, the man continued to sing, "The world behind me, The cross before me." He was executed while singing these last few lines. This display of unfaltering faith is reported to have led to the conversion of the chief and many others in that village.
Have you ever looked at the world with all its mind-spinning headlines and wondered where it’s all going to end? Do you look at the church and wonder if Christians are going to make it? Today, look no further than Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. He alone is your peace in the good times and the bad times.
In the hymn titled “There is a place of quiet rest,” Cleland Boyd McAfee writes:
Recently, I heard someone tell a story which is said to have originated in Japan; it is the story of the hummingbird:
One day, there was a huge forest fire, and all the creatures of the forest: ants, bears, birds, caterpillars, deer, elephants, insects, lions, raccoons, snakes, spiders, squirrels, turtles…and all kinds of creatures of the air and of the ground ran out to the edge of the forest and stared back in horror at the raging flames.
“What are we going to do?” the bear asked, but there was no response. All the animals just stood staring at the red, hot, menacing tongues of fire, mute with shock!
Have you noticed lately, that everyone seems to be telling (selling?) their story? From sunrise to sunset, someone is trying to get our attention through one of the many forms of media that we all choose to interact with. The airwaves are packed 24-7-365. Every storyteller insists that their story is the most captivating with an important lesson for the listeners.
Have you ever wanted to know God’s will? Well here is one instance (and there are many), where the Bible makes God’s will crystal clear. It is God’s will that the believer should give thanks in all circumstances, for this is his God’s will in Christ Jesus. The believer gives thanks, not because the situation is good, but because it is God’s will. It means giving thanks in the hard times, as well as in the good times.
Has God been speaking to you? That’s a question that many believers wrestle with from time to time. How can one know when it is God and when it is just a personal desire or dissatisfaction or something else? How can mortal, flawed and sinful human beings identify the voice of a divine and infallible creator whose thoughts are not our thoughts and whose ways are higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9)? I don’t know how, but I know it is possible and I know that it does happen, because of God’s love for humanity, and his love covers a multitude of sins (John 3:16).