Thursday, January 31, 2013

+DEV+ We Cannot Transform Ourselves

Date: January 31, 2013 1:01 AM
Topic: +DEV+  We Cannot Transform Ourselves

We Cannot Transform Ourselves

 "...that you may know...his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead..." (Ephesians 1:18-20)
Scripture Focus: Matthew 7:16-20

My sinful heart is the living canvas upon which God paints His marvelous work of gracious transformation. When I struggle with a particular sin for a long period of time, or when I do everything in my power to conquer that sin and fail miserably, the stage is set for me to understand where true and lasting change really comes from. All of my growth is His work and not mine.

We cannot transform ourselves. Real change always flows from the heart outward, and we are no match for our own fallen hearts. When I struggle with a certain sin for years and God bears with me patiently, then does His breathtaking work to melt my heart, granting me not only repentance but real power to change, I know that the work is all His. I will take no credit. Don't be discouraged today if you still battle the sins you've tried the hardest to overcome. Some of God's most glorious work will be done in you at your lowest moments. When He chooses to abolish that sin forever, you will worship Him and not yourself!

Insight: "The clearest proofs they have had of Christ's excellence have been occasioned by the mortifying proofs they have had of their own vileness." (John Newton)

Please feel free to use this devotional to send on to your friends or share with your church fellowship and Bible study groups.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

+DEV+ The Patience of God

Date: January 29, 2013 11:47 PM
Topic: +DEV+  The Patience of God

The Patience of God

"The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance."  (2 Peter 3:9)
Scripture Focus: Exodus 34:6-7; Nehemiah 9:17b-25

My friend likes to say that if he'd written the Bible, it would be a very short book: "God makes man and woman, Adam and Eve sin, they are blown to bits, the end." This tells you he is not a patient man!

But God is very different from my friend, or any of us in His astounding patience and long-suffering love. If God forgives you once, you are glad and grateful. When He forgives again, you are slightly embarrassed and perhaps determined to try harder. What happens when you struggle with the same besetting sin for 15, 20 years, or more? What if you really want to change but can't? This is what it feels like to be the prodigal child over and over again - to rebel and sin grievously only to find your Father watching and waiting, longing for your return. He does not wait grudgingly with disappointment and anger. Instead, He rushes to embrace you and celebrate the repentance He has given you for the millionth time! Through our struggle with sin, we come to understand and experience God's surprising patience.

Insight:  "The multiplied pardons the believer receives increase his admiration of... the mercy of the covenant. He loves much, for much has been forgiven." (John Newton)

Please feel free to use this devotional to send on to your friends or share with your church fellowship and Bible study groups.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

+DEV+ It Is Christ Alone

Date: January 27, 2013 11:27 PM
Topic: +DEV+  It Is Christ Alone

It Is Christ Alone

"For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."  (Ephesians 2:10)
Scripture Focus: Ephesians 2:1-10

My worst sins often come wrapped in my best acts of obedience! I cannot seem to obey God without taking pride in my willingness to cooperate with Him, without secretly hoping that others will notice my strength. How easily confused I am by my own goodness, eagerly taking credit for progress but making excuses for my weakness.

 My relentless and exhausting struggle with my sinful heart causes me to remember who gets credit for anything good in me. I know well that I am not capable of worship, good thoughts, a soft and tender heart towards God and His people, repentance or obedience. He must give me those good gifts. Otherwise, I experience the truth of my fallen depravity. My sin is all my own, utterly my own fault. Yet my obedience is not my own; it comes from another. On the last day it will be known to all that the only part I contributed to my salvation and sanctification was my sin. God is both the author and finisher of my faith, in charge from start to the end of my days on earth, and only He will get the glory.

Insight:  "Jesus Christ is more endeared to the soul; all boasting is effectually excluded, and the Glory of... free salvation is ascribed to him alone."  (John Newton)

Please feel free to use this devotional to send on to your friends or share with your church fellowship and Bible study groups

Thursday, January 24, 2013

+DEV+ To Live Is Christ

Date: January 24, 2013 8:54 PM
Topic: +DEV+  To Live Is Christ

To Live Is Christ

"For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain." (Philippians 1:21)
Scripture Focus: 1 Corinthians 15:50-58

We all know that it is not natural to want to die. In fact, we rush to the aid of people who want to kill themselves because we know that something is seriously wrong. We all know we are going to die, and yet we will exhaust every effort to deny and fight this great enemy. In kindness, God assigns suffering and sin to our earthly lives. They reconcile us to thoughts of what is inevitable because, for the believer, to die is to be in God's presence at last.

Our sin sweetens thoughts of death for ourselves and those we love who die in Christ. Just think about that as you read Paul's words, "to die is gain." Can you fathom what it will be like to enjoy God without anger, bitter thoughts, pride, selfishness-all those sins which once overwhelmed you? Fear is replaced by wonder when we imagine the glorious things that are prepared for us and the outrageous joy of bowing at the feet of our dearest Friend and Savior, singing and shouting "thank you" for all eternity. We'll be free from sin at last, resting in the arms of our truest Friend.

Insight: "Happy christian! His toils and sufferings will soon end; ...he who has loved and redeemed him will welcome him." (John Newton)

Please feel free to use this devotional to send on to your friends or share with your church fellowship and Bible study groups.

+DEV+ Be Earthly Good & Heavenly Minded

Date: January 24, 2013 1:16 AM
Topic: +DEV+  Be Earthly Good & Heavenly Minded

Be Earthly Good & Heavenly Minded

"...we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is."  (1 John 3:2)
Scripture Focus: Colossians 3:1-4

God loves it when I long for heaven and can't wait to be with Him. This does not come naturally to me at all. My mind and time are consumed with earthliness, rooted to people, things, desires, fears, goals. My "to do" list dominates and determines how I approach the day. Habitually dazzled by creation and all that it offers and requires, I forget the Creator and His promise that I will be with Him and be like Him. Frankly, the thought of worshiping God all day every day can seem quite boring...until I sin again!

When I fall once more, I long for the day when I will be able to enjoy my Creator without this heap of sin which clings to me, follows me, weighs me down and blinds me to His glory. Here on earth, I cannot escape this twisted fallen-ness. But,
oh, the joy that is in store for me! One day, with unveiled eyes, and not a single thought for myself and my own glory, I will see His face and be like Him. And then the real party will begin.

Insight:  "They shall not always be as they are: a little while and they shall be freed from this vile body, which... must be entirely taken down."  (John Newton)

Please feel free to use this devotional to send on to your friends or share with your church fellowship and Bible study groups.

Monday, January 21, 2013

+DEV+ Cherishing a Champion

Date: January 21, 2013 11:55 PM
Topic: +DEV+  Cherishing a Champion

Cherishing a Champion

"Since we have a great high priest... Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess...Let us approach the throne of grace... so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need."  (Hebrews 4:14, 16)
Scripture Focus: Romans 8:31-39

I tend to cherish what I desperately require to survive: food, shelter, clothing. Unless I feel a great need for something, it will exist at the periphery of my life, barely claiming my attention. I relegate Jesus Christ to that place on a regular basis; it doesn't seem like I need Him all that much when life is going well. I don't think of Him much or speak to Him often. Then I sin again, or I see a new sin I never noticed before. Suddenly, my Savior takes center stage once again, and I realize afresh that He is my only hope in life and death.

My sin drives me to my knees in worship and adoration: I realize that I desperately need the blood of this Savior to atone for me. I must have His perfect goodness credited to me or I will not survive.

Throughout history we've held high all kinds of champions. God loves it when I cherish His Son. Every day, my sin shows me my urgent need for this wonderful Champion who died my death and lives forever to plead for me. As I see that truth anew, it takes my breath away.

Insight: "On my worst days of sin and failure, the Gospel encourages me With God's relentless Grace toward me." (Milton Vincent)

Please feel free to use this devotional to send on to your friends or share with your church fellowship and Bible study groups.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

+DEV+ Happy Helplessness

Date: January 20, 2013 10:40 PM
Topic: +DEV+  Happy Helplessness

Happy Helplessness

"But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness, so that Christ's power may rest on me.'" (2 Corinthians 12:9)
Scripture Focus: Romans 9

I hate being weak. Do you? I wish I could simply decide not to sin. After all, I've spent most of my life trying to do this very thing, meticulously endeavoring to turn over mountains of new leaves which stubbornly refuse to yield to my most ardent efforts. I have often thought of the Holy Spirit of God as a divine leaf blower which, if used properly and sincerely, would clear my life of unwanted debris and speed me on my way to godliness.

When I reach the end of myself, the truth becomes clearer: I need help. Though I may desire greatly not to sin, I am utterly unable to change my heart. I am no match for my own sinful soul, and I return to the very sin I just asked His forgiveness for! God refuses to take His orders from me; I am His lump of
clay, as dead and incapable of life or thought as a wet chunk on a potter's wheel. When God reminds me of this truth through my persistent failure, I throw myself on His mercy, undone by His great love for me. May you know that great love today, too.

Insight: "God sometimes shows us what he can do for us and in us; at other times... how unable we are to stand without him." (John Newton)

Please feel free to use this devotional to send on to your friends or share with your church fellowship and Bible study groups.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

+DEV+ For All the Wrong Reasons

Date: January 17, 2013 10:50 PM
Topic: +DEV+  For All the Wrong Reasons

 For All the Wrong Reasons

"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."  (John 15:5)
Scripture Focus: Psalm 139

Hating your sin seems like a good thing. God hates sin, so you should as well. However, I have many very sinful reasons for hating my sin. Sin embarrasses me, so I work hard to get rid of the sins which make me look bad to others, while ignoring or cherishing those which no one else sees. If I were in charge of my own sanctification, I would wipe out all the sins that make me appear weak but continue to enjoy the quiet, deadly sins I love. Thank heaven God loves me too much to put me in charge!

My sin humbles me, reminding me that I am utterly incapable of obedience without a fresh act of the Holy Spirit each and every time. My ongoing struggle with a depraved heart makes me completely dependent on God for growth. There is, perhaps, no other way to get humility than by learning I have no power to change myself. God loves it when I see my desperate need for the life and death of His Son, and when I see that apart from Christ, I can indeed do nothing at all.

Insight:  "I am more sinful than I ever imagined, and more loved than I ever dared to hope."  (C.J. Miller

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

+DEV+ God's Purposes

Date: January 16, 2013 11:40 PM
Topic: +DEV+  God's Purposes

God's Purposes

"This man was handed over to you by God's set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross."  (Acts 2:23)
Scripture Focus: Genesis 50:15-21

There is no doubt that God hates sin. From Genesis to Revelation, we see that God despises wickedness and is committed to the destruction of evil. In the beginning of the book of Job, even Satan needs God's permission to sin, and is only able to torment Job to the degree that God allows. Joseph proclaimed God's sovereignty over sin when he told his wayward brothers that the actions they meant for evil, God meant for good. God uses what He hates to accomplish what He loves.

Nowhere is this seen more clearly than in the crucifixion of Christ. What could God possibly have hated more than to see His Son mocked, tortured, and brutally executed? Yet God ordained something so horrific and painful for Himself and His Son, because it accomplished something that they both loved, something to which the Holy Trinity had joyfully agreed before time began: the rescue of our souls and our adoption into His family. If that love doesn't melt you and fill you with desire to live in obedience to God, what else will?

Insight:  "Satan is more remarkably disappointed and put to shame when he finds bounds set to his rage and policy, beyond which he cannot pass." (John Newton)

+DEV+ God Loves The Contrite Heart

Date: January 16, 2013 1:35 AM
Topic: +DEV+  God Loves The Contrite Heart

God Loves The Contrite Heart

"For this is what the high and lofty One says... 'I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and... the heart of the contrite.'"  (Isaiah 57:15)
Scripture Focus: Psalm 51

If God is all-powerful and loves His children perfectly, why would He leave remaining sin in our lives to torment us? If He could have saved us and made us perfect immediately, why has He ordained that our lives here on earth be characterized by weakness, unrelenting temptation, and profoundly painful sinful failure?

God thinks differently than we do. We imagine Him to be delighted by our goodness, so we try hard to impress Him. We believe that He loves us best when we obey Him and is horribly disappointed when we sin and let Him down. Think again. God is most delighted by the perfection of His Son, so He is most pleased when we see our huge need for Christ and look to Him for our righteousness. God is lovingly committed to weaning us away from our dependence on our own goodness. Your ongoing struggle with sin today is an invitation to look afresh to Christ and not to your own obedience. You needed His perfection to be saved in the first place, and you will need it many times today.

Insight:  "Experience is God's school; those taught by him learn they have no wisdom by their mistakes, no strength by their slips and falls." (John Newton)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

+DEV+ God's Choice

Date: January 15, 2013 2:07 AM
Topic: +DEV+  God's Choice

God's Choice

"For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want."  (Galatians 5:17)
Scripture Focus: Romans 7:14-25

God could have made us perfect - sanctified us - the minute He saved us. He is God, after all, and all things are equally easy for Him. The moment we die or He returns, we will be instantly changed and without sin. Yet God did not choose to do this for us right now. Instead, He has left indwelling sin in our hearts as the battlefield upon which our humility, love, and dependence on Him would grow and flourish.

If the goal of our lives here on earth is increasing sinless-ness, God isn't doing a very good job. Even the apostle Paul calls himself the chief of sinners toward the end of his life, not the beginning of his ministry. However, if God's goal is increasing our humility and dependence upon Him, then He is doing an excellent job. Every moment of every day, our weak, rebellious, sinful hearts show us more clearly our ongoing need to be rescued by a heroic Savior. Our sin takes us constantly to the cross, ensuring that we will never outgrow our need for a champion, our strong redeemer, Jesus Christ.

Insight:  "If the evils we feel were not capable of being overruled for good, he would not permit them to remain in us."  (John Newton)

Sunday, January 13, 2013

+DEV+ God's Redemption

Date: January 13, 2013 11:30 PM
Topic: +DEV+  God's Redemption

God's Redemption

"Surely your wrath against men brings you praise, and the survivors of your wrath are restrained." (Psalm 76:10)
Scripture Focus: Romans 11:29-36

The story of redemption is not God's frantic attempt to retrieve the broken story line of humanity and steer it back to a positive conclusion. Redemption is the story, the heart of the original script. God is not the author of sin and He never tempts anyone to sin. Yet He ordained the fall in His perfect plan for the world. Since God does all things for His glory and our good, this must bring Him honor, and must work for the best for His children.

We know that God hates sin, and He teaches us to hate sin; yet He decided that we should know Him better as forgiven sinners than we would if we had never sinned. How could we marvel at His patience if we did not provoke Him time and time again, only to find Him faithful? How could we know the cleansing blaze of repentance and restoration if we had not trampled on His love repeatedly, only to be welcomed back into the open arms of a forgiving Father? How could we know Jesus if the need for a perfect life and death as payment for our sin never existed?

Insight: "The unchangeableness of God's love is more illustrated by the multiplied pardons He bestows on us, than if we needed no forgiveness at all." (John Newton)

Thursday, January 10, 2013

+DEV+ His Glory

Date: January 10, 2013 11:35 PM
Topic: +DEV+  His Glory

His Glory

"You have neither heard nor understood; from of old your ear has not been open... For my own name's sake I delay my wrath; for the sake of my praise I hold it back from you." (Isaiah 48:8-9)
Scripture Focus: Psalm 29, Romans 8:28

It is astounding that the great Maker of all things should stoop down to speak into the lives of the creatures He fashioned. The moment He created Adam and Eve in His image, He began to explain His heart to them, granting them the breathtaking privilege of exploring the mind, desires, and thoughts of their Creator. God never intended His people to figure out life on their own, even before the fall. They were created to love and worship the Wonderful Counselor who would explain their world to them.

In the fall, God permitted the intrusion of another counselor who would capture the hearts and minds of His people and carry them into sin. Why would God allow such a thing? Since He does all things for His own glory and the good of His people, this dark moment in time and all its consequences must demonstrate His glory and benefit His chosen ones. God's love for His people is magnified and celebrated when we know Him as a merciful, forgiving God who invades our lives to rescue us through Jesus.

Insight: "The glory of God and the good of his people are inseparable connected."  (John Newton)

+DEV+ God Always Gets His Way

Date: January 9, 2013 11:58 PM
Topic: +DEV+  God Always Gets His Way

God Always Gets His Way

"In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out every¨thing in conformity with the purpose of his will..." (Ephesians 1:11)
Scripture Focus: Psalm 135

God always gets His way. He wouldn't be God if He were too weak to accomplish His own will. On every page, Scripture shouts to us of an awesome Creator God who spoke this universe into existence and sustains each molecule with both hands tied behind His back. Running the universe is easy for God, and no microscopic piece of it escapes His notice or evades His dominion for a millisecond. No cell divides without His consent; no breath is taken but He ordains it. No human thought escapes His notice or confounds His perfect will.

We get confused and frightened because the world doesn't seem to be going the way we think God wants it to. However, if we begin with our hearts and minds fixed on Jesus, our interpretation of the world around us changes
dramatically. God is getting His way right now... in this world, in my life, in my mind, in my heart. Praise Him! He has not surrendered the tiniest particle of His power or authority. He is ruling every corner of creation, and He is doing it very well.

"With respect to men and all creation, God reigns With uncontrolled dominion over every kingdom, family, and individual." (John Newton)

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

+DEV+ Jesus Marries His Bride

Date: January 8, 2013 11:43 PM
Topic: +DEV+  Jesus Marries His Bride

Jesus Marries His Bride

 "Then the angel said to me, 'Write: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!" (Revelation 19:9)
Scripture Focus: Revelation19:1-9

Getting married in Tanzania is a long, drawn-out affair. The parents on both sides must agree. The bride-price, usually in several installments and normally cattle, must be paid and received. Relatives must be informed. A dowry is built up. A marriage house must be constructed and clothes purchased. Arrangements must be made for the huge feast. No preparations may be hurried. Only when everything has been completed can the marriage take place.

John sees all heaven getting excited about the wedding. Jesus, the groom, is prepared. He has given His very life for the bride. As each seal in the book is opened, the bride's preparations move forward, step after step. Beasts must be overcome, trials must be endured. The purpose of it all is to prepare for the great day when the bride will be ready, in every detail. Then Jesus will marry His blood-bought bride, the church - you and me!

We are that bride, dressed in the robes of righteousness He gave us, eager to be with our beloved Jesus forever.

Insight: We look in vain in revelation for a timetable of this world's end. Only God knows that moment. May we be ready for that day!

+DEV+ The Lamb is the Lamp

Date: January 8, 2013 1:10 AM
Topic: +DEV+  The Lamb is the Lamp

The Lamb is the Lamp

"The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp."  (Revelation 21:23)
Scripture Focus: 1 John 1

A friend told of a guest coming one evening. She lit her kerosene tin-can lamp to "clean up" quickly. Just as she finished, the guest arrived carrying a modern, bright pressure lamp that he placed on the table. The poor woman was aghast as its bright light revealed dirt under the table, in the corner, everywhere. She told how, as with her tin-can lamp, she thought her life was fine until Jesus came in. Jesus was not carrying a light; He was the light. The experience made her confront her sin and cry out for cleansing.

John saw that heaven was a place of light with no shadows or darkness at all. The source of the light was Jesus, the Lamb. Jesus is not only the light of the world; He is the light of heaven itself.

In his first letter John wrote, "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin" (1:7). A revived believer repents quickly of all sin that the light of Christ reveals.

Insight: Light and darkness do not mix; one always dominates. may we walk in light of Jesus in glory, the light of heaven and earth.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

+DEV+ The Lamb is the Shepherd

Date: January 6, 2013 11:24 PM
Topic: +DEV+  The Lamb is the Shepherd

The Lamb is the Shepherd

"For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes." (Revelation 7:17)
Scripture Focus: John 10:1-18

I love this "sighting" of Jesus. Up to this point in Revelation, He has been God's Lamb, and He knows full well what it is like to be a lamb. He was led, as it were, as a lamb for slaughter, then mocked, beaten, and spit upon. The blows of sin's fury fell on Him. His silent obedience and determination to fulfill the purpose of His coming was shocking. Hanging on the Cross, He bore our ungodliness in His own body. On that fateful day, as the sun refused to shine, the wrath of heaven against sin was unleashed on Jesus. He suffered and shuddered and finally died to set us free from sin and death. Jesus knows what it means to be God's sheep.

Our hearts must rejoice when we see, as John saw, that Jesus is not only the Lamb, but also the Good Shepherd. His total attention is on His flock (you and me!) as He leads them through the dark valleys and into springs of living water (Himself). May we who are both sinners and redeemed know the goodness of Him who is both sheep and Shepherd.

Insight: Jesus knows the needs of his sheep because he himself is God's lamb. He gives his life for them.

Friday, January 4, 2013

+DEV+ Worthy is the Lamb

Date: January 4, 2013 1:28 AM
Topic: +DEV+  Worthy is the Lamb

Worthy is the Lamb

"Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!" (Revelation 5:12)
Scripture Focus: 1 Corinthians 2:1-10

A dear friend reminded me to keep my focus on the Cross of Christ. As he neared death, he confided, "I am now beginning to see the meaning of the Cross." It seems that the saints have at least one trait in common: they are all drawn to the Cross. What happened there is the window we have into the very heart of God.

Five minutes at the Cross where my sins are atoned for and where I receive acceptance into the household of God produces more insight into reality than all the flashy philosophies or new religions that exist. As I, in my mind's eye, place my hand on that slain Lamb and plea for cleansing to the root of my being, I begin to understand what grace is. Jesus is many things, but ever and always He is first of all my sin-bearer. All other blessings flow from the fact that Jesus died for me. If my spirit grows cold, I've probably forgotten that I am a sinner. I need to go back to the place where I first met Jesus, at the foot of His Cross. That is my home.

Insight: As you ponder the cross of Christ, again and again, sing that "new song" of heaven, "Worthy Is The Lamb!"

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

+DEV+ I Saw a Lamb

Date: January 2, 2013 8:22 PM
Topic: +DEV+  I Saw a Lamb

I Saw a Lamb

"Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain..." (Revelation 5:6)
Scripture Focus: John 1:29 - 37

What a dazzling vision - thrones and emerald rainbows, golden crowns and a crystal sea, winged creatures and lightening! John looked about intently for the Lion of Judah. Where were the deafening roar, sharp claws, and teeth ready to rip open the seals? There was no lion.

Instead, there was a little lamb with blood on its fleece, freshly slain but still alive. Every eye in heaven focused on that lamb who quietly took the book. The seals melted away, and all heaven broke into a new song: "You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation."

Yet again, John saw the new in the context of the old. He'd gone to the Jordan 60 years earlier to repent and be baptized by John the Baptist. While there, Jesus appeared. The Baptist, pointing to Him, declared, "Behold, the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world." The crucified, risen Lamb is the full expression of God's power.

Insight: Do not be surprised if you are taken back to your initial meeting with Jesus, and do not be surprised that He is still the same.

+DEV+ The Harvest

Date: January 2, 2013 1:10 AM
Topic: +DEV+  The Harvest

The Harvest

"Then he said to his disciples, 'The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field'" (Matthew 9:37-38).
Scripture Focus: Matthew 9:35-38

The beginning of the New Year is always a time of renewal and resolution. For me it's a reminder of a spiritual field ripe for harvest...many are waiting to hear and accept Jesus and His love. First century Christians were consumed with thoughts of the harvest and exhibited an intense passion for Christ and for serving Him with their lives. What is it that consumes Christians today? Probably not bringing our neighbors the news of the gospel. The fields are still ripe, but the granaries are yet to be filled. And there is no absence of harvesting equipment: churches, radio, literature, missions that span the world. Yet, while we focus on bigger buildings and even more dollars to build them, it would seem that the very cutting blades of Christendom are either missing or are so dull that little is being harvested.

Let our prayer be that in this world - confused and tormented as it is - we experience a freshness of God's wind and fire to strengthen and energize us, and to bring many people to the Savior.

Insight: In our highly competitive culture, we Christians must stand out with a positive influence that comes from being fully devoted followers of Christ.