“. . . those who humble themselves will be exalted.” (Luke 14:11)

 

He sat in my office, his marriage in ruins, yet he was pridefully proclaiming all the things his wife needed to do, his kids needed to do and even what God needed to do. Nothing seemed to be his fault. Is arrogance was the biggest roadblock to healing his own family. We can all drift into conceit and smugness unless we are willing to be humble. To humble means “to depress and in Hebrew, the word humbly implies a stance of bowing, stooping or crouching as in worship.

Every day we have a choice. We can humbly cooperate with the way life is, we can bow to trust God or we can arrogantly try to define life the way we want it to be and attempt to boss God around.

Is there an area of your life that needs to bow to God’s will and God’s ways?

Pray together
Stay together

 

Pam Farrel is an international speaker, author of 45 books including A Couples’ Journey with God,

which inspired this post.

A Couple’s Journey
with God
Harvest House
Publishers

 

 

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“Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us…Let us fix our eyes on Jesus” (Hebrews 12:1b-2a NIV).

A baton strikes a music stand. Absolute silence falls on the auditorium. All eyes fix on the 500-voice choir—all of their eyes are fixed on the director.

He lifts his baton and the orchestra plays. A few measures later, he brings in the sopranos followed by the alto section, then the men. They have learned to read his hand gestures, large and small. When to hush. When to soar. When to accent. When to cut short. When to start. When to stop,

Just as those singers follow their conductor, so also Christians follow the lead of their conductor, Jesus Christ.

The author of Hebrews describes the Christian life as a race. From start to finish, we can fix our eyes on the finish line where Jesus waits. He set the standard for all who have followed when He ran the first heat.

The contest takes perseverance. It’s more of a marathon than a sprint. The course is clearly marked, the rules given in the word of God, and our breath comes from the Holy Spirit. Jesus knows the best way to run. He teaches us how to persevere. The race wasn’t easy for Him either. He endured the cross—and the scorn that came with it.

Like the orchestra conductor, Jesus will tell you when to move quickly and when to slow down. When you follow His instruction, you won’t grow weary. With Him as your compass, you won’t lose your way. He and the Holy Spirit go with you—so fix your eyes on your leader and do as He says.

Darlene Franklin is a best-selling Amazon and ECPA author whose greatest claim to fame is that she continues to write from a nursing home. She keeps going because God keeps giving her more assignments. She’s written more than fifty-five fiction and nonfiction books, including Pray Through the Bible in a Year, Of Cash and Cats, and Love Comes on Kitten Paws. Follow her at https://www.facebook.com/DarleneFranklinFun/.

 

 

 

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One summer I visited sites of the seven churches of Revelation (Rev. 1–3). A congregation at each of these sites received a message from Jesus Christ. And while two thousand years separate us, their messages from Christ are still relevant.

Ephesus: The Ephesians lost their first love. Think about this. Nobody has to tell a fiancée to avoid flirting. Her actions reveal her loyalty. Do your works give evidence of your love?

Smyrna:  Many think “Smyrna” is a Greek translation of the Hebrew “myrrh.” To make myrrh, one must crush a fragrant plant. In suffering, are you giving off a fragrant aroma to God?

Pergamum: Pergamum’s people worshiped at the temples of false gods. Yet sadly it was the words of their own teachers that pulled down the Christians. Are you discerning what is true?

Thyatira: Many experts think heretics encouraged Christian business owners here to join trade guilds that brought profits but involved immoralities. Are you compromising vs. enduring consequences for doing right?

Sardis: Smug citizens of Sardis felt nothing could reach them as they sat atop a 1,500-foot cliff. Yet Sardis fell to Cyrus after a soldier openly accessed a secret passageway. In what ways are you complacent about your strengths?

Philadelphia: Philadelphia had a long history of earthquakes. When the shaking stopped, only pillars were left standing. To people with little strength in Philadelphia, Jesus promised, “I will make you pillars.” Are you feeling weak in the faith? Ask God to help you endure to the end.

Laodicea: Water traveled six miles through an aqueduct to reach Laodicea. Mountain water arrived at “room-temperature” and steaming water from hot springs arrived lukewarm (see photo). Christ warned those in Laodicea against the “lukewarm” temperature of ho-hum faith. In what areas of your spiritual life are you passionless?

We need the same warnings as did our first-century brothers and sisters. And we also receive the same promises. Though poor, we can be rich. And we can dwell as pillars in the city of our God.

Dr. Sandra Glahn is a professor at Dallas Theological Seminary. She’s the author or co-author of more than twenty books including the Coffee Cup series. Learn more about the Book of Revelation by using her study Sumatra with the Seven Churches.

 

 

 

 

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We’re moving. That’s the extent of what we know about this year, or maybe next. My husband is going to retire or the business is going to close—we don’t know which will come first—and we’re moving closer to home.

We don’t know if it’s the right time. Billy is eight years older and past retirement age, but I still have a few years to go before Medicare. I also have a condition that may or may not qualify me for disability, but it’s bad enough that we must have health insurance to help pay for all the annoyances associated with it.

One thing I know for certain. I want Billy to have time to enjoy the little farm we own back home, so I’m ready to take that leap of faith. The faith-leap that says we’ll be fine. That I won’t have to go through any more extended hospital stays or endure any more surgeries. That, even if I do, God will somehow help us pay for it all.

It’s a huge leap. Not just for my health, but for everything else involved. By faith, we’re believing the house we’re in will sell at such a price we can afford to build the new one without going into debt. That we’ll be able to move everything into storage and live together in tight quarters for months while the new house is under construction. That we’ll make the transition from work to retirement—while building a new house, while missing our friends here—without too much discord. That we’ll survive this as a loving couple.

We aren’t the first to have plans without a clue of how or when they’ll be accomplished. Long ago God said to Abram, “Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth will be blessed” (Genesis 12:1-3 NKJV).

Abram and Sarai knew less about their future than Billy and I do. They had no clue where they were going or how God would make them a “great nation” when Sarai was barren. But they trusted God and did as He instructed, and sure enough, through Abraham, all the earth was blessed through the life, death, and resurrection of his distant grandson, Jesus Christ.

Billy and I aren’t looking for such greatness. We just want to move to our little seventy-acre farm back home and enjoy the time we have left raising cattle and green beans. And the same God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—the God of promises and results—will guide us through the maze.

What can He guide you through this year? This month? Today? There is nothing too big or too small for Him. We don’t have to know the particulars of the plan as long as we know Him who guides us through the particulars. Let’s trust Him together.

Linda W. Yezak lives with her husband and their funky feline, P.B., in a forest in deep East Texas, where tall tales abound and exaggeration is an art form. She has a deep and abiding love for her Lord, her family, and salted caramel. And coffee. Don’t forget coffee. Author of award-winning books and short stories, she didn’t begin writing professionally until she turned fifty. Taking on a new career every half century is a good thing. Visit www.lindayezak.com.

 

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Don’t you love a spring shower? Refreshing. Relaxing. Rejuvenating.

But what happens when it doesn’t stop raining? Flooding.

Only one kind of flooding refreshes, relaxes, and rejuvenates––the reign of God flooding our heart.

How do we know He reigns in our heart?

  • When He reigns in our heart, His praise flows from our lips.

“The Lord reigns, let the earth be glad” (Psalm 97:1 NIV). Our great God overflows from his creation. We can see His greatness through his creation. We are His creation. If He reigns in us, He flows through us. We not only experience refreshment but also others feel refreshed by our testimony. We should praise God’s great and awesome name because it symbolizes His persona and His nature. Our best witnessing happens when our hearts overflow with appreciation for what He has done. God has chosen us to declare His marvelous works.

  • When He reigns in our heart, we want to evangelize the whole world.

“…let the distant shores rejoice” (NIV 97:1b). How will His Word spread to distant shores so others, too, can rejoice in His presence? Only if God’s ambassadors take His Word to those distant shores will they know of Him and rejoice with us.

  • When God reigns in our heart, we worship Him and respect His name. We give Him praise by both our words and our life.

“The Lord reigns, let the nations tremble; he sits enthroned between the cherubim, let the earth shake” (Psalm 99:1 NIV). God’s holiness is frightening for sinners but a wonderful comfort for believers. God cannot tolerate sin. But for believers, God’s holiness gives comfort. And, because we worship Him, we are lifted from the mire of sin.

Have you seen these three examples flowing from your heart, soul, and lips?

You will if you let Him reign!

Peggy Cunningham and her husband have been missionaries in Bolivia, South America, since 1981. They work with the Quechua people and have a children’s ministry. Peggy is also a prolific writer. Book 1 of her newly released children’s series, Hooray for Holidays, and her devotional for adults, Dancing Like Bees, are available on www.Amazon.com.

 

 

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