Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny
As for you, what you have heard from the beginning must remain in you. If what you heard from the beginning remains in you, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father. … And now, little children, remain in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink away from him in shame when he comes back. 1 John 2.24, 28
The concept of remaining is not a popular one today. Commitment seems to be from a bygone era. We stay until the going gets tough and then we turn and walk away. We cannot treat our relationship with God in the same way. Indeed, if we walk away from Jesus, to whom will we go? Peter said much the same in John 6.68. What is it that must remain in me? What I heard from the beginning must remain. That means that I must cling to the truth that I heard and learned in the beginning. Creativity is a good thing, just not in my relationship to God. God sets the terms of agreement and I must simply obey them. If I do, I have the assurance of remaining in the Son and the Father. When Jesus comes back to claim his church, his people, what will our attitude be? Will we have confidence that we have remained in him by being steadfast and unmovable, constant? Or will we shrink in shame knowing that we had it in our grasp, but we turned and walked away. The choice is ours. What will your choice be?
#risingjoy #1-John #commitment
“I choose the path of faithfulness; I am committed to your regulations.”
Early in this acrostic psalm about the word of God, the writer focuses on his need to choose faithfulness to God’s law and commitment to his ordenances.
The new covenant requires the same choice of following Christ faithfully and commitment to the Lord’s commandments. His Word is central to our faith.
#votd #Psalms #commitment #choice
“For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for necessity is laid upon me; yes, woe is me if I do not preach the gospel!” (1 Corinthians 9:16)
As Christians, are we busy saying “woe is me” or are we busy saying “whoa is me” when it comes to serving God, his son, his gospel and his church?
If it takes jewelry for a kiss, candy for a smile, or flowers for a hug, your marriage needs fixing. Love doesn’t come down to one day a year. Love is a commitment, for love “does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil” (1 Corinthians 13:5 NKJV). This applies to both husbands and wives! It is not just up to the man to put life into the marriage. Love is not a burden or a pain, but a consideration, for “love does no harm to a neighbor” (Romans 13:10 NKJV). Marriage seems to be unpopular, because it is based on love, and love requires commitment and consideration. “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3 NKJV).
This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.
We may fear being limited by the constraints of being a member of Christ’s Church. However, part of being of a disciple of Jesus is being disciplined so that we may be authentic, that we may function in our appropriate role as members of his body, the church. Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12 both make the point that just as members of a physical body (fingers, toes, neck, etc.) cannot just walk away and say that they do not need other parts of the body, so members of the body of Christ need one another. The church needs each of us: Our authenticity, our uniqueness, and our idiosyncrasies. At the same time, we must remind one another that the church must not simply stare inward but must have interaction with the world while maintaining its identity as a collection of motley, yet committed and changed, followers of Jesus. So be true and authentic, but meditate on Luke 9:57-62 and what it may mean for you. In that passage, Jesus challenges would-be disciples. Discipleship means commitment to Jesus. Distractions from that commitment threaten our relationship with the Messiah. Jesus himself said, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:57-62).
When Cortez landed at Vera Cruz in 1519 to begin his conquest of Mexico with small force of 700 men, he purposely set fire to his fleet of 11 ships. His men on the shore watched their only means of retreat sinking to the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. With no means of retreat, there was only one direction to move, forward into the Mexican interior to meet whatever might come their way.
In paying the price for being Christ’s disciple, you too must purposefully destroy all avenues of retreat. Resolve that whatever the price for being His follower, you will have to pay it.
Revelation 3:20-21 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.
“Thoughts For Today to Brighten Your Day” by Glenn, Mercedes and Lauren Hitchcock
Jesus said that He came to give us “an abundant Life.” (John 10:10) Since we are “in Christ,” God wants us to enjoy ourselves in the Lord Jesus! Christians are to be a joyful people (Phil. 4:2). We are not to act and look like a sourpusses all the time. I’m sure you have known or know some Christians that fit that bill. That is so sad. We must show our love for Jesus through our actions. One song says: “They’ll know we are Christians by our love.”
Paul Tells the Colossians that since we have named the Lord Jesus as our Savior and have obeyed the Gospel, our mindset must change (Col. 3:1-2) This passage tells us that we are “to set our minds on the things that are above, not the things that are below.” To “set your minds” means that it must be a deliberate choice not only to accept Christ, but one to serve Him. He will never force Himself on the unbeliever, and likewise, He will not force the believer to grow in Him. We must want to. And if we want to, He has promised to equip us for the journey.
We must put everything out of our hearts and minds that us detrimental to our Christian growth (Col. 3:5-11). Whenever God tells us in His Word to “put something off” He replaces it with something for good (Col. 3:12-17).
We must realize that Christian growth does not come automatically; it must be cultivated. This is the attitude we must have if we are going to live the “abundant life.”
Let’s seek to emulate Paul’s admonition in 1 Cor. 15:58: ”Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”
If we make this our goal, we will desire everything that God has for us and will use what He has givens to help ourselves and encourage each other as we live this life in the “here and now,” waiting, watching and working till Jesus returns for His Church.
Look Up! He May ComeToday!
How committed are you to God’s cause? Consider the following illustration:
Sitting majestically atop the highest hill in Toledo, Spain, is the Alcazar, a 16th‑century fortress. In the civil war of the 1930s, the Alcazar became a battleground when the Republicans tried to oust the Nationalists, who held the fortress. During one dramatic episode of the war, the Nationalist leader, Col. Jose Moscardo, received a phone call from the Republicans.
Col. Moscardo was informed that his son Luis had been captured by the Loyalists. The ultimatum: if Moscardo didn’t surrender the Alcazar to them within 10 minutes, they would kill his son. The father weighed his options and asked to speak with his son, who asked what he should do.
After a long pause, with a heavy heart, he said to his son, “…Then die like a man.”
The son’s reply? “That is quite simple; both I will do.”
—Daily Walk, April 16, 1992—
Moral: Many of our love ones may be captured by the forces of Satan and it seems that our only option is surrender in order to maintain our relationship of family. Yet, there must be a Higher commitment to remain within the place of refuge where God calls all men.
Have you made the clear choice?
“…and I will dwell in the House of the Lord forever” (Psa. 23:6).
(via Glenn & Mercedes Hitchcock, “Thoughts For Today To Brighten Your Day”)
In verse 4 of the song “I’ll Put Jesus First in My Life” we are reminded of the protecting grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. The New Testament teaches us that we are saved by grace through faith, in baptism unto good works. As long as we abide in Jesus we will never fall, we will never lose our salvation.
Christians are never promised a “bed of roses.” We are not under a “name it and claim it” philosophy as many radio and TV preachers would have us believe.
We are not immune from the “cares of this world.” The “rain” falls on the “just and unjust,” the Bible tells us. “Tho’ earth’s tribulations continue each day,” reminds us that bad times do befall the believer, “His grace will protect me for ever and aye..” We can “take that to the bank.” We can be assured that although we live “in this world,” we are “not of this world.” (I John 2:15-17)
Remember the chorus, “In all that I say, in all that I do, throughout the world of toil and strife, by day and by night, through trust in His might, I’ll put Jesus first in my life.” We must give our all to the Lord. We must be consistent in our walk for Him. We must “let our light shine” for Jesus! Keep looking up! Jesus may come today!
“The World All About Me” is my favorite song in our hymnal. It is also know as “I’ll Put Jesus First In My Life.” It was written by James DeForrest Murch back in the 1930′s. I want to use the verses and the chorus to write some short devotionals.
All of us have priorities in life. We all have “anchors” in our lives. Every priority and anchor that is not grounded in the Lord Jesus will only last through this life. We all need something or someone in our lives that will lead to eternal life.
The chorus reads as follows: “In all that I say, in all that I do, throughout the world of toil and strife, by day and by night, through trust in His might, I’ll put Jesus first in my life.” Continue reading
No it’s not a movie starring Vincent Price, or for you young whippersnappers, a movie written and directed by Tim Burton. It’s from an odd piece of a story found in Exodus 4:24-26 involving Moses and his wife, Zipporah. It’s after the burning bush incident. Moses with his family in tow is headed back to Egypt.
It becomes apparent that Moses has not kept the Abrahamic covenant regarding the circumcision of his own son. Moses finds his own life in jeopardy as the Lord is about to kill him. Zipporah, his Midianite wife, whips out a knife, circumcises their son and flings the bloody foreskin on Moses’ foot. By this act she saves her husband’s life. Though I have read numerous explanations I don’t pretend to understand all the ins and outs of this story. It seems a kind of exchange took place. By this last minute bloody act, Moses’ own blood was not spilled. He was brought back into compliance with the covenant. Continue reading
The website For Christian Girls is featuring a new article written by a High School Sophomore on God’s love and what it means to us as His children. I hope you will read what this young person has to say.
Love is one of the greatest of motivators and it should perpetually loom before our eyes to keep us focused.
In a fleshly sense, love is a fickle, selfish emotion. However, in God’s eyes, love is action and commitment (1 Corinthians 13:4-8). Jesus told us that if we loved Him, we would obey Him (John 14:15).
In our own relationships, love is always action and should reign supreme. In a marriage, we must always have scales ready to weigh our small arguments and disagreements against a lifetime together. They are all minuscule against the years we have entrusted to us. Commitment means that we persevere no matter what comes against us. We stand strong against the waves of pain, heartache and troubles in this world. Clasping our hands, we walk through them all together.
Let us always remember these noble goals and we will truly understand “until death do we part.”
Premarital sex, by its very nature, is sex before commitment. When God joined the male and female together, he placed in that joining (relationship) the idea of commitment. The marriage arrangement (covenant) can take any form of binding acknowledgment, but the glue that hold its together will have two components: first, there is the glue of God’s order. Since He created the institution, only He has the right to dictate the parameters surrounding it; second, there is the glue of commitment. In these two areas there is the spiritual binding, the emotional binding, and the physical binding. Premarital sex does not have the first form of binding (commitment), and no matter how much of the latter two it may have, since it has not the first, it is sinful (or missing the mark that God designed for the institution in the Garden).
Livingstone on Commitment
When Dr. David Livingstone was working in Africa, a group of friends wrote him: "We would like to send other men to you. Have you found a good road into your area yet?" According to a member of his family, Dr. Livingstone sent this message in reply: "If you have men who will only come if they know there is a good road, I don’t want them. I want men who will come if there is no road at all."
(Rom 8:35) Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
(Rom 8:36) As it is written: "For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter."
(Rom 8:37) Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.
"Thoughts For Today to Brighten Your Day" by Glenn Hitchcock
Although Christians should always be longing for the day when the Lord calls us home, especially if we are blessed “to meet Him in the air,” (I Thes. 4:13-18) we must enjoy what He has for us NOW! Christianity is a here and now religion. Jesus said that He wants us to have an abundant life “in Him.”. The last part of Titus 2:12 states: “live, soberly, righteously and godly in this present age.”
We are to live in the world but not let the world dictate how we live (I John 2:15-17). We must never be conformed to this world (Rom. 12:1-2). We need to have a mind renewal in a mindless society.
Christians must not only renounce ungodliness and wordily desires, we must replace them with positive characteristics (Col. 3:1-3). Remember, “greater is He that is in you than he who is in the world.”. The power to live the Christian life come from the Holy Spirit.
What does it mean to “give your all to the Lord?”. First of all, every person is committed to something or someone; some more than others. Continue reading