ARE WE LISTENING?
Be doers of the Word,
and not hearers only,
deceiving yourselves. - James 1:22
A fascinating film made in 1950, "The Next Voice You Hear,"
tells a story of a family with a typical amount of trials and
tensions. Then, one night, the voice of God speaks on the radio.
But not just their radio - God's voice is heard throughout the
world on every radio, saying the same thing at the same time.
At first people react with disbelief, then fear. After several
days of hearing "The Voice," however, people's attitudes,
actions, and priorities begin to change. The impact of what God
is saying directly affects how they live their lives.
I have heard people say, "If only God would talk to me! If He
would just tell me what to do, I would do it." The simple fact is
that God has already spoken to us through His Word, the Bible. Do
we listen to Him as He speaks? The psalmist desired to obey God's
Word "continually, forever and ever" (119:44). And James warned
about ignoring it when he said, "Be doers of the Word, and not
hearers only, deceiving yourselves" (James 1:22).
How would you respond if God began to speak to you on your
radio? We can be thankful that God does speak to us - not on the
radio but in the Scriptures. May we be wise enough to listen and
obey. - Bill Crowder
Instill within my heart, dear Lord, A deep desire to know Your
Word; I want to learn to hear Your voice, So that Your will
becomes my choice. -- D. De Haan
IN GOD'S WORKS WE SEE HIS HAND, IN HIS WORD WE HEAR HIS HEART.
There is none righteous, no not one. - Romans 3:10
I had been driving in Singapore for 34 years when I received
my first summons for speeding! It was not the first time I had
exceeded the speed limit, but it was the first time I had been
fined for doing so. My first reaction was one of disgust. But as
I contemplated the spiritual lesson, I realized that no matter
how long I had been driving without a ticket, I was still
If I can break such a clearly defined law as a speed limit,
think how easy it is to break God's perfect law, which
covers every aspect of life. No one, no matter how moral or
religiously fervent, can keep it perfectly.
Paul wrote, "By the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified
in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin" (Rom.
3:20). Keeping the law can't save us; rather, through the law we
become aware of our sin (3:7-12). That's why God sent His Son to
save us. We need the righteousness of Jesus, because we can't be
justified through our good deeds. Paul concluded, we are
"justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law" (v.28).
If you have put your faith in Christ, you can say with Paul,
"Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose
sins are covered; blessed is the man to whom the LORD shall not
impute sin" (Rom. 4:7-8). - C.P.Hia
And can it be that I should gain, An interest in the Savior's
blood? Died He for me, who caused His pain? For me, who Him to
death pursued? --Wesley
GOD'S LAW SHOWS US A NEED THAT ONLY GOD'S GRACE CAN SUPPLY.
THE GREAT STORYTELLER
Jesus spoke to the multitude in parables;
and without a parable He did not speak to
them. - Matthew 13:34
In his book "Teacher Man," Pulitzer Prize-winner Frank
McCourt reflects on his 30 years as a teacher in New York City
high schools. He used a variety of techniques in his English and
creative writing classes, but one that seemed to surface again
and again was the power of a compelling story to capture
attention and encourage learning.
This method of instruction was used by the greatest Teacher
of all the Lord Jesus Christ. The scholarly religious leader
Nicodemus said to Jesus, "We know that You are a teacher come
from God" (John 3:2). Yet when Jesus addressed the crowds that
followed Him, He didn't recite great truths of the Talmud.
Rather, He spoke with the homespun style of a storyteller.
The parables of Jesus endure because they showcase matters of the
heart. Through the story of the Pharisee and tax collector (Luke
18), we learn about God's grace and forgiveness. And the story of
the prodigal son (Luke 15) showcases God's love for repentant
The inspired parables of Jesus teach us about Him and the
life He wants us to lead. We too can use our faith-stories to
point others to the ultimate Storyteller and Teacher, whose own
life is the greatest story ever told. - Dennis Fisher
Take control of my words today, May they tell of Your great love;
And may the story of Your grace, Turn some heart to You above. -
THE GOOD WAY TO LEARN GOD'S TRUTH IS TO TEACH IT TO OTHERS.
THE SEARCH FOR PEACE
The peace of God, which surpasses all
understanding, will guard your hearts
and minds. - Phillipians 4:7
At the height of their popularity, creativity, and wealth,
the Beatles produced a controversial project called "The White
Album." It signaled the breakup of the band by featuring pieces
that were primarily individual in nature instead of
collaborative. It also revealed a growing disenchantment with all
that their fame had produced. In his song "I'm So Tired," John
Lennon expressed the emptiness his "successful" and wealthy life
with these profound words: "I'd give you everything I've got for
a little peace of mind." All that he had, all that he had
accomplished, and all that he had become could not meet this
simple, yet deep, personal need.
The world we live in cannot offer peace. It offers only poor
options. Pleasure, power, and possessions are no substitute for
peace of heart and mind.
Paul reminded the believers at Philippi, "The peace of God,
which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and
minds through Christ Jesus" (Phil.4:7). This is the peace God
brings to those who have been reconciled to God by faith in His
Son Jesus (Eph.2:14-16). It is a peace we are to share with a
world that is desperate for it.
Peace - real peace - is found only in a relationship with
Jesus. Have you received His peace? --Bill Crowder
FINDING REAL PEACE
Accept the reconciliation God offers by asking Him to forgive
you. Believe that His Son Jesus died on the cross for your sins
and was raised from the dead.
PEACE I LEAVE WITH YOU, MY PEACE I GIVE YOU; NOT AS THE WORLD
GIVES DO I GIVE TO YOU - Jesus
You, being dead in your trespasses ...
He has made alive together with Him. - Colossians 2:3
On February 6, 1958, a chartered plane carrying most of the
members of the English football (soccer) club Manchester United
crashed on takeoff from Munich, Germany. With so many of their
star players lost, some despaired over prospects for the club's
survival. Yet today it is one of the best-known teams in the
world. Fittingly, the man who rebuilt the team, Matt Busby,
survived the crash himself.
Nearly 2,000 years ago, Jesus' arrest and subsequent
crucifixion caused many of His followers to despair. The
disciples themselves had lost hope. But their despondency
evaporated on that first morning when they found that the stone
sealing the tomb had been moved aside (John 20:1). Jesus had
Jesus soon appeared to Mary Magdalene (vv.11-16) and then to
His disciples, who had gathered behind locked doors (v.19). His
visit brought a remarkable change in them. As one version renders
it, they were "overjoyed" (v.20 NIV).
Perhaps your world has crashed around you. It may be a
deeply personal loss, a tragedy in your family, or some other
great trial. Jesus' resurrection proved that He is greater than
the greatest obstacles. He can rebuild your life - as He did with
His disciples - starting today. - C.P.Hia
He rose! And with Him hope arose, and life and light. Men said,
"Not Christ, but death, died yesternight." And joy and truth and
all things virtuous Rose when He rose. - Anon.
GOD CAN TURN ANY DIFFICULTY INTO AN OPPORTUNITY.
Your law is my delight. - Psalm 119:174
In C.S.Lewis' "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," the
White Witch needed to know only one thing about Edmund to get him
to betray his siblings. By asking a few simple questions, the
witch learned that Edmund's weakness was his love for a candy
called Turkish Delight. The piece she gave to Edmund was more
delicious than anything he had ever tasted. Soon Edmund could
think only about "trying to shovel down as much Turkish Delight
as he could, and the more he ate the more he wanted."
Each of us has a vulnerability like Edmund's that Satan is
eager to exploit. It may be something addictive like drugs or
alcohol, or it may be something seemingly harmless and perhaps
even good like food, friendship, or work.
After His resurrection, Jesus asked Peter this personal and
probing question: "Do you love Me more than these?" (John 21:15).
Many have speculated as to what Jesus meant by the word "these,"
but it's probably better that we don't know. It allows each of us
to personalize the question and ask ourselves, "What do I love
more than Jesus?"
When Satan finds out what we love more than God, he knows
how to manipulate us. But he loses his power over us when we
delight in the Lord. - Julie Ackerman Link
I love Thee, because Thou hast first loved me, And purchased my
pardon on Calvary's tree; I love Thee for wearing the thorns on
Thy brow; If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, 'tis now. -
GOD TAKES DELIGHT IN US HOW CAN WE HELP BUT DELIGHT IN HIM.
GOD IS AT WORK
It is God who works in you both to will
and to do for His good pleasure. - Philippians 2:13
We We always crave change in a new year. This is why on
January 1 we start diets, exercise programs, and new hobbies. Of
course, a month later we're usually back to our old bad
habits. Maybe that's because we crave too big a change and do not
have enough power and will to make the changes.
I wonder how many Jesus-followers have made commitments to
change and grow spiritually but are experiencing frustration
because they don't have the will and power to carry out those
Paul addresses this issue in his letter to the Philippians.
As he encouraged them to work out their salvation with fear and
trembling (2:12), Paul said they would not be on their own. God
Himself would energize them to grow and carry out His tasks. The
first area affected would be their desires. God was at work in
them, giving them the desire to change and grow. He was also
working to give them the power to make the actual changes (v.13).
God has not left us alone in our struggles to attain
spiritual growth. He helps us want to obey Him, and then He gives
us the power to do what He wants. Ask Him to help you want to do
His will. - Marvin Williams
Every day more like my Savior, Every day my will resign, Until at
last Christ reigns supremely, In this grateful heart of mine. -
THE POWER THAT COMPELS US COMES FROM THE SPIRIT WHO INDWELLS US.
To be continued