Where the Roses Never Fade


Red-Roses-in-WestchesterI am going to a city,

Where the streets with gold are laid;

Where the tree of life is blooming

And the roses never fade.

Here they bloom but for a season

Soon their beauty is decayed.

I am going to a city,

Where the roses never fade.

From Where the Roses Never Fade by Janie West Metzgar, 1929.

Let the Lower Lights Be Burning


untitledLuke 12:35-36, “Let yours loins be girded about, and your lights burning; And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately.”

Brightly beams our Father’s mercy

From His lighthouse evermore;

But to us He gives the keeping

Of the lights along the shore.

Let the lower lights be burning!

Send a gleam across the wave!

Some poor fainting, struggling seaman

You may rescue, you may save.

From Let the Lower Lights Be Burning by Philip P. Bliss, 1871.

Seeing & Doing


BurningbushExodus 3:1-6:

1) Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb.

2) And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.

3) And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt.

4) And when the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I.

                5)And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.

                6)Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.

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Isn’t just like the Lord to show himself just when we need Him or just when He is ready for us. When we think about it, when is the last time we have truly seen God work in our lives? Moses had been working in the desert now for 40 years since he left Egypt. The time had come though where God knew Moses was ready to be used.

It is ironic, but yet I believe it is part of God’s humor too, that Moses was in a valley beside the mountain of God when God Himself came to him. It is like that for us many times, we are in a valley right beside God; and we do not even realize, but then He shows Himself to us. Moses was already busy being a shepherd and was very good at what he did, and the Lord knew this. God honors hard work and looks for those willing to do a job—not just knowledgeable. Remember he came from the palace in Egypt and shepherds were looked down on, but Moses settled for this job and was content but maybe wanted more. God knew Moses could do more either way, and now Moses was going to get his chance.

How will we know we are ready to do a job for the Lord; and more than that, how will we know when God is ready for us are hard questions sometimes. Let’s look at this passage and answer them

I. He will get our attention (Vs 2-3)

– Reading verses 2-3, he saw a bush that was burning but not consumed.

– We are often going through struggles, but they are not consuming us like we think, and that is when the Lord comes to us.

– He used a thorny bush and not a giant cedar from the mountain of God to bring Himself across because many times He chooses to use the weaker things or people to get His will accomplished.

– We must make sure to stop and check things out when we notice something too. Moses could have kept walking; but he stopped, and that is when God got his attention.

– We need to be willing to stop and drop what we are doing to see what God wants.

II. He will make it personable (Vs 4)

– He called Moses by name, and Moses listened and did not give excuses.

– We can be busy in ministry but not busy for God and be doing things in the flesh.

– Moses had responsibilities but was going to drop them for the one that was the most important. We have to realize that God’s will and service to others are more important than ourselves. God needed him, and the Hebrews needed him to be obedient to God.

III. He will prove Himself (Vs 5-6)

– He will be there for us all along the way. He will never show us something and then set us free on our own to figure it out. God tells Moses this in verse 12.

– God is not on our level, but He makes Himself accessible to us for salvation first then our life long transformation into being like Him.

– Moses gave his excuses in verses 3:11-4:19; but God shut each of them down, and He will ours too. If He has called us to something, He knows already we can do it, but we have to have faith.

In conclusion: We need to make sure we are aware of our surroundings and when God shows us something, no matter what the task, we are to do it and not give excuses. We must have faith that He will take us through whatever it is and guide us and give us strength along the way and after even trust us with bigger things for Him.

– Luke 16:10; He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.

Hiding In Thee


imagesThe Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower (Psalm 18:2).

O safe to the Rock that is higher than I,

My soul in its conflict and sorrow would fly;

So sinful, so weary, Thine, Thine, would I be;

Thou blest “Rock of Ages,” I’m hiding in Thee.

How oft in the conflict, when pressed by the foe,

I have fled to my refuge and breathed out my woe;

How often, when trials like sea billows roll,

Have I hidden in Thee, O Thou Rock of my soul.

From Hiding In Thee by William O. Cushing, 1876.

God’s Plan for Change in the Believer’s Life


untitled16: All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works (II Timothy 3:16-17).

Doctrine involves lovingly showing a believer from the Scriptures God’s holy, righteous, and perfect character, and His standards for the believer’s life in Christ.

Reproof involves helping the believer realize his personal sinfulness and disobedience to God by sinful thoughts, actions, and attitudes that break fellowship between the believer and God.

Correction involves lovingly instructing a believer in the importance of the confession of his sin to God, righting his sin, and being restored from life dominating sins to fellowship with Christ and to right relationships with others.

Instruction in righteousness involves a transformation of the mind to a biblical philosophy of life marked by a growing and mature relationship to Christ by the Holy Spirit through the Word of God (Romans 12:1-2).

The Word of God is the counsel, the Holy Spirit is the Counselor, and the goal of biblical counseling is spiritual growth.

Helping a believer involves gathering information on the problem, making a Biblical analysis of the problem with the believer, finding the Biblical solutions, implementing a Biblical plan of change with the believer, and then watching over the believer with encouragement for the change.

The Spirit of God cultivates the spiritual growth of a believer as the Word of God is ministered. The believer is taught how to search the Scriptures to find his or her sufficiency in Christ. Over the course of a few weeks the changes can be completed by the Holy Spirit using the Word of God to help the believer make the change.

The Word of God is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart (Hebrews 4:12) and has the answer to any problem, sin, decision, or difficulty that believer experiences in life (II Timothy 3:16-17).

The ultimate cause of a believer’s problems and difficulties in life is usually sin. There is help available for believers who are ready and willing to submit to the authority of God’s will as revealed in His Word.

Instruction in righteousness involves a transformation of the mind to a biblical philosophy of life marked by a growing and mature relationship to Christ by the Holy Spirit through the Word of God (Romans 12:1-2).

The Word of God is the counsel, the Holy Spirit is the Counselor, and the goal of biblical counseling is spiritual growth.

There is also hope because of the resurrection power of Christ who died on the cross to save men from sin and to declare man justified. The believer is sinless before God in Christ no matter what situations or circumstances may dictate.

 

Behold, it was very good!


imagesGenesis tells us God saw everything He made, and, behold, it was very good. When observing God’s creation, do you ever wonder . . . . how to this, why to that, what to something else? In the next couple devotions I want to pique your curiosity in God’s ingenious creation by posing a question. This question concerns spiders . . . probably not a favorite subject to most . . . but it concerns dead spiders (the best way to speak of spiders). Now, for the question, why do dead spiders always have their legs curled up? If you remember from science class they are invertebrates so they have no bones for structure. Their structural support comes from their blood pressure. So . . . when they are dead there is no blood pressure so their legs have no structure and curl up. God’s creation . . . awfully interesting and ingenious!

 

Wide, Wide As The Ocean


imagesWide, wide as the ocean

High as the Heaven above;

Deep, deep as the deepest sea

Is my Savior’s love.

I, though so unworthy,

Still am a child of His care;

For His Word teaches me

That His love reaches me everywhere.

From Wide, Wide As The Ocean by C. Austin Miles, 1914.

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?  Romans 8:35

The Yoke is His


untitled“For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:30

The Yoke is His

Take heart, oh weary pilgrim,

Your journey shant be long.

To help you through the path of life,

Sweet Jesus gives a song!

“I trod the paths that you shall take

With trials, hardships too!

The Father knows your greatest need

And always shall be true.”

So when you think of giving up,

Your strength has given in,

Remember this, oh dearest child,

The “yoke” belongs to Him!

With courage, strength and praying too,

With Jesus by our side,

We’ll face the trails of our life

And cross the swelling tide.

Then safe at last … our Heavenly home!

Our loved ones we shall meet.

But greater still our joy shall be,

To sit … at Jesus feet!

© March 2009 Don Johnson

The Emergency Shut-off Switch


emergency shut-off switch in Goodyear, AZ '15Tonight we stopped at a large gas station in a suburb of Phoenix, AZ.  I saw a little sign across the pavement from the gas station itself.  I noticed that it said, “Emergency Shut-Off Switch.”  Of course this is a typical switch and sign that one often sees at a self-serve filling station.

I soon walked across the pavement and took a picture of the sign and switch for an object lesson.  It did not take long to come up with a spiritual application.  In Phil. 4:8 God tells us:  “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

God commands us to only think on things that meet these requirements.  What then should one do if one’s thoughts do not fall into these categories?  A Christian should immediately derail those thoughts and not let them stay in one’s mind.  This is, in a sense, to run across the pavement (just as if there was a gas leak at the pump) and immediately push the shut-off button of one’s mind.  Not to turn off the mind, but to stop the bad thought from affecting the mind.  We are not allowed to think on the wrong things.  Our bodies are not made to worry.  Worry is sin.  Worry will shorten one’s life.

Once a Christian understands this principle, he should practice it in his life.

 

Meditation


untitled            Throughout the year, life gets so busy with school, family, church activities, etc. that you may feel like, “I have no time to sit and think.”  But that’s exactly what we all need to do.  Psalm 1:2 says it will bless our lives to meditate on God’s Word.

What does it mean to meditate?  To take time to really think about it; to think on it over and over.  In Luke 2:19, Mary pondered in her hear the events of Jesus’ birth.  We can “ponder” while doing our normal daily tasks—while driving, as we wait in a line, or while doing a chore.  We need to weigh every word we read in the Bible.

Sometimes we fall into the trap of skimming through large passages of Scripture just to meet our reading goal–we’ve all been guilty of that before.  Or we may be “reading,” only to get to the end of the section and find that our mind has wandered.  One verse, that we’ve meditated on, can teach us more, and we can glean more from it than chapters that we’ve shallowly read.

God’s Word is rich and full of nuggets, but we have to be willing to put in the time and effort to meditate on it.  That work will get us to the bottom of the meaning of verses as God reveals His Word to us.  Philippians 4:8 tells us to “think on these things.”  This takes time and effort, but the results are priceless.

Joshua 1:8 heeds us to meditate on God’s Word day and night (all the time!) so that it’s always in our mind and mouth.  Through thinking on His Word, we can OBEY His Word and be prosperous and have good success.  What awesome promises!  The benefits are great and clearly seen; the hard part is to actually do it.

So start today.  Take a verse and meditate on it.  God’s Word will not disappoint!