“The Necessity for Rest”

“The Necessity for Rest”

Wednesday, January 23.

Text: “And he said to them. ‘Come away by yourselves to a lonely place, and rest awhile’” Mark 6:31

Scripture Reading Psalm 46:8-11.

The story is told of how one man challenge another man to a wood chopping contest.  The man who challenged his friend worked very hard, stopping only on occasions. The other man took many breaks and had a good lunch. When the day came to an end, the challenger was surprised and annoyed to find that the other man had chopped more wood.  “I don’t get it,” he said. Every time I checked, you were taking rest, yet you chopped more wood than I did. “But you didn’t noticed,” said the winning woodsman, “that I was sharpening my ax when I sat down to rest.” It is easy for one to think that by being busy a lot is being accomplished. It is good to take a break occasionally to reflect and evaluate our progress.

It is easy for a person to conclude that the Bible is all about work.  It speaks against sloth and idleness (Proverbs 6:6-11), but speaks positively about work and labor (Ephesians 4:28)  On the contrary, our text today talks about rest. Jesus is telling His disciples to come with Him to a lonely place to ‘rest awhile.’  This signifies the importance of rest. In fact, the Old Testament is filled with illustrations of God’s instruction to the nation of Israel about rest, solitude, or privacy.  God Himself rested after He labored for six days creating the universe and humankind. The Scripture tells us that God rested on the seventh day (Sabbath) and blessed it (Genesis 2:1-2).  Verse three of Genesis 2 clearly points out that the Sabbath was meant for rest. God instructed the children of Israel to observed the Sabbath as a weekly observance for rest (Deuteronomy 5: 12-15).  It is obvious that God approved rest on a regular basis. We need to find time for rest for ourselves, to allow for sober reflection and communication with God.

Memory verse: Leviticus 23:1

“Rest when you are weary.  Refresh and renew yourself, your body, your mind, your spirit.  Then get back to work. Ralph Marston

“The Reality of the Devil”

“The Reality of the Devil”

Thursday, January 22.

“Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11).

The story is told about two friends who love boxing.  One of the friends was the renowned American writer, Wilson Mizner. The other friend was boxer “Mysterious” Billy Smith.  They both visited a San Francisco entertainment center where Mizner started a fight with some Longshoremen. At the end, only one longshoremen was left standing.  Although Mizner rained punches at him, he stayed obstinately upright. When Smith noticed what was happening, “Leave him alone Wilson,” he shouted. “You knocked him out five minutes ago.”  On closer investigation, it turned out that a punch from Smith had indeed knocked the Longshoreman out cold, but had also wedged him vertically between two pieces of furniture.

This is an accurate picture of Satan, an already-defeated enemy of Christians.  Satan has been defeated by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, but he still stands trying to take anyone who gives him the chance.

The idea of Satan has virtually disappeared from the beliefs of many people.  Our world of rationalism has dismissed the idea of a devil. Perhaps the reason for the denial of the devil comes from humanistic concepts of Satan.  He has been pictured wearing a red suit, carrying a pitchfork, and having horns and a forked tail.  Let us this morning reflect upon this enemy of the things of God. Pray that God will give you strength to fight the attacks of the enemy.

Memory verse: Ephesians 6:18

“We must remember that Satan too has his miracles” John Calvin

 

“Be an Eagle Christian”

“Be an Eagle Christian”

Tuesday, January 15.

Text:  “But they that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength: they shall mount up wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31).

 

The eagle is the king of the birds.  What the lion is to the animal world, the eagle is to the bird kingdom.  No other bird compares with the eagle in superiority or power.  In our Scripture today, Isaiah tells us that those who yield their life, those who surrender their will to God shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings like eagles.  God promises that you and I can be eagle Christians.

To fully grasp who an eagle Christian is, it is important to comprehend some of the habits and heritage of an eagle.  

The eagle is an excellent nest builder.  The eagle builds its nest in the cleft of the rock, in the crags of the mountains.  Some of the eagle’s nest can be ten feet across, can weigh approximately one ton, and be twenty feet in depth.  An eagle stands at three feet high, and has a wingspan of 32 to 36 feet. This bird can weigh eight to thirteen pounds.    Each wing has 1,252 feathers with a total of 7,182 in their entire body.

Each day, the eagle would stare into the sun for about forty five minutes while tears come out of its eyes.  It is a means of cleansing. As it stares into the sun, the eagle would clean its feathers by pulling each through its beak.  This is called preening. The eagle clean and oil itself through the process to prepare for the day. The young eagle is a very ugly bird at birth because it has no feathers, but as time goes on it grows to be a very beautiful bird.

One important habit of the eagle is that it can dive straight down at a speed of one hundred and eighty miles per hour to bear up its young in its wing to teach them how to fly.  The eagle is a bird that can be depressed at some point in its life. It would descend to the low, dark part of the mountain. It would stay there without cleaning itself. The oil in its beak would gum up, the eagle will not fly and would eventually die if food is not brought down by the stronger eagles.  I have seen an eagle.  It is beautiful and strong.  But what I envisage about the eagle is that its habits and heritage brings to the fold great spiritual lessons.  We can study the eagle, marvel at the forty eight wonderful species of eagles God has created, and glean some spiritual truth to help us live our Christian life.  

An eagle Christian is a Christian that soars above the storms of life.  The eagle is a bird that takes advantage of the wind to soar, to mount up high in the heavens.  The eagle gets above the fog, the mist, and the clouds. Job puts it like this: “Doth the eagle mount up at thy command, and make her nest on high? She dwelleth and abideth on the rock, upon the crag of the rock, and the strong place” (Job 39:27-29). Let us be an Eagle Christian enduring the storms of life.

Memory verse: Isaiah 40:31

“In the eagle is all the wisdom of the world.” Lame Deer

“God’s Love Will Never Let You Go”

“God’s Love Will Never Let You Go”

Monday, January 14.

“​For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels, nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, ​39​ neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord”  (Romans 8:38-39).

The story is told of a man, who sacrificed his son to save the lives of hundreds of people in Mississippi in 1957. Mr. John Griffiths worked tending the drawing bridge for a rail road. On this fateful day, he had taken his eight years old son Greg with him to work. Earlier on during the day, young Greg played in his father’s office. Like many young children, Greg asked many questions. Later during the day, a ship had come through and John opened the drawbridge. During this time, John realized that little Greg was not in the office. As he searched for his son, John came to the realization that his little boy had climbed on the gear of the drawbridge. John hurried outside to rescue the boy. The noise of a fast approaching passenger train and the ship drowned his voice and the boy could not hear him. Here, John was faced with the most difficult decision of his life: Saving his son would cost the train to derailed killing maybe everyone aboard; Closing the drawbridge would mean sacrificing his son. John pulled the lever of the drawbridge sacrificing his son. As the train passed by, John look at the faces of the passenger. Some of the passengers were reading, while others waved. All of the passengers were unaware of what had happened, or the sacrifice John had just made. John had to live that moment thousands of time. The sacrifice John made is reminiscent of the sacrifice God made by sacrificing Jesus Christ. God made the decision to sacrifice Jesus Christ to save billions from sins to eternal life. What great love God has for us sinners. And like the passengers on that train, many of us are unaware of the great love of God. Are you one of them this morning? Still so, while it is true that many disregard the great love of God towards us, God still make provisions for us to remain in His love. This morning we shall reflect together on the love which God provides for us. God’s Love Will Not Let Us Go!!”

Memory verse: 1 John 4:8

“Self love is not selfish.  You cannot truly love another until you know how to love yourself.” Lifehack.com

“Working as a Team”

“Working as a Team”

Wednesday, January 9.

 

  • Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!
  • It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirt of his garments;
  • As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for evermore. Psalms 133:1-3

Teams come in all shapes and sizes.  In his book, “Teamwork Makes the Dreamwork,” John Maxwell explains that, “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.” Teamwork brings about success.  Maxwell points out that in a marriage, a man and his wife is a team.  In an organization, colleagues that work together form a team. In our daily walk, we are part of a team in some way. The question here this morning is not ‘Will you participate in something that involves others? The question is, ‘Will your involvement with others be successful?’ Another way one could ask this question is, ‘Will your involvement promote or hinder the team? If we are part of a team, will we be part of the problem the team is dealing with or will we be part of the solution?  King David in Psalms 133 agrees with Maxwell.

In the passage under consideration, David understood the importance of working together as a team with a common goal.  When David became King of Israel, it was a divided nation. Israel was not a unified kingdom.  The twelve tribes were not united because belonging to a tribe was more important than being an Israelite.  They were proud to belong to the tribe of Judah or Benjamin, or Reuben.  When David became king, his first order of business was to unify all the twelve tribes into one glorious and powerful kingdom.  Under David, Israel became a military and economic power.  Israel was to that period, what the great United States of America is today.  Israel became a superpower during the reign of David.  Israel became a golden age of great wealth, great prosperity, and great learning. Many scholars believed it was during David’s reign that scribes began to compile the Torah and the Books of Moses.  This is why the disciples asked Jesus in Acts 1, “Lord, will you at this time restore the Kingdom to Israel?” They were asking Jesus about David’s kingdom.  The Kingdom of Israel during the rule of David was very successful because the people were united.  They worked as a team.

Memory verse: Acts 4:33

“Only a life lived in the service of others is worth living” Albert Einstein

“Carry the Message of Christ”

 “Carry the Message of Christ”

 “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations” (Matt. 28:19 RSV)

  1. Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.  18. Then Jesus came to them and said, “all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20. And teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the the age.”

 

On the resurrection morning, Jesus Christ gave the women at the tomb the command to go and tell the good news that He had resurrected.  This is a charge we have to keep. As the hymn writer puts it, “A charge to keep I have; a God to glorify, a never dying soul to save and fit it for the sky,” we all have a command to go our and win souls for Christ.  Our text today brings to the fold Jesus’ command to his disciples and to His church to make disciples of all people of all nations. It includes both Jews and Gentiles, and people to the outermost parts of the world. I submit to you this morning that the emphasis is not on the going ; the emphasis is on making disciples.  The only imperative in these words is “ make disciples. The word translated “go” is actually a participle with the force of an imperative. It means that in our going about from place to place, we are to concern ourselves with making disciples. So, what is discipleship? What is it to make disciples?

Memory verse: 1 Peter 4:10

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” Mahatma Gandhi

 

“God is Calling Us to Serve”

God is Calling Us to Serve”

Monday, January 7.

God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God Jacob has sent you.’ “This is my name forever, the name you shall call me, from generation to generation.”

The story is told of a man in the West African Nation of Liberia. This man was given several hundred dollars by a missionary friend.  The man was from a little village and had never seen the U.S. currency before and did not know the use of the currency. He took the money and made a journey to a nearby village to see some relatives.  On his way, he encountered two children selling mangoes.  The children gave a mango to the man free of charge. After eating the mango, the man took one of the currency and wiped his mouth. Realizing that the man did not know the value of the currency, they tricked the man into giving them more currency for more mangoes. The children knew that the man had buying power because of the currency, but little did the man know that.  This is the case with many of us Christians.  We are rich with talents and the power to accomplish a lot.  But we do not realize that, and we use those gifts and talents for purposes that do not glorify God.  Sometimes we refused to use our gifts and talents, making excuses to God, that we do we not have gifts and talents.
Let us get a little personal with our lives as we deal with this passage of Scriptures.  All of us are on a journey on this earth.  The journey involves serving God and humankind after God calls us to serve. In the process, God has blessed us with talents to do just that. Some day God will ask us to give an account of how we used our talents.

Memory verse: Isaiah 6:8

“Serving others prepares you to lead others.” Jim George

“Sanctifying Ourselves”

“Sanctifying Ourselves”

Friday, December 4.

“Thanks be God that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed.”  Romans 6:17

Sanctification is one word that is not used very often by Christians.  We hear sermons most of the time but sanctification is not usually mentioned.  The truth is sanctification is has become an irrelevant word, but it is not an irrelevant reality.  Sanctification is like a hundred medical terms.  Nobody but doctors use them, but our life depends on the reality they stand for.  The word sanctification comes from two Latin words: Sanctus which means Holy and fiarce which means make.  So to sanctify means to make Holy. But, of course the word holy has lose its relevance today. Today, you will hear people say “holy cow” and “holy buckets.  One of the highest and most valuable words in the Bible is being ruined.” In order to live a deeper Christian life and become more closer to God, a person would have to understand what it means to live a Holy life.  A person would have to understand sanctification.

Reading the end part of Romans 15:15 Paul says, “Grace has been given to me by God to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles in the priestly service of the gospel of God, so that offering of the Gentiles may be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.” From this part of the Scripture, we see that Paul in the mission field laboring for God.  His missionary labor is sanctification. Paul is aiming not only at converting people to Christ, but to help make them holy people.  In order to do so, Paul first connects obedience and sanctification. Paul points out obedience to Christ as the a step towards sanctification.  In Romans 6:17 Paul says, “Thanks be to God that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed.” Being obedient to Christ is to confess our sins to Christ.  After we have confessed and have been made whole, the Holy Spirit helps us to live how God wants us to live. This is where sanctification comes in. Here, we are being sanctified by the Holy Spirit. We live for Christ rejecting sin. Sin keeps us in a cage.  When we find God again, we began to set ourselves apart for what God has called us to.  Then we continue to grow from there.  Let us sanctify ourselves for the Lord.

 

Memory verse Romans 15:15

“Give God What Rightly Belongs to Him”

“Give God What Rightfully Belongs to Him”

Thursday, January 3.

For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed. 7. Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them.  Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the Lord of hosts.  But ye said, wherein shall we return? 8.  Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me.  But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee?  In tithes and offerings.  9.  Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. 10.  Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of Hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” Malachi 3:6-12

The story is told about a little girl who loved the Lord, that she yearned to talk about the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ with missionaries.  In her quest to achieve this desire, she gave a penny to a missionary, for the purpose of teaching Jesus to the people of Burma. The missionary was moved so much by the effort of this little girl, that he vow to used the penny the best way he knew how, to further the kingdom’s work. The missionary bought a gospel tract and gave it to a young chief of the Burma people.  The chief couldn’t read but took the tract some 25 miles away to be taught.  After being read the tract, the young chief accepted Jesus Christ.  He returned home and told the village about what the Lord had done for him. The young chief invited many other missionaries to come and teach about Jesus Christ in the village. Many of the chief’s clansmen accepted Christ. The good news about the many who accepted Christ from the village is a result of one little girl’s stewardship, who gave all she had from her heart.  This story tells us the truth about how God wants us to give.  It tells us that God blesses us with talents and resources.  God wants us to give those talents and resources back to His work.

The above passage talks about how people did not treat God in a good  way.  The people in Malachi’s day treated God very badly.  The people had no good relationship to God in anyway.  They were in a sense tired with God. Looking back at chapter 1:6-14, they offered sacrifice that were not pleasant in the eyes of God.  Verse 2:1-9 informs us that the priests were very unfaithful. The institution of marriage was no more respected.  Chapter 2:10-17 tells us that divorce was common and very rampant.  All forms of corruptions existed in Malachi’s days.  Employers cheated their employees of their wages.  The widows, orphans, and strangers within their gates were maltreated.  Of all of the unpleasant things that was done in the eyes of God, their inability to pay their full tithes and offerings was the breaking point.  The prophet questioned their dishonesty in withholding their substances, the very blessings God had given them.  The people kept their best and gave God their worst.  God was not pleased with such behaviors of the people.  Some Christians treat God the same way as the people in Malachi’s days.  How do you treat God?  Do you gave God the left over?  Do you keep what rightfully belongs to God for your own purpose?

Memory verse: Luke 6:38

“Kindness in words creates confidence.  Kindness in thinking creates profoundness.  Kindness in giving creates love. “Lao Tzu

“What Do We Do When God Says No?”

“What Do You Do When God Says No?”

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

We will read from “Our Daily Bread about how Dr. Helen Roseveare, missionary to Zaire, told the following story. One of the mothers at the mission station in Zaire died during childbirth.  The missionaries tried to improvise an incubator to keep the infant alive, but the only hot water bottle they had was beyond repair. So they asked the children to pray for the baby and for her sister. One of the girls responded, ‘Dear God, please send a hot water bottle today. Tomorrow will be too late because by then the baby will be dead. And dear Lord, send a doll for the sister so she won’t feel so lonely.’  

That afternoon a large package arrived from England. The children watched eagerly as it was opened. Much to their surprise, under some clothing was a hot water bottle! Immediately the girl who had prayed so earnestly started to dig deeper, exclaiming, ‘If God sent that, I’m sure He also sent a doll!’ And she was right! The heavenly Father knew in advance of that child’s sincere requests, and 5 months earlier He had led a ladies’ group to include both of those specific articles.”  

The most interesting part of this story is the acknowledgement of God’s faithfulness by the girl who prayed earnestly. She said, “If God sent that, I am sure He sent a doll! There would be times when we will get a yes from God.  There would be other times we would get a no from God. Sometimes God’s NO is a WAIT, “I got something better.” When we get a NO from God, God reminds us of what he has done, what he can do, and what He is going to do. This means that God is faithful. In such time, we need to acknowledge all that God has done for us.  He is reminding us that He has a better way. He is God! He carefully sits on His throne and carefully orchestrates every human activities. Despite being God, He is faithful to His creatures. David had a good plan, but

God says no because His greatness did not depend on David’s dreams or vision (1 Samuel 7:5-11).  The Lord essentially tells the prophet Nathan to inform David that He does not need a house. He recounts the fact that He has dwelt in a tent with Israel, and He has never asked for a permanent home. He also reminds David that he was just a shepherd boy when God reached down and anointed him as King. He has been with David through it all (1 Samuel 8-9).

The bottom line of God here is this: “I do the building son, not you. I will make the plans, son, not you. My glory is not dependent upon your dreams.”

We are given a very fundamental and basic theological lesson by the Lord. It is this: the freedom and independence of God. The importance of that statement is that God is God and we are not. He is the initiator. He is the sovereign Lord who builds up and brings down. We must be careful when we pray that we remember this.

Memory verse: Malachi 7:9

“God never takes away something from your life without replacing it.” Billy Graham