Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Get you up to a high mountain, O Zion, herald of good news; lift up your voice with strength, O Jerusalem, herald of good news; lift it up, fear not; say to the cities of Judah, "Behold your God!"
On today's "Revive Our Heart" broadcast, Nancy Leigh DeMoss reminds us that we have GOOD news to share with this world. Are you weary of all the bad news today? Look up, and BEHOLD YOUR GOD.
Be reminded of the One who has all things in His hands.
Who has called you with an everlasting love,
Who knew you from the womb, before you were born,
Who is the same yesterday, today and forever;
Be reminded of the love of the Saviour for YOU.
To forget God in his glory and strength is to forget His love and care for you.
It is to falter from the wind and waves like Peter on the water.
Your life is the water, fellow believer.
Don't allow the wind and waves to frighten you, though at times they may be fierce.
Instead, BEHOLD YOUR GOD.
Accept his strong hand of help. Bask in the GOOD news that He is
ready and willing to help you across the sea of this life.
In fact, He knows precisely which direction for you to take.
He certainly has led me on my path! And I praise him for it.
Behold your God!
Saturday, December 26, 2009
(reprinted from the CAN blog --Christian Authors' Network)
When we're trying to find a place on a Google map, we zoom in and check out the nearby streets, so we know how many blocks to go before we have to turn left. But, with the focus so tuned in, we often have no clue where we are, relative to where we are going. We have to zoom way out to establish our location in the bigger locale--and once we see the freeways and neighborhoods printed on the map, we relax, knowing exactly where we are.
I propose that zooming out is the antidote to succumbing to despair when hard times overtake us. Some call it looking at the bigger picture. But I like this image of a map, because we can often recognize small landmarks around us--familiar stores and parks and such--but can't put them in perspective with the world at large. Those of us who know God's purpose for humanity and the hope He holds out to us have this magical "zoom" button at our fingertips. Anytime we want, we can just click on it and voila! We've pulled way back to a God's-eye view of our lives. The problem is--we often forget that little button is there.
What happens when we zoom out? We see things from God's perspective, from his sweeping view of time playing out over the ages. We understand a thousand years is only a day to the Lord, and as a watch in the night. Psalm 30:5 says "weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning." Jesus is our promised morning star, the daystar that rises in our hearts. Why are we told this? Because the promise of the morning star is the promise of a new day dawning. God used a star to lead the way to the infant Christ And so, in this season, we need to remember the promise of this star, which is foretold to rise in our hearts (2 Peter 1:19). The Bible speaks of "Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Col 1:27). Do we ever really ponder this mysterious and precious gift--that Christ resides in our hearts--which is the promise of hope, a promise of glory.
So, as we weather more hard times to come--for there will surely be more--let's remember to zoom out. See things from God's view of time. Know that this "slight affliction" will pass and one day we will be with Christ and see him face-to-face. We are told to hang on to this hope, this anchor for our souls. May we be ever joyful in the midst of pain and sorrow, for the joy of the Lord IS our strength.
This article is reprinted from the CAN blog (Christian Authors Network).
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Have You Left Your First Love?
None of us try to leave the Lord out of this season, much less leave him altogether. But how easily we let our fellowship with Christ slip away! I certainly never plan on doing so. I keep my prayer time and Bible reading first on every "To-do" list I write. But there are days when it feels like just one more thing to check off instead of the delight, the relief, the joy, that it should be.
How about you? Take a look at this list from Nancy Leigh DeMoss and see if any of these evidences apply to you today. And then, if some of them do hit home, do something about it. Personally, I like to fall to my knees before Him and confess my inadequacy--not only for all the challenges I face in life, but even just in being an excellent follower of HIM. It's a funny thing, but once you confess it, it doesn't matter anymore! Jesus doesn't only love us when we please Him perfectly (thank goodness! How rare would that be?). The very act of asking His forgiveness restores us, and can bring back the joy we so delight in and need.
40 Evidences that you may have left your first love.
I pray this encourages you today to return to your first love--the lover of your soul.
Oh, not that you tried to leave Him, of course; but you could stand to move a little closer today to him, could you not? I know I can!
Oh happy day.
graphic by Viki
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
On days when I can't do a full post, I've decided to share something short and inspirational, such as a quotation. Here's one for today:
"The people who will really accomplish great things in life are those who are willing to discipline their lives, who maintain their health, their vitality, their efficiency through this process of rigorous disciplining of what they take into their bodies and what they do in life. It's a very important thing in terms of championship living."
--Bob Richards, American Olympic Pole Vaulting Champion
Sunday, December 13, 2009
E.M.Bounds: On Prayer
The more praying there is in the world, the better the world will be, the mightier
the forces against evil everywhere.
Prayer, in one phase of its operation, is a disinfectant and a preventive. It purifies the air;
it destroys the contagion of evil. Prayer is no fitful, short-lived thing. It is no voice crying unheard and unheeded in the silence.
It is a voice which goes inot God's ear, and it lives as long as God's ear is open to holy pleas,
as long as God's heart is alive to holy things.
God shapes the world by prayer.
Author of numerous books on prayer, here is one that is free online.
Friday, December 11, 2009
Happiness and Fun (Are Not Related)
According to theologian Dennis Prager, "Fun and happiness have nothing in common."
He points out that rich and beautiful people like Hollywood stars get to have loads of fun--luxurious vacations, expensive toys, elite parties--but yet many admit to having great depression, loneliness and emptiness. In short, they are not happy. What should have brought them joy instead left them high and dry.
I read one book about Princess Di (written by her former butler) and the depths of her unhappiness astounded me. Don't little girls everywhere dream of being a real princess? My youngest daughter sure does. But it is obvious that being royalty is not a shortcut to happiness, any more than other types of celebrity. (Sarah Ferguson would agree!)
So if money, beauty, fame and fortune--even royalty--do not bring happiness, what does?
Things that involve "considerable pain," says Prager. "Marriage, raising children, helping others, personal achievement"--things that take time, commitment, and come with a cost. These are the things in life that truly bring happiness--not the bells and whistles.
The good news is that you don't have to worry about the people who seem to have "all the fun." Beyond a basic need for rest and relaxation, having fun just doesn't hold water for us emotionally. It's like the broken cisterns the people in Isaiah's time carved for themselves, only to discover they leaked. They were trying to fill themselves up apart from God, but their "cisterns" didn't hold water then, and they won't for us, either.
God's solution is to come to him for his water, what he calls "living water." It satisfies. It brings happiness. It may lead us down a tough path involving pain and self-sacrifice, but we'll be all the better for it.
I'll take the living water anyday. And I can commit myself to spending time on the really important, though painful things in life, for they are the ones that give back a real reward.
Besides, the next time your kids want to go to Disney, you can just read them this post. Fun doesn't bring happiness. (HA! Kidding.)
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Life can be tough, there's no doubt about it. That's why I thought I'd share a link with you today from Nancy Leigh DeMoss about OVERCOMING. God puts trials in our lives, the devil tries to hit us when we're down, and the world can be a cold, cruel place. So take some encouragment. The Lord knows we must struggle in this life in order to grow, but He never intended for the difficulties we face to keep us down. Overcoming the world, the flesh and the devil is our heritage as followers of Christ!
Take a listen or read today's transcript from Nancy's teaching HERE. And hold your head up, fellow Christian, as you go about your day. We serve a risen Lord! The battle has been won.
Thursday, December 03, 2009
"Now all the tax collectors and the sinners were coming near Him to listen to Him." Luke 15:1
If there was nothing else written about Jesus, this one verse alone would tell you something important. Thankfully, we do have a great deal else written so that we can put this into a better context, but this single verse is nevertheless phenomenal in what it tells us about Jesus.
1. Tax collectors and sinners--ie, the dregs of society at that time--were not afraid to come to Jesus.
2. They didn't feel condemned by him, as they would have by a Pharisee, for example.
3. They didn't feel so ashamed that they wanted to hide.
4. He caught their interest, and gave them hope. Why else would they go near an evidently religious person? Someone who would never be a compatriot in their deeds or lifestyle?
Contrast this to how these same people would behave around a Pharisee or Sadducee. These men were the "elite" of the Jewish faith. Their desire was to be seen and acknowledged as the holiest, the most reverent men of their time. They were the ultimate in respectability.
Sinners and tax collectors would most likely cower in their shadows, if not hide outright if they were seen approaching. Not that the Pharisee would bother to notice them, of course, because such people were not worth his trouble. If he did notice the sinner, he'd most likely bestow a sneering glare of disdain before turning away.
Jesus felt differently.
Somehow, he communicated this.
He appealed to them.
He loved them.
Do you know a "tax collector or sinner?" Are you showing love towards that person?
Maybe you ARE that person.
If so, come near to Jesus. He promises to never turn away anyone who seeks him. Anyone.
He does love you--just the way you are!
Does He expect you to change? Not without his help!
That's good news, people.
If you have a minute, scroll down and let the first song on my music list speak to your heart.
("How Deep the Father's Love.")
Wednesday, December 02, 2009
A Merry December Deal!
It's finally here! December: the "most wonderful," the blessed, the busy, the exciting, exasperating, merry time of year.
I love it.
Even though this is a devotional blog, I'm going to do something different and share my first promotion of the month here. I'm an author as well as a daughter of God, wife, mother and friend; so it is a part of my life that I run promotions now and then on my books. And it only makes sense, now that I've given it some thought, to include that here.
Like anything else in life, you can ignore this if it doesn't interest you--though I hope it does!
If you have readers on your gift list, I'm simply offering an incentive for you to consider giving my regency series as a gift to them. I'm going to randomly choose five people to get a FREE copy of Country House Courtship from among those who participate.
If you've already pre-ordered Country House Courtship, and you win a copy, you can go on and give it away as a gift, too.
FOR FULL DETAILS, see the "Latest News" area on the my website HERE. It's right on the lower right-hand portion of the home page.
Not only will you give a gift that has delighted thousands of readers, but you'll be helping ME out, AND you might win a free book as well. Of course I'll sign the books for the winners. But EVERY PARTICIPANT will get something from me in the mail. I guarantee it. You might get a signed poster of one of my book covers, a stack of postcards with my books on them (which I hope you'll share), a personal note from me with a card, etc. (WARNING: GIFTS ARE LIKELY TO INCLUDE CHOCOLATE!)
If you choose to take part, I look forward to sending something to YOU!
Full details, again, are HERE: http://www.LinoreBurkard.com