Archive for September, 2015
Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabus (which means Son of Encouragement) (Acts 4:36)
Your nickname speaks volumes about your character. Be a person that makes a difference to others. Encourage everyone you encounter today.
““As for me, this is my covenant with them,” says the LORD. “My Spirit, who is on you, and my words that I have put in your mouth will not depart from your mouth, or from the mouths of your children, or from the mouths of their descendants from this time on and forever,” says the LORD.” (Isaiah 59:21)
God’s Spirit. God’s words. With us forever.
More than enough.
The Lord turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?” (Judges 6:14)
Do not doubt the power of God to equip you for every task he gives you. It is about His power, not yours.
It’s called The Bucket List, a movie about two men who endured treatment for cancer only to be told they had months to live. Together they compile a list of things they want to do before they “kick the bucket”. Thus begins a hilarious and poignant journey to discover what is important when life is short.
There is a real life equivalent. On September 18, 2007 at Carnegie Mellon University, a computer professor delivered a lecture entitled “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams,” a hopeful and ironic marquee, considering that cancer was already devouring his pancreas.
Two presentations: one imagined, one all too real, for Randy Pauch died from pancreatic cancer on July 25, 2008, 10 months after his “Last Lecture.” Both stories reflect the sense of urgency as time is running out and the need to cut all extraneous things of life to focus on what is really important.
These same motivations are seen and felt in The Last Letter. Written by an old man on death row, written in a dark, dank, cell. Written knowing he will not escape the executioner by a last minute reprieve or by a technicality. Written knowing that his end is quickly approaching.
He writes with the urgency of a condemned man and tells his only relative, his adopted son, the most important things to remember. This is what he wrote:
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.
The prisoner is the Apostle Paul. The adopted son is Timothy and the Last Letter is the New Testament book of II Timothy, written shortly before Paul’s execution around 67 AD.
Today, now, as our world continues to spiral from disaster to warfare, to inhumanity, we must also proclaim the Urgently Important: that our Savior, Jesus Christ, has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel.
If you had the chance to write your Last Letter, who would you address it to? What would you tell them?
Where have you put your hope? If you haven’t put it in God, then it’s misplaced. Some things can help temporarily. But only God gives hope that does not fail.
He did not say anything to them without using a parable. But when he was alone with his own disciples, he explained everything. (Mark 4:34)
Stories are a wonderful way to talk about spiritual truths. Use them often with children and with those who are not Christians. They are easy to understand and they are not threatening. Tell some today.
“For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.” (1 Timothy 4:4–5)
Our society has a negative attitude toward food. We tend to brag about what’s not in our food more than what is in it. A study was done a few years showing French and American people images of food. When shown a piece of cake, the most common French response was: “Celebration.” The most common American response: “Unhealthy.”
God created food to be enjoyed and received with thanksgiving. Go ahead and watch what you eat, but don’t forget to give God the glory for giving you what you do decide to eat.
And pass me that piece of cake!
Our culture worships many gods: money, power, popularity, and others that please us. Do not worship them. Worship only the one true God.
“We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy.” (Daniel 9:18)
We don’t expect things from God because of who we are, but because of who he is. We don’t hope to earn his favor because of our goodness; we trust in his grace.
I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name — the name you gave me — so that they may be one as we are one. (John 17:11)
Pray for your brothers and sisters like Jesus did. Pray for protection and for unity.