“Find Joy in the Lord” 9/01/2014 (revised from 3/21/2014)

“Our Daily Bread”     http://odb.org

The Daily Devotions of Greg Laurie    http://www.harvest.org/devotional

“Homily Grits Devotional”   http://www.homilygrits.com

1 Peter 1:7…  that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ,  (NKJV)

Today I write about joy…  You may wonder why I chose to open today’s writing with a scripture verse speaking about faith…  I chose this scripture, because it goes hand in hand with the kind of inexpressiblejoy the apostle Peter speaks about in the next verse, that I want to share with you today… 

This genuine faith the apostle Peter is writing about in the opening scripture, is the kind of faith you must have, that even through the worst trial of your life (where your faith will be tested by fire), it will still remain strong…  This faith is originally given to the believer by God, and is called saving faith…because only God can change the will of the unbeliever…  For our mortal will to be changed, we must first be drawn in by God (John 6:44), before our hardened heart of stone is regenerated by Him, as we are graced with salvation…   (See note at the end for more about God’s grace, through saving faith alone in the Lord Jesus Christ)…

But once the new Christian is filled with the Holy Spirit, at the moment they become a redeemed child of God (John 14:26), the growth of this faith will only occur when the new Christian remains focused upon the Lord…  I am going to re-post the link to an answered question about “what does renewing your mind mean ?”(Romans 12:1-2)…that I used in my writing the other day, titled… “How Big is Our God ??”…   This gives us suggestions on how to best to find continuous joy in the Lord…   http://www.gotquestions.org/renewing-the-mind.html

Here is a quote from this link, which I would like to share with you… The only way to replace the error of the world’s way of thinking is to replace it with God’s truth, and the only infallible source of God’s truth is found in his revealed word, the Bible.Transformation through renewed minds comes as believers expose themselves to God’s Word through the faithful exposition of it each week in church, personal Bible study and group Bible study. A solid church that believes in preaching the Word, reading the Word and singing the Word is invaluable in helping us renew our minds.

My friends, spending time (hopefully daily) feeding upon God’s Word (Matthew 4:4), is how we as Christians best equip ourselves to fight the spiritual warfare every Christian will find themselves engaged in…after they become a redeemed child of God…  The apostle Paul tells us who we as Christians must be prepared to battle, in

Ephesians 6:12…  For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.  (NKJV)

God’s Word is described by the apostle Paul, as the sword of the Spiritwhich is the only offensive weapon in the 6 pieces of spiritual armor the apostle Paul writes about, in…Ephesians 6:10-20…  Here is the link describing what the apostle Paul pens about God’s whole set of protective spiritual armor, worn to fend off Satan’s attacks…  http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=eph%206%3A10-20&version=NKJV;KJV

When the Christian focuses on the Lord as the most important Person in their life…spends time in God’s Word to put on the “Whole Armor of God”…and takes the apostle James’ advice…and submits their life to God (James 4:7-8)…their life will be transformed by the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit living with-in them…

The apostle Peter goes on, after the opening scripture, with this, in…1 Peter 1:8…  whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,  (NKJV)   I believe this inexpressiblejoy the apostle Peter is speaking about, is the same God given joy Jesus tries to explain to His disciples, at the “Last Supper”, as recorded in…

John 15:10-12…  If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. 11  These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full12 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” (NKJV)  

My friends, Jesus is giving His disciples some last minute advice on His 2 most important commandments, which Jesus previously gave to us in…Matthew 22:36-40…   When we as Christians are able to keep these 2 commandments…the apostle Paul so eloquently and accurately pens this, from…Ephesians 3:19…we will know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” 

This supernatural love of Christ which passes knowledge, and the inexpressiblejoy allowing us as Christians tobe filled with all the fullness of God…is indeed Christ’s joy with-in us, filling us with His joy, so that our joy may be full… 

Love, joy, and peace are the first 3 (and I believe the most important) of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), which are the 9 “Christ like” attributes that should be growing in the life of the true disciple (follower) of Jesus Christ…  This spiritual, life long growth process (commonly known as progressive sanctification), means the disciple of Christ is being conformed day by day into the image of Christ…Romans 8:29…  Here is a link for more about progressive sanctification…  http://www.gotquestions.org/progressive-sanctification.html

This renewing of our mind is something we as Christians should be seeking the Lord’s help to accomplish each and every morning, as we wake up and pray to the Lord…in preparation to wage spiritual warfare with Satan and his fallen demon angels…  I call it…“putting on the Lord Jesus Christ”, as the apostle Paul pens, in…Romans 13:11-14…  (Here is the link…  http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Rom13%3A11-14%2C%201thes5%3A7-8&version=NKJV;KJV )

You will notice in this scripture, the apostle Paul’s comparison of putting on the armor of light, to putting on the Lord Jesus Christ…  In our own mortal strength, we will fail most every time… But in the power of the Holy Spirit, we as Christians should be able to defeat Satan every time…1 John 4:4…  And by this same supernatural power working in us, we should be able to keep our flesh pretty much in check… (The tongue is my biggest problem) This will only become a reality, if we stay focused on the Lord, and remain in humble submission to the guidance and direction of the Holy Spirit that God has given to all of His redeemed children…

Heavenly Father, help all of Your children to find joy in the Lord (even through life’s toughest trials), as we do our best to submit to Your will and Your ways…  I pray for this fullness of Christ, and the joy it will bring into all of our lives, in Jesus’ most precious name and for His sake…Amen…

Blessings in Christ,  bruce

P.S. Here is a link for this most important days writing, about how God’s grace is received to become a Christian in God’s eyes; through understanding and obeying the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, after first being drawn in by God…John 6:44…   http://godsmanforever.wordpress.com/2013/07/11/gods-group-thoughts-for-7112013-the-truth-about-sin/

 

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“Are You Fighting for Your Children?” 8/31/2014

“Our Daily Bread”     http://odb.org 

The Daily Devotions of Greg Laurie    http://www.harvest.org/devotional 

“Homily Grits Devotional”  http://www.homilygrits.com

Written by Michael Boling of Job 31 Ministries @ http://www.j31.org

Original post @ http://www.j31.org/j31blog/2014/8/27/j6bb5s3y4nxq7duhi1ecxlusr2d3of

Are You Fighting for Your Children?

August 27, 2014

By Michael Boling

“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.” (Matthew 18:6)

 “But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty.  For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.” (2 Timothy 3:1-5)

“And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.  You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”  (Deut. 6:6-9)

I am not often shocked when it comes to the truly deep level of depravity in our society.  The length to which culture has embraced every expanding methods of perversion seems to be the new norm.  One truly has to have existed in a closet over the past few years to not realize the shift towards all sorts of immorality seeping into every aspect of society.  With that said and despite being fully aware of this move towards what some have rightly termed as the “pornification of society”, I was a bit shocked when this issue reared its ugly head in my own home recently.

We have a newly minted shall we say teenage daughter at home, with newly minted meaning she just turned 13 years old earlier this month.  This stage of life begins to a large degree the transition into adulthood, an extremely important phase of life.  The foundation laid by those of influence in the life of a child at this stage of life greatly impacts their worldview and how our children understand the issues of life.  Thus, this places a huge level of responsibility on parents to follow the command of Proverbs 22:6:  “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”  In a day and age where at every turn our children are being bombarded with sexually explicit material, sexual innuendo, and perversion of all types, both overtly and in a more subtle manner, it is perhaps more important than ever for parents to be intimately involved in what their children are involved in to include what they watch, listen to, and read as well as those they call their friends.

From recent personal experience, I can unequivocally state that we live in a sick society and the sickness our society is plagued with is an embracing of all manner of sin.  It was brought to my attention that even a word as simply as “thirsty” has been twisted to mean sex crazed, specifically a desire to have sex.  What was shocking to me was the age level in which this term is being used, in this case by 11-13 year olds.  Furthermore, this term was being bantered around not just in the halls of the local public school, but perhaps most shockingly, within the youth groups at local churches.  This is just one of many examples I could provide that have come to my attention.  Now I appreciate the honesty of my own daughter to share that such language is something she has come in contact with in interactions with her friends, fellow schoolmates, and the youth at church.  Such honesty greatly assists the parental conversation that must then take place, a conversation that is focused on explaining why such language is abhorrent, and why resisting the urge to be “cool” is so vital.

So what does such behavior reveal?  Let me share a few thoughts:

  1. The enemy is busy with his age old bag of tricks.  It is quite clear he has his foot on the gas in the effort to attack our children with all manner of perversion.  Moreover, he is using all available resources to accomplish his goals.  Jesus had some rather strong words for those who participate in causing these children to stumble – it would be better that a great millstone be placed around their neck and for them to be tossed into the depths of the sea.  If you are not familiar with what a millstone during the time of Jesus looked like, here is a picture.  In this case a picture is certainly worth a thousand words.

The good news is those who attempt to poison the minds of our children will receive from God their reward for such sinful behavior.  However, we must all constantly ask ourselves if we too are behaving in a manner that might lead our children astray.  What kind of example are we setting for our children when we fly off the handle, watch an inappropriate movie, or say something that should not be said ever, regardless if children are around or not.

  1. Since the enemy is busy, parents must be equally busy. We live in an era described by the Apostle Paul in 2 Timothy 3:1-5.  This is a time of great difficulty.  Our children are constantly being encouraged to be lovers of self, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to authority, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, unloving, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, and duplicitous.  It is more important than ever for parents to actually parent.  The hands-off approach taken by far too many parents, abdicating their God given responsibility to raise their children to schools and youth groups must stop immediately. 

What are we as parents to be about doing?

  1. A foundational activity in every believer’s home should be a family dedication to the reading, studying, meditation, and obedience to the Word of God.  Deuteronomy 6:6-9 commands parents to teach the Word of God diligently to their children.  Just in case parents are unsure as to what that entails, God follows up that command with a follow assignment, namely the need to teach our children the things of God when we walk, when we lie down, and when we rise up.  In case that is still confusing, that essentially means all day long the things of God should be the focus of parenting.  God’s law is to be a sign on our hands, frontlets to our eyes, and on the doorposts of our homes.  Those confused by such ancient language should know that means God’s Word should be the focus of our thoughts, actions, and furthermore, God’s Word should be the very foundation of our homes. 
  2. Pray, pray, pray for your children. Pray that your children may “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18).  Lift them up to the Lord and pray that “integrity and honesty be their virtue and their protection” (Ps. 25:21).  Pray they may act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with their God (Micah 6:8).  Pray that they may “lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life” (1 Timothy 6:18-19).  Additionally, pray with your children.  Show them the importance of an active, consistent, and persistent prayer life.
  3. Be active in the life of your children. While it is tempting to come home and plop on the couch after a long and exhausting day at work, please resist that temptation.  Sit down with your children.  Have a conversation with them about how their day went.  Ask about their experiences and their conversations.  While they may push back at you or wonder why you are so interested in what for them may seem like a whole lot of nothing, these are prime opportunities to find out who and what is influencing your child.  The news can wait.  It will rain or be sunny whether you watch the weather report or not.  Those dishes will still be there.  The laundry can wait to be folded.  Investing time in the life of your child supersedes all those things. 

One good way to strike up a conversation with your child is to get outdoors.  Take a stroll around your neighborhood.  Chisel the dust off your bicycles.  It will be time well spent and in the process you will be a bit healthier to boot.  The bottom line is find ways to invest yourself in the life of your child whatever and however that looks like for your family.  Be sure when doing so to limit distractions.  Tune out the surrounding noise and clamor and cultivate a relationship with your child.  Engage in activities that will allow for conversation even though at first your child may try and give you the silent treatment.

I urge all parents to never forget we are in a battle for the hearts and minds of the next generation.  Gird your loins and the loins of your children with truth.  As a family, put on the breastplate of righteousness.  Shod your feet with the gospel of peace.  Take up the shield of faith.  Finally, grab the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God.  We have been given this battle armor by God to wage war through the power of the Holy Spirit against this enemy that has set its face against our children.

Now get to it, turn off that computer, television, cell phone, or whatever you are reading this on and invest in your child!  Remember the words of Nehemiah 4:14 – ““Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes.”

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“A Vision of God” 8/30/2014

“Our Daily Bread”     http://odb.org/

The Daily Devotions of Greg Laurie    http://www.harvest.org/devotional 

“Homily Grits Devotional”  http://www.homilygrits.com/

Written by Pastor Mike Campagna @ http://www.aheartforgod.org

Original post @  http://www.aheartforgod.org/2014/08/26/a-vision-of-god/

A Vision of God

God the FatherWe need a vision of God in these last days.

It will help us to make sense out of what’s happening in our crazy world.

We need a vision of God!

And we have it in the New Testament book of Revelation.

In Revelation 4:3 John records that God (who was sitting on the throne in heaven) was “like a jasper stone and a sardius in appearance.”

The jasper stone was the final stone in the High Priest’s breastplate. (Exodus 28:20)

It represents Reuben, Israel’s first born son.

It speaks of Jesus Christ, the first born from the dead.

The sardius stone was the initial stone in the High Priest’s breastplate. (Exodus 28:17)

It represents Benjamin, Israel’s last born son.

Benjamin means “at my right hand.”

It speaks of Jesus Christ who is seated at the right hand of God.

And so what’s happening in our crazy world?

What’s happening?

God the Father has taken it upon Himself, and on behalf of His resurrected Son seated at His right hand in heaven, to make His enemies a footstool for His feet.

“‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.”‘” (Luke 20:42-43; Psalm 110:1)

It’s like sucking poison from a wound.

And when you see Evil coming to the forefront all around, take heart.

God is subduing Christ’s enemies whether it’s Vladimir Putin or ISIS or Hamas or a lawless American President.

(God the Father picture file above is in the public domain: click here.)

You might also be interested in:

About Mike Campagna

Mike Campagna (affectionately known by some as Pastor Mike) is making the most of web technologies to encourage disciples. A self-proclaimed “twitterholic,” one twitter follower describes him as the “jogging, blogging, tweeting Pastor.” Visits to Pastor Mike’s blog (http://www.aheartforgod.org) number in the hundreds of thousands. His video blogs have been viewed over a half a million times. His day job is content manager/social media specialist for Sugar Pine Realty. Pastor Mike and his family have lived in the Sonora area of California since 1997.

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“In Christ” 8/29/2014

“Our Daily Bread”     http://odb.org

 The Daily Devotions of Greg Laurie    http://www.harvest.org/devotional

“Homily Grits Devotional”  http://www.homilygrits.com

Written by Nancy Ruegg @  http://nancyaruegg.com

View original post @  http://nancyaruegg.com/2014/08/25/in-christ/

In Christ

August 25, 2014 by Nancy Ruegg

‘Ever watch one of those television shows that provides a person with a complete makeover? By the end of the hour she (or sometimes he) has acquired a personalized, updated wardrobe, learned how to apply make-up, and received a new hair-do.  The physical transformation is always stunning.

However, there is a transformation even more amazing.  Paul explains it this way:

“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

 new-creation

Those of us in Christ haven’t just been adjusted, primped, polished, or camouflaged.  We have become new people with clean slates, strong purpose, deep joy, and vibrant enthusiasm for life.

And that’s not all.  Each day we’re becoming better than the day before–a bit more perfected–if we remain in Christ.  Sarah Young (Jesus Calling) says we’re becoming more fully our true selves–the ones God designed us to be.  I like that.

Each day in Christ is an opportunity to grow more completely into his glorious image.  These changes have nothing to do with outward appearance.  They take place on the inside, impacting our personalities, emotions, minds, and spirits.

That expression, in Christ (also “in the Lord” and “in him”), occurs 164 times in Paul’s letters.  Such repetition would indicate the importance of the concept.

So how would we define the meaning of being “in Christ?”  Here are a few possibilities.

  1.  In Christ means we live within his presence.  Now that’s a rather abstract concept. Perhaps an analogy would increase our understanding.

Picture yourself surrounded by trees in a forest.  The woods fill your senses—the sight of tall, stately trees, the sound of chirping birds, the aroma of pine and earth, the textures of rough bark and velvety moss, the taste of cold, clear water from a stream.

 SunShiningThroughDustInWood

Similarly, the presence of Christ completely surrounds us as believers.  Christ fills the senses of our hearts, if we avail ourselves. We see more fully the glory of his creation, hear his truth, breathe in his love like a fine fragrance, feel his strength upholding us, and taste his goodness in the feast of blessings he provides.

Such sensations change who we are.  In Christ, we can become stable, contented, joy-filled people.

  1.  In Christ means we are united with him, like a branch fused to the vine (John 15:1-8). He is the Source of everything we need, but we must stay in contact with him. How do we do that with Someone who’s invisible? Possibilities include prayer, praise, gratitude, and worship–throughout the day.

And when we’re united with him, his peace and strength are infused into us.

  1.  In Christ means we’re in close relationship with him. Never should there “be day when we give ourselves a chance to forget him” (William Barclay).

And when we live in the presence of Christ, and in union with Christ, the inner transformation he has instituted will most definitely become visible. Jesus’ character will begin to flow through our attitudes and actions, just as sap flows through the vine into the branches. Attitudes like kindness, understanding, and forgiveness will give strong evidence that we’re living in Christ.

 Woman praising with arms raised in the air

And what will the people around us see?  Folks who…

  • exude joy and optimism.

  • are gracious to others.

  • exhibit self-control.

  • make wise choices.

  • aim to express love–always.

Such delightful, purposeful living awaits those who center themselves  in Christ.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for the supreme privilege of living in your presence.  You are the King of the universe, yet you want to be united with us in close relationship.  And as we avail ourselves, you infuse us with your attributes, your strength, your peace.  All praise to you, gracious Savior, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, as we abide in you.

(Photo credits:  www.brotherransome.com, http://www.wikipedia.org., and alishagratehouse.com.)

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“Be Thankful” 8/28/2014

“Our Daily Bread”     http://odb.org

 The Daily Devotions of Greg Laurie    http://www.harvest.org/devotional

“Homily Grits Devotional”  http://www.homilygrits.com

Written by Ann Friend for “afriendofJESUS2013Blog” @  http://afriendofjesus2013.com/

View original post @ http://afriendofjesus2013.com/2014/04/27/be-thankful-2/

Be Thankful

Posted on April 27, 2014 by Ann “afriend4ever54” Friend

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:18 ~

Hello friends (smile) In the ebbs and flows of life, being thankful becomes easier when we realize just how blessed and fortunate we really are in whatever season we find ourself walking through.

It’s a beautiful thing to understand that everything happens for a reason and the most painful experiences brings growth. Things and stuff, and X, Y and Z challenges can happen to any of us.

 20140427-003848.jpg

Be thankful to keep walking through the challenge because it builds inner strength, spiritual fruit and deepens faith, and trust in God. (smile)

Be thankful to learn adapting and adjusting promotes a healthy attitude and leaning more on God during difficult times.

Be thankful that the past has no power unless we allowed it.

Be thankful to understand free will to choose remains an obstacle when dealing with others. Sometimes, they are not ready for the next step. Sometimes, we’re not. Be thankful to know the difference.

By faith, be blessed and thankful each day that God wakes us up. (smile)

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“A True Love” 8/27/2014 Karina Susanto

“Our Daily Bread”     http://odb.org/

The Daily Devotions of Greg Laurie    http://www.harvest.org/devotional

“Homily Grits Devotional”  http://www.homilygrits.com/

Posted by Karina Susanto @  http://karinasussanto.wordpress.com/

Original post  @ http://karinasussanto.wordpress.com/2014/08/11/a-true-love/

Aug11     A True Love

True Love -Karina's Thought- Paul Militaru (2)

I begin this post with an old inspiring and touching story from China. There was an old grandfather named Bai Fang Li. He was living in Tianjin, China. What is interesting thing from this old man? The most interesting thing from him is even though he was live in shortage, he had has very rich heart. Poverty was not being a reason for him to keep giving to others. He was called to give donations to schools and universities in Tianjin city to help more than 300 poor children in order to able obtain an education for their future. Many years he was pedaling his rickshaw to get money in order to increase amount of his contributions.

He lived in an old and rusty hut in a slum area of the city where many rickshaw operators and garbage collectors live and he also lived without thinking of his own needs so that he could give more and more. Two raisin cakes and fresh water became his lunch menu and just a piece of meat or an egg for dinner. Regardless of weather conditions he was always pedaling his rickshaw from 6 am to 8 pm. “it is okay I am suffered”, but let that poor children can go to school “he said. When he was 90 years old, he realized that he was no longer able to pedal his rickshaw. His last saving that amounted five hundreds Yuan donated all to a school. He said, “I could not to pedal a rickshaw again. I cannot give a donation anymore. It might be my last donation that I could give” It was makes all teachers in that school crying. Three years later grandpa Li passed away in poverty. Yet, behind his poverty, during his lifetime he has been contributed a total of three hundred and fifty thousand Yuan. He devoted his life fully to help poor children who could not afford to school. What an inspiring story, right?

Now, what is the message of the inspiring story for us as Christians?  In the midst of the world which centered on self-interest, where the caring to others getting scarce, what was done by grandpa Li pointed out that there are still people who have a noble heart  more than a gold in this world. He was still loves and care to others though he lived in poverty. I called it “A True Love”

Apostle Paul describes love so beautifully in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7,

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Depiction of love in those verses so beautifully summarized by grandfather Li’s action. His contribution was not just limited by sympathy words but all real embodied through the sacrifices that he did for the sake of helping those children who did not have opportunity to get an education. I wonder, from the billions of people in this world, how many grandpa Li who care about each other and willing to sacrifice just for helping others? A poor man like grandpa Li wanted to do it, while many rich people just sat quietly does not have concern for the people around who really need help.

Holy Bible said, Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. (1 John 3:18) Grandpa Li did it so beautiful through the concrete action even in the midst of his poorness. He was not being a selfish or just thinking about himself but he even willing to sacrifice all-out until the last of his strength to help other. He also did all of that was not solely to seek popularity or honored by people. I think, for him have a decent life is more important than having popularity! Please remember he was just a very old rickshaw driver. He really had a sincerity and true love to helping each other.

Grandpa Li was gone but his devotion will continue to be remembered by millions people in this world. I am convinced despite physically he suffered, but his heart happy to be able to do something for others. He realized that it would be happier if can give rather than receive.

…‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ” (Act 20:35)

After I read and ponder this inspiring story, I conclude that there are some important things that we could get from this inspiring story and I called it as the value of true love.

First, Initiative! True love has an initiative. This poor old man has initiative express his love by reaching out his hand to help others. It is same with God.  God loves us not in a passive ways. He not just waiting us to love Him first but God directly reached out His hand to express His love to us with a very beautiful ways. John said,

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. (1 John 4:10)

Furthermore, Paul said,

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

The second, beside has an initiative, grandpa Li was active in order to could express his love to others by working tirelessly pedaling his rickshaw. He not expresses his love just by his words but also by action as it is written in 1 John 3:18.

Third, grandpa Li has a great caring to others interests. He realized that there are hundreds poor children need help and threatened could not school and get a proper education. God’s word reminds us to not merely attach great importance to our own need and interests, but also pay attention to others needs and interests.

Not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. (Philippians 2:4)

Be emphasized again in 1 John 3:17,

If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?

Fourth, sacrifice! This is a thing that quite difficult to do. Jesus said,

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. (John 15:13)

Not only with words but directly Jesus proved to be willing to give his life for the mankind salvation by dying on the cross. And this is then followed by His disciples willing to sacrifice their life just for proclaim God’s word to all over the world. Not many people are willing to sacrifice to help others while he himself lives in hardship. This old poor man was doing this thing so beautiful. He was willing to sacrifice for the sake of helping others. He was willing to lived in the slums and eat potluck so he could save his money.

My dear readers, it is so easy we say that we have love. But the question is what kind of love? Are we having true love that has initiative? Whether we have an active love that accompanied with action? How big our concern to others interests? And are we willing to sacrifice to others? Whether in everyday life we have to apply the principles of love as God wants? This evening I would like to encourage you to learn from this inspiring story. Let the story of grandpa Li could be a model for us to express the true love to others. We may not like grandpa Li who really live in poverty, so let us have an initiative to give  what we  could give to helping each others who in need. Do not be discouraged and ashamed if not be able to give much as long as we give with sincerity. God does not look at how much that we can give but rather to look our sincerity, our willingness to sacrifice and truly based on true love. God really appreciate to those who are willing to sacrifices to give in the shortage.

Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.” (Mark 12:43-44)

 Suppose that we could not help people in the form of matter, we can help others in another form such as giving a tender smile and a warm hug to our friends who are in grief, spend our time to giving encouragement to people who are discouraged, or put them in our prayer list, and maybe just do very simple daily things such as say “hello” and asking “how are you. Are you okay?” It all will give a big impact to others. Let’s pray to God ask for the strength, wisdom and have a sensitive heart to the others difficulties so we always could express our true love to others.  Let us pray that true love remain thrives in our lives and keep it warm because we live in the world where wickedness is increased. As Jesus reminds us, Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, (Matthew 24:12) and let us could be a window for those people around us to know and experience God’s love through our true love. Amen.

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. (I John 4: 7-8)

Karina – Living by Faith

For the detailed story and photos of Bai Fang Li click here

I wish to thank you to Paul Militaru for the awesome and beautiful picture

Photo by Paul Militaru  http://photopaulm.com

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Christ, Christianity, Daily Devotion, Exortation, faith, God, Holiness, Hope, Jesus Christ, Love, Mercy, Peace, Praise, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

“Happiness :-)” 8/26/2014

“Our Daily Bread”     http://odb.org

 The Daily Devotions of Greg Laurie    http://www.harvest.org/devotional

“Homily Grits Devotional”  http://www.homilygrits.com

Written by my friend Bill Sweeney, stricken with ALS  almost 18 years ago.  He now writes by use of an eye-tracking computer, with only his eye movements.  Bill’s “Unshakable Hope” should give us all a reason to count our blessings !!  (bruce)  Read more about Bill @ http://unshakablehope.wordpress.com/about/

View original post @ http://unshakablehope.wordpress.com/2014/06/12/happiness/

Happiness :-)

From what I’ve observed, healthy babies, like my 6 month old grandson, are generally happy babies. It seems that we are created to be happy, so why are so why are many adults unhappy?

I recently read a thought-provoking article titled “10 Things to Give up in Exchange for Happiness.” The article wasn’t written from a Christian perspective, but I think everyone, regardless of their beliefs, would probably agree with the author’s following suggestions.

 http://unshakablehope.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/exchange-for-happiness.jpg?w=346&h=564

They’re good suggestions, but…

According to research, only about 10% of those who make just one New Year’s Resolution will succeed in keeping that resolution. I think the problem with the list is that the author is essentially asking us to make multiple resolutions in our pursuit of happiness. What are the odds?

Even if some strong-willed person succeeded in overcoming every one of these 10 happiness thieves, do you think they’d really be happy? My experience with battling and, to some extent, conquering some of my many character flaws, is that, like to-do lists, it’s never-ending. My almost 18 year battle with ALS has confirmed this. ALS has completely taken away or greatly reduced almost every item on the above list. Let me give you some examples:

  1. Give up caring what other people think of you. If you’ve been through a trial that has diminished your physical appearance and/or your abilities (having to use a wheelchair or losing your hair to chemo, etc.), you quickly discover just how image-conscious you are. You either decide to give up caring what others think of you or lock yourself away in a remote cabin in the woods. (I considered the latter, but I knew that Mary and the girls wouldn’t come with me so I reluctantly chose the former). Over the years I’ve become really good, maybe too good, at not caring what people think of me. I laugh to myself when Mary or my caregiver spend time trying to fix my hair and become frustrated if a few hairs won’t cooperate. As they’re fussing with my hair, I’m thinking to myself; I’m completely paralyzed, wheelchair-bound and can’t speak, I don’t think people will be looking at the hair.

  2. Give up trying to please everyone. It’s hard to please anyone when you’re completely helpless.

  3. Give up participating in gossip. I don’t think that I was ever a gossip (that’s probably what all gossips say), but it’s been so much easier not to gossip or say hurtful and dumb things since ALS stole my voice 17+ years ago. With the help of my new eye-tracking computer, I am still able to blog and email, etc. so I haven’t completely lost my ability to gossip or say dumb and hurtful things (my family and friends can attest to this). But, like most people who’ve been humbled by a difficult trial, gossip has hopefully been replaced by words of hope and encouragement.

  4. Give up spending money on what you don’t need in effort to buy happiness. Before ALS, like most people, I spent money on unnecessary things and activities, like taking vacations, eating at nice restaurants and buying sporting equipment, etc. I don’t think that I was “attempting to buy happiness,” I just thought, and still think, that I was enjoying God’s blessings. Since ALS, I cannot go on vacations or go out to eat, and I certainly have no use for things like sporting equipment.

  5. Give up control. I really fought this one, but ALS finally forced me to give into Mary wearing the pants in the family. (I do still control the TV remote most of the time).

The problem I have with the list of “10 Things…” is that it’s advising us to give up emotional highs and weaknesses in exchange for happiness. But happiness is just another emotion, and, like all emotions, happiness is subject to our circumstances. For instance, sadness over the loss of a loved-one or other bad news, immediately destroys any happiness that we might have had.

                        -

Joy is much different. For Christians, joy might be hidden for a time, especially when we hear bad news or at the onset of a trial, but it’s always there. Hope in God is like a compass that leads us back to joy. And, as Webster’s dictionary defines it, joy is “the source or cause of great happiness.”

Don’t go crazy trying to balance your emotions in a pursuit of happiness; just look to God for hope and you’ll find true and lasting joy and that joy will result in happiness.

What Satan put into the heads of our remote ancestors was the idea that they could ‘be like gods’—could set up on their own as if they had created themselves—be their own masters—invent some sort of happiness for themselves outside God, apart from God. And out of that hopeless attempt has come nearly all that we call human history—money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery—the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.
God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.”
CS Lewis Mere Christianity

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