Black Spirituality Religion : Christian Devotionals

Living Triumphantly

MATTHEW 4:18-20

The man who stepped forward to preach at Pentecost was flawed and impetuous. He had disagreed with Jesus and even denied knowing Him. But Peter developed into a man whose impact for the kingdom surpassed his impulsiveness.

When studying Peter's life, believers often focus on his negative actions--the doubt that nearly drowned him when he walked on water, and his aforementioned rebuke and denial of Jesus. But Peter is also an example of triumphant living. An uneducated fisherman who likely had few other skills, Peter put down his nets and followed Jesus the instant he was asked. He was the first to acknowledge Christ as the Son of God. (Matthew 16:16) And after the Lord's resurrection, Peter's spontaneous nature led him to leap into the water and swim for shore when he noticed his Savior waiting there. (John 21:7) The disciple's devotion cannot be questioned.

Peter is an inspiration for us today. God does not choose servants who are solid rocks with no cracks or crevices. Instead, He selects people who have weaknesses, failures, and a need to be forgiven repeatedly. The Lord looks for believers who are teachable, willing to repent, and prepared to surrender to God's greater will--folks who are a lot like Peter.

Too many Christians have already decided how much the Lord can do with them, based on education, personality, or talent. But God isn't interested in qualifications. He seeks willing followers who echo Isaiah's call, "Here am I. Send me!" (Isaiah 6:8) That's triumphant living.
 
HORSE SENSE...

Just up the road from my home is a field, with two horses in it. From a distance, each looks like every other horse. But if one stops the car, or is walking by, one will notice something quite amazing.

Looking into the eyes of one horse will disclose that he is blind. His owner has chosen not to have him put down but has made a good home for him. This alone is amazing.

Listening, one will hear the sound of a bell. Looking around for the source of the sound, one will see that it comes from the smaller horse in the field. Attached to her bridle is a small bell. It lets her blind friend know where she is, so he can follow her.

As one stands and watches these two friends, one sees how she is always checking on him, and that he will listen for her bell and then slowly walk to where she is, trusting that she will not lead him astray.

Like the owners of these two horses, God does not throw us away just because we are not perfect or because we have problems or challenges.

God watches over us and even brings others into our lives to help us when we are in need.

Sometimes we are the blind horse being guided by God and those whom God places in our lives. Other times we are the guide horse, helping others to see God.


Author Unknown ~
 
The true Christmas Gift....

December 25, 2005
Jesus: A Gift from the Father
James 1:17
Who knows a child better than his parent? From the time a baby is delivered, its mother and father know more than anyone else what will make the child content, sad, frightened, or excited. They recognize not only the youngster's preferences but also his needs. And for that reason, parents usually know how to select the most appropriate gifts for their son or daughter.

How much more does our Heavenly Father understand us! He didn't have to learn about us the way earthly parents do. As our Creator, who "wove" each of us when we were still in the womb (Psalm 139:13), He knows us better than even our family.

That means He is perfectly aware, not just of our likes, dislikes, abilities, and struggles, but especially of our needs. So when it comes to gifts, doesn't it make sense that God is the best Giver?

God knew our greatest need would be a solution to our sin problem, because sin separates us from Him. So He designed the perfect plan, which is also the perfect gift: He determined to send His sinless Son Jesus as the payment for your sin-debt and mine. The One we see as a baby in the manger is fully God, who came to earth with a purpose--to die so that you and I could have forgiveness of our sins, and that by believing, we might have the greatest gift of all: eternal life.

Your best Christmas present is not wrapped up and placed under the tree; it is the One whose birthday we celebrate. "Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!" (2 Corinthians 9:15)

For all who celebrate it... Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year !!!

Akilah ~
 
March 01, 2006

God's Purpose in the Storm

Romans 8:28-29

Believers have a choice about how they will respond to life's tempests. Either they can cast blame while becoming resentful and bitter, or they can turn to the Lord and ask, "What is Your purpose?"

Since recognizing God's purpose and plan is the way that faith grows, Christians have the right to ask "why?" Like a child learning new concepts, we see that when x happens, God does y, just as He promised. For instance, in the Old Testament, King David made destructively wrong choices for which God allowed cleansing storms into his life. The leader of the nation had wandered off the right path, but painful experiences drove him back to the center of the Lord's will. We might consider the divine method cruel, but David would disagree. He wrote, "Before I was afflicted, I went astray, but now I keep Your word. . . . It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes" (Psalm 119:67, 71).

Returning believers to right fellowship is only one of God's purposes for a life storm. Some difficulties are meant to blow away all distractions so we can focus our attention on the Lord. Other tempests break our worldly mold so that we can be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. Our personal pleasure is not the top priority. God's primary concern is to shape a wise and obedient servant who loves Him.

When a storm rages into our life, the Lord is already planning how to turn destruction into good. Seek His objective, and work with Him to achieve it. The promise of Romans 8:28 is that we will reap gain from our losses.
 
Learning in Troubled Waters

Psalm 34:1-19

God promises that when we face challenging times, He will keep His divine eye upon us. He wants to teach and guide us through the difficulty, but we must position ourselves to respond to His signals. That is, we need to:

1. Have a real longing to follow God's way and His way only. The Scriptures compare this kind of yearning to "a deer panting for water"(Psalm 42:1),which should describe us each time we choose to wait for God's direction rather than act on our own.

2. Be willing to be taught by God. He will transform trials into times of learning for those who look to Him for guidance. Such was the case with Hannah as she pleaded for a child (1 Samuel 1:1-2:10). It was also true for Mary and Martha when their brother Lazurus died. (John 11:17-27) We need willing spirits if we are to learn what God wants to teach us in the "classroom" of His choice. Most of us would design a comfortable, pleasurable setting in which to gain understanding. But God knows the best way to instill wisdom and may choose pain and trouble as the place of instruction.

3. Yield to His will. Before we know God's solution, He asks us to commit ourselves to His way. The Lord calls us to walk by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7) and to acknowledge our helplessness without Him. (John 15:5) To declare His way is always best.

Troubles are an unwelcome fact of life, but they can have value. Often what we wanted to avoid turns out to be the very thing we needed. God asks that we have a tender heart, a teachable spirit, and a yielded will. Does this describe you?


www.charlesstanleyinstitute.com
 

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