So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. ~ 1 Corinthians 10:12-13
Fight the good fight with all your might.
Christ is your strength and Christ your right.
Lay hold on life, and it will be
Your joy and crown eternally.
Run the straight race through God’s good grace;
Lift up your eyes, and seek Christ’s face.
Life with its way before us lies;
Christ is the path, and Christ the prize.
…………………………….by John S. B. Monsell (1863)
Prayer: Heavenly Father, strengthen my faith in trials and forgive me for the times I fall into sin. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen
…who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord. ~ Romans1:4
Come, let us join our cheerful songs
With angels round the throne.
Ten thousand thousand are their tongues,
But all their joys are one.
+ Lenten & Easter Services at Living Hope (click link)
When you read the Bible a lot, certain patterns emerge. One that has come to surprise me is the strategy that God keeps going back to over and over, especially when a major crisis looms. That strategy is to send one guy. In the 9th century b.c., at a time of terrible spiritual weakness and even worse spiritual leadership, God’s Plan A was to send Elijah to rebuke an evil king (sounds like a death sentence) and to encourage the few faithful believers.
Elijah was sent to oppose the spiritual ruination being brought about by Ahab and his miserably idolatrous wife Jezebel. They developed a reputation for simply having their opponents killed.
Elijah was God’s agent in bringing about a punitive (intended as punishment) drought and famine, but also in bringing about the merciful rainfall that ended them. “Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain” (James 5:17,18).
When you are in tune with God’s agenda, your prayers have the power of dynamite. Don’t ever say, “I’m just one.” From God’s point of view, one is plenty. ………. TimeOfGrace.org
Click here to read about Elijah in the Bible >>
For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.
Live as children of light
(for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth)
and find out what pleases the Lord.
Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.
It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret.
But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—
and everything that is illuminated becomes a light.
This is why it is said:
“Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”
~ Ephesians 5:8-14
What is it about snakes that give people the creeps? Is it their feel? Their silent way of oozing and slithering around? The terror of their venom?
The serpent was Satan’s chosen vehicle for his deadly assault on the human race. Once a pure and glorious angel, now a fallen, hate-filled wretched spirit, he struck back at God by attacking God’s children. But that attack was a sneak attack. Satan did his damage by planting doubt, lies, fear, and ego in the hearts of God’s two children.
You know Satan’s voice because you have felt thoughts and impulses like the one that seduced Eve: “‘You will not surely die,’ the serpent said to the woman” (Genesis 3:4). He lied. Human rebellion against the holy God brought the triple curse: human pain, certain death, and eternity in hell.
Don’t baby yourself. Go through your life with eyes wide open. You have a fearsome enemy who is coming at you like a snake, quiet, hate-filled, patient, deadly, serious. But know this also: your Savior has crushed his head.
…I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. - Philippians 3:12b-14
“Citius, altius, fortius” is a Latin phrase meaning, “swifter, higher, stronger.” It is the motto of the Olympic games and does well to embody what our calling in Christ pursues.
Christ has already taken care of saving us for a Christian life and setting us apart for an eternal life in heaven. He’s placed us on the path of righteousness, but still lets us run. Swifter we flee from temptation. Higher we stretch ourselves to practice Christ-like love. Stronger we stand in the midst of suffering in this world. A shining example of this kind of fortitude was revealed in the 1968 Olympic games in Mexico.
A Tanzanian marathon runner named Akhwari was the last man to finish the marathon race. He arrived in the stadium staggering and limping, and finished his race long after the winner did. This, of course, prompted all kinds of post-race questions as to why he continued when he had no chance of winning.
He simply replied, “My country did not send me to Mexico City to start the race. They sent me to finish the race.”
A Christian who knew why God saved him and set him apart, the apostle Paul also spoke in similar terms, “I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me . . . I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:12,14).
Through the sacrifice of his Son, God set the prize of heaven before us. Now in our life of faith in Jesus we press on to take full possession of that for which God has taken hold of us.
Run, Christian, run. Finish the race.
Lord Jesus, help me finish the race. Guide my feet to follow the way that you speak in your Word. Extend my arms to reach others in love. Wipe my tears of sorrow so that I can better see the path. Lead me on, Lord. Lead me on. Amen.
2014 WELS International Youth Rally
University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Theme: No Fear
Focus: Psalm 27
Registration runs February 18-May 15