Because God Said So!

Worship:

Elevation – Come to the Altar

 

Because God said so – Spurgeon

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, **because God has said,**
“Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you.” – Hebrews 13:5

**_because God has said,_**

If we can only grasp these words by faith, we have an all-conquering weapon in our hand. What doubt will not be slain by this two-edged sword? What fear is there which shall not fall smitten with a deadly wound before this arrow from the bow of God’s covenant?

Will not the distresses of life and the pangs of death; will not the corruptions within, and the snares without; will not the trials from above, and the temptations from beneath, all seem but light afflictions, when we can hide ourselves beneath the bulwark of “**because God has said,**”?

Yes; whether for delight in our quietude, or for strength in our conflict, “**because God has said,**” must be our daily resort. And this may teach us the extreme value of searching the Scriptures.

There may be a promise in the Word which would exactly fit your case, but you may not know of it, and therefore you miss its comfort. You are like prisoners in a dungeon, and there may be one key in the bunch which would unlock the door, and you might be free; but if you will not look for it, you may remain a prisoner still, though liberty is so near at hand. There may be a potent medicine in the great pharmacy of Scripture, and you may yet continue sick unless you will examine and search the Scriptures to discover what “God has said.”

Should you not, besides reading the Bible, store your memories richly with the promises of God? You can recollect the sayings of great men; you treasure up the verses of renowned poets; ought you not to be profound in your knowledge of the words of God, so that you may be able to quote them readily when you would solve a difficulty, or overthrow a doubt?

Since “God has said” is the source of all wisdom, and the fountain of all comfort, let it dwell in you richly, as “A well of water, springing up unto everlasting life.”

So shall you grow healthy, strong, and happy in the divine life.

Christ-Centered Time Management

by Leslie Ludy

God has entrusted us with the precious gift of time. Twenty four hours in every day; seven days in a every week; each day significant, each hour important, and each moment of value to God. How many of those moments are being spent on things that truly matter in light of eternity? Only when we are willing to give God the best hours of our day—rather than whatever is left after we have wasted most of our time on earthly things—will we truly experience vibrant intimacy with our Heavenly King.

Many of us look at our daily schedules and can’t see any available time for seeking God or sharing the Gospel with others. Yet often, our lives are filled with worldly distractions and time-wasters that take up far more of our free time than we realize. Social media, Internet surfing, phone chats, movies, and television are a few of the most common culprits. It’s not that these mediums are necessarily always wrong in themselves, but if not put in their proper place, they can quickly dominate our time and pull us away from building our lives around God’s priorities. When we aren’t guarded in these areas, we often waste the majority of our time on temporal things, without even realizing we are doing so.

Financial consultants often recommend that their clients keep a record of exactly what they are spending their money on. Often, as the client really evaluates his spending habits, he is surprised to learn that he’s spending far more in various categories than he would have guessed. The same principle applies to the way we spend our time. If asked to guess how much time you spend each day on social media, you might say, “Oh, probably a half-hour or so.” But if you were to set a timer each time you are on Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter, you might be surprised to learn that you are actually spending far more time in those areas than you had assumed you were.

Or how about texting and phone calls? I’ve never been much of a texter. But about a year ago, a friend of mine started texting me daily with various updates, comments, and ideas. I felt obligated to text her back whenever I had a pause in my work or family activities. After a few weeks, I began to realize that texting with my friend (often about trivial matters) was taking up at least an hour of my day, and I knew it was not the best way for me to be spending that time. It was amazing how much of my time freed up once I put an end to this unprofitable habit.

If you find yourself frequently wondering where all your time has gone, consider keeping a diary of your daily activities – especially the things you spend your free time on. For a week or two, write down exactly how much time you spend on the phone, emailing, texting, on Facebook, on Pinterest, posting on Instagram, watching movies, channel surfing, reading magazines, etc. Don’t just guess at how much time you are spending on these things. Set a timer or monitor the clock as you do them, and write down the exact number of minutes or hours being spent on each activity. Then, prayerfully evaluate whether there are time-wasters that need to be cut out or reduced from your daily life.

As you go about your daily life, prayerfully examine the motives behind why you spend time doing the things that you do.  When evaluating any daily activity, ask yourself these questions: Am I doing this for selfish reasons, or Christ-honoring ones? Is this activity purely frivolous, or does it serve a higher purpose?

Here are some ways you can tell whether something truly has eternal value or not:

  • It causes you to draw closer to Jesus Christ and/or learn more about Him.
  • It builds meaningful relationships with people God has put in your life.
  • It helps you bless others and assists you in sharing the love of Christ with them.
  • It helps you become better equipped for the things God has called you to.
  • It leaves you peacefully refreshed instead of agitated and distracted.
  • It bears “good fruit” instead of “bad fruit” in your life (see Gal 5:19-26).

One of the best ways to evaluate whether your daily life choices are serving God’s purposes for your life is to write down the specific things that you know God has called you to, and compare your daily actives against those things. During this season of my life, I know that God has called me to cultivate my relationship with Him, serve my husband and children, be a keeper of my home, and encourage women in Biblical femininity. When I’m evaluating my daily activities, it’s helpful to look at each of my pastimes in light of whether they are assisting me in those priorities or not. Reading a book on how to bless and serve my husband? Yes! Spending an hour chit-chatting on the phone while my kids run wildly around the house? No! Emailing a friend who is in need of encouragement? Yes! Texting about trivial things throughout the day? No!

The Bible says that even the small areas of our lives, like eating and drinking, should be done for His glory and not our own selfish pleasure (1 Cor 10:31). When you allow your daily activities to serve God’s purposes for your life rather than to satisfy your own whims and desires, you will begin to gain an eternal focus in everything you do.

See that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

Ephesians 5:16

God’s Purpose or Mine?

He made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side… —Mark 6:45

We tend to think that if Jesus Christ compels us to do something and we are obedient to Him, He will lead us to great success. We should never have the thought that our dreams of success are God’s purpose for us. In fact, His purpose may be exactly the opposite. We have the idea that God is leading us toward a particular end or a desired goal, but He is not. The question of whether or not we arrive at a particular goal is of little importance, and reaching it becomes merely an episode along the way. What we see as only the process of reaching a particular end, God sees as the goal itself.

What is my vision of God’s purpose for me? Whatever it may be, His purpose is for me to depend on Him and on His power now. If I can stay calm, faithful, and unconfused while in the middle of the turmoil of life, the goal of the purpose of God is being accomplished in me. God is not working toward a particular finish— His purpose is the process itself. What He desires for me is that I see “Him walking on the sea” with no shore, no success, nor goal in sight, but simply having the absolute certainty that everything is all right because I see “Him walking on the sea” (Mark 6:49). It is the process, not the outcome, that is glorifying to God.

God’s training is for now, not later. His purpose is for this very minute, not for sometime in the future. We have nothing to do with what will follow our obedience, and we are wrong to concern ourselves with it. What people call preparation, God sees as the goal itself.

God’s purpose is to enable me to see that He can walk on the storms of my life right now. If we have a further goal in mind, we are not paying enough attention to the present time. However, if we realize that moment-by-moment obedience is the goal, then each moment as it comes is precious.

WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS

A fanatic is one who entrenches himself in invincible ignorance. Baffled to Fight Better, 59 R

 

Use your time wisely

By Billy Graham

For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.

—James 4:14

Nothing takes God by surprise. Everything is moving according to a plan, and God wants you in that plan. The devil also has a plan for the world. God has a plan and the devil has a plan, and you will have to decide which plan you are going to fit into. Scripture says that God allows us 70 years and some beyond. The first 15 are spent in childhood and early adolescence. Twenty years are spent in bed, and in the last five, physical limitations start to curtail our activities. That gives us about 30 years in which to live as adults. We take time out for eating, and for figuring our taxes, and we are down to perhaps 15 years. Now suppose we spend seven of those years watching television. That cuts us down to seven or eight years. Our time is short! The time we can invest for God, in creative things, in reaching our fellowmen for Christ, is short!

Prayer for the day

Each hour of every day that is left of this earthly life, I would spend serving You, Lord Jesus. Forgive the time spent so often in needless endeavor.

A Daily Time With The Lord

The story of Mary and Martha gives a perfect example of the dilemma many of us face. It seems like we are stuck with a choice between knowing God and serving God. Life is simply busy. With work, school, relationships, and ministry involvement, finding time to simply spend with God can be quite difficult.

Yet, nothing is more important to our day to day lives than spending time with God. Just as most of us would not choose a lifestyle that neglected eating and bathing, we should prioritize our time with God as such an integral part of our daily routine, that it becomes a deeply embedded discipline.

A commitment to having regular personal devotions (also known as a “quiet time”) is essential to sustaining a dynamic, personal walk with God.

Whether you are a newer Christian who is just starting to learn how to pray and study the Bible, or an older Christian who has read the Bible cover to cover, your relationship with God simply requires a certain amount of time alone with Him. Just as you would expect that any relationship between two humans requires time and commitment to deepen, so our relationship with God needs time and commitment if it is to grow.

The writers of the New Testament spoke often of their relationship to the Lord. Peter encouraged us to “… grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). Paul prayed for the believers in Ephesus, “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better” (Ephesians 1:17).

Even Jesus took regular time to be alone with God. Mark 1:35 tells us that Jesus went off by Himself, early in the morning (when there were fewer distractions) to spend time in prayer with His heavenly Father. Luke 22:39 suggests that a place called the “Mount of Olives” was a favorite quiet time spot for Jesus. Luke 6:12 even records that Jesus spent an entire night in prayer before choosing the twelve apostles. If Jesus, God in the flesh, found it necessary to spend uninterrupted time with His Father, how much more should we?

Three important ingredients for a valuable, daily devotional life are:

Choosing a definite time
Choosing a definite place
Having a guiding goal and plan

It may be best to follow Jesus’ example and take time with God early in the morning, before the distractions of the day have started to pull us in a dozen different directions. For those of us who just aren’t “morning people,” another time of the day can work, as long as we ensure that we block out the time to spend with God, and refuse to let anything else intrude on it.

Just as choosing a specific time to spend with God is important, finding a specific place to be with God is also important. Where you have your quiet time is not important in the sense that it needn’t be a particularly “religious” location.

Wherever we spend time with God, it should be a place of minimal distraction, where we will be able to spend uninterrupted time with Him. Regardless of where your “date” with God is planned, it’s important that you prepare yourself to arrive at your pre-planned time and place with a God-centered mindset.

The guiding goal and plan while having our devotional time with God should include at least two vital disciplines: allowing God to speak to us through His Word, and speaking to God through prayer. While there are other worthwhile ways to spend time with God, we must never let prayer and Bible study become neglected.

These are two primary avenues to develop our relationship with God. We should seek to know and experience God by meditating on the Bible and focusing on His attributes. Attributes such as: His love for us, His grace in saving and forgiving us, His power displayed through creation, His majesty and greatness—each are worthy of our attention.

When we read a passage of Scripture that speaks to us, we need to highlight it or write it down. For example, if we come upon a passage about loving one another, and then become aware of a relationship where we have not displayed love, we can assume that the Holy Spirit is drawing attention to our need to deal with that area. God communicates to us through His Word. This communication deepens as we respond to and apply what He is teaching us.

Just as in any other relationship, there needs to be the give and take of two-way communication. As God speaks to us through His Word, we need to speak to Him through our prayers. In prayer, we can be completely open and honest with Him. We can share our failures, confess our sins, discuss the things that trouble us, praise Him for who He is and thank Him for what He’s done. As we continually seek God in prayer, we will find Him more clearly directing us concerning what we ought to do or avoid.

The acrostic ACTS can be a helpful guideline for our prayers:

(A) Adoration – Praise God for who He is.
(C) Confession – Acknowledge your sins to Him.
(T) Thanksgiving – Express your appreciation for all that the Lord has done and promises to do.
(S) Supplication – Present your requests and concerns to Him.

While we need to continually keep prayer and Bible study as two important parts of our quiet time, creativity and variety also play an important role. It may sound unbelievable, but some Christians actually find ways to make intimate time with the God of the universe seem dull and uninteresting.

Just as finding a variety of activities to enjoy together is important in human relationships (imagine how dull a dating relationship would get if the only “date” they ever went on was dinner and a movie), finding a variety of ways to spend time with God is important.

Some other activities we can share with God during our quiet time include:

Listening to a teaching tape
Singing praise choruses
Praying through Scripture
Memorizing a passage
Outlining a book of the Bible
Keeping a journal of your prayers
Doing a theme or word study
Listing ways God has blessed your life
Taking a prayer walk
Writing a letter to God
Being silent and listening to God
Painting while focusing on God
Reading a Christian book
Praying about current events as you read a newspaper
Meditating on God as you listen to inspirational music
Writing poetry to God
The possibilities are endless. Where should you start? You should begin with an honest evaluation of what your devotional times with God look like now.

How often do you have them? How long do they usually last? Are you actually planning your time with God or just trying to slip it in between “important activities”? Are your times with God meaningful, or are you distracted, or stuck in a rut? Are there activities you should cut back on to make more time to spend with God?

Start fresh today, by spending 15 minutes asking God what needs to change in your schedule, in your heart, and in your life, to get this vital area of your relationship with Him on the right track.

Impossibilities

“Jesus replied, ‘What is impossible with men is possible with God.’” (Luke 18:27NIV)

… There is many a man who has learned the lesson, it is impossible with men, and then he gives up in helpless despair.  He lives a wretched Christian life, without joy or strength or victory.  And why?  Because he does not humble himself to learn that other lesson:  With God all things are possible.

Your Christian life is to be a continuous proof that God works impossibilities.  Your Christian life is to be a series of impossibilities made possible and actual by God’s almighty power.  That is what the Christian needs.  He has an almighty God that he worships, and he must learn to understand that he does not need a little of God’s power.  But, he needs—with reverence be it said—the whole of God’s omnipotence to keep him right, and to live like a Christian.

The whole of Christianity is a work of God’s omnipotence.  Look at the birth of Christ Jesus.  That was a miracle of divine power, and it was said to Mary:  “With God nothing shall be impossible” (Luke 1:37).  It was the omnipotence of God.  Look at Christ’s resurrection.  We are taught that it was according to the exceeding greatness of His mighty power that God raised Christ from the dead.

Every tree must grow on the root from which it springs.  An oak tree three hundred years old grows all the time on the one root from which it had its beginning.  Christianity had its beginning in the omnipotence of God.  In every soul, Christianity must have its continuance in that omnipotence.  All the possibilities of the higher Christian life have their origin in a new understanding of Christ’s power to work all God’s will in us.

I want to call on you now to come and worship an almighty God.  Have you learned to do it?  Have you learned to deal so closely with an almighty God that you know omnipotence is working in you?  In outward appearance there is often little sign of it.  The apostle Paul said:  “I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, and… my preaching was… in demonstration of the Spirit and of power” (1 Corinthians 2:3,4).  From the human side there was feebleness; from the divine side there was divine omnipotence.  And that is true of every godly life.  If we would only learn that lesson better, and give a wholehearted, undivided surrender to it, we would learn what blessedness there is in dwelling every hour and every moment with an almighty God.

-Andrew Murray (excerpted from Absolute Surrender)

The Discipline of Difficulty

In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. — John 16:33

An average view of the Christian life is that it means deliverance from trouble. It is deliverance in trouble, which is very different. “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High…there shall no evil befall thee” — no plague can come nigh the place where you are at one with God.

If you are a child of God, there certainly will be troubles to meet, but Jesus says do not be surprised when they come. “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world,” there is nothing for you to fear. Men who before they were saved would scorn to talk about troubles, often become “fushionless” after being born again because they have a wrong idea of a saint.

God does not give us overcoming life: He gives us life as we overcome. The strain is the strength. If there is no strain, there is no strength. Are you asking God to give you life and liberty and joy? He cannot, unless you will accept the strain. Immediately you face the strain, you will get the strength. Overcome your own timidity and take the step, and God will give you to eat of the tree of life and you will get nourishment. If you spend yourself out physically, you become exhausted; but spend yourself spiritually, and you get more strength. God never gives strength for to-morrow, or for the next hour, but only for the strain of the minute. The temptation is to face difficulties from a common-sense standpoint. The saint is hilarious when he is crushed with difficulties because the thing is so ludicrously impossible to anyone but God.

Oswald Chambers

Shine On Us–Vineyard Worship

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BcdVx4fP9uY

Beware of the Least Likely Temptation

Be Aware of the Least Likely Temptation

by Oswald Chambers

Joab withstood the greatest test of his life, remaining absolutely loyal to David by not turning to follow after the fascinating and ambitious Absalom. Yet toward the end of his life he turned to follow after the weak and cowardly Adonijah. Always remain alert to the fact that where one person has turned back is exactly where anyone may be tempted to turn back (see 1 Corinthians 10:11-13). You may have just victoriously gone through a great crisis, but now be alert about the things that may appear to be the least likely to tempt you. Beware of thinking that the areas of your life where you have experienced victory in the past are now the least likely to cause you to stumble and fall.

We are apt to say, “It is not at all likely that having been through the greatest crisis of my life I would now turn back to the things of the world.” Do not try to predict where the temptation will come; it is the least likely thing that is the real danger. It is in the aftermath of a great spiritual event that the least likely things begin to have an effect. They may not be forceful and dominant, but they are there. And if you are not careful to be forewarned, they will trip you. You have remained true to God under great and intense trials— now beware of the undercurrent. Do not be abnormally examining your inner self, looking forward with dread, but stay alert; keep your memory sharp before God. Unguarded strength is actually a double weakness because that is where the least likely temptations will be effective in sapping strength. The Bible characters stumbled over their strong points, never their weak ones.

“…kept by the power of God…”— that is the only safety. (1 Peter 1:5).

Good To Me – YouTube–Audrey Assad

Temptation

You Won’t Let Go – Cory Asbury

When the devil had finished tempting Jesus, he left him until the next opportunity came. (Luke 4:13 NLT)
“When the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from Him.” When the Lord had foiled him at every point – had met every temptation with a text of Holy Scripture and had proved His own determination to hold fast His integrity and not let it go – it was not till then that the enemy departed.
O brothers and sisters, if you can hold out, if you can stand against this and then against that; if you are protected against frowns and protected against flatteries; if you are protected against prosperity and against adversity; if you are protected against sly insinuations and open attacks – when you have won the day, as by God’s grace you will do, even as your Master did, then the enemy will depart from you!
He leaves God’s people very quickly when he sees that they are sustained by superior grace. He hopes to catch them when grace is at a low ebb. If he can come upon them when faith is very weak, when hope’s eyes are dim, when love has grown cold – then he thinks that he will make an easy capture.
But when we are filled with the Spirit as the Master was, (God grant that we may be), he looks us up and down and he presently leaves. Like an old pirate who hangs about on the lookout for merchant vessels, but if he meets with ships that have plenty of guns on board and hardy hands to give him a warm reception, he goes after some other craft not quite so well able to resist his assaults.
O brothers and sisters, be not merely Christians, only barely Christians, with just enough grace to let you see your imperfections, but pray to God to give you mighty grace, that you may “be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might” (Eph. 6:10), so that, after the devil has tested you and found that the Lord is with you, that God dwells in you, then you may expect that, as it was with your Master, so it will be with you – Satan will leave you. (Spurgeon)

 

Spiritual Honor and Duty

I am a debtor both to Greeks and to barbarians… —Romans 1:14

Paul was overwhelmed with the sense of his indebtedness to Jesus Christ, and he spent his life to express it. The greatest inspiration in Paul’s life was his view of Jesus Christ as his spiritual creditor. Do I feel that same sense of indebtedness to Christ regarding every unsaved soul? As a saint, my life’s spiritual honor and duty is to fulfill my debt to Christ in relation to these lost souls. Every tiny bit of my life that has value I owe to the redemption of Jesus Christ. Am I doing anything to enable Him to bring His redemption into evident reality in the lives of others? I will only be able to do this as the Spirit of God works into me this sense of indebtedness.

I am not a superior person among other people— I am a bondservant of the Lord Jesus. Paul said, “…you are not your own…you were bought at a price…” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Paul sold himself to Jesus Christ and he said, in effect, “I am a debtor to everyone on the face of the earth because of the gospel of Jesus; I am free only that I may be an absolute bondservant of His.” That is the characteristic of a Christian’s life once this level of spiritual honor and duty becomes real. Quit praying about yourself and spend your life for the sake of others as the bondservant of Jesus. That is the true meaning of being broken bread and poured-out wine in real life. (Oswald Chambers)