The Precipice of our Lives

Imagine for a moment…

 

We’re standing on the precipice of our lives and looking out over the landscape of our past and present pain.  Over to the left is our hidden shame (we can still feel its presence) and peeking out to our right is our fear.  Right in the middle is our pain – bold and confident in our defeat.  Sprinkling the entire terrain are our tears (our regrets for what might have been yet failed to become).  Dark clouds that make up our doubts cover everything and block out all light, all hope.  And everywhere we look, darkness threatening to consume us and yet there is so much to see. The story of our lives is played out below us over and over and we wish we could just change the scene that is before us.  How did we get to this point? If there were only some source to light to dispel the shadows and the darkness but there is none.

 

But there is a rumbling in the heavens as if the very clouds are being shaken and dissolved.  And there it is in the distance – a single solitary shaft of light pierces the clouds and the causes the darkness to flee.  And as that beam of light increases in size and intensity, the darkness is consumed and the clouds make way for the light.  And then the miraculous happens – the shame, the pain, the fears and the tears – all gone!  By a single touch of the Master’s hand.

All we need is a touch from God.  No matter where we are in life or what we’re going through or what we have gone through, the frustration we feel or the desperation we live out, all we need is a touch from Him.  No matter whether you’ve stumbled and fallen, whether you’ve fallen short of your potential, no matter how great your sin has been that you think God could never forgive you, ALL YOU NEED is a touch from Him. Like that single ray of light from Heaven that can brighten our lives and turn our lives around, all from a touch of the Master’s hand.  Reach out to Him and He will reach out to you.  All you’ll ever need is Him.  Have faith!

 

There was someone in the Bible that just needed a touch from the Master.  You can read their story here:

 

As Jesus was on his way, the crowds almost crushed him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, but no one could heal her.  She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped. “Who touched me?” Jesus asked. When they all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you.” But Jesus said, “Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me.” Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed. Then he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.” Luke 8:43-49 (NIV)

       

Be blessed and be a blessing!

Ernest M.

 

 

There is a song that sums up this devotional. It is: “All I Need” – Brian Courtney Wilson

(link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I_SKO_pCn1A)

Better Biscuits – A Story of a Child’s Faith

Mark 11:24 Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.

 

Greeting and blessings to you one and all! I am often convinced that in this day and age we have forgotten about the power of prayer. Sure we have more people talking about prayer; we even have more books written on prayer. And we as believers should be doing more as prayer warriors but prayers seem to barely squeak out as a last ditch effort.

Prayer is no longer the first thing we think of to do. Prayer is relegated to being one of those niceties that ‘Christians’ extend to others as a common courtesy; “Your child is sick . . . I’ll pray for them.” Or “I’ll put them on my prayer list.”

James 5:16 [KJV] states, “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” Put another way, this could be stated, “The effective [producing or capable of producing a result], fervent [with great intensity of feeling] prayer of a righteous man avails much.”. Translation: If your prayer is generated with great intensity of feeling or great belief, it is capable of accomplishing the desired result if you are in right standing (righteous and without doubt) with God.

My story today is about the simple prayer of a child, uttered without fear or doubt. I hope you enjoy it.

Back in the depression days of the early 1930’s, my husband pastored a small country church. We then had three little children. Many times our weekly income was less than $10. One day, we found ourselves out of bread and with only some rancid bacon grease for shortening. I used it, however, in making some hot biscuits and we managed to eat some of them for lunch.

Later, as we put the remaining biscuits on the supper table, our five-year-old daughter prayed very earnestly, “Dear Jesus, help us to eat these biscuits or else send us some better ones. Amen!”

Later, that evening, the doorbell rang. There, at the door, stood a member of our church who had a bakery route. Before we could tell him our story he began unloading his hugh bakery basket with all kinds of sweet rolls, buns and biscuits, besides dark and white bread.

“You know”, he said rather apologetically, “I was tired tonight and seven miles out here in the pouring rain seemed so far. I was tempted to wait until tomorrow evening and bring these bakery things on my way to prayer meeting as I usually do.” Then he added, “But I was strongly constrained to come tonight! I hope you can use these things!” – Anne S. Alexander in Power Magazine

The effective, fervent prayer of the righteous avails much. Be blessed this day and know that you are a blessing to God.

Ernest

Legalism Or Obedience

Lessons Learned: Legalism Or Obedience

2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV)

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

Greeting and blessings to you all! Yes, I am behind in sending these out and I ask your pardon. Recently, I have been wrestling with a particular concern and only at the point that I have received some resolution have I been led to share it here.

Recently, I had dinner with a close spiritual sister in Christ at IHOP and while my fare was actually ‘breakfast’, after the joking and light conversation, I got down to the concern at hand. You see, I had been subtly, and through implication, accused of legalism. Now I received some very godly advice which I will share shortly.

The dictionary defines legalism as “strict, literal adherence to the law or to a particular code, as of religion.” Often this is the definition that many in the secular and Christian world have in mind when they think of legalism. However, a slightly different understanding of the word defines legalism as “any attempt to rely on self-effort to either attain or maintain our justification before God.” Amazing how different the two definitions are. The world would have us believe that any time there is a strict adherence to God’s law, there is legalism. [Also, justification is the declaration of a person to be just or righteous.]

The basis for that belief often rests with this portion of scripture, “for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life” (2 Corinthians 3:6b) yet without the verses that precede this section of scripture, we can easily lose context (4-6: “And we have such trust through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”). Obviously God is not teaching us that obeying His laws kills us, nor is He saying that we can be obedient to the letter of the law (which would be blasphemy). God is telling us that “Salvation by trying to keep the law” is futile, and will only bring the judgment of death for failing to keep it faithfully.

We are insufficient, in and of ourselves, to gain or maintain justification before God. In other words, if we depend upon keeping the law (our own righteousness), our failure will condemn us to death, but a dependence upon Christ (and thus His Righteousness), will bring everlasting life. There is no possibility of man standing ‘justified’ before God because no man can keep the “whole” law perfectly, and that is what would be required for anyone to be justified by it. Consider James 2:10, “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” (Wow!)

So the next question that may be asked is if self-effort is insufficient, is obedience to God important? Isn’t strict obedience wrong? Consider what is given to us in 1 John 2:3-5: “And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a Liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: Hereby know we that we are in him.”

Obedience to God’s Word is not legalism but more of an exhortation to obey and follow God. A recent article speaks to the disturbing trend of defining obedience as legalism for the sake of modernism:

The sad reality of modernism is that more and more Churches are using the word “legalism” pejoratively (as criticism) so that keeping God’s commandments is almost seen as a bad thing. That is to say, they are misusing the word so that it might come up in a conversation condemning anything from preaching against homosexuality to preaching against women Pastors. In fact it has become increasingly popular among Ministers and Parishioners alike to accuse Christians of being legalistic whenever they bear witness to anything that the Lord has forbidden.

Typically they will abrogate or make void any testimony against immorality, impropriety, or illegality, by labeling them examples of legalism. Likewise, those who faithfully witness that we should remain obedient, are called Pharisaic. And both these terms are usually used by those who don’t really understand what either of them really mean. Many of these have fallen so far from the faith of our fathers that they no longer recognize the difference between legalism, and the righteous exhorting the Church to adhere to God’s laws.

Scripture also reminds us, Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end. [Hebrews 3:12-14 (NKJV)]

Now is a good time to ask yourself if you have been “hardened through the deceitfulness of sin” for the sake of modernism. Now as for the advice given me by my sister in Christ, I was reminded that anytime we are inclined to believe that God’s word is outdated, has not kept up with the times or is in need of a more current revision, refer to Psalm 119:89 (NIV): Your word, O LORD, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens.

A more direct translation of the same verse is seen here in The Message Bible: What you say goes, God, and stays, as permanent as the heavens. Your truth never goes out of fashion; it’s as up-to-date as the earth when the sun comes up. Your Word and truth are dependable as ever.

So I offer to each person that reads this message to exhort obedience to God’s Word, not only to yourselves but to others as well. Do not let the deceitfulness of sin cloud your minds and harden your hearts. God’s Word is simple and pure yet we can make it confusing when we operate by feelings or anything that is contrary to the Word of God.

Yes, legalism is wrong but obedience to God’s Word is never wrong. Our own efforts do not make us righteous, only the righteousness of Christ Jesus has made us worthy of salvation. Remember that the friendship of the world (or modernism, in order to blend in) is enmity with God. There will be some that feel that pursuing obedience to God’s Word is legalism but I hope that some confusion has been removed here. Not all will embrace these words. Some may experience persecution for their obedience but know this, “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” (2 Timothy 3:12). If the world despises you because of your obedience, take comfort; Jesus said, “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.” (John 15:18)

I pray God’s favor upon each person that receives this message. And as always, be blessed and be a blessing.

Ernest

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