By Randy Kilgore
I’ve always been impressed by the solemn, magnificent simplicity of the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery. The carefully choreographed event is a moving tribute to soldiers whose names—and sacrifice—are “known but to God.” Equally moving are the private moments of steady pacing when the crowds are gone: back and forth, hour after hour, day by day, in even the worst weather.
In September 2003, Hurricane Isabel was bearing down on Washington, DC, and the guards were told they could seek shelter during the worst of the storm. Surprising almost no one, the guards refused! They unselfishly stood their post to honor their fallen comrades even in the face of a hurricane.
Underlying Jesus’s teaching in Matthew 6:1–6, I believe, is His desire for us to live with an unrelenting, selfless devotion to Him. The Bible calls us to good deeds and holy living, but these are to be acts of worship and obedience (vv. 4–6), not orchestrated acts for self-glorification (v. 2). The apostle Paul endorses this whole-life faithfulness when he pleads with us to make our bodies “a living sacrifice” (Rom. 12:1).
May our private and public moments speak of our devotion and wholehearted commitment to You, Lord.
Grant me the strength this day, O Lord, to persevere, to return honor to Your name where I am serving. My desire is to give myself in selfless devotion because of Your love for me.
The more we serve Christ, the less we will serve self.
2 Sam. 19:24-30 Intro: In these verses, we witness the reunion of David and a man who loved the king more than his own life. In these few Old Testament verses, there is a valuable lesson for the children of God. You see, by the testimony of this man named Mephibosheth, we are given a clear cut example of how we, God’s redeemed children, are to love the Lord Jesus Christ.
Mephibosheth demonstrates his devotion to King David in various ways in verses 24-30
A. The Cause Of His Devotion – The reason Mephibosheth was so devoted to David can be seen in what David had done for him, 2 Sam. 9:1-13; 2 Sam. 19:28) As the son of Jonathon, Mephibosheth was in line to ascend to the throne of Saul. In reality, he was a rival to David for the office of King. Yet, David, instead of acting with justice and executing Mephibosheth, as he had other members of Saul’s family, extended grace to this little, crippled man. David had every right to kill Mephibosheth, but because of his great love for Jonathon, he spared Mephibosheth’s life, 2 Sam. 9:3; 1 Sam. 20:15. When the child of God stops and ponders what God has done for him through Jesus, it is plain to see that we have more than abundant reason to love Him with every fiber of our beings. John reminds us that our love for Jesus is rooted in the fact that Jesus first loved us. Think of what you were and how you have sinned against the Lord. If you and I got what we deserved this morning, we would all be in Hell right now. If we received justice, we would have been forever separated from the presence of God. However, through Jesus, we have received grace.
B. The Course Of His Devotion – Mephibosheth’s great love for David translated into a life of service and devotion. Because he loved the king, it showed in his life. Mephibosheth lived a life of total devotion and absolute faithfulness toward the king. When a child of God genuinely loves the Lord with his entire being, it will show in his life. In other words, you won’t have to run around saying, “I love the Lord!” It won’t need to be said, because it will be clearly seen in everything you do. It will be seen in your prayer life, your attention to Scripture, your attendance upon the worship of the Lord, your witnessing life, your manner of life. All I am saying is that when we are in love with Jesus, whole hearted, it cannot be hidden. It will tell on you! What does your life say about your love for the Lord?
Dr Charles Stanley
Esther 2:1-8, 17
The story of Esther is filled with romance, adventure, and danger. Her ordinary Jewish life suddenly became remarkable when she found herself crowned Queen of Persia. We clearly see the Lord’s sovereign hand at work as He called her to fulfill a very important role in His plan for the Jews. But can you imagine how upset, confused, and uncertain Esther must have felt as the details were unfolding?
We may feel the same perplexity as we live each day without knowing the future. Sometimes it is easier to see God’s calling in someone else’s life than in our own. His plans and purposes are working out in perfect progression, but from an earthly perspective, the developments may seem chaotic and bewildering.
Esther’s story is an encouragement to trust in God’s will and purpose for our life. Every believer in Christ has a calling from the Lord. He doesn’t save us and then leave us to fend for ourselves; instead, He continually guides each of His children in the work He has planned for his or her life.
God’s calling includes not only what we do but also who we are. Each experience in life is a tool that the Lord uses to shape and equip us to become the person He wants each one to be—with regard to character as well as conduct.
Begin looking for the Lord’s hand in your life. He is working out His plan, sometimes silently and softly, sometimes with jarring disruptions. But He is always there, directing and moving. Never imagine yourself to be insignificant in His eyes. You’re so highly esteemed that almighty God has designed a unique calli
by Karen Icenhour
The crowds sought Him out! Everyone wanted to be with Him! They wanted to hear Him, ask Him a question, or get Him to heal a loved one. He was sought from daylight to dusk. When the crowd knew He was in town, they found Him. Never a moment alone, unless He made it happen.
Several times in the Bible we see Jesus getting away from the multitudes and sending them away:
“And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away. And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone.” Matthew 14:22–23
“And he left them, and went out of the city into Bethany; and he lodged there.” Matthew 21:17
“And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.” Mark 1:35
“But Jesus withdrew himself with his disciples to the sea: and a great multitude from Galilee followed him, and from Judæa.” Mark 3:7
“And when he had sent them away, he departed into a mountain to pray. And when even was come, the ship was in the midst of the sea, and he alone on the land.” Mark 6:46–47
“And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed.” Luke 22:41
Lonely is one of the most dreaded words. Loneliness does not come from being alone. Loneliness comes from forgetting the presence of God. Psalm 46:10 tells us to “be still and know that I am God.”
Jesus’ routine was to go out to the mountains to pray and then into the cities to minister. Some people spend all their time in the city with people and no time out on the mountains alone. The secret is time alone—Jesus had it.
Jesus loved God and loved people. He spent time with both. He knew how much time to be with people and how much time to be with God.
God creates a desire for intimate companionship inside of everyone. The problem is that people try to fill that void with other people and things instead of God.
Jesus spent time alone. Do you?
by Meagan Davis
This is the one word I would choose to describe the last month of school before summer. I’m a junior on college studying elementary education. So for me, that means philosophy papers, book critiques, and peer teachings. I always heard students say that junior year is the hardest, but being a sophomore nursing major before, I didn’t believe that for one second…until I got back from a relaxing weekend at home.
I sat down, looked at my schedule and realized I had no idea how I was going to get everything done. So what did I do? I began to make lists. I developed a plan. I checked my calendar, and I got a little grumpy. What I didn’t realize was that I was forgetting the most important thing – God.
Psalm 61:1-2 says, “Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer. From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”
God wants us to cry out to Him whether it’s for something as small as school stress or something as major as financial or physical stress. He is there to help us, and He helped me more than I even thought of.
Finally, I sat down to read my Bible onMonday morning..after my panic attack on Sunday night. And I prayed,and I asked God to help me to be diligent and to get my work done. I got up and went back to work. I went to classes and work. In chapel,our president of the college announced that he was giving us a day off of classes!
And God told me, “See, I’ve got it under control.”
Now, even though that day has come and gone, and much was accomplished, I still have a lot more to do. But I know God will help me through. Sometimes, He shows us He is there in big obvious ways, but many times God says, “I’ve got it. Trust me,”in the little things
It is the Holy Spirit who empowers your new life in Christ. In his book Flying Closer to the Flame, Charles Swindoll explained the importance of this truth:
“The inescapable fact is this: Most (yes, most) Christians you and I know have very little dynamic or joy in their lives. Just ask them. They long for depth, for passion, for a satisfying peace and stability instead of a superficial relationship with God made up of words without feelings and struggles without healings. Surely, there is more to the life of faith than church meetings, study, religious jargon, and periodic prayers. Surely, the awesome Spirit of God wishes to do more within us than what is presently going on! There are scars He wants to heal. There are insights He longs to reveal. There are profound dimensions of life He would dearly love to open up. But not one of the above will happen automatically not as long as He remains a sterile, untouchable blip on our theological PC. He is the comforting Helper, remember? He is the Truth-Teacher, the will of the Father revealer, the Gift Giver, the Hurt Healer. He is the inextinguishable flame of God, my friend. HE IS GOD. To remain a distance from Him is worse than wrong; it is downright tragic. Flying closer to the flame, therefore, is better than good; it is absolutely magnificent. ”
The Holy Spirit is God’s presence in you to accomplish the good works He created you to do. He equips and empowers you for His service. Living a Spirit-empowered life frees you from defeat and frustration. Living the great adventure that God has for you can only be accomplished by the power of the Holy Spirit.
One day a man saw an old lady, stranded on the side of the road, but even in the dim light of day, he could see she needed help. So he pulled up in front of her Mercedes and got out. His Pontiac was still sputtering when he approached her. Even with the smile on his face, she looked worried. No one had stopped to help for the last hour or so. Was he going to hurt her? He didn’t look safe; he looked poor and hungry. He could see that she was frightened, standing out there in the cold. He knew how she felt. It was that chill which only fear can put in you. He said, ‘I’m here to help you, ma’am. Why don’t you wait in the car where it’s warm? By the way, my name is Bryan Anderson.’
Well, all she had was a flat tire, but for an old lady, that was bad enough. Bryan crawled under the car looking for a place to put the jack, skinning his knuckles a time or two.. Soon he was able to change the tire. But he had to get dirty and his hands hurt. As he was tightening up the lug nuts, she rolled down the window and began to talk to him. She told him that she was from St. Louis and was only just passing through. She couldn’t thank him enough for coming to her aid.
Bryan just smiled as he closed her trunk. The lady asked how much she owed him. Any amount would have been all right with her. She already imagined all the awful things that could have happened had he not stopped. Bryan never thought twice about being paid. This was not a job to him. This was helping someone in need, and God knows there were plenty, who had given him a hand in the past. He had lived his whole life that way, and it never occurred to him to act any other way. He told her that if she really wanted to pay him back, the next time she saw someone who needed help, she could give that person the assistance they needed, and Bryan added, ‘And think of me.’
He waited until she started her car and drove off. It had been a cold and depressing day, but he felt good as he headed for home, disappearing into the twilight. A few miles down the road the lady saw a small cafe. She went in to grab a bite to eat, and take the chill off before she made the last leg of her trip home. It was a dingy looking restaurant. Outside were two old gas pumps. The whole scene was unfamiliar to her.
The waitress came over she had a sweet smile, one that even being on her feet for the whole day couldn’t erase. The lady noticed the waitress was nearly eight months pregnant, but she never let the strain and aches change her attitude. The old lady wondered how someone who had so little could be so giving to a stranger. Then she remembered Bryan .. After the lady finished her meal, she paid with a hundred dollar bill. The waitress quickly went to get change for her hundred dollar bill, but the old lady had slipped right out the door. She was gone by the time the waitress came back. The waitress wondered where the lady could be. Then she noticed something written on the napkin. There were tears in her eyes when she read what the lady wrote: ‘You don’t owe me anything. I have been there too. Somebody once helped me out, the way I’m helping you. If you really want to pay me back, here is what you do: Do not let this chain of love end with you.’
Under the napkin were four more $100. Well, there were tables to clear, sugar bowls to fill, and people to serve, but the waitress made it through another day.
That night when she got home from work and climbed into bed, she was thinking about the money and what the lady had written. How could the lady have known how much she and her husband needed it? With the baby due next month, it was going to be hard….She knew how worried her husband was, and as he lay sleeping next to her, she gave him a soft kiss and whispered soft and low, ‘Everything’s going to be all right. I love you, Bryan Anderson.’
There is an old saying… ‘What goes around comes around.’