Preparations Are Made

Then He will also say to those on the left hand, “Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” 
[Matthew 25:41]

For children, maybe the best part of a Thanksgiving road trip to the grandparents’ house is the expectation of what has been prepared: a house filled with wonderful aromas from the kitchen; a fire in the fireplace; Grandpa’s huge leaf pile to jump in; and probably a surprise or two from Grandma for the little ones. Preparations carry out purposes.

The same could be said about the preparation God has made for those redeemed through faith in Christ. Revelation 21–22, with its portrait of the New Jerusalem and the eternal state is enough to make us eager for eternity. But there is another eternal preparation being made for the devil and his demons: everlasting fire. Nowhere does the Bible suggest that those angels who followed Satan out of heaven will have the opportunity to repent and be saved. Their fateful choice to rebel against God leaves them with no hope.

But not us! We who bear the image of God and are reconciled to Him through Christ have an eternal hope and home prepared and waiting for our arrival (John 14:1-4).

All the places in heaven and hell are reserved. 
~ John Blanchard ~

Devotional

Landmines

The pride of your heart has deceived you. 
[Obadiah 1:3]

“Each morning, the enemy lays out his landmines in our lives,” wrote Dr. Charles Stanley. “If we are not discerning, we will fall prey to his tactics. The landmine of pride can tear a gaping hole in the life of the person who yields to its folly. It is one of Satan’s chief modes of operation and favorite weapons of warfare because it tempts us to take our eyes off God and place them on ourselves.”1Pride is so deceptive that it destroyed the reputation of the powerful angel, Lucifer, who said, “I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God” (Isaiah 14:13). The sin of pride and arrogance caused Satan to become the epitome of evil today. It’s a reminder that we should never seek to be above others, but we’re to seek to serve as Christ served.

If you have gifts, accomplishments, honors, blessings, and influence, make them matters of thanksgiving and recognize them as gifts from God to use in the service of Christ. Keep your eyes on Jesus and live a life of humble thanksgiving and Christ-centered service.

Pride always overemphasizes self. Our hearts need to be God-focused and not self-focused.
~ Charles Stanley ~

Devotional

“Thank You” Bible Style: Miriam

And Miriam answered them: “Sing to the Lord, for He has triumphed gloriously!” 
[Exodus 15:21]

We first meet Miriam in Exodus 2 when she was a child on the banks of the River Nile watching her baby brother’s voyage in a basket. We next see her in Exodus 15, an aged woman on the shores of the Red Sea, joining her brother in joyful praises of thanksgiving for Israel’s deliverance. Miriam is the first soloist in the history of hymnody. As the Israelites realized God had miraculously saved them at the Red Sea, someone hastily wrote a hymn of praise, which is the first recorded song in the Bible (Exodus 15:1-19). The assembly sang it. “Then Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took the timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances. And Miriam answered them: ‘Sing to the Lord’” (Exodus 15:20-21).

Like Miriam, we have our share of difficulty and danger; but a thankful spirit keeps us praising Him who makes a way when there seems to be no way. From childhood to old age, we should sing our thanksgivings to the Lord, for He has triumphed gloriously!

True thanksgiving is not a selfish emotion gratified by prosperity, but a vital grace in the soul, existing independent of circumstances.

~ Charles Wadsworth ~

Evening Devotional

Clothes That Make the Person: Joseph

 

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 
[Romans 8:28]

Today, parents are hesitant to declare one of their children their favorite. But in the ancient world, this was not the case. Jacob (Israel), for example, loved Joseph more than his eleven other sons since Joseph had been born in Jacob’s old age to Rachel, Jacob’s favorite wife (Genesis 37:3). As a sign of his favoritism, Jacob gave Joseph a beautiful robe “of many colors.” All this favoritism provoked jealousy among Joseph’s brothers and they sold him into slavery in Egypt. When the brothers were united many years later, Joseph blessed God for how He had worked in all their lives.

Our lives are multicolored, a tapestry held together on the backside by knots and stitches. Yet out of that which appears random and tenuous on one side, God creates a life of beauty on the other side through redemption in Christ.

No one’s life is perfect, but God causes all the hard parts to be woven together for His glory. Give God thanks today for the “life of many colors” He is making for you as His beloved child.

When God closes a door, He always opens a window.
~ Woodrow Kroll ~

Life Is What You Make It: Make Haste (Time Is Important)

Send Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their journey with haste.

[Titus 3:13]

Recommended Reading

Titus 3:9-15

The Lord hasn’t allocated us much time on earth; we’re made for eternity in heaven. In the time we have left, let’s set about our Father’s business with haste.

The apostle Paul wrote to Titus, giving him a message for two men—Zenas and Apollos. Of Zenas, we know nothing; he is mentioned only here in the Bible. Apollos, however, was a well-known teacher. Paul’s message to them both was: There’s no time to waste. Hurry up. Make haste.

Charles Spurgeon once preached a sermon from Luke 14:23, the passage where the master says to the servant, “Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in.” Spurgeon was so overcome by the urgency of the task that he skipped the introduction of his sermon and started compelling people to come to Christ, immediately, urgently, now.

Let’s do the same! Make haste. Time is short.

I feel in such a haste to go out and obey this commandment this morning by compelling those to come in who are now tarrying in the highways and hedges that I cannot wait for an introduction, but must at once set about my business.

~ Charles Spurgeon ~

(in opening his sermon, “Compel Them to Come In”)

Devotional

House of Kindness

Then [Jesus] took the child by the hand, and said to her, “Talitha, cumi,” which is translated, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.”

Mark 5:41

Recommended Reading

Acts 9:36-43

Bethesda, Maryland, took its name from a church called the Bethesda Meeting House (1820), which took its name from the Pool of Bethesda in Jerusalem. In Hebrew, bet hesed meant “house of kindness/mercy.” It is not surprising that one of America’s largest centers of healing, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, is located in Bethesda.

It was at the Pool of Bethesda where the sick in Jesus’ day gathered to look for healing when an angel stirred the waters. And it was there that Jesus chose to heal a very sick man—he was an invalid for 38 years (John 5:1-15). There is no mention of why Jesus chose to heal this man, nor why He didn’t heal others that day. Jesus didn’t heal every sick person in Palestine. But those He did heal were truly healed—body, soul, and spirit. Like the young girl who had died in Capernaum whom Jesus restored to life with a word. Healing is never a question of God’s ability, but of His purpose.

God’s healing is always a gift of kindness and mercy. Ask Him if you are in need, and trust Him for His answer.

Earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal.

~ Thomas Moore ~

Never Alone

To this end I also labor, striving according to [Christ’s] working which works in me mightily.

[Colossians 1:29]

Recommended Reading

Mark 16:20

As children, we hated having to go places alone without the security of a parent—like walking into a new school building alone on the first day of school. Little has changed. As adults we still fear being alone—in times of trouble or crisis or discouragement, when facing responsibilities and challenges that only we can undertake. God noticed the unnatural state of aloneness shortly after creating Adam (Genesis 2:18).

There’s another way that little has changed: the presence of Christ with those who follow and serve Him. Before His death, resurrection, and ascension, Christ was always with His disciples. He taught them, modeled life for them, and trained them. After His ascension, His physical presence changed but not His spiritual presence. By the presence of His Spirit, He was with them as much as He had been. Paul gave testimony to this fact more than once (Galatians 2:20; Colossians 1:29). Jesus promised He would be with His disciples (Matthew 28:20), and He was (Mark 16:20).

If you are Christ’s, He is with you in every situation of your life. You never have to go anywhere or do anything alone.

The problem with atheism is having nobody to talk to when you are alone.

~ Unknown ~