devotional, faith life

A Good Soldier

Some Bible study notes from studying 2 Timothy 2:3-4:  Endure hardship with us like a good solider of Christ Jesus.  No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs–he wants to please his commanding officer.

When I trusted the Lord as my Savior, I also took Him on as Lord—as my Commanding Officer.  As my C.O., the Lord has the right to do with me as He pleases.

My life should be totally committed to Him.  Although these verses may be talking about a pastor, the same principles are true for me.  I am not to become entangled in worldly pursuits.  I am to have singleness of purpose:  pleasing the Lord.  If I am to be a good soldier then my affections, time and talents are to be used in godly pursuits that would further the gospel.  Spending time on worldly pursuits can cause my heart to stray from Him and those things can become my treasure.  (Matthew 6:21; also Colossians 3:1-2)
Jesus tells us that we are to love the Lord with ALL our heart, soul, mind and strength.  That doesn’t leave room for much else.  That doesn’t mean that we’re to not do things that are church-related but that in ALL we do, the Lord should be first. 

Another thing about a soldier’s life was that hardship was expected.  John tells us “not to be surprised, my brothers, if the world hates us” and Peter says “do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you”.  But Paul tells Timothy to “Endure hardship with us”.  We are not alone in these trials; we have a body of believers who can come alongside to help and comfort.  The Lord Himself said that we have a Comforter.  We can go to the throne of God and receive mercy and find grace in our time of need.

To live a life that is pleasing to the Lord is one of total commitment and hard work; it is one that involves suffering and trials.  We need to rely on the Lord for strength and endurance to be a good soldier; to follow orders from our Commanding Officer whether they are easy or hard.  If we have a singleness of purpose as a soldier does, then the Lord will give courage and perseverance to accept the assignment He gives us (Psalm 16:5).

If we persevere and please our Lord, then we will hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant!  You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.  Come and share your Master’s happiness!”
devotional, faith life

A Union Which Will Last Forever

“My Beloved is mine–and I am His!” Song of Songs 2:14

This is the language of the Christian in the book of Canticles. How great is the blessedness involved in such an assurance! My beloved Jesus is mine . . .

in the dignity of His person;
in the suitability of His offices;
in the immensity of His love;
in the efficacy of His atonement;
in the riches of His abounding grace!

His righteousness is mine–to justify me,
His Spirit is mine–to sanctify me,
His power is mine–to defend me,
His wisdom is mine–to guide me, and
His Heaven is mine–to receive me!

And what does Christ say to the believer in return?

“I am yours–and all that I have is yours! I have boundless and unsearchable riches–and those riches are for you! I have happiness to bestow, such as the mind in its largest grasp has never been able to conceive–and that happiness is for you! I have crowns and scepters at My disposal–and all those honors are for you! Yes, to him who overcomes, I will grant to sit with Me on My glorious throne!”

The Christian’s exaltation and bliss is not a matter of doubtful disputation. And what makes it so certain? It is the blessed truth that the union which exists between him and Christ–is an indissoluble union! All other relations, however close and endearing, must be broken. That union of husband and wife; and soul and body–has no power to resist the assault of death, the great destroyer.

All earthly ties must then be severed. But death, which breaks every other bond–only strengthens the bond between the Christian and Christ! Death, which quenches every other love–only kindles that of the believer for Jesus, into a purer and intenser flame! Death, which snatches every other object from our grasp–only brings us to the full enjoyment of Him, who is the fountain of life, the great center and source of all blessedness.

Christian, rejoice in your union with Jesus!
The changes of time cannot touch it!
The storms of life cannot injure it!
The sword of persecution cannot sever it!
The damps of death cannot affect it!
The malice of hell cannot move it!

It is a union which will last forever! It follows, therefore, that you, if a partaker of it–will be rich forever, safe forever, dignified forever, and blessed forever!
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Jesus is Everything to Me!

The Lord Jesus is the subject of my meditations. Not a day passes but my
thoughts are occupied with Him. Forget whom I may–I never forget Him.
Nothing feeds, nothing refreshes, nothing delights my soul–like
vigorous meditations on Jesus. I dwell at times on . . .
the glories of His person,
the riches of His grace,
the merit of His blood,
the transcendent glory of His righteousness,
the tenderness of His sympathy,
the constancy of His love,
the vastness of His resources,
the greatness of His power,
the glory of His offices,
the prevalence of His intercession, and
the grandeur of His second coming–
until I am enamored with His beauty, and enraptured with His love!
My meditation of Jesus is sweet! I think of Him upon my bed, and
meditate on Him through the watches of the night.
Jesus is the solace and joy of my soul.
When all is dark within me,
when all is dreary around me,
when all is discouraging before me–
He fills me full of joy with His countenance.
One look from His eye,
one word from His lips,
one breath breathed on my soul–
relieves, restores, and makes me happy.
He is the river of pleasure–in which I sometimes bathe!
He is the Eden of delights–in which I sometimes walk!
Take away Jesus–and my soul droops, desponds, and dies!
Give me Jesus–and the enjoyment of His presence, and I can do without any other heaven!
He is the joy of my brightest days, and my solace in my dreariest nights!
devotional, faith life

Stop Worrying

I don’t know where I found this but I have it written down in my commonplace book. I hope it will be an encouragement to you.
To squander the grace of God, that is meant for the real trials of today, upon the mirage of impending trouble that might happen tomorrow is foolish, and betrays a wrong perspective. God is sovereign, we are not, and thus, we have no business seeking to do His job by worrying about what might come our way. The best way to prepare for what might come tomorrow is to faithfully fulfill our obligations towards Him today. Even if tomorrow does bring a trial our way, as it very well may, we can still rest assured that tomorrow morning, just like every other morning, the grace of God will be sufficient to meet that new challenge, for it is from Him. As Jeremiah proclaims, “[His mercies] are new every morning, great is Your faithfulness!” (Lam. 3:23). The distracted man worries, but the wise man makes his plans and forms his strategy with the object of impacting eternity. The future is securely in the hands of Almighty God and cannot be changed. Armed with that knowledge, we must find our reward in the eternal rather than distractedly scrambling after the temporal. Stop worrying, and start serving your Master from an undivided heart!

devotional, faith life

Where Is Your Treasure?

As I was doing errands one day, I passed a self-storage facility. There was a sign at the entrance that caught my attention. It read: Whatever your treasure, we will store and adore it.

That sign sums up a lot of the culture right now. We work all day to make money to buy more stuff. We don’t like that stuff so we put it in a storage unit and buy new stuff. On and on it goes. One article I read stated that: “Self storage industry has gained from the popularity of the concept and it has grown so fast that in the last twelve years the use has grown from one in every seventeen households to one in every ten. Converted to percentage growth it comes to sixty-five.” One in every ten households?? That’s a lot of “stuff”. And why is it in a storage unit and not being used?

I read another article in our local paper about a company that comes to your home and helps you de-clutter. The family in this article had TWO storage units full of “stuff”….not including all the things that were cluttering up their home.

I guess we have so much stuff we can no longer adore it ourselves so we take it to a storage unit were they will store it and adore it for you! But what does the Bible say about our treasure?

“Do not store up for yourselves treasure on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasure in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21)

Christ is our treasure! “…Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knoweldge.” (Colossians 2:2b, 3)

“He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure.” (Isaiah 33:6)