Archive for February, 2010

His Yoke Fits Well

February 27, 2010

As afflictions in Christ abound and are prolonged, consolations abound and perseverance is given by Jesus as long as Christians go to Him as teacher for He invites them to be His students. (Matthew Henry Commentary)

As Christians throw off the yoke of the flesh, the world and the lies of the devil, they find that Jesus’ yoke is easy and fashioned just for them to make them Christ-like. Jesus said “My yoke is easy” (Matthew 11:30). “Easy” (chrestos) means well-fitting. It is not harsh or galling nor will it put a callous on the spiritual heart. (The Complete Bible Dictionary; William Barclay, The Preachers Outline & Sermon Bible)

As Christians carry their cross, they must bear and lay their burdens into the hands of Jesus Christ and allow what He is taking them through to mold them into His image. They will find that the yoke He puts on them is easy.

The yoke refers to oxen’s yoke. The yoke was a wooden collar-like instrument placed on the neck and shoulders of the oxen. It was extremely important that the yoke be fitted for the shoulders of the oxen to prevent rubbing the flesh raw and causing sores. Measurements were taken, the yoke was roughed out and then oxen were brought back to have the yoke tailor-made. According to some traditions, some carpenters’ shops may very well have carried signs like “My yoke fits well” (William Barclay, The Preacher’s Outline & Sermon Bible)

The yoke refers to a man’s life and task as he lives on this earth. Jesus is saying to take on His yoke, not the yoke of the flesh, the world, or the devil’s lies. His yoke will fit Christians perfectly, making them useful to the life and task that He has planned for them down here. (The Preacher’s Outline & Sermon Bible)

Whatever God has you facing right now is made to fit you perfectly. You have the Spiritual gifts, talents, and abilities to handle everything He allows you to go through. Therefore, lay your grief into His loving hands and surrender to His will for you.

Contributed by: Terry Laughlin

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Where Infidelity Really Happens

February 26, 2010

Atlanta psychiatrist Dr. Frank Pittman wrote a book on infidelity. He said, “Most affairs are conducted primarily on the telephone or Internet rather than in bed. The essence of an affair is in establishing a secret intimacy with someone—a secret that must be defended with dishonesty.” He said, “Infidelity isn’t necessarily about whom you lie with, it’s about whom you lie to.”

Contributed by: Tim Harlow

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Marked as a Possession

February 25, 2010

Phillip Keller writes, “The day I bought my first 30 sheep, my neighbor and I sat on the dusty corral rails that enclosed the sheep pen and admired the choice, strong, well bred sheep that had just become mine. Turning to me, he handed me a large, sharp killing knife and said to me, ‘Well, Phillip, they’re yours now, you’ll have to put your own mark on them.’

“I knew exactly what he meant. Each shepherd has his own distinctive earmark, which is cut into one of the ears of the sheep. In a way, even at a distance, it is easy to determine to whom the sheep belong.

“It is not the most pleasant procedure to catch each sheep and lay her ear on a wooden block, then notch it deeply with the razor sharp knife. There was pain for both of us. But from the mutual suffering and indelible mark of ownership was made that could never be erased. And from then on every sheep that came into my possession would bear my mark.”

Folks, there is a striking parallel to this in the O.T. When a slave in a Hebrew household decided (on his own free will) to become a member of that family, he subjected himself to a certain ritual. His master would take him over to a door, put his ear lobe against the doorpost and puncture a hole through the slave’s ear. From that time on, that slave was marked for life as belonging to this family!

For every person who knows Jesus personally as a Lamb slain from the foundations of the world, then he has marked your soul with the blood that dripped from his wounded body—you see that was the Shepherd dying for His sheep! Just acknowledge Him today and He’s your possession and you’re His possession!

Source: From a sermon by Dave Kinney, “Our Sufficient Shepherd” 3/1/2009

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The Slave

February 24, 2010

Let me tell you the true story of a duke who lived during the fourteenth century named Raynald III. Raynald III lived a life of indulgence and was obese. His Latin nickname was Crassus, which means “fat.”

One day Raynald and his younger brother, Edward, got into a vicious fight and Edward planned and executed a triumphant revolt against Raynald. Edward took his older brother into custody but did not take his life. Edward decided to construct a room around Raynald in the Nieuwkerk Castle and promised his brother that he would enjoy freedom once again when he was able to leave the room.

Now for the average Joe, this wouldn’t have been much of a challenge, because the room Edward built had a number of windows and a door of near-normal size. Neither the door nor the windows were locked—they weren’t barricaded. So you’re getting the picture by now: In order to experience his freedom again Raynald needed to lose weight.

But his brother Edward was no dummy, because he knew just how to keep Raynald imprisoned. Every day he would send Raynald an assortment of tasty foods. And what took place is just sad: Instead of dieting his way to freedom, Raynald grew more overweight, and he stayed in that room for ten years until his brother died. But by that time his health was so awful that he kicked the bucket within a year. We can say that Raynald III was a prisoner of his own appetite for food.

So many people today are prisoners to their appetite for lust. Like good ole’ Raynald they may appear to be free, maybe even on cloud nine. They know what they like and they know how to get it. They are doing what feels good to them. But the fact is that every bite they take into the tastiness of lust only makes them more of a prisoner. When you and I indulge in a life of sin and do whatever feels good, we are anything but free. We are, according to God’s Word, slaves to sin.

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On Results

February 23, 2010

“The seed you sow today will not produce crop till tomorrow. For this reason, your identity does not lie in your current results. This is not who you are. Your current results are who you were.”

Source: James A. Ray

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Sleeping When the Wind Blows

February 22, 2010

A young man applied for a job as a farm hand. When asked for his qualifications, he said, “I can sleep when the wind blows.”

This puzzled the farmer, but he took a liking to the young man and hired him.

A few days later, the farmer and his wife were awakened in the night by a violent storm. They quickly began to check things out to see if all was secure. They found that the shutters of the farmhouse had been securely fastened. A good supply of logs had been set next to the fireplace. The farm implements had been placed in the storage shed, safe from the elements. The tractor had been moved into the garage. The barn had been properly locked. All was well. Even the animals were calm.

It was then that the farmer grasped the meaning of the young man’s words, “I can sleep when the wind blows.”

Because the farm hand had performed his work loyally and faithfully when the skies were clear, he was prepared for the storm when it broke. Consequently, when the wind blew, he had no fear. He was able to sleep in peace.

Contributed by: Tim Zingale

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Ruthless Trust

February 20, 2010

During times of transition, what we most need to practice is “ruthless trust.” Brennan Manning has written a brilliant book by that title and tells the story of John Kavanaugh who went to work for three months at “the House of the Dying” in Calcutta. He went not only to give help, but to receive it. He was seeking a clear answer as how best to spend the rest of his life.

The first morning there, he met Mother Teresa. She asked, “And what can I do for you?” Kavanaugh asked her to pray for him. “What do you want me to pray for?” she asked. He voiced a request he had long been burdened about and had come half a world seeking the answer for: “Pray that I have clarity.” To that simple but sincere request, she said firmly, “No, I will not do that.” When he asked her why, she said, “Clarity is the last thing you are clinging to and must let go of.” When Kavanaugh commented that she always seemed to have the clarity he longed for, she laughed. “I have never had clarity, what I have always had is trust. So I will pray that you trust God.”

Source: Alan Ahlgrim, Rocky Mountain View (Newsletter from Rocky Mountain Christian Church, March 5, 2002). Cited from Brennan Manning, Ruthless Trust, Harper: SanFrancisco, October 2000.

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The Trouble with this World

February 19, 2010

“The real trouble with this world of ours is not that it is an unreasonable one. The trouble is that it is nearly reasonable, but not quite.”

Source: G. K. Chesterton

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A Different View of Peace

February 18, 2010

“Islam, we’ve been told, is related to the Arabic word
meaning peace. This is correct, except that the
word means a particular kind of peace. A better
translation is surrender or submission. It
describes the peace when a vanquished soldier lays
down his arms in submission. And so the very name,
Islam, has militaristic connotations, and in this
lies the root of radical Islam. That root then grows
in the soil of the Islamic worldview.”

Source: Chuck Colson 10/16/01 Breakpoint.

Contributed by: Brian Mavis

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Worship is a Heart Condition

February 17, 2010

For years I have seen and heard about the division in churches over “correct” and “incorrect” forms of worship. I have seen it all from “you shouldn’t smile in church because you should fear the Lord” to the Ringling Brothers Circus service. Each group seems to think the other has missed the mark and are often very uncomfortable worshipping together.

In the midst of one church crisis concerning this issue, I prayed, “Father, how should we worship You?” He answered using my own children to make the point.

The kids had been away at Grandma’s house for a few days, and I missed them terribly. On my way home from work, all I could think about was seeing them. As soon as the front door slammed behind me I heard the sound I had longed for. The sound of small feet on the wood floor—my children were coming to greet me.

The first to arrive was Alex—my soon-to-be four year old. He was running and jumping and yelling, “Daddy’s home, daddy’s home!” He ran to me with arms open and hugged my legs as hard as he could. I bent down and told him how much I loved him and had missed him. He gave me a kiss and was off to other adventures.

Following closely was Anthony, my seventeen-month old. He filled the house with a steady “Dada, dada, dada, dada.” As he neared, he looked up at me and raised his hands as high as they would go as a sign for me to pick him up. When I did he took my face in his hands and looked deeply into my eyes for a moment, then patted my face and kissed me like only a toddler can. The squirming that followed was his signal that our special moment was over, and in a flash he was gone.

Austin, my five-year-old, was not to be found in this parade, so I conducted an immediate search of the house. Alone in his room he sat, tears rolling down his cheeks. He had done something he knew was wrong and was fearing the worst upon my arrival. As he talked about what he had done, he began to cry uncontrollably, saying, “I’m sorry…I’m sorry.” I felt as if I couldn’t pick him up fast enough. I hugged and kissed him repeatedly and told him that I forgave him and would always love him no matter what. In no time we were playing and laughing as usual.

Each child’s response to my presence was correct considering their circumstance. It was honest and from the heart.

How should we worship in church? The answer will most likely change from week to week but can always be found by assessing the condition of our hearts.

Contributed by: Bill Hall

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