Disappointments and Doorways

June 23rd, 2016

Disappointment can be a doorway to your greatest opportunity.

 “Moses my servant is dead. Now arise and go over this Jordan.” Joshua 1:1 NKJV.

My thoughts and comments today are about disappointments and doorways.”

Difficulties and disappointments will come. When they do it is difficult to stop staring at the past, to resist the present reality, and not to feel stuck where you are. It is difficult but it is not impossible. Optimism is the best cure. There really is no other good option to moving past the past. In the purposes of God, your focus is forward and optimism is your attitude.

Moses died, 120 years old and, “his eye was not dim nor his natural force abated.” Note Deuteronomy 34. The page of history is turned and a new and grander chapter begun. In God, every ending births a new and greater beginning. Moses is dead; promises remain and victories await. Joshua 1:1-11 NKJV.

You have to deal with present reality to embrace future possibilities. Moses’ death must have been Joshua’s biggest disappointment. He personally and Israel nationally lost a bold and brilliant leader; the only leader they had known. “Moses my servant is dead; now arise.” Moses is dead. Joshua must carry on. Israel stands at a pivotal national moment – on the brink of its destiny and the fullness of God’s promises.

Your biggest disappointment can be a doorway to your greatest opportunity. It was for Joshua and Israel. “Moses my servant is dead; now arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them.” Joshua 1:2 NIV. Several million people were waiting to know from Joshua what was next. They couldn’t go back where they were; they couldn’t stay where they are; they had to press onward. The realities were these. Before them was an uncrossable Jordan at flood tide. Across Jordan was Jericho, the most fortified city guarding the entry to Canaan. Beyond Jericho were scores of other fortified cities, war-hardened armies, and men of such stature as to be seen as giants. They had been here before and a generation died because of their unbelief. Numbers 13:31-33 and 32:9-12 NKJV.

We know the story and the dangers faced and victories achieved. Let’s consider the process and apply it to your situation. God always rests the future on His promises in the past. God reminds Joshua of the renewed promises. “Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you, as I said to Moses.” Joshua 1:3-4 NKJV. God assures Joshua of His continuing presence. “As I was with Moses, so shall I be with you. I will never fail you nor forsake you. Be strong and of a good courage.” Joshua 1:5-7 NKJV. Three times God called Joshua to strength and courage. The issue is settled. “If God is for us, who can be against us?“ Romans 8:31 NIV.

God prepared Joshua to lead Israel with confidence; He will do the same for you in your difficult and uncertain moments. “Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6 NKJV. The best is yet to come. This passage provides three things that are essential, not optional. (1) Speak the Word of God faithfully. (2) Dwell on God’s Word continually. (3) Live according to God’s Word consistently. “Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:8-9 NKJV. Jesus promised, “Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Mathew28:20 NIV.

Today, I pray for you that you refuse to settle for anything less than God’s highest and best.

Christian Communications 2016 and  Facebook.com/everydaylife.allenrandolph

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A Family Legacy

June 18th, 2016

“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the Truth.” 3 John 4.

A father’s delight rests in his heart

throughout his lifetime, as well as yours.

My thoughts and comments today are about, “a family legacy.”

Some time ago, I came across a yellowed note my Mom had written years earlier. As I read her words, I was unprepared for my emotional response. Her words leaped from the page into my heart, “Your Dad would be so proud of you, as I am.” You see my Dad died in a highway accident when I was just 21, newly married, and a senior in college, and yet now in my early seventies my eyes become moist as I read those words. Somehow even now, those words of his pride stir something deep within my heart.

I was not prepared for how such a simple statement of my Dad’s and Mom’s feelings about me, written on a piece of yellowed stationary, would still mean so much to me after all of these years since his death and more recently hers. Solomon wisely observed, “The father of the righteous has great joy; he who has a wise child delights in them.” Proverbs 23:24 NIV. I am not sure I always live up to Solomon’s words, but I am grateful that my Dad felt I did. That I could give my parents delight after all they had given me was and is my greatest joy.

I was struck by the realization that a father’s delight rests in his heart throughout his lifetime, and continues throughout yours. Being reminded of my Dad’s love and pride means as much at this stage of my life as it did when he was alive and I was young. But I am sure that though he would commend whatever accomplishments with which God has graced my life, he would be most proud that our family continues his legacy of faith that I learned at his knee and from his pulpit. He was my pastor, as well as my Dad.

Imagine how Jesus felt at the Jordan River when the voice of God was heard from Heaven, “This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased.” Matthew 3:17 NKJV. Reading those words, you can feel the Father’s pride – His bursting joy and delight – and know the moral and spiritual strengthening that Jesus experienced as He set out to do the Father’s will. It would yet be three and a half years before Jesus would say, “I have finished the work that You gave Me to do,” and before He would hang on a cross and confidently declare to the Father, “It is finished.“ On that cross, yours and my Redeemer died for the forgiveness of our sins.

Now as a Dad, grandfather, and great grandfather, I know what delight feels like. When I see the good and Godly man, husband, and dad our son has become, and the Godly woman, wife, and mom our daughter has become, and adult grandchildren who love and live for Jesus, Gayle and I are grateful for God’s grace to the Randolph family. Joy and delight hardly describe the satisfaction that Gayle and I find in knowing our children and their spouses, as well as our grandchildren, are committed to walking in righteousness and Godly wisdom.

John’s words would be mine as well, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the Truth.” 3 John 4 NKJV. Whatever you achieve in life is secondary to the knowledge that you have embraced faith, and your Godly legacy abides in your family.

Today, I pray for you to live wisely that the Father may delight in you.

Family picture Nov 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christian Communications 2016-6199

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A Sabbath Life

June 10th, 2016

Life was intended to be neither hectic nor laborious.

“God ended His work . . and He rested.” Genesis 2:2 NKJV.

My thoughts and comments today are about, “a Sabbath life.”

Work is an unavoidable, important piece of everyday life; yet it is just not meant to be the only piece. God gave the first work assignment to Adam. See Genesis 2:8-15 NLT. God placed Adam in the midst of a bountiful garden, “to tend and watch over it,” instructing Adam to partner in all God had created. Partnering with God in His will and purpose is your life’s work. You do so in your daily circle of influence and opportunity He has given you.

Your work is your assignment of ministry and your ministry assignment certainly includes your daily work. When your work is different from your Godly assignment, you are neither happy nor fulfilled. Without a sense of assignment, you lack the understanding of what you are doing, the clarity of why, and the conviction that you serve the Lord God. Labor was meant to be fruitful and productive in what God entrusts to your hands. If you read Genesis carefully, you will note that labor, as did most of life’s responsibilities, became hard “work.” I find it interesting that because disobedience, God told the woman that her act of birthing would be with pain and man’s work would be with sweat and struggle. Both of which we now call “labor.” Read Genesis 3:16-19 NLT.

At creation, God established a Sabbath principle by His own example and later established the Sabbath principle in His Law, the Ten Commandments, “six days you shall work, and on the seventh, rest.” Read Exodus 20:8-11 NIV. Life is designed for a natural, complementary rhythm of both work and rest. Life is better lived when you are diligent in your work and provide ample room in your schedule for the principle of Sabbath. “We urge you in the name of the Lord Jesus to live in a way that pleases God, as we have taught you . . we encourage you to do so more and more.” 1 Thessalonians 4:1-2 NLT.

Sabbath is the attitude in which you live your life before God and others. Here is Jesus’ simple, straightforward invitation: “Come to Me, all of you are who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest . . you will find rest for your souls.” Read Matthew 11:28-30 NLT. Rest is more than inactivity. Jesus could say, “The One who sent Me is with me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do what pleases Him.” John 8:29 NIV. A Sabbath life is found in doing only what “pleases Him.” Rest for the soul comes from knowing what you should be doing and doing so as unto the Lord.

Life was intended to be neither hectic nor laborious. When your work becomes unsatisfying, wearying, or worrisome to you, you have lost perspective or misplaced priorities. If your goals are not being achieved however hard you work, your goals are not the same as His goals for you. When your life feels out of order, prayerfully check your priorities and activities and adjust accordingly.

Today, I pray for you to enjoy your work and rest as equally satisfying.

EDL Sabbath

 

Christian Communications 2016

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God’s Glorious Riches

June 3rd, 2016

What I can’t do, God can. When I am inadequate, God is sufficient.

The glorious riches of this mystery, Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Colossians 1:27 NIV.

My thoughts and comments today are about, “God’s glorious riches.”

There is a much that makes you wonder if you have enough of whatever is needed – enough time, enough knowledge, enough determination, enough resource, enough ability. Often you will wonder, “Do I have the resolve or the resource to do this?” If you only depend upon what you know, you will never know enough. If you trust in what you can do, you cannot do enough. If you rely on what you have, you will not have enough.

Face this fact. You will not always be sufficient in yourself. Admitting that does not mean you have failed, or will fail. It just means that you will need to find the help that you need from somewhere other than yourself. “The glorious riches of this mystery which is, Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Colossians 1:27 NIV.

Trust this truth. You can always have a sufficiency in God, for whatever you need, for whatever you face in life. Facing your inadequacy is not a fatal flaw; insufficiency is an invitation to look elsewhere – upward, outside of yourself. That is not a bad thing to happen. That is the best of things to happen, when you choose to look to God for help. “I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.” Ephesians 3:16-17 NIV.

There is a wonderful promise in God’s Word also written by the Apostle Paul that supports today’s verse. “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God . . it is written with Spirit on spirit, His life upon our lives!” 2 Corinthians 3:4-5 NKJV/MSG. Isn’t that spectacular? That’s why Paul could confidently day, “I can do everything through Him who gives me strength . . You can be sure that God will take care of everything you need, His generosity exceeding yours in the glory that pours from Jesus.” Philippians 4:13/19 NIV/MSG.

I was twenty-one when Gayle and I first began to pastor in Granite City, Illinois. As a result of my father’s death just a week earlier, the church my father pastored for 15 years and in which I had grown up, invited us to be their pastor. A senior in Bible College and married just three weeks, I felt so inadequate for the responsibilities I was accepting. I had lived so little, knew so little, and had experienced so little of life as yet. I knew that God had called me to accept their gracious invitation, but I was not as prepared as would be needed.

That’s when God whispered to my heart a wonderful promise from His Word, “He who calls you is faithful, who will also do it.” 1 Thessalonians 5:24 NKJV. Each service, just before I stood to minister God’s Word, I would quietly whisper those words to God and my own heart, a healthy reminder from where my sufficiency comes. Across more than fifty years, that promise still rests secure in my heart each time I stand to minister God’s Word. What I can’t do, God can; when I am inadequate, God is sufficient. God will not take you where He will not be with you. God will not ask of you what He does not provide to you.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in Me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from Me, you can do nothing. But if you stay joined to Me and My words remain in you, you may ask any request you like, and it will be granted! I have loved you even as the Father has loved Me. Remain in My love.” John 15:5-9 NLT.

Today, I pray for you to know that Jesus is always enough for anything every time.

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Christian Communications 2016

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Fragile Hearts and God’s Comfort

May 28th, 2016

“May Your unfailing love be my comfort, according to Your promise.” Psalm 119:76 NIV.

Comfort expresses God’s character even more than describes His compassion.

My thoughts today are about, “fragile hearts and God’s comfort.”

There are times when life should come with a warning, “Fragile, handle with prayer.” Life can be painful; people can be fragile. Life will hold its share of bumps and bruises. When your heart is breaking, when difficulties multiply, when problems overwhelm, when you think you cannot make another day, you can know and trust the God of all comfort. God always handles people with care. You or someone near you needs God’s comfort today.

If you have seen a mother comfort a sick or fussy child, or a father gather a frightened toddler into his arms, you were watching God at work. Nothing comforts a child like its mother’s arms, held close to her heart, and hearing her familiar, comforting voice. The crying stops and the child settles, resting quietly and safely in familiar arms. That’s a practical and tender picture of what God does for any child of His. God comforts them.

I have watched elderly saints struggling with pain that no medication seems to ease until God invisibly takes them in His arms and whispers His words of peace and assurance. I have witnessed families gathering at a graveside where hearts are aching and tears flow, until God touches broken hearts and they begin to heal. Remember, “The eternal God is your refuge, and His everlasting arms are under you.” Deuteronomy 33:27 NLT.

Jesus said, “I will pray to the Father and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever . . the Comforter, which is the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name.” John 14:16-17/26. The word is also translated, “helper, counselor, encourager.” Comfort expresses God’s character even more than describes His compassion.

Run quickly to, “the Father of all compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our trouble so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 NIV. His comfort to you is to overflow to others. “May our Lord Jesus Christ and God our Father, Who loved us and in His special favor gave us everlasting comfort and good hope, comfort your hearts and give you strength in every good thing you do and say.2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 NLT. God’s heals your hurt to empower you to bring healing to others. A simple prayer, word of encouragement, or expression of practical care can be an immeasurable comfort to others.

Today, I pray for you to experience God’s loving care and healing comfort.

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Christian Communications 2016

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