Archive

Archive for October, 2013

Ministry Update: November 3

October 31st, 2013

Regarding this Sunday, November 3, 2013

For friends and readers of EveryDay Life living in the Granite City/St. Louis area:

I will NOT BE SPEAKING this Sunday, November 3, at City Temple, Granite City, Illinois, as was previously announced. While ministering in California, I was diagnosed with an upper respiratory infection which weakened my voice, resulted in congestion and pervasive coughing, and left me miserable and physically drained. Ministry would not have been advisable. Now home with a caring wife, medication to relieve wearying symptoms, extra rest, and especially prayer, and all will be well – just not in time for ministry responsibilities this weekend.

Pastor Rich Cope was gracious and understanding of the necessity for rescheduling ministry for another time. I doubt if God was surprised by this, even though I and Pastor Cope were. Please pray for an anointed, effective Sunday of ministry there. If you live in the area, I would recommend you visit their Sunday worship time any weekend. I look forward to an opportunity in the near future for ministry with Pastor Cope and his congregation.

September was Gayle’s and my 50th anniversary of ministry – and our journey began as Pastors of City Temple in 1963. I have so many memories of good friends and loving people there. A young college student, newly-married, and first-time pastor as I was, could not begin ministry at a better place or with kinder people.

Allen Randolph

Christian Communications, Inc.

 

Devotionals

Wholehearted

October 30th, 2013

“Enjoy the personal satisfaction of having done your work well.”  Galatians 6:4 NLT.

Wholehearted is the one acceptable standard for your relationship with God.

My thoughts and comments today are about being “wholehearted.”

Casual is not an attitude that breeds success. Like every father trying to motivate a teenager, my Dad would often say, “Allen, anything worth doing is worth doing well.”Recognizing that my temperament was not Type A, Dad taught me the importance of being serious and focused on the things that truly matter. Casual is an attitude only for things of lesser importance.

Here is how I see this working out. Our culture seems to have made casual and leisure into a religion of sorts. Dress has gone from casual to careless. Social communication has embraced casual until grammar and spelling, and complete words and sentences, are deemed non-essential. Street slang and accepted levels of profanity have gravely discounted language. Marriage and relationships are treated casually, as though dispensable and replaceable by something or someone newer and more presently exciting and less exacting. Casual has become a way of life, and other things have suffered or been lost along the way. Casual is the adversary of commitment; good is the enemy of best.

This is not a tirade to preserve the past, but a caution that the spirit of such a lifestyle does not impose itself on your spiritual life. Wholehearted is the one acceptable standard for your relationship with God. Actually, your faith and the wholeheartedness with which you live it should be the influence that makes you desire every area of your life to be more diligent and effective. Paul advises, “Be sure to do what you should, for then you will enjoy the personal satisfaction of having done your work well, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else.” Galatians 6:4 NLT. You cannot afford to be casual about spiritual matters; they have life and death, even eternal consequence, for you.

You need to know who God says you are, and not mindlessly accept what the culture suggests that you can or should be. You need to know what God’s work is for you to do, and not merely accept the world’s current of career choices and images of success. And when you know who you are and what you are to do, give yourself wholeheartedly to success there.

That was the deciding difference between young David and his brothers, and because of that Goliath was defeated. Again, let me say,wholehearted is the one acceptable standard for your relationship with God. “Above all else, guard your heart, for it affects everything you do.” Proverbs 4:23 NLT.

“Whatever you do, do it heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men; knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve . . as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart. With good will render service, as to the Lord, and not to men.” Colossians 3:23-24NAS/Ephesians 6:6-7. Life is simpler when you always give God your best.

My prayer for you today is that God will hold your heart, all of it at all times!

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Adversity

October 25th, 2013

“If God is for us, who can ever be against us?” Romans 8:31 NLT.

There is too much worry, yet too little wonder of the love of God.

My thoughts and comments today are about “adversity.”

Ever have times when you felt like everything was working against you? Anyone might feel like that on some occasion. Be careful; you could easily begin feeling sorry for yourself, which is a major waste of time and emotion. Life is not always fair, and the winds of circumstance are not always favorable. Time and circumstance happen to one and all.

Your success in life does not depend upon the good fortune of favorable events. Everyone will have their share of laughter and tears; so will you! Tears are usually the result of troubling times and/or troublesome people. Be advised; Jesus warned that those experiences have the power to steal the word of God from your heart. Jesus called such moments, “tribulation and persecution.” Your well-being comes from successfully handling such times and people. Read Matthew 13:20-21 NIV.

When adversity – big or small – seems to beset you or opposition seems to array against you, ask yourself the same question Paul asked, “If God is for us, who can ever be against us?” Romans 8:31 NLT. The Bible does not promise an exemption from challenging times and cantankerous people. Those are the experiences about which Paul refers. Life is more about those who are for you, than those against you. And God is for you.

Paul asks some probing questions that expose the raw nerves, yet persevering faith, of a man that experienced the best and worst of everyday life. Read 2 Corinthians 1:8-10 NLT/6:4-10 NKJV. In his letter to Christ-followers in Rome, he asks, “Who dares accuse us . . who then will condemn us . . who can separate us . . does it mean He no longer loves us?” Romans 8:33-35 NLT. Your answers are more critically important than any of your questions.

You may feel the sting of those who privately criticize your best efforts, while you fear that any adversity results from displeasing God, just as Job’s friends suggested of him. Or from those who wonder aloud if your pain or loneliness are symptoms of Heaven’s disapproval. Or maybe from the devil’s whispers that create doubts of God’s love. Such things waste time.

Here is Paul’s answer, and I hope it will be yours: “No, in spite of all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ who loved us. And I am convinced nothing can ever separate us from His love.” Romans 8:37-38 NLT. The Apostle Paul was establishing this simple truth: adversity or opposition do not indicate the displeasure of a God who is unchangeably and altogether for you. Rest safely and confidently in God’s care. There is too much worry, with too little wonder of the love of God. Read Ephesians 3:16-19 NIV.

My prayer for you today is that you find your rest and refuge in Christ alone.

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Do the Right Thing

October 21st, 2013

A bit of information: I have ministry responsibilities in Tennessee, California, and Illinois over the next weeks. The last of those is with the church where Gayle and I began our marriage and ministry in 1963. Those responsibilities and the travel involved will limit my usual schedule for writing and providing EveryDay life. I will do so as often as opportunity allows and trust your understanding. I ask your prayer for effective, anointed ministry that “touches hearts and changes lives.”

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“Test all things. Hold fast what is good.”  1 Thessalonians 5:21 NKJV.

Doing the right thing is always the right thing to do.

My thoughts and comments today encourage you, “do the right thing.”

People tend to do the opposite of what may be best for them, making me ask, ”Why?” We seem prone to maximize criticism where given, but minimize compliments when offered. Grudges can be long-held, while gratitude is short-lived. The worst is often assumed, with little thought of better possibilities. Unprofitable things are counterproductive to your own personal well-being. I have seen people refuse to forgive even when forgiveness would have been easier.

Paul was a pragmatist and observed, “All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable . . not all things edify.” 1 Corinthians 10:23 NAS. Hold fast only to what is profitable and edifying. People indulge many things that are clearly unprofitable. Worry is not justified, but we worry. Fear is faith-destroying, yet it dominates our thoughts and cripples our will. Unforgiveness is costly, but we struggle to forgive even when forgiveness is healthier. My friend Campbell explained, “If you want to know what fills you, watch what first spills out when you’re bumped.”

Hands and hearts cannot hold fast what is invaluable when preoccupied with what is unnecessary. I find the Apostle Paul’s writings very practical. Here is his wisdom and practicality at its best: “Always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all . . Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.” 1 Thessalonians 5:14-22 NKJV. What I understand from his words is this advice: “Make good your goal and when good is done or discovered, hold it tightly.”

Life be better when you determine to live that simply – worries are fewer, relationships less complicated, and life simpler all around. Carefully and prayerfully, examine your situations and feelings, considering, “Is this helpful or hurtful? Is my assumption, action, or emotion beneficial or detrimental to myself or others?” Develop Godly discernment. Spiritual maturity is best exercised in the practice of Godly discernment.

Discernment is learning when to let go of what disturbs your peace and how to hold tightly to what develops and expresses Christ-like character. “. . those who are mature, who have trained themselves to recognize [discern/NKJV] the difference between right and wrong, and then do what is right.” Hebrews 5:14 NLT. Doing the right thing is always the right thing to do. Learn from Godly Joseph. Betrayed by his brothers, indentured in a foreign land, and wrongly imprisoned, his heart held fast to forgive his brothers and trust in God’s righteous character. His conclusion? “God turned into good what you meant for evil.” Genesis 50:20 NLT. Be careful what occupies your thoughts and fills your heart.

You can hear Paul’s fatherly heart for the Church at Philippi, “That you may surely learn to sense what is vital, and approve and prize what is excellent and of real value [recognizing the highest and the best, and distinguishing the moral differences] . .” Philippians 1:9-10 AMP. Life is ultimately determined by whether you hold fast to the “highest and best,” or settle for less.

My prayer for you today is that you approve and prize what is of excellence and value.

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Seasons

October 18th, 2013

“Be ready in season and out of season.” 2 Timothy 4:2 NKJV.

Change is a real constant in life.

My thoughts and comments today are about “seasons.”

As a boy growing up in the Illinois, I enjoyed the change of seasons. September brought the cooling temperatures and changing colors of autumn, and every teenage boy’s dreaded job of raking and burning the fallen leaves. December brought the snow and cold of winter, but also snowmen and neighborhood snowball fights, and of course a Currier and Ives white Christmas. Spring produced the showers and multi-hued flowers of new growth and life. And then came the longer, warmer days of summer, with baseball in the street until dark. Each season was distinct in its own right, uniquely savored and enjoyed.

Why are you and I prone to seize upon a single season to our liking and try to make that one size fit all? When you struggle to do so and seem to succeed for a time, you make a life meant to be exciting and challenging into something dull and routine, even boring and joyless! Change is the only real constant in life; change is to be welcomed.

What would life be like if every day were the same, if every season of life were indistinguishable from another? Apparently, God values variety and diversity. Every snowflake is unique. Every fingerprint is individual. Creation established both day and night and the lights of Heaven to rule over each. The Creator dictated there would be seed time and harvest. The key to life is finding its rhythm and adjusting accordingly.

Seasons have beginnings and endings. Learn to anticipate and appreciate each new season. Every beginning will eventually yield to an ending; inevitably, that must be. And every ending is the promise of a new beginning; predictably, that will be. Listen to the practical wisdom of Solomon, “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under Heaven . . a time to be born, a time to die . . a time to weep and a time to laugh . . a time to gain and a time to lose . . a time to keep silence and a time to speak . . He has made everything beautiful in its time.” Ecclesiastes 3:1-11 NKJV.

To be wise you must learn to recognize different seasons and to embrace its change as well. Paul encouraged Timothy, his protégé, to live and serve the same, whatever the season or circumstance. “In view of His appearing and Kingdom . . be prepared in season and out of season . .”  2 Timothy 4:2-5 NKJV. Seasons and situations change but your enthusiasm and expectation can be constant.

My sincere goal is that my life be as the man God’s Word describes, “Blessed is the man who . . is like a tree planted by the streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does will prosper.” Psalm 1:3 NIV. Be fruitful in the season of fruitfulness; do not wither when a different season comes; prosper whatever a new season brings. Much changes; God doesn’t; you mustn’t.

“Do not grow weary while doing good, for in due season you shall reap if you do not lose heart.” Galatians 6:9 NKJV. God has meticulous timing, always in time, always on His time. I believe true spiritual maturity evidences the character trait of diversity with consistency, an integrity of heart and life that God and others expect.

My prayer for you today is that you hold fast to what is unchanging and eternal.

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