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Archive for April, 2014

Mixture

April 30th, 2014

“He will sit as a refiner . . of silver.” Malachi 3:3 NIV

Purity increases value and worth; impurity devalues one’s soul.

My thoughts today are about “mixture.”

Probably no one is as pure and pristine as they wish.  Anyone can be less than edifying to others. In the privacy of your thoughts you might hold opinions and attitudes you would not likely want everyone to know. Those are impurities that God is working to remove, refining your life. When indulged, impurities depreciate who you are and diminish what you become. Things of lesser quality allowed in your life displace the right things of greater quality that God intends. What you allow controls you; what you change frees you.

Paul described the dilemma of mixture this way, “No matter which way I turn, I can’t make myself do right. I want to, but I can’t. When I want to do good, I don’t. And when I try not to do wrong, I do it anyway . . it seems to be a fact of life that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong . . what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 7:18-25 NLT.

There’s only one place you will find the right answers for your life, whatever the question about going forward – “The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord!” Paul accurately diagnoses the problem, but continue to read; Paul also discovers the possibility of successful deliverance. Exactly because Jesus is Lord, He does not merely have the answer; thank God, man’s Savior is the Answer! See John 14:6-7 NIV.

Can you change? Not by yourself. “Change usually comes when it hurts so much that you have to change, when you learn so much that you want to change, and when you receive so much that you welcome change.” (Author unknown). Those phrases describe three elements for motivating change: pain and suffering that will not allow you to remain as you were, truth that brings understanding of change, and mercy and grace that empowers change. See 1 John 3:1-3 NIV.

Change does not just happen; real and lasting change results from the patient intervention of God. The Bible says, “God will be like a refiner’s fire . . He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver . . then the Lord will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness.” Malachi 3:2-3 NIV. Refining precious metal is a process that requires skill and patience, but also heat. Heat is indispensable to the refining process. As heat increases, any incompatible mixture separates so impurities are identified and removed. Integrity replaces mixture; purity displaces impurity.

Purity only increases value and worth; impurity devalues one’s soul. That is true in so many ways and areas of one’s life. “Avoid every kind of evil. May God Himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The One who calls you is faithful and He will do it.” 1 Thessalonians 5:22-24 NIV. Blameless; that’s 100% pure! Read Psalm 51:7/10 NLT.

My prayer for you today is that you will be pure of heart and single-hearted for God.

Devotionals

An Explanation and a Bit of News

April 25th, 2014

EveryDay Life Update

Friday, April 25, 2014

I so appreciate those who are regular readers of EveryDay Life. You may have noticed that an EDL devotional that usually would have arrived today was not emailed. Today was a travel day for me, as I have ministry responsibilities this weekend and will probably be unable to provide the devotionals on the usual schedule, either today or some of next week.

On this Saturday evening (5:00 pm, April 26 ) as well as Sunday morning (8:30/10:00/11:45 am, April 27), I will be teaching for my dear friend, Pastor Ken Foreman, at the Cathedral of Faith in San Jose, CA.I ask your prayers for God’s Word to be shared with anointing and passion that touches hearts and changes lives.

For those readers of EDL in the Silicon Valley area, you are invited to join any of the four times of weekend ministry. For more information of times and  church location, I refer you to their website: www.cathedraloffaith.org. If you are able to come I would love the opportunity to greet you.

For EDL readers in other parts of the country or world, there is also Live Streaming of the later Sunday morning service available on their website. Be mindful to adjust the advertised time of the Online Campus with your own time zone.

I look forward to resuming EveryDay Life in a few days, and thank you for your encouragement and prayerful partnership in the ministry of EveryDay Life. Meanwhile, you can use this opportunity to visit the EDL website: www.allenrandolph.com and browse any of the archive of more than 1,150 previous devotionals, which can be searched by Bible verses, keywords, or calendar dates.

Blessings!

Allen Randolph, Christian Communications, Inc.

 

Devotionals

The Last Word

April 23rd, 2014

“I am God . . declaring the end from the beginning.” Isaiah 46:10 NKJV.

Be wary of allowing a presumption to become your conclusion.

My thoughts and comments today are about “the last word.”

There will always be a few people who always need to have the last word. They propose to be the final authority on all matters. They must be thought right and others wrong. They expect their opinions to be generally accepted as the best ones. Life doesn’t really work that way in lasting and meaningful relationships. In life, I have learned that the final word is rarely, if ever, yours or mine to give. Life works better, and you and others are happier, when you are content to trust God to have the last word. He does, and will, so why not rest in His righteousness and wisdom?

“For I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure.’” Isaiah 46:9-10 NKJV. God alone knows and declares the end from the beginning. He alone has the last word in your life and over your circumstances, past, present, and future. “According to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His own will.” Read Ephesians 1:3-12 NIV. What God says matters most.

Leave plenty of room in your life and circumstance for God to do as He will, and be as generous to allow the same for others. “From now on, we regard no one according to the flesh . . if anyone is in Christ Jesus, he is a new creation . .” Read 2 Corinthians 5:16-18 NKJV. You are not yet a finished project. Until God speaks, the last word has not been spoken about what you can be or do.

Others may remind you of your failure; God affirms you are forgiven. You may know what you can’t do; remember what God can do. Until you include God, people and things may not be as they could be. Likewise, others do not have the last word about you; God reserves that privilege for Himself. To be encouraged, look up every Scripture that includes, “But God . .” There are plenty.

David ran from King Saul’s evil intent for harm. “Saul sought David every day, but God did not deliver him into Saul’s hand.” 1 Samuel 23:14. David confessed his own weakness, “My flesh and my heart fail, but God is the strength of my heart.” Psalm 73:26. Joseph’s brothers abandoned him; he was wrongly imprisoned on false accusations, “But God was with Him.” Acts 7:9. Listen to Joseph’s own testimony, “You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good to bring about this present result.” Genesis 50:20.

In your lifetime, there may be a lot said to you, about you, or against you. But all that does not matter because your Father will have the last word. Easter is a timely reminder that nothing is hopeless, no circumstance final, nor distress unchangeable. “They took Jesus down from the cross and laid Him in a tomb.” Acts 13:29. His disciples saw His cruel and public death, watched his lifeless body being buried and the tomb sealed and guarded.

Some disciples headed back home. Others returned to their former pursuits. Some felt too lost to do much of anything yet. Be wary of allowing a presumption to become your conclusion. “But God raised Him from the dead.” Acts 13:30. No one expected that. But God had the last word; how appropriate for the One who declares, “I am the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” Revelation 22:13 NIV.

My prayer for you today is that you not confuse presumptions with conclusions.

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Heaven

April 21st, 2014

“An inheritance incorruptible . . reserved in Heaven for you.” 1 Peter 1:4 NKJV.

This abbreviated season will determine where and how you will spend eternity.

My thoughts and comments today are about “Heaven.”

Life is an all too brief season compared with the expanse of time that is eternal. Here is the importance of that fact. This abbreviated season will determine where and how you will spend eternity. Let me share a few things Jesus said about Heaven. First, open your Bible and read John 14:1-4.

Jesus spoke with personal knowledge and authority about Heaven because Heaven was His home. “Jesus knew that He should depart from this world and return to the Father . .  knowing He had come from God and was going to God.” John 13:1/3 NKJV. After Jesus’ resurrection, Luke described Jesus’ ascension, “While they looked steadfastly toward Heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into Heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into Heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into Heaven.’” Acts 1:10-11 NKJV.

Heaven is a real place. Jesus spoke clearly and confidently about Heaven. “In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you.” John 14:2 NIV. The realness of Heaven does not rest upon empty wishes or sentimentality; it rests upon the authority of God’s Word and the truth of Jesus Christ Himself. If Heaven were not real – as unthinkable as that is – there would be no God, no Savior, no salvation, and death would be fatal and final. Every man would be forever lost in his sins, then die and exist no more. I have stood at too many gravesides and have too many family and friends waiting there for me not to believe in Heaven.

Heaven is a prepared place. “I am going there to prepare a place for you.” John 14:2 NIV. Heaven is a place prepared for you – forever. In some way just for you, Heaven is a place of perfect bliss and blessedness – a home with God eternally.

Heaven is a reserved place. “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with Me that you may also be where I am.” John 14:3 NIV. Heaven is described as possessing “. . the hope that is laid up in Heaven for you . . an inheritance incorruptible . . reserved in Heaven for you.” Colossians 1:5/1 Peter 1:3-5 NKJV.

Heaven can be a sure place for you. Do not be deceived; there are not multiple paths to Heaven. There is but one, through your personal faith in Jesus Christ as Savior. See Romans 10:9-10 NIV. The Bible is clear as were the Apostles, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under Heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12 NIV. Heaven is sure only if Jesus is your Savior and Lord. Jesus was clear, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:5-6 NIV.

My prayer for you today is that you know that Heaven is real, and live accordingly.

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Betrayal and Amazing Grace

April 18th, 2014

“On the same night that [Jesus] was betrayed.” 1 Corinthians 11:23 NKJV.

It is as wrong to underestimate His grace as to overestimate our faith.

My thoughts and comments today are about “betrayal and amazing grace.”

Betrayal is a terrible thing. It isn’t accidental; it’s deliberate, intentionally hurting another. When it occurs, the pain is immediate and can be enduring. The reactions vary – stunned disbelief, destruction of trust, emotional pain, grief, anger, self-pity, and eventually estrangement. Be careful; betrayal is often sown in the seed of offences, harbored and unforgiven. Forgiveness is the only true remedy.

The history of man is cluttered with betrayal, beginning with Adam and Eve. Abel experienced betrayal by Cain; Jacob betrayed Esau; Joseph was betrayed by his brothers; Job felt betrayed by his friends; Absalom and Ahithophel betrayed David; David betrayed Uriah; Haman betrayed Mordecai; Demas betrayed Paul. The best and worse among us are capable of unthinkable betrayal.

The wondrous story of the Resurrection cannot be told apart from the undercurrent of betrayal. I have been intrigued by this cryptic verse, “The Lord Jesus on the same night He was betrayed took bread and said, ‘This is My body broken for you . .’” 1 Corinthians 11:23-33 NKJV. The juxtaposition of dark betrayal alongside this intimately sacred moment seems unthinkable. But Jesus was neither surprised nor stunned. “[Jesus] had no need that anyone should testify of man, for He knew what was in man.”­ Read John 2:23-25 NKJV.

Jesus knew Judas would betray Him. For thirty pieces of silver, he identified Jesus with a kiss in Gethsemane. Jesus knew Peter would deny Him. In spite of his protests, he would do just that. Jesus knew all the disciples would forsake him. After His arrest, they all would flee in fear and self-preservation. Yet for this Passover, Jesus gathered these very disciples with a sense of strong urgency saying, “With fervent desire have I desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.” Luke 22:15-16 NKJV.

This was the Passover the Exodus from Egypt foretold generations earlier. This was no casual evening. His earthly ministry and the future success of the Kingdom of God would now rest on their devotion and efforts. And He knew the shattering effect His suffering and death would have on their confidence. John later described Jesus’ intent on this fateful night, “. . Having loved His own . . He now showed them the full extent of His love.” John 13:1 NIV. They had to be persuaded of an unfailing love.

It is as wrong to underestimate His grace as to overestimate your faith. Jesus knew their frailties, as He does ours. Amazing grace. Jesus still loved them – and you, and me. He desired for them, as for us, “to know this love that surpasses knowledge.” Read Ephesians 3:17-19 NIV. As in Jesus’ parables of the lost sheep, lost coin, and lost son (Luke 15), “[Jesus] came to seek and to save what was lost.” Luke 19:10 NIV. Not only to save, but even to seek. He would seek for Judas at that Passover Meal, for Peter at a fireside on the shore of Galilee, and for the disciples, and Thomas, in an upper room where the risen Savior showed them His pierced hands and wounded side.

This Good Friday and Easter is not about Judas, Peter, or the disciples; it is about you and me. Today, and every day, Jesus offers amazing grace – second chances, renewed vows, and new beginnings.

My prayer for you today is for a joyous and glorious celebration of His Resurrection.

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