Archive

Archive for July, 2017

Overwhelmed But Not Overcome

July 28th, 2017

Emotions provide color and beauty to life.

 “I will cry to You, When my heart is overwhelmed.”  Psalm 61:2 NKJV.

My thoughts and comments today are about being, “Overwhelmed But Not Overcome.”

Feelings enrich your experience of life. But there are times when feelings are confusing, even overwhelming. In such times, you can find comfort and companionship from Jesus. “In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 NIV. Feelings are real but they are not always right. You have to deal with them but you do not have to believe them. There will be times when you may wish you didn’t have so many feelings to contend with. But I would not want to be without emotions, nor should you. Emotions also provide color and beauty to your life experience.

Jesus felt crushing emotions and dealt with them, as when He agonized over Jerusalem’s rejection. Luke 13:34-35 NIV. Or as He wept in Gethsemane’s garden when He foresaw the suffering of the cross. Luke 22:42 NIV. There is good news for such times. “[Jesus] understands our weaknesses, for He faced all of the same temptations we do, yet He did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive His mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it.” Hebrews 4:15-16 NLT.

At such times, easy answers won’t comfort you nor will empty platitudes that urge you to ignore or deny your feelings make feelings go away. I have learned that feelings are real, whether positive or negative, and you must reckon with them. Denying troubling feelings only amplifies their power. They won’t just go away because you wish they would. You should deal with them. You do not have to submit to them. Your feelings are real, but not always based in reality. Ofttimes, it is better to doubt them than believe them. Don’t become a slave to your emotions.

Embrace and enjoy healthy emotions; God gave them for your blessing. But what can you do with the unhealthy ones – like anger, fear, discouragement, worry, doubt, frustration, jealousy, or distress? God always has the answer. “Everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.” 1 John 5:4 NIV. First, do not indulge feeling guilty for honest emotions, nor continue entertaining unhealthy emotions either. Bring them out in the open. Without shame, place them in God’s presence where the Holy Spirit can help you handle every emotion. That’s what Jesus did in His agony, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow . . Father, please take this suffering away from Me. Yet I want Your will, not mine.” Mark 14:34 NIV/36 NLT. You can fully trust God in such moments, if you will.

To understand feelings, you must examine their origins. Sometimes, only God can expose the source of your feelings. When emotions overrule your will, bad feelings prompt bad choices. The Holy Spirit within you will always give you the power and wisdom to make right choices, if you ask. Remove the hurry and you reduce the worry.

More than circumstances, busy schedules are the root cause of feeling overwhelmed. You feel overwhelmed when stuff pushes God to the outer edges of your life. When you are overwhelmed: make time to recuperate physically, mentally, relationally, emotionally, and spiritually. Take time to rest. You must prioritize the necessary time. Take time to share your need for prayer with a friend. Take time to quiet your heart in God’s presence. “I am content and at peace, as a child lies quietly in its mother’s arms, so my heart is quiet within me.” Psalm 131:2 TEV. Take time to pray, asking God for help and healing. Take time to listen, until you hear a fresh, invigorating word from God.

Feeling the emotions of circumstances beyond his strength, David determined, “I will cry to You for help, for my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the towering Rock of safety, for You are my safe refuge.” Psalm 61:2 NLT.

Today, I pray for you to choose daily to live by strong faith and not strong feelings.

Christian Communications 2017-0579

facebook.com/everydaylife.allenrandolph

Devotionals , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Enthusiasm Is Contagious

July 26th, 2017

Work hard with appreciation and enthusiasm.

 “Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working

 for the Lord.” Ephesians 6:7 NLT.

My thoughts and comments today are, “Enthusiasm Is Contagious.”

A major proportion of your life will be spent in the marketplace. Approximately one-third of most days will be at work, and for the majority of us that will mean working for and with others. Practicing diligence and being enthusiastic, you will make that significant quantity of time a good experience for you, and make yourself a blessing to others.

A real issue today in business and relationships is the matter of loyalty. My Dad taught me to be loyal and to highly prize loyalty in personal and professional relationships. When I was a young minister, my Dad taught me to be loyal to those in authority and faithful to my work while there, and loyal to any and all who allowed me that opportunity. His advice was simple. If ever I could not be loyal, then I should thank them genuinely, go my way, and work where I could be loyal.

The Bible echoes my Dad’s advice, “Workers who protect their employer’s interests will be rewarded.” Proverbs 27:18 NLT. I have found that true. Besides being right and honorable, it is just practical wisdom to prioritize the interests and favor of those who directly contribute to your own best interests. And be enthusiastic while doing so. Show loyalty to others and loyalty will be reciprocated. It is true in life, whether good or bad, that you will reap what you sow, but in even greater measure. See Galatians 6:7-10 NIV. My father’s counsel was wise and it works, two very good things. I have never had to leave a relationship or responsibility in order to remain loyal, but I would before violating my integrity and God’s expectation of me. How you leave is as important as why you leave. Read Matthew 10:12-14 NKJV.

Paul’s words are clear, “Do the will of God with all your  heart. Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord, rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will reward each one of us for the good we do.” Ephesians 6:5-8 NLT. Work hard with appreciation for others and enthusiasm for your work. Enthusiasm is contagious. Enthusiasm brings dividends in your life and the lives of others. Share it generously!

The Bible said, “Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also look to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 2:4-5 NIV. Jesus modeled that perfectly and invites you and me to follow His lead. Consistently demonstrate qualities of character and humility in your attitude, speech, and conduct. I continue to practice the grace of putting others first.

Today, I pray for you to represent Jesus faithfully in your consideration of others.

Christian Communications 2017

facebook.com/everydaylife.allenrandolph

Devotionals , , , , ,

Inadequacy or Sufficiency?

July 21st, 2017

In your inadequacy, you discover God’s sufficiency.

 “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God.” 2 Corinthians 3:5 NKJV.

My thoughts and comments today ask that you consider, “Inadequacy or Sufficiency?

Problems are a part of life. In life and its myriad of circumstances, people are prone to measure problems and the probability of success according to their present resources and personal abilities. There will be times when you feel inadequate. However much experience and expertise you acquire, there will still be challenges for which you are inadequate. That is reality, but neither weakness nor prediction of failure. It is not failure when you face a problem you cannot solve, a need you cannot meet, or a habit you cannot conquer.

It is failure when you try to accomplish those things in your own strength and resources, without including the One who is greater than the challenge before you. “Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; His greatness no one can fathom.” Psalm 145:3 NIV. With boldness, Paul differentiated between his own inadequacy and the unfailing sufficiency of God, “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God.” 2 Corinthians 3:5 NKJV. Sufficiency always and only comes form God.

History, as well as Scripture, is filled with examples of ordinary people who recognized their limitations and realized God’s extraordinary grace and power. Hudson Taylor, the great British missionary to India in the later 1800’s, wrote, “Many Christians estimate difficulty in the light of their own resources, thus they attempt very little and they always fail. The real giants have all been weak people who did great things for God because they reckoned on His power and His presence to be with them.” Hudson Taylor achieved remarkable things because he was confident that a great God was with and within him and offered himself for God’s use.

When God chose you and me, He knew what He was doing and what He was getting. The Bible speaks plainly,“Few of you were wise in the world’s eyes, or powerful, or wealthy when God called you. And He chose those who are powerless to shame those who are powerful. So that no one can ever boast in the presence of God.” Read 1 Corinthians 1:26-29 NLT. And God was clear about His purpose, “That you may know what is . . the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead.” Read Ephesians 1:18-21 NKJV. The power of His Resurrection confirms His sufficiency.

You discover God’s sufficiency when you accept your inadequacy. The process is this: “God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.” 2 Corinthians 9:8 NIV. God’s abundant grace empowers your effective ministry to others, but is not for your personal embellishment. Paul’s testimony was, “The Lord said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV. Because God knows our weakness, He releases His strength to accomplish through us what we could not achieve without His empowering, “. . according to His working which works in [us] mightily.” Colossians 1:29 NKJV.

Today, I pray for you to trust and find that God is within you, and He is enough.

Christian Communications 2017

facebook.com/everydaylife.allenrandolph

Devotionals , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Born Again

July 18th, 2017

Salvation is never a by-product of religion.

“You have been born again through the living and enduring Word of God.” 1 Peter 1:23 NIV.

My thoughts and comments today are about being, born again.”

Life is a precious gift. A friend of mine co-authored a book, “A Trip Around the Sun.” Each calendar year completes a trip around the sun. For me, today is an anniversary of those journeys. It’s my birthday. I have collected more than a few of those and I am grateful for every one. There have been many grace-blessed days for which I am grateful. I concur with the Psalmist, “This is the day that the Lord has made: we will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24 NKJV. I was born, July 18 in Carbondale, Illinois, to a young, ministry couple, Raymond and Mildred Randolph. They were the best birthday gifts I ever received.

But today, I would also like to acknowledge another birthday, a day in January, 1952. It was a Sunday night service where my parents pastored in North Venice, Illinois, when an evangelist urged people to be, “born again.” Even as young as I was and as little life that I had lived, I realized I was a sinner who needed a Savior, not so much because of what a young preteen had done, but because of what I had not done. I had not before recognized that without Christ I was a sinner who needed a Savior. I went forward for prayer and committed my heart and life to God.

Salvation is never a by-product of religion. Read Titus 3:3-7 NIV. Salvation is the product of grace and one’s faith in Christ. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works.” Ephesians 2:8-10 NIV. Good works are the fruit of salvation, not the origin.

Be advised; the Bible is clear, For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” Romans 3:23-24 NIV. The Bible describes that redemptive process as being, “born again.” John explained this process of spiritual transformation in a simple way: receiving Him and believing He is our Savior. “Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God – children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” John 1:12-13 NIV.

As to your natural birth, you made neither choice nor decision. However, your spiritual birth requires deliberate choice, and a decision only you can make. “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make Him out to be a liar and His Word has no place in our lives.” 1 John 1:8-10 NIV. Those last words are sobering, or should be. “Though everyone else in the world is a liar, God is true.” Romans 3:4 NLT.

It is probable that the majority of you who are reading EveryDay Life have understood your need for a Savior. But for anyone who has not, I urge you to invite Jesus to become your Savior and Lord right now; this day can be when you are born again. There is a joy awaiting you unrealized and an eternal life that is unimaginable. The Bible promises, “’No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him’- but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit . . We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit Who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us.” 1 Corinthians 2:9-10/12 NIV. “For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring Word of God.” 1 Peter 1:23 NIV.

Maybe you don’t fully understand it all. No one ever does. There is an element of faith in God and trust in the truth of His nature and Word that is required. Nicodemus also had questions when he came to Jesus. “Jesus declared, ‘I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.’ ‘How can a man be born when he is old?’ Nicodemus asked . .  Jesus answered, ‘Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.  You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’”  Read John 3:3-7 NIV. I don’t know how all of that works, but I know God does, and His Word is true and His salvation is real.

Today, I pray for you to always keep your full faith in Christ Jesus as Savior and Lord.

Christian Communications 2017

facebook.com/everydaylife.allenrandolph

Devotionals

Patience and Perseverance

July 14th, 2017

 Perseverance promises blessings but includes trials and trouble.

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12 NIV.

My thoughts and comments today are about, Patience and Perseverance.”

Worthy goals and great dreams come true when you determine to do more than endure; choose to thrive! Good things come to those who continue steadfast and faithful. Success comes to those who prevail over obstacles and challenges. When things get tougher than planned and they will, or take longer than hoped and they do, or cost more effort and sacrifice than anticipated and it does, plenty of reasons to give up and quit will be found. Many people won’t persevere, and then they wonder why life doesn’t work as they hoped.

Though the words are used somewhat interchangeably, there is a practical distinction between patience and perseverance. Patience deals with delays. Perseverance deals with problems. Few enjoy waiting through unwanted delays and unexpected difficulties. I have heard it said, “Good comes to those who wait.” I would add this qualifier – if you stay busy, hopeful, and faithful meanwhile. Consider God’s testimony of faithful Job in his travail and triumph. “Even in all this suffering, Job said nothing against God.” Job 2:10 TEV. Patience has to be exercised in the middle of a mess. No whining. No blame. No regret.

It is always too soon to quit. Being patient is difficult enough, but perseverance introduces the added elements of trials and trouble. From experience, Paul wrote, “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us. They help us learn to endure. And endurance develops strength of character in us, and character strengthens our confident expectation of salvation.” Read Romans 5:3-5 NLT. Both patience and perseverance require the added discomfort of enduring some troubling circumstance during an inconvenient time. In such times, don’t lose sight of your goal, nor lose faith in your God.

The Bible tells inspiring stories of people who exemplify today’s verse. “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.” James 1:12 NIV. Abraham persevered, waiting for God’s promise of a son. See Romans 4:18-25 NIV. Daniel persevered righteously while captive in Godless Babylon. See Daniel 6:25-28 NIV. Paul persevered for years while imprisoned for his faith. See 2 Timothy 4:6-8 NIV. Paul’s example underscored his counsel, “Keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:11-12 NIV. Perseverance promises blessings but includes trials and trouble. Read 2 Corinthians 6:3-10 NIV.

Jesus sacred life and ultimate sacrifice is our supreme example. “Never quit . . keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how He did it. Because He never lost sight of where He was headed – that exhilarating finish in and with God.” Hebrews 12:1-2 MSG. Jesus said, “I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.” John 13:15 NLT.

If Jesus could, and would, persevere for you, won’t you do that for Him? His promise is that you will be blessed, when you patiently persevere. “Remember that in a race everyone runs, but only one person receives the prize. You must also run in such a way that you will win. All athletes practice strict self-control. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run straight to the goal with purpose in every step.” 1 Corinthians 9:24-26 NLT.

Today, I pray for you to value eternal blessings above earthly difficulties.

Christian Communications 2017-0937

facebook.com/everydaylife.allenrandolph

Devotionals , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,