The Fragrance of Joy

January 31st, 2018

Your life should express the fragrance of His presence.

 “Thanks be to God, Who through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of Him.” 2 Corinthians 2:14 NIV.

My thoughts and comments today are about,

“The Fragrance of Joy.”

Life is not perfect for anyone, and every moment is not filled only with wonderful things. Life changes dramatically, and for the better, when you realize that your circumstances do not determine your experience of life; your attitude does.

I admire people who have faced more struggles and disappointments than most, but who have nevertheless found grace and grown an attitude that reflects who they are, instead of what happened to them. I have met others who have a fairly easy life with few challenges of any consequence, and yet they find little for which to be joyful or thankful. Occasionally, it is a good thing to ask yourself, “Does my life reflect to others what is going on around me, or what is really true inside me?” That significant and substantial difference is the product of the choices you make.

Since a child, I have loved the dramatic Bible stories in the Old Testament, like Samson finally triumphing over the Philistines and himself, or Daniel in the lions’ den whose quiet trust in God humbles an arrogant King, or the three Hebrews delivered from Babylon’s fiery furnace (modern day Iraq). I find a most intriguing comment, easily unnoticed, tucked into this story of the three believers tossed angrily into a furnace intended to destroy them. Read Daniel 3. When the fire could not destroy them nor even harm them, the amazed, befuddled king calls them out of the fire.

The Bible says, “They saw these men on whose bodies the fire had no power; the hair of their head was not singed nor were their garments affected – not even the smell of smoke was on them.” Daniel 3:27. There was no discernible residue of their frightening experience, no lingering emotional trauma, nor need for healing of memories. Only their new and stirring testimony of God’s greatness and faithfulness persevered.

If you are not careful, you will allow your past or present circumstances to determine your attitudes, dictate your feelings, and dominate your conversation. When your story could be a persuasive testimony that glorifies God, it will be only about you and your problems. Read Daniel 3:28-29. In Daniel’s story, a king’s heart is changed; God is glorified; a nation is impacted. The simple difference is that they were with Jesus, joyfully in His company and safely in His care. See Daniel 3:24-25. Attitude really is crucial, having the power to change everything and anyone, and that all begins with the choice you make.

Paul prayed for these Christians and for you, ”We pray that you will be strengthened with His glorious power so that you will have all the patience and endurance you need. May you be filled with joy, always thanking the Father, Who has enabled you to share the inheritance that belongs to God’s holy people, who live in the light.” Colossians 1:11-12 NLT. Whose joy is to fill you? “Always be full of the joy of the Lord!” Like a thermometer, happiness merely measures the surrounding climate and adjusts accordingly. The joy of the Lord resembles a thermostat, regulating and governing the surrounding temperature.

The Apostle Paul wrote, “Thanks be to God, Who . . through us spreads everywhere the fragrance  of the knowledge of Him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved.” Read 2 Corinthians 2:14-17 NIV. Some years ago, I learned to pray, “Let my life express the fragrance of Your presence, not the smell of my problems.”

Today, I pray for your life to be a joyful testimony of God’s grace and sufficiency.

Christian Communications 2018-(807)

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Grace is Enough

January 17th, 2020

Life is not fair, but God is.

“My grace is sufficient for you.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

My thoughts and comments today are that, “grace is enough.”

Sooner or later, every parent hears the anguish over something their child views to be unfair. Maybe we parents have felt that as well because someone, or the world in general, seems to have been less than fair.

Across more than fifty years of ministry, I have heard a lot of good people question  moments that seemed unfair. Jesus knows and understands. In pain on the cross, even Jesus cried out to His Father, “Why have You forsaken Me?” Nothing was fair about Calvary. On the cross, a sinless Savior suffered and died for your sin and mine.

”Consider Him Who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:3 NIV. Consider this. Did anyone promise you an easy life? People experience trouble they neither caused nor deserved. Difficulties observe no respect of persons.

Talk about unfair. “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.” 1 Peter 3:18 NIV. God makes struggles redemptive. As a young teen, My Dad taught me a simple truth about the character of God. When I complained that something or someone was not fair, my dad simply assured me that, “Life is not always fair, but God is always just!” My Dad was right; God’s Word and righteous character are sure and true.

Perplexing circumstances neither invalidate the righteous character of God nor the truth of His promises. Jesus spoke plainly, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 6:33 NIV. Here is the simple truth. Life will not always be easy nor always seem fair. Of course, you and I would prefer ease and comfort. But growth and strength occur amid challenges. Steadfastness of faith produces growth in Godliness.

Truth creates enlargement. What you learn from God’s Word and His righteous character builds assurance. Life can be more difficult because of choices you or someone else have made that turn matters in directions God would not have chosen for you. Because of the fallen nature of the world around you, bad stuff can happen even to good and Godly people.

The painful question at such times is, “Where is God?” Read the Psalms. David wrote  honestly about the distresses common to all. Every time David experienced distress he discovered a new measure of God’s loving sufficiency. God’s love, grace, and power are never diminished by current happenstance. Things of the moment are not always as God designed or desires them to be.

But believe this, “We know that to those who love God, who are called according to His plan, everything that happens fits into a pattern for good.” Matthew 8:28 JBPhillips. Look for that pattern for good. In such moments look to God and His Word and embrace His good will. “Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2 NIV. His will is good, and good for you.

Even in uncertainty, God will give you peace. His grace can give you needed relief with room to breathe and believe again. His power will push back the realities that press too tightly upon you. Our Mighty God will provide time and place where you will regroup and recover.

Life is not fair, but God is righteous and just. Life is not easy, but God’s grace is ample.  Jesus said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in your weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV. Paul prayed for every follower of Jesus, ”That you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him . .  strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power.” Read Colossians 1:9-11 NKJ. His grace is more than ample.

My prayer for you today is that you will be strengthened in God’s Word.

EDL Communications 2019

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Blessings on Christmas Day

December 25th, 2019

A simple greeting on Christmas Day

Thank you for being a reader of EveryDay Life. Instead of writing a devotional as usual, I just want to say, ” Thank you and enjoy a Blessed Christmas and New Year,” to all who read and who share EveryDay Life with your family and friends. Thank you for sharing this journey with me. Thank you for welcoming me into your heart and life. When our oldest granddaughter was entering university, I had been her only pastor and I wanted to keep sharing God’s Word and Godly principles into her life. Friends and friends of friends began to ask to receive what I was writing, and with the help of others who had technical skills I lacked, EveryDay Life was born. I still write first to my granddaughter, now the mother of three school age children. With her blessings, thousands of people now read EveryDay. You are gracious and the Holy Spirit is faithful to bring God’s  Word in practical application.  Here are a few thoughts for today . .

Christmas is only fully Christmas when you share its joy. 

A  joy-filled message is not credible when coming from a joyless messenger. You can’t share something you don’t have, and you can’t keep something that you won’t share. That states a spiritual principle that also applies to inexpressible and glorious joy, “One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty.” Proverbs 11:24-25 NIV. When you give joy, you gain joy.

Share the joy of Christmas every day and to every person, in every imaginable way. Celebrate with abandon and without apology. Invite, include, involve, converse, welcome, laugh, love, express life, and be real. Celebrate Jesus joyously. Incarnate the joy of the timeless message so an unbelieving world cannot resist. Christmas is the celebration of the truth that, “The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory as of the only begotten of the Father,  full of grace and truth.” John 1:14 NKJV.

Blessings on this Christmas day and as we enter a New Year, Pastor Allen and Gayle Randolph


A Mystery Wrapped in Majesty

December 19th, 2019

Christmas is a season. Salvation is forever.

“We were eyewitnesses of His majesty.” 2 Peter 1:16 NKJ.

My thoughts and comments today are about,

“a mystery wrapped in majesty.”

I love Christmas. It is truly a wonderful time of the year. And Jesus’ birth is the heart of the season and center of its celebration. Make no mistake. Christmas is a holy day, not merely a holiday. I love the carols and decorations. I love nativity sets that recall His humble arrival into our world, well into His world really.

I love the wonder in children’s eyes at the familiar stories of shepherds, angels, a family, and carolers and congregations singing, “Joy to the World, the Lord is come; Let earth receive her King.” I love Christmas Eve Communions and Christmas Day dinners with family and friends. I love everything about Christmas, except its brevity.

Most of all, Christmas unveils the mystery and majesty of God, by an event so  inexplicable that only God could accomplish it. It was no surprise that all who heard the shepherds’ eyewitness account, “wondered at their words. Nor is it a surprise that Mary, “pondered all these things in her heart.” Unlike any other story, consider the matchless wonder that His story creates. The cast of characters are both good and bad.

There is a worried king jealous for his throne, wondering shepherds rushing from their flocks, wandering kings with royal gifts from afar, and a worshiping couple left contemplating the angels’ startling pronouncements to them. Read Matthew 1:18-25 / Luke 1:26-38 NKJ.

Not much remains a mystery anymore. Christmas is, and will remain both a mystery and majesty. Paul wrote, “Great is the mystery of godliness: Christ was revealed in the flesh, was vindicated in the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory.” 1 Timothy 3:16 NAS.

This great mystery seems counter-intuitive.  From where would a Savior come? Who would imagine a dusty little village? Jesus would come to Bethlehem, but not to Rome. To a stable, but not a throne. How would a Savior come? Would you imagine an infant miraculously born with our shared humanity? Of course not. The Savior would come as a humble carpenter, but not as a conqueror. For whom would the Savior come? Jesus would come for the worst and best among us, sinners all. ”For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23 NIV.

How did this grand introduction to our world occur? “There were shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock. And an angel of the Lord [said] . . ‘Do not be afraid; I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people . .” Read Luke 2:8-14 NKJ.

The shepherds could have remained with their flocks, just retelling one another their stories about angels. Instead, they hurried to become eyewitnesses of the Savior. “When the angels had gone away into Heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let us now go and see this . .” Read Luke 2:15-20 NKJ. This Christmas season will pass, but lives can be changed forever.

A baby born to a nondescript couple in an ordinary stable. The mystery of His birth can become the unequaled majesty of His life in your heart. “God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty.” Read 1 Corinthians 1:24-26 NKJ.

Christmas is knowing the Savior and sharing His Good News with others. Inevitably, the angels return to Heaven. Will you remain as you were, or will you seek a life-changing encounter with the Savior? Christmas is more than the angels’ song. Christmas is about your personal testimony of the grace and love of God for all.

You experience Christmas when you have personally found the One, “born to you this day, a Savior which is Christ the Lord,” and shared the Good News. This Advent, you can be an, “eyewitness of His majesty . . until the Morning Star rises in your heart. “Read 2 Peter 1:16-19. Amid your celebrations, reflect on the divine mystery and celebrate the grand majesty of your Savior.

Today, I pray for your joy to be unrestrained and your celebration  extravagant.

EDL Communications 2019

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Life Is Not Fair

December 10th, 2019

God’s grace is Enough.

 “My grace is sufficient for you.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV.

My thoughts and comments today are about, “life is not fair.”

Have you heard the complaint, “Life is not fair!” Maybe you have felt like that on some occasions. But God is more than fair; God is righteous. Our God is always wise, unchangeably loving, and faithfully strong. No one can promise that your life will be either easy or fair. And when life is challenging and feels unfair, when things do not go as you plan, or develop as you hope, life will not seem very easy either.

Everyone prefers ease and comfort over effort and challenge. We all want the same. No problems. No worries. No troubles. No tears. But without those, there will be no growth and little if any development of faith. In uncertain times when life doesn’t seem to make sense, our faithful and loving God remains the same. The Bible confirms this truth, “Jesus doesn’t change – yesterday, today, tomorrow; He’s always totally Himself.” Hebrews 13:8 The Message.

Andrae Crouch, an amazing singer and songwriter, wrote the song, “Through It All.” The lyrics included this reasoning, “If I never had a problem, how would I know that God could solve them; I’d never know what faith in God can do. But through it all, I’ve learned to trust in Jesus; I’ve learned to trust in God. Yes, through it all, through it all, I’ve learned to depend upon His Word.” Lean on God. Learn to rest upon God’s Word.

Learning to know God through His Word increases your understanding of His righteous nature and loving character. The God of the Bible is even more loving than you have assumed or been told by others. You learn to know God by His Word and your personal experience of Him. Circumstances can send matters in directions that God’s love would not have chosen or wanted for you.

Due to the fallen nature of the world around you, bad stuff happens even to good people. For this moment in time, things may not yet be as God desires or designed them to be. At such times, your humanity is tempted to question, “Why God? Where is God? What will He do? What can He do? Read the Psalms for courage and assurance. The psalmist spoke frequently and honestly about the distress that can weigh on one’s heart and mind. The Holy Spirit – the Comforter – was with you in that moment and His power and presence will neither falter nor fail.

In the New Testament, the Greek word translated as, “distress,” described, “a pressure or narrowness of room.” Today, we call that stress. Stress surrounds and squeezes your joy from daily life. Distress is what you feel mentally, emotionally, and even physically. When life’s situations overwhelm, the Holy Spirit prompts you to turn to God. Why would anyone be reticent to run to the One who alone has abundant grace, abounding love, and unequalled power?

Paul found God and His grace to be enough, never lacking. The Apostle Paul debated with God until, ”[God] said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.’” Read 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 NIV. There and then, you will find God is enough for you as well.

Could there even be times that God does not quickly deliver you from your distressing situation but allows circumstances to grow increasingly uncomfortable and confining until you will truly look to Him, and listen to Him, and embrace and obey His good will, and rest at peace in His care? “Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect His will really is.” Romans 12:1 NLT.

The Psalmist was distressed, “When I call, give me answers. . . Grace me! Hear me!” Psalm 4:1 The MSG. Grace provides opportunity to recover and regroup. David found the entry to such enlargement was, “When I call . .“ Maybe you are waiting for God, while God has been waiting for you. Call out to Him. The door into His grace awaits you.

Life is not always fair, but your God is righteous and just. I have found this true, “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” Genesis 18:25. Life is not always easy, but your Father’s grace is enough. Your Father has promised, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV.

My prayer for you today is to call upon the Lord and be confident of His answer.

EDL Communications 2019

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Gratitude Is an Attitude

November 27th, 2019

Blessings Flow Through A Grateful Heart.

 “Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!” Psalm 107:1 NKJ.

My thoughts today are that, gratitude is an attitude.”

May you be graced with our God’s pronounced blessing and favor. I am thankful for your daily fellowship in God’s Word. Thank you for giving me the honor to share His practical truth. I am privileged that you welcome my thoughts and comments, as you share EDL with family and friends. I rejoice whenever and wherever His Word is published and received into hungry hearts. Thankfully, Allen Randolph

Giving thanks is a holy benediction. Benediction simply means, “a good word or saying.” It feels good when you can look at what you have done or made, and can confidently say, “I am proud of that.” Satisfaction is a good feeling for a fulfilled life.

In the Garden of Eden, God gave His superlative benediction. When God surveyed the mystery and mastery of Creation, He described the work of His hands as, “good.” God rejoiced when He created the world and all that is in it, and finished with His masterpiece, Adam and Eve. Then God pronounced confidently, “It is very good.”

On the Cross of Calvary, Jesus spoke the ultimate benediction. As He hung upon a cross to die for our sins, He declared to Heaven and earth, “It is finished.” The single Greek word from which that phrase is translated was literally a benediction announcing, “this is my best effort and finest result.”

When you were created by the hand of God, and again when you were redeemed through faith in Christ, Heaven heard the Eternal Creator say again, and just as true as at Creation, “It is very good.” Think about that. God looks at you and speaks a wondrous benediction of grace, “very good!” It is never your right to disagree with God, disbelieving or contradicting what He prophesies over you in grace and love.

In humility and wonder, the Apostle Paul wrote, “Long ago, even before He made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in His eyes.” Ephesians 1:4 NLT. Will you be able to speak a similar benediction over your life, appraising what you have done with your time, talents, gifts and opportunities, and how you have lived your life for His pleasure and glory?

Your attitude is a choice only you can make. Gratitude is an attitude you choose. Gratitude is far more than a feeling you have; gratitude is a choice you make. This Thanksgiving look past your struggles and challenges of the moment and see the full measure of His grace, and the abounding nature of His love, and the generous supply of His daily provision. And simply be thankful. You will find more for which to be grateful than things about which to complain or regret.

When you count your blessings, life is best, and praise is loudest. The sincere and simple giving of thanks that I learned from a long-time mentor and friend is an affirmation of faith, “God is good all the time. And all the time, God is good.” That can be your fitting response for God’s goodness to you. Really, it is this simple, “In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17 NKJV.

My prayer for you today is that you are grateful for all God has done for you.

EDL Communications 2019

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