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Archive for November, 2018

Freed To Be Free

November 15th, 2018

Freedom is both gift and destiny.

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.” Galatians 5:1

My thoughts and comments today are about,

“Freed to Be Free.”

Freedom is precious. Across centuries, men have been willing to sacrifice their possessions, positions, and even risk their lives to secure and defend the love of freedom that the Creator placed in our eternal spirit.

America, my native country, was birthed by the courage and sacrifice of people willing to cross oceans for liberty and religious freedom. They released their history and risked their lives in a treacherous journey across oceans to the new world. Such freedom is beyond price. But true liberty always comes at a precious cost. They sought religious freedom. What I write about today is an even greater liberty, spiritual freedom in Christ.

The simplest and most beloved Bible verse is, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have ever lasting life.” John 3:16 NKJV. Familiarity with that verse must not diminish the revolutionary truth of why Jesus died for you and me, as well as all the world. For yours and my disobedience, a sinless sacrifice was required for God to forgive sin and provide lasting redemption.

Jesus alone is sinless; therefore, He alone could become the Father’s acceptable sacrifice. The Apostle Paul’s confident assertion to the Galatians Christians was “You were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh, rather, serve one another humbly in love.” Galatians 5:13 NIV. Rejoice that, “Christ has set us free. Galatians 5:1 NIV. No ifs, ands, or maybes. Spectacular Truth. But that is only the “what” of Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross. The more significant truth is “why” Jesus died on Golgotha’s hill. What Jesus did on the Cross is wonderful. Why Jesus chose to die is even more glorious!

The purpose of Calvary is clear – redemption from your past and the promise of a grand and eternal future. “For God made Jesus, Who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21 NKJV. In the excitement of celebrating such a consequential truth, it is easy to overlook an even more glorious truth. In Christ, spiritual freedom is both gift and destiny.

One aspect of God’s gift redeems your past, and another assures your ongoing spiritual freedom. The liberating truth is this: “It is for freedomthat Christ has set us free.” Paul reminds and warns that freedom does not allow you to live as you please. “You were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh, rather, serve one another humbly in love.” Galatians 5:13 NIV

In Christ, you were freed to be free. Jesus said, “So if the Son sets you free, you are free through and through.” John 8:36 MSG. The liberty Jesus purchased on the cross is all encompassing – yesterday, today, and in every tomorrow. But the Bible promises and warns, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be entangled again by a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1 NIV. Selling your freedom and future for the pleasure of a moment is a fool’s deal.

Today I pray for you to be a proponent of Godliness, grace, and liberty.

Christian Communications 2018

Website and archives: allenrandolph.com

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Experience Is a Great Teacher

November 9th, 2018

Experience is a great teacher.

“Buy the truth and do not sell it – wisdom, instruction and insight as well.” Proverbs 23:23 NIV.

My thoughts and comments today are that,

“Life Provides Experience.”

You are not born with knowledge and understanding. You came into the world with a blank slate – a book of unwritten pages waiting to tell your story, as you learn and grow. That book of life lessons will become the story of your life, the sum of knowledge that you daily accumulate through your willingness and ability to listen and learn.

Truth is written on your heart by your Creator, but life, and the shared knowledge, and understanding from others will help you to discover and grow in wisdom. The Apostle Paul wrote of, “The law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness.” Romans 2:15 NKJV.

While listening for His voice, you must learn to look within to reveal truth which resides in the depth of your heart, pure and undeceived. Isaiah wrote, “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it.’” Isaiah 30:21 NIV. Do not minimize the voice of the Holy Spirit.

God made this world, with wonders unexplainable apart from its Creator. David must have marveled as he wrote, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.” Read Psalm 19:1-6 NIV.

The problem is not a lack of knowledge and understanding being available; that is ample, even abundant. God has given the Bible, His record of truth and wisdom, to be food for your mind and soul, as well as direction for your life. David was confident, “Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light for my path.” Read Psalm 119:97-106 NIV. God has also given you the promise of the Holy Spirit Who will reside within those who receive, welcome, and obey Him. Jesus promised His disciples – and you, “When He, the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth.” John 16:13 NIV. All the above prepare you to live wisely.

Valuable truth abounds. That is found where you translate what you have seen and heard into what you will believe with conviction and certainty. Life dispenses knowledge to those who desire it, and to those who will hear and embrace it. The most valuable truth to learn is this: keep God front and center in all ways at all times. From life you gain experience, some pleasant and others not so much. There is a price for experience. There is a wealth that comes with experience.

And that price can be costly. “Buy the truth and do not sell it – wisdom, instruction and insight as well.” Proverbs 23:23 NIV. There often is a price to be paid, but one well worth paying. From every experience you can learn something useful, but that does not happen automatically. You cannot avoid every mistake, but you can reduce their frequency, grow from them, and avoid making the same ones again.

Experience is a great teacher, a path to understanding if you will choose to learn its lessons. “Tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.” Read Proverbs 5:3-5 NKJV. People have experiences everyday; not everyone considers and evaluates their lessons in order to learn from them. Be one person who learns, and lives more wisely. It is sad to see people who spend their lifetimes making the same mistakes, with ever greater costs to themselves and others. Don’t let that be said of you.

Today I pray for you to always view life through adherence to God’s truth.

Christian Communications 2018

Website and archives: allenrandolph.com

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Devotionals

Listening Is More Than Hearing

November 7th, 2018

Attentive listening prompts obedience  

“Be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourself.” James 1:22 NKJV.

My thoughts and comments today are that,

“Listening is more than hearing.”

My Dad expected obedience. With him, obedience was the norm. If I did not respond accordingly, he would kindly ask if I heard him. He rightly assumed that if I heard him, obedience would be my response. My Dad never threatened me with, “Obey me or else.” My success was his highest hopes for my life. His love was generous and steadfast. His expectations were reasonable and clear.

I regret the times my dad needed to ask, “Allen, did you hear me?” Sometimes, it seems I can still hear his voice when I need reminding that obedience is the best way forward. When there was an issue, the problem was never about my ability to hear; it was always about my willingness to obey. My Dad’s expectation was that if I were truly listening to him, I would hear him clearly and correctly, and I would respond obediently. And I would obey him promptly and completely. He was right to expect that, as is God.

Attentive listening and prompt obedience are two things essential and invaluable for your success in life. Here are two practical realities. You must do more than just listen. You have to obey. If you do not do more than listen, you will not understand what God is saying? And if you don’t understand, how can you obey completely? The Bible says, “These blessings shall come on you . . if you will hearken to the voice of the Lord.” Read Deuteronomy 28:1-14 NKJ. Obedience releases unexpected blessings. The New Testament seems to echo, “Be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourself.” James 1:22 NKJ.

Why do we entertain so many voices, as well as our own inner voice of ideas and opinions? Why would you and I allow meaningless noise to drown out the gentle and essential voice of the Holy Spirit? Why would we listen to voices which deceive, mislead, or distract?

When God spoke to the young Samuel, his response was simple and honest, “Speak, Lord, Your servant is listening.” 1 Samuel 3:10. Samuel placed himself in the posture of a servant prepared to obey whatever God said. Should we do anything other than that? Samuel’s attention and recognition of God’s voice implies that he was listening in order to obey whatever God said. And God had a lot to tell him because the young Samuel was willing to listen when others did not.

You would like to know your future, but you cannot apart from God. Life is lived one day at a time. Ever wonder what God is longing to tell you about what lies ahead? Would you breathe easier today, and worry less about tomorrow, if you knew that God has everything under His control?

When you listen with a predisposition to obey, you will hear the truth-telling whisper of the Spirit in your heart assuring you that, “The Lord goes before you and will be with you . . do not be afraid.” Read Joshua 1:7-9 NIV. Live with a heart to know and obey God; doing so allows you to live with blessed assurance and complete confidence.

My prayer for you today is that you will live confidently and obediently.

Christian Communications 2018

Website and archives: allenrandolph.com

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