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Archive for March, 2019

The Rhythm of Rest.

March 28th, 2019

Rest Is Found in Jesus.

 “Come to Me, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 NLT.

My thoughts and comments today are about,
“the rhythm of rest.”

Rest. Peace. Calm. Quiet. Refreshed. What calming words in such a busy, stressful world. But there are times when a slower pace, or fewer things on your to do list, or even an extra hour of sleep will not provide the rest you seek. Rest is always and only found in Jesus. Exhaustion does not come in a single form. Our common need includes rest for body, soul, and spirit.

Your spirit is revived through frequent and unhurried time in God’s presence. You renew your soul by regular worship and diligent study of God’s Word. You rebuild your strength when you depend on His. You recover optimism by your regular practice of meaningful prayer.  

I remember a season of life when my days felt too long and my nights too brief. As I sat alone with my Bible late that night, the Holy Spirit brought to my mind an obscure verse. I searched to find its reference. As I found and read that verse, I experienced profound rest in the Lord, strength from His Word, and ample grace. I learned its simple yet powerful truth: “Your strength will equal your days.” Deuteronomy 33:25 NIV.

God promises and gives abundant grace for each day. And then, He faithfully provides for every tomorrow. A favorite hymn of mine is, “Great is Thy Faithfulness.” Among its lyrics are this faith affirmation: “strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow. Blessings all mine with ten thousand beside. Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me.”

Jesus said, “Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Matthew 6:33-34 NKJV. So much about life is learning how to prioritize your life.

Fill your thoughts with God Word. Welcome each new day with ample trust and each night empty your day of its cares. God’s Word is clear, ”Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7 NIV. God welcomes what you give Him. He will not take away your concerns without your surrender of them. When you are walking in obedience, strength is given according to your need.

Life has a rhythm between work and rest, activity and inactivity, productivity and replenishment.At creation, God Himself modeled the helpful and healthful rhythm of work and rest when he created the earth in six days and rested on the seventh and commanded us to do so as well.

Rest and work are seldom equal parts, but they certainly are parts of equal importance. Discover that rhythm and you will have all the strength and energy you need. Ignore that and life doesn’t work as well for you, no matter how much you want it to work or how diligent you are to make it so.

Can you identify yourself with what the disciples must have felt? “Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, Jesus said to them, ‘Come with me to a quiet place and get some rest.’” Mark 6:31 NIV. Even though the disciples were involved in good things for others, that was not enough to make it good for them. Rest is found in Jesus.

Life will only change for you when you finally tire of being tired. Only then will you make the necessary changes for that to be different.

Burnout is an undeniable fact of today’s high stress, success driven society. The price is inestimable that is exacted on marriages, personal relationships, quality of life, and spiritual fulfillment. Don’t become a statistic. When you do God’s work in God’s way, you will have God’s peace and rest for your soul.

Today, I pray for you to keep pace with God, neither hesitating nor hurrying.

Christian Communications 2019  
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Devotionals

Plans Predict Success

March 20th, 2019

Failure to Plan Is a Sure Plan to Fail.

 “May God grant your heart’s desires and make all your plans succeed. ” Psalm 20:4 NLT.

My thoughts and comments today are about,
“plans Predict Success.”?


Success has essential components to achieve any worthwhile goal – strong desire, deliberate efforts, dedicated purpose, a practical plan, and patient determination. Even the best of plans may not succeed, but if you have no plan, the result is just whatever happens. There is a practical reality I have learned. Failing to plan is planning to fail.

Planning is the practical process that envisions success and endeavors to achieve that. A practical and realistic plan expresses your faith in the possibilities of your future. But you and I cannot know the future; only God best knows that. How do you plan for a future you do not foresee? Ask your Father in Heaven. The Bible advises, “If you need wisdom -if you want to know what God wants you to do- ask Him, and He will gladly tell you.” James 1:5 NLT. Practical wisdom can be described as, “the God-given ability to see your situation from God’s point of view. Imagine the difference such a viewpoint makes. Here are some practical things I have learned.

Planning must begin with God. Remember that your future is not yours to determine alone. Wisdom begins with humility. “Submit yourselves, then, to God.” James 4:7 NIV. Over the years, I have observed and learned that the least of God’s plans will be better than the best of mine.Paul was clear,“This ‘foolish’ plan of God is far wiser than the wisest of human plans, and God’s weakness is far stronger than the greatest of human strength.” 1 Corinthians 1:25 NLT. Place your trust in God’s purpose for your life and take time to know what God wants for you and from you. Solomon was wise, “We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.” Proverbs 16:9 NLT.

Planning clarifies direction and dictates action. Such a process secures your focus and marshals your resources to best achieve your intent. Without a wise and practical plan, time, effort, and resources will be wasted. The Psalm asks, ”Why do the people waste their time with futile plans?” Psalm 2:1 NLT. The best of plans is futile wherever God was not included.

Planning directs your best efforts. Obedience and faithfulness help you realize God’s purpose. Those are not a way to realize your own desires. Isaiah warned a nation, “All your feverish plans are to no avail because you never ask God for help.” Isaiah 22:11 NLT. Sadly, that warning could be said too frequently of any of us.

Planning welcomes the help of others. There are very few things, if any, that are best accomplished on your own. “Plans succeed through good counsel; don’t go to war without the advice of others.” Proverbs 20:18 NLT.

Planning begins with God’s plans. “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for your good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 NLT. Here is the thing of which you can be confident: “The plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations . . the Lord will work out His plans for my life.” Psalm 33:11 NIV/138:8 NLT. With this prayer, I end where I began. “May God grant your heart’s desires and make all your plans succeed.”Psalm 20:4 NLT.

Today, I pray that you desire to have God’s blessings above all else.

Christian Communications 2019
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Devotionals

Love Is for Sharing

March 15th, 2019

Love Is a Choice You Make.

 “Love one another; as I have loved you.” John 13:34 NKJV.

My thoughts and comments today are that, “Love is for sharing.”

At times, love can be challenging for any of us. The Bible would not command us to love if love was not possible for us. Love is not a feeling you have; love is a choice you make. Can anyone learn to love? Most certainly, God’s answer is yes. God set the precedent when He loved you and me – and such love was extended to the whole world. “God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” Romans 5:8 NIV. Real love is always sacrificial.

Jesus was clear about His mission. “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:10 NKJV. Abundant life now! Everlasting life forever! “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 NKJV. How long has it been since you gratefully reflected on those glorious, foundational, and liberating truths?

About love, Jesus’ commandment was clear. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” John 13:34 NKJV. Notice that those words are not a suggestion or a lofty goal beyond your ability to accomplish. How is such love possible? When you experience God’s love, you are changed from the inside out. The ongoing conformation to love others as Jesus loved you is the surest evidence of spiritual transformation. Obedience supplies ability.

Is that easy all the time? Definitely not! But would God ever ask you to do something you are incapable of doing without providing His example to guide you and His Holy Spirit to empower you to do so?

Love is meant to be shared, not stored until a special occasion. And love is not earned; love is best when freely given. I think the foundation for love is Jesus’ reasonable admonition: “Freely you have received; freely give.” Matthew 10:8 NIV. If ever you have experienced God’s love through Christ by the power of the Spirit, you are capable of profound love. The followers of Jesus marveled at the news of Saul’s conversion was described this way, “He who formerly persecuted us now preaches the faith which he once tried to destroy.” Galatians 1:23 NKJV. Read Acts 27:1-37. The love of God changed a persecutor into a preacher of grace.

Love inspires and instills passion. Passionately, Paul prayed, “That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.” Philippians 3:10 NKJV. Paul longed to know Christ, whatever the sacrifice and suffering required. Notice the multilayered component to an empowered life. (1) the power of His Resurrection, and (2) personal identification with Christ’s sufferings,and (3) embracing the life-changing conformation of Jesus’ selfless surrender. There are no shortcuts.

Today, I pray for you to know that God’s love is always transforming.

 

Christian Communications 2019

Website and archives: allenrandolph.com

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Devotionals

Bread of Life

March 7th, 2019

External Things Never Satisfy Eternal Longings.

“I am the Bread of Life. He who comes to Me will never go hungry.” John 6:35 NIV.

My thoughts and comments today are about the, “Bread of Life.”

Hunger is a strong motivation, impossible to ignore and common to us all. I think that inner alert is God-given. God crafted your body to know when it needs replenishing, whether that be for nutrition, rest, or exercise. Your body responds to its lack by sending a signal and waiting for the expected response.

If the signal is ignored and no response comes, the body protects its vital organs by shutting down things less essential and redirecting the diminishing supply of the body’s stored resources where most needed. To protect and supply critical organs, the heart, lungs, and brain, the body gradually grows weaker from the lack of nourishment, and the process of starving begins.

Make no mistake; there is a hunger of the soul. Similar to your physical body, the human spirit is also created to need nourishment and replenishing in unique and internal ways. People fail to recognize their spiritual hunger or misinterpret those inner longings, trying to fill a growing emptiness with many things that will never satisfy, such as money, possessions, busyness, thrills, amusements, sex, drugs, alcohol, and the like. Such efforts go to excess, and yet remain never enough. Too many people fail to recognize the origin of the soul’s hunger.

David voiced the desire of every Godly heart. “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God.My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?” Psalm 42:1-2 NIV. External things will never satisfy eternal longings. Listen to your heart; feed your soul.

Job was right, “I have esteemed the words of Your mouth more than my necessary food.” Job 23:12. Can you say that?Jesus, described Himself as the Bread of Life. He invites you to know that He alone will satisfy the deepest and greatest longings, and you will never be hungry again. Your ultimate desire will be wanting more of Jesus and His Word. Jesus must be first in your life. Jesus was clear, “But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die. 51 I am the Living Bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever.” John 6:50-51 NIV.

Eternal life is reserved for those who value abundant life now and prize eternal life forever.His ample supply is always available and ever abundant. His provision is not automatic; you must come to Him. Here’s how Jesus taught you to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.” Matthew 6:11. Jesus is that bread given to you everyday. Enjoy His ample provision to the fullness.

You receive this life-giving, daily bread through the regular practice of true worship (John 4:23-24), personal prayer (Ephesians 6:18/Romans 12:12), time with your Bible (Psalm 119:11), thoughtful reflection on truth (Psalm 1:1-3), and meaningful fellowship with others who are seeking the same Source and satisfaction, as are you (Hebrews 10:24-25). Those spiritual practices become your spiritual sustenance and strength.

These important, spiritual disciplines provide satisfaction that is much fuller and more lasting than any and everything else with which you might attempt to feed your soul. Jesus promised, “Blessed are they that hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.” Matthew 5:6.

Today, I pray for you to nurture a heart set on things above and not below.  

Christian Communications 2019

Website and archives: allenrandolph.com

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Devotionals