God’s Word Works

January 18th, 2019

TRUST THE TRUTH ENTRUSTED TO YOU.
 “My Word will achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:11 NIV.
My thoughts and comments today are about, “God’s Word works.”

We live in a generation of hyper-information, unlike any previous generation. Satellites connect the global community – providing internet, phones, television, radio, instant communication, entertainment, and so much more. Those connect us with information that is immediate, in a quantity that is immeasurable, and on a scale that is global. Because of that incalculable capacity, your challenge is to distinguish truth from the unending opinions, deliberate misinformation, or mere speculation parading its self as truth.

Every day, truth is assaulted by opinions drawn from little more than personal whim or prejudice, or partial truths mixed with so much error as to leave an infinitesimal seed of truth unrecognizable, or deliberate misinformation that is scandalously and blatantly untrue. Pilate asked Jesus we each must settle, “What is truth?” John 18:38 NKJ. You will need wisdom and the Holy Spirit to distinguish between truth and error.

What is true? Where is truth you can believe in? In the shadows and fog of all the noise, God’s Word is a beacon of truth. At the end of his life, Moses instructed, “Ascribe greatness to our God . . A God of truth, righteous and upright is He.” Deuteronomy 32:3-4 NKJ. Truth is what any of us want. It is simple really. Either God is true, or what He says is not. But if God be true, His Word cannot be otherwise. “Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar.” Romans 3:4 NKJ.

Trust the truth God entrusted to you. In life, I have observed this simple, practical fact. “You do not choose what you believe; you first choose who you believe, and that choice determines what you believe.” Choose to believe God and His Word. I want to be counted in the company of those who can say with bold assurance, “We speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the Gospel. We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts.” 1 Thessalonians 2:4 NIV.

Who you know and trust ultimately shapes your opinions and forms your beliefs. Out of those, come your convictions, felt and held deeply. Conviction of truth is not imposed upon you; truth resonates in your spirit and waits to be recognized and embraced by you. I have chosen to believe God; therefore, I believe the Word of God to be divinely inspired, ultimately and eternally true, and both practical and powerful in its application. Read 2 Peter 1:20-21 NLT/2 Tim 3:16-17 NIV.

Paul commended the Thessalonians, “You accepted what we said as the very Word of God – which of course it was. And this Word continues to work in you who believe.” 1 Thessalonians 2:13 NLT. Paul’s assuring words intrigue me, “this Word continues to work in you who believe.” Cherish it; read it; study it: meditate on it: obey it; trust it. As you do, truth will continue to work deep within your spirit and mind, imparting God’s wisdom and understanding. When you don’t feel it, or see it, or understand it, or wonder if it is, still “His Word continues to work in you who believe.”

God won’t quit; His Word won’t fail. “If indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the Gospel which you heard.” Colossians 1:21-23 NKJ. God’s Word continues to work in those who continue steadfast in His Word. When you embrace God’s Word, you release God Word to work until its promised completion. “My Word will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” Read Isaiah 55:8-11 NIV.

The Bible is Truth, and in its pages are found the incomparable wisdom and knowledge of God. The Bible teaches principles of how truth is to be applied in practical ways and ordinary situations. Jesus taught that a life that will endure remains unshaken by all else that changes, when resting firmly upon the Word of God. Read Matthew 7:24-27 NIV.

Today, I pray for you to allow truth to work deeply in your heart and life.

Christian Communications 2019
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The Promise in a Seed

January 10th, 2019

To get anywhere, you must begin somewhere.
 “He who began a good work in you will carry it
to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1.6 NIV.
My thoughts and comments today are about, “the promise in a seed.”

For the year to be happy and satisfying, more needs to change than just the calendar. Wherever you are in your journey, any time is a right time to choose more carefully and live more wisely. The beginning of this year is a perfect occasion to commit to clearer goals, better choices, and successful efforts.

The Bible reminds us, “Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin.” Zechariah 4:10 NLT. Even more, God delights to see efforts rewarded.Too many of us have too many unfinished intentions. The early hours and days of a new year are good for careful reflection and renewed resolve. Where does your spiritual journey need a fresh beginning and focused efforts? Every achievement begins with your vision of possibilities and purposeful decision to accomplish those.

Every seed holds the promise of new beginnings. The largest of trees began as a small sapling, grown from an even smaller seed that released its God-given potential. Yet-unknown possibilities await release and realization from the smallest beginnings. A dear, life-long friend often reminded me, “Anyone can count the seeds in an apple, but only God can count the apples in a seed.”

And God knows your possibilities because He placed that potential in your DNA. However small that seed may seem, recognize that every seed is the place from which God begins. In our Father’s Kingdom, every beginning holds a promise. To describe the Kingdom of God, Jesus chose the example of a tiny mustard seed.

Jesus explained, “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed which a man took and planted in His field.32 Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.” Matthew 13:31-32 NIV. You cannot see the possibilities and power within the seed you sow, but God does. You must learn that to begin does not require anything more than you presently have.

Jesus used His story about a small seed to encourage His followers to realize the power of possibilities. Jesus taught that accomplishment is not about how little or much with which you start; it is how much of your potential you will ultimately realize. With God, your potential is beyond what you may assume. Why do you wait? Today is a great place to start and what you have is enough, when you trust all you have into His hands.

Jesus told the story of a servant who was given a small portion of his master’s wealth to invest and increase. Read Matthew 25:14-29 NIV. Doing nothing is a sure path to failure. He simply buried the money for safekeeping. Incorrectly, he reasoned, he would not lose anything. He failed to realize that neither could he gain anything, and then would lose everything.

The outcome is not only the result of the potential in the seed. God put that there. The result of your small beginning also depends on your view of the importance of what you have and your willingness to begin where you are. To get anywhere you must start somewhere. The longest journey begins with a first step.Where you are and what you have is the right place to begin.

You must plant a seed for its power to be released. The Bible says, “Unless a kernel of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” John 12:24 NIV. Paul encouraged the Christians at Ephesus, “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us.” Ephesians 3:20 NIV.God provides the seed to sow and promises the harvest that results.

There are a lot of great things to be accomplished in your life that are waiting for nothing more than your clear decision to begin, “Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”Philippians 1:6 NIV.

Today, I pray for you to reap an ample harvest from every seed you sow.

Christian Communications 2018
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After Christmas

December 26th, 2018

Christmas Changes Your Past and Promises Your Future.

“When the angels had gone away into Heaven.” Luke 2:15 NKJV.

My thoughts and comments today are about, “After Christmas.”

Waiting for Christmas can seem interminable for children, as well as ourselves. For adults, each day grows more and more busy with preparations until the awaited day arrives. The family and friends gather; the dinner is served and enjoyed; the kitchen and plates are cleaned up, family gifts are shared, and carols sung. But then what?

As a mere calendar event, Christmas inevitably concludes. As a heart experience, Christmas is forever. I would suggest that how you enter the Christmas holidays is not as personally impactful as how you continue and coordinate the celebration into daily life. Consider Joseph and Mary’s experience of the angels’ visit and startling announcement. Obviously, Joseph and Mary could never be the same as before that miraculous night in Bethlehem’s stable.

But the initial aftermath was not as idyllic as you might assume it should have been. Disruption appeared to be their new normal. Christmas does not promise that everything will always be pretty and peaceful, or that it will remain so after Christmas.

In Luke’s narrative of the Christmas angels singing to shepherds on a Judean hillside, there came the inevitable moment the Bible describes this way, “When the angels had left them and gone into Heaven.” Predictably, angels return to Heaven and people return to everyday life. After seeking the Child of which the Angels sang,“The shepherds returned [to their flocks], glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen.” Luke 2:15-16 NKJV.

Matthew writes of a similar experience, of Kings coming from afar to see the child of promise. Like the shepherds, “They departed to their own country another way.” Matthew 2:12 NKJV. I know those words merely describe the different geography of their journey home, but I cannot avoid the application that life is never meant to be quite the same after you have seen and worshiped the Christ. Read Matthew 2:1-12.

Life returns to normal or unfolds in ways you could not foresee. An angel came again to Joseph in a dream, warning of Herod’s evil determination to destroy the young Messiah. The Angel warned Joseph and Mary, “Flee to Egypt and stay there until I bring you word . . when Joseph arose, he took the young child and his mother and departed for Egypt. And was there until the death of Herod.” Read Matthew 2:13-23 NKJV.

People can choose to be transformed by such moments of Heavenly encounter or choose to remain unchanged. Angels are divine visitors. This world is not the Angels’ home. Inevitably, Angels return to Heaven, while our lives continue to be lived here. Families must be provided for. Responsibilities must be fulfilled. Work awaits to be done. And even more importantly, an unbelievable story must be told.

You cannot bow at Christmas with a true heart of worship and remain as you were. Christmas holds the power to change routines, shift priorities, adjust values, and transform lives forever. Ultimately, the season and celebration of Christmas will pass, but meanwhile the Savior can and will change your life everlastingly, if you will allow.

Christmas is about so much more than the pageantry of a manger, or a night sky filled with an angel chorus, or the shepherds, or Eastern kings from afar, or a young couple submitting themselves to a Sovereign God. Christmas is truly and only about the Savior who changes lives now, and for eternity. Paul summed it up well, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come. All this is from God.” Read 2 Corinthians 5:17-21. When you embrace the true Christmas, you embrace life abundant now, and eternal forever.

Today, I pray for you to invite Jesus into every day and moment of your life.

Christian Communications 2018

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Empty Hearts

December 10th, 2018

Empty Hearts Produce Empty Lives. 

 “That you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”  Ephesians 3:19

My thoughts and comments today are about, “Empty Hearts.” 

 Life can and should be exhilarating. But too soon, life fills with routines and responsibilities. Remember when life was exciting, exhilarating, and filled with anticipation? Remember Christmas when you were a child, your first day of school, your driver’s license, your first date, or finally falling in love? But everyday life doesn’t always feel that way. Yet in Christ, life can be that way.

Little by little, each day the daily stuff of life wears away the mysteries and wonder. School introduces homework, and a job demands even harder work. Dating becomes complicated, even confusing. A driver’s license and car require gasoline, insurance, repairs, and responsibilities. Falling in love eventually requires rent or mortgage, and bills. 

 Too soon, spontaneity yields to a schedule that becomes repetitive, and you find yourself trudging through life feeling unsettling emptiness, with something deep inside telling you that life is meant to be more. That experience is not because of what you put into your life. That results from what you leave out of your life.

Life without Jesus as its center will never be all that you long for your life to be. Absolutely nothing can take God’s place or fill the void His absence leaves. You see, that void, that emptiness you feel in your soul, runs deep. You cannot mask the emptiness, nor fill it with enough stuff. You cannot ignore it with busyness nor, silence it with noise.  

Francis Schaeffer, noted theologian and Christian philosopher, wrote, “Man has a purpose. You and I were created to be in relationship with God. When a person forgets his purpose, he forgets who he is and what life means.” Life does not work well when you forget who you are and what life means.

Life cannot be what it is meant to be, when you leave God out at the fringes or out altogether. God alone can make sense of everything else about your life. Jesus said, I have come that you might have life – life in its fullness.” John 10:10 TEV.What you have, God will make it enough.God makes friendships and relationships enriching. God makes who you are,meaningful and satisfying. God makes what you have, fulfilling and rewarding.

God fills your future with hope, today with satisfaction, and every tomorrow with unlimited possibilities. “I know the plans I have for you, ‘says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 NLT. Embrace your future. Hold fast to hope.

The Bible narrative begins with these words, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void, and darkness covered. . and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” Genesis 1:1-2 NKJV. Anyone’s life is unclear until Jesus is invited to come in and set it right, overflowing it with life and fullness,and bringing light and understanding. He is there, just waiting for your invitation to do so today, and affirming every day that follows.

 The Apostle Paul described filling the void of an empty heart and an empty life, “That Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith that you may know the love of Christ that passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” Read Ephesians 3:14-19 NLT. Don’t try to live your life, even a moment of it, without Jesus overflowing in your heart.

Today, I pray for you to make room for Jesus in everything you are, have, and do.

Christian Communications 2018   

Website and archives: allenrandolph.com

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The Season of Joy

November 29th, 2018

Joy releases rejoicing. Rejoicing increases joy.

“I bring you good tidings of great joy.” Luke 2:10 NKJV.

My comments today are about, “The season of joy.”

For many years, our congregational welcome of the Christmas season has been with exuberant joy, expressed in the Christmas hymn, “Joy to the World; the Lord is come; let earth receive her King. Let every heart prepare Him room; and Heaven and nature sing . . He rules the earth with truth and grace, and makes the nations prove, the glories of his righteousness and wonders of His love.”

My conviction is this. Your entrance and access to all the other good things associated with Christmas, rests in your personal discovery and expression of abounding joy. The celebration of His birth brings new and exceeding joy into hearts and lives anew. You choose to respond by express His joy by rejoicing. In fact, any Godly observance of the season that does not begin with and continue in unrestrained rejoicing is inadequate and unworthy of the One we celebrate. Peter describes such joy as being, “filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.” See 1 Peter 1:3-9 NIV.

So many generations had yearned to hear Heaven’s pronouncement, Messiah had come! At the time the Father had chosen, an Angel of the Lord announced Jesus’ birth to shepherds, declaring, “Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” The joy God brings is qualified as excelling. It is, “great joy!”

At such news, Heaven’s joy could no longer be restrained, “Suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: ‘Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, goodwill toward men.’” Read Luke 2:8-14 NKJV.

As a holiday, the Christmas season and celebration have become too commercial many things that it needs not be. But as the birth of the Savior, one thing Christmas absolutely must be, is celebrated with exuberant rejoicing, defined as, “joyously unrestrained and enthusiastic.” Joy is your choice; rejoicing is your expression. Joy abides within every redeemed person, sovereignly placed there by your Creator. The Bible is clear. Included among the many attributes of the Spirit of God is this, “The fruit of the Spirit is joy.” Galatians 5:22 NKJV.

Rejoicing is an outwardly visible expression of inner joy which may become wrongly influenced by momentary circumstances. But real joy, God given and resident in one’s heart and spirit, can rest untouched by circumstances of the moment. Paul describes such a moment, “The grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia: that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and deep poverty abounded in the riches of their liberality.” 2 Corinthians 8:2 NKJV. Abundant joy. Abounding liberality. Both await the one who fully embraces the grace of God.

Peter affirms the same truth, “Do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice . . [that] you may be glad with exceeding joy.” 1 Peter 4:12-13 NKJV. Don’t be deceived by the feelings of a current situation. The emotions of pain and disappointment may seem to dampen joy, but only momentarily. If God is in you, His joy is in you as well. “For the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10 NIV.

Here is the truth about joy and rejoicing. Joy is found in God. Rejoicing is expressed at your own initiative. Joy releases rejoicing. Rejoicing increases joy. Rejoicing, like faith or the giving of thanks, is an act of a sanctified will, independent of emotions or situation. This is the way that works. The greater your joy, the greater your rejoicing. Joy expresses rejoicing. Rejoicing expands joy. God gave you the power to renew and release joy.

Today I pray for you to choose joy!

Joy to the world, the Lord has come . . let Heaven and nature sing!

Christian Communications 2018

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