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Stand Fast

January 19th, 2017

Posture evidences inner attitude

“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand.” Ephesians 6:11 NKJV

My thoughts and comments today urge that you, “stand fast.”

Posture reveals a lot about a person with or without their awareness: intimating comfort or discomfort, confidence or reluctance, humility or arrogance, benevolence or malice. Posture evidences inner attitude. But consider a different, more important facet of posture, more spiritual than physical. The Bible distinguishes between the outward man of the flesh and the inward man of the Spirit. “Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-17 NKJV. Time spent on your knees empowers faith and obedience. Standing is a posture of faith, expressing preparedness and availability. God’s Word has much to say about the Christian’s spiritual posture.

Stand fast in faith. Circumstances will challenge your posture of faith. “Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong . . And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.” 1 Corinthians 16:13-14 NKJV/Romans 14:4 NIV.

Stand strong in adversity. “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil . . Therefore, take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore . .” Read Ephesians 6:11-18 NKJV.

Stand strong in righteousness. The opposition and persecution of the religious leaders could not dissuade Paul, “Therefore, having obtained help from God, to this day I stand.” Acts 26:22 NKJV. Trust in God’s strength, not your own. “My help comes from the Lord.” Psalm 121:2 NKJV.

Stand steadfast in prayer. “Always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.” Colossians 4:12 NKJV.

Stand sure in grace. “We have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” Romans 5:1-2 NKJV. God’s grace is the singularly strong place to stand. Stand fast in Christ and His finished work on Calvary.

Stand fast in freedom. “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.” Galatians 5:1 NKJV.

Stand in awe of God. Your view of God determines and supports everything else about your personal faith. “Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.” Psalm 33:8 NKJV.

Stand still in God’s promise. Before an uncrossable sea and an invincible army behind, and with the promise of God in his heart, “Moses said to the people, ‘Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today.’” Exodus 14:13 NKJV. God has a great victory for you if you will reject your fear and stand fast in His promises. “That [God] would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man . . that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”  Read Ephesians 3:16-19 NKJV.

Today, I pray for you to always stand in the strength of the God’s Word and Holy Spirit.

Christian Communications 2016

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Friendships and Fingerprints

March 16th, 2016

A man who has friends must himself be friendly.” Proverbs 18:24 NKJV.

From others’ fingerprints on my soul, I am a better man.

My reflections and comments are about, “friendships and fingerprints.”

Family and friendships are what make you and I who we have become, and are still becoming. “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17 NIV. The exchange of ideas and experiences develop what we believe and influence how we behave. Few things in life, if anything, are as valuable as family and friends. New friendships are invigorating – so much to discover, so many new adventures together, so many new memories to create. But for me, enduring friendships are invaluable and irreplaceable. Each friendship has its unique patina from weathering the interactions of life together.

The quality of your friendships begins with you. The Bible explains, A man who has friends must himself be friendly but there is a friend who remains closer than a brother.” Proverbs 18:24 NKJV. You will have innumerable acquaintances that are for a season in your life but place high value on acquaintances who become friends. Don’t mistake acquaintances for friends. Invest in both; be grateful for both, but learn to distinguish the difference. Friendships require time and attention to mature.

My life is richer, our family stronger, and our ministry graced by the spectrum of friendships God ordained and provided. Those friendships are comprised of some friends older in wisdom and years, some younger and welcoming fellowship and mentoring, and some of similar age and life experience. From each I have something to receive and learn, and to each I have something to give and teach. Friendships leave fingerprints.

A friend eloquently wrote, “Without [friendships] I would hollow out like a good log that has laid on its side too long. Friendship has weighted my life with relational ballast. Like the texture of a wood floor it wears well under my feet everyday whether I know it or not.” (Old Friends, Dennis Gallaher) My lifelong friend, Don, recalled my saying to him, “Thank you for not letting me be who I would have become without your friendship.” To all my friends I owe a similar debt of gratitude. From others’ fingerprints on my soul, I am a better man. None of us are self-made. For better or worse, you are fashioned by the quality of people whose counsel you welcome, whose influence you embrace, and whose friendship you treasure.

Solomon was known for His wisdom and offered wise counsel about friendship, “The righteous should choose his friends carefully, for the way of the wicked leads them astray . . A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity . . The pleasantness of one’s friend springs from his earnest counsel. Do not forsake your friend and the friend of your father.” Proverbs 12:26 NKJV/17:17 NIV/27:9-10 NIV.

Today, I pray for you to value the gift of those God sovereignly places in your life.

(You can read more of Dennis Gallaher’s comments on Old Friends at: ActLikeMenBlog.Com)

Christian Communications 2016 www.facebook.com/everydaylife.allenrandolph

 

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Prosperity and Adversity

February 12th, 2016

“In the day of prosperity be joyful, But in the day of adversity consider: Surely God has appointed the one as well as the other.” Ecclesiastes 7:14 NKJV.

My thoughts and comments today are about, “prosperity and adversity.”

“If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster, And treat those two impostors just the same . . Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it, And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son.”
“If” – Rudyard Kipling, 1865-1936

When I was a young teen, I questioned my Dad, a pastor, about a young husband and father I had admired in our congregation. He had such a heart for God and an expressed interest in ministry. He was personable, eloquent, enthusiastic, persuasive, and diligent. His natural gifts and spiritual passion were well suited for success in ministry, until he experienced rapid and unexpected success in his construction business.

As he prospered, his plans adjusted as his interests, time, and attention shifted. I well remember his words, “My goal is to make a million dollars by the time I am thirty; then I will become a minister.” The first part of his goal was met and exceeded; the latter intention was neither attempted nor realized. My Dad’s response to my disappointment was specific, “More people can stand adversity than those who can handle prosperity.”

I didn’t fully understand it then, but across decades as a pastor, I have learned the wisdom and accuracy of my father’s words. Adversity is difficult; prosperity can be deceptive. Be careful, riches will be deceitful. In His masterful and practical Sermon on the Mount, Jesus warned, “The cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the Word and [a man] becomes unfruitful.” Matthew 13:22 NKJV. Both prosperity and adversity have unique hazards. In the best of times, you may easily forget your need of God’s daily provision; in the worst of times, you can incorrectly assume God will not meet your needs.

Uzziah was a young king of Judah who enjoyed great success during his fifty-two year reign. He beautified and fortified Jerusalem. His armies were victorious. He was feared and respected by surrounding nations. His land was fruitful and his people prosperous. “As long as he sought the Lord, God made him to prosper.” 2 Chronicles 26:5 NKJV.

Ominously, the Bible says, “So his fame spread far and wide, for he was marvelously helped [by God] until he was strong. But when he was strong his heart was lifted up to his destruction, for he transgressed against the Lord his God.” 2 Chronicles 26:15-16 NKJV. Prosperity without humility and gratitude is destructive.

Far from the prideful height of acclaim, success, and sufficiency, Uzziah died a leper under the judgement of God, ostracized from others. For me, Uzziah illustrates the practical wisdom of my Dad’s counsel, “More people can stand adversity than those who can handle prosperity.”

Here is the simple truth Solomon understood, “In the day of prosperity be joyful, But in the day of adversity consider: Surely God has appointed the one as well as the other.” Ecclesiastes 7:14 NKJV. The Apostle Paul gave invaluable advice, “Everywhere and in all things, I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” Read Philippians 4:11-13 NIV. 

Today, I pray for you to “prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.” 3 John 2 NKJV.

Christian Communications 2016
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Prosperity in Adversity

August 14th, 2015

“The Lord made all that Joseph did to prosper in his hand.” Genesis 39:3 NKJV.

Adversity around you will not prevent God’s blessings upon you.

My thoughts and comments today are about “prosperity in adversity.”

It never seems a person has enough money, so it is important that you learn some basic things about handling the money you have. God’s principles remain true and effective whether you have little or much. My Dad taught me to, “always live within your means and always save something for later.”That is a Biblical principle of stewardship. That isn’t always the easiest thing to do, but it is always the best thing to do. See Proverbs 21:20 NIV.

Gayle and I have done that for all of our married life, when we made less and when we made more. We have chosen to live without credit card debt and been very careful about long-term debt. Before our marriage, my Dad recommended allocating a fixed percentage of income for housing expenses as a helpful guideline to keep expenses in proportion to income, not allowing expenses to grow without proportional income.

It’s simple really. The world’s economy cannot provide you with Kingdom prosperity. God’s blessings provide prosperity. Joseph found himself in adverse circumstances – sold as a slave, indentured as a servant, and in a foreign land. “His master saw that the Lord was with Joseph and that the Lord made all he did to prosper in his hand. So Joseph found favor in his sight, and served him.” Genesis 39:1-6 NKJV. Joseph prospered in extreme adversity. Adversity around you will not prevent God’s blessings upon you. God intends the same for you. “Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.” 3 John 1:2 NASB.

Governments assume that giving taxpayers’ money to large banking corporations and requiring them to lend money to assure sufficient funds circulating in the economy can solve the problem. Actually, that fuels the source of the problem. The common wisdom – ill formed and wrongly believed – is that if everybody will spend more, we can borrow and buy our way out of the predicament. That is a false cure, temporary and shortsighted. The wheels of commerce are greased by the principle of leverage through a cycle of borrowing and growing debt. Debt is addictive and destructive. It doesn’t work for a nation, nor for your household.

Our country is in economic distress through mounting debt, which merely reflects a financial mess many of us have made for ourselves. Readily available credit does not make it wise. Availability is not the same as affordability. Families have chosen a lifestyle of debt in a culture that encourages and enables your doing so. When tempted to spend beyond your means, consider the financial, marital, and eventual emotional cost.

God will not bless your mess. Begin putting God first. Malachi 3:8-12 NLT. Everything you have belongs to God; you and I are stewards. Use wisely what God provides, always thankful for His blessings. “Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in His ways. You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours.” Psalm 128:1-2 NIV.

Today, I pray that you earn diligently, save regularly, spend wisely, and give generously.

Christian Communications 02139

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Adversity

June 6th, 2014

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1 NKJV.

What doesn’t destroy you makes you stronger.

Today, my thoughts and comments are about “adversity.”

Adversity is inevitable and unavoidable. Adversity comes in varied forms and sizes – from mild annoyances to major problems. The source of adversity also varies – from complicating circumstances to complicated people. Adversity seems not to discriminate, intruding into the lives of one and all. The Bible is clear, “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you.” 1 Peter 4:12-13 NKJV. Assuming you can escape any and all adversity is unrealistic.

The worst thing that happened to you could become the best thing that happens for you. The final chapter is not written until you have experienced the grace and faithfulness of God and seen the providence and purpose of God in your situation. Your attitude is to be one of joyful anticipation and patience. “Count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” James 1:2-4 NKJV.

In the Bible, just about everyone experienced adversity of one sort or another – Adam and his wife, Abel and his brother, Job and his accusing adversary, Abraham and his nephew, Esau and his brother, Jacob and his father-in-law, Joseph and his brothers, Moses and Pharaoh, David and King Saul, Paul and young John Mark, Jesus and Jewish leaders, and too many others to name. But you cannot consider adversity without including the long-suffering Job in any discussion.

One by one, everything important to Job was stripped away by one calamity after another, and then the well-meaning counsel of his friends assumed he was somehow to blame. Beleaguered by adversities, he struggled more with inexplicable questions than even the multiplying losses themselves. Job’s fundamental conviction of the sovereign goodness and faithfulness of God guided him through confusion to acceptance and understanding. Emotions in any present adversity must not cloud your abiding conviction of the character and authority of the eternal God in every adversity.  Read 2 Corinthians 4:16-18/6:4-10 NIV.

The struggle of Job occupies 42 chapters; the resolution of Job’s adversity is told in brief, concluding verses, “The Lord made him prosperous and gave him twice as much as he had before . . the Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the first . . after this, Job lived a hundred and forty years, and he died, old and full of years.” Read Job 42:10-17 NIV. I have often heard it commonly said, “What doesn’t destroy you makes you stronger.” Job found that true; so will you. Psalm 46:1 NKJV.

God is not the origin of adversity to test you. He doesn’t need to be; there will be more than enough hardships in the normal course of life. But God wisely uses adversity to strengthen, perfect, and mature you. God didn’t put giants in Canaan to oppose Moses and Israel. Giants inhabited Canaan. The spies saw the abundance of the land of Promise. Read Numbers 13:17-33 NKJV. It was a rich land, overflowing with plenty – but there were fearsome giants that made them feel, “like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.” Their conclusion? “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.” They feared the giants living there more than they trusted their God living in them. See Psalm 34:17-19 NKJV/1 Peter 1:6-7 NIV.

This day, I pray that you will remember the almightiness of God in every situation.

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