Not everyone has the privilege of attending a large family reunion in their lifetime. Many families are widely dispersed and have lost touch with one another. But when large families get together and meet distant cousins, they have no trouble bonding. Why? Because they share a common heritage.
Strangers in the body of Christ should be that way – distant spiritual cousins who bond immediately. After all, we have “one body and one Spirit…one hope…one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all” (Ephesians 4:4-6). Unfortunately, Christians too often stick to their own ‘families’ – Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, and so on. The world looks at the body of Christ and wonders why we can’t seem to get along better than we do. The early church, in its pre-denominational days, was known for its oneness and unity. It is a characteristic every Christian should work hard to restore to Christ’s body.
When you meet Christians who are strangers, give them the right hand of fellowship. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a taste of eternal unity right here on earth.
Commentary from Pathways Devotional by David Jeremiah, July 31.
“As for the legacy you leave, make sure it influences as many generations as possible in both substance and example.” David Jeremiah, Pathways, July 14.
Profiting from Perseverance
People can be easily discouraged in the face of adversity-like John Mark, the cousin of Barnabas, who accompanied Paul and Barnabas at the start of their first missionary journey. As they prepared to enter the difficult region of Asia Minor, John Mark left and returned to Jerusalem. John Mark had not yet learned that “tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.”
If you are thinking of quitting something that is difficult, think of the character and hope you will forfeit if you do.
“Genius, that power that dazzles mortal eyes,
Is oft but perseverance in disguise.” Henry Austin
Commentary from the Pathways devotional, by David Jeremiah, May 18.
The scene is usually a cliff, a waterfall, a window ledge, or some other precipice – a fall from which would result in certain death. One person is over the precipice, kept from falling only by holding to the outstretched hand of another. Three things can happen to the one hanging over the edge; the grip is unintentionally broken due to a failure in strength, the grip is released intentionally due to malevolence, or the person is pulled to safety due to the strength of the rescuer.
One of the strongest images of the believer’s eternal security in Christ was painted by the Savior’s own words: “Neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.” Too often, Christian’s feel that eternal security depends on their strength, their faithfulness, their perseverance – their ability to hold on to the Savior’s hand. The opposite is actually the truth: It is Christ’s strength, Christ’s faithfulness, Christ’s perseverance – Christ’s ability to hold on to the believer’s hand – that keeps the Christian eternally secure.
When you wonder if you have been faithful enough, hold out your hand – and picture it enveloped in the strong hand of Christ.
“Once a man is united to God, how could he not live forever?” C. S. Lewis
Commentary from the Pathways devotional, by David Jeremiah, June 6.
“Those who insist on living a self-centered life will never be known as others-centered.” David Jeremiah, Pathways devotional, June 10.
Internet “match-making” sites differ in purpose. Some are “dating” sites, allowing singles to meet and get together. Other sites are marriage-oriented, requiring interested parties to fill out extensive questionnaires on themselves and the kind of person they’re looking for. All these sites are based on a single premise: Few people are happy being single.
God himself said to Adam, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him” (Genesis 2:18). God said that, ideally, men and women should meet, marry, and populate the earth. What He didn’t say was that it’s okay to be unhappy until that meeting and marrying takes place. The apostle Paul pointed out that singleness has rare blessings – the chance to be wholly committed to serving Christ. His point is this: Whether one is single or married, use it as an opportunity to serve the Lord with all your heart. Are you happy where you are, taking advantage of the opportunity you have today?
Happiness is not a state of companionship. Rather, it’s a byproduct of being in the center of the will of God.
“There is never a place in the Bible where it says that marriage makes you happy. It says over and over again that God makes you happy.” Dick Purnell
Commentary from the Pathways devotional, by David Jeremiah, May 30.
It has been said that “God prefers reluctant obedience rather than joyful disobedience.” But this statement is misleading. When we first learn to obey God, we sometimes do so reluctantly because we leave the familiar territory of doing as we please to discover the uncharted waters of yielding our will to His. But once we understand that obedience to the Lord produces joy in our life, we also begin to realize that there is no such thing as “joyful disobedience.” For, in fact, ignoring God’s directives is a joy stealer.
Alan Redpath states it this way: “When there’s disobedience in the Christian life, the fullness ceases. And you soon know when you’ve lost the fullness because the joy is gone.”
If you find that you are resisting obedience to God in some area of your life, ask yourself, “Is it worth it?” because no matter how vigorously you try to justify disobedience in your life, you can never replace the joy that is lost when you say “No” to God.
Dear Christian, run to do His will, and lay hold of the resulting joy that God has provided for those who obey Him. There is nothing to lose and everything to gain, for a joyful heart stems from an obedient heart.
“Obedient submission is the only way to joy.” Charles Stanley
Commentary from the Pathways devotional by David Jeremiah, June 9.
Think of all the different kinds of “daily bread” that can be here today and gone tomorrow: money, house, cars, possessions, jobs, health, and more. In fact, every tangible thing in our life is something we have no ultimate control over. And those are the things Jesus said we should never spend time and energy worrying about-which makes perfect sense. Why worry about those things over which we have no control?
The one thing that cannot be taken away is the only thing we need going forward into the future: our faith and the intangible values (perseverance, hope, and the like) that arise from our faith. The apostle Paul confirmed the necessity of faith: “Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful” (1 Corinthians 4:2). We are stewards (slaves) of the God who has bought us for Himself. Our provision is His “worry”, not ours. He has promised to meet the needs of those who love Him.
Don’t worry about tomorrow, Jesus said. Trust your heavenly Father with the faith you can never lose.
“Worry over poverty is as fatal to spiritual fruitfulness as is gloating over wealth.” A. W. Pink
Commentary from Turning Points devotional by David Jeremiah, May 12, 2017.
This song has a country/blues/gospel sound and may not be your taste, and is not necessarily my own, but I appreciate the words, which relate to this post, are meaningful, and I hope helpful 🙂
God On The Mountain, Gaither VEVO, featuring Lynda Randle.