Morning & Evening

February 11
Morning
“And they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.” — Act_4:13
A Christian should be a striking likeness of Jesus Christ. You have read lives of Christ, beautifully and eloquently written, but the best life of Christ is his living biography, written out in the words and actions of his people. If we were what we profess to be, and what we should be, we should be pictures of Christ; yea, such striking likenesses of him, that the world would not have to hold us up by the hour together, and say, “Well, it seems somewhat of a likeness;” but they would, when they once beheld us, exclaim, “He has been with Jesus; he has been taught of him; he is like him; he has caught the very idea of the holy Man of Nazareth, and he works it out in his life and every-day actions.” A Christian should be like Christ in his boldness. Never blush to own your religion; your profession will never disgrace you: take care you never disgrace that. Be like Jesus, very valiant for your God. Imitate him in your loving spirit; think kindly, speak kindly, and do kindly, that men may say of you, “He has been with Jesus.” Imitate Jesus in his holiness. Was he zealous for his Master? So be you; ever go about doing good. Let not time be wasted: it is too precious. Was he self-denying, never looking to his own interest? Be the same. Was he devout? Be you fervent in your prayers. Had he deference to his Father’s will? So submit yourselves to him. Was he patient? So learn to endure. And best of all, as the highest portraiture of Jesus, try to forgive your enemies, as he did; and let those sublime words of your Master, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do,” always ring in your ears. Forgive, as you hope to be forgiven. Heap coals of fire on the head of your foe by your kindness to him. Good for evil, recollect, is godlike. Be godlike, then; and in all ways and by all means, so live that all may say of you, “He has been with Jesus.”
Evening
“Thou hast left thy first love.” — Rev_2:4
Ever to be remembered is that best and brightest of hours, when first we saw the Lord, lost our burden, received the roll of promise, rejoiced in full salvation, and went on our way in peace. It was spring time in the soul; the winter was past; the mutterings of Sinai’s thunders were hushed; the flashings of its lightnings were no more perceived; God was beheld as reconciled; the law threatened no vengeance, justice demanded no punishment. Then the flowers appeared in our heart; hope, love, peace, and patience sprung from the sod; the hyacinth of repentance, the snowdrop of pure holiness, the crocus of golden faith, the daffodil of early love, all decked the garden of the soul. The time of the singing of birds was come, and we rejoiced with thanksgiving; we magnified the holy name of our forgiving God, and our resolve was, “Lord, I am thine, wholly thine; all I am, and all I have, I would devote to thee. Thou hast bought me with thy blood-let me spend myself and be spent in thy service. In life and in death let me be consecrated to thee.” How have we kept this resolve? Our espousal love burned with a holy flame of devoutedness to Jesus-is it the same now? Might not Jesus well say to us, “I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love”? Alas! it is but little we have done for our Master’s glory. Our winter has lasted all too long. We are as cold as ice when we should feel a summer’s glow and bloom with sacred flowers. We give to God pence when he deserveth pounds, nay, deserveth our heart’s blood to be coined in the service of his church and of his truth. But shall we continue thus? O Lord, after thou hast so richly blessed us, shall we be ungrateful and become indifferent to thy good cause and work? O quicken us that we may return to our first love, and do our first works! Send us a genial spring, O Sun of Righteousness.

Rylisms

February 11
Fifteen Days in a Friendship of Grace
“Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus. Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days.” (Gal_1:17-18)
“I remember well when I first learned this wonderful truth about God’s Grace,” Peter began. “And strange as it may seem, I didn’t learn it from Jesus. There were many things Jesus did not say to us. It was because, as He put it, we “were not able to bear it now.” (Joh_16:12-13). He was right.
When I think back over all the times I argued with Him about this or that, it amazes me that He ever told me anything at all! Don’t laugh; for the same is true for you. Right?
And here’s a question for you. Are you willing to let someone who comes along after you show you something that you don’t yet know?
We don’t know everything, and that’s why its best to always be teachable. And don’t be surprised who the “teacher” might be! I mean, if God would use a jackass to speak to stupid Balaam, whose to say what He might use to speak to you!
Laughter erupted in our group as everybody pointed at me. “I’m sure that’s not what he meant,” I said. We all had a good laugh then.
“Then, who was it that taught you about God’s grace?” we asked.
“The apostle Paul, of course!” Peter said. “He knew more about it than all the rest of us put together.”
“You can only imagine how astonished we all were when we first heard the reports of Paul’s conversion. Frankly, we didn’t believe it.
The man was monstrous and unmerciful; breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord. He made havoc of the church, entering into every house and hauling away men and women, putting them in prison. Indeed, some he even put to death.
“So, yes, we found his conversion to be a bit of a stretch. But clearly we underestimated the power of the Lord.
“Paul was indeed a new creation in Christ, old things had passed away and all things were becoming new. He came a stayed with me for about two weeks and we talked at great length about many things. And one thing towered above all others in Paul’s mind – it was the Grace of God.
“His understanding of grace was different than what we had been taught from our childhood. We had viewed grace as God’s favor, given in kindness to the undeserving. But this was not the message Paul brought to me.
“Grace is the power of Christ working in me and through me,” he said with such passion and conviction, one could hardly resist him. “I got this directly from the Lord Jesus Himself,” he would add; underscoring his resolve in making sure I understood it.
Paul was not only convincing; he was right.
“I myself had indeed experienced the grace of God on many occasions, but did not fully understand it at the time. I just knew that the power of the Lord was surging in me and through me in ways that left me amazed with what happened. Think about it – my shadow healed a man! I guess you could say I took the heat off of him. Yet, it wasn’t me; it was the grace of God in me.
Or how about the day John and I walked into the Temple and saw a man begging alms. “Alms?” I asked, “How about a pair of legs?” And it happened! He jumped up and started dancing and shouting; got us thrown out of the Temple and arrested by the Council. Nevertheless – about five thousand more turned to follow the Lord because of it.
“Fishers of men,” Jesus said. “Fishers of men.”
Yes, I had experienced the Lord’s power many times; but those fifteen days with Paul helped me to understand more fully that it was the grace of God in me – and through me. It was the power of Christ helping me do His will.
Paul and I became fast friends. Our visit together also showed me that, while Paul was an apostle to the Gentiles, and I to the Jews – we both were life-long friends on one mission: Proclaiming to all the Gospel of God’s Grace!

Devotional Sermons

February 11
Forgiveness and the Cross
“There is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared.” Psa_130:4
“In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.” Col_1:14
There are millions of people for whom divine forgiveness is a great and thrilling fact. They could no more doubt it than they could doubt their being. Quite possibly they do not understand it, but one can enjoy things he doesn’t understand. We daily use and enjoy a hundred things of whose nature we are ignorant. I light my room with electricity or revel in a glorious summer morning though I know practically nothing about electricity or the sun. And among these things stands out divine forgiveness as the greatest. For millions it is an experienced reality. It is the spring of joy, the source of liberty, the starting-point of victorious endeavor. Forgiven, the barriers are gone that raised themselves between the soul and God. Estrangement from their Creator has given place to sweet communion.
Why Was the Death of Jesus Necessary?
But the difficulty for many people is how forgiveness comes through the death of the Lord Jesus. Why can’t a God of love forgive His children as the father of the prodigal forgave his son? When a wife forgives her husband, she doesn’t need the intervention of another. She forgives him just because she loves him with a love that expects a brighter tomorrow. When a father forgives his erring child, it is a private and personal transaction where the intrusion of anyone else would be impertinence. Why, then, should our heavenly Father call for more than a repentant heart? Why should restoration to communion demand the agony and death of Jesus?
This difficulty is often aggravated by the glorious ringing note of the Old Testament: “There is forgiveness with thee that thou mayest be feared, and plenteous redemption that thou mayest be sought unto.” Well, men say, that is enough for me, I needn’t complicate matters by the cross; and they forget that the Old Testament is never final but rather God’s avenue leading to the new. I give a child an apple, and tell him to eat it for it is good for him. It is only afterwards that the child learns why that apple should be healthful. A little boy puts coals on the fire, confident that they will warm the room. But why the coals should have their warming properties he only learns when he goes to school or college. That is heaven’s universal ordering, first the fact and then the explanation. Life would be impossible to live if we could not use things till we understood them. And as God orders the whole of human life, so He does with Scripture, first proclaiming the eternal truth and then showing us the secret of it. The cross of the New Testament is not an intrusion on an old simplicity. The cross does not complicate forgiveness: it explains it and shows how it is possible. “There is forgiveness with thee,” cries the psalmist; and the New Testament interprets that—Yes, there is forgiveness through the blood.
God’s Divine Assurance
Surely it is evident that without the cross we could have no assurance of divine forgiveness. It is only in the life and death of Jesus that we can be perfectly sure of a forgiving God. God reveals Himself in nature. Could we be perfectly certain of forgiveness there? Even though nature carries glimpses of it, are these sufficient to assure the heart? Neither in nature nor in human history is there the luminous proof the sinner needs that there is forgiveness with God. That proof is given in Christ, and in Christ only. Only in the life and death of Christ can we be perfectly sure that God forgives. When we see Him dying on the cross for us in a redeeming love that traveled to the uttermost, God’s forgiveness becomes certainty. A child in his earthly home needs no such argument. He is perfectly familiar with his father. He sees him every evening and has his kiss before he falls asleep. But the heavenly Father is different from that—-clouds and darkness are about His throne—and so His children need for their assurance something that our children never do.
Again, we must not forget that earthly fatherhood can never exhaust the fullness of the Deity. In Him lies the fount of moral order without which life would be intolerable. A father at home who is a judge may freely forgive his child, but he cannot act like that on the bench. The morale of the State would go to pieces if the judge were to act just as the father does. He is to administer the law, and were every repentant prisoner forgiven, law would become a byword and a joke. That, as one of the Reformers put it, was a problem worthy of God—how to maintain and magnify the law, and yet freely forgive the transgressor; and God’s answer is the cross of Christ. There we learn what heaven thinks of sin. There sin is seen in all its awfulness. There we behold the grandeur of the law in the very glance that tells us of forgiveness. The pardon of God is not the worthless pardon of an easy and tolerant good nature. He is just, and the justifier of all them that believe.

Our Daily Walk

February 11
THE ALL-SUFFICIENCY OF CHRIST
“The glorious Lord will be unto us a place of broad rivers and streams The Lord is our King; He will save us.” — Isa_33:21-22.
THE R.V. translates our text “Jehovah will be with us in Majesty.”
The reference can only be to our Saviour, who is the Divine Vice-regent of the world. Through Him it was created, by Him it has been redeemed, in Him its government is vested. He is King of kings, and Lord of lords. His are the Glories of the Cross, of Victory over Death and Hell, of the Ascension, of Pentecost, of the Millennial Reign, of the Judgment Seat!
And this Glorious and Transcendent Saviour is willing and eager to be the complement of our deficiencies and needs. We look around, and some of us, as we compare our lot with others, lament, even if we do not audibly complain, at our disadvantages. Others, whom we have known from childhood, seem to have all that heart could wish—a happy married life, a spacious and beautiful home, hosts of friends, buoyant health, opportunities of travel and enjoyment that are denied to us. We have been plagued all the day long, and chastened every morning. We have spent a shut-in, cloistered life. The bare necessaries of life have been our only portion, and a sense of anxiety as to our future has haunted our dreams.
But we are not alone in this experience. When every one went to his own home, our Lord Jesus spent the night on the Mount of Olives. The birds had their nests, and the foxes their holes, but the Son of Man had no where to lay His head, but, like Jacob, was wont to make a stone His pillow. You are not singular, therefore, if your life is barren and lonely, for many of God’s noblest saints have lived from hand to mouth, wandering in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth, being destitute, afflicted, and tormented.
Remember that such experiences are designed to bring into prominence what the glorious Lord is prepared to be and do. In mathematics we speak of the complement of a curve—that which is needed to make a curve into a complete circle. So Jesus is willing to complete our lives, however imperfect and ineffective they may be. He is able to compensate for all deficiencies, and to become in your experience “a place of broad rivers and streams.” A river to intercept dreaded evil, and a stream to refresh and fertilise the drooping thirsty heart.
PRAYER
Be to us, O Glorious Lord, a place of broad rivers and streams; our Judge, our Lawgiver, our King, our Saviour. Make the wilderness of our life a pool, and the dry land water springs. AMEN.

Day By Day By Grace

February 11
More on Grace and Spiritual Fruit
Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. (Joh_15:4-5)
Although these verses do not mention grace, they are a classic biblical explanation of grace bringing forth fruit in lives. The language depicts an actual vineyard, where fruit grows on branches that are properly related to a vine. Then, this physical reality is applied figuratively to spiritual fruit developing in our lives, if we are relating correctly to Jesus.
In this teaching, our Lord reminds us that literal branches are not able to produce fruit themselves. “The branch cannot bear fruit of itself.” We are spiritual branches, so we will not be able to produce fruit either. “Neither can you, unless you abide in Me.” In fact, our potential for manufacturing genuine spiritual fruit is zero. “Without Me you can do nothing.” The best we could ever hope to produce would be religious, wax fruit. Such would come from our fleshly attempts to appear godly or effective. People may be fooled by this, but God never will be. Furthermore, people cannot be edified by partaking of such, and God cannot be glorified.
True fruit results from the ongoing development of life. Life is only innate to vines, not branches. For a grape to develop on any grape branch, the life of the vine must flow into, and work within, the branch. So it is with us. “I am the vine, you are the branches.” This distinction is vital. We must never forget the difference, if we desire to bear fruit. The life we need for fruitfulness is in Him, not in us.
How do we avail ourselves of that life which is essential for fruit? “Abide in Me, and I in you.” We are to look to Jesus for life, counting on Him to live in and through us. Then, His life, working in us, brings forth Christlike fruit. How do we know if we are abiding? If we are willing to depend upon Jesus for spiritual fruit as a grape branch relies upon its vine for grapes, then we are truly abiding in Christ. Such dependency brings valid expectation for great measures of Christlikeness to be developing in and through our lives. “He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit.”
This is clearly grace at work, as seen in the relational realities of humility and faith. Humility is operating as we acknowledge”without Me you can do nothing.” Faith is exercised as we believe” that He who abides in Me . . . bears much fruit.”
Lord Jesus, my true vine, I humbly agree with You that I cannot produce spiritual fruit on my own. I admit that apart from You at work in me, I could never manifest any genuine godliness. So, with great expectation I look to You to provide the life I need for much fruitfulness, Amen.

Goodnight Day

My dear Blogger friends

A Short but long day today

Toby has been sick for 5 days, today been the one day he slept the most and, he wants tp go back to work before he is fully recovered,

I had to go to my Neurologist for a check-up and ended up spending more time traveling that the length of waiting plus appointment and that, is a long long time. 

I was early for my appointment so, I went to the mall to buy a little mirror for my purse in preparation for my trip to Italy to see my dad and family.

I ended up buying most of the store :).

After that, it was time to get going to make it on time for my appointment. Well, saw the Dr, left, long way back home. Some say you moved, change Neurologist but, are they crazy??

My Neurologist takes care om my migraines and it took him almost a year, a very painful one, to find out that the only way to help me was to give me those little painful shots on my head, around it and on my neck. Not fun but, I am almost 64 and not a single wrinkle on my forehead.

I had headaches anyways for the last 6 weeks so, he, tells me that it has to be stress. Unbelievable for a smart guy to say that!! Naturally, I am stressed and in large part, my headaches ARE stress related. If I did not care about the man after 14 years of seeing him, I  would call him a name. Today I am truly BAD. Forgive me but I do have to stop…

I am making my head ache even more.

I do love my husband a lot and I was truly unpleasant to him to find out later that my stress-related headache was also because I forgot, again, to take my meds. Bipolar, ADD OCD, Name it, with a headache, a bad combination, believe me, at least today. I love Toby so much that I cannot express but just say it that I love him with all I am and have. Jesus FIRST then my husband. 

I will go now..., I better.

Love you all. God Bless you always,

Later,

little mean,

Pat.

 

C.S. Lewis

Today’s Reading

When one prays in strange places and at strange times, one can’t kneel, to be sure. I won’t say this doesn’t matter. The body ought to pray as well as the soul. Body and soul are both better for it. Bless the body. Mine has led me into many scrapes, but I’ve led it into far more. If the imagination were obedient the appetites would give us very little trouble. And from how much it has saved me! And but for our body one whole realm of God’s glory—all that we receive through the senses—would go unpraised.

From Letters to Malcolm

Letters to Malcolm, Chiefly on Prayer. Copyright © 1964, 1963 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. Copyright renewed © 1992, 1991 by Arthur Owen Barfield. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.