I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision.–ACTS xxvi. 19.
The Lord our God will we serve, and His voice will we obey.–JOSH. xxiv. 24.
I will shun no toil or woe, Where Thou leadest I will go, Be my pathway plain or rough; If but every hour may be Spent in work that pleases Thee, Ah, dear Lord, it is enough! G. TERSTEEGEN.
All these longings and doubts, and this inward distress, are the voice of the Good Shepherd in your heart, seeking to call you out of all that is contrary to His will. Oh, let me entreat of you not to turn away from His gentle pleadings. H. W. SMITH.
The fear of man brings a snare. By halting in our duty and giving back in the time of trial, our hands grow weaker, our ears grow dull as to hearing the language of the true Shepherd; so that when we look at the way of the righteous, it seems as though it was not for us to follow them. J. WOOLMAN.
Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.—Colossians 3:5
There are a lot of people trying to get away with the old man. What do I mean by the old man? I mean your pride, your bossiness, your nastiness, your temper, your mean disposition, your lustfulness and your quarrelsomeness. What do I mean, Reverend? I mean your study, your hunting for a bigger church, being dissatisfied with the offering and blaming the superintendent because you cannot get called. The reason you cannot get called is nobody wants you. That is what I mean, Reverend.
Deacons, what do I mean? I mean sitting around in board meetings wearing your poor pastor out, because you are too stubborn to humble yourself and admit you are wrong.
What do I mean, musicians? I mean that demeanor that makes you hate somebody that can sing a little better than you can. I mean that jealousy that makes you want to play the violin when everybody knows you can’t, especially the choir director. You hate him, wish he were dead, and secretly pray that he would get called to Punxsutawney. That is what I mean. All of this may be under the guise of spirituality and we may have learned to put our head over on one side, fold our hands gently and put on a beatific smile like St. Francis of Assisi, and still be just as carnal as they come. Success and the Christian, 42-44.
“Wow! Tozer pulls no punches this morning, Lord! May Your Holy Spirit bring the proper conviction and repentance to my heart and give me victory over any of these carnal thoughts that might be mine today. Amen.”
“Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.” 1 Timothy 6:18
After their meeting ran late, five out‐of‐town salesmen hurried as fast as they could to catch their train. As they raced through the terminal, one inadvertently kicked over a slender table on which rested a basket of apples. It belonged to a ten‐year‐old blind boy who was selling apples to pay for his books and clothes for school. The salesmen clambered aboard the train, but one felt compassion for the boy. He asked his friends to call his wife and tell her he would be late getting home.
Then he jumped off the train and returned to where the boy was standing. As the salesman gathered up the apples scattered across the floor, he noticed that several were bruised or split. Reaching into his pocket, he said to the boy, “Here’s twenty dollars for the apples we damaged. I hope we didn’t spoil your day. God bless you.” As he walked away, the boy called after him,
“Are you Jesus?”
We are most like Christ when we show compassion and generosity to others. Jesus said, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40). We reflect His character whether we’re helping someone less fortunate or giving our mate a back rub at the end of the day.
JUST BETWEEN US…
How do our interactions with others reflect the character of Jesus?
When was the last time we stopped to help another person in need?
How do you feel when you show compassion to someone else?
Lord, we ask that Your extravagant love would flow through us each day to touch those around us. Show us how to serve, to help, and to give without expecting anything in return. Amen.
Illustration from The Signature of Jesus by Brennan Manning (Sisters, Ore.: Multnomah Books, 1992). Reprinted in Stories for a Man’s Heart, comp. Al and Alice Gray (Sisters, Ore.: Multnomah Publishers, Inc., 1999).
The early days of the American space program were thrilling times. John Glenn and other astronauts would blast off from Florida’s Cape Canaveral into the “last frontier.” Their return voyages were especially dangerous. When a spacecraft reentered earth’s atmosphere, only a heat shield on the bottom of the capsule protected it from temperatures exceeding one thousand degrees Fahrenheit. During this phase, communication with earth was blacked out for approximately seven minutes. The world would wait anxiously until a reassuring voice finally announced, “This is Mission Control. Everything is A-OK.”
Your kids are a bit like those early astronauts. They one day climb aboard a capsule called adolescence and lift off into uncharted regions of space. Soon you as parents are going through the scariest experience of your lives—you’ve lost all contact with the “capsule.” The same kid who used to talk nonstop has now reduced his vocabulary to “I dunno,” “Maybe,” and “I forget.” It’s a period of great apprehension for those on the ground!
This is the time to remember the words of the apostle Paul: “We live by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7). You haven’t failed as a parent; your child is simply going through the social and hormonal turbulence of adolescence. If you have raised your kids by God’s principles, your teaching and patience will be rewarded. When the time is right—perhaps in your son or daughter’s early twenties—you will likely reestablish communication and discover that everything is indeed A-OK.
BEFORE YOU SAY GOOD NIGHT…
Do you feel like a failure because your child is in a “blackout” period?
How can you help each other stay confident in your roles as parents?
Father, please forgive us when we forget that You are in control of the lives of our kids. Help us to have a firm faith in You, in Your Word, in the roles You have given us as parents, and in our children. Amen.