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Archive for July, 2010

Hidden Inflluence?

July 31st, 2010

“Why do you say…’My way is hidden from the Lord’?”

                        Isaiah 40:27

 

A Hidden Influence?  No influence for good is hidden from God.  The devil loves to make us think that our influence does not amount to much.  God, on the other hand, stresses the power of spoken words (Matt 12:36), gracious acts (Matt 10:42), and silent influences (Matt 18:6).  We each have an incredible amount of influence which can be used for good and for God.

 

For example, a woman, whose name society has forgotten, once gave a gospel pamphlet to a hardened sinner named Richard Baxter.  Baxter read it and was converted.  He wrote a book entitled The Call of the Unconverted which God used to bring many to Christ, among them Philip Doddridge.  Doddridge in turn wrote a book entitled The Rise and Progress of Religion which God used also to bring many to Christ, among them William Wilberforce.

 

Wilberforce was a member of the British parliament in the early 1800’s and a leader of the anti-slavery coalition.  Many attribute the outlawing of slavery by the British to the determination and Christian commitment of Wilberforce and his friends.  He in turn wrote a book entitled A Practical View of Christianity which God also used to bring many to Christ, among them Leigh Richmond.  She also wrote a small booklet called “The Dairyman’s Daughter” which God also used to bring many to Christ.

 

Our influences spread out like the ripples caused by a stone striking the surface of water.  Are you using your influences this day for Christ?  If the simple act of a simple woman giving a gospel pamphlet to someone in need of salvation could ultimately raise up tens of thousands (and more) what could your influence do for God?

 

Lord, teach us to number our days and use them each and every one for You.  Give us the grace to see how finite are the opportunities that come our way but how infinite are the potentials within each for doing good.

Evening Devotionals

Avoiding Distraction

July 30th, 2010

Then the peoples around them set out to discourage the people of Judah and make them afraid to go on building.

Ezra 4:4

 

The world will oppose devotion to Christ. There will be some from the world that God will call to Himself through our devotion, but as a whole the world will reject the call of God to repent and believe.

 

If we cannot stand for Christ in the face of opposition we cannot stand at all, for it will inevitably come. “Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Tim. 3:12). The world’s rejection may take various forms – criticism, ridicule, intimidation, exclusion, or even violent reactions. Some on one hand accuse us of being too strict, and on the other some accuse us of being too forgiving. Some condemn our exclusive-ism in faith, that we hold to a biblical doctrine and do not insert the teachings of other religions (of course, most people who hold this position are ignorant of what the “other religions” truly teach).  Some believers go through life with only a taste of persecution; others seem to drink it to the dregs. But we will each face it in some way.  

 

When the returnees from Babylonian captivity came to Jerusalem and began to rebuild the temple, and when they rejected the “help” offered by the people of mixed race and mixed religion, the same people sought to prevent the re-building of the temple. They were partially successful, because they certainly discouraged them and slowed them down, causing a delay of several years in the construction. The world can distract us from our devotion to God and cause delays in the personal up-building of our character and faith. Sometimes it is just the anger that a family member might express toward us, or a close friend, etc., and then we are tempted to reply in anger. “The wrath of man does not work the righteousness of God” (James 1:20), and we are then delaying the building of our lives by the grace of God.   

 

The call of God is for singular devotion to Him, holding on to His promises and trusting in His grace. Do not let the world discourage you or distract you from this goal. When they came to arrest Jesus and Peter sought to attack with them, Jesus said, “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?” God is not glorified in our angry responses against the unbelieving world, but in the calmness of faith that trusts in Him. Today you and I have the privilege and obligation to know and believe, to love and follow His call. This is the life eternal, “to know you, the only true God and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (John 17:3).

 

Prayer:

 

Lord, build us up in our devotion and in our concentration on You. Let us not be distracted by the world from following You. Amen.

Evening Devotionals