Paul admonishes his readers that henceforth they be strengthened in the Lord, which ought to set aside any impression that the Christian is simply passive in the conflict. He participates fully in the contest as a soldier who wages war, or a wrestler who struggles with his opponent.
Paul warns his readers of the critical nature of the conflict. It is no sport for the pleasure of its observers, but a struggle of cosmic proportion. The struggle calls upon all our energies and such support we can muster. No halfhearted effort can be expected to prevail. This is to say that our need is to draw near to Christ (Morris inch, The Saga of the Spirit).
GOD AND MORALITY
There is a story about a schoolboy who was asked what he thought God was like. He replied that as far as he could make out, God was “The sort of person who is always snooping round to see if anyone is enjoying himself and then trying to stop it.” And I am afraid that is the idea that the word Morality raises in a good many people’s mind.
Morality seems to be concerned with three things. Firstly, with fair play and harmony between individuals. Secondly, with what might be called tidying up or harmonizing the things inside each individual. Thirdly, with the general purpose of human life as a whole: what man was made for; what God wants to reveal through us (C. S. Lewis).
Many sensitive people by nature are prone to worry. They don’t want to dishonor the Lord by unbelief, but they can’t seem to overcome the deep-seated tendency to “want” to carry the Lord themselves. If we are “born worriers,” we must realize that while concern is good, it is sinful to become preoccupied with anxious care. Let’s confess this to God and learn that if we are in His will, life’s burdens are His responsibility. Be not dismayed whatever betide, God will take care of you. Beneath His wings of love abide, God will take care of you (Anonymous).
A new seminary graduate had just preached his first sermon, and he was certain that others were as impressed with his efforts as he was. In the car on the way home, he asked his wife, “Hon, how many great preachers do you think there are in the world today?”
She smiled lovingly, put her hand on his shoulder, and replied, “One fewer than you think, dear.” It is easy to cross that thin line between having proper confidence in our God-given abilities and being proud. And sometimes we don’t recognize our pride until someone else—like a loving spouse or a true friend—points it out to us.
When we put aside our pride and willingly serve one another, we are being clothed with humility.
“Consider Him”; so shall you day by day seek out the lowliest place and therein stay—Content to pass away, a thing of naught that glory to your Father’s name be brought (Anonymous).
If we think we are humble, we can be sure we are not (Our Daily Bread, May 30, 1991).
PRAYER LUKE 11:1
We hear it said that a man will suffer in his life if he does not pray; I question it. What will suffer is the life of the Son of God in him, which is nourished not by food, but by prayer. Prayer is the way the life of God is nourished. Our ordinary views of prayer are not found in the New Testament. We look upon prayer as a means of getting things for ourselves; the Bible idea of prayer is that we may get to know God Himself (Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest).
THE RESTLESS SOUL
Augustine expressed the yearning of all humankind when he said, “O God, our hearts are restless until they find their rest in Thee.”
In whatever a man does without God, he must fail miserably or succeed more miserably” (George McDonald).
The gospel has become big business, and all sorts of strong birds are perched in the branches (Warren Wiersbe).
“It is not great talents God blesses so much as great likeness to Jesus” (Robert Murray McCheyne).
THE DECAY OF MODERN PREACHING
The pulpit of the present day has no clear, ringing and definite message. Small wonder that a child, wearied by a preacher’s boring utterance, appealed, “Mother, pay the man, and let us go home” (Canon J. G. Simpson).
BEING WHAT GOD INTENDS
Someone has said, “The point of this life . . . is to become the person God can love perfectly, to satisfy His thirst to love. Being counts more than doing, the singer more than the song. We had better stop looking for escape hatches, for this is our hatchery (Joni Erickson Tada).
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