Whisper

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Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people! If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a man who was lame and are being asked how he was healed, then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. Jesus is ‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.’ Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:8-12, NIV)

Just to think of others and whisper, “Jesus,” is the noblest contribution most of us can ever make to other lives as well as our own. — Frank C. Laubach


Lived

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Enoch lived in close fellowship with God. He lived 365 years, walking in close fellowship with God. (Genesis 5:22-24, NLT)

By an act of faith, Enoch skipped death completely. “They looked all over and couldn’t find him because God had taken him.” We know on the basis of reliable testimony that before he was taken “he pleased God.” (Hebrews 11:5, MSG)

Take time to be holy, speak oft with thy Lord;
Abide in Him always, and feed on His Word.
Make friends of God’s children, help those who are weak,
Forgetting in nothing His blessing to seek.

Take time to be holy, the world rushes on;
Spend much time in secret, with Jesus alone.
By looking to Jesus, like Him thou shalt be;
Thy friends in thy conduct His likeness shall see.

Take time to be holy, let Him be thy Guide;
And run not before Him, whatever betide.
In joy or in sorrow, still follow the Lord,
And, looking to Jesus, still trust in His Word.

Take time to be holy, be calm in thy soul,
Each thought and each motive beneath His control.
Thus led by His Spirit to fountains of love,
Thou soon shalt be fitted for service above.
— William D. Longstaff, “Take Time to Be Holy”


Continuous

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Prayer is not an occasional exercise to which you turn now and then; it is a life attitude. It is the will to co-operate with God in your total life. It is an attitude rather than an act. You cannot expect God to come into the occasional, if you refuse him in the continuous. - E. Stanley Jones


Missing

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Missing
By Ryan M. Roberts

I was reading in Mark 9 today and noticed something odd,
There is a verse missing in my Word of God.
Verse 44 is gone. I guess its message doesn’t sell.
I suspect its absence is because it starkly details Hell.

Like eye or hand that sins, this verse was cut, or plucked it seems;
In this pick and choose approach I find a Jeffersonian theme.
Not much has changed in you and me, from Mount Sinai until now;
We’re ever making a god our own, much like the golden cow.

If you’re sticking with me, on this awkward, odd excursion;
You’ll find the missing verse still in the King James Version.
Consequence for choices, newer Bible versions quell,
But even in their footnotes, the missing verse describes Hell.

It speaks of death and loss, and of fire never ending.
But against that backdrop stands a cross, and a loving Father sending,
His only Son to die for all, including you and me;
Yet even then, our pride rejects the verses we can see.

Like where it says God stays his hand, wanting all to repent;
He longs to live within our hearts, but not without consent.
It is our lives and minds he wants—our love, His final plea,
Draw near to God and you will find great grace and rich mercy.

Here at the close of this long rhyme, I’ve told all that I can tell,
We must decide if we’ll abide a God that includes Hell.
Consider this, the author of verse 44—the One we are dismissing,
He leaves the ninety-nine to find the precious one that’s missing.


Evil or Live

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If you glance at Jesus and gaze at evil, you cannot help being a pessimist. But if you gaze at Jesus and glance at evil, you cannot help being an optimist. For you see that evil has seeds of its own destruction in it. ... The word evil is the word live spelled backward. - E. Stanley Jones

Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls! (Hebrews 12:2-3, MSG)


Sunshine

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Lord, how blessed are those in whom you live,
    whose lives become roads you travel;
They wind through lonesome valleys, come upon brooks,
    discover cool springs and pools brimming with rain! …
I’d rather scrub floors in the house of my God
    than be honored as a guest in the palace of sin.
All sunshine and sovereign is God,
    generous in gifts and glory.
He doesn’t scrimp with his traveling companions.
It’s smooth sailing all the way with [Jesus].
(Psalm 84: 5-6, 10-12, MSG)


Did you feel that?!

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Everything is shakable, except one—the Kingdom of God, the one and only unshakeable Kingdom. — E. Stanley Jones

Our family had recently moved from our comfortable home in Idaho to an unfamiliar and populous city in South Korea. It was the beginning of a grand adventure for us, as well as a season of stretching, growth and learning to trust the Lord more. On a lazy evening during our first month in that new place, things got exciting. I was gazing out the window taking pictures of the urban skyline, Dina was reading a book, and my daughters were putting together a puzzle in the tiny living room of our 1000 square foot 14th floor apartment, when suddenly, the building began to shake. 

Wide-eyed, Dina and I both looked at each other and said, “Did you feel that?!”

The shaking didn’t last long, but it was enough to rattle us. Our minds and emotions raced. “What do we do?!” “Where do we go?!” “What are we doing here?!” 

Thankfully, within minutes we got a call from some friends informing us that according to the local news station there had been a small earthquake many miles off the Eastern coast of the Korean Peninsula. They assured us, “There is no reason to worry, all is fine.”

Whew! 

But I still remember the feelings: the panic, the questions, the sense of helplessness, the fear and . . . the shaking. 

Things are shaking today. Globally, nationally, politically, economically, socially, morally and personally—nothing in and of this world is stable, nothing is unmoved. Capitalism is shakable, the economy is shakable, democracy is shakable, governments are shakable, our jobs are shakable, our pensions (if we have one) are shakable, even our health is shakable. It’s all trembling, shuddering, shaking and quaking just like it has for the past two thousand years. But there is one thing that stands solid—the Kingdom of God. 

To all who follow Christ in this shaken and shaking world, the author of Hebrews writes, 

“We are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe.” (Hebrews 12:28, NLT)

The Kingdom of God is the only “unshakable” thing in existence. Its constitution is the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5-7) and its King is Jesus who died upon the cross for our sins, rose again defeating death and the grave, and who resides at the right hand of the Father as our advocate. His Spirit abides in our hearts, ever saving us, helping us and securing us on “solid ground” as we walk with Him. 

And yet, the shaking continues and so do we. All it takes is a news report on the TV, a notification on our phone, a call from the doctor, an email from our bank, or a knock on the door and we are a mess. Our minds race, our hearts stir and we are all shook up. 

When this happens, don’t fret. Instead, call out to Jesus. Ask Him, “Did you feel that?!” 

And hear Him say:

"Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need." (Matthew 6:33, NLT)

“In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33, NLT)

“Be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20, NLT)

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. (John 14:1-3, NLT)

Or, as our friends told us, “There is no reason to worry, all is fine.” 

“We are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe.” (Hebrews 12:28, NLT)

Whew!


Look

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Let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith. (Hebrews 12:1-2, KJV)
 
He does not say See; He says only, Look. —Alexander Whyte
 
The Son of Man [Jesus] has come down from heaven. And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him will have eternal life. (John 3:13-15, NLT)
 
The snake-bitten Israelite, far to the rear in the multitude, may not have been able to make out clearly the outline of the serpent, but he looked that way. What matters most is not how clearly we can perceive Jesus but the utter dependence of our look. — Vance Havner
 
Then I called on the name of the Lord:
“Please, Lord, save me!”
How kind the Lord is! How good he is!
So merciful, this God of ours! (Psalm 116:4-5, NLT)