My wife shared this image with me today. It is what I strive to be – a man of prayer wearing the armour of God…
My wife shared this image with me today. It is what I strive to be – a man of prayer wearing the armour of God…
Today I am posting “Desiderata” (Latin for “desired things”), a prose poem written in December 1933 by Max Ehrmann about attaining happiness in life. If you have never read it before, I’m sure you will find it uplifting.
Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant, they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let not this blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. And whatever your labors and aspirations in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams; it is still a beautiful world.
(Copied from Rylisms devotion 10 December from E-sword)
I was reading through the beatitudes for my devotions this morning. They are found in. Matthew 5:3-10.
As I was reading through today I realised afresh how God blesses us in our lives. Here are some of my notes.
1. When we recognise our need for Him – He gives us the Kingdom
2. When we mourn – He gives us comfort
3. When we are humble – He gives us the earth as an inheritance
4. When we hunger and thirst for justice – He gives us satisfaction
5. When we show mercy – He shows us mercy
6. When we are pure at heart – He shows us Himself
7. When we work for peace – He calls us His children
8. When we are persecuted – He gives us the Kingdom
So many blessings. So much favour. So much comfort.
One thing I also noticed today was the bookmarks at the beginning and the end. When we recognise our need for Him or are persecuted, He gives us the Kingdom.
Be blessed by the beatitudes today!
Below is some research I am doing for a sermon. I thought I would share it as a blog post…
The Five Crowns, also known as the Five Heavenly Crowns, is a concept in Christian theology that talks about the five crowns that individuals can receive after the Last Judgment.
In the Greek language, stephanos is the word for crown and is translated as such in the Bible, especially in versions descending from the King James Version. These five rewards can be earned by believers, according to the New Testament, as “rewards for faithfulness in this life”.
Crown of Life
James 1:12 – God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.
Revelation 2:10 – Don’t be afraid of what you are about to suffer. The devil will throw some of you into prison to test you. You will suffer for ten days. But if you remain faithful even when facing death, I will give you the crown of life.
The Crown of Life is referred to in James 1:12 & Revelation 2:10; it is bestowed upon “those who persevere under trials.” Jesus references this crown when he tells the Church in Smyrna to “not be afraid of what you are about to suffer…Be faithful even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.”
1 Corinthians 9:25 – All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize.
In the KJV it calls this prize the “Incorruptible Crown”. It is also known as the Imperishable Crown. This epistle, written by the Apostle Paul, deems this crown “imperishable” in order “to contrast it with the temporal awards Paul’s contemporaries pursued”. It is therefore given to those individuals who demonstrate “self-denial and perseverance”.
Crown of Righteousness
2 Timothy 4:8 – And now the prize awaits me–the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of His return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to His appearing.
The Crown of Righteousness is mentioned in 2 Timothy 4:8 and is promised to “those who love and anticipate” the Second Coming of Christ. These Christians desire intimacy with God.
Crown of Glory
1 Peter 5:4 – And when the Great Shepherd appears, you will receive a crown of never-ending glory and honor.
Crown of Exultation/Rejoicing
1 Thessalonians 2:19 – After all, what gives us hope and joy, and what will be our proud reward and crown [of rejoicing – KJV] as we stand before our Lord Jesus when He returns? It is you!
Philippians 4:1 – Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.
The Crown of Exultation is also known as the Crown of Rejoicing. Talked about in 1 Thessalonians 2:19 and Philippians 4:1, it is given to people who engage in evangelism of those outside the Christian Church. In the New Testament, Paul earns this crown after winning the Thessalonians to faith in Jesus.
So, we will be rewarded for our service in this life. Everything we do for God will be added to our account. Now I must admit, generally I am not motivated by rewards, I serve God out of my love for Him and my desire to please Him. But on the days when it is hard, it helps me to know that God sees my efforts and He will reward me.
2 Corinthians 7:8-11 NLT – I am not sorry that I sent that severe letter to you, though I was sorry at first, for I know it was painful to you for a little while.  Now I am glad I sent it, not because it hurt you, but because the pain caused you to repent and change your ways. It was the kind of sorrow God wants his people to have, so you were not harmed by us in any way.  For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death.  Just see what this godly sorrow produced in you! Such earnestness, such concern to clear yourselves, such indignation, such alarm, such longing to see me, such zeal, and such a readiness to punish wrong. You showed that you have done everything necessary to make things right.
In this passage the Apostle Paul explains why he sent a strong corrective letter to the Corinthians. And why it was so harsh in its wording.
Although Paul felt sorry at first, he knew he had to speak the truth in love. This is because he wanted God’s best for the church at Corinth and for the individual people.
Sometimes we need to be told firmly and honestly. It may hurt at first, but it really is for our own good.
I have been on the giving end and the receiving end of harsh words. It pained me to be the messenger and it pained me to be the receiver. Probably equally for both!
But with God the ultimate goal is not our long term pain, it is repentance and a life dedicated to God and His Kingdom.
We all need to live in that place of surrender to God. And sometimes we need to a kick to jolt us back to where we should be living.
As I type I am reminded of two verses from Proverbs and Psalms…
“My child, don’t reject the Lord’s discipline, and don’t be upset when he corrects you.”
Proverbs 3:11 NLT
“Joyful are those you discipline, Lord, those you teach with your instructions.”
Psalms 94:12 NLT
Love can hurt at first sometimes, but long term it is worth it.
This is a different take on the footprints poem that talks about Jesus carrying us through the hard times of life. This one sounds a bit more like me!
In the above passage from Psalm 119:9-16 it gives us some clues to staying pure in a world that tries to contaminate us and shipwreck our faith.
These clues all revolve around God’s Word – the Bible.
1. Obedience – the writer wants to obey God’s commands. This is a great place to start in staying pure – the desire for obedience.
2. Staying – next we see the writer declares they do not want to wander away. They want to stay on track with God.
3. Hidden – the next key is having God’s Word hidden in the heart. This means to hold it deeply inside or to cherish it.
4. Teach – in verse 11 the writer asks God to teach them His decrees. There is a deep desire to learn, grow and be taught.
5. Recite – verse 13 then moves on to reciting or speaking out God’s Word. This helps to hear it differently when the Bible is read out aloud.
6. Rejoice – the next key is genuinely rejoicing over God’s Word. The Bible gives us so much. Our salvation alone is worth infinitely more than riches.
7. Study – studying God’s Word is so much more than reading it. The best investment we will ever make in time spent studying the Bible.
8. Remember – lastly this passage reminds us not to forget God’s Word. Memorising Scripture is key to staying pure. Jesus quoted Scripture when tempted by the devil.
There are a number of things we can do in this life to remain pure. Much of it revolves around digging in to God’s Word – the Bible.
If we love it, commit to reading and studying it, we will be strong in our faith. This combined with prayer and relying on the Holy Spirit helps us to remain pure.
Increasingly I am finding on the internet people are more than happy to tell you what upsets them or the things they are against.
People seem to want to continually tear things down if it doesn’t line up with their views.
I made a decision years ago to be a positive voice. I would rather say what I am for, than what I am against.
So today I thought I would share some of the things I am for.
1. The Bible – I believe the Bible is God’s Word to humanity. I think we should all read it, meditate on it and put it in to practice.
2. Prayer – I believe prayer changes things and it helps us to connect to God. I pray because I need to know God and I need His help and wisdom.
3. Family – I believe God wants me to be a loving husband and father. After my relationship with Him, I need to put my family next.
4. Fitness – I believe being physically fit and eating well is important. God has given me this body to live in and serve Him. I need to look after it.
5. Evangelism – I believe it is vitally important to share our faith in Christ. Jesus wants us to make disciples who become lifelong followers of Him.
6. Serving – I believe we all need to serve God by serving others. We should use our gifts and resources to make the lives of others better.
This is my list. It is not exhaustive. But rather than run other people or other things down, I thought I would share some of the things I am for.
Psalm 36:5-9 NLT – Your unfailing love, O LORD, is as vast as the heavens; your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds.  Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the ocean depths. You care for people and animals alike, O LORD.  How precious is your unfailing love, O God! All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of your wings.  You feed them from the abundance of your own house, letting them drink from your river of delights.  For you are the fountain of life, the light by which we see.
I read this passage as a part of my devotions this morning. I had to read it over and over. I love the way it talks about God’s unfailing love. It gives us a picture of just how deep and wide and vast it is. It even says that all humanity finds shelter in the shadow of His wings and He provides for us all out of His abundance. I couldn’t imagine a world without God. I wouldn’t want to! He truly is the fountain of life and the light by which we see.
Lord God, thank You for Your unfailing love. It is so precious to me. I thank You that You provide for our needs out of the abundance and I can find shelter under Your wings. You truly are the fountain of life and the light of my life. Amen.
Zechariah 14:9 NLT – And the LORD will be king over all the earth. On that day there will be one LORD-his name alone will be worshiped.
This verse talks about a day when all false gods that people worship and all false religions will be no more. There will be no cults, no worldly charismatic leaders who deceive people and no doubt who the true God is. It will be a day when only He is worshipped and He will rule and reign over all the earth. As a Jesus follower I look forward to this day. How about you?
Dear God, I thank You that You are the one true God who reigns supreme. You are far above all other false gods and worldly leaders. I look forward to the day when You come in power and glory and You alone are the one who is worshipped. Amen.