Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“I am the Good Shepherd: and I know and recognize My own, and My own know and recognize Me.”
John 10: 14
“The shepherds (in the time of Christ) had certain marks by which they knew their own sheep. Even now in this country, marks are on the sheep – their own initial or an “ear-mark,” or some other particular sign by which (shepherds) will know them anywhere. Christ knows His people by certain distinguishing marks.
He knows them by their faces. There is something in every true child of God which shows where they belong – some family likeness, some feature of the Divine image shines out…Christ knows His own, however dim the likeness, by their faces. The crowds do not recognize heaven’s royalty in the humble Christians they meet…Not only does Christ know His own by their faces, but also by their voices. The mother knows her child’s voice anywhere, even in the darkness, and can distinguish it among a thousand voices. Christ knows the voices of His own wherever He hears them speak or cry.”
J. R. Miller
Come Ye Apart
Today’s Study Text:
“The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.”
Psalm 1: 4
“Wind Blown and Weary”
“Right and Wrong”
Psalm 1 Part 17
“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and prudent and shrewd in their own sight.”
Isaiah 5: 20, 21
“What’s wrong today is wrong tomorrow, and what’s right yesterday is still right today. Rights and wrongs don’t change for one simple reason: God doesn’t change. He is truth. He is right.”
How do I assess what is evil versus what is good?
What do I believe the Apostle Paul meant when he told the young converts to Christianity who lived in Rome to, “let your love be sincere”?
“Let your love be sincere, a real thing; hate what is evil, loathe all ungodliness, turn in horror from wickedness, but hold fast to that which is good.”
Romans 12: 9
“O God, take all our sorrows and use them to show us the ways of true pleasantness and the path of true peace. Take all our broken purposes and disappointed hopes and use them to make Your perfect rainbow arch. Take all our clouds of sadness and calamity and from them make Your sunset glories. Take our might and make it bright with stars. Take our ill-health and pain until they accomplish in Your purpose as much as health could achieve. Take us as we are with impulses, strivings, longings so often frustrated and thwarted, and even with what is broken and imperfect, make Your dreams come true, through Him who made of human life a sacrament, of thorns a crown, of a cross a throne, even through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Leslie D. Weatherhead
In the nine years of writing daily devotionals here in Transformation Garden, while I often include a prolific variety of quotes from God’s children down through history who have chosen to walk with Jesus every day, it is rare that the entire “Inspiration” section comes from one single individual. Having studied Psalm 1 verse-by-verse, sometimes even word-by-word, during my evening study time I came upon an essay by Pastor and Author J.R. Miller who served as a Presbyterian minister in Illinois during the 1800”s. This particular piece came from his book, “Come Ye Apart,” just one of the many popular volumes he wrote. I found his study based on the preaching of John the Baptist, proved to be a wonderful summary of Psalm 1: 4. I hope and pray that his inspired words will touch your heart as they did mine.
Wheat or Chaff?
“I baptize you here in river, turning your old life in for a kingdom life. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. I’m a mere stagehand. He will ignite a fire within you, the Holy Spirit within you, changing you from the inside out. His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will clear His threshing floor, gathering His wheat into the barn. He’s going to clean house – make a clean sweep of your lives. He’ll place everything true in its proper place before God; everything false He’ll put out with the trash to be burned.”
Matthew 3: 11, 12
The Message Bible
Words of John the Baptist
“The illustration which the preacher of the desert (John the Baptist) here uses is striking. The wheat-sheaves were gathered on the threshing-floor and trodden over by oxen to free the grains from the chaff. Then came the process of winnowing, when the chaff was blown away and the wheat left on the floor was ready for use.
After that the wheat was carried to the garner, and the chaff was swept up and burned. God’s penitent, believing ones are wheat, and the finally impenitent and unbelieving are chaff…The same breath that cleanses the wheat drives away the chaff.
Which are we – wheat or chaff?
Wheat has life in it; wheat-grains dropped into the earth grow and yield a harvest. Wheat is food; it makes bread and satisfies hunger. Wheat is precious; it is highly prized in the market.
Chaff has no life in it. It does not grow, and only rots in the ground. It is not food; it satisfies no hunger. It is not of any value; and it is good only to throw away or burn.
Which of these descriptions best fits our lives?
What sadder thing is there in this world than a human life, made to be golden wheat, to feed people’s hunger, yet proving only worthless chaff? Apart from the doom of impenitence, who with infinite possibilities of usefulness and blessedness should be content to be worthless chaff?
Made to be children of God and heirs of glory, and to live in blessedness in heaven forever, shall we tear ourselves away from our high destiny, and by our own unbelief and folly, doom ourselves.”
From the testimony of the Apostle Paul, while imprisoned in Rome, and to his Christian friends in Philippi: “I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong. By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward – to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back. So let’s keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision – you’ll see it yet! Now that we’re on the right track, let’s stay on it.”
Philippians 3: 12-16
The Message Bible
“The truth of Christ’s supremacy over all the powers in the universe is one which modern man sorely needs to learn…To be untied to Christ by faith is to throw off the bondage of hostile powers, to enjoy perfect freedom, to gain the mastery over the dominion of evil – because Christ’s victory is ours.”
F. F. Bruce
“O Lord, enlighten my heart, which evil desire has darkened. O Lord, help me to think about what is good.”
“There’s a wideness in God’s mercy,
Like the wideness of the sea;
There’s a kindness in His justice
Which is more than liberty.
There is no place where earth’s sorrows
Are more felt than up in heaven;
There is no place where earth’s failings
Have much kindly judgment given.
For the love of God is broader
Than the measure of man’s mind,
And the heart of the Eternal!
Is most wonderfully kind.”
Frederick William Faber
O Love Triumphant
“O Love triumphant over guilt and sin,
My Soul is soiled, but Thou shalt enter in;
My feet must stumble if I walk alone,
Lonely my heart, till beating by Thine own,
My will is weakness till it rests in Thine,
Cut off, I wither, thirsting for the Vine,
My deeds are dry leaves on a sapless tree,
My life is lifeless till it lives in Thee!”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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