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“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,  I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’  Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?  And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’  And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.”

-Matthew 25:35-40

NO CHANGE -  

BY MARY WILDER TILESTON

Behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens is the Lord's thy God, the earth also with all that therein is. -DEUTERONOMY 10:14

FATHER, there is no change to live with Thee, 

Save that in Christ I grow from day to day; 

In each new word I hear, each thing I see, 

I but rejoicing hasten on my way.

JONES VERY


THE immediate result of the coming of these good tidings of great joy to me was no outward change in anything, but an inward change of everything, making everything translucent with the light within and beyond. The sum of it all was always that the universe is full of God, and God is love. We are His, and all things are His; therefore in Him all things are ours. In the home, in society, in nature, our beloved moors and woods, and rivers and glens and seas, there was the touch, the breath of God's living, real presence. 

ELIZABETH RUNDLE CHARLES


He is so infinitely blessed, that every perception of His blissful presence imparts a vital gladness to the heart. Every degree of approach to Him is, in the same proportion, a degree of happiness. And I often think that were He always present to our mind, as we are present to Him, there would be no pain, nor sense of misery. 

SUSANNA WESLEY


This is a public domain version of Joy and Strength. Shared from here with permission.

Devotions.org, a division of Back to Bible has a daily source of devotions to keep you in touch with God and His word, written by some of today's top authors and Bible teachers. Browse the variety of resources completely on their website. 

More of Devotions.Org: http://www.backtothebible.org/devotions

THE TEST OF A TRUE FRIEND -  

So when Moses' father-in-law saw all that he did for the people, he said, "What is this thing that you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit, and all the people stand before you from morning until evening?" So Moses' father-in-law said to him, "The thing that you do is not good." - Exodus 18:14, 17


Antisthenes, the cynic philosopher, use to say, "There are only two people who will tell you the truth about yourself--an enemy who has lost his temper and a friend who loves you dearly." The true test of a friend is not how frequently he is with you but how honest he is with you.

Jethro, Moses' father-in-law, was a true friend. When he saw Moses wearing himself out doing something that others could do just as well, he plainly said, "The thing that you do is not good." His concern for his son-in-law's health would not allow him to stay quiet.

Telling our friends the truth has its hazards because the truth often hurts. Their initial reaction may not be a positive one. Yet Scripture says, "Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful" (Prov. 27:6). The role of a faithful friend is not always an easy one.

If you find it necessary to share a potentially hurtful truth with your friend, approach the situation only after much prayer. Pray that your attitude would be one of humility and servanthood. Ask God to provide the right situation in which to share the truth. Seek wisdom in how to best express yourself so that what you say will be viewed by your friend as constructive rather than destructive. Pray, prepare, then just do it. Faithfulness is not gauged by your intentions but by your actions. You never help your friend with good intentions alone, but with good intentions that result in good actions.

A faithful friend is a truthful friend.


Shared from here with the author's permission.

Dr. Woodrow Kroll served as President and Senior Bible Teacher at Back to the Bible from 1990-2013. Author of more than 50 books, Dr. Kroll's passion is to increase Bible literacy in America by engaging people in the Bible and connecting them with the Author. His clear, incisive teaching of the Word keeps him in demand as a speaker all over the world. - See more at: http://www.backtothebible.org/authors/woodrow-kroll#sthash.7Yrcap6W.dpuf

More of Dr. Woodrow Kroll: http://www.backtothebible.org/devotions

CALL HIM MASTER -  

BY CHARLES HADDON SPURGEON

In Morning and Evening

"He appeared first to Mary Magdalene." --Mark 16:9


Jesus "appeared first to Mary Magdalene," probably not only on account of her great love and persevering seeking, but because, as the context intimates, she had been a special trophy of Christ's delivering power. Learn from this, that the greatness of our sin before conversion should not make us imagine that we may not be specially favoured with the very highest grade of fellowship. She was one who had left all to become a constant attendant on the Saviour. He was her first, her chief object. Many who were on Christ's side did not take up Christ's cross; she did. She spent her substance in relieving His wants. If we would see much of Christ, let us serve Him.


Tell me who they are that sit oftenest under the banner of His love, and drink deepest draughts from the cup of communion, and I am sure they will be those who give most, who serve best, and who abide closest to the bleeding heart of their dear Lord.


But notice how Christ revealed Himself to this sorrowing one--by a word, "Mary." It needed but one word in His voice, and at once she knew Him, and her heart owned allegiance by another word, her heart was too full to say more. That one word would naturally be the most fitting for the occasion. It implies obedience. She said, "Master." There is no state of mind in which this confession of allegiance will be too cold. No, when your spirit glows most with the heavenly fire, then you will say, "I am Thy servant, Thou hast loosed my bonds." If you can say, "Master," if you feel that His will is your will, then you stand in a happy, holy place. He must have said, "Mary," or else you could not have said, "Rabboni." See, then, from all this, how Christ honours those who honour Him, how love draws our Beloved, how it needs but one word of His to turn our weeping to rejoicing, how His presence makes the heart's sunshine.


This is shared with permission from its appearance here.

Devotions.org, a division of Back to Bible has a daily source of devotions to keep you in touch with God and His word, written by some of today's top authors and Bible teachers. Browse the variety of resources completely on their website. 

More of Devotions.Org: http://www.backtothebible.org/devotions

The Example of a Nursing Mother

Written by Sandra Sheridan

“But we proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children.” - 1 Thessalonians 2:7

There are not many experiences that are sweeter than cradling a tiny baby in your arms and nursing her. This was one of my precious joys of motherhood, and a memory I will always keep. The bond that forms between mother and child while nursing every few hours throughout the day and late night becomes so strong you believe you would do anything to provide for and protect that child.

Though not every mother has this opportunity of being the personal source of nutrition for their child, the mother instinct is still strong and a tender and gentle heart governs our motives and actions. These characteristics make a huge difference in the lives of our children, but the same characteristics also make a difference in the spread of the gospel.

The Apostle Paul had obviously observed this deep love and commitment shared between mother and child. That is why he used this example to portray to the Thessalonian believers his own deep love and concern for them. You wouldn’t necessarily expect a man to compare himself to a nursing mother. But Paul made this connection because of the accusations that others were speaking about him.

Paul and Silas had experienced great persecution in the town of Philippi. Upon leaving that city they traveled to Thessalonica where they spoke the gospel message to the people there. Many were convicted of their sin and received the word. Soon the persecution caught up with the apostle and his company and they were forced to leave the town under great duress.

Enemies tried to discredit Paul’s message by accusing him of error and wrong motives. Though he had been forced to leave the new believers physically, he was still with them in heart and spirit. The thought of his spiritual children’s believing the falsehoods was deeply distressing, so Paul defended himself by reminding the believers of the truth.

He had labored and endured hardship, working night and day so as not to be a burden to them. He exhorted, encouraged, and implored them as a father, but he also reminded them, “we proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children.” (1 Thessalonians 2:7) These qualities, strengthened with the power of the Holy Spirit, had made a difference in those who listened to the message and many believed. The memory of Paul’s tenderness and genuine love spoke for itself and defended him against the enemy’s lies.

Historically we have thought most often of men as being preachers and speakers of the word of God, but a woman also has qualities that are essential to the spread of the gospel. We reflect many of God’s attributes such as love, tenderness, and faithfulness. It is built into us as women and mothers and reveals itself intensely as we care for our little ones.

As we develop that same kind of love and tenderness for the world, there is no limit to what God will accomplish through us. Neighbors and friends will see Jesus and be drawn to Him as they experience His love through us.

The truth needs to be spoken. People need to be exhorted and implored to turn to Christ. But they also need to see the gentleness and tender love of God. This kind of affection and caring is needed for our own children and the rest of the world to turn to the Savior. Let’s all use this inherent characteristic to its best advantage, and watch to see what God will do.


What keeps you committed to your babies and children even in the hard times?

How can you develop this same type of persistence for loving the world around you?

Pray that God will use the very nature He has created within you to bring others to an understanding of His love.


This is shared with permission from its original appearance here.

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