AGING GRACEFULLY

By Joanie Yoder

I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. —Psalm 139:14

Many people try to reverse the aging process. Those with wrinkles get facelifts, while others have injections to remove unwanted facial lines. Behind this current trend is the notion that an aging face is unacceptable.

But not everyone feels that way. An elderly woman being interviewed on television was asked, “Do you like your face?” She responded with conviction, “I love my face! It’s the face God gave me, and I accept it happily.”

In Psalm 139, David expressed the conviction that his entire being was fashioned by God and therefore is worthy of acceptance. He prayed, “I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (v.14). He also believed that God fashioned all the days of his life (v.16).

Instead of fighting a losing battle against our waning youthful appearance, we should concentrate on cultivating inner qualities that last forever. One key attribute is a lifelong faith in God, who reassures His people: “Even to your old age, . . . and even to gray hairs I will carry you!” (Isaiah 46:4).

Myron Taylor wrote: “Time may wrinkle the skin, but worry, doubt, hate, and the loss of ideals wrinkle the soul.” As we gracefully accept the passing of years, God will smooth out the wrinkles of our souls.

The wrinkles on a time-worn face
Can be symbols of God’s grace,
If through our laughter and our tears
His love has freed us from our fears. —D. De Haan

When you let God’s love fill your heart, it will show on your face.

Devotional forwarded to you by:

UP CHRISTIAN YOUTH MOVEMENT

NCCP Ecumenical Ministry – Church of the Risen Lord

University of the Philippines, Diliman Campus, QC

SOURCE OF GLADNESS

By David C. McCasland

As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things. —2 Corinthians 6:10

Paul Gerhardt, a pastor in Germany during the 17th century, had every reason not to be glad. His wife and four of his children died; the Thirty Years’ War brought death and devastation across Germany; church conflict and political interference filled his life with distress. Yet despite great personal suffering, he wrote more than 130 hymns, many of them characterized by joy and devotion to Jesus Christ.

One of Gerhardt’s hymns, “Holy Spirit, Source Of Gladness,” contains this verse:

Let that love which knows no measure
Now in quickening showers descend,
Bringing us the richest treasures
Man can wish or God can send;
Hear our earnest supplication,
Every struggling heart release;
Rest upon this congregation,
Spirit of untroubled peace.

Because God’s abounding love is poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit (Rom. 5:5), is there any situation in which we cannot experience the joy He gives?

During a time of great personal hardship, the apostle Paul described his experience as being “sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things” (2 Cor. 6:10).

Pain and sorrow are inescapable facts of life. Yet the Holy Spirit is our source of gladness, “bringing us the richest treasures man can wish or God can send.”

Happiness depends on happenings, but joy depends on Jesus.

Devotional forwarded to you by:

UP CHRISTIAN YOUTH MOVEMENT

NCCP Ecumenical Ministry – Church of the Risen Lord

University of the Philippines, Diliman Campus, QC

CAVE MAN

By Dave Branon

Attend to my cry, for I am brought very low. —Psalm 142:6

David was stuck in a cave (Psalm 142). Some Bible commentators think this was when he was running from King Saul, who wanted to kill him (1 Samuel 22:1). Trouble and troublemakers hounded him. Hemmed in by his circumstances and smothered by danger, he turned to God for help.

David was frightened, so he poured out his complaint to God (v.2).
He felt alone and uncared for, so he cried out to God (vv.1,4-5).
His situation was desperate, so he pleaded for rescue (v.6).
David was trapped, so he begged for freedom (v.7).

What cave surrounds you today? A cave of despair brought on by grief or illness? A cave of difficulties caused by your own poor decisions? Are you stuck in a cave of questions or doubts that rob you of joy and confidence?

Here’s what David did when he was trapped in his cave: He asked God for mercy, he sought refuge in Him, and he promised to use his eventual freedom as a way to praise God. In the end, he looked forward to the comfort of fellow believers.

Complaint followed by faith. Desperation followed by praise. Loneliness followed by fellowship. We can learn a lot from a cave man.

When we experience suffering,
God’s comfort will abound;
For tribulations teach us where
True comfort can be found. —Sper

In every desert of calamity, God has an oasis of comfort.

Devotional forwarded to you by:

UP CHRISTIAN YOUTH MOVEMENT

NCCP Ecumenical Ministry – Church of the Risen Lord

University of the Philippines, Diliman Campus, QC

NO GRIPPING

By Bill Crowder

Do all things without complaining and disputing. —Philippians 2:14

During my first week of Bible college, we had several days of orientation in which we were given a rule book to study. Several days later, during a meeting to discuss those rules, one student stood up and asked, “What is ‘no gripping’? And why is it against the rules?”

He was referring to a statement in the rule book he had misread. Instead of “gripping,” it read “griping”—complaining or grumbling.

A rule against griping is perfectly understandable. The cancer of a complaining spirit can undermine the spiritual and emotional health of an individual and can infect an entire group. This can result in discontent, frustration, and even rebellion.

Moses heard griping among God’s people a mere 3 days after leading them from slavery into freedom (Ex. 15:24). Centuries later, Samuel felt the weight of griping as he sought to represent God to his generation (1 Sam. 8:4-9).

A complaining spirit can destroy the effectiveness of a church too. Paul wrote to the church at Philippi, “Do all things without complaining and disputing” (Phil. 2:14).

We need to avoid a complaining spirit when serving Christ. Instead, rejoice and thank God for all He has done! No griping allowed.

When things go wrong, I would not be a grumbler,
Complaining, seeing everything as grim;
For when I think of how the Lord has blessed me,
I cannot help but give my praise to Him. —Hess

When you feel like griping, start counting your blessings.

Devotional forwarded to you by:

UP CHRISTIAN YOUTH MOVEMENT

NCCP Ecumenical Ministry – Church of the Risen Lord

University of the Philippines, Diliman Campus, QC

HOW TO FAIL SUCCESSFULLY

By Dennis J. De Haan

If anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. —1 John 2:1

Inventor Charles Kettering has suggested that we must learn to fail intelligently. He said, “Once you’ve failed, analyze the problem and find out why, because each failure is one more step leading up to the cathedral of success. The only time you don’t want to fail is the last time you try.”

Kettering gave these suggestions for turning failure into success: (1) Honestly face defeat; never fake success. (2) Exploit the failure; don’t waste it. Learn all you can from it. (3) Never use failure as an excuse for not trying again.

Kettering’s practical wisdom holds a deeper meaning for the Christian. The Holy Spirit is constantly working in us to accomplish “His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13), so we know that failure is never final. We can’t reclaim lost time. And we can’t always make things right, although we should try. Some consequences of our sins can never be reversed. But we can make a new start, because Jesus died to pay the penalty for all our sins and is our “Advocate with the Father” (1 John 2:1).

Knowing how to benefit from failure is the key to continued growth in grace. According to 1 John 1:9, we need to confess our sins—it’s the first step in turning our failure into success.

Onward and upward your course plan today,
Seeking new heights as you walk Jesus’ way;
Heed not past failures, but strive for the prize,
Aiming for goals fit for His holy eyes. —Brandt

Failure is never final for those who begin again with God.

Devotional forwarded to you by:

UP CHRISTIAN YOUTH MOVEMENT

NCCP Ecumenical Ministry – Church of the Risen Lord

University of the Philippines, Diliman Campus, QC

 

I’M IN DEBT    

   
By Mart De Haan  

I am a debtor both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to wise and to unwise. — Romans 1:14

A shopper underestimated the total cost of her groceries. When the cashier added up the items, the woman was $4 short. Then something unusual happened. The man behind her in the checkout lane saw her digging through her purse and motioned to the clerk to put the amount on his bill. He modestly refused to give the woman his name.

A few days later, the local newspaper reported that a charity organization had received a $4 check with the following note: “This check is for the man who helped me out of a tight spot. I came up with the idea of giving it to you as a thank-you to him.”

This incident illustrates a vital spiritual principle. We should feel an obligation to pass along to others the kindnesses shown to us. That’s how the apostle Paul responded to God’s mercy. Of course, he could never repay the Lord for salvation, but that didn’t stop him from openly showing his gratitude. Because of what he had received, he showed the highest kind of charity—sharing the gospel with others.

Let’s not think that because we can’t repay God for saving us, we owe Him nothing. We are indebted to Him for everything. The least we can do is show our appreciation by telling others about Him.

How much I owe for love divine!
How much I owe that Christ is mine!
But what He did for me I know,
I cannot tell how much I owe. —Hamilton

Jesus gave His all for us. Do we give our all for Him?

Devotional forwarded to you by:

UP CHRISTIAN YOUTH MOVEMENT

NCCP Ecumenical Ministry – Church of the Risen Lord

University of the Philippines, Diliman Campus, QC

DON’T LET IT GROW


By Marvin Williams

Looking carefully . . . lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled. —Hebrews 12:15

In June 1966, Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, a celebrated boxer, along with an acquaintance were convicted of murder in a highly publicized and racially charged trial. The boxer maintained his innocence and became his own jailhouse lawyer. After serving 19 years, Carter was released when the verdict was overturned. As a free man, he reflected: “Wouldn’t anyone under those circumstances have a right to be bitter? . . . I’ve learned that bitterness only consumes the vessel that contains it. And for me to permit bitterness to control or infect my life in any way whatsoever would be to allow those who imprisoned me to take even more than . . . they’ve already taken.”

I believe that bitterness is what the writer of Hebrews had in mind when he penned his warnings. In today’s text, some of the Christians may have been considering returning to Judaism because of persecution and injustice. Like a small root that grows into a great tree, bitterness could spring up in their hearts and overshadow their deepest Christian relationships (12:15).

When we hold on to disappointment, a poisonous root of bitterness begins to grow. Let’s allow the Spirit to fill us so He can heal the hurt that causes bitterness.

When angry feelings go unchecked,
They’ll mushroom into hate;
So don’t let time feed bitterness—
Forgiveness must not wait. —Sper

Bitterness is a root that ruins the garden of peace.

Devotional forwarded to you by:

UP CHRISTIAN YOUTH MOVEMENT

NCCP Ecumenical Ministry – Church of the Risen Lord

University of the Philippines, Diliman Campus, QC