CALLED

 

By Cindy Hess Kasper

Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them. —Romans 12:6

In September 2001, Lisa Jefferson had an unexpected opportunity to be used by God. Her now well-known 15-minute conversation with a passenger on United Flight 93 forever changed the direction of her life. In her book Called, she emphasizes that her listening skills and her ability to take charge and stay calm in a crisis were used to encourage fellow believer Todd Beamer in the last moments of his life.

She didn’t ask to be used that way. But God saw a woman who was available and matched her with someone who was in need. Lisa now shares her story with whomever she can to encourage believers to always be ready to serve.

Not only has God given us natural abilities, He also equips every believer with spiritual gifts for the purpose of ministry. God doesn’t use the unwilling—He won’t force us to serve Him. His part is to equip us (Eph. 4:11-13) and empower and prepare us for service. Our part is to be faithful and available and aware of opportunities to use our gifts (Rom. 12:6).

When you feel impelled to help fill a need, when you are inwardly driven to serve—listen to those thoughts. You don’t want to miss God’s call.

In gladness I go forth each day
Expectantly to serve and claim
The happiness that service gives
When freely rendered in God’s name. —Anon.

God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary work.

Devotional forwarded to you by:

UP CHRISTIAN YOUTH MOVEMENT

NCCP Ecumenical Ministry – Church of the Risen Lord

University of the Philippines, Diliman Campus, QC

 

ALL OUT OF TEENAGERS

By Dave Branon

Your children [shall be] like olive plants all around your table. —Psalm 128:3

For 18 years, our home was blessed by the presence of teenagers. But now that our youngest is in his 20s, my wife and I are all out of teenagers.

Those years were full of challenges and demands that sometimes zapped our strength and took all of our mental and emotional reserves. Along the way, we navigated the rough seas of the sudden death of one of our four teens. We also enjoyed the thrills of success and struggled through the turmoil of rebellion. As I look back on our experiment in parenting, we learned some valuable lessons:

• Some teens follow life in a straight line, while others zig-zag along life’s pathway. It’s best to “zig” with them in love and with courage.

• All teens need unconditional love because they live in a conditional world.

• A love of God’s Word is vital to successfully transferring faith from one generation to the next.

• Teens need to develop a relationship with Christ that is based not on rules but on a deep love of Jesus.

Has God placed any young people in your life? Whatever their age, love them unconditionally. Help them learn to love God’s Word. Show them how to have a deep love for Jesus. And hold on!

Parents, give your children guidance
And instruction from God’s Word;
Then with wisdom and compassion
Teach them how to love the Lord. —Sper

Don’t merely spend time with your children—invest it.

Devotional forwarded to you by:

UP CHRISTIAN YOUTH MOVEMENT

NCCP Ecumenical Ministry – Church of the Risen Lord

University of the Philippines, Diliman Campus, QC

HIGHER MATH

By Dennis J. De Haan

Count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. —James 1:2-3

Mathematical formulas work well with numbers, but not with people. That’s why this equation in James 1 sounds unworkable:

Faith + Trials = Patience

One might better try to mix oil and water. But what makes this formula work is confidence in God’s unfailing love, which allows for all the human emotions that come with life’s trials.

Shirley and her husband Roy proved that this equation is still up-to-date. Here’s their story: Roy was told that in 6 months the plant where he worked would close but he would receive severance pay.

Shirley wrote, “Praise the Lord for that—but also praise the Lord that He loves us so much He’s given us yet another trial in our lives. (This will be the fourth time we’re starting over in the 13 years we’ve been married.) At first I panicked and questioned God’s love. But I kept reading my Bible, stopped feeling sorry for myself, and started to pray for others. As long as God gives us this roof over our heads (and even if we lose it), I’ll thank Him.”

So when you face trials, you can “count it all joy” if you add faith, knowing that God’s love will never fail. As you do, you will develop an attitude of patient expectation, confident that God will do what is best.

Afflictions may test me,
They cannot destroy;
One glimpse of Thy love
Turns them all into joy. —Willett

The first lesson in patience is learning to count our trials as joy.

Devotional forwarded to you by:

UP CHRISTIAN YOUTH MOVEMENT

NCCP Ecumenical Ministry – Church of the Risen Lord

University of the Philippines, Diliman Campus, QC

WORTH DYING FOR


By Bill Crowder

For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. —Philippians 1:21

Sophie Scholl was a young German woman during the 1940s. She saw the deterioration of her country under the iron rule of the Nazi regime, and she determined to make a difference. She and her brother, with a small group of friends, began to peacefully protest not only the actions but the values that the Nazis had forced upon the nation.

Sophie and others were arrested and executed for speaking out against the evil in their land. Although she wasn’t anxious to die, she saw that the conditions in her country had to be addressed—even if it meant her death.

Sophie’s story raises a critical question for us as well. What would we be willing to die for? Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, Pete Fleming, Roger Youderian, and Ed McCully gave their lives in the jungles of South America because they were committed to spreading the gospel. Elliot revealed the heart that drove such sacrifice when he wrote, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.” The apostle Paul put it this way: “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:21).

Some things really are worth dying for—and in them we gain the reward of the One who declares, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matt. 25:21,23)

Forbid it, Lord, that I should be 

Afraid of persecution’s frown; 

For You have promised faithful ones 

That they shall wear the victor’s crown. —Bosch

Those who faithfully bear the cross in this life will wear the crown in the life to come.

Devotional forwarded to you by:

UP CHRISTIAN YOUTH MOVEMENT

NCCP Ecumenical Ministry – Church of the Risen Lord

University of the Philippines, Diliman Campus, QC

TRUTH IS LIBERATING

 

By Joanie Yoder

You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. —John 8:32

A Christian friend shared several problems with me over the phone. He was particularly concerned about his frustration and anger. But talking seemed to help. The next day he e-mailed this message to me: “After our talk, I read my Bible notes and found several pages that spoke to me. But what helped me most was the realization that Christianity really is the truth. I suppose that for a Christian this should be obvious. But for me it was a fresh revelation that Jesus in fact is the Son of God and He loves me.” He added, “Just knowing the truth was very liberating. Suddenly, all the frustration and anger left me.”

Writer Os Guinness tells about a young, searching Christian who exclaimed, “I always knew the Christian faith was true, but I never realized it was this true!”

As these believers searched for greater understanding of the gospel, they rediscovered what Jesus promised: “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32).

Do you need a fresh realization of truth in your life? Then spend time searching the Scriptures (the written truth), and earnestly seek Jesus Christ (the living truth). Soon the old, familiar truth of Jesus and His love will become refreshingly new to you and will make you free indeed.

Our selfish ways imprison us—
We cry out to be free;
But if we will obey God’s Word,
We’ll find true liberty. —Sper

The truth of Christ is the only path to freedom.

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 INNOCENT!


By Anne Cetas

Be doers of the Word. —James 1:22

All of the students at a school in Florida—2,550 in total—were in trouble. A message system notified every parent that their child (or children) had detention that weekend for bad behavior. Many kids pleaded their innocence, yet some parents meted out punishment anyway. One mother, Amy, admitted that she yelled at her son and made sure he showed up for his detention on Saturday.

To the relief of 2,534 kids, and to the embarrassment of some parents, they discovered that the automated message was sent in error to the entire student body when only 16 kids actually deserved detention! Amy felt so bad about not listening to and believing her son that she took him out for breakfast that Saturday morning.

We all have stories to tell about circumstances that have shown us our need to listen before we speak. We’re naturally tempted to come to quick judgments and react angrily. The book of James gives us these three practical exhortations to deal with life’s stressful situations: “Be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath” (James 1:19).

In life’s stresses, let’s be “doers of the Word” (v.22), and take the time to listen and show restraint with our words and anger today.

A judgment made without the facts

Is sure to be unfair, 

So always listen to both sides— 

You’ll find the answer there. —Branon

Listen to understand, then speak with love.

Devotional forwarded to you by:

UP CHRISTIAN YOUTH MOVEMENT

NCCP Ecumenical Ministry – Church of the Risen Lord

University of the Philippines, Diliman Campus, QC

WHY BOTHER WITH CHURCH?


By Philip Yancey

Let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together. —Hebrews 10:24-25

Winston Churchill once said that he related to the church rather like a flying buttress: He supported it from the outside. (A flying buttress is an external support that reinforces the walls of old cathedrals.) I tried that strategy for a while, after coming to believe Christian doctrine sincerely and committing myself to God.

I am not alone. Fewer people attend church on Sunday than claim to follow Christ. Some feel burned by a former experience. Others simply “get nothing out of church.” Why bother?

Today, I could hardly imagine life without church. Church has filled a need for me that can’t be met in any other way. An early-church leader wrote, “The virtuous soul that is alone . . . is like the burning coal that is alone. It will grow colder rather than hotter.”

Christianity is not a purely intellectual, internal faith. It can be lived only in community. At a deep level, I sense that church contains something I desperately need. Whenever I abandoned church for a time, I found that I was the one who suffered. My faith faded, and the crusty shell of lovelessness grew over me again. I grew colder rather than hotter.

And so, my journeys away from church have always circled back to the church.

We join our hearts and hands together,
Faithful to the Lord’s command;
We hold each other to God’s standards—
All that truth and love demand. —D. De Haan

The church is not a select circle for a few but a spiritual center open to all.

Devotional forwarded to you by:

UP CHRISTIAN YOUTH MOVEMENT

NCCP Ecumenical Ministry – Church of the Risen Lord

University of the Philippines, Diliman Campus, QC