EXISTING OR TRULY LIVING?

By Bill Crowder

I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. —John 10:10

On a family visit to Disneyland, I pondered the sign over the entrance arch that read, “Welcome to the happiest place on earth.” The rest of the day I looked at the faces of the people and was impressed by the small number who were actually smiling during their visit to “the happiest place on earth.” I roamed the park with divided attention—trying to make sure my kids had a good time and wondering why so few adults seemed to be enjoying themselves.

As I think of that day, I am reminded of a line from an old song that says, “Life goes on, long after the thrill of living is gone.” So it seems.

To live life to the fullest is qualitatively different than merely existing. In fact, Jesus said that part of His mission was to enable us to live life to the fullest: “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). He came so that we could experience life to the full—not according to the standards of a fallen world, but life as it was intended to be. It is life according to the designs and desires of the Creator of life.

By coming to provide forgiveness for rebellious, broken people, Jesus has made it possible for us to live a life of joy and hope in a world of despair.

Jesus came to bring us life—
Abundant living, full and free;
Trusting Him to save and keep us
Gives us joy the world can see.  —Sper

To know God puts a song in your heart  and a smile 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

LOAD LIMIT

By Richard De Haan

God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able. —1 Corinthians 10:13

We’ve all seen load-limit signs on highways, bridges, and elevators. Knowing that too much strain can cause severe damage or complete collapse, engineers determine the exact amount of stress that various materials can safely endure. Posted warnings tell us not to exceed the maximum load.

Human beings also have their load limits, which vary from person to person. Some people, for example, can bear the pressure of trial and temptation better than others; yet everyone has a breaking point and can take only so much.

At times, circumstances and people seem to be pushing us beyond what we can bear. But the Lord knows our limitations and never allows any difficulties to enter our lives that exceed our strength and ability to endure. This is especially true when we’re enticed by sin. According to 1 Corinthians 10:13, “God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able.”

So when trials and temptations press down on you, take courage. Remember, your heavenly Father knows the limits of your ability to stand up under life’s pressures. Draw on His strength; no temptation will ever be greater than that!

When sorrows assail us or terrors draw nigh,
His love will not fail us, He’ll guide with His eye;
And when we are fainting and ready to fail,
He’ll give what is lacking and make us prevail. —Anon.

If you yield to God, you won’t give in to sin.

Devotional forwarded to you by:

UP CHRISTIAN YOUTH MOVEMENT

NCCP Ecumenical Ministry – Church of the Risen Lord

University of the Philippines, Diliman Campus, QC

THE GREATNESS OF GODLINESS

By David H. Roper

Jacob blessed Pharaoh, and went out from before Pharaoh. —Genesis 47:10

In the eyes of most people, Jacob’s brother Esau was the greater man of the two. Through the years he had accumulated immense wealth and power. He was the ruler of the land of Edom and could have met Pharaoh on his own terms. Yet Esau, with all his earthly authority, could not have blessed Pharaoh. Only Jacob had that power (Genesis 47:10).

The spiritual is greater than the natural. God can endow a humble human being with awesome moral force. Holiness has within itself the power to master all other powers.

The Greek word for power or authority (exousia) contains the preposition ex, which means “out of” or “from.” This suggests that the ability to influence others flows from inside. It is rooted in what we are. “Do you wish to be great?” Augustine asked. “Then begin by being.” Greatness comes from holiness and nothing more.

I have a friend who makes his way through the halls of power in Washington, DC, meeting with the most prominent women and men in the world. He speaks a word or two, prays, and then walks on, but he leaves behind the lingering and compelling influence of Christ. He has the aura of greatness that surrounds all whose lives reflect the character of Jesus. It is the greatness of godliness.

I want my heart His throne to be,
So that a watching world may see
His likeness shining forth in me;
I want to be like Jesus.  —Chisholm

Even a little example can have a big influence for Christ.

Devotional forwarded to you by:

UP CHRISTIAN YOUTH MOVEMENT

NCCP Ecumenical Ministry – Church of the Risen Lord

University of the Philippines, Diliman Campus, QC

FAMOUS LAST WORDS

By Bill Crowder

At my first defense no one stood with me, but all forsook me. May it not be charged against them. —2 Timothy 4:16

Just days before his death, Gandhi wrote, “All about me is darkness; I am praying for light.” By contrast, evangelist D. L. Moody’s last recorded words were, “This is my triumph; this my coronation day! It is glorious!” In both cases, their last words were significant expressions of their perspectives on life, death, and everything in between.

Aside from some personal greetings, Paul’s last recorded words dealt not with what he had done in life and ministry but rather with how he viewed people. What makes it even more significant is that some of those words were about people who had disappointed him.

Regarding an individual who had harmed him by opposing his ministry, Paul trusted the Lord to deal with him. And when considering those who had abandoned him when imprisoned, he asked others to handle them graciously: “At my first defense no one stood with me, but all forsook me. May it not be charged against them” (2 Tim. 4:16). His last words were those of compassion and kindness instead of harshness and retaliation.

Will our last words show the grace of Christ or the bitterness of a wounded heart? Our answer should impact the words we use today.

What have you written on memory’s page?
Deeds that were done in the Master’s name?
Words that were spoken to spread His fame?
What have you written today? —Anon.

What words will be your legacy?

Devotional forwarded to you by:

UP CHRISTIAN YOUTH MOVEMENT

NCCP Ecumenical Ministry – Church of the Risen Lord

University of the Philippines, Diliman Campus, QC

WORDS OF LIFE

By Bill Crowder

Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. —John 6:68

In his book Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business, Neil Postman warns us of the danger of a world of information overload. He reminds us of a chilling futuristic vision—Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World,which describes a world thoroughly flooded with information. But that data is manipulated so that none of it has any significance.

A glance at the Internet or a magazine rack hints that we are living in just such a culture. We’re drowning in a sea of information often marketed by the unscrupulous. We need discernment to choose wisely whom we will listen to.

In John 6, Jesus delivered His “I am the bread of life” message (v.35). It was a sermon so controversial that, at its conclusion, many of His followers went away and stopped following Him (v.66). They chose to stop listening to the voice of Christ. When Jesus challenged His disciples as to whether they would also walk away, Peter wisely responded, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (v.68).

In a world swamped with confusing and contradictory information, we can, like Peter, turn to Christ for wisdom. He cuts through the words of confusion with words of life.

There’s so much wisdom to be learned,
So many ways for me to grow,
Lord, I would listen like a child,
And learn what You would have me know. —K. De Haan

If you want to be wise, listen to 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

EXPECTATIONS

By Joe Stowell

My earnest expectation and hope [is] that . . . Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. —Philippians 1:20

Expectations! We all have them. We expect that people will be nice to us, that we’ll have good health, great marriages, faithful friends, successful careers. But what do we do when life doesn’t live up to our expectations? In Philippians 1, Paul shows us the way. He faced broken expectations of place, people, and the future, yet he remained surprisingly upbeat.

Paul was stuck in prison—not a great place to be! When we get stuck in a tough marriage, an unrewarding job, or a challenging neighborhood, it’s easy to get discouraged. But Paul was wonderfully positive. He said that his suffering helped to advance the gospel (Phil. 1:12).

Maybe people haven’t lived up to our expectations. Paul likely expected other believers to encourage him. Instead, some were actually glad he was in jail and were preaching out of “envy and strife” (v.15). Paul’s response? “Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice” (v.18).

Maybe it’s an uncertain future—the loss of a spouse, a job transfer, or a health crisis. Paul knew that at any moment Nero might give the order for his execution, yet he declared, “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (v.21).

Adopt Paul’s only expectation—for Christ to be honored no matter what!

In all I think and say and do,
I long, O God, to honor You;
But may my highest motive be
To love the Christ who died for me. —D. De Haan

You can expect to enjoy God’s presence when you honor Him with your life.

Devotional forwarded to you by:

UP CHRISTIAN YOUTH MOVEMENT

NCCP Ecumenical Ministry – Church of the Risen Lord

University of the Philippines, Diliman Campus, QC

A GLIMPSE OF GLORY


By David H. Roper

Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. —2 Corinthians 4:16

Age has its troubles-failing hearing and eyesight, forgetfulness, aching backs, arthritic hands. These are intimations that we are wasting away. Yet, Paul insisted, inwardly we are “being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (2 Corinthians 4:16-17). How so?

The way I see it, aging and weakness focus our thoughts on God. We learn to fix our eyes on Him and on unseen realities; we learn to distinguish between the permanent and what is passing away. We are drawn by God’s love to set our affection on things above and not on things of earth.

And so we keep our eyes on “the things which are not seen” (v.18). We must look beyond our present frailty to what we will someday be-glorious creatures, bursting with radiant beauty and boundless energy!

So “we do not lose heart” (v.16). We can partner with our pain and go on serving, praying, loving, caring to the end of our days. We can know strength of character despite our frail humanity; we can show patient endurance and love for others in the midst of our discomfort. Despite our momentary troubles, we can press on, for we have glimpsed the glory that far outweighs them all.

The future is seen in the Bible-
This knowledge with us God has shared;
By faith we can see the invisible,
The glory that He has prepared.  -Hess

With nothing between us and God, our faces can reflect His glory.

Devotional forwarded to you by:

UP CHRISTIAN YOUTH MOVEMENT

NCCP Ecumenical Ministry – Church of the Risen Lord

University of the Philippines, Diliman Campus, QC