O Soul, God’s blessings in this life are good and pleasant. He gives you enjoyment in so many ways. Yes, life is hard, and suffering at times seems to overwhelm. But most of life’s activities contain the potential for joy. So do not let troubles keep you from what is good. All must be done within the confines of divine permission, of course. But God made life to be pleasurable. Now, how much more pleasurable will eternal life be? Do nothing that will put your celestial inheritance at risk. Do everything to guarantee God’s approval on the last day. Lock in on your goal, and enjoy the ride!

Every spare moment, nearly, has been spent in writing in Portuguese, much of that for a book of evangelistic studies, which so far has just over 200 pages. It has required translation of some studies, transcription of material I have on paper by others, and writing my own material, as well as revision and expansion of other of my material.

There’s also another big, big reason, but I’ll get to that one before long.

There’s not much said in the NT about church planting. Plenty is said about proclaiming the gospel. So how did people know how to gather together in community? Reckon the saints said something about the church in their message? Something like,

“God formed a people centered in his love. He brings the followers of Christ together. The new life is lived in community, nothing like you’ve ever seen before. His people are not Jews or pagans, it’s not philosophy or pleasure-seeking, but what we’ve all been looking for. God assembles them now as they wait for the Great Assembly in heaven when the Lord returns for them.”

Reckon? The kingdom message implies a chosen people. Contrary to some who want to leave the church out of their message.

I don’t know anything about Monty Python (I know, my ignorance is showing), but this is a good illustration about how many approach God in prayer. It underlines the need to know from Scripture before we pray, and the priority of hearing God in Scripture before speaking to him in prayer.

A tweet affirmed that the goal of missions is to plant churches that plant other churches. I have no beef with the general idea. The gospel ought to spread to every place. But the wording doesn’t get much support from the NT. The church is a product of proclaiming the gospel. The emphasis is on the latter. The tweet puts forth a humanly based activity. It sets aside the activity of God. It probably reflects denominational bias. When the gospel is preached in its fullness and truth, God adds the converts to his church and they begin to meet together. Quite simple, is it not?

The flame of God’s service, from 2 Timothy 1.6, is the focus of today’s devotional by Ed M. The call must ever be heard. (“Ministry” in today’s religious language has been co-opted by professionals. We are all ministers, only some of us serve in different functions.) God calls all his people to serve his mission. The church is about souls. We must never lose sight of that. We must constantly fan the flames of this privilege of participating with God in the rescue of mankind. Whatever our drawbacks or disadvantages — and Timothy had plenty of them — we are not exempt. No woman or man can run from it and be faithful to the calling.

Focus question: What do I need to do to keep the fire of zeal hot for serving God?

It feels like I’m in a constant conversation with most people via email. So one doesn’t keep saying, “Dear Friend,” every time the chat comes back. So why bother with the greeting? Just get to the point, right? Is that bad?

The Simpson devotional for today has this insight:

So in the days of Christ, it was the bondage of the Jews to the traditions of their fathers and the opinions of men that kept them back from receiving Him. How can ye believe, He asked, which receive honour one of another; and seek not the honour that cometh from God only? (John 5:44).

The same occurs today. People love their religious traditions which exalt and honor men. So they do not believe in the word of God. Human honors squelches faith in the divine.

Everlasting love is Ed M.’s devotional thought today, from Jeremiah 31.3. His final prayer is poignant:

You, O Lord, are infinite love. Thank You for Your care. Draw me. Lift me. Allure me. Bring me gently home. In Him, whose love knows no boundaries, Amen.

Focus question: In what ways do I shut out God’s love from shining in my life?