Timidity is infectious. Many a church would be stronger if it were weeded out–just as Gideon’s army was. Its weakness lies in its great numbers, not because numbers necessarily weaken–but because there are so many half-hearted people on the church roll. They have lost their interest, if they ever had any, and are indifferent, without thorough consecration. They add no strength–but only hinder the other members and dampen their zeal. —J.R. Miller

It is true, to a great extent, that great numbers weakens the church, because weak people are in the numbers. More can and ought to be said about helping the timid and fearful in those numbers to come to faith, but when sought outside of the will of God, the desire to have greater numbers weakens the church and undermines its mission and health. Continue reading

This verse reached out and touched me this morning.

But I am full of the courage that the Lord’s Spirit gives,
and have a strong commitment to justice.
This enables me to confront Jacob with its rebellion,
and Israel with its sin.
Micah 3.8 NET.

I — In contrast with the false prophets who mislead the people, v. 5.

full — more than completely equipped.

Courage — what’s needed to do the difficult task, against all odds.

that the Lord’s spirit gives — the source is God, without whom the task would be overwhelming.

strong commitment to justice — a keen sense of what is right, which also comes from the Lord, in contrast with the leaders who “hate what is good, and love what is evil” v. 2.

to confront — what no one else will do, by speaking or stating in clear terms, in hopes of repentance on the part of the people.

This verse also applies to me as a follower of Christ, whose task is to proclaim repentance to all and forgiveness of every sin.

“It was answered, that all great and honourable actions are accompanied with great difficulties and must be both enterprised and overcome with answerable courages.”

—Wm. Bradford, Of Plymouth Plantation

Persecution of Christians“It was amazing,” he said. “You get punched for actually having sincere beliefs.”

So said Congressman and former presidential candidate Ron Paul, amazed at a rare political move on the part of Republican leaders in the American House of Representatives, punishing those committee members who voted on principle.

Even after so many years in public service, Mr. Paul seemed to be amazed at the move. Continue reading

None of us has ever seen an angel. The stories about angels today are nothing like those of the Bible. Nor do the supposed angels have anything to do with the true ones. Scripture contains no sweet, little angels.

All who were sitting in the council looked intently at Stephen and saw his face was like the face of an angel.
Acts 6.15 NET

We immediately think that Steven must have shown a sweet, meek, beautiful, illuminated face. How wrong that thought would be! Continue reading

by J. Randal Matheny © 2011

courage to risk

The eagle soared against the bluest sky,
He rode the winds, which carried his sharpened cry,
With outstretched wings, he dipped and rose with ease,
A master musician playing the slightest breeze.

Below, the poultry scratched the dirt for corn,
For grub and seeds, on ground well beaten and worn,
To chickens such flight seemed risky and extreme,
They never dared to lift their eyes and dream.

_oO¥Oo_

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Another translation from the Portuguese of the devotional thoughts published in Deus Conosco.

Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me. Job 40:7 NIV

Job wanted to challenge the Lord about his situation. Now, he has his chance. Speaking with irony, God invites Job to prepare himself, in order to get the best of God. Continue reading

rebuildtemple

From your friendly Brazilian devotional service, today in English.

But now the Lord says: Be strong, Zerubbabel. Be strong, Jeshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people still left in the land. And now get to work, for I am with you, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
Haggai 2:4 NLT

The Jews who remembered Solomon’s temple would consider the new construction, after the exile, as something despicable and unworthy of effort. Continue reading