The Grandest People of All – Part I

December 3, 2019By PK ManagerDevotional

Grandchildren are the crowning glory of the aged. – Prov. 17:6a

We have many beautiful trees in the Inland Northwest. I especially enjoy the cedar. The cedar offers a wonderful metaphor for the Christian life. It grows by dying. As it develops, stately and beautiful, putting forth new boughs and leaves, the old ones drop off so the tree can give strength to the new ones.

In a similar manner, mature Christians live their lives for the growth of others. Our goal in life is to meet a need or spread a seed. And when God calls us home, our legacy of investing in others is what remains and will sustain them.

In our case, our immediate family lives out of the area, so it has been a real pleasure to be adopted as grandparents by families who live nearby. This has given us some time and experience to build and work on our grand-parenting skills.

Sometime ago I was asked to deliver a message at a workshop for retirees. My message on “Strategies for Being an Effective Grandparent” suggested different ways we can better connect with our grandchildren. A few Christian psychologists are touting the importance of the grandparent-grandchild relationships. “The bond between a child and a grandparent is the purest, least psychologically complicated form of human love,” says Dr. Arthur Kornhaber. “Grandparents can offer an emotional safety net when parents falter. They pass on traditions in the form of stories, songs, games, skills, and crafts.” They also can serve as a model of godly character and can demonstrate the importance of grace.

And grandparents have another magical ingredient that parents often lack – TIME. Kornhaber has found that children who are close to at least one grandparent are more emotionally secure than other children; and they have more positive feelings about older people and about the process of aging.

Another great thing about being a grandparent: ya get do-overs! It gives every grandparent a second chance. Perhaps history’s most dramatic illustration of that truth is the story of King Manasseh in 2 Chronicles 33. Manasseh has been called the most wicked man who ever lived, but in his old age he repented and turned to God. The son who succeeded him was also evil, but Manasseh’s grandson, Josiah, became one of the most godly, beloved kings in Jewish history.

By studying the chronology, we learn that the last six years of Manasseh’s life and the first six years of Josiah’s overlapped. And the last six years of Manasseh were his repentant years, his godly years, his years of reform and contrition. It was too late for him to influence his own son, Amon. But it wasn’t too late for Josiah, and we can easily picture the old king spending long hours with his small grandson, telling him, “Now, one day you will be king. Don’t make the mistakes I did. From the beginning, serve the Lord.”

My wife and I find it very hard doing long-distance grandparenting. It is especially difficult when the lives of our children are so busy. They are so absorbed in trying to meet all the demands for ministry and parenting that there isn’t much time left over for them to engage with us by long-distance. Their children, our grandchildren, are also very busy.

It takes extra effort to understand how to utilize some of the younger generation’s communication tools like texting and Skyping. But the effort is worth every minute of your investment. If ever there was a time when the younger generation needed the mentoring and wisdom of more experienced people, it is now.

Personal Application:

What kinds of challenges do you encounter in communicating with your grandchildren?

What new ways can you think of to connect with your grandchildren?

What stories can you tell your grandchildren from your life that would encourage them to walk with Christ?

What skills or knowledge could you impart to your grandchildren to help them mature?

What other ways can you demonstrate your love and God’s love to your grandchildren?

What are some ways that you can come alongside your children as they raise your grandchildren?

This devotional is a guest post by Dr. Jim Grassi. He is the founder of Men’s Ministry Catalyst, a ministry partner of Promise Keepers.

Thankmas

November 29, 2019By PK ManagerDevotional

“Can this be Christmas?” was the question our grandchildren asked when we announced that right after our 2006 Thanksgiving weekend at Mt. Hermon we would be having Christmas at a little second home on our friend’s property in Castro Valley.

Our sons had been asked by Mt. Hermon Christian Conference Center to provide the worship music for their very popular Thanksgiving Weekend Conference.  With the approval of our son’s families, Louise and I decided to attend the conference, enjoy family, and then retreat to a friend’s wonderful guest house on Sunday, November 26 where we prepared a nice feast for the immediate family.

For years, we have seen our sons absolutely exhausted on Christmas Day, having just led their respective churches in three to five Christmas Eve Day services.  Due to the hectic pace that is involved around that holiday season we decided to move our family Christmas celebration to the Sunday after Thanksgiving. We all call it Thankmas!

It was so wonderful to celebrate our time together with hearts of thanksgiving.  While there were plenty of gifts (grandparents must spoil their grand-kids a little), we made sure that Jesus did not get lost in all the wrapping paper and Christmas decorations.  Each grandchild read from Scripture as we remembered the reason we even have a Christmas.

In preparing this devotional I came across this little poem that portrays the importance of the Christ child in Christmas.  I plan to read it to our family when we gather for our Christmas celebration.

Can This Be Christmas?

What’s all this hectic rush and worry?
Where go these crowds who run and curry?
Why all the lights—the Christmas trees?
The jolly “fat man,” tell me please!

Why, don’t you know? This is the day
For parties and for fun and play;
Why this is Christmas!

So, this is Christmas, do you say?
But where is Christ this Christmas day?
Has He been lost among the throng?
His voice drowned out by empty song?

No. He’s not here—you’ll find Him where
Some humble soul now kneels in prayer,
Who knows the Christ of Christmas.

But see the many aimless thousands
Who gather on this Christmas Day,
Whose hearts have never yet been opened,
Or said to Him, “Come in to stay.”

In countless homes the candles burning,
In countless hearts expectant yearning
For gifts and presents, food and fun,
And laughter till the day is done.

But not a tear of grief or sorrow
For Him so poor He had to borrow
A crib, a colt, a boat, a bed
Where He could lay His weary head.

I’m tired of all this empty celebration,
Of feasting, drinking, recreation;
I’ll go instead to Calvary.

And there I’ll kneel with those who know
The meaning of that manger low,
And find the Christ—this Christmas.

I leap by faith across the years
To that great day when He appears
The second time, to rule and reign,
To end all sorrow, death, and pain.

In endless bliss, we then shall dwell
With Him who saved our souls from hell,
And worship Christ—not Christmas!

~M.R. DeHaan, M.D., Founder, Radio Bible Class


Personal Application:

  1. How can you make the holiday season more directed to Christ?
  2. What does Galatians 1:10 say about honoring God versus man?

This devotional is a guest post by Dr. Jim Grassi. He is the founder of Men’s Ministry Catalyst, a ministry partner of Promise Keepers.

Hang on, Baby!

November 26, 2019By PK ManagerDevotional

“He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.” 1 Corinthians 1:8-9

I often think about that picture of a cat hanging on for dear life to a table top. The expression on the animal’s face says it all. Just like the cat, sometimes all we can do is pray and hang on. Perseverance is defined as steadfastness or persistence. It is one of those character traits we admire but don’t really like to experience.

A good friend of mine, Bob Schmitt, owner of Mack’s Fishing Lure Company, tells a story from his youth when all he could do was to “hang on”. Bob and some of his teenage Southern Utah friends decided to do their first big game hunting trip together. These determined lads packed a lunch, loaded up their guns, and headed to the nearby woods. They split up and began their hunt through the forest. Bob went uphill and his two friends went downhill to scope out the lower forest.

Within an hour Bob spotted a small herd of five deer about 250 yards from his position. He brought up his Remington 700 30.06 and began checking out the deer. A nice 4X4 mule deer appeared in his scope. Bob peered through the lens and squeezed off a round. The deer appeared to Bob to be hit but didn’t go down. Bob and his friends headed up the hill to see if they could track the animal. Shortly thereafter, Bob saw the wounded deer staggering in his direction. He again fired a round. This time the old buck hit the ground. With shouts of joy Bob ran up to the buck, placed his gun against a nearby tree, and pulled out his trusty knife to bleed out the deer.

Just as he mounted the deer and raised its head to expose the neck area, the dazed deer stood up and began to run downhill. Bob was now becoming a rodeo star right in front of his friends. With Bob on its back, the deer passed by his two astonished friends who were laughing out loud and evaluating Bob’s ability to stay on. While trying to keep his balance, all Bob could do was “hang on” to the antlers and ride it out. He knew that eventually, the animal would slow down enough for him to escape.

After jumping off the animal, Bob ran back to the tree where his gun was placed, aimed at the runaway deer, and squeezed off another shot that brought the deer down permanently. This adventure really did happen.

Today, many families are coping with various issues that could feel just like riding a wild animal and the only counsel one can give them is to “hang on”. I know two wonderful families who are currently going through very traumatic circumstances. One middle-aged man is fighting cancer as his young family wonders about the future. Another couple that Louise and I are close to has a daughter who is struggling with her pregnancy, an older mother who is very sick, and the unknowns associated with a new start-up business venture.

What can you tell folks who are struggling with what seems to be insurmountable situations? I would feel empty of thought if it weren’t for what Scripture tells us. The writer of Hebrews reminds us to hang on, baby! “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:23 “So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.” Hebrews 10:35 and “You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.” Hebrews 10:36

The Apostle Paul tells us to hang on baby! “That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day.” 2 Timothy 1:12 “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9

There are those times when, humanly speaking, we can’t do anything. God designed us to trust Him – to lean on Him – to embrace Him even when we are in deep despair. Another way to put it is to just stand firm on what you know and the faith we have.

“Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us,” 2 Corinthians 1:21

Personal Application: Psalms 46:1 reminds us that God is our refuge and strength. Are you regularly seeking His counsel by reading His word?

This devotional is a guest post by Dr. Jim Grassi. He is the founder of Men’s Ministry Catalyst, a ministry partner of Promise Keepers.

Our Thanksgiving Heritage and Why It’s Important Today

November 24, 2019By Vance DayDevotional

Each one of us has a heritage. One form is our lineage, meaning our ancestors who came before us. Another heritage is the cultural type which is handed down through the generations.

Part of our national heritage is the Thanksgiving holiday we celebrate. The roots of that holiday (originally “holy day”) are important for us all to understand. President Lincoln originally called for a National Day of Thanksgiving in 1863:

“The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God.”

After recounting many of the blessings the country had enjoyed, even in the midst of the great trauma of Civil War, Lincoln proclaims the following:

“No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.”

My family and I had an opportunity recently to visit Plymouth, Massachusetts, where my ancestors landed in 1623 after a perilous voyage on the supply ship “Anne.” This was the first ship that came to re-supply the pilgrims who had landed two and a half years earlier. My ancestors, Ralph and Joyce Wallen, were “separatists” – those who sought to exercise their liberty of conscience rather than follow the dictates of the government church.

It’s interesting that most people view the Declaration of Independence as being the birth certificate of our nation. But it really isn’t. The Mayflower Compact is our birth certificate. Our forebears laid out a covenant regarding their purpose in the new world:

Having undertaken, for the Glory of God, and advancements of the Christian faith, and the honor of our King and Country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the Northern parts of Virginia; do by these presents, solemnly and mutually, in the presence of God, and one another; covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil body politic; for our better ordering, and preservation and furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by virtue hereof to enact, constitute, and frame, such just and equal laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions, and offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the colony; unto which we promise all due submission and obedience.

From what I can tell, my ancestors were humble people seeking religious freedom in a new land. They had no intention or desire to destroy other cultures, but rather to set free those cultures to the gospel of Jesus Christ. The same should be true for us today. Our culture is not supportive of a Judeo-Christian worldview; in fact, it is hostile to us and our desire to engage in respectful dialogue about truth and the gospel.

Our Lord made it clear that we would face opposition but that he had already addressed that perceived problem: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

This Thanksgiving let us approach the holiday with a great sense of gratitude for what God has done for us personally and for our nation. Unlike any other nation, except Israel (and some include Switzerland), the United States of America was birthed in covenant. This demonstrates God’s great intention toward our people, and places on us, as recipients of that blessing, a duty to discharge to those who came before as well as those who will come after us. Let us have a resident spirit of gratitude to God for the liberty we enjoy.

Vance Day is President of Promise Keepers. To receive more content like this in your inbox, sign up for the Promise Keepers email list.

Praise and Thanksgiving

November 18, 2019By PK ManagerDevotional

For many years the Babylonians held the Israelites in bondage. After King Cyrus of the Medo-Persian Empire conquered the Babylonians, God stirred the heart of Cyrus to give the Israelites their Temple back.

In Ezra 3 we read about the rebuilding of the altar so that the exiled Israelites could again freely worship their God. Once the altar and boundary walls were completed, the rebuilding of the Temple itself began. There was much rejoicing and thanksgiving as they saw their land restored.

The people raised their voices to openly acknowledge God’s hand in forgiving them of their sins and bringing them back home. The words to their song and chant are preserved for us in the book of Ezra: “He is so good! His faithful love for Israel endures forever!” (Ezra 3:11)

God is always at work in our lives — past, present, and future — even when we feel as if we are in “exile” or as if our lives are on hold. Today, many people are fearful, anxious, and yes, even depressed. The plight of our nation, the growing concern about the decline of moral values, and the numerous personal problems surrounding our loved one’s cause many to feel alone and desperate.

Thanksgiving is a great time to remind ourselves that we serve a loving and merciful God who wishes to bless His children with peace, joy, and abundance. He challenges us to trust and obey, even when it seems unnatural to do so.

The writer of Proverbs tells us, “The Lord directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way?” Despite our challenges, let’s try to remember, “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24 NIV)

May you and yours have a blessed and Happy Thanksgiving. We encourage you to have each person at your Thanksgiving table say one thing they are thankful for. May you find that His grace is sufficient.

Personal Application

What are you thankful for? Tell someone how God has blessed you today.

This devotional is a guest post by Dr. Jim Grassi. He is the founder of Men’s Ministry Catalyst, a ministry partner of Promise Keepers.

The Power of Gratitude to Change Your Life

November 11, 2019By PK ManagerDevotional

This is a guest post by Pat Boone. Pat Boone is an American singer and actor who has sold more than 45 million records, had 38 top-40 hits, and appeared in 12 Hollywood films. He is also a dedicated follower of Jesus Christ and the proud father of four daughters. Earlier this year, Pat’s beloved wife, Shirley, went home to be with her Father in heaven. In this post, originally written for the Promise Keepers newsletter, Pat shares how gratitude can change our lives.

Life isn’t easy — no matter who you are.

I’ve been a recording artist for over five decades, and I’ve experienced fame and success. But it hasn’t spared me from heartaches, trials, and grief. For me, one of my greatest sorrows has been losing my wife, Shirley, this year.

Early in my life — when hardships or heartaches came — I learned a secret. Gratitude can lift our thoughts from what’s troubling us, change our perspective, and ultimately change our lives. Being thankful is one of the most powerful forces known to humanity.

Recently I’ve been thinking some new things about gratitude. When I make a list of things I’m thankful for, “breath” is at the top of my list! That sounds pretty elemental, but I find that appreciating something as simple as my breath leads to gratitude in other areas of my life.

For example, when I think of how I received life and breath from my parents, it reminds me to be grateful for my God-fearing, Bible-believing, church-going parents who brought me up to believe the Bible.

For 35 years, I’ve started my day reading the Word of God. I read through it every year, start to finish. And when I read the Bible, I learn that God breathed life into Adam, the first man, and man became a living soul (Genesis 2:7). I also learn that before Jesus ascended, He breathed on His disciples and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:22).

Asking God to Breathe into Me

Now, when I start my devotional every morning, I ask God to lean over me and breathe into me His Holy Spirit as He did with His apostles. Just simple gratitude for my breath leads my thoughts heavenward in a plea for His Spirit to fill me and guide me in everything I do and say.

I know that when the Day of Judgment comes and I stand before God, His first question is going to be: “What did you do with My Son? I gave Him to die for you; did you receive Him?” And then, “How about you as a husband and a father? Did you teach your wife and your kids about Me?”

Those questions are going to be asked of every man. And, brother, we’d better be ready to answer those questions because every breath we take is bringing us closer to that moment.

Put Gratitude and God’s Power to Work in Your Life

So I encourage you: Make a list of everything you’re grateful for right now. Remember to put “breath” on your list. The fact that you are alive means God has a plan and a purpose for you.

Then ask God to breathe His Holy Spirit into you, and you’ll find your life will change! You’ll be a better husband, a better father, a better businessman, a grandfather. You’ll think things and view life from God’s perspective.

One of my favorite verses is Philippians 2:12-13, which says: “Work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.”

When we breathe in His breath, God causes us to want to do the right things and then gives us the power to do them. But good luck trying to do them in our own strength!

The rest of my breathing days I look forward to sharing this message with other men because it is a great goal of mine that men would continue to grow into the manhood that God wants each one of them to have. God bless you!

Parachute

October 28, 2019By PK ManagerDevotional

The apostle Paul told the new Christians in Thessalonica to be supportive of one another. He especially wanted them to bless and mentor those who were sharing the Gospel in that area. His words still ring true today. We need to be encouraging one another, especially those in the household of faith (other believers). “Therefore, encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11) Praise God for those who see the need to offer a word of inspiration to others. I love this story and its implications to our faith.

Parachutes

Charles Plumb was a US Navy jet pilot in Vietnam. After 75 combat missions, his plane was destroyed by a surface-to-air missile. Plumb ejected and parachuted into enemy hands. He was captured and spent 6
years in a communist Vietnamese prison. He survived the ordeal and now lectures on lessons learned from that experience!

One day, when Plumb and his wife were sitting in a restaurant, a man at another table came up and said, “You’re Plumb! You flew jet fighters in Vietnam from the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk. You were shot down!”

“How in the world did you know that?” asked Plumb.

“I packed your parachute,” the man replied.

Plumb gasped in surprise and gratitude.

The man pumped his hand and said, “I guess it worked!”

Plumb assured him, “It sure did. If your chute hadn’t worked, I wouldn’t be here today.”

Plumb couldn’t sleep that night, thinking about that man. Plumb says, “I kept wondering what he had looked like in a Navy uniform: a white hat; a bib in the back; and bell-bottom trousers.

“I wonder how many times I might have seen him and not even said ‘Good morning, how are you?’ or anything because, you see, I was a fighter pilot and he was just a sailor.” Plumb thought of the many hours the sailor had spent at a long wooden table in the bowels of the ship, carefully weaving the shrouds and folding the silks of each chute, holding in his hands each time the fate of someone he didn’t know.

Now, Plumb asks his audience, “Who’s packing your parachute?” Everyone has someone who provides what they need to make it through the day. He also points out that he needed many kinds of parachutes when his plane was shot down over enemy territory — he needed his physical parachute, his mental parachute, his emotional parachute, and his spiritual parachute. He called on all these supports before reaching safety.

Sometimes in the daily challenges that life gives us, we miss what is important. We may fail to say “hello,” “please,” or “thank you,” congratulate someone on something wonderful that has happened to them, give a compliment, or just do something nice for no reason. As you go through this week, this month, this year, recognize people who pack your parachutes.

I am sending you this as my way of thanking you for your part in packing our parachute. And I hope you will send it on to those who have helped pack yours!

Sometimes, we wonder why friends keep forwarding jokes to us without writing a word. Maybe this could explain it! When you are very busy, but still want to keep in touch, guess what you do — you forward jokes. And to let you know that you are still remembered, you are still important, you are still loved, you are still cared for, guess what you get? A forwarded joke.

So, my friend, next time when you get a joke, don’t think that you’ve been sent just another forwarded joke, but that you’ve been thought of today and your friend on the other end of your computer wanted to send you a smile, just helping you pack your parachute.

Personal Application

Whose parachute have you packed today?

When you need some encouragement can you share that need with someone close? Can you be open and transparent enough to recognize that it is normal that all of us need a “that-a-boy” every now and then?

Pass this along to someone you care about with a note that you would like to weekly send them our devotional to be supportive of them and their spiritual journey.

This devotional is a guest post by Dr. Jim Grassi. He is the founder of Men’s Ministry Catalyst, a ministry partner of Promise Keepers.

Fly Fishing and Faith

October 21, 2019By PK ManagerDevotional

Among my many outdoor pursuits is fly fishing. Northern Idaho has a number of Blue Ribbon streams that cover the area like a large spider web. Fly fishing is considered by most anglers as the ultimate experience in luring a fish to take your offering.

In my library are several books that talk about the art of angling. Interestingly enough, angling is not a new endeavor, but is spoken about in several places in the Bible. Remember Jesus asked Peter to cast his line into the water to catch a fish that had a silver coin in its mouth, the annual temple tax – a stater – that would pay the fee for Jesus and Peter (Matt. 17:24-27).

In the second-century AD, a Greek writer Aelian wrote about a way to catch a fish. “Between Boroca and Thessalonica runs a river called the Astraeus, and in it, there are fish with spotted skins (most likely trout).” He suggested to the fishermen of that day a lure “to help snare the fish, by which we get the better of them”. Aelian fastened a piece of crimson red wool around a hook and attach two feathers to it. Apparently, the fish were very attracted to the color and movement believing it was a mouthful. (On the Nature of Animals)

Today, some 2,000 years later, fishermen are still using this lure (fly). It is called the Red Hackle. Isn’t it interesting how often things of the past are still valuable today. In this fast-paced, instant everything, push a button society that many answers we seek to resolve problems and issues of life are things still found in God’s word. The same truths that transformed kings and kingdoms thousands of years ago are still relevant to our lives today.

In Mark 5 we read about how a man, a ruler of the synagogue, pleaded with Christ to heal his daughter who was at the point of death. He asked Jesus to “Come and lay hands on her, that she may be healed and she will live.” Friends of the man came and said she was already dead so he shouldn’t trouble the Teacher any further. Jesus said to the ruler, “Do not be afraid; only believe.”

After Christ took the mother and father into the room of the dead child, he said, “Talitha, cumi”, which translated, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” Immediately the girl arose and walked. The same Jesus who healed that girl, restored health to so many others, gave sight to the blind, encouragement to the downtrodden, and conquered death on Calvary’s cross is still with us today.

According to Scripture (Acts 1), the Holy Spirit is present and available to those who believe. Whenever people or circumstances make us feel inadequate, fearful, or anxious, God offers His children the courage, strength, and boldness to walk without fear — to apply the name of Jesus without hesitation or fear. When we approach challenges and fear with faith in Him who is able, as with Peter and John, we may take note that “we have been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13).

Personal Application:

  1. Take a few minutes to read Mark 5 and see how Jesus heals through the faith we develop in His power to heal.
  2. What are you anxious about today? Remember His word and explore some of these verses: 2 Cor. 1:3-4Ps. 23:4Matt. 5:4

How can we pray for you today? Send your confidential request to me at lgfjim@frontier.com

This devotional is a guest post by Dr. Jim Grassi. He is the founder of Men’s Ministry Catalyst, a ministry partner of Promise Keepers.

How Do We Experience True Joy?

October 14, 2019By PK ManagerDevotional

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?” 

Matthew 16:24-26 (NLT)

Many people are on a quest to find what the world defines as “success” and “personal happiness.” Our culture projects models of wealthy, famous, well-dressed people and says that if we can just become like them, we’ll be happy. What Hollywood and professional sports often parade as “winners” are really unhappy and unfulfilled people.

Look at the number of despondent people that you encounter every day. Road rage, violence, suicide, drug abuse, and divorce rates among the rich and famous are no different from those of modest means. The incidence of “bad behavior” among the social elite and politicians is an embarrassment to those of us who hold to a biblical worldview of what’s good and decent.

The Bible defines what joy and happiness really look like. It says we find happiness by following Christ into the life He has planned for us. The way to be happy is to live a joy-filled life in Christ. Happiness is merely an emotion that comes and goes with our circumstances. Joy is more intrinsic and prevails in spite of circumstances. Joy exudes from a life surrendered to Christ and led by His Spirit (Galatians 5:22).

The way to be a joy-filled person is found in numerous Bible passages. In the above-mentioned phrase, Jesus gets right to the point by saying to the believer, “If you give up your life for My sake, you will save it.” He wasn’t talking only about physical death, (although in some parts of the world, that is a reality for committed believers). He was saying that you must submit to God your will, your plans, and your future.

The all-knowing, all-powerful God has a plan especially designed for you. When you gratefully walk in the direction He has planned for you, you will find fulfillment and true happiness. That doesn’t mean that you can’t set goals and work towards attaining them. Instead, you make your plans and set your goals always seeking God’s guidance, then walk obediently as each step becomes clear.

Let’s seek a life that models joy by remembering what the Psalmist told us, “Light shines on the godly, and joy on those whose hearts are right.” Psalm 97:11 (NLT) “Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you your heart’s desires.” Psalm 37:4 (NLT)

Personal Application:

Parable of the Talents

In the Parable of the Talents, Christ describes the joy of a servant when he does what his master has asked him to do. (Matt. 25:21). What is God asking you to do?

When you read God’s Word remember what He told us: “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.” John 15:11

Be of good cheer my friend.

This devotional is a guest post by Dr. Jim Grassi. He is the founder of Men’s Ministry Catalyst, a ministry partner of Promise Keepers.

Coping with Struggles

October 7, 2019By PK ManagerDevotional

I can’t remember a time when so many friends were under such physical, mental, and/or spiritual attack. Maybe it’s a sign of my age. Maybe it’s the result of the chaos in the sin-filled world we live in. I don’t know. I do know that there are many people suffering and being challenged.

Job had a season in his life when everything went wrong. When Job asked God – Why? God’s “answer” to Job’s question was, “Hush, child. You wouldn’t understand if I told you.”

Scripture gives us some understanding as to why some suffer so much.

“The God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, will perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.” (1 Peter 5:10)

“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:17)

“You speak always like someone who has suffered,” says Arctura, one of George MacDonald’s characters in his book Donal Grant. “Who has not that lives at all,” is the response.

Someone once said that, “Indeed, life is suffering: contradiction, misfortune, disappointment, and heartbreak surrounds us.” Why must we enter the Kingdom of God through many tribulations?

I used to believe I knew the answers to those questions, but life – now that I’m much closer to its end than to its beginning – has knocked most of them right out of my head. God chided Job and his friends, as Jesus chided His disciples when they drew unwarranted conclusions from suffering.

In the face of affliction, I’m learning now to be more or less silent. When my friends tell me their lives are difficult, I answer, “Of course I understand and will pray for you.” When they ask me why they’re suffering, I tell them, “I really don’t know, but my God won’t let anything touch His children that first hasn’t touched His hands.”

Why life should be this way, I cannot say, but I do know this: It will not always be this way; there will be an end. Eternal glory lies ahead, as Peter promised, “After we have suffered for a little while.” There, in that “eternal school room,” our Lord will explain “each separate anguish,” but I doubt, then, that we will care. In the awesome flood of His wisdom and love, and in the beauty that will be ours for all eternity, we shall forget “our present, light, momentary afflictions and discouraging trials.”

My friends, it’s a matter of perspective.

I Shall know Why
By Emily Dickinson

I shall know why-when Time is over–
And I have ceased to wonder why–
Christ will explain each separate anguish
In the fair schoolroom of the sky–

He will tell me what “Peter” promised–
And I–for wonder at his woe–
I shall forget the drop of Anguish
That scalds me now–that scalds me now!

Personal Application

If you or someone you love is experiencing pain or struggling remember God’s promises:

He is the God of all comfort. 2 Cor.1:3-4

I will fear no evil, for you are with me. Ps. 23:4

When I am afraid, I will trust in you. Ps. 56:3

This devotional is a guest post by Dr. Jim Grassi. He is the founder of Men’s Ministry Catalyst, a ministry partner of Promise Keepers.