April 6     
Today's Bible Readings
     Leviticus 9
     Psalms 10
     Proverbs 24
     I Thessalonians 3
''And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you, so that  He  may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with  all  His saints." (I Thessalonians 3:12-13)
            This entire chapter presents Paul's understanding of what it means to have fellowship in the Gospel. Paul realizes that his conversion and calling has placed him in a cause far greater than himself. He begins the chapter by encouraging Timothy, and explaining how Timothy has encouraged him. This includes encouraging the entire church to be holy and faithful until the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.
            When you  consider  your  salvation  and  your  calling,  you  must  realize  that God  has  moved  you  into  His purpose through the Holy Spirit. He is using you now for His purposes throughout the world as He used His Son for the purpose of our salvation. We must never seek great things for ourselves.  When you begin to focus on yourself, your needs and your ambitions, you barricade God from using you. As long as you maintain your own personal interest and ambitions,  you  cannot be completely aligned or identified with God's interest. We are not only a part of Christ, but also a part of His Family.  The effective servant of God is willing to give up all of his personal plans once and for all and allow God to take it directly into His purpose in reaching the world for Christ. Your understanding for your ways must also be surrendered because they are not the ways of the Lord.
            The purpose of my life now belongs to God, not me.  He must be the way of love and holiness in anticipation of the return of Jesus Christ. We must recognize that what we do must always be based on the plan and will of God for our life. He can crush me, exalt me, or do anything else He chooses. He simply asks me to have absolute faith in Him and His goodness. Self-pity is of the devil, and if I wallow in it I cannot be used by God for His purpose in the world. We must be willing to be driven from our own personal comfort zone in order to be used of God to change this world for His glory.
The kingdoms of the world will be shaken and destroyed, but when you are established in His Kingdom, it will not be shaken.
            In a recent 30-day period, my nation was shaken by a terrorist attack that claimed almost 3,000 lives. My precious wife and I were diagnosed with cancer, and other disappointments followed. We have again been reminded that He does all things well and His Kingdom will not be shaken. We are established in Him. You can trust Him today.
            The Republic of Haiti is, by far, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, and represents a great missionary challenge. The poverty of the majority of these 10 million people is aggravated by over-population, soil erosion, pollution, drought, and famine. The imposition of sanctions by the organization of American States, including the U.S.A., severely cripples the already struggling economy with particular disastrous effects on the poor. Nowhere on the earth is voodoo practiced more openly than in Haiti. At one time (1791), there was an effort to dedicate the country to Satan. Vision Haiti in the 1990's with a widely supported prayer and fasting movement, and you will see that God has already answered prayer for this country.                     As always, physical problems are the result of bad theology and great spiritual disobedience. Haiti is no exception    to this. Many people, even some who call themselves Christians, have looked for hope in drugs, or sailing of leaky boats to surrounding lands. Pray that men and women in the church will see the importance of living godly and holy lives before their fellow countrymen. Most people in Haiti will tell you they are Christians, and at the same time practice voodoo rituals. The Christianity practiced there would then be considered nominal. The recent devastating earthquake has made an already horrible situation much worse than it has ever been. There is evidence that the massive humanitarian relief efforts mostly by evangelical groups are making a lasting change in this impoverished country. The Catholic Church is in crisis with its credibility lost and voodoo-ism unchallenged. It is heavily dependent on foreign funds and priests, and there is little sign of any effective renewal. Most missionary groups who have gone there have been involved in medical or dental projects, construction projects, and feeding campaigns. Most of the mission work there has been to meet human needs. Until the heart is changed by a genuine spiritual awakening, this will do little to offset the great spiritual need in Haiti.
“Tearless hearts can never be the heralds of the Passion.” Dr. J H. Howett