Weary of Doing Good

www.bible.com/72/gal.6.9.hcsb

I think I am beginning to understand the author a little better this morning. It seems when you are doing something really good, the enemy always finds s way to bring you down. Had a great Bible Study last night, was feeling good and refreshed. Came home and had an argument with my wife about the kids. My fault. Ugh! I am getting tired of being shot down after these spiritual blessings.

Then this verse pops up on the feed this morning. I won’t say I’m ready to give up, but I am tired. I’m tired of having fantastic days of ministry, and coming home to a clogged toilet, or dishes overflowing from the sink, or chores that need to be done when I want to celebrate.

So I needed this verse this morning. God implies that it will all be worth it when all of this is over and our time on earth is done. And I will be the richer for it if I don’t give up the work. You will be too.

God bless you all!

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This isn’t my Father’s World

www.bible.com/72/1jn.2.15-16.hcsb

In the classic hymn, This Is My Father’s World, we sing of the wonder of the created world, rocks and trees and skies and seas. We are reminded of the awe of beholding a world created by our loving Father for us. That’s not what John is talking about. This world he speaks of was created by man.

This is the world where demons reign, and the Enemy is the Prince of the power of the air. This is a world ruled by sin and in rebellion against God. This is the world we are warned off of here. In Scripture, God made the earth and everything in it. Man and his rebellion against God made the world as we know it.

What the world offers is contrary to the will of God. And should we follow the world, we will be lost too. The world is the old earth that will be destroyed and replaced by the new earth, where God’s will reigns supreme. The old world is characterized by lust and pride: lust of the eyes and the flesh, and pride in one’s lifestyle. All three of them speak to the “wisdom” of man over the word of God.

So how do we stay clear of the wisdom of the world? Good question. You’ve got to know what God wants, which means spending time with Him, in His work and in His Presence through prayer. Spending time with God’s people and His work, until you find that your desires align with His.

I’ve found that the world appeals to your need to be satisfied in the moment, without regard to consequences. The world says that you deserve self-love, and need to satisfy your own desires first. Everyone needs rest and ought to enjoy their time on earth, and in this is the half-truth. But were we put on this earth for our own pleasure? Are others here to satisfy us, or do we put others’ needs above our own? When you fall for the lie that it is all about you, you’ve discovered the world. Don’t fall for the world.

God bless you all today, and may I give s special shout-out to all my followers. Thank you all for listening and for your encouragement.

Merited Favor

www.bible.com/72/jer.17.10.hcsb

Huh? I thought the Lord doesn’t give us what we deserve? Isn’t that what grace is all about? Seems God didn’t get that memo. But then, you might recognize that this is Jeremiah, before Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. And you might recall that later Judaism of Jesus’s time focused on external obedience to the law, straining out gnats and counting tithes of and dill. This idea that God looks at the heart may have been too much for them.

God is trying to impress upon His hearers that He is just as concerned about the heart as He is the hands. While many of the prohibitions of the Ten Commandments deal with what we do, some, like the tenth, deal with what we think. Our thought life is important to God, “for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.”

God pays attention to your thoughts, and if your thoughts condemn you. He knows if you are thinking bad or good. He knows if your thoughts are pure or corrupt. (Note to self: thinking impure thoughts about a woman other than my wife will get me into trouble).

Don’t pretend that just because you can’t see God, He can’t see you. Adam tried that already. Rather, consider the presence of the Lord is constantly with you, because He is.

Something to ponder this afternoon. God bless.

Committed

www.bible.com/72/psa.37.5.hcsb

That word can take on a couple meanings, depending on whether it is voluntary. For example, someone who has been committed without their consent is usually on their way to a mental hospital. Someone who is committed may be in a mental hospital, or just submitted to the will and direction of something greater than himself. Being committed includes submission, includes repeated willingness to a task or project. It may be a condition of relationship. But it requires submission.

If you would submit your way to the Lord, what would that look like? Sound complicated? It isn’t. If you ever take a car, you submit your way to the rules and whims of the government, where they have decided to put roads, at what slopes and grades, how many lanes and stop signs, etc. even though a car is capable of driving in any direction, we submit our way to the road already laid out before us.

It is the same with life. God has already put out guardrails for your life, shown you what is good. Though we are capable of choosing evil (Thanks father Adam!) We find that we are much more successful in life if we choose the good. Like choosing the right road, we get to our destination.

The second part, to trust in the Lord and He will act, seems more broad, but it is simply to trust in your ruler, your benefactor. He will protect you. David lived in a world where kings ruled, and the peasantry were protected by their kings and nobles from national enemies. In God we can trust even more, since He never sleeps, always watches, and is all-powerful. We know He will bring justice.

Commit and Trust. Sounds like an old message that still applies today. Make today a good day in the Lord.

God bless you.

Almost Persuaded?

www.bible.com/72/rom.8.38-39.hcsb

I believe that Paul’s letter to the Romans predates Felix’s speech where he says to Paul, “Thou almost persuadest me to be a Christian.” What a contrast. Though many of us are Christians today, are we fully persuaded as Paul was that we would never be separated from the love of Christ?

Now most would say, “Yes, of course I am persuaded, even convinced. I will never be separated from the love of Christ.” There are times in my own life that my certainty came into question, as 8’m sure there have been in yours. After I lost my first church back in 1997, I wasn’t even sure if I was in the will of God, let alone His love. Now I’ve got nothing on Paul, who was not only often rejected, but often stoned, beat, and nearly killed by many churches. But I can tell you that it hurt very much. I was in a depression for a year after it happened. My poor wife bore me up, but even she had her limits. If I wasn’t in school at the time, I probably would have given up completely. I spent a year out of ministry, just trying to figure out what God wanted with me. He finally called me back in, and blessed my wife and I exceptionally, but only after we had been broken and cried out to Him in desperate prayer. We discovered He had not abandoned us after all, but put us through a time of suffering until we learned to come back to Him. Until we were persuaded once again of His love.

I imagine some of you are going through a similar time. Maybe worse, maybe not, but you are questioning if God has a purpose for you. God put you on his planet for a reason. You may not find out what it is until you see Him, but I believe even the child born who cannot have a “meaningful” life has a purpose to serve in this world. Be faithful, be broken before Him, be the vessel He needs you to be. Be persuaded that even now, He loves you. Never let go of that.

God bless you today my friend.

Something to Look Forward To

www.bible.com/72/php.1.6.hcsb

Ever get excited about something coming up on your calendar? I know I do. I get excited about vacations coming up, or finally finishing classes or assignments. Just to know that when a certain date comes, the stress will be over and I will be free. Well, the Christian life is like that too.

One day, it will all be over, literally. One day there will be nothing else to do, no one else to witness to, no one left to argue with, because on that day, Christ Jesus will be coming back. We have the best day to look forward to, don’t we?

But if you noticed in this verse, there is something else. On that day, we will be finished, but not in the sense that we are threatened. We will be finished in the sense that God will be done working on us. At that point, we will be completed, mature, ready for what comes next. We may not know the particulars, but we know that God is getting us ready for something more than this life. It’s as if we are in labor to bring our souls to life in new bodies; that our whole life has been 90 years of birth pangs in order to bring a new life into the next world. That’s a funny thought, isn’t it?

Our original genetic material began long before we were born, when our mother was in utero in her own mother, and all the eggs she would ever produce in her lifetime we’re formed. Our father’s contribution was created only a few days before we were conceived, to introduce us to 9 months of development. Our mother then went into labor to bring us into the world. Those nine months determined a lot about the kind of person we would be when we were born. So too these 90 years will determine a lot about the kind of eternity we will be found in. Something to think about.

God bless!

In Christ

www.bible.com/72/jhn.15.4.hcsb

This enigmatic statement had gotten a lot of attention in scholarly circles, or more precisely, by those trying to closely define the meaning of these two simple words. Yet the more we understand about Christ, the more mysterious this phrase becomes.

Christ is God. In fact, Christ is the second person of God (and that offers us a great deal to ponder by itself). Christ’s particular role is to redeem humanity from sin by suffering the wrath of God in our place so that we could receive His righteousness, and so be covered by His blood. Because Christ has become our Savior (yes, become, because there was a time that He was not, a monkey wrench in the immutability of God), He is also Lord and Mediator between God and saved humans. As you can see, just to talk about who Jesus is can become complicated quickly.

So then to be “in Christ” to remain in Him as He remains in us, and to make this a quality of our relationship with Him as a believer requires from us some careful meditation. For this is a prerequisite of fruit-bearing. So let me simplify this a little bit.

To be in Christ is to spend time following, imitating, studying His words and work, meditating on His promises, and even experiencing His presence, since He is the Living Christ. He is a Living presence, and as Christians, we are told to be present in Him. So that means we ought to spend some time in prayer, just talking and listening, even in silence, just being in His presence. Sounds a little mystical, I know, and I am not comfortable with mystical. But the pause to the outside world and the quiet time spent just spending time in Him, in His word, in prayer with Him can be what He’s calling us to here. I encourage you to spend that time just being with Jesus. Let Him abide in you, as you abide with Him.

God bless you today!