Month: August 2014
“And ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s,” 1 Corinthians 3:23, KJV
Do you remember the playground days? Groups over there playing on the monkey bars. Groups over here playing hopscotch. Another group hovers in a corner laughing and joking with one another. Children match up in pairs to go down the slide together. Run, tag, you’re it!
Then there was the one child who was a bit shy. It’s not that he/she didn’t want to play with the others, they didn’t quite know how. Fear of rejection has kept them to themselves, content to read on the park bench or swing and play a solitary game.
Feeling like you don’t belong. Well, we’ve all been there I think. It doesn’t feel good. Feeling like an outcast while the rest of the world buddy’s up and goes about their business makes one feel like a castaway. A loner on a…
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“Sitting Around Won’t Win the Battle!”
“The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat,” Proverbs 13:4
All of us have goals and dreams, or at least, we should. All of us “desire” things we would like to see accomplished in our lives. But, desire can only get you so far. There has to be a proactive approach in order for one to see the fulfillment of these aspirations come to pass.
I love the Bible because it gives us so many true to life examples of these valued lessons. For instance, in 2 Chronicles 20, Jehoshaphat and his people were getting ready to be attacked. The enemy had come against them and “Judah gathered themselves together, to ask help of the Lord,” (vs. 4).
I want you to look at this picture Scripture represents. It’s one of great sadness. In verse 13, it describes “All Judah stood before the Lord, with their little ones, their wives, and their children.” It’s as if they were saying, “If not for us, Lord; then please remember our wives and children.” Awwww!!!
God’s response was, “Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s,” (vs. 15).
“That’s what I’m talking about! We don’t have to fight! Woo-hoo! Let’s go home and watch some TV!”
I’m playing. We all know they didn’t have TV, but what they probably had was a sense of relief that they didn’t need to proactively do anything to win the battle. Time to hit the couch!
While God did declare the battle was His, He has never been the promoter of laziness. Too many people want the victory without ever really doing anything. Too many people want to reach the next level without ever having to walk up the stairs to get there.
It’s too much work! Too many people get in prayer lines and the like; want God to do everything without themselves ever putting a hand to the plow to till something up.
God works in miraculous ways. God is a prayer answering God. Jehoshaphat and his people will find both of these to be true. He’s going to work a miracle and they are going to get a tremendous answer to their prayer. But, God has something that He wants them to do. He said, “To morrow go ye down against them . . . ye shall find them,” (vs. 16).
Then God reiterates, “Ye shall not need to fight in this battle,” (vs. 17).
Then, He proceeded to tell them, “set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the Lord with you . . . go out against them . . .,” (vs. 17).
Hold up! Wait a minute! If the battle belongs to God, I don’t understand why I have to go down there and set myself up like I am sure enough going to fight these people. Huh?
Because God said so. That’s why many of us lose out. We want to sit on the couch instead of getting up and following the instructions He gives. The “sluggard” wants the glory without the work.
In opposite of that, he that is diligent pushes forth to follow through. Sometimes it’s a hard thing to do. These people were put in the terrifying position to get in battle formation before the enemy; in front of people who were ready to annihilate them. Gulp, is right!
Yet, they maintained their ground believing God’s promise. Verses 18-22a tells of the people actively praising God. Then, the tables turned on the enemies, (vs. 22b). “Every one helped to destroy another,” (vs. 23), and “none escaped,” (vs. 24).
The result they received was due to their diligence to follow through with the Lord’s instructions. “Jehoshaphat and his people came to take away the spoil of them, they found among them in abundance both riches with the dead bodies, and precious jewels, which they stripped off for themselves, more than they could carry away: and they were three days gathering the spoil, it was so much,” (vs. 25).
You may not have to go fight an enemy but you have a goal to reach that will only come by diligence and obedience to God. I’m not promising you riches, but know this; any time you are diligent to work with God you will see success at the end.
Seek the Lord, He will help you to receive that “expectant end” Jeremiah speaks of, Jeremiah 29:11. Then, we can rejoice like Jehoshaphat because we saw the fruition of hard work pay off.
“The soul of the diligent shall be made fat.”
“My Life is in Him!” – Words To Live By
What you say vs. What God says
“Jesus Can Calm the Storms!” – Words To Live By
“Grateful to be Undeserving!”
When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance,” Mark 2:17
Have you ever been looked down on? Felt as if you didn’t measure up to the standards of another? Do you have your own short-comings staring you in the face? Have you ever struggled with the idea that you are beyond repair? That you don’t deserve anything better than this?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, then you are not alone. Our society has a way of stoking the fires of perfectionism; of making one feel that if they are not in the status quo then they are defected. Predominance is the attitude here in the west where the drive for success will cause one to feel as if they have been run over because they are not moving as fast as everyone else.
At the same time, our society has produced a group of over-inflated egos that really believe they have it all together. This group is dependent on no one because their fascination with themselves has misled them to believe they are complete; they are at the peak of perfection and everyone else should strive to be like them. These groups defines its success by some outward measuring post, but on the inside are lacking more than they will ever know.
In Mark 2, Jesus found Himself wedged between these two groups of people. On the one hand, He was in the house of Levi, the tax collector (whom we know as Matthew), there He was eating dinner with “publicans and sinners,” (vs. 15). On the other side of the spectrum comes the self-righteous “scribes and Pharisees,” (vs. 16) to challenge His choice of company.
The sinners knew who they were. They were the rejected. They were the ones people laughed at and talked about. They knew what a mess they were and yet, they were grateful. How could this man Jesus want to be seen talking with them, let alone eating with them? He was holy, and yet, He saw beyond all their imperfections to care enough to spend time with them; to draw them nearer to Him through His love, care, and genuine concern.
The scribes and the Pharisees saw no such need for a man like Him. As far as they were concerned everybody should be striving to be like them; the holy elite, the cream of the crop. Others should gaze upon their own “righteousness” and desire to mimic it. No wonder the Lord often called them hypocrites and some other stuff, (Mt. 23:13-15). Their own self-righteous attitude about the realness of their lost state kept them from receiving what this Physician had to offer – Salvation!
But, to him who recognizes that “without Me you can do nothing,” (John 15:5), Jesus says I can do something with him. To him who knows the reality of his undeserving state, Jesus looks on that humility of heart with compassion and seeks to bring healing to that soul. There is something most precious in the moment when one can look up from all their failures and disappointments to see a Savior standing there, arms opened wide, ready to take it all away. That undeserving soul becomes eternally grateful because they know who they are, and they know who He is, and they also know that He didn’t have to do it; He didn’t have to save them.
Just as with the “publicans and sinners” we know that we don’t deserve to be in the company of Jesus. But, He chose to be there with you and I. He took Himself away from the elite to spend time with those who needed Him the most. It was His choice to love us, to draw near to us, and to eventually die for us so that He could free us. He left His home in heaven to become “God with us,” (Mt. 1:23); with the undeserving. Unlike the “scribes and Pharisees,” I recognize my need for Him and I am ever so grateful.
“Don’t Touch That!”
“. . . Forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,” Philippians 3:13, KJV
When God created babies He created some of the most fascinating little creatures. They keep us entranced as we watch them toddle about. We are amused when they let go of the coffee table to take those first Frankenstein steps. When you do the airplane to go them to eat, their little giggle and the banging on the highchair melts your heart. When they don’t feel well and the bottom lip begins to pout we race to bring them comfort. Or, when they sleep at night you can almost see an angelic glow of innocence radiating about them.
Yes, sir. They are quite fascinating, especially when it comes to dealing with their propensity for touching everything. This is the part that gets the parents hearts racing. We find ourselves continually saying, what seems to be fifty million times, “Don’t Touch That!”
Our hearts become frantic because often the thing they want to touch is very harmful to them. “Don’t touch that stove!” We know it’s hot and that they could get burned. “Don’t touch the cat the wrong way!” We know they could get scratched. “Don’t touch the plug!” They could get shocked. And, my favorite comes when we find them chewing on something that we didn’t give them and we yell, “What did you touch now?!”
We do all that we can as parents to protect our children to see them grow up to be happy, healthy and successful. It’s a lot of our guidance through life that will see that they get there. But, it usually starts early on with a good, healthy dose of, “Don’t Touch That!”
Do you ever feel that God sometimes wants to yell down at us, “Don’t touch that?” I do. Especially when it comes to dealing with our past hurt, pains and regrets.
Our lives can go on peachy-keen and fine as rainbows when all of a sudden something triggers a twinge of regret. Then, we begin to ponder that regret until we are reliving the painful past. We let the guilt resurface when the Bible says, “He will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sin into the depths of the sea, “ (Micah 7:19, KJV). Yet, we sometimes try to resuscitate it and bringing it back to life.
God said, “I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins,” (Isaiah 43:25, KJV). God puts them in a place where He doesn’t remember them; where He doesn’t acknowledge them anymore. But, when we feel that little niggle of doubt we start rehashing the past, touching it and not leaving it alone.
The apostle Paul knew a thing or two about past regrets. (After all, he did seek to imprison and kill those who claimed Christ until Jesus knocked him off his beast). He also knew that it was behind him now. He doesn’t live back there anymore and to continually go back to it would stunt his future growth.
With a resolve to teach others this important truth he penned the words, “Forgetting those things which are behind.”
It’s time to leave it alone. Stop touching it! Put it down and don’t pick it up again! Stop pondering it! Stop reliving it! It’s in the past!
Now is the time to start, “reaching forth unto those things which are before.” It’s time to start looking forward to where God is taking you. Who doesn’t want something better to look forward to?
Babies are still learning not to touch everything they see. I think it’s time to take our cue from them. Things in the past are harmful to us if we continually fiddle with it. Leave it alone and stop touching it!
Make it a great day today. Start looking ahead instead of behind and see where God can take you!
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