What is the “One Thing” you want to make happen in your life this year? The Apostle Paul knew finding your “One Thing” and focusing on your future instead of being crippled by your past was vital (“This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before” Philippians 3:13).
Is it a “desire of your heart”: Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Over and over Jesus would ask people, “What do you want me to do for you? (What is your goal?)” If you do not know where you are going it is hard to get there!
Does it “burn in your bones”: Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay (Jeremiah 20:9). Your “One Thing” must motivate you through dark days and occasional defeats. Set small goals toward your big goal that will add fuel to your fire to prevent circumstances and criticism from “throwing water on your wood”.
When your “One Thing” is your main thing will you be happy with what is happening? If the “desire of your heart” is a bad thing then you need to make your first “One Thing” a new heart from God.
You cannot do everything but you can do something and, with God’s help, do that one thing well.
Three times Jesus tells us that if we do something then it will be “measured back to us”. This Reciprocal Return is a very important life principle.
When you JUDGE others you can expect to be judged- “For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again” (Matthew 7:2). The standards you use on others are the standards they will use on you! Better be right before you point out other people’s wrong.
When you TALK about others you can expect them to talk about you- “He said unto them, Take heed what ye hear: with what measure ye mete out what you have heard, it shall be measured to you” (Mark 4:24). What you hear determines what you believe and what you believe determines what you say; and what you say determines what other people think about, and say about, You!
When you GIVE as you should you can expect to receive in return- “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again” (Luke 6:38). What you sow helps determine what you reap. You do not give to get but a life time of experience has taught me that generous giving returns great blessings (Often in unusual and unexpected ways).
Fill your “measuring cup” with respect, good words, and generous giving and marvel at the good things that will come back your way.
What is the Good Life? Many people say the ingredients for a good life are a good family, good friends, great fortune, and fabulous fame. Sadly, marriage problems and family problems are common for many. Friends have become electronic “Facebook friends” instead of face to face friends. Fortune has become “the more I make the more it takes”. And their “fifteen minutes of fame” seemed to pass much quicker than they expected! They have found that walking into a bakery does not make you a good cook!
Let me tell you how I attained the Good Life that has become a Great Life. I found a Great Family (I am born again into the family of God). I became companion to a Great Friend (Jesus is a friend who sticks closer than a brother). I found the key to a Great Fortune (I know God will supply all my needs). And I even gained eternally Great Fame (God said I was one of His “Jewels” to show off in eternity!).
All this happened because of my relationship with God through Jesus Christ. This relationship is an abundant life, a purposeful life, and an eternal life. I am justified by the blood of Christ, purified by the power of the Spirit, edified by the teachings of God’s Word, dignified by constantly growing Christian character, unified with fellow believers in worship and work, satisfied with the presence and peace of Christ, and one day I will be forever glorified with God.
My God life has given me the Good Life filled with the joy and peace I craved- Glory!
During my devotion time recently I asked the Lord to give me several guidelines that would help me become a better person and that I could share with others to help make their life better. Almost immediately the following three principles seemed to “pop” into my brain. I know they will help me and I pray they will help you also.
1) DO NOT WORSHIP YOUR WORK. Many people get all their self-worth from their work. If you are physically able, you should work, and you should enjoy your work. Just do not turn your work into the only driving force in your life. Appreciate your work but remember even God took a day off!
2) DO NOT OVERLOOK FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS. Wise King Solomon grieved, “My mother’s children were angry with me; they made me the keeper of the vineyards; but mine own vineyard have I not kept”. God recognized early, and stated often, the importance of family relationships. Yet, many people treat their family badly while treating the people around them (whom they hardly know) with respect and dignity. Find ways this week to let your family know they are important to you and that you value them in your life.
3) DO NOT NEGLECT TIME WITH GOD. The constant availability of streaming entertainment and social media interaction causes many people to put their relationship with God on the “back burner”. More and more they find less and less time for Bible reading, prayer, and church activities. God has promised that if we spend time with Him He will renew our strength and energize our souls; which makes checking God’s “friend page” something you should do every day!
Sometimes less does more. [Let not thy mouth be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few Eccl 5:2]. Here are some “sentence sermons” I use to make a point quickly.
Goals are good but only if you go for the goal: You will never succeed if you are satisfied being satisfied. You cannot get to where you need to be by remaining where you are [“Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone” James 2:17].
Choices that you choose often choose the choices that you must choose: Consequences of choices increase the consequences of choices [This can be Bad or Good: “God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting” Galatians 6:7-8].
Do what you can, where you are, with what you have [If the little boy with 2 fish and 5 loaves had not spoken up and then been willing to let his little do a lot 5000 people would have missed a miracle meal].
A few to think about: Getting into trouble will get you into trouble. / You do not know what you do not know. / Leadership that will not lead will eventually end up being led. / It is not good to be bad.
Finally, More is never enough: Do not make gold your goal [“He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase” Ecclesiastes 5:10]. Full banks do not fill empty hearts. If God is not first then your joy will not last.
(Prov 18:22) Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD.
February 6th is the 50th Wedding Anniversary of the lovely Princess Paula and I. We were married on a cold Friday night and I began a Revival on Sunday. From the beginning, my “good thing” and I thought it was a good thing to put serving God at the heart of our marriage.
This wonderful woman listened to the same sermons (When her Pastor changed churches she changed churches also!), heard the same jokes, tolerated (with a smile) constantly being used in illustrations, and testified regularly that a marriage built with God at the center is a good thing. She has endured not having a home to call her own (Lived in parsonages). She has moved from state to state as God’s plan unfolded in my ministry. And she has always been expected to be a little better; and do a little more, because she was the Preacher’s wife.
I “found” her by listening to God for the helpmate He wanted me to have. I cherish her as a precious person whose Christian character and lady like conduct are the same in private as they are in public. She is a diamond among jewels and a Princess among ladies.
Marriage changed her last name but it changed my life! This favor from the Lord is indeed a good thing; and it would be a good thing to let your “good thing” know you think she is a good thing also.
God used the title “Beloved” for Daniel and John; and to both of these men He confided His future plans! Daniel was the only person called “Greatly Beloved of the Lord”. What would cause God to give a person such a name and then share special secrets with him? Here are two characteristics that may have caused God to grant him this great title.
Daniel always chose God- From his refusal to eat the king’s meat as a youth until his visit to the Lion’s den rather than stop praying in his later years he always made a “God Decision”. Where did this Character come from? Daniel’s early years were spent in the palace of good king Josiah under the influence of the prophet Jeremiah. The teachings and actions of these Godly mentors were used of God to build strength of character which withstood the assault of the evil Babylonian culture. This is why it is important that your children regularly attend a Bible teaching Church.
Daniel had a servant’s heart that gave him kingly positions- Even when the government would change, in spite of his background as a captive; like cream, he always rose to the top. Someone has said that the meaning of life is to discover your God given gift and the purpose of life is to use that gift to help others. That is exactly what Daniel tried to do.
“Beloved of the Lord”; what a title! Does your character and conduct cause God to write that on your “valentine”?
It is good to know that “we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). I know it is hard to conceive that Jesus faced the same problems you face but here are some problems He encountered.
Pharisees who were so strict until you could never please them. Sadducees who believed nothing they wanted to do was wrong (Think today’s PC Culture). And Herodian who believed only their political party was right (Sounds like today’s news reports).
His friends came to rescue Him from His work because they thought He was “beside Himself”. His disciples argued among themselves about who was the greatest. He was constantly surrounded by curious crowds, hungry crowds, and needy crowds and “there were so many coming and going until he had no leisure so much as to eat” (Does that sound like your busy life?).
In spite of this Jesus knew He must always be about “His Father’s business”. This priority kept Him from being overwhelmed by His problems and enabled Him to do what needed to be done. Remember that, make God’s plan your priority and your problems will settle into their proper perspective.
One of the most intriguing passages of scripture to me is Jeremiah chapters forty two and forty three. Israel had been destroyed by the Babylonian army. The few people left in the land are faced with a tremendous choice; stay in the land and trust in God’s protection or run away to the comforts and ease of Egypt.
The decision is made to ask Jeremiah the Prophet for advice. Jeremiah is hesitant because he does not believe the people will listen to God but the people assure him that they will abide by God’s word. After a time of prayer and seeking God’s direction, Jeremiah tells the people that God wants them to remain in Jerusalem and trust Him.
Immediately the leaders of the people rebel and tell everyone that Jeremiah has been hired by their enemies in order to destroy them. Everyone packs up and heads for the good life in Egypt (Where they are killed in the very battle they sought to avoid).
The lesson is simple. God does not always tell you what you want to hear.
Earlier in his ministry, Jeremiah had delivered this message from God, “Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you” (Jeremiah 7:23).
A simple to understand statement, “I am God and I know better than you!”; yet, I am amazed at how many times, even today, people disregard God’s word because it does not say what they want it to say. Like these people, however, you will find this is a fatal mistake.
Four times the Bible declares that God “prepared” something for Jonah in order to teach him valuable lessons about questioning God’s plan for his life.
First, God prepared a great fish (whale) to swallow Jonah. Jonah was running from God’s will and God wanted to show him how dangerous that could be. When Jonah arrived in this fish he said he was crying to God from the belly of hell! Maybe that’s where you feel you are today because of your disobedience. Just remember this; God arranged it so the whale would vomit Jonah up on dry land when he repented!
Second, God prepared a gourd to grow up and shade Jonah. Jonah was pouting because life didn’t go the way he wanted but he was happy enough to accept this shade from God. Do you pout when God does not allow you to run the universe but take God’s blessings for granted?
Third, God prepared a worm to eat the gourd and kill it. Finally, God prepared a vehement east wind to blow upon Jonah. Without the shade of the gourd Jonah had sunstroke and almost died. Jonah cried out in anger to God about the loss of the gourd and God asked him a simple question “Is it right for you to be more interested in a gourd that provided you shade than you were in the salvation of a city of six hundred thousand people?”
What has God prepared to cause you to re-examine your purpose and priorities in life? Hope it is not the “belly of hell” or the blast of a near death sunstroke!
I did not have any sisters so my three brothers and I had to take turns washing dishes. I do not like washing dishes.
When I married a wife I gave up washing dishes except in an emergency or sickness. My wife does not try to preach for me and I do not try to wash dishes for her!
After we were married for a few years, I decided to “butter” her up by washing the dishes for her while she was doing some other things. Instead of telling me how nice I was, however, the first thing she did was tell me the spoons were lying in the drain the wrong way. So much for butter!
I hated to admit it but she was right. I had rinsed the spoons off and put them in the drain face up. That caused the rinse water to collect in the bottom of the spoon. I should have turned them upside down so all the water would drain from them.
That’s also a problem people sometimes have. They come to God for cleansing but they don’t turn over after they’re clean and sin collects in their life again. They need to learn that God expects us to turn our back on sin when we turn our face toward Him.
If sin is continually defeating you, maybe you’re facing the wrong way. Do not just “clean the spoon”; turn away from sin so God can help you drain the sin out of your life.
The Penalty for Sin was paid by the death of Christ on the Cross. The Power of Sin was destroyed by the Resurrection of Christ from the Tomb (See Romans 6). And the Presence of Sin will no longer be a problem in the Heavenly World (Revelation 22:3).
Presently, however, Christians still battle the pull and pleasures of sin. When these Christians give in to the lusts of the flesh instead of following the leadership of the Spirit it results in loss of fellowship, fruit, testimony, blessings, and rewards. It also deteriorates bodies, dirties minds, disillusions dreams, deepens debts, disgraces families, disperses to companions, and damages the soul. The ripples from giving in to sin “rock a lot of boats” and damage a lot of lives.
This is why it is important for Christians to remember that temptation always has an “escape hatch” (There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it 1 Corinthians 10:13). And they should never forget that God’s power in a Christian is greater than temptation’s pull outside a Christian (Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world 1 John 4:4).
Christians should recognize that Sin is a “sneaky snake” to be avoided but they should also rejoice because Christ is a serpent slayer- Glory!
Promises given by God for specific problems and specific situations should not be appropriated for present problems and present situations. Blood over the door kept the death angel away from the homes of the children of Israel during the Egyptian plagues but blood over your door today will not keep death away from your home and will only cause your door to stink and become a breeding ground for disease!
Many people in the world do not believe in God’s power or honor God’s person because Christians have “made God promise something that God did not promise” and when the promise fails people do not believe God can be trusted. God cannot lie and when He makes a Promise it is eternally dependable and it will always do what God says it will do. You simply have to learn the difference between what you want God to say and what God actually says.
Some Promises are conditional. God said, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5) but He also said, “The LORD is with you, while ye be with him; and if ye seek him, he will be found of you; but if ye forsake him, he will forsake you” (2 Chronicles 15:2).
Some Promises are universal: “For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:12-13).
I am, however, “fully persuaded that, what God promised, he is able also to perform” (Romans 4:21). I just want to use His promises correctly and show a wondering world a wonderful God.
Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified (Matthew 27:22).
What do you do when you must decide the fate of God? How do you respond when clambering crowds urge you to do something that every fiber in your being screams for you not to do? How do you answer the most important question ever asked?
In Pilate’s case it was a Puzzling question (“What” shall I do?), a Personal question (What shall “I” do?), a Participation question (What shall I “Do”?), and a Person question (What shall I do with “Jesus which is called Christ”?). It was also a life changing, world shaking, eternity altering question made under the Pressure of a mob and against the advice of a concerned wife (“When he was set down on the judgment seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him” Matthew 27:19).
Pilate tried to “pass the buck” on this question by sending Jesus to Herod (Let someone else decide), giving the mob a choice between Barabbas and Christ (Let poplar opinion choose), and washing his hands of the whole thing (I refuse to take responsibility for my choice). But he soon found out that letting Jesus die did not solve his dilemma because Jesus would not stay dead!
Every person must face Pilate’s question. So I ask you today, “What shall YOU do with Jesus?”
The Church is going through an “out of body experience”! A deadly sickness has invaded our world and Pastors have had to replace “come to church” with “stay at home”. What are we going to do when we cannot do what we have always been taught to do?
For many years one of my life phrases has been, “do what you can, where you are, with what you have”. Let’s apply this to our present situation? How can the Body be the Body when the Body cannot be where the Body normally expresses itself as a Body?
A preacher friend sends me text messages of encouragement and assurance of his prayers several times a week. A nurse in a local hospital took time out of her very busy and stressful schedule to stop by and make sure my wife and I had everything we need. And everyone knows many Pastors have become “televangelists” reaching many people with their messages that would have never heard them under different circumstances.
Here are some ways YOU can be the Body while out of the Body. Write a note of encouragement to five people this week. Write (and mail) your tithes check so your church can continue to minister to those in need. Call and pray for sick people. Contact a Home School mom and see if you can research and email her materials to help lighten her load.
Paul had an “out of body experience” (2Cor 12) that changed his life. May we allow God to do the same for us during this difficult time.
What a difference a few weeks can make. March Madness parties quickly converted to disease distancing while counting the days until spring break turned into a dreaded daily counting of worldwide deaths. Life is suddenly held hostage to a virus we cannot see and a despair we do not want to acknowledge.
Jesus and the Disciples went through a time like this. During the great victory celebration of Palm Sunday the Disciples basked in the adulation and adoration of the multitudes. Little did they know that the coming week would find them struggling in the darkness of life’s changing circumstances as the crowd’s cries changed into, “Crucify him, crucify him” and they watched their hoped for Messiah die on a cross.
In a week Jesus went from being sought by the sick and needy to being betrayed by a coworker (Judas); abandoned by men He had mentored for three years (Disciples); and denied by one of His closest associates (Peter). He was then scorned by his nation (Give us Barabbas and crucify this man); mocked, slapped, and spit on by his jailers; and “forsaken” by his Father as He shouldered sin’s death debt.
But never forget that Easter was coming when death no longer mattered and a risen Savior appeared to His Disciples to tell them, “Do not sweat this, I have everything under control”.
Easter will be celebrated differently this year but it is still a victory time stronger than any virus. Do not despair, God is still on the throne and the tomb is still empty.
Suppose I come to an intersection where the road I am traveling branches off in two different directions. I have been warned that following one of these roads will allow me to reach my desired destination of joy and happiness but following the other road will lead to troubles and trials and finally end up in a bog of despair from which there is no escape.
Both roads look the same so I have no clue as to which one to take. Suddenly I see two men sitting on a bench under a tree so I approach them to see if they can give me directions. As I get closer I notice that one of the men is alive and well but the other is simply a corpse sitting on a bench!
Which one of these men do you think I should consult about directions in this important life decision? Obviously, the answer is the man who is alive and can actually help me.
Many religious leaders have come into this world. Some of them have been extremely smart and have left great teachings about how to deal with life and its problems. But this fork in the road is not just about living in this life; it is about eternity and what lies beyond.
Only one religious leader has journeyed through the valley of death and come back alive to give me directions. His name is Jesus and He is the one I plan to listen to about which road I need to take. I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live (Deut 30:19)
I really wish I could be an “increase disciple” who reaps the fruit and enjoys the glory of the harvest. But, alas, I have been called to be a “plant disciple” who works to prepare the soil, plant the seed, and then trust God to produce the fruit [I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase 1Cor 3:6].
My lot in life is to prepare “seed sermons and devotions” so better preachers and teachers with a more pleasing personality can be used of God to turn the puny little seed into a great sermon or lesson which can (hopefully) change people or problems. My part is vital (no seeds planted, no increase harvested) but I recognize that you pay and praise the person who delivers the harvest fruit while you tell the person digging in the dirt, so seed can be planted, that he needs to take a bath!
This is not a pity party or a cry for recognition; it is meant as an encouragement to others who do the “behind the scenes work”. There is great peace and joy when you do what God has called you to do and stop trying to do what others are supposed to do. And never forget that God is aware of all you do and “every man shall receive HIS OWN REWARD according to his own labour” (1 Corinthians 3:8).
[The Lord kept pushing me to publish this. Whoever needs this encouragement realize also that I prayed for you before I published this].
This is a true story shared by Rev. Murrell Young 20 years ago. The memory of his faithful service lives on.
Slowly the coins clinked upon the bare table as the man emptied his pockets. Next his wife emptied her pocket book. Then they looked under the couch cushions and anywhere else they could think but the stack was still a mole hill of coins for the mountain of their problem. The husband counted the coins and looked bleakly at his wife as he announced, “Four dollars and eighty five cents.”
No words were spoken but each knew the heart of the other. For years they had committed themselves to serving the Lord and confidently told others that God would supply their needs. Now this beggar’s pile of coins was all they could muster to buy their groceries for a week. Heart broken, they left the coins on the table and went their separate ways.
The Husband sat on the porch, staring into the distance, wondering why he could no longer support his family. Suddenly his wife appeared with a glow in her eyes and determination in her voice. She said during her prayers God had shown her how to multiply their money in order to meet their needs. Her husband was to go into town and use the money to buy supplies necessary to make a cake. When he returned she immediately baked a cake. As soon as it was done she told her husband to go to town and sell the cake. The Husband then used that money to buy the ingredients necessary to make several more cakes. On his last trip to town that day he sold enough cakes to buy groceries for a week; and they never faced another shortage like that!
(Psa 37:25) “I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.” No matter how bleak things may look, God has provisions available for His children. Sometimes obtaining that provision is just as easy as baking a cake!
You can sit on your hands in despair or you can fold your hands in victorious prayer
Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much (James 5:16).
Our present world has been invaded by illness and isolation. Thankfully, Christians know how we “may be healed”- Acknowledging the wrong we have done and praying for others. In order for this to happen, however, we must move from passive hermits hiding in our homes to active prayer warriors who believe our prayers reach God’s ear and make a difference in the affairs of men.
Pray for God’s Provision for those in need (Be specific- and, when possible, be a conduit of God’s care). Pray for God’s Physical and Spiritual Protection for those who daily face death and disease in order to help the sick and suffering. Pray for God to help suddenly stay at home families to show and share love and care for one another.
Pray for God to work in the lives of people so they will use their time to become better instead of simply binge watch mindless movies. Pray people will begin seeking opportunities to use their energy and intellect to practice their trade and produce products necessary for our nation to grow and prosper. And let these people know you are praying “fervently” and regularly for them.
Finally, Pray for God to help your prayers “avail much” because you are a “righteous man” due to your publically proclaimed faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of His Son. Remember, prayer works if we work at prayer.
When hope dies the soul withers. We need help and health but, above all, we need Hope. Everyone seems to “know the truth” about what is going on while it is increasingly obvious that almost no one “knows the truth”. In the midst of this storm battering our lives we need to anchor our souls on a “hope rock”.
Hope does not eliminate hurt. Even Jesus wept at the tomb of a loved one even though He knew he would be raised from the dead shortly.
Hope does not eliminate circumstances or situations which seem hopeless: “Abraham against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations” (Romans 4:18).
Hope does not eliminate our participation in bringing about hope: “He that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope” (1 Corinthians 9:10).
Hope is not “wishful thinking” built on your desires or society’s thoughts: “So are the paths of all that forget God; and the hypocrite’s hope shall perish: Whose hope shall be cut off, and whose trust shall be like a spider’s web” (Job 8:13-14).
Hope abounds when we anchor our soul in God and allow the Holy Spirit to fill our life with God’s truth: “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost” (Romans 15:13).
I hope your life will be filled with Hope today.
“Ye ask, and receive not, BECAUSE YE ASK AMISS” (James 4:3). If a Prostitute contacted me and asked me to pray that she could get work it would be important to know WHAT I was praying for. Does the Prostitute want me to pray for more work for her as a Prostitute or does she desire work in order to escape being a prostitute? (One would enlist my prayers; the other would not).
Jesus had no problem helping a prostitute caught in the very act of adultery but He called for reformation as well as repentance- “Jesus say unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more” (John 8:11). Remember this when praying about YOUR situation. Are you simply praying for help for the situation that got you into your present circumstances or are you seeking a way to work with God in order to avoid these situations in the future?
Several Prostitutes in the Bible received help from God. I believe God loves you just as much as He loved them. He just needs to know WHAT you will do with the answer to your prayer. Your prayers will not “miss” if your aim is true.
Politicians and Scientist want to control our world. Christians should want to change our world.
Many people are occupied with “time” right now as they look at the best time to open up, get out, and get on with life. With that in mind, let me share three things that it is time for.
It is time to WAKE UP- (Rom 13:11) “And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.” Too many in the church are asleep on duty (Remember the disciples who were supposed to pray with Jesus). As a result, the devil is destroying families, churches, and individuals. The lazy and the lukewarm need to be stirred out of their slumber and isolation and go gather up lost and strayed sheep.
It is time to SHAPE UP- (1 Pet 4:17) “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?” It is not enough to believe we can be better; it is time we become different so we can make a difference by abandoning social gossip and starting gospel living (Refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness 1 Timothy 4:7).
Finally, it is time to PRAY UP- “Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you” (Hosea 10:12). America needs God’s Help, God’s Hope, and the anticipation of God’s Heaven. Christians need to pray for God’s power on their lives so they can bring desperately needed Revival. It’s Time.
“And the Angel said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God” (Acts 10:4). What an honor, that God would memorialize your life because of your piety. If you desire to have such a “Memorial Life” then let me suggest Five Life Principles.
DO THE RIGHT THING. Nothing brings joy and meaning to life like positive actions so do what God wants you to do so your “prayers and alms will come up for a memorial before God”.
BE IN THE RIGHT PLACE. God has a place and a position that only YOU can fill. Be remembered as a person who did unique things in a unique place for a Great God.
HAVE THE RIGHT ATTITUDE. Recall the times you were really happy. It was not when you thought only of yourself and your needs. Joy came when you helped someone else. Keep in mind that “he that is greatest among you shall be your servant” (Matthew 23:11).
MULTIPLY YOUR MINISTRY. Do not just do it; teach someone else to do it. And try to get them to do it better than you could do it. Make your life’s work a legacy.
ACCOMPLISH THE EXTRAORDINARY. Do not be satisfied being satisfied. Hook up with God’s power, get in God’s plan, and do something that only God could do. Feed 5000 with your lunch, kill a giant with a stone, get out of the boat and walk on the waves… You and God can do it.
You can waste your life watching someone else’s exploits on TV or you can build a life that is a “memorial before God”. Your choice.
“I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early” (Hosea 5:15).
Hosea is a strange book of the Bible! It is built around God telling a preacher to marry a prostitute. Can you imagine the pastor of the big Baptist church in your town standing in the pulpit this Sunday and telling everyone that God told him to marry a local prostitute? Can you picture her reception the first Sunday she came to church as the Pastor’s wife? Such was the “pickle” Hosea was put into by the command of God.
Then, to add fuel to the fire, Hosea was told to preach a message that ended by stating that God was going home and leaving the nation to fend for itself. Boy, talk about popular preachers!
Can you envision what would happen if God “went home” and left America? No more divine protection or divine provision. Like multitudes of empires before us we would see how quickly and completely our glory and power would vanish if God left us to our own resources.
God does not want to “go home and leave us”. All He asks is that we “acknowledge our offence and once again seek His face”. And, wonder of wonders, if we will do that, He will come back and take us home with Him when He goes!
You are Lost if you do not know the Way Menu
What kind of religion do you have? Everyone has a religion; even if it is the religion of “non-religion”. As I have traveled around the world one thing has become evident to me about people’s religion. No matter what label they put on their religion (Christian, Muslim, Hindu, etc) it normally breaks down into one of three categories.
Some people have Personal Religion; a private guidance within their inner being that determines their moral values and guides their life choices. They may not know how to define this “godward” part of their life, and they seldom talk of it, but it is the “power” directing the inward compass guiding their actions and attitudes. Sadly, this “moral compass” changes with the changing viewpoint of the person [Think “sin” today compared to “sin” 50 years ago].
Some people have Preacher Religion. Someone outside the person defines the standards and guidelines the person lives by in order to be “righteous”. This leader may be very wise, very charismatic, and very persuasive but it is always their thoughts and opinions which define the way you see and react to your “god”.
Finally, some people have Proper Religion. They listen to the word of God and then, by faith, trust in the way of God in order to become a child of God. They are not perfect people but they are “born again” by the Spirit of God and now they daily grow into the new person God wants them to become. Their religion is a relationship with the God they walk with now and plan to live with for eternity.
What about you? What kind of Religion do you have?
Menu. Who you are is shown by what you do with who you are.
Because I can do something, should I? Or, said another way, “Because I have the freedom to do something, does that give me the right to do it?” What are the limits to a person’s freedom?
I believe that Freedom (Because I can) must be governed by at least 3 guidelines:
1) What are the Consequences of my Freedom? I have the freedom to jump off a bridge if I so desire but the sudden stop is a killer!! Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Freedom without awareness of consequences is dangerous.
2) What Responsibilities come with my Freedom? I have the freedom to swing my arm any way I want; but my right to do so ends at your nose! Freedom without responsibility becomes anarchy and chaos. The purpose of Laws and Government is to ensure that men take responsibility for their Freedom.
3) What Considerations accompany my Freedom? I have the Freedom to go a week without bathing but it would be very inconsiderate of those around me. When “every man does that which is right in his own sight” then no one really gets to enjoy the true blessings of Freedom. That is why the golden rule is still, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”.
It is important to remember that the strings on a fiddle only find the music within when they give up their Freedom in order to be confined to the purpose of their life. Jesus taught that if we came to Him we would be “free indeed”. It sounds like bondage but, in reality, it is the freedom your heart has craved all along.