10 minutes could save you . . .

There’s a popular insurance ad that reads, “15 minutes could save you 15 percent or more on car insurance.” It’s sales tactic is simple, take some time out of your day and explore the possibility of . . . Think of the time it would take!

Only 15 minutes!

That’s not a lot of time. And you could save money too! This advertisement has become somewhat known in America and I’m sure many parts of the world. It’s tactic is brilliant.

So I’d like to use it.

But let’s shorten it. Let’s say ten. What could you do with ten minutes? You could aimlessly surf the internet, chat with a friend, play a Sudoku game – I’m running out, so think of something that you would do in a 10 minute window of time. You probably come across these once or twice a day. You know, that random time between appointments. What do you do with it?

I don’t know what your schedule is like. Or what you face every day. But I would challenge you, take 10 minutes every day, and invest it. Do something eternally profitable.

For instance, if you struggle with laziness – take ten minutes every day to suppress your sin nature. Do that thing that you’ve been putting off for some odd days. You may not be able to finish it, but start. And start again day 2- for ten minutes.

If you’ve noticed that worry or anxiety has been stressing you out, take ten minutes. And spend it in constant prayer. Take that time to turn your eyes heavenward. God promises that he will keep you in peace if you keep your eyes on Him.

If you’ve been feeling distant from God. Take ten minutes and spend it in His Word. Flip through proverbs, or psalms, or wherever the Spirit takes you and learn from Him. And then do it day 2. And so forth.

If you’re like me, you’ve spent more than ten minutes surfing the internet, or having a long conversation with a friend. It flies by doesn’t it? Not very much time. Take that time and invest it in God’s eternal kingdom, and you will be amazed at what He does with it.

I challenge you, take 10 minutes. Every day. And watch your world change

 

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What do I get anyway?

God created heaven with amazing blessings. Yes, I said bountiful. God made streets of gold, foundations of precious stones, a sea of glass, trees with good fruit. The place is nice. When I was younger, I would always ask, “What are we going to do?” Because honestly, as a kid, I wasn’t impressed with golden streets, I wanted toys and things to play with. I thought I’d be bored.

Just like I did, you might ask, what do I get? I’m serving God. I’m doing His will. What do I get? Yeah, it’s a selfish way to think, but I’m sure we have all been there. What do we get? I mean, even though we know we don’t deserve a piece of the pie, we still want it anyway. We want to know what’s coming to us.

Well, my fellow Christian, let me give you a hint. In Genesis 15, Abraham is talking to God after he refused to take the riches that the king of Sodom offered him. When Abraham refused, God came to Abraham and told him. “Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.” – Genesis 15:1

I want you to think about this. We are heirs of Abraham. God calls us friends just like he called Abraham His friend.

Let’s realize one more thing. Christ died for us. Christ’s reward for dying for us is us.

Abraham’s reward is God, and we are heirs of Abraham.

So our reward is God, and Christ’s reward is us.

Isn’t that beautiful? When you became a Christian and surrendered your life to Christ, you accepted a reward. A great reward. An exceeding great reward. Fellowship with God for all eternity is your reward for following God.

So maybe I was wrong in my previous post. We do get a piece of the pie. We get the whole pie. God presence and friendship is ours to cherish forever.

Isn’t that the sweetest blessing?

 

 

Where’d God go?

Have you ever been in a situation where it seemed that God was not hearing your prayers? Whatever the situation is, it seems as if God is not there. The Bible seems to be lifeless and our feelings tell us that God has abandoned us. But God has not abandoned us. God has promised us in His Word, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” Hebrews 13:5 We can know that God is always with us! No matter what it seems like, God is there. In Job’s case, God withdrew Himself and allowed Job to be tested. Job may have thought that God had abandoned him, but He had not. God was simply using the situations in Job’s life to teach Him. God allowed Joseph to be abducted and sold into slavery. After a time Joseph was wrongly accused and put into prison. Joseph knew that God had been working everything to His mighty purpose. When Joseph was reunited with his brothers He said, “But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.” Joseph understood that God was working. Despite everything that had happened, in the end, God could be seen, working everything to His plan.

So I would like to encourage you: no matter what your situations may seem like, God is working. We cannot always see how God is shaping our lives for the best, but He is. We must trust God’s Word to be true, no matter the situation. God promises that He is with us, that He hears our prayers, and that He will never leave us. In the end, we will see how He made His infinite purpose unfold in our lives. He will work all things to His glory, in His time.

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28

One thing is needful

Have you ever found yourself with so much to do, that you become stressed, irritable, aggravated, etc. You find yourself neglecting your relationship with God. Your devotions become dry and lifeless and your prayers are either few or unsaid. Your stress level increases as you find less and less time to accomplish your tasks and it seems as if everything is going wrong. You wish you could find that place of refuge with God, but you tell yourself you simply don’t have time. Such is the place Martha found herself in Luke 10:40.

She was busy working as Mary simply sat a Jesus’ feet. She asked Him to tell Mary to help with the duties of the house, but Jesus refused. He said, “Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: but one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”

When we find ourselves stressed and overworked, we must go to God. If we don’t, we will fail. We cannot accomplish anything without Christ as He told us in John 15:5, “for without me ye can do nothing.” How can we expect to do anything when we are severed from our source of life?   We must cast all our cares upon Him. When we surrender our schedule to Him, we allow Him to work. I have seen God work in my life in amazing ways. He has changed deadlines, delayed meetings, and empowered me to work with a speed I had never known. I’m not saying that we should seek God because He does stuff for us. Our motivation should be higher than that. I’d just like to say that when we take care of the things of God, He takes care of the things of us.

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. – Matthew 6:33

TGIF?

Many people have something that they look forward to at the end of the day. They want to settle down with a favorite snack and watch a favorite TV show. Many people desire to go online and talk to their friends through social media. Some people look forward to playing a specific sport or hobby. As humans, we take pleasure in certain things. We desire to do something that appeals to us.  But really, we should find our satisfaction in God.

There is nothing wrong with recreation. I don’t mean to go bashing good honest relaxing time. But if we spend our entire day looking forward to that time of relaxation. If we work through the week just to get to Friday and the weekend, we are not resting in God. We are working without His strength: relying on our own. Christ said in His Word, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 29:28

I would like to encourage you, go to Christ. He will strengthen you and help you. Don’t rely on you weekend to rejuvenate you, rest in God and rely on Him to give you the strength to accomplish your tasks.

Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. – Matthew 11:29-30 

First in line?

There is always something special about being first. When I was in grade school, we would fight to be first in line. Adult drivers on the highway fight to be in front of each other. People want to be the first person to own that new electronic gadget, or be the first to see the new movie. In short, people want to be first.

It is natural for us to selfishly want preference. We want to be special, but that is not how God would have us. God wrote in His word, “But many that are first shall be last; and the last first.” God does not want us to desire to be first, it is not Christ-like. In the end, He will even the score. He will exalt those that  humble themselves. And humble those that exalt themselves.

So I would like to encourage you. Don’t fight to be first in this life. If you do, your reward will not be great. Obey Christ’s command to humble yourself. As he commanded in Luke 22:26, “He that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve.” Don’t seek to be first. As Christ did, serve those around you. Prefer one another. Seek to serve and to be a servant. Don’t desire to be special, don’t push your way to the front of the line. Put Christ first. Allow Him to govern your actions. As you look through His eyes, you will see that the needs of others are greater than yours. In the end, your small sacrifice for others will be rewarding, not only in this life, but also in God’s everlasting kingdom.

“And he [Christ] is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.” – Colossians 1:18

(Preeminence – quality of being first)

You can choose your sin . . .

Have you ever told a little white lie? There may have been a situation where you thought that it was the only solution. You said to yourself, “It’s no big deal. It can’t harm anyone.” You may have stretched the truth, left part of it out, or simply told a blatant lie. Your lie may have gone unnoticed by man, but it did not go unnoticed by God. Whatever your noble or ignoble reason for the lie, it was sin, and sin always has its consequences.

In 1 Samuel 21, David told a lie. He told a Ahimelech, a priest, that He had been sent on urgent business by the king. David was not aware of the consequences of his sin. He thought that the little white lie he had told would go unnoticed. It did not. Later, in 1 Samuel 22, when Saul came to the priest he demanded an account of what had happened. As a direct or indirect result of David’s lie, 85 priests were murdered, as well as countless others. David’s sin did have a consequence.

We can tell ourselves that we are different. We can say, “Oh, but David was a king. His actions counted more.” But that is far from the truth. Galatians 6:7 reads, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” Whatever sin we participate in, we have open the door to other sin. If we think that we can tell a “small” lie and not reap the consequences, we are lying to ourselves. We will reap consequences, and as with David, others may also.

Galatians continues in verse 8 with these words, “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.” If we choose to sin, no matter how “small” we think the sin is, we will reap the consequences. However, if we choose to resist the flesh and follow after righteousness, we will reap the abundant life Christ has for us.

I would like to challenge you, sow to the Spirit. If you have a sin that you regard as small, don’t allow it to remain in your life. It will bring consequences that are far out of your control. As a wise man once said, “You can choose your sin, but it is not often that you can choose the consequences of it.”

“Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”  -James 1:15

What are you wrestling against?

Have you ever gotten in a dispute with someone? You were arguing with them and they said something that was absolutely not true. The thought of it aggravated you and you erupted into anger. You may have said or done something you regret. You stayed angry for a minute, or a day, or maybe longer. Maybe you are still angry at them. God wants us to live in harmony and peace. Anger has it’s place, but we should not allow it to control us.

I would like to share an interesting perspective that a missionary once showed me. He used the verse, Ephesians 6:12: “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” How often do we get sidetracked. We somehow think that we are wrestling against the person that we see. We get angry against our teachers, our parents, our boss, that annoying coworker. We are so eager to take arms against a fellow believer, or against an unbeliever. They can so easily become the object of our disdain and hate. But this is not a biblical reaction.

The person we see before us is not the enemy. The enemy is Satan. Satan and his demons have used the person as a tool to spread discord. I would like to challenge you, realize your true enemies. The person you may be tempted to hate is not your enemy. They are one in need of prayer. Don’t believe the lie that your enemies are the ones you can see. We do not fight the seen, but the unseen. So often we ourselves can be used as the tool of our enemy. So next time you are temped to react negatively toward someone, remember your true adversary.

Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil. 

-Ephesians 4:26-27

To be used, or refused

Even if you did not read my last post, you are probably familiar with the second part of 1 Samuel 16:7. “For the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.” There is always much emphasis placed on the second part. Of course, it holds a vital truth, a key to understanding the ways of God. But the first part of the verse holds a warning we all would do well to heed.

“Look not on His countenance or on the height of His stature, because I have refused him.”

God had refused Eliab. David’s older brother was tall and good looking. He probably had a lot of other great things going for him too. Samuel was so impressed at the sight of him that he almost anointed him, but God stopped Samuel. Eliab’s heart was not right before God, and as a result God refused to use him as king. Eliab did not have what God wanted the most, a right heart. As David, who was chosen to be king, wrote in Psalm 51:17, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart O God thou wilt not despise.”

Is your heart truly broken before God? It’s not an easy question. Many Christians surround themselves with Godly things, yet never allow the person of God to truly change them. I would like to encourage you to be a vessel that God can use. Don’t live a life of fake Christianity, never allowing God to transform you. If you do, God will refuse you for service. Like Eliab, He will take the opportunity, and give it to another. Be the person that God can use. He will take you and use your life for greater things than you can imagine.

“And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it”

Ezekiel 22:30

God is looking for people He can use. Will you be one of them?

Duty is ours,

Results are God’s – John Quincy Adams

Have you ever heard that it was okay to do a little evil for a greater good? This thinking is called pragmatism. Whatever the foundation of pragmatism, it is not the Bible. God does not ask us to participate in evil, whatever the motive.

Psalm 37:3 says, “Trust in the Lord and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.” Notice the two commands: (1) Trust in God and (2) Do good. Following God is that simple. We are not commanded to use the Bible as a guideline and decide when it is best to trust our own reasoning. We are not commanded to a little evil so good comes. No, we are commanded to do good. You see, the moment we decide to sin (lie, cheat, steal, etc.) for a greater good, we stop trusting God. We stop believing that He knows best. In essence, we are saying that when God gave the command: do not (lie, cheat, steal, etc.) He didn’t know what He was doing. “He couldn’t possibly have known or understood my situation,” we might say. But that thinking is very off base.

God knows all. There is nothing hidden from the eyes of God. He knows everything that has happened, is happening, and will happen. He even knows what would have happened if any specific person had done something differently. We, on the other hand, know practically nothing. (no offense) But let’s face it, we perceive the present by our limited and finite human understanding. We hear about the past from other finite minds, and we have virtually no idea concerning what the future will hold. The only absolute truth we have is from God, and as humans we can and often will interpret His instruction incorrectly. We cannot trust ourselves to know what the outcome of any one of our actions will be.

In review, we should trust God to know the end result of His commandments. If He has commanded it, it is good. If it is good, we should do it despite whether or not it looks like the outcome will be for the best. All we must do is faithfully obey and trust God to know what is best. What will be the result? We will dwell in the land that God has for us, and we will be provided for. Isn’t that a great promise?

And not rather, (as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say,) Let us do evil, that good may come? whose damnation is just.

Romans 3:8