Is your hand still in your dish?

Laying in bed, I didn’t want to get up. The sun shone in through my widow, beckoning me to enjoy its warmth outside. And the thought of being outside seemed wonderful, but I didn’t want to get up, get dressed, or do anything before I absolutely had to.

Fast forward an hour or two, I was frantically rushing out of bed, into my work clothes and out the door without barely a thought towards my lack of breakfast. I had wasted my morning because I did not desire to put forth any effort or work into it.

Have you ever behaved this way?

If so, you and I are not alone.

In Proverbs 26:15 we find an example of laziness which sums up the essence of such behavior. “The lazy man buries his hand in the bowl; It wearies him to bring it back to his mouth.”

Think about being so lazy, that you don’t want to give the effort to feed yourself. You might think, “I could never be so lazy!”

But could you?

This is a metaphor for how laziness keeps us from doing the very things which would bring us pleasure, fulfillment, and more out of life.

Do you avoid organizing your living quarters because it would take so much effort?

Do you slack on preparing meals for yourself until the last minute?

Do you skip tasks you know need to get done because you don’t feel like it?

Do you dress yourself out of your hamper instead of your closet or bureau?

Perhaps many of these examples do not apply to you, but do you have unfinished tasks that you are avoiding? Things you know you could do to improve your life, but are slack to do because of the effort.

Imagine if every task you thought of doing had been done. Your work space was organized, your yard was clean, your morning routine was always completed. Think of that book you might have finished, the time you would have to put effort into fulfilling recreation, instead of simply scrolling on your phone, that side business you could have made, those hobbies you could have pursued, that world class vacation you could have take from the proceeds of your book and side business.

Chances are, not all of these are relevant to you. But take a moment and think of where your laziness has brought you. The stress of being late to work. Spending extra money to make up for your lack of time. Those treasured memories of doing absolutely nothing and procrastinating.

Laziness is not your friend.

I challenge you, discipline yourself to improve your life in every area that you can. Banish laziness from your life. Don’t refuse to put forth the effort to nourish yourself spiritually, mentally, or physically. Laziness is knowing exactly what you should be doing, but refusing to be profitable by doing it, for the reason of nothing but your own desire for self gratification.

It’s time we put such a wicked behavior to rest. It’s time we live for God and life for His purpose. We cannot be lazy for God’s glory.  So let us lay it aside.

“Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31

 

 

Advertisements

God’s provision isn’t the number you file your taxes with

A pastor once told me of when he first began going to college. He didn’t have the money to pay for his education, but he knew God wanted him to go. He saved up faithfully, but last minute expenses destroyed his savings. He said he stood in line for registration, praying over and over again. “God, I need money!” Again and again. He pleaded. He had no money to pay his bill.

Much to his surprise, when he got to the end of the line, he found that someone had paid his bill in full. He told the story in humorous and grateful manner. Praising God for His provision.

But let us pause to examine this. He said, “I need money.” But what did he actually need? Entrance into the college.

I give you another example.

In John 6, Jesus and the disciples are ministering to a crowd of thousands. Eventually it was time for the people to eat, but they did not have food. Jesus asks the question: Where are we going to buy bread for all these people? Philip expounds on the hopelessness of their situation by pointing out how 200 pennies would not be enough. Jesus answers his own question by miraculously feeding thousands of people with a single person’s lunch.

God provides with or without money.

Isn’t it funny how we can usually think in terms of money? We say, “I need money to buy my kids some shoes.” But in reality, we need shoes. We say, “I need money to pay for my groceries.” But in reality, we need food.

In reality, we need God to provide.

I challenge you to realize, God’s provision is not always in the form of money. Sometimes it’s a clearance sale. Sometimes it’s your neighbor’s leftovers. Sometimes it’s the generosity of a stranger. Sometimes it’s finding stuff while cleaning your basement.

In the pastor that was mentioned, God provided someone to pay his bill. In John 6, God provided a miracle. In your own life, there is no limit to what He may provide.

I challenge you, next time you have a need, don’t say, “I need money for . . .” Instead say, “I need God.” “I need God to provide!”

“Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?” – Matthew 6:30

Compliments of God

Have you ever felt you like you deserved thanks for what you did? Perhaps you helped someone out a lot, or simply gave them a gift. You thought you deserved something in return. There is someone who deserves more thanks than you. God does!

You may have given someone a gift, but God gave them life. Look at it this way, this entire universe was created for us. Yeah, isn’t that awesome? Even the stars and heavenly bodies were created, "for signs and for seasons." Not for alien inhabitants or other races, they were creates so we could have a clock to pass the time.

Have you ever gone to a hotel and they had those little soap bars and stuff. On the little cheapo things they gave you it said something like, "Compliments of blankety blank hotel." In the morning, they gave you a ‘complimentary breakfast.’ It’s like the hotel was so impressed with themselves for ‘giving’ you all this stuff that’s worth practically nothing. Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice to have a toothbrush if you forget one, but let’s face it, we are paying for it.

Now, let’s look at our universe. We didn’t pay for that. It wasn’t worked for. It was given to us. It was ‘complimentary’ in every sense of the word. Yeah, FREE!

Your next breath- Compliments of the Creator of Heaven and Earth. Energy to breathe- Compliments of God Think about your day. Everything you enjoy was directly given/created by God. Everything.

How often do you thank God for, well, anything- everything? It’s easy to remember that God’s in control when you’re late for work and you get a red light. Oh, it’s His fault then right? What about the fact that you have a job? Or you have food to eat? Or clothes to wear? God provided a way for you to have all that.

Do you thank Him?

Years ago the Levites were to, "stand every morning to thank and praise the LORD, and likewise at even;" – 1 Chronicles 23:30 Twice a day they thanked their creator. Do you thank Him even every day? I know I fail at that.

Let’s make a decision to thank God for what He gives us. And if He allows us to lose something, let’s thank Him that He allowed us to have it for a time, and that we still have much to rejoice over!

"O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever." – 1 Chronicles 16:24

When you want that candy bar . . .

Have you ever seen a little kid whining in a store. They want that candy and they want it now. Or maybe they want some toy. A lot of times, parents today, will give in to their children’s childish demands. Hopefully, the parent you saw stood their ground. If the parent stood their ground, that kid probably looked really stupid. I mean, that parent wants what is best for them, and they are refusing to trust them.

You know, many times we’re just like that stubborn child. I mean, have you ever complained about a situation in your life? I know I have. Ever been dissatisfied with your lot. I’m sure we all have. It seems natural for us to complain and be unhappy with things, but it is not natural behavior for Christians.

God wants the very best for us. When he allows something into our life, he is doing it for our good. Maybe that thing will bring us joy. Maybe that thing will put us through a trial that will teach us to be more like Him. No matter what, God has given us our current circumstances because He wants the very best for us.

Perhaps that child, threw himself on the ground and threw a tantrum. Maybe he tried to hold his breath. Maybe he tried to give his parent the silent treatment. Next time you complain, or you’re tempted to complain, I want you to think of that stubborn child. Imagine the parent slowly walking out of the store after checking out. The parent will never abandon the child, but for a moment, the child realizes that his actions are distancing himself from the one he really loves.

The child runs to his parent and grabs their hand. He dries his eyes, and pretends like nothing happened. That child decided that fellowship with his parent was more important to him than the petty thing that he wanted. I hope you’ll make that same choice. Nothing on this earth is worth breaking fellowship with our Creator. He is the best we can ever have.

Won’t you trust Him with your future. Trust Him no matter what "desires" you will have to give up? I encourage you, trust God with your life. In the end, you’ll see He was looking out for your best all along.

"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

Surviving the valley

Whenever we experience a spiritual high, we can expect a low. It’s the way of nature. Things go up, and they go down. God is always constant, and He remains faithful, but our motivation or excitement for serving Him will wax and wane. Let’s say this a different way. We should always have the joy of the Lord, but that joy will not keep us from experiencing sorrow.

The Christian life is like surfing. You ride a wave, and you wait for another wave. Sometimes you have to swim back out to the high seas. You won’t always be riding a wave, so you need to learn how to survive when you’re not.

Proverbs 24:10 says, "If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small." Notice this verse didn’t say "if the day of adversity comes." It said, "If thou faint." You see, we don’t have a choice when it comes to the valleys we will encounter. We have a choice as to whether we will be strong in the Lord or not.

In 1 Kings 19, Elijah had just came off a spiritual high. He had stood in faith before the entire congregation of Israel and called down fire from heaven. He then killed all the prophets of Baal. Later that day, he prayed that God would send rain in the current drought. God did. Then, Elijah raced the king’s chariot and won. Yeah, he was on foot.

You want to talk about a spiritual high, that was a spiritual high. A short time later, Elijah had a pity party and asked God to kill him. God talked to Him more than once and even sent an angel with special food to sustain Him. Elijah refused to repent. God eventually gave Elijah orders to appoint his successor. God was through working with Him. God chose another servant to accomplish His will.

Elijah failed to survive the valley. The consequence was an end to service.

We will experience times of hardship. Times of sorrow. Times of depression. But we can choose whether to succumb to our emotions and circumstances, or ask and receive God’s power to rise above them. We have the choice. If you’re going through a tough time right now, I challenge you, ask God to sustain you. He loves you. He wants to help you. Tell Him all your trials and cast your cares upon Him. He alone can lift you up and keep you through all the times of discouragement.

Further reading: Psalm 22 (Watch David’s thought patterns as he goes from depression to praise)

If Christ were hungry . . .

When a person does something nice for another person, they are demonstrating love for that person. When they do something nice for the person’s friend, they are demonstrating love for that person. When they do something nice for that person’s child, they are demonstrating love for that person.

It’s the same with God. When we show love to others, we are showing love to God because we are showing love to His creation. Follow me? Here’s a few scriptures.

Matthew 18:5 says, "And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me." God seems to be saying that if someone loves a child because that child belongs to God (in my name) then that person is showing love to God.

Matthew 25:34-45 speaks of when people will stand before God. The King of kings is judging the people of the earth. One area of judgment is how they treated those around them in need. When people around them needed food, water, clothes, etc. did they give them their needs. In fact, the King says this of their deeds: "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." In short, God says that what you did for those around you in need is what you have done to him.

One of my favorite scriptures says this: "He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the LORD; and that which he hath given will he pay him again." – Proverbs 19:17 Think about that. When a person gives to someone in need they are lending to God. God will pay him back too!

In conclusion, I’d like to challenge you. Next time you see someone in genuine need, imagine that that person IS your Savior. Imagine Christ being homeless, or needing money to pay a debt. Imagine Christ in whatever needy position the person before you is in.

Would you help Christ?

It’s your responsibility

We have all been in a place of responsibility. Whether it is being a major part of a large corporation, running our own business, working at a job, or even just sweeping the floor for mom. No matter what our responsibilities have been, we have had them. Just like responsibilities that we have in our physical life, God has given us responsibilities for us to fulfill in our spiritual life.

When we are saved, God gives us many promises. He gives us access into a close and intimate relationship with Him. But just as in every other successful relationship we have, we must work for it.

God promises in His Word. "Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you." – James 4:8a So, to say it simply, you are as close to God today as you want to be. No excuses will do. As humans, we make time to sleep, to eat, and to do other necessary things. I would ask you, do you consider building a relationship with God as a necessary component in your life?

I would encourage you, take action to evaluate your relationship with God. If you are not close to Him, it’s not His fault. As harsh as it sounds, it’s your fault. I know I have difficulty in this area, and I’m sure to some extent, you do to. But I challenge you, ask God to help you make Him the most important thing in your life. Put Him above all else, and you will never regret it. Remember, if your relationship with God is not what it is supposed to be it’s not His fault. Do you consider Him necessary?

" I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food." – Job 23:12b