I read an interesting quote in an old Bible commentary recently. “Not only should we do good, but the good we do should be well done.” How true the statement is, but also I fear, it is often not well kept. Whether we are paid a daily wage for a job well done, or if we are servants and are only laying up treasure in heaven, every job needs to be well done. A large number of teens I know (and quite a few adults) will do the absolute minimum about 90% of the time. Often their minds are on other things, or they just want the job to be “over and done with!” But the fact remains that anything done shabbily not only speaks of our walk with Christ, but if it is done shabbily FOR Christ, it speaks of our relationship with Christ. My mother used to say, “Anything worth doing is worth doing well.” I agree, and I believe God does as well. After all, it’s Him who promises to give us the strength to carry on, no matter how tough the job!
“If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 4:11b
Can God do anything? Many will tell you He can, but they would be wrong. God’s power is limitless, but His nature limits His ability to do many things. For example, God cannot be unjust. He cannot sin. He cannot go against His own Word… and unlike sinful humans, He cannot lie. In a world where just about everything is up for sale, including truth, God remains absolutely perfect, and absolutely unchangeable. Just like the “foundation” He often describes Himself as, I find great comfort in knowing that He’s Rock Solid!
So, as the Holy Spirit Says, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the desert, where your fathers tested and tried me and for forty years saw what I did. That is why I was angry with that generation, and I said, ‘Their hearts are always going astray, and they have not known my ways.’ So I declared on oath in my anger, They shall never enter my rest.’
“See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first.” Hebrews 3:7b-14
Humility might just be one of the most endangered virtues in the world. Simple respect that once was considered mandatory is now pass. Not so many years ago a young person never addressed an older person by his first name. My parent’s friends, for example, were either Aunt So-and-so, or Uncle This-or-that! Now it seems like not only do people not show respect to elders, they are often down right rude to them. And it’s not just strangers, either. Have we forgotten the Fifth Commandment? Honor your mother and your father! What about the multitude of commandments dealing with loving your neighbor, honoring those older than you, or just plain respecting other people. For Christians, these things are not pass, they are mandatory if our witness is to mean anything to those around us. We simply cannot talk about our faith in Christ with one breath and bad mouth a teacher or a boss with the next. At least not if we intend to be on the side of our Lord.
“God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” 1 Peter 5b
Far too many Christians live life without much of a plan of attack. Can you imagine what would happen if even a great country rushed into a war without a plan? Disaster would certainly be the result. Making it through even one day without being caught up in some type of sin is difficult enough, but doing so without watching and keeping alert is impossible. If you’ve found yourself struggling more than normal, maybe it’s because you’re not starting your day with the realization Satan wants to make you trip and fall at every opportunity. Such a realization will help you remember to study, to pray, and to keep other Christians as close as possible. Only a strong walk with Jesus and a firm grasp of His Word can make your path safe.
“Be very careful, then, how you live–not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery [doing bad stuff]. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.” Ephesians 5:15-18
When I was younger and caught-up in the sins of my youth, I was an angry young man. I wanted to do what I wanted to do, and may God help the person who got in my way! During this turbulent time in my life, I distinctly remember a conversation I had with my mother. I was furious at her because she had the audacity to tell me the way I was leading my life would lead to sadness, destruction, and to an eternity in hell. I’ll never forget the ignorance of my response: “The God I know would NEVER send me to hell!”
I’ll thank God eternally He didn’t call me home then! Through the incredible work of the Holy Spirit, I eventually did come to a relationship with God through His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. It didn’t take me long to realize just how wrong I was that day so many years ago. For starters, I didn’t know ANY god, except self indulgence that is–in effect, I was my own god. Furthermore, I wanted nothing to do with God. Oh, I wanted to “have it my way” alright. And now I’m thanking my heavenly Father that I didn’t get it!
“Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign Lord. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?” Ezekial 18:23
God does not desire that any of us be cast into the lake of fire. But if we choose to turn away from Him and His free gift of salvation, He will grant our wishes… eternally!
I wanted to write you a short note remind you just how much I adore being around you. If you only knew how important it is for me to spend time with you! I want to be with you every day… and every night. I want to direct your steps when you’re with your friends, and especially when you’re with the one you love. I know you don’t think you’re worth all this attention, but dear one, your soul is eternal! If you only knew that a war is raging day-by-day for you! That’s right, a war for YOU! The struggle is over who you will spend all eternity with… And my angels and I have never fought harder! We want you to spend it with us! The enemy has done everything He can to get you, but we’re not done fighting yet! Oh, I know we’re not strong enough to win the war or anything, but we have everything you love on our side. Just keep-on keepin’ on and we’ll be together before you know it.
“Therefore hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure: and their glory, and their multitude, and their pomp, and he that rejoiceth, shall descend into it. Isaiah 5:14 (KJV)
We’ve all got some things we should have done we never got around to and surely some things we’ve done we shouldn’t have done. Unfortunately for us, there’s nothing quite as bitter as regret. The good news is regret is avoidable! Through our relationship with Christ, He can help us stay on the right track and surely minimize it. We’ve got to give Him the reigns though, and throughout time, people have been reluctant to let God rule their lives.
This is what the Lord says — your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go. If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your righteousness like the waves of the sea. Your descendants would have been like the sand, your children like its numberless grains; their name would never be cut off nor destroyed from before me.” Isaiah 48:17-19
Don’t let your life be filled with regret. Let go, and let God!
While Jesus walked the earth demons routinely tried to foil God’s plan for our salvation by speaking out about who He was before the appointed time. Each time Jesus wound up in the vicinity of a demon-possessed person, the demon would try to let everyone know He was the Christ. Today, Satan and his angels do just the opposite. On this side of the cross, they want the world to get caught up in everything but a knowledge of who Christ is. Now that it’s in the best interest of evil, they say as little as possible.
“He [Jesus} also drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was.” Mark 1:34b