Archive for August, 2011
“Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, descendant of David, according to my gospel, for which I suffer hardship even to imprisonment as a criminal; but the word of God is not imprisoned” (2 Timothy 2:8-9).
Too often we allow our circumstances to imprison our attitudes and, thus, our behaviors. How we respond to unexpected adversity reveals the depth of our character and maturity of our faith. Our reaction to hard times is of eternal significance and becomes a means by which the word of God is proclaimed to those who inhabit our lives.
To remember Jesus is to respond appropriately.
“He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities” (Psalm 103:10).
Many seem to waste their day in the “if only” mode. “If only” points to that segment of the human experience that cannot be altered. It’s an incredible waste of time and opportunities. A more positive approach to dealing with failure is the perspective of “next time.” “Next time” is still fluid, open; it has yet to be shaped. Whatever your past, our Father wants you to use it not as an occasion of condemnation but learning. Today, exchange your “if only” laments for a “next time” kind of hopefulness.
“In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms” (Daniel 2:44).
What are your dreams? Your aspirations? Your dreams determine the course of your life and the impact you have on others. Dream of earthly kingdoms, and even if you become king-of –the-hill with the most toys, that you lived will not have any lasting influence. Dream of an eternal kingdom and live your life accordingly; for a greater good and a higher calling, and your life, legacy, and faith will continue to be multiplied in the life of those in whom you invested.
“Now in Joppa there was disciple named Tabitha (which translated in Greek is called Dorcas); this woman was abounding with deeds of kindness and charity which she continually did” (Acts 9:36).
Dorcas…a seemingly unimportant name from an unimportant place but she is remembered and preserved immortal in sacred scripture because of the things she continually did. Today, most seem to think that a lasting legacy is to be accomplished by a life focused on “being” something. God’s word, however, reminds us that a lasting heritage of influence is the result of “doing” somthing with the opportunities for service that are presented to us each day.
“By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going” (Hebrews 11:8).
In the life of faith there is a tension between knowing and not knowing. There is a confidence that proclaims, “I know my Redeemer lives” while at the same time an uncertainty that declares, “I’m not sure where God is leading.” Such is the nature of faith. When exercised it takes us to places we cannot see and never imagined.
As churches and believers, we do well to examine ourselves and ask, “Am I truly progressing ahead by faith? Or am I just doing each day those things that I can manage? Control? That are comfortable and predictable? A life lived by faith is a venture into unknown possibilities.
“Then the officers shall speak further to the people and say, ‘Who is the man that is afraid and fainthearted? Let him depart and return to his house, so that he might not make his brothers’ hearts melt like his heart’” (Deuteronomy 20:8).
Moses understood that one of the key factors to success in the life of faith, and forward progression to the place God would have us to be, is surrounding yourself with the right people. The negative influence of naysayers, critics, and complainers is pervasive. It takes the infection of just one to bring defeat. Moses was determined to weed them out. We should have the same determination for our lives. Keeping good company enhances the possibility of good results.
“Then this Daniel began distinguishing himself among the commissioners and satraps because he possessed an extraordinary spirit, and the king planned to appoint him over the entire kingdom” (Daniel 6:3).
In the daily grind of the work-a-day world all kinds emerge—the dead-beats; the clock-watchers; the water cooler gossips; the door-jam-leaning complainer. As believers in the work place, what separates us from those who are burned out and unmotivated? While working for the King, in the most unfavorable of circumstances—Babylonian exile—Daniel stood out because he possessed an extraordinary spirit. Hopefully, the in-working of the Holy Spirit is giving forth an out-working of His fruit in our daily lives. A distinction that truly makes a difference.