Archive for November, 2016
“Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin” (James 4:17).
The popular adage, “It’s the thought that counts,” shouldn’t be taken lightly. To be in the forefront of someone’s mental processes is to hold a special place. It means you are part of that person’s ongoing, unceasing prayer life. However, there are times when our thoughts don’t count; when only action matters, and specific deeds will make a difference; when we need to be the answer to the prayer; when our intention to do something is replaced by actually doing it. On any given day, God can do more with an ounce of action than a ton of intentions.
“Do not say, ‘Why is it that the former days were better than these?’ For it is not from wisdom that you ask about this” (Ecclesiastes 7:10).
Longing and lamenting for the “good old’ days” is both an exercise in futility and a flawed understanding of the redemptive and providential purposes of God. What God is accomplishing always lies before us and never behind. Consider some past season of life that tempts you to say, “That’s the way things are suppose to be.” If that be so then why would God continue in his creative endeavor of making all things new? Whatever your longings might be for a by-gone era, it pales in comparison to the future God has in store. Wisdom understands that the road of faith leads to a future that eye has not seen, ear has not heard, nor has entered into the heart of man the things that God has prepared. Wise up…Look ahead!
“I will give You thanks in the great congregation; I will praise You among a might throng” (Psalm 35:18).
A true spirit of thanksgiving and influence prevails when the people of God gather together in worship. Just as a hundred instruments can be brought to one accord by a single tuning fork, the church is drawn together by the common standard of faith in Jesus Christ. As The Maestro, he orchestrates the diversity of instruments within his church to be a symphony of graciousness and hope in a world that hears only hate and despair.
“…considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward” (Hebrews 11:26).
The Divine touch of the heavenly Father upon the human spirit has placed within us a yearning and longing for what this present life cannot possibly offer. It is this long-view of discipleship that enables one to eagerly seek and highly esteem the challenges and hardships that others would avoid and shun. Faith lives with the conviction that the prize at the end is greater than the pain of the moment.
“By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing Him who is unseen” (Hebrews 11:27).
We learn from Moses that faith isn’t so much a map, offering a specific course to a desired destination, as it is a guide for journeying forward. Like the wilderness wanderings that would lead to an eventual Land of Promise, life proves to be no less a nomadic path; filled with anxiety, uncertainty, disappointment, grief, and the most unexpected twists and turns. Faith may not take you on the most direct route, but it is guaranteed to deliver you to the place God would have you to be. We must keep leaving what is behind us if we are to ever experience what God has set before us.
“By faith Moses…choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin” (Hebrews 11:25).
Everyone with whom we interact leaves a brush-stroke on the canvas of our lives. Whether life becomes a masterpiece or just another painting is determined in no small part by those with whom we choose to associate. Thus, like Moses, we must aspire to those relationships that build up, stretch, and challenge us in the walk of faith, instead of muddling through life in the company of those filled with cynicism; who are negative, critical, and see only the worst in others. One kind will encourage you on the way to the Promise Land, while the other will hold you hostage in the quagmire of wilderness wandering.
“By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter” (Hebrews 11:24).
Living by faith is to believe that there is another way to see and interpret life, and to make decisions appropriate to the claims of Christ upon our life. Because we have become a new creation in Christ Jesus; having been given a new identity, faith compels us to leave behind those things that take from, and do not add to, the life we have been called to pursue.
“Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12).
Surprisingly, our greatest vulnerability may well be at the point of our greatest strength. While we pray and offer to the Father those facets of life we know to be weak, and commit these to Him for protection, we keep to ourselves those arenas of life we consider our strength. Satan searches for those platforms where we arrogantly stand alone; knowing that it is in these circumstances he can best bring about our demise. If we are not careful, and prayerful in all things, our supposed place of strength can become the precipice for our fall.
“And He was in the wilderness forty days being tempted by Satan” (Mark 1:13).
To face temptation places you in good company. The implications of being tempted are many. To be tempted means we have a choice as to how we will live our lives. It means I have a choice as to the kind of person I’m going to be. Being tempted affirms our potential and capacity to do great things for God; that Satan is seeking to distract you from the things that God has in store for you. Temptation sets various options before us; one being a way of escape. The choice is yours.
“Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is” (1 John 3:2).
Ours is a destiny beyond anything ever imagined. What you are becoming has never been seen before. It defies genetic make-up, family heritage, present circumstances, and social categorization. All we really know is we will be like our Father.