Saturday, November 02, 2019

The Opportunity of a Lifetime

Don’t allow your feelings, finances, or friendships to steer you away from the will of God. Those are all important things, but don’t let these things take the lead and keep you from following Jesus as the central aim of your life. Don’t let a dream situation, a dream job, or a dream relationship become the thing you pursue to the detriment or denial of your faith. Any dream that requires you to venture outside the will of God is a nightmare.
Of course, people will try and justify their actions by thinking about the good that they might be able to do because of the action. But to do this is to simply justify the action after the fact, when the action itself is wrong in the first place. You might tell yourself or others, “Well, if I do this then we can do this or this”, but you can’t do wrong to get a chance to do right. And you can’t put good things as the reason for denying God things. That is idolatry.   
Speaking of idolatry, think about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (Daniel 3:13-18). King Nebuchadnezzar told these young men that he would spare their lives if they bowed down to his golden statue. They said no. How could they deny God in such a way?
But now imagine if Nebuchadnezzar went further, and told them that he would release all Israel from captivity if they just bowed down to his idol. What an opportunity! They would be heroes! Surely, God would be pleased. Surely, he wanted his people set free. Surely, this must be his will. But their answer would still have been no.
Think about Jesus with Satan on top of the mountain (Matthew 4:8-10). The Devil said he would give Jesus the whole world if he would just bow down to him. But Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’” 
Lady Folly tells you to gratify your desires (Proverbs 7:18). But Lady Wisdom says nothing you desire can compare with her (Proverbs 3:15). Don’t be a fool. Mark 8:36 – For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? 
To follow Jesus despite potential loss is the opportunity of a lifetime. It shows the world his worth to you.   

Friday, August 30, 2019

Let the Healing Start with You

Today, someone destroyed our mailbox at the church. They tore the big box completely off its wooden plank, busting up the wood, which was bolted down on top of a concrete base. It would have taken quite a bit of work to do that. It would have to be done by hand. It couldn’t have just been a car hitting it by accident. And so, it was obviously on purpose.
Now why did someone take the time to do that? I guess they were just relieving some stress. Maybe it was personal or church related. I don’t know. I told my wife about it, and she and I agreed it was just a petty aggravation. Of course, it was frustrating to me. Someone was spreading their own petty aggravation to me and it gave me petty aggravation. It would take some time and money to fix. And considering my lack of skills, I’d have to get someone else to do it. What a bother! As if didn’t have enough to concern myself with already.
It was as if someone knew just what button to push at just the right time. Because I was already dealing with some very frustrating things this week. But somehow it really ministered to me. Instead of figuring out who did it and why and making them “pay for it”, or making some big deal out of it that would ruin my attitude, my day, or my weekend, I asked the Lord about it. And I talked to my fellow elders about it. They said it was the other person’s problem, not ours. And fortunately, we live in a land of plentiful mailboxes.
And then the godly thought hit me. Someone was spreading their own petty aggravation to me and it gave me petty aggravation. But would I take that petty aggravation and try to put it on someone else? Would I spread it out, or stop it from spreading? Would I make the world a more hurting and hurtful place? Or would I let the healing start with me?
The lesson is this: Next time someone says something hurtful, personal, spiteful, grumbling, gossip, complaining, bitter, etc., on social media, or when someone anonymously spreads their anger, aggravation, bitterness, stress, etc., out to your world, instead of spreading it out even more, why not let the healing start with you?
Living For Today With An Eye For Tomorrow”©