It Is Getting Late

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Someone once humorously said, “It’s later than we think and most of us aren’t thinking.” How true that statement is for those realizing the days we live in.  Many people and sadly many Christians are living day to day like life will never end.  However, we are living closer today to the end of it all than we have ever been before.  Jesus left us with this promise: “Surely I am coming quickly” (Rev. 22:20 NKJV). Isn’t that an amazing statement by our Lord?  The last recorded message of Jesus to us in the New Testament is that he is coming soon.  At any moment, He is going to step out and call us home.  Oh, what a day that will be!  Yet, why is it that we live day in and day out like He is never going to come? I believe the answer is that we allow ourselves to become distracted.  We are distracted with the worries and cares and trinkets that occupy our attention.  What we need, though, is to fix our hearts to the times we live in.  It is drawing very late and we are running out of time to do the Lord’s service.  Let us each get busy about our Master’s work for tomorrow may be too late!

You Don’t Have To Know All The Answers

1491730It’s been said, “You may not know all the answers, but you probably won’t be asked all the questions either.”  How many times have we abstained from speaking for fear we didn’t know all the answers? How many times have we hidden our faith in Jesus, for fear that someone will ask us something we don’t know.  Many times we have abstained from witnessing because we were afraid someone would ask us something to hard. Yet how foolish are we acting when we let fear rule our decisions and hide our true identity in Christ.  It takes faith to speak up, but for the Christian, we have the resource for the answers living in side us.  Jesus warned His disciples that they would face times that would causes them to have hard and life threatening conversations, but the Lord gave them this encouragement: “At that time the Holy Spirit will teach you what you must say.” – Luke 12:12 GW.  I believe that the Holy Spirit still works to help us in our times of need.  Remember, you may not have all the answers, but the One who does lives inside you.  So, let’s speak up in faith and leave the results up to God.

Give God The Molehills

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I ran across a quote the other day that made me laugh and think at the same time: “Ulcers are the result of mountain climbing over molehills.”  How true is that? We all have a tendency to  worry, over think, and over react to problems we face day in and day out. Yet all of the time wasted stressing over whatever conflict we are facing in the end does us more harm than good.  Paul, who was in prison at the time, calls us out for such worries:“Don’t be anxious about anything; rather, bring up all of your requests to God in your prayers and petitions, along with giving thanks. Then the peace of God that exceeds all understanding will keep your hearts and minds safe in Christ Jesus. ” – Philippians 4:6-7 CEB.  Instead of worrying over challenges in life, what we need to do it give our problems to God through prayer and then lay them down. Move on and trust that God has got us covered. This is the key, allow God to turn what would cause ulcers into daily triumphs of faith. What I keep having to remind myself daily is simply this one truth, “God’s got this.” It is true for me and I know that if you trust Him it will be true for you.

Freedom In The Un-Forbidden

freedom-1526302Someone jokingly said, “Freedom is being able to do what you please without considering anyone except your wife, the police, boss, life insurance company, State, Federal, and city authorities – and the neighbors.” While that it is a little funny, there is some truth to it when it comes to Christian freedoms or liberties.  We know from the teachings of the New Testament that we are free from sin and free from the curse of the Law of Moses.  However, there is another area in which Christians enjoy freedom and that is in the areas of the “un-forbidden.”  If certain choices, activities, or practices are not forbidden in Scripture, then we are free to do them.  Yet the apostle Paul would argue that we are limitedly free in this area.  You see not everyone agrees or thinks the same way about these “un-forbidden” activities.  Some Christians hold strong convictions against certain practices, while other Christians see no problem with partaking in them.  So who is right and who is wrong? Only those who go to seed in legalism or liberalism.  We must use caution when stepping into the gray areas of life.  Some Christians will condemn others who do the “un-forbidden”, while at the same time other Christians will condemn others who speak out about such activities. Instead we must heed the words of Paul when he says; “So let’s stop condemning each other. Decide instead to live in such a way that you will not cause another believer to stumble and fall.” – Romans 14:13 NLT.  We must each grow in our faith to a point where we would rather abstain from liberty in order not to hinder someone else’s faith in the Lord.  If you are convicted about a certain “un-forbidden” activity, don’t make it a practice of calling out other Christians who don’t have a problem with it.  At the same time, if you enjoy an activity that is “un-forbidden”, but you are with Christians who have a problem with it, it is your duty in Christ to abstain from it in their presence.  Again heed the words of Paul over the matter; “It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything else if it might cause another believer to stumble.” – Roman 14:21 NLT.  So enjoy your freedom, but be mindful of how you use it.

Jesus Is Worth The Risk

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It’s been said, “There are a great many more trap doors to failure than there are short cuts to success.  In other words “success” involves risk.  This principle is true in business, relationships, and in many other areas of life.  However, this principle is true in serving Jesus as well.  If you are a Christian, you have been called to lay down your life to follow Christ.  We aren’t called to just simply believe and then carry on about life our own merry way.  We are told that we must daily die to our desires and do what Jesus tells us to do.  When you stop to think about it, from a worldly perspective, that is risky.  You see Jesus tells us that we must not hide our light, but live openly as Christians.  The risk is that open light could lead to open ridicule and hardships.  Jesus also tells us that we are to live honestly in public and in private.  The risk is that it is easier and in some circumstances more profitable to be dishonest.  Thus, to be honest would mean we would face uncomfortable confrontations and we may not presumably gain as much.  Jesus tells us that we are to go and make disciples, hence share the loving truth of Jesus to others.  The risk is that we might lose friendships or be labeled a freak.  With all honesty, yes these risks may occur, but dear friend, isn’t Jesus worth it? After all Jesus told us it would be this way, but He did so with an awesome promise: “God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven.” – Matthew 5:11-12a NLT.  Yes following Jesus is risky, but the payoff is certain and far greater!

Slander Isn’t Worth It

outraged-1315933I read a very humbling statement the other day that said, “If you must publish someone’s faults, publish your own.”  Slandering people is common practice in the day we live in.  It is easy and even satisfying when we are speaking evil about those who have wronged us. However, slander is very dangerous. It has split churches, crushed marriages, broken friendships, and ruined reputations. Slander is a sin and it has no place in the Christian’s life.  Actually we are told to get rid of all such activities, “Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. ” – 1 Peter 2:1 NIV.  Interestingly enough the name “devil” means slanderer.  Thus when we practice slandering we are following the ways of the devil. May we strive not to speak as Satan does, but be followers of Jesus even when we are talking about people who have hurt us.

What Will You Be Remembered For?

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It’s been said, “Fame is chiefly a matter of dying at the right time.”  Think about that for a moment.  How many people are famous more because of their death, then because of their life? Think about how throughout history those whose lives were cut short seem to shine a little brighter.  So, what is the point?  Life is unpredictable. You cannot control how long you live, nor can you stop the hand of death.  What you can control is what people will remember you for.  If you were to die today, how would you be remembered?  Would you be remembered as a person of faith and a faithful follower of Christ? Or would you be remembered for selfish actions and foolish decisions?  Don’t live in a delusion that you can always start living for Christ tomorrow.  You have no certainty tomorrow will come.  A true Christian realizes that we are to daily live for God. Listen to the words of Jesus, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow me. – Luke 9:23 NLT.  So don’t delay any more, get in step with Jesus today!

It Matters How You Live

sightseer-1426625It’s been wisely said, “So live that when people speak evil of you, no one will believe it.” Over the years I have observed two extremes in Christian teaching.  There is a camp that crosses the line into legalism, harping on people’s lifestyles and conduct.  Then there is the other camp that chooses to ignore personal behavior, giving license for people act in anyway desired under the guise of grace.  Of these two “Christian” camps the latter group seems to be gaining ground in the church today. In many cases I believe it is unintentional, but the lack to condemn or condone has blurred the lines for biblical morality.  Yet such blurring does not absolve the believer from following the teachings of Scripture.  How we Christians live and behave is of the upmost importance. Listen to the words of Jesus; “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples” – John 8:31b ESV.  Thus if we truly are the followers of Jesus, then we must remain consistent to His teachings.  Therefore, out of a love for the Lord we will flee that which is evil and cling to that which is holy. So it really does matter what people see when they observe the way we live. May we strive to live above reproach, because truth be told, people are looking and they are talking. What are they saying about you?

It Is Time To Be Kind

helping-the-elderly-1437135Someone once mused, “If a person is killed by kindness, the chances are it should come under the heading of accidental death.”  It is fair to say that we are becoming a ruder society than ever before. With the dawning of social media ugly behavior has become repent, but sadly this is spilling into everyday life.  If you travel around our home of Kentucky or even further south you will notice that even “southern graces” are slipping.  What’s even sadder than that is the behavior of Christians, even in church.  One of the key reasons we have drifted to the ugly side of living is that we have become a very selfish people. We have been engineered to be instantaneously self gratified.  Thus when we aren’t the center of attention we act out rudely.  However, this should not be the norm.  Christians are supposed to be characterized by kindness towards everyone, not just those we agree with.  Listen to the words of Paul; “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” – Ephesians 4:32 ESV.  So as you strive to live for Christ, make a daily choice to be kind and caring to those around you.  After all, we never have deserved the loving-kindness God has shown to us.

People Near And Far

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A wise man once said, “You can judge a man by his enemies as well as by his friends.”  Over the years I have slowly learned this to be true.  It is amazing how much other people rub off on us, but also it’s amazing how much our friends and our enemies are a reflection of our own character. There is a lesson for each of us to be learned here; we must be choosy with whom we draw close to and with whom we keep at a safe distance. The Bible has plenty of warnings about being cautious with whom we connect to. For instance we are told; “Be not deceived: Evil companionships corrupt good morals.” – 1 Corinthians 15:33 ASV.  Thus, if we buddy up with people who live ungodly, we will begin to live ungodly as well.  On the flip side of that if we shun people who strive to openly follow Christ that may be an indication that we don’t truly have a sincere relationship with Jesus ourselves. This is why John warns: “If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a fellow believer, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see?” – 1 John 4:20 NLT.  So be careful who you let in and who you push away.  It may be that the very people you need most are not the ones you are close with.