Someone wisely observed, “God will never let anything come your way that you and He can’t handle.” What makes this a wise statement is the phrase “and He.” Too many times people will claim that God won’t bring anything into your life that you can’t handle, but that simply isn’t true. There are many things that happen to us in this life that we would not be able to overcome them, except for the grace of God. Thus, I believe there are times that God allows some pretty big and tough situations to come our way because He knows we can’t handle it. Those specific circumstances are designed to point us up back to Him. Why would God do that? Because many times we become independent in our own eyes and we forget that we desperately need God in everything we do. So yes, I do believe that you can handle anything that comes your way, but only if God is with you as you go through it.
Someone once said, “A highbrow is one who is educated beyond his intelligence.” Too many people in the world have a very warped perception of themselves. Yes, there are those who have a very poor opinion of who they are, but this is not healthy nor is it the social norm. However, I believe there are far more people who think too highly of themselves then they should. This is a trait that is unbecoming and it too is very unhealthy, especially for the Christian. The Apostle Paul gave us a very helpful warning on this when he wrote, “Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.” – Romans 12:3b NLT. You see no amount of education or social status matters in the eyes of Christ. We are each equally guilty of sin and each Christian has come to faith only by the Grace of God. So the next time we are tempted to exercise the “highbrow”, we need to remember we are not as great as we might think
It’s been said, “If hard work is the key to success, many people would rather pick the lock.” There truly a correlation between hard work and success. This same principle can be found in Scripture as well. “All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.” – Proverbs 14:23 (NIV). Therefore, if we want success at work, at home, or even at church, it will require hard work on our part. Too many times people want to talk about how good it would be to have success, but they are unwilling to work for it. Yet, that is no way to live. God has given us great opportunities, we must be committed to doing what ever it takes to achieve great success.
Someone once said, “When all the affairs of life are said and done, there is more said than done.” At the end of it all, what we achieve is far more important than what we dream. Good intentions are fine, but proven results are what makes a difference and what lasts. Yes, failure to plan is foolish, but only planning is even worse. This applies to all areas of our lives; our private lives, our professional lives, and our spiritual lives. Too many times we hear a message from God’s word and we think, “I ought to put that into practice.” Sadly, however, that is as far as we get to accomplishing God’s word in our lives. We must take up the charge from James when he tells us, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” – James 1:22 ESV. So don’t be deceived by just thinking about doing good things with your life, get busy doing it!
It’s been said, “It’s never the fall that injures; it’s the sudden stop.” While that is obviously true in the physical life, it is also true in the spiritual life as well. Many times we don’t realize we are falling into temptation and poor choices until it is already harmfully too late. In our present culture, society seems to salivate over the juicy stories of people, particularly Christians, who find themselves injured after a sudden stop with sin. The natural reaction from the world is to point fingers, judge, and ridicule. Yet this is not the ways of our great God. Yes, sin does disappoint and break the heart of God, but like any loving father, our God is there to pick us back up. He wants to lovingly dust off our dirty past and heal our brokenness. While we are prone to run and hide from God when we fall, what we must really do is humbly seek His love and forgiveness. Yes, we may bear scars for the rest of our lives from our sinful actions, but by God amazing grace, He can even use our broken past for His glory. So if you have found yourself in the middle of a sudden stop, let God pick you back up.
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!
It’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.
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.
Someone 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.
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!