Do You Have a Light?
�Ye are the light of the world (Matthew 5:16).�
At our recent state evangelism conference Dr. Stephen Olford shared a great message on Matthew 5:16. In order to be the light of the world you must consider the preceding points of Jesus� Sermon on the Mount. In order to be the light of the world to those around us we must:
Live a life of selflessness. �Blessed are the poor in spirit.�
Live a life of brokenness. �Blessed are those who morn.�
Live a life of humbleness. �Blessed are the meek.�
Live a life of emptiness. �Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness.�
Live a life of yieldedness. �Blessed are the merciful.�
Live a life of holiness. �Blessed are the pure in heart.�
Live a life of peacefulness. �Blessed are the peacemakers.�
Live a life of readiness. �Blessed are they which are persecuted.� A readiness to die for the Gospel.
Dr. Olford shared that if we have those eight characteristics we are than a candidate for being a �light of the world.� Where do we start to be that �light.� Dr. Olford said that we should start in our home. It should start with a family time of sharing the Scriptures and prayer.
Jesus has given us a high standard. But we have known all along that real Christianity is not easy. Jesus makes that clear when He tells us to deny ourselves, take up our cross and to follow Him. As hard as the Christian life may sometimes be it is still a much easier yoke than the chains of sin and the benefits are eternal. Let us become the �lights� that we know we ought to be.
Got an Attitude?
�Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice (Philippians 4:4).�
Paul had an attitude! His attitude was one of rejoicing no matter what. When the letter to Philippi was written Paul was under house arrest in Rome knowing that he could very well be executed. In addition, there were those who were trying to add to Paul�s troubles. But Paul was able to rejoice in spite of his circumstances. How? With each difficulty Paul was able to see good coming out of them (Philippians 1:13-18).
Paul could also have joy in spite of people. There were people in the church at Philippi that were causing trouble. There was a false teacher (Philippians 3:1-3) and a division in the church (Philippians 4:1-3). Paul could have joy because he followed the example of Jesus (2:5). Paul said to have an humble spirit (2:3), think about the other person�s situation (Walk a mile in their shoes - 2:4), don�t murmur and complain (2:14).
Paul had joy too in spite of the lack of the things of this world. Before Paul was a Christian he had �arrived� in the Jewish world. He was the �Hebrew of Hebrews� (Philippians 3:4-8). Those things were actually robbing Paul of true joy. Jesus says in Luke 12:15, �... for a man�s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.�
Worry was another problem that could have kept Paul from having joy. In Philippians 4:6-9, Paul tells us how to cope with worry. We cope with worry by praying right (4:6-7). We cope with worry by thinking right (4:8). We not only need to pray right and think right but we also need to live right to be free of worry (4:9).
Got an attitude? I hope it is an attitude like Paul�s!
�And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God (Revelation 21:2-3).�
What will Heaven be like? John attempts to describe his great vision of Heaven in Revelation 21. But human words are insufficient to truly describe the wonder of a place where God Himself is the light of the place. A place with golden streets, a crystal sea, and the tree of life. Early Christians were encouraged by John�s vision of Heaven. We should be encouraged as well knowing that some bright shining day we too who know the Lord as our Savior will be living in the Celestial City of God.
At a recent evangelism conference I was blessed to hear Rick Ousley speak. He is a pastor of a large and growing church in the south. He said when he was about eight years old he once asked his Daddy what Heaven would be like. At the time they were on their way to visit Rick�s grandmother. His Dad told him he would tell him later. Rick said his grandmother�s house was build on a hill with the porch extending out over the hill with supports. Rick would climb underneath of the porch to play.
Later that night Rick asked his Dad again what Heaven would be like. His Dad took him outside and asked Rick what it was like underneath the porch where he liked to play. He also asked him what the floorboards of the porch looked liked from underneath. Rick said he described how the floorboards were all dirty with nails sticking through. There were dead bugs, spider webs, and it really looked bad. It was a beautiful night with sky filled with stars. Rick said his dad pointed up to all the sky and said, �Son, I really don�t know what Heaven will be like but up there are the bottom of Heaven�s floorboards, and it just gets better from there.�
The Old Ways
�Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore they shall fall among them that fall: at the time that I visit them they shall be cast down, saith the LORD. Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. but they said, We will not walk therein (Jeremiah 6:15-16).�
What is wrong with our country? What is wrong with our world? I believe the immorality that we are seeing that is so abundant everywhere is a result of being on the wrong path. Somewhere along the way we have gotten off course. When I was growing up I was in a nominally Christian family. But I have learned I have ancestors who were very devoted to the Lord.
Somewhere along the way the children of the devout have gotten off course and it has impacted their children and their children�s children and on and on. It will continue to have a negative impact upon our lives, unless, we do what? Unless we �Stand in the ways.� Stop going down the wrong path. �Ask for the old paths.� Ask the Lord to help us to find the right path for our lives and to give us the power to live godly lives as many of our ancestors once did.
�Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? and then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity (Matthew 7:21-23).�
Several years ago I had gotten a call and was on my way to visit someone in the hospital in Oklahoma City. I was in a hurry and picked up my check book planning to go by the bank on my way. Thirty miles later I was at the bank with my check book in hand. But when I opened it I discovered there were not any checks inside. Since I was in a hurry I decided to go by my parent�s home which was a few more miles down the road and borrow some cash from them. All worked out well but it still was a shock to discover I had forgotten something important to me.
Some day many will stand before the God and He will tell them that He never knew them. Why? Because they had forgotten something or maybe they never knew. Jesus says in John 14:6, �I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.� Jesus is the way to eternal life. But sadly many think they have eternal life through other things. Some think that they have eternal life because of their church membership. Some think that they have eternal life because of their baptism. Some think that they have eternal life because of their good works (Check out Ephesians 2:8-9). Some think that they have eternal life because they have performed miracles, cast out demons, or prophesied in the Name of Jesus. But Jesus will say to them, �I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.�
Let us not forget that it is only through Jesus that we can have eternal life. Jesus is the only �way.�
A Gift From God
�House and riches are the inheritance of fathers: and a prudent wife is from the LORD (Proverbs 19:14).�
�Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD (Proverbs 18:22).�
Tomorrow is my 29th wedding anniversary. The first two times that I saw my wife I had no idea we would spend much of our lives together. The first time I saw her we were still in high school and she was having her first and only accident. She scraped into someone�s new car at a Sonic drive-in. It attracted quite a bit of attention. The second time I saw my future wife I was in college and on a date. My date saw Jeanie and a friend walking and insisted that we give them a ride. A year later I was at a friend�s uncle�s house and Jeanie was there. Strangely enough the first thought that came to me was that she would be a good wife. By our third date we had already mentioned marriage and in less than eight months we were married.
Jeanie has always been more than faithful. She has been an example to follow. She has been a faithful witness. Through her testimony I came to know the Lord as my Savior. She has been that example and witness as well to our sons and to all she comes into contact with. I can only say that she was a gift from God. She is described accurately in Proverbs 31:10 through the end of the chapter (Selected verses):
�Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far
The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.
She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.
She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and her portion to her maidens.
She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.
She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.
She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.
She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.
She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.
Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.
Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.
She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.
She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.
Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.
Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.
Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.
He�s On His Way
�Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father�s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself: that where I am, there ye may be also (John 14:1-3).�
Growing up on a farm it was rare to be able to go to town and visit my friends except during school. One of those rare days arrived during the summer when I was ten years old. My Dad was taking the tractor and mower to the big town of Canute, Oklahoma (Population about 500.) to help clean up the empty lots. I was allowed to take my bicycle along and spend the day having fun with my friends.
When the time came to go home I asked my parents if I could ride my bike home. It was four and a half miles to our farm. They agreed and they would be coming along later. The first mile went fine but I had to walk up Turkey Creek Hill and then I noticed both my tires were nearly flat. By the time I had pushed the bike another mile I was hot, tired, and crying. That was when my parents drove up. They could see I was upset and my Dad said, �Didn�t you know we would be coming?� While I had given up my parents were on their way to pick me up.
Sometimes, most of the time, when bad things happen we become impatient. All we can see is what is going on in our lives right then. All we can feel is the pain we feel then. What God would want you to know is this: He�s still there, He�s still God, He still loves you. He�s on His way to pick you up.
Had a Bad Day?
�Casting all your care upon Him; for he careth for you (1 Peter 5:7).�
Have you heard the one about the deacon who was run over by a hit and run driver? Upon the police officer�s arrival he asked the man if he had gotten the tag number of the car that hit him. The man told the officer that he didn�t need the tag number because he would recognize his pastor�s laugh anywhere! We�ve probably never been run over by our pastor (At least physically!) but we have had days when we have felt like a truck has run over us.
When I was working in the oilfield it seemed I had those kinds of days on a frequent basis. The oilfield is much like the army in that if there is something to be done nothing is going to stop it. It doesn�t matter how cold, hot, or wet it gets the work has to be done.
It was one of those days I woke up to many years ago to see that an ice storm had come in the night. I had a job to do 250 miles away. I was driving a small semi truck and my crew was behind me in another vehicle. The highway was frozen with ice the entire way but we drove slow and carefully. The further we went the thicker the ice became. We made it fine until we turned off of the main highway to go to the rig location. Then as I was almost to the top of a hill I started sliding backwards. Backing a truck picking up speed on ice is somewhat difficult and half way down the hill the truck jack knifed coming to a stop.
We were okay and there seemed to be little damage to the truck. We went to a farm house and called for a wrecker. With the wrecker we were able to slowly pull the truck up the hill but it took several hours. Finally we decided that it would be just too dangerous and difficult to go any further. I called into to my company expecting to have to argue with them about not continuing. But to my surprise they told me they had been waiting for me to call all day. Because they were going to tell me just to park the truck and come back home!! From the jack knifing of the truck and falling on the ice many times I pulled a muscle in my back which took some time to recover from. It had been a bad day.
When we have those bad days how do we make it through them? How do we recover from them? Our Lord is the One who sustains me. I cast my cares, my worries, my problems upon Him and He carries the burdens that would have broken me.
Ever have doubts?
�Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4).�
Ever have doubts about whether God really loves you or if you even really know Him? Are you really His child? I remember a day twenty something years ago when I spent several hours in prayer. I was praying and reading the book of 1st John. John says at the beginning of the book, �And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.� After those hours in prayer I have never doubted my salvation. I know that I know that I know I am a child of God.
Not only do we have doubts sometimes about our salvation but sometimes we doubt God�s love for us. D. L. Moody tells of a paralyzed man he once met in Scotland. The man had been paralyzed since he was 15 years old but Moody thought he was the happiest man he had ever met even though the man had been paralyzed forty years. The paralyzed man admitted to Moody that sometimes he was tempted by satan when he would see people he went to school with walk by in perfect health.
Moody asked the man what he did when he was tempted by satan. The paralyzed man told him that he took satan to the cross where his Lord had been crucified. He would point out to satan the wounds in his Lord�s hands, feet, and side. Then he told satan that his Lord loves him and satan leaves him every time. Sometimes we need to remind our enemy and ourselves of our Lord�s great love for us.
You can have Joy!
�Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore (Psalm 16:11).�
Depression can be very devastating. My mother has had a lifetime struggle with depression. While I was a teenager she was in and out of hospitals. She had so many shock treatments that I lost track of the times. It seems to be inherited. My sister has been hospitalized for depression, as has my uncle and his two daughters. My grandmother also had a problem with depression. I have had my own struggles at times.
My greatest relief from depression has come from the Lord. Through prayer I have found peace beyond understanding. Through the reading of God�s Word and memorizing God�s Word I have found strength to keep moving forward when it didn�t seem possible. In His presence I have found joy. At His right hand I have found relief from torment that would have otherwise destroyed my life.
Is your life empty of happiness? Try this prescription: Seek the Lord with all your heart, mind, and soul. As you pursue God you will find that out of that pursuit will come a �fullness of joy.�
Out of the Darkness
�And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).�
Out of the darkness can come what? Good. If, if we love God and are the called according to His purpose.
Out of the darkness of the flood came the Rainbow. In the darkness Joseph was sold into slavery, falsely accused and throne into prison. But out of the darkness came God�s provision to save his family and the lives of countless others. Out of the darkness of a whale�s belly came repentance for Jonah and salvation for hundreds of thousands of Ninevites.
Out of the darkness of John Newton�s life as a slave trader came a preacher, a hymn writer, and a relentless crusade to end the slave trade. Out of the darkness we hear, �Amazing Grace! How sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me! I once was lost, but now am found, was blind, but now I see.�
Out of the physical darkness of Fanny J. Crosby�s life came such great hymns as, �Jesus keep me near the cross.� �Near the cross, a trembling soul, Love and mercy found me; There the Bright and Morning Star shed His beams around me.�
Out of the darkness of the crucifixion of our Lord came �He is not here: for he has risen (Matthew 28:6).� Out of the darkness of death came the resurrection. Out of death came life! Out of the darkness comes what? Out of the darkness comes life. Out of the darkness comes the dawn for those who love God and are the called according to His purpose.
Do You Attend Church?
�And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching (Hebrews 10:24-25).�
Church attendance has not always been a priority in my life. I had many excuses as to why I didn�t attend. I liked to sleep in on Sunday. Sometimes Sunday was my only day off. Sometimes I was working on Sunday. Sunday was a day I could have some quality time with my family. You�ve heard it all before and we continue to hear the same excuses today.
I�m not sure how God was able to get my attention. But finally I came to a place in my life that I needed God. If I needed God then church must be included in the equation because church is God�s idea. I made a commitment that I was going to be in church for every service unless I was providentially hindered. In other words I no longer waited until Sunday morning to make the decision as to whether or not we were going to church. We were going to church unless something very major stopped us from going. I�ve never, ever, regretted that decision.
I�ve always felt like I have benefited from attending church. Recently there was a study published (In the newspaper on December 10, 1998) revealing that people who attend church regularly have a longer life expectancy. The life expectancy at the age of twenty for those who regularly attend church was found to be 60.1 more years (Live to the age of 80.). This is compared to those who didn�t attend church who at the age of twenty had a life expectancy of 46.4 more years (Live to the age of 66.). There it is in black and white. Church is good for you! God is good for you! We have the evidence.
If You Ask...
�Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done. And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive (Matthew 21:21-22).�
I no longer remember their names but I remember their story. I remember their testimony of faith. It has been thirteen years or more now but I remember when a new client and his wife reported for intake while I was a parole officer. They were so happy! That in itself was unusual in my business. They were so excited they couldn�t keep from sharing what God had done for them.
It seems the husband had been sitting in the county jail for some time awaiting trial. Meanwhile things were growing more and more desperate for his wife and three little kids. The electricity was turned off. They has used all their money and almost all their food. That was when they began to pray. The husband by himself praying to receive Christ as His Savior. Praying for God to somehow release him from jail and help his family. His wife was praying as well.
It seemed hopeless the trial date was weeks away but suddenly they came for him and during a brief hearing bail was reduced. He was released. Meanwhile a neighbor had found out about my client�s family. The electricity was turned back on and food was provided for them. Their lives were forever changed. They knew that only God could have done what had happened in their lives. They knew it was because they had asked. Because they asked their mountain had been moved and cast into the sea.
Have you asked?
�And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment (Philippians 1:9).�
Charles Dicken�s in his �Child�s History of England� tells of the romance of Thomas a Becket�s parents. Gilbert Becket was a London merchant in the 11th century. While on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, he was taken prisoner by a Saracen lord who had a beautiful daughter. The girl fell in love with Gilbert and expressed a desire to become a Christian, escape with him, and become his wife. Gilbert seemed to return her love until he found a chance to escape with Richard, his servant.
Once he was back in England, Gilbert�s love for the beautiful Saracen maid began to grow dim until he all but forgot about her. But while his love was decreasing, her love was increasing. She left her father�s home in disguise to follow Gilbert and made her way to the coast. Gilbert had taught her two English words, �London� and �Gilbert.� She went from ship to ship saying over and over the name of the city where she so desperately wanted to go. She found a ship going to London and with some of her jewels paid for her passage. She soon arrived in London.
As Gilbert was sitting in his office one day his servant, Richard, came running in saying, �The Saracen lady! As I live, she is going up and down calling out, �Gilbert! Gilbert!�� Gilbert went out and found her in the crowds. When she saw him she fainted in his arms. Soon afterwards they were married.
Distance can sometimes destroy a love affair. But true love will overcome whatever the obstacle. Do we have a true love for our Lord? A love that is increasing day by day? We should pray as Paul prayed for the Philippians that our �love may abound yet more and more....�
�And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment (Hebrews 9:27).�
Just looking at the exterior of those around us it would appear that they have little concern about what will happen when they die. By the way many are living their lives it would appear they could care less about what comes after life. Because of that it is difficult for many of us to witness to the apparently unconcerned. We know that the lost have been deceived but could it be that the saved are being deceived as well?
Before you pass up your next opportunity to witness to someone there is something you need to know. In a poll conducted for the Time Mirror Company in 1993 it was found, �More than four out of every five Americans agree that we all will be called before God at Judgment Day to answer for our sins.� What does this mean? It means that those around us are much more open to hearing about the Gospel than we have thought. It means that we should be more aggressive in sharing the Gospel with others. It means that more can be saved if someone shares with them the truth of eternity.
Are you the someone?
Care for the Temple
�Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are (1 Corinthians 3:16).�
When I was twelve years old I had a weight problem. The problem was I only weighed about 100 pounds. When I was eighteen I only weighed around 120 pounds and I was six feet tall. Somewhere along the way one of my New Year�s resolutions became that I was going to gain weight. But it didn�t seem to matter how much I ate I didn�t gain any weight. But over the years that has changed and how it has changed! Now whenever I eat almost anything it immediately shows up as pounds gained.
Having the appropriate weight is just one of the aspects of taking proper care of our bodies. We know what we need to do. We need to reduce our intake of calories. We need to eat more fruits and vegetables. We need to be exercising on a regular basis. Even a small amount of exercise appears to have health benefits. In the newspaper this morning there was an article about how people who fidget gained less weight than those who did not.
The Temple was a holy place where nothing unclean would be allowed. If the proper procedures were not followed the priests knew they ran the risk of God striking them dead. The cleanliness of the Temple and the care of the Temple was a deadly serious business. It should not be any less for us. We know that a good diet and proper exercise will reduce the probability and even prevent the occurrence of some diseases. In addition we will reap a harvest of other benefits. We will have a higher sense of well being. We will have more energy. Depression and even headaches will be less of a problem.
In addition to the physical there is a spiritual side of taking care of the Temple. We need the proper spiritual nourishment. �Man does not live by bread alone....� We need an intake of the Word of God every day. We need to have communication with our Lord on a continuing basis. We need to continue to assemble together so that we can be �provoked unto love and good works.�
As we know from trying to keep past resolutions it is highly unlikely that we can do all of this on our own. The truth is we can�t. But God can. We �can do all things through Christ.� We must include God in whatever program or plan we have for taking care of the Temple if it is to be successful in the long run.
Let us resolve together to get started on taking better care of the Temple this year!
One Year To Live?
�In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came unto him, and said unto him, Thus saith the Lord, Set thine house in order: for thou shalt die, and not live (Isaiah 38:1).�
What if? What if God said to us that you only have one year to live. What if we knew because of disease that we had at the most one year to live? Would we live our lives any differently than we have been living it? I have no doubt that I would be a more committed and courageous person having a time limit on life.
If we knew we only had one year to live, wouldn�t we be in deeper communication with our Lord than ever before? Wouldn�t we spend more time in prayer, reading the Bible, and be more faithful in attending church? I believe I would be.
If we knew we only had one year to live, wouldn�t we live our lives in such a way that others would see Jesus when they looked at our lives? Wouldn�t we be better stewards of the material things that God has blessed us with? Wouldn�t we be telling others about how to have salvation?
Last Sunday morning I shared a message much like the one above with my church family. I then asked them to make a private commitment between themselves and God. Commitment cards were passed out to facilitate making those commitments. I want to give you that opportunity as well:
A �One Year To Live� kind of commitment during 1999!
I commit myself to: (Check those you agree to do.)
Give my life completely to the Lord ____
Spend more time with God ____
Serve others in such a way that they might see Jesus ____
Be a better steward of the things God has blessed me with ____
To dare to share with others the Good News of Jesus Christ ____
Prayer of Commitment: �Dear Heavenly Father, please show me, reveal to me exactly how You want these commitments to be fulfilled in my heart and life. Please empower me and enable me to be obedient to you and to fulfill these commitments. In Jesus Name I ask. Amen.�
Follow the Voice
1 Kings 19:12, 13b: �And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. ...And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?�
In 1982 I had a small oilfield business which was doing very well. Life was good at least materially. But God seemed to be speaking to me. In July of 1982 I knew that I wasn�t where God wanted me to be but how could I give up a business that was doing so well and a nice home and everything? By November of 1982 oilfield activity had taken a nose-dive and my business didn�t have any work. I thought it would change. December was the same and by the middle of January I knew I needed to find a job.
Some companies still had work. One of the companies I had worked for previously in the oilfield still had business. But I didn�t want to go back to work for them. God seemed to have other ideas and one weekend He was speaking to me about the need to go see the owner and ask for a job. So I swallowed some pride and went to see my former boss. He said that he had just placed and ad in the newspaper and that he needed me. It seems God had been working on him as well.
I worked there for a few months until their lack of business forced them to layoff most of their employees. By then I knew something else was needed. I went back to college and worked part-time. We sold our house after much prayer and God led us through each problem step by step. It looked as though it would be impossible for us to survive financially but the Voice kept leading. The still, small voice kept speaking and we were listening.
Are you listening?
Are You Prepared?
�But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works (2 Timothy 3:14-17).�
Are you prepared for 1999? This is a good time to ask ourselves, if, we are at the point spiritually, physically and emotionally that God would have us to be. If we find we are not properly prepared, what action are we going to take to become prepared to face life, to be prepared for what lays ahead this year?
Before we consider how to be prepared let us consider why we are not prepared. We do have enemies: the world, the flesh, and the devil. The first reason for lack of preparedness is satan deceives us with other goals in life which take priority over God�s work. The second reason is that satan lures us into complacency. We become satisfied with less than God�s desire for our lives. We settle for being babies in Christ instead growing to maturity. We just go through the motions of Christianity. The third reason is through accepting false teachings. The fourth reason is that sometimes our vision is destroyed by our past accomplishments. One victory does not win a war and no matter how many spiritual accomplishments have occurred in an individual�s life or in a church in the past - the work is not finished.
To be prepared we need to avoid the pitfalls but we must do more than dodge the bullets and traps. We need to continue. Continue just as Paul urged Timothy. Continue on in the reading, study, meditation upon, memorization of the Holy Scriptures. Because the Scriptures will make us �be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.� In other words the Bible will prepare us, furnish us for what lies ahead.
"Power for a New Year"
"But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name (John 1:12)."
I noticed something new hanging on the wall in my parent's living room a couple of years ago. It was a small poster which said in bright letters, "God Hath Power To Help." It looked like it was quite old and so I asked my mother where it had come from. She said it was my grandmother's. Seeing that poster has made me realize that my grandparents must have faced challenges beyond their own strength just as I have. Whenever I see that poster now it brings a warm feeling to me to know that my grandparents relied, just as I do, upon the power of God.
It is God's will for us to have the power to meet the challenges of life. Not only to meet them but to conquer them! We have available power to be the sons and daughters of God. Paul says in Romans 8:37, "...in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us." Now that is super empowerment when we consider that God is the Creator of everything and the sustainer of all life. What is there that is too tough for God? Nothing!
Ahead of us stretches a new year and soon a new millennium. Many challenges, dangers, and toils await. Some face financial problems. Some face health problems, family problems, job problems, and many other situations. Whatever it is, God still Hath Power To Help.
Copyright 1999. Ed Wrather. All rights reserved. Permission is granted for use of this material on a non-profit basis with source noted.