Our Heavenly Rewards

“When the master comes and finds the servant doing his work, the servant will be blessed.”
MATTHEW 24:46

[The stadium] is packed today. Since Friday, [Mark] McGwire has hit not one or two home runs, but three. For thirty-seven years, no one could hit more than sixty-one homers in one season; now the St. Louis slugger has hit sixty-eight. And he isn’t finished … The fans are on their feet before he comes to bat; they stay on their feet long after he crosses the plate …

Not everyone can be a Mark McGwire. For every million who aspire, only one achieves. The vast majority of us don’t hit the big ball, don’t feel the ticker tape, don’t wear the gold medal, don’t give the valedictory address.

And that’s OK. We understand that in the economy of earth, there are a limited number of crowns. The economy of heaven, however, is refreshingly different. Heavenly rewards are not limited to a chosen few, but “to all those who have waited with love for him to come again” (2 Timothy 4:8).

from WHEN CHRIST COMES

Surviving Our Present Culture

Hebrews 5:12-14

If we desire to survive our present culture, then the inspired, infallible Word of God must have a central place in our daily life. Through the Bible, God speaks to us about His truths and the world’s lies.

To know if we have fallen victim to falsehood, we need to take an honest look at whether we are committed Christ-followers or worldly believers. Worldly Christians may have strong convictions about following the Lord but often find themselves compromising those principles. A weak understanding of God’s character and instructions will result in self-focused lives and susceptibility to the culture’s influences (Eph. 4:14). Worldliness is revealed in long-term inconsistency with regard to the Christian walk and in a focus on things that give pleasure or comfort. Minimal involvement in the local church also prevents growth in spiritual maturity.

Do you recognize yourself in any part of this description? If so, be encouraged. Scripture stands as a beacon to guide us safely through cultural perils so we can become committed Christ-followers. The Bible and the Holy Spirit’s work will increasingly cause our lives to reflect God’s standard. Applying Scripture to our attitudes and actions will result in a growing passion for the Lord and greater obedience to Him. Then, as trust and dependence on Jesus Christ continue to increase, our whole life will take on a new perspective because we have aligned ourselves with His Word. What place does Scripture have in your decision making?

No King in Israel

“In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” (Judges 17:6)

Four times in the book of Judges we are told that “there was no king in Israel in those days” (Judges 17:6; 18:1; 19:1; 21:25), indicating that the book must have been compiled either by Samuel (the last judge) or someone else of his or a later generation. The first and last of these (which is the final verse in the book) add that “every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” With no centralized government, there were only tribal leaders. Occasionally, one of these would acquire followers from other tribes; these were the “judges” whom God raised up to lead the people out of bondage on the occasions of widespread repentance and prayer.

The intervening periods were times of oppression by enemies and moral and spiritual chaos among the people. They did have a King, of course, but they refused Him, as did the men in the parable who “sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us” (Luke 19:14). When they finally requested a human king, Samuel rebuked them for saying, “Nay; but a king shall reign over us: when the LORD your God was your king” (1 Samuel 12:12).

Lest we be too critical of the ancient Israelites for rejecting God as their king and going each his own way, that is essentially what people are doing today. “There is no fear of God before their eyes,” and they are “lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God” (Romans 3:18; 2 Timothy 3:4). When every man believes what is comfortable and does as he pleases, he in effect becomes his own god, and this is nothing but humanism. But just as this ancient humanism was empty and the people soon desired a human king, so modern atheistic humanism will also revert to pantheism, and the world will then yield to a humanistic king to lead them on to a final deadly confrontation with the true King of kings. HMM

In the shadow of His hand hath He hid me

In the shadow of His hand hath He hid me, and made me a polished shaft; in His quiver hath He hid me; and said unto me, Thou art my servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified.—Isaiah 49:2, 3.

THE glory is not in the task,
but in the doing it for Him.
JEAN INGELOW.

IT is wholly impossible to live according to Divine order, and to make a proper application of heavenly principles, as long as the necessary duties which each day brings seem only like a burden grievous to be borne, Not till we are ready to throw our very life’s love into the troublesome little things can we be really faithful in that which is least and faithful also in much. Every day that dawns brings something to do, which can never be done as well again. We should, therefore, try to do it ungrudgingly and cheerfully.

It is the Lord’s own work, which He has given us as surely as He gives us daily bread. We should thank Him for it with all our hearts, as much as for any other gift. It was designed to be our life, our happiness. Instead of shirking it or hurrying over it, we should put our whole heart and soul into it.
JAMES REED.

Thou shalt call thy walls Salvation, and thy gates Praise

Thou shalt call thy walls Salvation, and thy gates Praise. Isaiah 60:18

The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. Ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but feIlowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God, and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: in whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

Praise waiteth for thee, O God, in Zion.

Revelation 21:14. Ephesians 2:19-22. 1 Peter 2:3-5. Psalm 65:1.

Henceforth I call you not servants but friends

Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends. John 15:15

The LORD said, shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do? — It is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven. — God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. — Even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory.

Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts: we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, even of thy holy temple. — The secret of the LORD is with them that fear him: and he will shew them his covenant. — I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.

Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.

Genesis 18:17. Matthew 13:11. 1 Corinthians 2:10. 1 Corinthians 2:7. Psalm 65:4. Psalm 25:14. John 17:8. John 15:14.