Don’t Lose Heart – Getting There 2

kitchen food
Don’t Lose Heart

In due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. —Galatians 6:9

Cooking can become tedious work when I do it three times a day, week after week. I get tired of peeling, cutting, slicing, mixing, and then waiting for food to bake, grill, or boil. But eating is never tedious! It’s actually something we truly enjoy even though we do it day after day.

Paul used the illustration of sowing and reaping because he knew that doing good can be tiring (Gal. 6:7-10). He wrote, “Let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart” (v.9). It’s difficult to love our enemies, discipline our children, or pray without ceasing. However, reaping the good we have sown isn’t tedious! What a joy when we do get to see love conquering strife, or children following God’s ways, or answers to prayer.

While the cooking process can take hours, my family usually finishes a meal in 20 minutes or less. But the reaping that Paul talks about will be eternal. As we have the opportunity, let’s do what is good and wait for the blessings in God’s timing. Don’t lose heart today as you go about following God’s ways. Remember that joy is guaranteed for more than a lifetime.

Dear Lord, help me not to become weary of doing good today. I’m thankful that some day I will be with You for a joy-filled eternity!

Keep running the race with eternity in view.

Getting There 2

They said to Him, “Rabbi…where are You staying?” He said to them, “Come and see.” —John 1:38-39

Where our self-interest sleeps and the real interest is awakened. “They…remained with Him that day….” That is about all some of us ever do. We stay with Him a short time, only to wake up to our own realities of life. Our self-interest rises up and our abiding with Him is past. Yet there is no circumstance of life in which we cannot abide in Jesus.

“You are Simon….You shall be called Cephas” (John 1:42). God writes our new name only on those places in our lives where He has erased our pride, self-sufficiency, and self-interest. Some of us have our new name written only in certain spots, like spiritual measles. And in those areas of our lives we look all right. When we are in our best spiritual mood, you would think we were the highest quality saints. But don’t dare look at us when we are not in that mood. A true disciple is one who has his new name written all over him— self-interest, pride, and self-sufficiency have been completely erased.

Pride is the sin of making “self” our god. And some of us today do this, not like the Pharisee, but like the tax collector (see Luke 18:9-14). For you to say, “Oh, I’m no saint,” is acceptable by human standards of pride, but it is unconscious blasphemy against God. You defy God to make you a saint, as if to say, “I am too weak and hopeless and outside the reach of the atonement by the Cross of Christ.” Why aren’t you a saint? It is either that you do not want to be a saint, or that you do not believe that God can make you into one.

You say it would be all right if God saved you and took you straight to heaven. That is exactly what He will do! And not only do we make our home with Him, but Jesus said of His Father and Himself, “…We will come to him and make Our home with him” (John 14:23). Put no conditions on your life— let Jesus be everything to you, and He will take you home with Him not only for a day, but for eternity.

by Oswald Chambers

Through Our Times of Trial

Genesis 50:18-21

If anyone had ample opportunity to become embittered by life’s trials, it was Joseph. His brothers treated him with contempt even before they tossed him into a pit. Then, he was sold into slavery, transported to a foreign land, framed for a crime, and left to waste away in prison—all within a relatively short period of time. Despite the many injustices he suffered, this boy who grew up in bondage became a man of diligent work ethic and gentle spirit.

It’s almost impossible to understand how Joseph could seem so forgiving, peaceful, and even joyful. His secret to maintaining grace under pressure was a constant focus on God. He must have spent many hours recalling Jacob’s stories about the Lord’s faithfulness to their family—and also the divine revelations about his own future as a leader (Genesis 37:8-9). In spite of his numerous afflictions, Joseph trusted that those God-given dreams would become reality.

Imagine what kind of man Joseph might have become after 13 years of suffering and injustice. Had Joseph dwelled on his unfair circumstances, he’d likely have become cynical and vengeful. With a mind full of escape plots and revenge tactics, he might have failed at being a good worker—so instead of achieving greatness, Joseph would probably have toiled at unfulfilling menial tasks.

With his spiritual eyes trained on God’s glory, Joseph persevered through great trials. In the end, he certainly had the power to punish his brothers for their treachery, but he chose to forgive. That decision probably wasn’t easy. Yet because Joseph placed himself under God’s protection, his heart was unhindered by negative emotions.

No Murder

“Thou shalt not murder.” (Exodus 20:13)

The basis for murder is hatred (Deuteronomy 19:11; Exodus 21:14). The use of a weapon identifies murder. It may be a lethal weapon, like an “instrument of iron” (Numbers 35:16); a weapon of opportunity, like a stone or club (Numbers 35:17-18); or merely the use of hands (Numbers 35:21).

In contrast, accidental killing is distinguished from murder (Exodus 21:13). Sometimes identified as “unaware” killing (Deuteronomy 4:42) and described as “error” killing (Numbers 35:11), it occurs without enmity (Numbers 35:22; Deuteronomy 19:14; Joshua 20:5) and by accident (Numbers 35:23), even though it may result from carelessness (Deuteronomy 19:5).

Execution is demanded for premeditated and presumptuous murders. The original authority was given to corporate man by God after the Flood (Genesis 9:5-6). The process of trial and conviction was established in Numbers 35:30-31. All such laws are designed to suppress evil (1 Timothy 1:8-10).

Imprisonment from normal society is demanded for accidental killings. Cities of refuge were built for such manslayers (Joshua 20:1-9) and were to be easily accessible to the nation (Deuteronomy 19:7-8). They were places of protection (Numbers 35:15) and restriction (Numbers 35:26-28), to be voluntarily entered (Exodus 21:13; Numbers 35:11). Imprisonment was for an indefinite length, and a person remained in the refuge until the “death of the high priest” (Joshua 20:6).

Modern laws dimly reflect these ideals but are made less effective by delay. “Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil” (Ecclesiastes 8:11). HMM III

God Gave Man a Harp

The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one. —Psalm 14:2-3

Man was made to worship God. God gave to man a harp and said, “Here above all the creatures that I have made and created I have given you the largest harp. I put more strings on your instrument and I have given you a wider range than I have given to any other creature. You can worship Me in a manner that no other creature can.” And when he sinned man took that instrument and threw it down in the mud and there it has lain for centuries, rusted, broken, unstrung; and man, instead of playing a harp like the angels and seeking to worship God in all of his activities, is ego-centered and turns in on himself and sulks and swears and laughs and sings, but it’s all without joy and without worship….

I say that the greatest tragedy in the world today is that God has made man in His image and made him to worship Him, made him to play the harp of worship before the face of God day and night, but he has failed God and dropped the harp. It lies voiceless at his feet.

Lord, what a vivid picture! What a tragedy to see that harp lying in the mud. Do a great work today, Lord, to restore that harp to its rightful use. Amen.

Faith Understands: God Framed the Worlds

Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. Hebrews 11:3

The human mind requires an answer to the question concerning the origin and nature of all things. The world as we find it must be accounted for in some way. Philosophers and scientists have sought to account for it, the one by speculation, the other by observation, but they have not found the final Truth. Here TRUTH should be spelled indeed with a capital T, for it is nothing less than the Son of God, the Second Person of the blessed Godhead!

Those who believe the Christian revelation know that the universe is a creation. It is not eternal, since it had a beginning, and it is not the result of a succession of happy coincidences whereby an all but infinite number of matching parts accidentally found each other, fell into place and began to hum! So to believe would require a degree of credulity few persons possess.

Those who have faith are not thrown back upon speculation for the secret of the universe. Faith is an organ of knowledge, and “through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.”

All things came out of the Word, which in the New Testament means the thought and will of God in active expression and is identified with our Lord Jesus Christ!

Christ Made the World – Things We Can’t Change

Christ Made the World

God… hath… spoken unto us by his Son… by whom also he made the worlds. HEBREWS 1:1-2

Think about the world into which our Lord Jesus Christ came—it is actually Christ’s world!

Every section of this earth that we buy and sell and kick around and take by force of arms is a part of Christ’s world. He made it all, and He owns it all. Jesus Christ, the eternal Word, made the world. He made the very atoms of which Mary was made; the atoms of which His own body was made. He made the straw in the manger upon which He was laid as a newborn baby.

Mary was the mother of that tiny babe, for God in His loving and wise plan of redemption used the body of the virgin Mary as the matrix to give the eternal Son a human body. We join in giving her proper honor when we refer to her as Mary, mother of Christ.

Lord, help me and my family make the appropriate choices to be excellent stewards of this world that You created for us to enjoy.

Things We Can’t Change

Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. Acts 4:12

We accept narrowness in many areas of life without raising a question: We are allowed to drive only on one side of the road; we can only access the Internet through prescribed protocols; the law of gravity cannot be repealed; the length of a single night and day lasts a set amount of time; the distance between two geographical points remains constant.

We live within those fixed constraints daily without ever seriously objecting. But when it comes to salvation, we are not so easily convinced. We don’t like the idea that God has prescribed only one avenue for salvation—through the person and work of Jesus Christ. We want to make accommodations for all the other world religions, suggesting they are all “different roads leading to the same place”—yet without any reference to Jesus Christ and His atonement for mankind’s sin. Our objections leave out the most important fact: God is God and we are not. Just as we cannot change His law of gravity, neither can we change His “law” of salvation.

To reject God’s Savior is to reject God’s salvation. To accept both is to honor Him as Lord and God.

The essence of sin is arrogance; the essence of salvation is submission. Alan Redpath