If It Matters to You

Whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward. Matthew 10:42

Kay DeKalb Smith passed a chocolate shop at the airport. She’d been hungering for chocolate all week, but she told herself she didn’t need the calories. She lined up at the pretzel shop instead. The young man ahead of her asked for a sample, but the girl at the counter refused. Kay noticed a cup of hot water in his hand and remembered times she herself had drank hot water from lack of funds and taken advantage of free samples. She ordered two bags of pretzel bites and went looking for the fellow. She found him working behind a counter and handed the pretzels to him, saying, “Remember, if it matters to you, it matters to God.”

Back at the gate, she sensed someone approaching her. It was the young man. He said, “That was such a nice thing you did. I had to bring you this to thank you.” He handed her a bag from his shop and was gone. It contained a small box of chocolates. The Holy Spirit whispered in her heart: “If it matters to you, it matters to Me.”

Small acts of kindness matter to God, even a bag of pretzels or a cup of cold—or hot—water.

They do well and wisely who give the “cup of cold water” whenever they have opportunity…. This is to have the mind of Christ. J. C. Ryle, in Expository Thoughts on the Gospels

A Life of Becoming

2 Corinthians 4:7-18

Probably the greatest obstacle to understanding God’s purpose for brokenness is this: Most believers think of Christianity as something we do. We pray. We read the Bible. We go to church. We sing hymns. We tithe. We do and do—and assume that’s the Christian life. It’s not.

Authentic Christianity is about becoming rather than doing. The life of faith that God designed involves receiving Jesus into our heart and allowing Him to change our habits, mindsets, beliefs, interests, and concerns so we become more and more like Him.

This realization will change our perspective on the heartache we must endure. You see, when we recognize that the Christian life is about Jesus’ persistent work of “re-creation” in us, then the role of brokenness will make more sense. It’s the process the Lord uses to strip us of things that have become—or may one day become—an obstacle to our spiritual growth. He also uses this tool to address issues we may have declared “off limits” to Him, such as unhealthy behaviors or relationships that we rationalize.

God doesn’t want to be Lord of most of your life; He wants to be Lord of all of your life! So He zeroes in on areas of self-will and self-sufficiency to remove everything within us that relies on “self.” He uses brokenness to remove those inclinations so that we can live moment by moment, day by day, in full dependence on Him.

Open your heart, and ask God to reveal any selfish strongholds. Let Him break any unhealthy behavior patterns in your life. He will.

Can You Hastening His Coming?

“But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

These very familiar words of the Lord Jesus are commonly considered as a statement of His Great Commission, commanding us to go “into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). Actually, however, it is not given here as a command, but rather as a declarative statement—indeed, a prophecy—saying that we shall witness for Him to the very ends of the earth.

Then, His disciples were promised that “this same Jesus” would return (Acts 1:11), with the promise clearly tied to the prophecy. Just a few weeks previously they had asked, “What shall be the sign of thy coming?” (Matthew 24:3). And Jesus had answered, “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come” (v. 14). Mark recorded His answer very simply: “The gospel must first be published among all nations” (Mark 13:10).

Peter says that the Lord may seem to have delayed “the promise of his coming” because He “is longsuffering . . . not willing that any should perish,” urging us to “account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation” (2 Peter 3:4, 9, 15), suggesting that we should be “looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God” (2 Peter 3:12).

We can hardly draw any other conclusion from such passages than that if we want the Lord to return quickly, we can hasten His coming by fulfilling His command and His prophecy, doing whatever we can to publish His gospel among all nations. His coming has always been imminent, because this could well have been done—and can be done—at any time. But it evidently has not been done yet. HMM

The Will of God at Any Cost

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. —Galatians 2:20

Few sights are more depressing than that of a professed Christian defending his or her supposed rights and bitterly resisting any attempt to violate them. Such a Christian has never accepted the way of the cross….

The only cure for this sort of thing is to die to self and rise with Christ into newness of life. The man or woman who sets the will of God as his or her goal will reach that goal not by self-defense but by self-abnegation. Then no matter what sort of treatment that person receives from other people, he or she will be altogether at peace. The will of God has been done—this Christian does not care whether it comes with curses or compliments, for he or she does not seek one or the
other, but wants to do the will of God at any cost. Then, whether riding the crest of public favor or wallowing in the depths of obscurity, he or she will be content. If there be some who take pleasure in holding this Christian down, still he or she will not resent them, for he or she seeks not advancement but the will of God.

I repeat, Lord, my first-prayed commitment to be crucified with Christ, allowing Christ to live through me, so that You are glorified in my life. Amen.

Permanent Failure of Religion

Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof (2 Timothy 3:5)

Millions of men and women refuse to face up to the fact that religion, in and of itself, is not enough for the sinner’s need.

It is amazing how many things religious people want to do to you. They can start with infant baptism and end up with the last rites when you are 108 years old—and all of that time they will manipulate you, maul you and sweet-message your soul. When it is all done you are just what you were. You are just a decorated and massaged sinner—a sinner who did not eat meat, or on the other hand, a sinner who did eat fish!

When religion has done all it can, you are still a sinner who either went to church or did not go to church. Religion can put us on the roll and educate us and train us and instruct us. But after all that, there is still something within our beings that cries, “Eternity is in my heart and I have not found anything to satisfy it!”

Only our Lord Jesus Christ is enough to satisfy the eternal longing in our souls.

My soul, hearken to the voice of thy God

My soul, hearken to the voice of thy God. He is always ready to speak with thee when thou art prepared to hear. If there be any slowness to commune, it is not on his part, but altogether on thine own; for he stands at the door and knocks, and if his people will but open, he rejoices to enter. But in what state is my heart, which is my Lord’s garden? May I venture to hope that it is bringing forth fruit fit for him? If not, he will have much to reprove; but still I pray him to come unto me, for nothing can so certainly bring my heart into a right condition as the presence of the Sun of Righteousness, who brings healing in his wings.