Not In Vain

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. 1 Corinthians 15:58

A financial advisor I know describes the reality of investing money by saying, “Hope for the best and be prepared for the worst.” With almost every decision we make in life there is uncertainty about the outcome. Yet there is one course we can follow where no matter what happens, we know that in the end it will not be a wasted effort.

The apostle Paul spent a year with the followers of Jesus in Corinth, a city known for its moral corruption. After he left, he urged them in a follow-up letter not to be discouraged or feel that their witness for Christ was of no value. He assured them that a day is coming when the Lord will return and even death will be swallowed up in victory (1 Cor. 15:52–55).

Remaining true to Jesus may be difficult, but it is never pointless or wasted.

Remaining true to Jesus may be difficult, discouraging, and even dangerous, but it is never pointless or wasted. As we walk with the Lord and witness to His presence and power, our lives are not in vain! We can be sure of that.

Lord, in these days of uncertainty, we hold fast to Your promise that our labor for You will accomplish Your purpose and be of great value in Your eyes.

Our life and witness for Jesus Christ are not in vain.

INSIGHT:In the fourth century, John Chrysostom, a church leader who served in Constantinople, reflected the same expectation of the return of Christ we hold today. Imagine living in the ancient city of Constantinople. To the west, barbarian tribes threaten to attack Rome, which for centuries has been the center of the vast Roman Empire. Your city is not currently under attack, but you face the challenges people of the ancient world experienced without the assistance of modern medicine and mechanical devices to make life easier. Yet above it all, Chrysostom preaches to the people about the return of Christ. To ears who listened then, the hope of Christ’s return stirred the soul as it still does today. How does the promise of Christ’s return give you hope and encouragement in your service for Christ?

What God Thinks of Slothfulness

Ephesians 2:8-10

Slothfulness is an act of rebellion toward the Lord. He created us with a sense of purpose so that we would be productive. When we choose to be lazy, we are guilty of wastefulness because we have each received a special gift that is being squandered (1 Peter 4:10).

Lazy people live in a bubble of self-absorption. The only thing that matters to them is that they get what they want. This is in direct conflict with Scripture, which says we are to regard one another as more important than ourselves (Phil. 2:3). For instance, when we are deliberately slow on the job, we are not regarding our boss as important.

We are called to walk in discipline and service to God, and He is displeased if we approach work with a negligent attitude (Jer. 48:10). Whatever we do in life, God will reward us for doing it well. I bagged groceries and washed cars to make money for school. No matter what the task was, I always worked in the best way I knew how. That was something I learned from my mother, who worked 40 years in a textile mill and never complained.

People often make excuses for their laziness—they blame their home environment, poor self-esteem, or a negative attitude. But God does not accept our excuses. He gives us clear instructions for overcoming laziness: “Go to the ant, O sluggard; observe her ways and be wise” (Prov. 6:6). The ant works, prepares, and provides. In other words, we are to work with diligence in all that we do. Our personal responsibility to Jesus Christ is always to give our best effort.

Moses and the Shining Face

“And it came to pass, when Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tables of testimony in Moses’ hand . . . that Moses wist not that the skin of his face shone while he talked with him.” (Exodus 34:29)

Moses had been alone with God 40 days and 40 nights, simply communing with God and receiving the tables with the Ten Commandments. When he finally descended, the glory of God so radiated from him that the people could not bear to look at his face, and he had to wear a veil even to speak to them.

The council of Jewish leaders had a similar experience as they interrogated Stephen concerning his Christian testimony: “And all that sat in the council, looking stedfastly on him, saw his face as it had been the face of an angel” (Acts 6:15).

None of us today ever seem to exhibit such glowing faces, nor is anyone likely to mistake us for an angel. But perhaps this is because we have not spent the time in His presence that Moses did, nor preached the Word in the wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit as Stephen did. Nevertheless, we should have a different countenance than before we met the Lord. Men should be able to say of us as it was said of Peter and John: “They marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus” (4:13).

In fact, God even promises that this will be so to the extent that we spend time in His Word, which itself is alive with the light of His glory. “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 3:18).

May God enable us, therefore, to be “holding forth the word of life,” even “in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world” (Philippians 2:15-16). HMM

“Christ is all.”

Romans 4:1-25

Paul was moved by the Spirit to explain to us the bearings of the solemn transaction which we considered in our last reading. Let us hear his exposition.

Romans 4:23-25

The argument is very clear and conclusive. Abraham was justified by faith, therefore by grace; and this justification was not given to him as a circumcised man, for he was not circumcised till years after; therefore the covenant blessings are not given in connection with the law and its work, but in connection with faith and grace. The covenant promise was made to a seed to be born not after the flesh but according to promise, and in that promise all nations had an interest, for out of them would come a blessed people whose badge should be faith, and not the deeds of the law. Jesus is the promised seed, and those believing in him are Abraham’s seed. Are we all in this family believers in Jesus? Who is there among us unsaved? Pass the solemn question round.


No more, my God, I boast no more

Of all the duties I have done;

I quit the hopes I held before,

To trust the merits of thy Son.


The best obedience of my hands

Dares not appear before thy throne;

But faith can answer thy demands,

By pleading what my Lord has done.


True, You Are Never Alone!

Hebrews 12:1

At times you may have wondered, Has anyone else ever experienced the kinds of problems I’m experiencing right now, or am I out here all alone?

No, you’re not alone! Hebrews 11 records the remarkable feats of faith accomplished by various people in the Old Testament. These were people who had to fight and struggle as they waited for the object of their faith to manifest. Their walk of faith was a great, great challenge.

Because these Old Testament saints stayed with what God had told them to do and never gave up, they eventually saw His blessings begin to operate in their lives. Nevertheless, nearly all of them endured great, difficult hardships and challenges before their victory came.

To let us know that we’re not alone in our own walk of faith, the writer of Hebrews says, “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1).

Notice that it says, “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses….” The phrase “compassed about” is taken from the word peikeimenai, which is a compound of the words peri and keimai. The word peri means around or to be completely encircled by something. The second part of the word keimai means to lie down. When these two words are compounded into one word, they mean to lie around, as if something has been piled high and is lying all around you on every side. This is the portrayal of being completely encircled by something that is stacked high on every side!


Therefore, this verse carries the following idea:

“Wherefore seeing we have lying all around us on every side….”

“Wherefore seeing these biblical examples are piled up and lying all around us….”

The Bible is piled high with examples of people—people just like you— who stood in faith and endured difficulties in order to do the will of God. You are surrounded on every side with powerful examples of people who were challenged in their faith, yet who held fast to the Word of God. And as a result, these godly people saw God’s promises come to pass in their lives!

You are not alone!

  • Look at Noah and the fight he endured.
  • Look at Abraham and the fight he endured.
  • Look at Sarah and the fight she endured.
  • Look at Jacob and the fight he endured.
  • Look at Joseph and the fight he endured.
  • Look at Moses and the fight he endured.
  • Look at Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jepthah, David, Samuel, and the prophets and the fight they all endured.

Take some time today to read some of these examples from the Old Testament—and then turn to the New Testament to see the many examples of faithful people who are also listed there. The Bible is packed full of examples of those who heard from God, who took His Word deep into their hearts, and who refused to stop until they saw the fulfillment of what God had promised them. Like you, they faced hardships and challenges. But no matter what obstacles stood in their way, they kept going and never stopped until God’s plan for their lives was accomplished.

According to Hebrews 12:1, there are so many people who fit this description that they are literally lying all around you. And don’t think you can only look to the Bible for these godly examples. If you look closely, you’ll see that there are huge numbers of these “never-give-up” kind of people living on this earth right now as well. You are not alone in your walk of faith!

Don’t let the devil tell you that you’re the only one who has faced this kind of circumstance, because many have gone before you who have faced the same battles and won great victories. If you’ll commit a few minutes of your time to read Hebrews 11, I believe you’ll find that your battle isn’t worse than the battles these saints fought and won. Reading these verses will encourage your heart!

Don’t give up and throw in the towel! Hard times will pass, and you will see the Word of God bring you the victory you desire. When you’re tempted to get discouraged, just remember the many examples piled up all around you of people who endured and later won their prize!


Lord, Your Word says nothing is impossible to those who believe, so I am releasing my faith in Your promises. I fully believe that what You did for those faithful believers, You will also do for me!

I pray this in Jesus’ name!


I confess that I have victory over the challenges I face in life! I know that many have faced the same battles I’m facing and victoriously won their fight. My battle isn’t worse than the battles others have faced, so I boldly declare that I will be triumphant in my fight, just as they were triumphant in theirs! It is a fact that hard times will pass—and when they do, I will see the Word of God bring me the victory that I declare and desire! It is not a matter of IF I will win, but only a question of WHEN I will win!

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!


  1. What are some of your past victories that you can encourage yourself with as you fight your current fight of faith?
  2. In each of those past struggles, what helped you to stay in the fight until you won?
  3. List some examples of people in your life and in the Bible who held fast to God’s promises as they faced great difficulties until their victory was finally won.


If You Were God, What Is The One Sin That Would Cause You To Destroy Mankind?







In Noah’s day when God destroyed the earth with a flood:

They were eatingdrinking(and) marrying… ” (Luke 17:27)

The focus of their lives was on their family and social life.

In Lot’s day when God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, they were:

Eatingdrinkingbuyingsellingplanting(and) building.” (Luke 17:28)

The focus of their lives was also on their family, social life, and on their businesses!

These activities, it would seem, are not exactly the kind that would merit the destruction of mankind!

Except for one small problem: Their emphasis on family, social life, and business simply excluded God. They didn’t hate God. They just ignored Him.

In fact God was to them:

  • Irrelevant
  • On the sidelines
  • Odd “Man” out

And in the Bible this kind of attitude spells IDOLATRY.

It was precisely because of their idolatry that God destroyed their generation.

Tell me, is your life centered primarily on your family, social life or business? Or on God?

If it is not on God, you have a serious problem: IDOLATRY.

And IDOLATERS will not be in God’s heaven. (See 1 Corinthians 6:9)

%d bloggers like this: