From Success to Significance
Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all of whose works are truth, and His ways justice. And those who walk in pride He is able to put down. Daniel 4:37
The late Bob Buford had been successful in business but felt he was missing significance. He began writing books for leaders, challenging them to consider how to move from success to significance. The Halftime Institute is his legacy—a place successful men and women can learn to explore significance in the second half of life by making God their priority.
We hear it all the time: “I had everything I ever wanted, but still something was missing.” Step one is realizing something is indeed missing; step two is seeking and finding it. The great king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar, had all the world could offer—but he didn’t have God. And he didn’t know what he was missing until God entered his life, humbled him, and opened his eyes to see. After seven years of humbling and learning, Nebuchadnezzar was a changed man—a man who glorified God.
True significance in life is not found in possessions or power but in knowing the one true God through Christ.
If God is God and man is made in His image, then each man is significant. Os Guinness
A Warning to Every Proud Ruler (Daniel 4)
Do not repay evil with evil. 1 Peter 3:9
On January 30, 2018, almost thirty-eight years after his conviction, Malcolm Alexander walked out of prison a free man. DNA evidence cleared Alexander, who had steadfastly maintained his innocence amid a myriad of court proceedings that were tragically unjust. An incompetent defense attorney (later disbarred), shoddy evidence, and dubious investigative tactics all put an innocent man in prison for nearly four decades. When he was finally released, however, Alexander showed immense grace. “You cannot be angry,” he said. “There’s not enough time to be angry.”
Alexander’s words evidence a deep grace. If injustice robbed us of thirty-eight years of our lives and destroyed our reputations, we would likely be angry, furious. Though Alexander spent many long, heartbreaking years bearing the burden of wrongs inflicted upon him, he wasn’t undone by the evil. Rather than exerting his energy trying to get revenge, he exhibited the posture Peter instructs: “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult” (1 Peter 3:9).
The Scriptures go a step further: rather than seeking vengeance, the apostle Peter tells us we are to bless (v. 9). We extend forgiveness, the hope of well-being, for those who have unjustly wronged us. Without excusing their evil actions, we can meet them with God’s scandalous mercy. On the cross, Jesus bore the burden of our wrongs, that we might receive grace and extend it to others—even those who have wronged us.
Without excusing their actions, how can you extend mercy to others who have wronged you? What will it mean for you to “bless” them?
2 Timothy 3:14-17
Have you ever wondered if you can trust what the Bible says? Although Scripture testifies to its own inspiration, there are also other evidences that affirm that the book we hold in our hands is the true and accurate Word of God.
Jesus believed Scripture.Our Savior affirmed the validity of the Old Testament by quoting passages as He taught. He used Isaiah’s prophecies and the Pentateuch to poke holes in the Pharisees’ false piety (Mark 7:6-13). And after His resurrection, He explained the things concerning Himself that had been written by Moses and the prophets (Luke 24:25-27). Finally, because Jesus had promised the Holy Spirit would teach the disciples and remind them of His words, He insured the accuracy of the New Testament as well (John 14:26).
Scripture is inexhaustible. Like a well that never runs dry, the Bible offers a fresh taste of living water each time we open it. People who have dedicated their lives to studying this amazing book admit they have only skimmed its surface. Personally, I can’t count the times that a passage I knew by heart suddenly yielded new insights.
Scripture is indestructible. Over the years, various governments and leaders have tried in vain to destroy the Bible, or at least restrict access to it. And yet this polarizing—and well-loved—book keeps circulating and winning hearts for Christ.
The Bible truly is the most amazing book ever written because it comes directly from God. Not only does it accurately predict the future; it also has the power to save sinners and transform them into saints.
O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.” (Psalm 136:1)
God’s mercy is a monumental theme in Scripture. The English word appears some 341 times in the Bible. The four Hebrew and three Greek words appear a total of 454 times and are also translated by “kindness,” “lovingkindness,” “goodness,” “favor,” “compassion,” and “pity.” Of the 66 books of the Bible, only 16 do not use one of the words for mercy. Even though “mercy” is an important concept, it is somewhat difficult to prescribe a definition for it, especially since “grace” is occasionally coupled with it.
In the first reference where “mercy” is used, Lot has just been expelled from Sodom by the angels of judgment. In spite of the command by the angels that Lot and his daughters “escape to the mountain,” Lot begs: “Oh, not so, my Lord: Behold now, thy servant hath found grace in thy sight, and thou hast magnified thy mercy, which thou hast shewed unto me in saving my life, . . . this city is near . . . Oh, let me escape thither” (Genesis 19:17-20). And later, the New Testament saints are told to “come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). In these and other such passages, the two terms appear to address similar subjects.
However similar they may appear to be, these words are not synonyms. “Grace” is most often associated with the sovereign dispensation of totally undeserved favor, and it is specifically connected to salvation. “Mercy” is more often connected to the withholding of judgment: “For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment” (James 2:13).
Set aside some time today to read and meditate on this psalm. You will find the day less wearisome if you do. HMM III
Then Paul answered, What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.
The Church at this moment needs men, the right kind of men—bold men….
We languish for men who feel themselves expendable in the warfare of the soul, who cannot be frightened by threats of death because they have already died to the allurements of this world. Such men will be free from the compulsions that control weaker men. They will not be forced to do things by the squeeze of circumstances; their only compulsion will come from within—or from above.
This kind of freedom is necessary if we are to have prophets in our pulpits again instead of mascots. These free men will serve God and mankind from motives too high to be understood by the rank and file of religious retainers who today shuttle in and out of the sanctuary. They will make no decisions out of fear, take no course out of a desire to please, accept no service for financial considerations, perform no religious act out of mere custom; nor will they allow themselves to be influenced by the love of publicity or the desire for reputation. OGM011-012
Lord, what would it take for me to be that kind of man? Do in me whatever work You need to do today, that I might die to the allurements of the world and serve You with high motives. Amen.
Ye shall diligently keep the commandments of the Lord your God, and His testimonies, and His statutes, which He hath commanded thee. And thou shalt do that which is right and good in the sight of the Lord that it may be well with thee.—Deuteronomy 6:17,18.
We ought to become holy in the state in which Providence has placed us, instead of making projects of goodness in, the future; and we need the greatest faithfulness to God in the smallest things. That state of life to which God has called us is safe for us, if we fulfill all our duties therein. Accustom yourself to adore His holy will frequently, by humbly submitting your own to His orders and His Providence. Let us do what we know He requires of us, and, as soon as we know His will, let us not spare ourselves, but be very faithful to Him, Such faithfulness ought not merely to lead us to do great things for His service, but whatever our hand finds to do, and which belongs to our state of life. The smallest things become great when God requires them of us; they are small only in themselves; they are always great when they are done for God, and when they serve to unite us with Him eternally.
Francois De La Mothe Fénelon.
“He giveth grace unto the humble.” James 4:6
Humble hearts seek grace, and therefore they get it. Humble hearts yield to the sweet influences of grace, and so it is bestowed on them more and more largely. Humble hearts lie in the valleys where streams of grace are flowing, and hence they drink of them. Humble hearts are grateful for grace and give the Lord the glory of it, and hence it is consistent with His honor to give it to them.
Come, dear reader, take a lowly place. Be little in thine own esteem, that the Lord may make much of thee. Perhaps the sigh breaks out, “I fear I am not humble.” It may be that this is the language of true humility. Some are proud of being humble, and this is one of the very worst sorts of pride. We are needy, helpless, undeserving, hell-deserving creatures, and if we are not humble we ought to be. Let us humble ourselves because of our sins against humility, and then the Lord will give us to taste of His favor. It is grace which makes us humble, and grace which finds in this humility an opportunity for pouring in more grace. Let us go down that we may rise. Let us be poor in spirit that God may make us rich. Let us be humble that we may not need to be humbled, but may be exalted by the grace of God.