VIDEO Dog Days

For your obedience has become known to all. Therefore I am glad on your behalf. Romans 16:19

Dog trainers can teach scores of tricks and commands to their animals, but most trainers say three commands are important enough to become lifesavers. The first is “Down, Stay.” If a dog is running toward the road, for example, his life may depend on his instant obedience. The second vital command is “Drop It.” Dogs put their teeth into all kinds of things. One of the greatest hazards for dogs in America is swallowing human prescription medication. A dog that understands “Drop It” may live longer for it. The third command is “Come!” A dog that runs away from its owner won’t last long.[1]

Like our canine friends, we need to learn to respond instantly to God’s commands in Scripture. He, too, tells us “Down, Stay,” so we don’t rush headlong into temptation. He certainly tells us to “Drop It” when it comes to temptation and sinful habits. And His number one command for us? To come and follow Him.

Our obedience to God’s commandments demonstrates our love for Him.

“I wish I could mind God as my little dog minds me,” said a little boy. “He always looks so pleased to mind, and I don’t.” Charles Spurgeon


How to Treat Your Family – Romans 16:1-24 – Skip Heitzig

Time Enough

He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. Ecclesiastes 3:11

When I saw the massive volume of Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace on my friend’s bookshelf, I confessed, “I’ve never actually made it all the way through that.” “Well,” Marty chuckled, “When I retired from teaching, I got it as a gift from a friend who told me, ‘Now you’ll finally have time to read it.’ ”

The first eight verses of Ecclesiastes 3 state a familiar, natural rhythm of the activities of life with some arbitrary choices. No matter what stage of life we find ourselves in, it’s often difficult to find time to do everything we want to do. And to make wise decisions about managing our time, it’s helpful to have a plan (Psalm 90:12).

Time spent with God each day is a priority for our spiritual health. Doing productive work is satisfying to our spirit (Ecclesiastes 3:13). Serving God and helping other people is essential to fulfilling God’s purpose for us (Ephesians 2:10). And times of rest or leisure aren’t wasted but refreshing for body and spirit.

Of course, it’s easy to become too focused on the here and now—finding time for the things that matter most to us. But Ecclesiastes 3:11 says that God has “set eternity” in our hearts—reminding us to make a priority of things that are eternal. That can bring us face to face with something of the greatest importance—God’s eternal perspective “from beginning to end.”

By:  Cindy Hess Kasper

Reflect & Pray

What different choices might you make about the way you’re spending your time? What did the author of Ecclesiastes mean about God setting eternity in the human heart?

Jesus, give me a glimpse of Your eternal perspective and help me to search for the right balance of time that better fulfills Your purpose.

Learn how to help the hurting.

Developing Godly Thinking

Salvation is a gift, but sanctification requires diligent effort on our part.

Philippians 4:4-9

Most of us know that at salvation, our sins are forgiven and God gives us eternal life. But much more accompanies our redemption: We receive a new nature, power over sin, and a renewed mind. However, these qualities require development, which happens through knowledge of Scripture, submission to the Spirit, and diligent effort on our part. 

It’s a good idea to periodically evaluate whether our thinking, attitudes, and behavior are in line with God’s character and the truths of Scripture. Also, we should take note of what absorbs our attention. It’s not healthy to overload our mind with media reports or entertainment that doesn’t reflect God’s values. Regular exposure to such material can easily produce anxiety, discontent, and ingratitude.

The apostle Paul gave us a measuring stick to help us determine what is worthy of our attention. He said to dwell on whatever is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and worthy of praise (Phil. 4:8). With the help of the Holy Spirit, we can filter our thoughts through this list.

So ask yourself, What fills my mind? and give priority to things in these categories. As your thoughts align with Christ’s, you’ll begin to recognize what is right, good, and wise—and your life will more closely reflect His.

Which Path Have You Chosen?

“For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.” (Psalm 1:6)

Psalm 1 proclaims life’s most important challenge: We have only two paths to choose from—the path of peace or the path of perdition.

“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful” (v. 1). The righteous man walks the path of peace, habitually refraining from walking down the wicked path. His “delight is in the law of the LORD.” He meditates on God’s Word “day and night” (v. 2), and he “bringeth forth his fruit in his season” (v. 3). Jesus says of this path, “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came…and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock” (Matthew 7:24-25).

In contrast, “the ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away” (Psalm 1:4). Jesus describes the results of this path: “And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came…and it fell: and great was the fall of it” (Matthew 7:26-27).

There are two paths, with no middle ground. Don’t procrastinate in choosing the path of peace. “Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:1-2). CM

Thankful for Grace

My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.2 Corinthians 12:9

The inspired Word of God insists that the reality and the blessings from the heart of the living Christ are not reserved for some future and heavenly age….

We can meet God and His Spirit in blessed reality now! We can know and commune with our Lord Jesus Christ in our heart of hearts now! We may know the joy of sensing all around us God’s innumerable company and the fellowship with the church of the Firstborn now!

As committed Christians, we know what we believe and we know what God has done for us. We want to make it plain to our own day and age that we are highly privileged to be part of a Christian church in God’s plan and in God’s will. We are thankful for the dimensions of His grace and love. JAF111-112

It is possible…for those who will indeed draw on their Lord’s power…to live a life in which His promises are taken as they stand, and found to be true. It is possible to cast every care on Him, daily, and to be at peace amidst the pressure. It is possible to see the will of God in everything….These are things divinely possible. JAS187

Our Code Is a Character

I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another. John 13:34

What other teacher has taken the Ten Commandments and had the right to add another commandment to them? But this is precisely what Jesus did, as we see from our text today. “I give you a new commandment,” He says. “Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another.”

The Old Testament and other religious writings enjoined loving one another. What was new was this: “As I have loved you.” Our Lord’s conduct—”as I have loved you”—produced a new code for the human race. Paul, writing to the Philippians, catches the spirit of it when he says: “Treat one another with the same spirit as you experience in Christ Jesus” (Php 2:5, Moffatt). Here morality reaches its high-water mark. From the moment Jesus uttered the words that are occupying our attention, there came into human life something more than a code—there came a Character. Now, therefore, our code is a Character—the Character of Jesus.

When someone asks me if I believe in the Ten Commandments, I say: “Yes, and very much more besides. I believe in Jesus.” The Ten Commandments are an injunction—and a God-given one. But Jesus is an injunction plus an inspiration. To follow an injunction is to obey imposed morality, but to follow a Person and do the things He does is an inspired morality. One is legalism, the other love. One binds you, the other frees you. One makes you feel trammeled, the other relaxed and spontaneous. Our code is not a commandment but a Character. One greater than the commandments is here.

Prayer

O Christ, Your law lays upon me an injunction, but Your life entering into my life inspires me to live up to that injunction. It is this that makes Your yoke so easy. I am deeply, deeply grateful. Amen.

Further Study

Jn 15:1-17; Jms 2:8; Mt 7:12

What was the basis of Christ’s love?

What is the basis of our being able to fulfill the Royal Law?

As for Me and My House

“But if it doesn’t please you to worship the Lord, choose for yourselves today the one you will worship: the gods your fathers worshiped beyond the Euphrates River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living. As for me and my family, we will worship the Lord.”Joshua 24:15

Serving God was not Joshua’s only option. He could have adopted the religious beliefs and practices of his family heritage in the pagan land of Egypt. He could have accepted the idolatrous religion of his neighbors in the region where he now lived. These options probably looked like easier choices than worshiping God. But Joshua had witnessed God’s faithfulness (Josh. 23:14). He was convinced that his Lord was the only true God and that serving Him would bring victory and blessing.

Joshua decided to serve God alone. He was determined to teach his entire household to honor his Lord as well. He had trusted God for victory on the battlefield, and he knew that God could also give him spiritual victory in his home.

You, too, must decide whom you will serve. An assortment of popular religions clamors for your allegiance. If you come from a Christian heritage, you may choose to embrace the faith of your parents and grandparents. If you did not grow up in a Christian home, you can decide, as Joshua did, to reject your heritage of unbelief and begin a generation that serves the Lord.

If you set your mind wholeheartedly on serving God, your example will bring a tremendous blessing to your family. If you place your confidence in God, those around you will witness your faith, and they may decide to trust Him too. Choose, as Joshua did, to serve God unashamedly with all your heart, and then watch to see how God blesses your family.