Posts Tagged ‘faithful’

  

“Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he went, always pressing on toward Jerusalem.” (Luke‬ ‭13:22‬ ‭NLT‬‬)

It is an epidemic that has been spreading around the world. MILLIONS are caught in its clutches. It is costing people some $600k a day. It is creating health issues, loss of jobs, and even the UK has reportedly seen rehabilitation centers open up new wings to bring needed treatment to give people their lives back! What is this infernal presence that’s taking over the world and ruining lives?! It’s nothing other than that sinister ploy called… (spooky music intro inserted here)Candy Crush!

We’ve all seen people’s lives devastated because of life-controlling issues and addictions. While some seem worth the outrage, the simple or petty things, like social media or video games, still cause not only significant damage in personal lives, but spiritually too! Too much of a good thing becomes a bad thing.

Just as Jesus made sure He was moving towards His life purpose (crucifixion) while He lived among us, so we must do the same thing. Play time and hobbies are good stress relievers, but if it is keeping us from our life objectives (to know Him and make Him known), then the enjoyable has become an enemy. Live your purpose, not your pleasures! Eternities hang in the balance! You are loved! 

  

  

“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” (Luke‬ ‭9‬:‭23‬ NIV)

In 1821, a young Louis Braille heard an address at his school, the Royal Institute for Blind Youth in Paris, given by Captain Charles Barbier, a retired army captain. Barbier had been inspired to create a system of page bumps for soldiers to read and write messages in the dark of night. Unfortunately for Barbier, his dot system was clunky, the French language had too many symbols for him to effectively translate, and the army didn’t seem to be interested in it. 

Frustrated with the embossed lettering system at his school, 13-year-old Braille certainly was interested in the dot system, and he soon began working to make it better. Reports suggest that Louis devoted all his spare and vacation time towards this goal, over a period of two to three years! His sacrifice was worth it, creating a better way for blind individuals to learn and live, and all while still a teen!

The cornerstone of Christian living is the sacrifice of personal ambition to accomplish the greater works of God. While this may seem harsh or unjust to some, remember that God thinks and sees much better than we do, with better ends in mind! Walk daily with your cross of sacrifice! It will lead you to touching lives wherever you go! You are loved! 

  

“Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done.” (Galatians‬ ‭6‬:‭4‬ NLT)

When Joseph Schmidt came to Seabury Hall Prep School in Hawaii, looking for a challenge, he got just that, weathering financial hardships, empowering the student body, rounding up support for large capital improvement projects and transforming the school into what it is today. Twenty years later and heading into retirement, the 65-year-old California native has raised over $55 million to build a new upper and middle school classroom complex, eliminated its debt, increased its financial aid budget from $450,000 to more than $1 million, and doubled the size of the campus to about 65 acres! A job well done indeed!

Each one of us has the potential to do wonderful things with our lives. It’s simply a matter of doing it. By applying biblical principles, like today’s text, we position ourselves into a place where God can lead and bless our work. It’s His desire to do so!

Whatever your job or efforts are this week, whether building a company or wrangling grandkids, do it with love, pride, excellence, and for God’s glory! Seize your opportunities and feel good about it! You are loved and blessed today! 

  

“As each part does its own special work…the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.” (Ephesians‬ ‭4‬:‭16‬ NLT)

While Queen Victoria’s status as the first known carrier of hemophilia is well documented, few realize just how devastating the spread of her genes were on the next three generations that followed her. A son, three grandsons, and four great-grandsons were all sufferers, most of whom bled to death. Since her children eventually married into other politically important wealthy bloodlines, Queen Victoria’s genes weakened the royal houses of England, Russia, Spain, and Prussia.

According to our text, the spiritual body of the Church is healthy when everyone is doing there part. So what happens if we don’t? Then not only is the Church and its people in danger of becoming unhealthy, but future generations of the Church also stand the chance of inheriting this destructive state since both activity and inactivity are learned behaviors. 

As Christians, we are made to know God and to make Him known. By doing the Christ Life right, we can prevent a spiritual equivalent of Victoria’s hereditary torment. Live right so that the future Church lives! You are loved! 

  

“Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, ‘One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.'” (Mark‬ ‭10‬:‭21‬ NKJV)

In the early 1930’s, Dietrich Bonhoeffer was so appalled at how many in the church capitulated to Hitler, blessing his evil doctrines that were “shaded” with religious tones, that he wrote a response, his manifesto entitled, The Cost of Discipleship. In it, he warned of “cheap grace”, the teaching that stresses that grace is free, so it really doesn’t matter how we live. There is no cost for holiness. 

As Jesus encountered one who had both riches and a hungry heart, Jesus made him choose. Was that cruel? Not really. But there can only be one Master, one passion, and it must be Him. It says Jesus loved him enough to offer discipleship, but the man didn’t love enough in return to sacrifice whatever it took to follow. 

Grace is freely given, but it isn’t freely kept. There is a cost to be a disciple. But the unsaid is that there is a GREATER cost for disobedience, one we pay later and with both present and eternal consequences. If everything has a cost, then choose the one that leads to life! You will find the price not so bad and the dividends out of this world! You are loved today!

  

“Love each other as I have loved you.” (John‬ ‭15‬:‭12‬ NIV)

I stood at the chain link fence, watching the football coaches work the high school boys hard. I say “work”, but my sons might say “punish”! It was a grueling workout. But the coaches knew how to win, themselves having been “punished” by their coach years ago that turned them into champions. 

God loved me not because I was lovable, but because it was His nature to do so. Now He commands me to show that same love to others, to those that can be hard to love. It’s easy to love those that are easy to love. But what about those that act towards you the way you act towards God, good at some moments but not so much most of the time? Like the coaches, we must give as it was given to us, if we would see Christ truly exemplified. 

As you start your week, do it with God’s love in mind. We deserve nothing but punishment for falling short of God’s reachable marks of holiness. And yet, He bears with us, not wanting to destroy but to refine, having seen in us the true champion caliber of Christian we can be. Love & be loved today! 

  

As for me, if I am bereaved, I am bereaved.” (Genesis‬ ‭43‬:‭14‬ NIV)

Ronald Heifetz, professor at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, likes to say that if you make one real decision in your life, that’s more than most people. Taking a real risk? Well, that’s just a rarity. And that’s the point about faith: If there wasn’t a mix of fear and failure, it would be called security!

Tim Westergren, founder of Pandora Radio, describes his leap of faith this way:

“In the winter of 2001, Pandora was out of money. We had a choice: cut our losses and throw in the towel or find a way to keep going. We decided to keep the company alive and start deferring salaries. Ultimately, over 50 people deferred almost $1.5 million over the course of two years (a practice that is illegal in California). When we were finally rescued by an investment in 2004, I had maxed-out 11 credit cards.” Today, Pandora’s net worth is over $900 million!

Israel’s patriarch, Jacob, had to come to the end of himself and step out towards Egypt. The result? He found his lost son and saved his family. What would happen if you obediently stepped out in faith towards God, even if it meant giving up all you had? If God is behind it, you’ll find more than you were prepared to lose! You are loved today! Take the leap!