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Archive for March, 2013


(Scripture from the NKJV and KJV)

– And after the earthquake, a fire – but the Lord was not in the fire.  And, after the fire – a still, small voice. – 1 Kings 19:12

Elijah was running for his life – literally.  It seemed like everyone else had walked away from God and gone off to worship Baal.  Now that he had slain 450 prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18:19, 1 Kings 19:1) – a very angry Jezebel told Elijah he was going to meet their very same fate the next day (1 Kings 19:2-3).

The children of Israel had also slain all of God’s prophets – save Elijah (1 Kings 19:14).  So, he fled a day’s journey away into the wilderness.  First he stopped at a juniper tree to rest and eat – then sought lodging in a mountain cave.  There he waited for instructions from God on what to do next (1 Kings 19:5,9).

God passed by Elijah, first in a great and strong wind.  This was followed by an earthquake – then finally a fire.  However, what the Lord wanted him to do wasn’t contained within these amazing displays of His power.  When everything subsided – God spoke His orders to Elijah in a still, small voice (1 Kings 19:13-18).

Likewise, our Father is trying to communicate with us the same way.  All too often, though, we can be awaiting for our Father to reveal Himself through some amazing display of His power – before we’re prompted to do anything for Him, just like Elijah. All too often – God’s still voice gets drowned out with the steady noise of this world.  When the world subsides – the Word still abides.  When we awake every morning – He is still with us (Psalm 139:18).

The Almighty’s Word is always near – but we don’t always hear (Deuteronomy 30:14).  Our Lord goes by us daily and we don’t see Him – He passes us by and we don’t perceive Him (Job 9:11).  Perhaps one primary reason we don’t hear, see, or perceive – is that we’ve already presumed when, where, and how God is going to speak to us.  When it doesn’t happen the way we expect – we usually miss His voice.

It’s extremely hard to hear anyone when we’re moving.  Have you ever tried to have a conversation with someone while jogging or running with them?  Elijah stood still at the front of the cave to hear God’s still voice.  When Moses was trying to listen to God’s orders regarding the Israelites – he told them all “Stand still, and I will hear what the Lord commands concerning you (Numbers 9:8).”

Yes, God can have a thunderous voice at times – but these are usually the occasions when He is doing things we cannot fully comprehend (Job 37:5).  Most of the things He tells us to do won’t be accompanied by laser light shows and Hollywood-like special effects.  More likely, it will be His voice in our ears telling us “This is the way – walk in it, when you turn to the right hand, and when you turn to the left (Isaiah 30:21).”  We can hear that today – if we are still enough to listen (Psalm 95:7)

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(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– And be sure – your sin will find you out. – Numbers 32:23

Two men – Naboth and Uriah.  Both had something that two kings – Ahab and David – desired greatly. One was a vineyard – the other a wife.  Even though Naboth and Uriah did not sin in these situations – Ahab and David did so to fulfill the lustful desires of their hearts.  Three of the four died.  David survived. Although he repented – he still had to pay a dear price for his transgression against God.

David’s first son born of Bathsheba would be dead just a week after birth.  King Ahab would die soon, as well.  All because of sins that were bare before God from their beginnings (1 Kings 21:1-15, 1 Kings 22:34-38, 2 Samuel 11:1-27, 2 Samuel 12:13-19, Hebrews 4:12-13).  The kings were found out – and they found out the cost of their iniquity.  We can be sure our sin will find us out, too – at what price?

Scripture has concluded we are all under sin from the start of life (Galatians 3:22).  It withholds good things from us (Jeremiah 5:25).  As with David, sin can withhold even future blessings from us for a very long time (2 Samuel 12:7-8).  It can also cause many serious things to happen to others – even the deaths of those who did not sin with us.  Sin lies at our doors daily (Genesis 4:7).

We can choose to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season like Moses (Hebrews 11:25) – but pay for them our entire lives.  Yes, God is long-suffering, patient, merciful and gracious – but He will not at all acquit the wicked (Nahum 1:3).  Our Father by no means will ever clear the guilty.  The penalties for sin can even be passed from generation to generation (Exodus 34:6-7).

We don’t come to Christ because we’re good people – we come before the Cross because we’re sinners.  We don’t become good people because we become Christians, either – there is none good but God (Mark 10:18).  However, we do become God’s children again – reconciled and reunited with our Father in heaven (Romans 5:10, Romans 8:16, Colossians 1:20-21).

Still, our hearts are still desperately wicked and deceitful.  This is why God has to come dwell in them through the Holy Ghost – for only He can understand them (Jeremiah 17:9-10).  We have presumptuous and secret sins we might not even be aware of yet (Psalm 19:13, Psalm 90:8).  We have no power to repent of them without abiding in God – and Him in us through the Spirit (John 15:1-7).

Following the flesh as Christians has to result in us receiving some sort of heavenly punishment (Romans 8:1-14).  God’s discipline may seem mean while it’s happening – but it’s out of His love for us (Hebrews 12:6-11, Revelation 3:19).  However, we are assured it will happen (Hebrews 12:5-11).  All of our God’s commandments are not meant to be grievous (1 John 5:3).  We have to do our part by obeying them.

When we are born again of the Spirit (John 3:3). it comes when God has convicted us of our sin with His sorrow (2 Corinthians 7:10).  No longer will He wink at us in any ignorance about sin’s consequences (Acts 17:30, Romans 6:23).  It is not to have any more dominion over us (Romans 6:14).  Willful sinning is now direct disobedience.  There will never be another sin sacrifice (Hebrews 10:10,26).

This is why Christ shed his precious blood on the Cross (Matthew 26:28).  This is the very same blood shed daily on a Christian heart as a salve for sins – to keep them in continual remission (Hebrews 10:22). So we keep repenting and not repeating the behavior of our old sinful man (2 Corinthians 5:17).  So we don’t fall away from such repentance.  If we do, it’s impossible for God to renew us to it (Hebrews 6:4-6).

A tentacle in the physical world is a slender and flexible limb used for grasping things or moving around.  A tentacle of sin does the same thing.  It is slender and flexible.  It reaches in and grabs our heart.  Then we move out and about as the tentacle touches another person’s heart, and pulls them into our sin.  Slowly and subtly it weaves its way into the fabric of our life – even our faith.

 

 

 

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(Scripture from the NKJV and KJV)

– For He is our peace – who has made both one – and has broken down the middle wall of partition between us. – Ephesians 2:14

– “Her heart was a secret garden – and the walls were very high.” – William Goldman, “The Princess Bride

Walls have been built by mankind since ancient times.  Some can be purely decorative by design.  Some can be either memorials or religious in nature – such as the Vietnam Veteran’s Wall or the Wailing Wall.  Others can be protective – to keep our computers from crashing – or race cars from crashing into crowds.  However, the vast majority of walls are constructed to create, establish, and maintain a barrier, border, or boundary between people or cultures.  Hadrian’s Wall, The Berlin Wall, and The Great Wall of China were built with this intent.

Whatever the reason for their existence, many walls can evoke a sense of inquisitive wonder in us.  Have you ever been driving or walking down a road in a strange place and come across a wall?  It may have stretched on for a good distance, and there was no way to truly see what was on the other side.  That normally didn’t keep us from wondering what the barrier had been built for in the first place.  However, in his classic poem “Mending Wall“,  Robert Frost wrote, “Before I built a wall, I’d ask to know what I was walling in or walling out.”

When God formed us in our mother’s womb, He built an invisible and spiritual wall over our hearts.  As soon as we took our first breath of life, we became strangers upon this earth (1 Chronicles 29:15, Hebrews 11:13).  We were on the “other side” of heaven.  A barrier blocked the spirit of the world in our hearts at the time of our physical birth – from the Spirit of God that is given to us when we are truly “born again” (1 Corinthians 2:11-12).  This wall only gets broken down when the Holy Ghost is given to us – and Christ comes to dwell in our hearts by faith (Ephesians 3:16-17).

Physical walls separate some people from each other.  Spiritual walls separate all people from God.  Even when our Father breaks this barrier down with Christ. we can set about building our worldly walls all over again through pride and selfishness. In her book “Breaking Pride”, Heather Bixler wrote, “Pride is often a way to protect our hearts and to hide truth.  It causes us to shut down and build walls.”  When we’re born again, God sets about building up walls all around our exterior beings – the ones of worldly wishes, wants, and worries – so we have nowhere to look but up to see and focus on things of the Word.

Once our spiritual blockade is torn down by God from above – His love is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost given unto us (Romans 5:5).  The Lord’s lamp of love should now light up our whole bodies (Luke 11:36).  The prior partition preventing this is pulled away.  Our being becomes like a prism.  As soon as His light comes into our hearts from heaven – it immediately gets reflected back out of us in every direction without delay (2 Corinthians 4:6).  The peace of God that now dwells within us – should put aside the pieces of any other wall in our way that tries to prevent it.

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(Scripture from the NKJV and KJV)

– But the path of the just is a shining light – that shines more and more unto the perfect day. – Proverbs 4:18

– For the Lord shall be your everlasting light. – Isaiah 60:20

Few people – if any – ever see a forest fire start.  A still-lit cigarette gets carelessly tossed out the window of a car heading down a country road.  It lands in a pile of very dry pine needles – and lights the littlest of fires.  Nobody notices at first – but a flame has begun. Or, a bolt of lightning touches a tangled twisting of twigs along a remote forest floor – triggering the tiniest of blazes.

However, something has begun to burn in both places.  Whatever fuels and fans these flames from this point forward – determines how fast they grow, how far they go, and how bright they glow. The longer and stronger the blazes rage, the more effort and time it takes to extinguish them. These fires – no matter how and where they start – tend to consume almost everything in their paths.

Our God is a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:29).  When we are truly “born again”, we receive the gift of the Holy Ghost in our inner man.  Christ comes to dwell in our hearts by faith (Ephesians 3:16-17).  It is a baptism of fire (Luke 3:16).  We  should have felt something when it happened – we should have felt a fire start to burn in our hearts.

The Lord has now shed His love abroad in our hearts by the Spirit given unto us (Romans 5:5).  God is now shining His lamp within us – to give the light of the glory – in the face of Christ Jesus.  A spiritual fire has been ignited in our earthen vessels of physical flesh (2 Corinthians 4:6-7).  A searing seal of love has been set within our hearts from heaven.  A blaze begins to build and burn – and it has a most vehement flame (Song of Solomon 8:6).

It’s a figurative fire – for we can’t actually see what is being burned. However, we should start to feel its effects – and others should start to see them.  To get going, forest fires tend to feed on fallen branches and leaves first – releasing locked-in nutrients – and depositing them back into the cleared soil.  This spurs new growth in time – after the fire passes through.

God works much the same way in our hearts.  Our Father in heaven is trying to consume any dead branches of anger and bitterness, despair and discouragement, unforgiveness and fear. When He has destroyed them – new growth of love, joy, and peace can come forth out of the unclogged and uncluttered soil of our hearts (Galatians 5:22-23).

Whatever is stoking our spiritual flame within us will determine how fast it grows, how far it goes, and how bright it glows.  As Christians, we must always be finding ways of the Word to stir up this gift – both in ourselves and others – so the fire does not die (2 Timothy 1:6).  Otherwise, dead growth will start to reappear.

It’s much like how a controlled burn works in nature.  Non-native plants that have crept in will be intolerant to a physical fire if it’s kept ablaze – while deep-rooted native plants are unaffected.  This clears out the clutter preventing new growth.  Nutrient recycling and regeneration is now possible.  Seeds can germinate much quicker as they are exposed to the sun earlier in the year.

Remember that while all this is happening, Satan will still be launching his fiery darts at our hearts (Ephesians 6:16) – trying to launch his own worldly blazes of lies at the same time.  The voice of the Lord divides the flames of any fire (Psalm 29:7).  If we are listening to His voice – they will be flames of faith.  If we listen to the devil’s voice, they will be flames of falsehoods.

God always knows what’s fanning and fueling these fires.  If His Word is controlling the burn – worldly plants that have crept in will be intolerant to it – while the plants deeply rooted in Him will be unaffected.  The Lord’s flame within us will help in continual nutrient recycling and regeneration (2 Corinthians 4:16).  Spiritual seeds can germinate much quicker are they are exposed to the Son earlier in our Christian lives.

Jesus reminded us to keep our loins girded about us – keeping our lights burning (Luke 11:35).  We must always take heed that this light is still not just more of the world’s darkness (Luke 12:35).  If the lamp of the Lord is truly burning bright in our hearts – our eyes should glow with His light – and everything we do should reflect the warmth of His Word (Luke 11:36).

In turn, our words to others can then warm the coldest of hearts that have been hardened by the world.  Just like the two men on the road to Emmaus, our hearts will be ablaze whenever Jesus opens up Scripture to us (Luke 24:32).  Our burning lights will burn brighter and brighter as that glorious day approaches – and we’ll be able to blaze trails so true into the darkest of nights on life’s journey – the darkness won’t be able to comprehend it (John 1:5).

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(NKJV and KJV Scripture)

– There remains therefore a rest to the people of God. – Hebrews 4:9

Boredom and restlessness go hand-in-hand walking down the highways of our lives. Each one by themselves can “hand” itself over to the other. Both are nothing but losing interest in someone or something. We just ‘know” there is something better around the next corner – or just over the next hill – but we’re never quite sure what it is. However, we can be far too willing at times to risk relationships – to see if we can go find out.

Many people can spend their whole lives like this. They drift restlessly from one new person or thing to another – but never seem to find the internal and permanent rest they so long for. Whatever it is remains ever elusive – always just out of reach – and they never enter into God’s rest.

Are we more at rest in our relationship with God – or more restless as believers? Is there something we see immediately in the world that promises better things for our own gain –  than just promises of them in the Word intended to benefit everyone (Ecclesiastes 5:9)?  Are we getting bored and losing interest – willing to risk our relationship with Him to go find out?  Remember, it can seem evil to serve the Lord (Joshua 24:15).

This can be evidenced when we’re not getting the goods of this world we thought we might when we became believers.  The subtlety of Satan is really good at making us think we should be serving ourselves for serving the Lord – otherwise, why are doing it (Romans 4:4, 2 Corinthians 4:4)?  When this happens, we can begin to claim blessings God never intended for us.  When our focus remains on the world as Christians – we can easily grow restless with the Word (Philippians 3:19, 1 John 2:15).

Hebrews 4:1-10 gives us God’s promise of rest. Some do not enter because His Word is not mixed in with faith – others because there still remains some unbelief. The truest way to enter into His rest is to cease from our own works – just like He did after creating this world. It may sound contradictory – but we have to labor to enter in. However, whatever work we do in the world – we do heartily unto Him – and not towards other men (Colossians 3:23).

This may mean we have to leave earthly careers – to find out what our true calling and labor is for Him according to our proper gift (1 Corinthians 7:7). Not in every case, but this may be what it takes for some of us – through listening to and obeying the Spirit – to finally find out the “rest” that remains.  For then we might be able to finally enter His rest completely – now and for eternity (2 Thessalonians 1:7).

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(Scripture from the NKJV and KJV)

– Also, regard not your stuff. A man’s life consists not in the abundance of the things which he possesses. – Genesis 45:20 and Luke 12:15

– “That’s all your home is – a place to keep your stuff; while you go out and get … more stuff. Sometimes, you gotta move into a bigger house. Why? Too much stuff.” – George Carlin

We brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out (1 Timothy 6:7). However, in between the cradle and grave – all it can seem like we do for much of our time on earth is buying, carrying around, and taking care of – stuff. Stuff is defined as material or matter of an indeterminate or irrelevant nature – and yet so many of us often let our stuff determine our relevance and nature in life by it. Sometimes, the amount and quality of our stuff determines our status in our own minds – and in the eyes of others. However, nothing is ever new to God (Ecclesiastes 1:9, Ecclesiastes 3:15). People’s stuff has been around since Biblical times.

The second reference to stuff in the King James Version was when God told Abraham and his people not to regard it – for the good of all the land of Egypt was already theirs (Genesis 45:18-20). They didn’t need their stuff to get it from God. The last mention of stuff in the Bible is a stern warning from our Father in heaven about our stuff: But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom – it rained fire and brimstone from heaven – and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed. In that day when he shall be upon the housetops – and his stuff in the house – let him not come down to take it away (Luke 17:29-31).

Almost all of us have stuff – some more than others. Many times we can even feel stuck with our stuff. We know we probably have too much – and would probably like to get rid of some – but we try to find ways that ensure we don’t take too much of a loss on the initial investment spent on our stuff. We even spend money to protect our stuff while we try to decide what we might want to do with it later on. Entire businesses are based on insuring our stuff. So we stack it, stash it, and save it. Entire industries are built on storing our stuff. Entire cable TV shows such as Storage Wars, Hoarders, and American Pickers are centered around the many aspects of stuff.

As Christians, our stuff distracts us from fully serving the Lord. Even when we are stirred together to do work for our churches – we can have too much stuff to do it. In the book of Exodus, all of the wise men in the sanctuary told Moses that the men and women of the congregation were bringing in much more than needed for the service of the work the Lord had commanded them to make. So Moses gave orders and caused them to be proclaimed throughout the camp of his people – restraining them from bringing in any more material. For the stuff they had was sufficient enough for all the work to make it – and it was already too much (Exodus 36:4-7).

Because it’s fleshly and worldly – stuff can easily stagnate our spiritual growth as Christians. Striving for more can give birth to hoarding. It can become a form of mental illness. However, some people store up stuff in hopes it will be a hedge of protection for them in the future if things get financially tough – for they can just start selling off some of their stuff. God warns us all about storing up earthly riches to our own hurt (Ecclesiastes 5:13-14). There are even people right now trying to amass provisions – and building shelters for them – as protection against the end times. Their damnation is already certain (James 5:3).

Perhaps the best Biblical story to sum this all up is the parable Jesus told the disciples about the rich fool. This man’s grounds had brought forth a plentiful harvest. He thought to himself saying, “What shall I do – because I have no more room to bestow all my fruits?” And he said, “This will I do – I will pull down my barns and build even greater ones – and there I will bestow all my fruits and goods. And I will tell my soul – soul, you have many goods laid up for many years – take your ease and eat, drink, and be merry.” But God said to him, “You fool, this night your soul will be required of you – and then where shall these things be which you have provided?” (Luke 12:18-20).

The man’s barns were brimming to the beams – be he was only rich towards himself with all his stuff. It was not going to bring his soul back or buy him any more time on earth. It’s the same for all of us as well – we are either rich towards God with all our stuff – or to ourselves (Ecclesiastes 5:9, Luke 12:21, 1 Corinthians 10:24-26, 2 Corinthians 8:12-14). Our Father only requires a continually obedient, repentant, and willing heart to serve Him – not our stuff. One day our souls will be required of us. Will God find us to have been fools with all our worldly possessions? For all of it stays behind when we go – and it won’t be able to save us on that day (Matthew 16:26).

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(NKJV and KJV Scripture)

– Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. – 2 Corinthians 5:17

Lisa Alther once wrote, “That’s the risk you take if you change – that people you’ve been involved with won’t like the new you. But – other people who do will come along.” Amos 3:3 asks us, “Can two walk together, except they be agreed (with one another)?” Living life here on earth can seem very comfortable – but very boring – when we continually surround ourselves with family members and friends who generally agree with us.

Nothing happens to rock our boats or challenge us with new things that might upset the status quo. Sadly, this can often happen in churches. Charles Stanley once said, “Never be afraid of becoming what God truly wants you to be – just because other Christians don’t like the way it’s being done.” We are being led by Him now – not them (Romans 8:1-14). It is not meant to be a contest (2 Corinthians 10:12).

Repentance means “to change”. However, becoming a believer is not an automatic guarantee we will change and evolve into mature, spiritual Christians who can then be teachers in God’s Word to new “born again” people in the future (Hebrews 5:11-14). This is a part of being sanctified by Him. When we continue trying to follow the flesh and maintain former worldly friendships as believers – because we still enjoy old things we know are sinful – we will generally require spiritual milk far longer than God ever intended (2 Peter 1:1-3).

We will seem to struggle with Scripture and can quickly become dull of hearing the Word of God. This is because we’re still trying to chase after a world of good and goods – to our destruction (2 Corinthians 4:4, 2 Peter 3:16). Our old man that was supposed to be crucified with Christ has not been completely destroyed as God desires it to be (Romans 6:6) – because we are still walking after some of the world – and our talk tends to be of such things (Ephesians 4:22).

John Denver once wrote, “Fear does the choosing between right and wrong.” God’s perfect love casts out all fear – and fear has torment (1 John 4:18). When we are afraid to change and be challenged as believers – because of what our “old man” family members and friends might think of us now as Christians – we’re falling right into the devil’s deceitful traps. Satan will keep us immobilized in fear and will do anything to frustrate our faith.

Making change means breaking chains.  As soon as we start to see we might be losing worldly favor with people we love or like in the way of finances – or we’re no longer being asked out to do the same fun, fleshly things as before – it can often be far too tempting to put our chains to them back on.  We’ll generally keep choosing wrong things of the world – instead of the right things of the Word. Instead of growing as we move forward in grace – we may start grumbling as we stay frozen in place (2 Peter 3:18).

This is being overcome by the world again if it happens. God sent Christ to overcome this world – so we might do the same (John 16:33). Once we are given the gift of the Holy Ghost upon being “born again” of the Spirit (John 3:5) – there is no turning back to the ways of the world. We are dead in Christ and our lives are hid with Him (Colossians 2:20, Colossians 3:3). We move forward in faith continually (Hebrews 11:1).

It will most always seem like a big risk to change – and chance to take – if we don’t believe the promises He made to never leave or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).  We will  become more concerned about the “what will happen to us if we do change” – than “what will happen to us if we don’t.”  Our Father has several stern warnings if we turn again from the holy commandment He gives us as believers to change for Him (Acts 17:30, Galatians 4:8-9, Hebrews 6:4-6. Hebrews 10:26, 2 Peter 2:19-22, and Revelation 3:19,  for example). And, that’s a much bigger risk to take.

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(Scripture from the NKJV and KJV)

– “Come now, and let us reason together”, says the Lord, “Though your sins be as scarlet – they shall be white as the snow. Though they be crimson – they shall be as wool.” – Isaiah 1:18

“Why I am doing this anyway?” … or … “What’s the reason for all this living?” It’s those nagging little voices inside our heads asking us questions like these. They seem to pipe up at the most inopportune times – and they don’t seem to want to shut up anytime soon – even though we would give almost anything to silence them.

Even though some may have a very strong sense the world’s ways are not working out as anticipated or imagined – they wallow in them continually. They’re wishing something in their fleeting lives would finally be the one thing to give some permanent meaning to it all. One true reason that does not seem to be just one more lie. This is where the devil comes in.

Satan is the father of all lies – and the god of this world. The devil and his ministers of righteousness bombard us daily with all kinds of temptations and twistings of the truth. All in hopes of keeping those who buy in and succumb to them from seeing the glorious light of the gospel (John 8:44, 2 Corinthians 4:4, 2 Corinthians 11:14-15). People know it’s wrong – but they keep playing and paying along.

Why is this? Because a lot of the devil’s deceptive devices appear to be fun and exciting, delectable and enticing. Whatever Satan offers us may make us feel really good inside for a while – but then we have to usually whip out our wallets again to recapture that emotion. We often can feel really bad about ourselves in between the time the newness of the first feeling wears off – and we get the rush of the next one.

In her beautiful 1996 song “Angel” – written and sung by Sarah McLachlan, there is a line that goes, “There’s always some reason to feel not good enough – and it’s hard at the end of the day.” This world will give us dozens of reasons to feel not good enough about ourselves every night as we head for bed.  However, so many keep buying into the muddled and contradictory messages we seem to hear every day from advertisers – hoping any bad image of themselves will permanently pass them by in doing so.

We’re missing something but we’re not sure what – more money or material possessions don’t seem to be working anymore. We’re lacking something inside – and the lusts of this world are losing their luster. Life goes on long after the thrill of living is gone (“Jack and Diane” by John Mellencamp). Just a few verses later in “Angel” – we find this line: “The storm keeps on twisting – keep building the lies – to make up for all that you lack.”

Sadly, it’s a lifelong pursuit for many people – with their eventual happiness, joy, and contentment in life always seeming to be just “out of reach.” Restlessness and weariness often begin internally long before it ever shows outwardly. Some drift from person to person, possession to possession, interest to interest. This is called boredom.

In their 1999 song “Run”, Collective Soul sings “Are these times contagious, I’ve never been this bored before – is this the prize I’ve waited for?” Later in the song they speak about “this processed sanity” and “this world of purchase.” It’s kind of ironic really. It’s contagious – but we never seem to catch it. Almost like a dog trying to catch its tail – it never does but keeps on trying.

No matter what is going on around us, God’s Word will always give us one reason alone to feel good about ourselves at the end of every day. Our Father loves us – He does so much that He sent His only Son to die on that cross over 2,000 years ago to “purchase” our sin debt – and paid it in full with the precious blood of Christ. To taste death for all mankind – so we can be free from the bondage to our own (Hebrews 2:9-15).

It’s the very same love God sheds abroad in our hearts when we are “born again” and we receive the gift of the Holy Ghost (Romans 5:5). So we can begin to comprehend the breadth, length, depth, and height of His love for us (Ephesians 3:17-19). To silence those pestering questions of the world in our heads – and fill them with the peace of the Word. It passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7) – and that’s a pretty good reason to me.

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(Scripture from the NKJV and KJV)

– So likewise you, when you shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, “We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.” – Luke 17:10

Most of us like some sort of attention every now or then – public or private – and some more frequently than others. We like to be recognized for our efforts in any of life’s endeavors. When somebody notices us, thanks us – and accompanies it with some sort of award or reward – it makes any expenditure of time, money, or labor – seem somehow more worthwhile.

Otherwise, why did we really do anything in the first place? This can happen in education, parenting, careers – and so on. However, any type of anticipatory or expectant mindset among us as Christians is very worldly. It creates a “de-servant” approach to being a believer – rather than steady servitude that gives God all the glory in anything we do for Him (1 Corinthians 10:31).

Our Christian lives cannot be contingent on a “What have you done for me lately” mindset with God. Sacrificing His only Son on that Cross over 2,000 years ago had better be enough for all of us – at all times. Anything we do is out of gratitude for this – never out of an attitude God had still better do more things for us – to make our efforts as believers more worthwhile. We are unprofitable servants on earth (Luke 17:7-10). Whatever we do in His name below heaven is our reward – not a method and means to get one (Romans 4:4).

We have a debt to Him we can never repay (Romans 4:4). Our thanks and just reward will come in heaven – after we’ve done all He’s commanded us to do down here (Matthew 6:20, Luke 12:33, 1 Corinthians 9:16-27, 1 Peter 1:4). If that’s not good enough – we are telling God we are seeking something other than the eternal city that awaits us (Hebrews 11:13-16).  The only thanks which will really matter is when our heavenly Father smiles and says to us, “Well done, good and faithful servant – enter into the joy of the Lord (Matthew 25:23).

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