Tuesday, September 26, 2017

reasons to live right

Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.  Hold firmly to the word of life; then, on the day of Christ’s return, I will be proud that I did not run the race in vain and that my work was not useless.  But I will rejoice even if I lose my life, pouring it out like a liquid offering to God, just like your faithful service is an offering to God. And I want all of you to share that joy.  Yes, you should rejoice, and I will share your joy.

The proverbial list is a big deal for many people.  It is for me.  Yet it is lists like the one beginning the passage above that often trips me up because I thought for years that being a “good Christian” meant doing the right stuff.

Just doing the right stuff doesn’t make us more or less a Christian.  In fact being a Christian is based on what Jesus did for us that we could not do for ourselves.  We can only be good so long before messing up, but Jesus was perfect.  He took on our imperfect, our sin, shame and guilt, placing it on the cross, and He died for our sin.

That is why we can take a list, like the one is these verses, and apply them.  Because Jesus did for me and what He did sticks, I can stand up and choose what is right.

A couple of these things aren’t easy, yet right choices breed great good in our lives.  Yes, that means that poor choice bring tough consequences in our lives.  Take a closer look.

Stop Complaining.

Live clean.

Hold tight to Biblical truth.

Share joy.

Notice anything different about this list?  Often list are dos and don’ts.  This is such a list, but there is a qualifier at the start.

It says so you won’t be criticized.  Turn that around a bit.  So others will see God.  Our actions or our inaction will point people in certain directions.

Don’t just choose to do right so you can look right.  Choose to do what is right so others will see God.  Live in such a way that people want to know why you are different.  Hold to truth that goes past the law.

Matthew 5:16  NLT
In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.

Monday, September 25, 2017

what are your hungry for!

Philippians 4:11  NASB
Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.

That is the verse the Apostle Paul shared with a group of people that he loved and was struggling.  Literally he said I have learned how to live with much, and he turned the other direction to say that he learned how to live with almost nothing.

Even King David asked God to help him stay close by not giving him too much or too little.  It is easy to be unbalanced and to want things that keep us away from God.  Something we need to learn.

Matthew 5:6  NASB
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

What are you hungry for?  Not always easy to answer.  Yet the more we want God, the more of our lives will be filled with God and what He has for us.  It is also then that we will see God work in more and awesome ways in and through our lives.

Are you we hungry for real righteousness?  That is for the understanding and gratitude that God through Jesus has changed our lives.

2 Corinthians 5:21  NASB
He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

God offers Himself to each of us.  May we be found totally hungry for God.  Longing for Him more than we want anything else.  It is free.  He offers Himself.  Yet we think at times that we have to be good or do more.  God says just want me and I will fill you with the best!

Isaiah 55:1  NASB
Every one who thirsts, come to the waters; And you who have no money come, buy and eat. Come, buy wine and milk Without money and without cost.

Friday, September 22, 2017

truth changes everything

Have you never heard?  Have you never understood?  The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth.  He never grows weak or weary.  No one can measure the depths of his understanding.  He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless.  Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion.  But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.  They will soar high on wings like eagles.  They will run and not grow weary.  They will walk and not faint.

Truth changes everything.  For too long people, some like you and me, have leaned in the wrong direction, listened to the wrong voices and even pursued the wrong choices.  That is a big deal.

When our lives are overrun with deception or lies, we will go in the wrong direction.  Consider that fact that power can come from many different sources.  Some of those are temporary.  Some of those sources are inconsistent.  Yet some sources of power are endless and always strong.

Why don’t we connect to what matters longer, what gives more strength and what just might keep us going when we are empty of everything else?  The answers vary too because everyone has a different experience.

Truth changes everything.  God is truth.  Truth is a person whose name is Jesus (see John 14:6). 

God is everlasting.  His power is unending.  His love for us never comes to an end.

God gives power to the weak and strength when no one else has any.

God reminds us that even the strongest people will run out of their own strength, but our God never runs out.

Prepare to fly with the eagles.  The only way to do this is to trust God and allow His strength to fuel your life.

This truth is life changing.  Truth changes everything, and Jesus is truth.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

verses to remember

Read on and see how each set of verses speaks to you or to the people you care about…

Philippians 4:6-7  NASB
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Joshua 1:9  NLT
This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Proverbs 3:5  NLT
Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.

Acts 11:24  NLT
Barnabas was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and strong in faith. And many people were brought to the Lord.

Hebrews 12:12  NLT
So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees.

Isaiah 40:31  NLT
But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.

That is enough for now.  You might want to remember these or even share them with others.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

know your God given value

Here is the point: value is established by the one who looks on what it is that has value. 

Take it a step further.  Your life and mine can be given value from several different sources.  I know people that use others and ascribe little to no value to the people around them that are useless to them.  That is sad.  Then there are awesome people that you and I have met who have given great value to my life.

This is like the older man I met four years ago.  He spent a couple days with me and poured much in to my life at a spiritual retreat.  Every time I see this man he continues to our even more in to my life.

We ought to be increasing the value of others.  Our spouses and our kids ought to know that we treasure them a great deal.  When we speak of them and to them we ought to add more and more value to their lives and not be taking away value.

Take a minute to see what Paul says about the value God placed in his life.

Ephesians 3:7-11  NLT
I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ.  For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith. 10 I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, 11 so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead!

The same is true about our lives.  You are valuable.  Don’t let anyone tell you any different!

reasons to live right

Philippians 2:14-18   NLT Do everything without complaining and arguing,   so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent live...