Each Tick of The Clock…

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 2 Corinthians 5:1-10 (KJV)

1 For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven:
3 If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked.
4 For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life.
5 Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit.
6 Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord:
7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)
8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.
9 Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.
10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

Each tick of the clock brings us one second closer to our heavenly appointment with the Lord Jesus.

As believers in Christ, we will stand before Him one day and give an account for our lives. At that time we will be held accountable for our actions and recompensed for the choices we made while on earth, whether good or bad (2 Cor. 5:10).

This is not a judgment of condemnation.

At salvation, when we acknowledged Christ as our Savior, all blame was removed from us (Rom. 8:1). In taking our place on the cross, Jesus bore our sins and experienced the wrath of God against our iniquity (1 Peter 2:24). As a result, the penalty for our sin has been fully paid.

When we stand before our Lord, He’ll look to see which of our choices were in keeping with His will.

Every act of obedient service, whether large or small, will be remembered and rewarded. At the same time, I believe there will be loss and tears when our actions of selfishness and unrighteousness are considered.

Colossians 3 gives us a picture of who we are to be and how God wants us to live: our minds should be focused on things above, not earthly matters (v. 2). And we are to get rid of anger, malice, and slander, clothing ourselves instead with compassion, kindness, and patience (vv. 8, 12).

Since the Lord holds us accountable for our actions, it is urgent that we replace ungodly patterns with righteous ways. Both inward attitudes and outward behavior matter to Him. When facing decisions each day, seek scriptural guidance and godly counsel.

Then reflect on which choice would please God.

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Contagious Joy…

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1 John 1:1-4 (KJV)

1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;
2 (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;)
3 That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.
4 And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.

Jesus calls us to be His “witnesses.”

When some Christians hear this word, they worry that they need exceptional skill or charisma in order to share the good news with others. Yet to witness is not to merely speak of the “plan of salvation” to someone. The word literally means to see, hear, or know by personal presence and perception; to testify; bear witness to; give or afford evidence of.

When John wrote that he was sharing what he had experienced first-hand, he was saying, “I am full of joy because of the experience of knowing Jesus, and I want to invite you to share in that joy!”

When you’re in love with someone, you are excited about the relationship and time spent together.

Likewise, when you’re in love with Jesus, you can’t keep to yourself the joy that comes from knowing Him—it just spills over, bearing witness and strengthening other believers.

In fact, as you give testimony of who God is and how He’s working in your life, it makes no difference whether you speak quietly or with great exuberance: in their spirit, Christians will pick up on the deep, genuine gladness in your heart that goes beyond natural happiness. And people who don’t yet know the Lord will find themselves hungering for the relationship you have.

In that way, they will be drawn to His Spirit in you.

Witnessing is not a matter of eloquence or talent. It’s an overflow of the personal relationship with Jesus Christ that is conforming you to His image.

As you allow the Holy Spirit to increasingly express His life and power through you, contagious joy will be “fruit” of His indwelling presence.

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Satisfy The Inborn Hunger…

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Isaiah 55:1-5 (KJV)

1 Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.
2 Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.
3 Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.
4 Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people.
5 Behold, thou shalt call a nation that thou knowest not, and nations that knew not thee shall run unto thee because of the Lord thy God, and for the Holy One of Israel; for he hath glorified thee.

The story of David inspires us to want an intimate relationship with God.

But where does that kind of passion come from? It is not manufactured or created by effort or will power. And we cannot work ourselves into a state of genuine yearning for the Lord—our carnal nature would never allow us to sustain that level of devotion.

A hunger and thirst for God is actually a gift from the Lord Himself.

God predestined us to be conformed to the image of His Son, so He planted within us an innate desire to know and be known by the Savior. The problem is that many people, mistaking this yearning for cravings of other kinds, pursue things like affection, flattery, or fame. They go through life trying to create whatever kind of personal connection they can to fulfill desires they don’t even understand.

All too often, the result is empty relationships, excessive work, and immoral behavior.

People rush from here to there doing their best to satisfy an inborn hunger created by Almighty God Himself—a hunger so powerful that it will be sated by nothing less than intimacy with God. David knew there was only one solution to the constant yearning in his heart.

As St. Augustine said, “Our hearts are restless till they find their rest in Him.”

God has created within all of us the capacity to have a deep personal relationship with Him. But our sin nature does not give us the power to generate such intimacy.

If you find yourself trying to satisfy your inborn hunger in your own strength, turn to the Lord, who is the author of your desires.

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The Life-Source For Our Souls…

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Romans 1:16-17 (KJV)

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

Lightning storms have a way of captivating our attention; they are a visual display of God’s amazing strength.

Even more powerful, however, is something He has entrusted to us—the gospel.

This term comes from euangélion, the Greek for “good news,” which was translated asgodspel in Old English. Salvation in Christ truly is good news, for though sinfulness reigns in men’s hearts, God can overcome the darkness and redeem our souls.

This is the message of the entire Bible, from creation to eternity. 

In Genesis, we see the love of God for man, but we are also shown how His heart broke when sin entered the human race through Adam and Eve. Mankind was lost until Jesus took our sins upon Himself. As our substitute on the cross, He endured the penalty we all deserved, and then defeated death with His resurrection. This is triumph, indeed.

Think about the strength of the gospel.

God’s Word isn’t simply ink on a page; it is living, active, and sharper than a sword (Heb. 4:12), with power to change anyone—even the vilest of sinners. Even us.

Think about what divine truth is able to do: it can break the chains of sin, heal brokenness, and change hearts. It also guides us into wisdom and choices that bring life. Friend, we have access to the most powerful message in existence.

What’s your response to the gospel?

Are you grateful for being entrusted with God’s life-giving Word? The Lord tells us to meditate on Scripture daily and to obey eagerly, as it is the life-source for our souls.

He also instructs us to share the wonderful news of salvation with a hurting, hopeless world.

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Learning The Lessons…

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1 John 1:3-6 (KJV)

3 That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.
4 And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.
5 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:

Starting at age five, our children are enrolled in school and given lessons to learn each year.

We are students too. At salvation, we became participants in the Lord’s school of obedience. There, we are discovering the necessity of trusting Him and waiting for His direction.

We are taught the importance of commitment and learn to search His Word for guidance.

God also wants us to learn these lessons:

• Listen attentively to the Spirit’s promptings. Our God does not speak in an audible voice, but He makes Himself heard quite clearly through the Holy Spirit. Jesus said the Spirit is our Helper who will bring to mind Scripture passages we have studied (John 14:26) and show us how they apply.

• Obey the next step. Abraham was called to leave his home and journey to an unknown destination (Gen. 12:1). He obeyed even though the way was unclear to his human mind. We, too, must step out in faith even when we do not know all the details of the itinerary.

• Expect conflict. We can’t live obedient lives without having trouble with the world (John 16:33). Our friends or family may drift away when they realize certain interests of ours have changed. Some may hurl criticism our way or call us unkind names, while others may reject us completely.

Practicing a lifestyle of obedience doesn’t mean we’ll never make mistakes. But it does require diligence if we are to succeed. Obeying the Father was Jesus’ priority and purpose in life, and we should make it ours as well.

Which of these lessons do you want to tackle first?

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When Contentment is Elusive…

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Philippians 4:11-13 (KJV)

11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.
12 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

God has provided us with many things to enjoy.

But too often our lives are filled with turmoil instead of contentment. Four practices that create dissatisfaction are . . .

Busyness. We live in a hurry-up society, dashing from one activity to another. Jesus did not rush anywhere, yet He accomplished whatever God gave Him to do. Not once did He tell His followers to move faster. He even praised Mary for choosing to stop her work and spend time with Him (Luke 10:39, 42).

Earthly perspective. Too often we live focused on our circumstances. Our minds think about what happened earlier in the week, what’s on today’s agenda, and the activities occurring next week, month, or year. No wonder enjoyment of life remains elusive. The solution is to have an eternal perspective, which acknowledges that God is in charge and our goal is to please Him.

Self-imposed pressure. We have all experienced the unavoidable burdens of schoolwork, employment, and relationships. But we bring needless pressure on ourselves when we allow unnecessary “musts” and “shoulds” to rule us. The remedy is to turn to God, acknowledge His right to order our days, and ask for His plan.

Unhealthy attitudes. Perfectionism, false guilt, and apathy all undermine our enjoyment of life.

Satisfaction is found in a life that reflects God’s priorities—and time with Him comes first. Reading His Word, we become mindful of the Father’s great love, learn what He views as important, and experience the joy of belonging to Him.

When contentment is elusive, it’s time to examine our priorities.

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The Greatest Gift of All…

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John 3:15-21 (KJV)

15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.

21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

Even children understand that unless a present is opened and explored, its value will remain unknown.

Yet many people neglect “unwrapping” God’s gift of salvation through Jesus. They receive His forgiveness but fail to discover the marvelous treasures made available to them as children of God.

When God the Son came to dwell on earth, He took on human flesh.

This mystery is known as the incarnation. Jesus, who was fully God, lived a sinless life. Yet He was also fully human. Without Christ, we would be eternally separated from God the Father. The sin we all inherited through Adam does not allow fellowship with the perfect God. So the Savior took our iniquities upon Himself and endured the death penalty in our place. And then He rose from the dead.

In doing this, Jesus redeemed us and opened the door for eternal fellowship with the Father.

Any who so choose can accept mercy instead of punishment. It is God’s free gift, which includes an eternal home in heaven. We will live forever with Christians from every generation and can look forward to reuniting with loved ones who have already died in the Lord. A small baby in a manger was truly the greatest gift of all time.

Do you have a relationship with Almighty God?

Jesus came to redeem you. If you haven’t accepted His salvation, take this opportunity: admit your need for forgiveness, and ask Christ to be your Savior.

The gift is wrapped and ready, waiting for you to open and enjoy all God has given.

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A Gap In Your Spiritual Armor…

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1 Thessalonians 5:16-24 (KJV)

16 Rejoice always,
17 pray continually,
18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
19 Do not quench the Spirit.
20 Do not treat prophecies with contempt
21 but test them all; hold on to what is good,
22 reject every kind of evil.
23 May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
24 The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it

Is there something God has told you to do that seems just too difficult?

You can be sure that if He has called you to carry out His will, He’s going to be faithful to accomplish it through His Spirit living and working in you. So if you tell Him, “I can’t do that, Lord—what if I fail?” you’re really saying, “God doesn’t keep His word.” And yet, our total expectation should be in Him—not in our own energy, ability, or experience.

When you doubt God’s trustworthiness, that unbelief becomes a gap in your spiritual armor, and you can be sure that’s exactly where Satan will attack you.

You’ll begin to doubt even more about God’s character, such as His goodness—and that distrust will become a heavy load of baggage you’ll needlessly drag through every area of your life.

You might feel that you do not have enough faith to obey, but the Lord isn’t asking you to have faith in favorable circumstances. He’s asking you to trust that He is who He says He is.

Do you believe that God is a liar?

It’s really that simple: either He is truthful or He’s not. But if you believe that faithfulness is His character, then you can do anything He requires. You’ll be strengthened by your dependence on Him—whether a deluge or trials or a flood of blessing comes.

It’s actually when life gets rough and rugged that the sweetness of God’s faithfulness makes itself real in your heart.

As you walk through those storms in complete reliance on His strength, your trust in His character becomes part of who you are and strengthens from within.

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