The Quality of Our Work…

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 Corinthians 5:9-10 (KJV)

 Every Christian is answerable to Jesus for how he or she lived life.

We will not stand before the Great White Throne of Revelation20:11–that is where unbelievers will be judged.

 Instead, we will go before Christ’s judgment seat and give an account of ourselves.

Perhaps this seems like a contradiction: Believers will not be judged but will stand before Christ’s judgment seat.

The Greek word that 2 Corinthians uses for “judgment seat” is bema, which means a place of accountability. So those who believe in the Savior will not be condemned to death but will live and be accountable to Him.

 Do not confuse accountability with giving a defense.

We won’t defend our worthless actions–those things we said and did that brought no honor to the Lord or shamed His name. God likens our selfish works to wood, hay, and stubble, which are items fit only for the fire (1 Cor. 3:13).

 The valuable thoughts, words, and deeds that serve the Lord are exchanged for rewards in heaven.

What we’ll be judged on is the quality of our work.

God has given every believer an individual purpose, along with the personality, talents, and spiritual gifts needed to fulfill it.

 The question that will be answered at Christ’s judgment seat is, Did I live out my purpose to honor and glorify God?

Standing before Christ’s judgment seat is something to look forward to. We need not fear, since we are beloved co-heirs with Christ (Rom. 8:17, 34). Because of His sacrifice, we have a right to the treasures of heaven.

 He is eager to bestow them as a reward for faithfulness and obedience.

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No Small Task…

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1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (KJV)

19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

God tells us to surrender our lives to Him.

This is no small task. All our plans, every desire we feel, each entitlement that once seemed our right—everything is put aside in order to make way for our King’s will.

But perhaps you have wondered why God can ask this of us.

The Lord has every right to demand that we give Him our all.

First, Scripture teaches us that He is sovereign—the King and Ruler over the entire universe. As a result, we are under His authority, whether we choose to submit or not.

Next, through His death and resurrection, Jesus saved us from our sin and its consequences. Therefore, we are indebted to Him more than we could ever repay. And finally, He sustains us; we should consider each breath and heartbeat a gift from Him.

Undoubtedly, God is entitled to ask that we yield our life to Him.

At the same time, surrender is in our best interest.

The Father promises that following Him leads to hope and an established future. Psalm 31:19 states, “How great is Your goodness, which You have stored up for those who fear You . . .” So, while He is the Almighty One with all authority to demand our life, He promises to care for us and to do what will benefit us most.

Are you willing to put yourself aside in order to follow Jesus?

His way is best, and it offers hope, joy, and peace. We will not always like everything He chooses at the moment, but He promises to work all things for good.

Will you trust God enough to hand the reins over to Him?

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When We Don’t See Anything Happening…

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Joshua 2 (KJV)

Jericho was the first city that the Israelites needed to conquer in their quest for the land of Canaan.

When Joshua sent a pair of spies to check it out, he probably didn’t realize that he would receive a glimpse of God’s  impressive behind-the-scenes activity.

God wants us to look at every obstacle through the lens of His unlimited strength and resources. Anything that appears to block His plans is an opportunity for Him to demonstrate His sovereign power.

Just because we don’t see anything happening, that doesn’t mean He’s inactive.

Always remember that God is at work on the other side of our obstacles, arranging the details and bringing His plans to fruition. When the spies returned to Joshua, they reported that the people of Jericho were scared to death. Having heard about the Jews’ deliverance from Egypt and the parting of the Red Sea, they were gripped by fear of the Lord.

The stage was set for the conquest, yet by that point, Joshua had done nothing. Sometimes we think we need to be involved in the solution to our problem, but God is not limited with regard to whom or what He can use to accomplish His will. In this case, He worked in the hearts of the enemy by instilling demoralizing fear.

For Christians, great obstacles need not be reasons for discouragement.

Although much of the Lord’s activity is silent and invisible, we can be sure He is dynamically working out His will for our lives.

When the pieces of His plan are in place, He will move us on to victory.

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Everything We Need To Win…

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2 Timothy 2:1-4 (KJV)

1 Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
2 And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.
3 Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
4 No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.

Today’s passage is from Paul’s letter to Timothy.

The apostle encourages the young man—and, by extension, every believer—to face difficulty as a good soldier. The military term “soldier” implies that we are in a battle. And in fact, the combat started before Adam and Eve’s lifetime.

We see the first evidence when almighty God, who had created all the celestial beings, nevertheless allowed Satan and other angels (thereafter known as “demons”) to rebel against Him.

They established their own kingdom and waged war with the Lord.

Later we see this strife extend to all humankind. In the Garden of Eden, Satan tempted Eve to violate God’s command by eating forbidden fruit. Her disobedience corrupted mankind’s innocence, and ever since, all human beings have been born with a nature bent away from the Lord—and with a profound need for a Savior.

Tempted by Satan in the wilderness, Jesus modeled how to be victorious in spiritual conflict: by means of Scripture.

God’s Word gives us everything we need to win—from offensive and defensive weapons (Eph. 6:10-17) to the proper perspective on our adversaries’ real identity:

“Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the . . . spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places” (v. 12).

When we see ungodliness in our society, the Enemy may at times seem to be winning. Yet we who are saved have assurance that we belong to Him who is greater—and who will have the final victory (1 John 4:4; John 16:33).

View daily battles biblically and look to God, who is mightier than all evil.

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An Important Scriptural Truth…

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 Proverbs 12:14 (KJV)

14 A man shall be satisfied with good by the fruit of his mouth: and the recompence of a man’s hands shall be rendered unto him

Galatians 6:7-10 states, “Whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.

For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life . . . [So] let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.”

This passage contains an important scriptural truth: Our positive actions will ultimately benefit us, whereas our negative deeds will eventually bring harmful repercussions.

This principle goes hand in hand with the Golden Rule, which says we are to treat others the way we want to be treated.

The Lord calls us to be kind and respectful toward other people, even when they aren’t easy to love. Admittedly, this can be difficult when an individual wrongs us continually. But if we give in to our flesh and retaliate, we are sowing seeds of corruption, and in due time, we will reap accordingly.

On the other hand, treating someone well—even after he has been unkind— will profit us.

According to Scripture, we are “sow[ing] to the Spirit” and will reap rewards. Some benefits may be supernatural and unknown to us at the time. Yet we know that obedience in this situation will facilitate forgiveness, build character, and develop endurance.

No matter what the other person does, we always win when we walk in obedience with the Lord.

Think of relationship challenges as a chance for others to witness God’s love in action.

With His help, you can sow seeds of love, joy, and peace that will yield a rich harvest for your own life as well as for the other person.

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A Seal of The Pledge…

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Revelation 19:4-9 (KJV)

4 And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia.
5 And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great.
6 And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.
7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.
8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.
9 And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.

The first chapter of Matthew lists the lineage of Jesus Christ: 42 generations starting with the miracle child born to Abraham and ending with the miracle of deity assuming human form.

In between are the names of a schemer, a prostitute, a murderer, kings, and former idol worshipers.

These men and women had their lives transformed by God and, by His supernatural workings, were given a place in the ancestry of our Savior. God protected this line despite deceit, betrayal, war, captivity, and assimilation.

It is this same God who promises us eternal life through Jesus Christ.

The Bible recounts promise after promise from God, and 2 Corinthians 1:20 reassures us that they are all “yes” in Christ. We who are born again through faith in Jesus are given a permanent place in God’s family, which is guaranteed by both the Father and the Son (John 10:28-29).

The Holy Spirit is given to us as a seal of the pledge, ensuring that we will receive our eternal inheritance as children of God (2 Cor. 1:21-22).

For the guarantee of eternal life to take effect, there is but a single requirement—that we enter into a personal relationship with Christ.

The Lord Himself registers our name in the Lamb’s book of life (Rev. 21:27). There are no additional specifications to meet for the guarantee to be in effect, and it remains in place forever.

Eternal life belongs to us the instant we become children of God. The Lord has promised, and we can count on it. Hallelujah!

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Nothing Is More Profitable…

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2 Timothy 3:14-17 (KJV)

14 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;
15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

This world offers financial plans, weight loss programs, and a host of other opportunities that all claim to yield beneficial results.

But nothing is as profitable to us as Scripture.

God’s plans for you do not stop at salvation.

His goal is that you become conformed to the likeness of His Son, and the tool He uses to achieve His purpose is the Bible. Today’s passage outlines His comprehensive program for your spiritual transformation.

The foundation is laid with the teaching of Scripture’s basic truths. These doctrines about God’s character and work anchor our souls during the storms of life and protect us from deception.

Since we all have certain flesh patterns, perfection is impossible, and we sometimes fall into sin.

But when Scripture offers reproof, we are convicted about our wrongdoing.

This is followed by correction.

The Lord never convicts us and leaves us in the mess we have made. He provides what we need to make things right.

The final step is training in righteousness.

Think of this as a one-on-one discipleship course with the Word of God. If we heed the instruction and discipline of Scripture, we’ll grow in obedience and godliness and eventually will find that we need less reproof and correction.

Full participation in God’s scriptural benefit package involves three steps:

Read the Bible each day; believe everything God says in His Word—not just the parts that appeal to you (Heb. 4:2); and do what He says.

You will become equipped and qualified to fulfill His purpose for you.

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Great Faith Begins With Small Steps…

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 1 Kings 18:1-15 (KJV)

1 And it came to pass after many days, that the word of the Lord came to Elijah in the third year, saying, Go, shew thyself unto Ahab; and I will send rain upon the earth.
2 And Elijah went to shew himself unto Ahab. And there was a sore famine in Samaria.
3 And Ahab called Obadiah, which was the governor of his house. (Now Obadiah feared the Lord greatly:
4 For it was so, when Jezebel cut off the prophets of the Lord, that Obadiah took an hundred prophets, and hid them by fifty in a cave, and fed them with bread and water.) 5 And Ahab said unto Obadiah, Go into the land, unto all fountains of water, and unto all brooks: peradventure we may find grass to save the horses and mules alive, that we lose not all the beasts.
6 So they divided the land between them to pass throughout it: Ahab went one way by himself, and Obadiah went another way by himself.
7 And as Obadiah was in the way, behold, Elijah met him: and he knew him, and fell on his face, and said, Art thou that my lord Elijah?
8 And he answered him, I am: go, tell thy lord, Behold, Elijah is here.
9 And he said, What have I sinned, that thou wouldest deliver thy servant into the hand of Ahab, to slay me?
10 As the Lord thy God liveth, there is no nation or kingdom, whither my lord hath not sent to seek thee: and when they said, He is not there; he took an oath of the kingdom and nation, that they found thee not.
11 And now thou sayest, Go, tell thy lord, Behold, Elijah is here.
12 And it shall come to pass, as soon as I am gone from thee, that the Spirit of the Lord shall carry thee whither I know not; and so when I come and tell Ahab, and he cannot find thee, he shall slay me: but I thy servant fear the Lord from my youth.
13 Was it not told my lord what I did when Jezebel slew the prophets of the Lord, how I hid an hundred men of the Lord’s prophets by fifty in a cave, and fed them with bread and water?
14 And now thou sayest, Go, tell thy lord, Behold, Elijah is here: and he shall slay me.
15 And Elijah said, As the Lord of hosts liveth, before whom I stand, I will surely shew myself unto him to day.

 

Think of faith and obedience as travel companions heading to the same destination—namely, to please and glorify the Lord.

You cannot have one without the other.

They grow simultaneously as they are practiced but will wither if neglected.

Elijah was a man with both of these qualities. He believed God and always responded in obedience. When told by the Lord to show himself to King Ahab, Elijah didn’t permit fear to stop him. He had learned through experience that the Father was faithful and trustworthy.

Fear short-circuits faith when we begin to doubt that God’s way is really best.

If we allow worry to gain a foothold in our minds, we’ll respond by refusing to do what the Lord says, which is disobedience. The result will be a change in our “travel plans,” and by rejecting the way of faith and obedience, we’re actually choosing the path of unbelief and sin.

Satan loves our fear and disobedience because they hinder the journey that God has designed for us.

We can’t believe the Lord for great things in one area of our life if we are allowing sin in another.

Self-examination is essential in the walk of faith. Where have you compromised by allowing sin a foothold? Are you resisting anything God says in His Word?

Great faith begins with small steps.

When you choose to follow God’s Word, an ever-increasing cycle of faith and obedience will begin. Don’t let fear or sin rob you of the great adventure He’s planned for your life.

Who has a better track record for choosing the right path—you or God? So believe Him!

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