I want to remind you of a secret. It’s no secret because it’s hidden information. In fact, it’s recorded several times in the world’s most read, best-selling book of all time, the Bible, yet so few people know about this, and those who do know about it often forget it.
This time of affliction isn’t going to last much longer. We’re all here for a brief time. If you have put your faith in Jesus Christ, you can press on, knowing that all that you see happening around you is just temporary.
And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. (1 John 2:17)
Giving to others in Jesus’ name is so much fun! If you’ve ever done it, you know what I’m talking about; you can sense the nearness of God as He pours His love into someone else’s life through you. Only let your giving be done quietly, as a private matter between you and God. Jesus said:
“Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet” (Matthew 6:1-2).
Charitable deeds can be giving money or food, or it can be a hands-on giving of your time and attention. This is going to be such a great week! Let’s get to giving like stealthy ninjas who love Jesus with all our hearts!
To everything there is a season….a time to break down, and a time to build up. (Ecclesiastes 3:1,3)
I’ve been watching the demolition of a rather large shopping center in my community. In its day, a popular grocery store thrived there beside a variety store, and I frequented both businesses regularly. But both stores eventually closed years ago, and the hollow shell of the shopping center has been slowly decaying as weeds have popped up and made themselves at home in the now vacant parking lot.
I pulled into the parking lot one day to take a good look at the twisted masses of steel and the crumbling heaps of cinder blocks, and I wondered if I’d ever leaned up against any of those blocks or metal beams while waiting in a return line or shopping for a shower curtain. I felt a little nostalgic, but I knew that this was right. It was time to break down, so that something new could be built up.
Is there anything standing in the way, right in that place of your life where God wants to build something new? Are you willing to tear it down to make room for the new?
“Let me see your face,
Let me hear your voice;
For your voice is sweet,
And your face is lovely…
My beloved is mine, and I am his.”
(Song of Solomon 2:14,16)
The most important relationship you have on this earth apart from your relationship with God is your relationship with your spouse. The husband-wife relationship is to be a representation to the world of the eternal, loving, nurturing bond that God has with His people. Invest time and thought into how to romance your spouse this week. Maybe it’s time to do something sweet, or thoughtful, or sentimental, or perhaps even a little bold; the romantic bond could stand to be startled from time to time! Express your love to your spouse, thank God for your spouse, and ask God to show you how to better love your spouse day by day.
This was so weird. As I was backing my car out of the garage the other day, a squirrel dropped onto my hood out of nowhere. And as quickly as he landed, he scooted his little stealthy self into the woods and out of sight.
I put the car in park and just sat there, stunned. It wasn’t a tragedy, nor was it exactly a pleasant experience, but it certainly took me off guard.
As determined as we may be to know God and His will, sometimes things happen and all we can do is shake our heads and mutter, “I didn’t see that coming.” The Bible is filled with examples of people who walked with God and yet didn’t get a heads-up from God every time something was about to happen. Whether the surprising events of life are good, bad, or even seemingly random, these surprises remind us that God is in control, and we are not.
“Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding.” (Job 38:4)
God uses imperfect people to be pastors, teachers, and leaders in the church. As Christians, we all know what an awesome undertaking it is to set out to serve the Lord, but pastors and church leaders are held to an even higher standard according to God’s Word. They need our prayers and our support! Our critique and criticism do them no good, nor does it do us any good. God’s Word says it best in Hebrews 13:17:
Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.
I love this quote from Richard Blackaby’s book, The Seasons of God:
“Something in us may have to die in order to make room for new growth.”
If you’re hesitating to let go, maybe it’s because the loss of it seems too great. But what if the growth you’re missing out on is the greatest loss of all?
When we do what God has given us to do, we have peace, even when it’s hard. When we’re doing things out of obligation, there is no peace. In fact, through time we begin to feel stress, chaos, frustration, maybe even bitterness, because we’re not in stride with God’s will. We try convince ourselves we can do what God wants us to do, then we’ll add on what we feel guilted into doing because we’re such nice, caring people who want no one to feel unsupported, no ministry to go undone. But when we’re piling on more than God has called us to do, the calling we’re supposed to be filling suffers because our attentions are divided, and our body/mind suffers because we’re piling on more than God intended.
Pray specifically about what you’re doing, and why you’re doing it. These are not good reasons for keeping a responsibility:
No one else will do it. (If you’re filling the role, most definitely no one will do it!)
No one knows how to do it as well as I do. (Pride much?)
My friend needs me. (Your friend needs God. The Lord can use you to bless your friend, but it’s only a blessing if God’s directing it, not you.)
God loves me more when I’m busy for Him. (Wrong theology! God loves you the same all the time, to the uttermost! God is more pleased with you when you’re in His will, not merely busy.)
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)