Month: November 2021

In Your Face

Today, tomorrow and every single day, you are faced with constant lies.  The lies come in the form of slick advertisement with upbeat music and breathtaking scenes.  The lies are conveyed through talented actors whose lives themselves are not all what they appear to be.  The lie is simply that you need more in your life to experience real contentment and satisfaction.  Those who truly are thankful don’t get caught up in the frenzy of getting more stuff.  We all have needs and God knows that, but are you content?  Do you know how to live a life of contentment?  The apostle Paul said,

It takes a lot of personal growth to get to this spiritual summit of contentment, but that is where you can see the goodness of God all around you for miles and miles.  It’s there that you realize, “I really already have all I need in my God and Savior Jesus Christ.”  It’s at this spiritual altitude where your gratitude empowers you to overcome the non-stop nagging desires for more stuff.  We don’t know how long it took Paul to learn the most valuable life lesson, but his contentment was comprehensive because he said, “everywhere and in all things I have learned.”  That’s the life God has for us, to be content no matter where we are, and that’s how Paul was able to say, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

The advertisers are never going to stop appealing to our fleshly desires to buy more and get more because that’s what they are paid to do.  But we can keep climbing/walking/growing in our faith in God to be the one who satisfies us and meets our needs.  He already knows what we have need of, so we don’t have to be anxious or worried, but we can be content and at peace.  You can be where you are in contentment, but only as long as you are where you are “through Christ” and trust God to supply.

“THE WAY IT SHOULD BE”

 

Recently we took the training wheels off my 5 year-old grandson’s bicycle.  Actually, it was his suggestion, but we thought it was a little bit too soon since his 10 year old brother was a little late in taking his training wheels off.  While working in my shop, I could hear my 5 year-old talking to himself about riding without the training wheels.  I looked out and he was on his bike and trying to stay upright.  I just thought it was pretty cool that he was out there trying without anyone helping him.  He really wanted to make it happen.  I was blessed just watching him and hearing the conversation he was having with himself.

Later the same day, my 10 year-old grandson came out while Lansyn, the 5 year-old was going at it again.  Finally, after just a few minutes, Lansyn took off on his little green bike riding all by himself around the patio.  What a wonderful moment that was, but what topped it off was my 10 year-old grandson’s response.  Layton started yelling with excitement, “He’s doing it, He’s doing it!”  Layton was overwhelmed with joy watching his brother do what he had been working so hard to do.  As my wife and I joined in the celebration, I was reminded by Layton’s reaction of rejoicing by what Paul said in Romans 12:15:

”Rejoice with them that do rejoice.”

Layton reacted to Lansyn’s victory as if it had happened to himself.  He didn’t act like it was no big deal, nor was there any hint of jealousy over the victory.  Rejoicing when someone else rejoices is a telling sign of how you feel about that person.  Rejoicing when someone else is rejoicing is a telling sign of how connected you are to that person.  Rejoicing when someone else is rejoicing is a telling sign that their victory is important to you.  What great encouragement my 10 year-old brought to my 5 year-old all because he rejoiced with him.  This is love,
and this is the way it should be!

Work it Out!

There’s a lot of things in this life that need to be worked out, such as conflicts in marriage, troubles at work, demanding schedules, arguments between friends.  And the truth is, we should do all we can to compromise where we can and negotiate towards a common acceptable goal.  The follower of Christ also has something critically important to work out.  The apostle Paul spoke of it in his letter to the church at Philippi.

Philippians 2:12-16 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for [His] good pleasure. 14 Do all things without complaining and disputing, 15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.

We have to be careful when interpreting what Paul was saying.  He wasn’t tell those believers to “work for your salvation,” because that’s what Jesus Christ did on the cross.  On the cross Jesus said, “It is finished.”  Jesus finished the work necessary for us to have a relationship with God the Father.  So Paul was talking about the work that was not finished.  Paul was saying, “God has put something inside of you, a treasure, that needs to be worked out.”  Salvation is not something you receive and then sit on for the rest of your life waiting for it to pay off one day, but salvation is active and ongoing.  To work out your salvation you have to go inside and examine the areas in your life that are not completely surrendered to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.  The question is, are you working it out?  How often do you examine the different areas of your life?  It takes a lot of work to surrender to God’s will and God’s agenda and God’s plan.  Why, because we have our own, right?

What happens when you surrender to God’s will and God’s plan?  God works in you and when God works in you what happens?  You develop an attitude of humility, an awe of God, and greater gratitude and thanksgiving towards God.  However, there are some Christians who surrender while complaining and that’s why Paul said, “Do all things (not some things, or a few things, or the things that you agree with), but “Do all things without complaining and disputing.”  Are you challenged yet?  I can tell you that believers in Christ who work out their own salvation live life with a greater contentment and joy in God.

So, not only do we need to work out our own salvation because we have this charge on our lives and we want to experience the fullness of God in our lives, but work it out because your witness matters in all places and at all times.  There’s not much heavenly light shining through complaining Christians, so kill the complaining!  How, be conscious of it and close the gate it comes through.  Not only be conscious of it, but consider yourself to be the most blessed person on earth because you have salvation.

Work out your own salvation, how?

  1.  Through absolute surrender each day and every moment God shows you His will
  2. Without the drama of grumbling and complaining
  3. With faith believing your witness for Christ matters
  4. With an understanding that one day you will stand before God either rejoicing because you worked it out or with regrets because you constantly complained after receiving the greatest gift ever given, our salvation
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