Be Not Conformed!

Good morning everyone!  I hope each of you reading this has a good day today!  Just as it does eachIMG_20150720_063313549 day, today the world will try to influence you into being what it thinks you ought to be.  Don’t let it!  Romans 12:1-2 – “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.  And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind. that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

 

Patience, Patience, Patience!

Several years agLet God Speako it was common to hear the phrase, “Be patient, God’s not finished with me yet!”  Those words could be seen on T-shirts, coffee mugs, lapel pins, they have even been used as lyrics in a song!  The person who used this slogan was asking others to be longsuffering.  Isn’t this an important building block of love for others?  The apostle Paul wrote, “Love suffereth long” (I Corinthians 13:4).  Yes, love is patient!

What should motivate us to be patient with others?  First, we should be motivated by God’s patience toward us.  God’s delay in bringing his judgment upon the world is an indication of his patience, enabling every man to have an opportunity to repent before it is too late (II Peter 3:9).

Second, we should be motivated by Christ’s patience with those who mistreated him.  When Christ was mistreated he refused to get even.  When he suffered, he did not threaten in return (I Peter 2:19-24).

Third, we should be motivated to be patient toward others when we realize that this is the only way we can be pleasing to God (Colossians 1:10-11).

Be patient.  God’s not finished with me yet!

 

Would You Call 911?

If your house were911 on fire, would you call 911?  Of course, you would!  If you saw a prowler in your back yard, would you call the police?  Of course!  If someone in your family were seriously hurt and needed help, would you call for an ambulance?  Definitely!  We would all call for help if we needed it.

When the multitude came to the Garden of Gethsemane to take Jesus to be crucified, one of those who were with Jesus (Peter) took out his sword and struck one of the high priest’s servants, cutting off his ear.  Jesus then told him, “Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.  Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels” (Matthew 26:52-53)?

Jesus could have, figuratively speaking, called 911.  My savior had the opportunity to call for help but chose not to.  Instead, he chose to give his life for me. Rather than save his own life, he chose to lay down his life to save me, to give me eternal life!

Today, I am thankful Jesus chose to go to the cross for me!

Our Eternal Home

I’ve been thinking lately about where I would like to live when I retire.  (Yeah, I know…..no use thinking about it too much just yet…..it’s still several years in the future…..still fun to think about it just the same).  A cabin somewhere in the mountains would be nice.  Or nestled on the shore of a sparkling lake.  Ah, I know the perfect place!  A small bungalow on the beach!  Going to sleep at night with the sound of the waves crashing on the shore.  Waking up with the sound of the birds feeding along the coast.  Enjoying a walk along the beach every morning and experiencing the pleasure of bare feet in the sand. That’s it; the perfect retirement home!

I suppose it’s ok to think about these things.  But don’t get too carried away.  There’s a danger of getting tobeach houseo “attached” to this world. It doesn’t make sense to think of anywhere in this world as the perfect retirement home.  What DOES make sense is focusing on the Christian’s eternal home.  How long will your retirement years last?  Ten years?  Twenty?  Thirty?  For some people, maybe more. But of what significance is any length of time on this earth when compared to an eternity in heaven?  Very short indeed.

We are merely pilgrims on this earth.  No wonder Peter wrote, “Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;” (I Peter 2:11).  Paul’s words remind us that our conversation (citizenship) is in heaven (Philippians 3:20).  The things of this world are fleeting (II Corinthians 4:16-5:10).  The things of this world will one day come to an end.  “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up” (II Peter 3:10).  It’s impossible to describe just how insignificant your retirement home on this earth will be when time (as we know it) is no more.

There is a perfect place to live.  But it’s not to be found anywhere on earth.  It’s out of this world.  Friends, I’m speaking of heaven.  Hope to see you there!

Behold, the Lamb of God

In John Chapter One, we are introduced to Jesus as the Word.  Later in that same chapter, we are introduced to John the Baptist, the one who was to prepare the way for Christ.  lamb-of-God-535x360Then, in John 1:29, we are again introduced to Jesus, this time as the Lamb of God – “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”

Look, see, the Lamb of God!  We need to do more than merely look; we need to focus our attention on Jesus Christ.  We need to concentrate on Christ.  To closely examine His life so that we may learn from Him.

“Behold, the Lamb of God” reminds us of Jesus’ purpose for being made in the flesh and dwelling among us – to offer His life as a sacrifice for our sin.  Isaiah 53:6-7 portrays Jesus as a submissive sacrifice.  Also see I Peter 2:21-23.  Jesus was a substitute sacrifice in that He bore the consequences of our sin.

“Behold, the Lamb of God” reminds us that Jesus is the only sacrifice that could ever provide us with the forgiveness of our sin.  Nothing else and no one else would ever do!  Acts 4:12 – “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”

“Behold, the Lamb of God” reminds us that Jesus was sent by God.  John 3:16-17 – “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.”  God sending His Son to save man was a sign of God’s great love for all mankind.

“Behold, the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” reminds us of the power of the blood of the Lamb.  Jesus is not a Lamb that makes it possible for us to ignore our sin, hide our sin or gloss over our sin.  Jesus, as the Lamb of God, offered his life for us in order that our sin could be taken away.  Because of the power of the blood of the Lamb our sin is taken from our lives, never to be brought up again.  1 Peter 1:18-19 – “18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:”

Makes you wonder, doesn’t it.  Why do we often try so hard to cling to that which Jesus wants to take away?

Counting Grains of Sand

Have you ever wondered how many grains of sand are in one cup of sand?  (Yeah, I know, you’re probably thinking, “Are you nuts?  I’ve got a lot more important things to think beachabout!”)  Jochem Hendricks, along with twelve assistants, spent one thousand hours counting 3,281,579 grains in one cup of sand!  The object of his efforts are now on display in Frankfurt Museum of Applied Arts.

Imagine man trying to count the number of grains of sand on a mile long stretch of beach.  Impossible!  Of course!  But not any more so than trying to count the blessings we have received from God.

“How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee” ~ Psalms 139:17-18 (King James Version).

Today, I am thankful for God’s innumerable blessings!