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It doesn’t take too much time spent in the soup line of sin before complete apostasy can occur (1 Jn. 5:16). One has described it this way, “Sin teaches you more than you want to know. It takes you farther than you want to go. It costs you more than you want to pay. It keeps you longer than you want to stay.”

It is thought that David, with his pen of contrition, wrote Psalm 51 following his sin with Bathsheba. In this Psalm he identifies the fault which had overtaken him. Notice the words that he wrote, “Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me” (Psa. 51:2,3).  

After David’s sin with Bathsheba, and following the murder of Uriah (1 Sam. 11), Nathan was sent by God to restore David (1 Sam. 12). Nathan was a friend to David; and yes, we might call him a brother—at least one performing the duty of a brother. 

Sin had its hold on David and so Nathan acts as a brother (by divine guidance) and serves as an illustration to the words of Paul when he said, “…if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one…” (Gal. 6:1). 

When sin, no matter how big or small, sneaks up on my brother, I should have my brother's back.

I hope you have a great day! 

 
 
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Rudy Ruettiger wrote,

There's no such thing as a dishonorable profession. One great carpenter is worth a dozen paper shufflers in an office somewhere. MBAs are a dime a dozen, but a truly great auto mechanic is a treasure.

Say, what are you doing with your life? 

I was once told by a discouraged employee: "I've wasted my whole life playing around at jobs and now it's too late to start a career." 

First, it's never too late to start doing what you really want to do. 

Second, don't let a job define who you really are. 

A career today is different from a career yesterday. Today's career may be someone working three jobs to provide for the family and to support what they really love--doing mission work during the summer months. 

So, what are you doing with your life? If every moment is spent "working the routine" then your job is defining who you are. 

If you're a Christian, the most important thing that your remembered for when you leave this planet is not going to be how many deals you closed, numbers you crunched, or projects you lead.

The number one thing is, was he a faithful Christian? At work, did he exhibit the qualities of Jesus and did he seek to do good and serve his fellow man? In so doing, how many folks did he try to bring to the Lord?

You see, there's no dishonorable profession if at the heart of every professional is, "how will I glorify God today?" 

The Bible says, "And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him" (Col. 3:17).

I hope you have a great day!

 

Do Right

07/29/2014

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The former Notre Dame and University of South Carolina football Coach, Lou Holtz, is outspoken in his commentary on sports and even politics. He's a popular speaker, and gives no-nonsense and humorous speeches designed to motivate people to be better. 

In one of his speeches, "Do Right," Holtz asks the following questions:
  1. Can I trust you?
  2. Are you committed?
  3. Do you care?
As a Christian, we need to be able to answer these questions in the affirmative.

I'm to be trustworthy. My word needs to mean something. If a Christian's word can't be counted on, whose can? The Bible says, "But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath:but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation" (Jas. 5:12).

I'm to be committed. Following Jesus is a voluntary self-sacrifice. Jesus said, "...If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me" (Mt. 16:24). Self-denial is a struggle in the "me-generation" in which we live. Yet, if we're going to love God and be more like Jesus then we must resolve to put Him first in all we do, say, and think.

I'm to care. You've heard the adage, "people don't care how much you know until they know how much you care." We must not only care about being right with God (2 Tm. 2:15), but we also must do right by others. Again, we go to the words of Jesus which say, "Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them:for this is the law and the prophets" (Mt. 7:12). It's the Golden Rule. "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

Closing with the simple words of Coach Holtz, "Do Right!"

Have a great day!

 
 
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Have you ever been misunderstood? Perhaps it was a misunderstanding that led to you being falsely accused. Such happened to one of the great Old Testament prophets--Jeremiah. You can read about this in Jeremiah 37.

When Jeremiah left Jerusalem to go into the land of Benjamin, a man who had the ears of the people, took Jeremiah by force and openly accused him of falling away to the Chaldeans. Irijah, by name, was the one who said Jeremiah had "fallen from grace." 

Jeremiah, who thought he was going on an innocent trip, found himself abused, beaten, and imprisoned. All of this was because of a horrible false accusation. 

Such often happens to those who are trying to live for God. If you're a faithful Christian and you've not been the victim of a misunderstanding or false accusation, just wait. It will happen to you. The question is, what do you do when you find yourself the victim of misplaced ridicule?

You could say nothing. In point of fact, that's sometimes the best response. Allow that to be an opportunity of self-reflection. I recall Jesus being falsely accused, and his response was to "answer not a word" (Jn. 13).

You could deny the accusation and then show how it's not truthful. When given the opportunity, Jeremiah did just that. 

You could, after having done all you can to reveal your innocence, simply give it to God. Jeremiah, while being falsely accused and then being thrown in the dungeon, turned it over to God. He knew that God would care for him. 

Reflecting on this passage, Weirsbe writes, "Jeremiah did not have an easy life, but he had a good conscience for he knew he had been faihtful to God." 

I'd rather have difficult days and a conscience that's at peace with God and myself, than a life of ease and the inability to look at myself in the mirror. What about you?

 
 
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This morning on a national news program, the sheriff of Saginaw county was interviewed about the uniforms that his inmates wear. He recently switched their jumpsuits from orange to horizontal black and white stripes. He said the change was for the safety of the citizens of his county. It's been observed that some citizens have been wearing similar outfits in the same color and he wanted folks to be able to distinguish between who is an inmate and who is not. 

One of the morning show hosts asked how the inmates felt about the change. The sheriff said, some of them don't like it. He said that one inmate told him that the black and white striped suits make them look like criminals. Duh!

The sheriff talked about how some inmates complain about the required clothing and the food they have to eat. He said that he has a solution. He tells disgruntled inmates, "don't come back." He went on to say that people become criminals and consequently inmates by their own choice.

Faith is the same way. Some choose to believe in God, and others do not. The point is that it's a choice. Listen to Jesus' words:

For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 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. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God (Jn. 3:17-21)

Want to be saved? Believe [obey] Jesus. Don't want to be condemned? Love the light more than darkness, and do good deeds rather than evil ones. 

Make the right choices today. If you don't and the consequences are not to your liking, then remember that it was your choice.

Hope you have a great day!



 
 
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My wife, daughter, and I recently visited one of our sweet family's from church who just had their first baby. They were so kind to let us hold this perfect little princess giving us the opportunity to reflect back on what it was like to hold our own newborn babies.

While taking my turn the little darling decided to fill up her diaper. Of course, the best thing about holding someone else's child when this happens is the fact that I can give her back so they can enjoy the duty of changing the diaper. 

This morning I read the story of parents who just brought their first child home from the hospital. Shortly after getting home, the wife thought it would be good for her husband to try his hand at changing diapers. He said, "I'm busy, but I'll do the next one." The next time the diaper needed changing she asked if he was ready to take his turn. After a moment of silence he said, "I didn't mean the next diaper. I meant the next baby."

Isn't it interesting how we often put off "taking our turn" at doing what we know we need to do? Perhaps it's correcting a personal offense (Mt. 18:15). Maybe it's inviting a neighbor to church, or asking for that one-on-one Bible study (Mk. 16:15-16). Or, could it be that we've been putting off deciding to become a Christian? 

The Bible tells us of another man who wanted that more convenient season--Felix. You can read about that situation in Acts 24:22-27. The problem about waiting for that next opportunity is that sometimes it just never comes.

When granted an opportunity to do good this week, do it. Don't wait for another one, as it may never come.

Have a great day!

 
 
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Read Esther 4:10-14

One of the greatest examples of the providential hand of God is found in the book of Esther. In it are these words: “who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

Now, I don't know every situation in which God is involved in the lives of men, and neither do you. However, I do know that He's still "on the job." 

Today, you and I have and will witness the general providence of God. Jesus said, "That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust" (Mt. 5:45). If you received a good night sleep, it was the general providence of God. If you were up in time to see the sun rise, you witnessed the general providence of God. God is constantly at work in our lives. Some of these examples of God's providence are observed by us each and everyday. However, there are more specific ways in which God works in our lives today that are not so obvious. 

Did God put _________ in my life because He knew I needed her? Maybe. Did God allow me to leave the house a few minutes late so it wouldn't be me in that awful accident on the interstate? Maybe. Did God move us to this town, which has an exceptional neonatal unit, just in time for our premature baby to be born and to receive a fighting chance at survival? Maybe. I guess we could speculate all day about these sorts of things. 

In reality, we don't always know when we're seeing God's providence, but we know He's on the job. David believed God was at work in his life (Psa. 23). The Proverbs writer believed that God was at work in the lives of His people (Pro 3:6). The disciples were taught by Jesus himself that God would work in their lives as well (Mt. 6:11). 

I don't know how and when God is working things out, but I know He's working. I thank God for His love, care, and providence in my life.

I hope you have a great Monday, wonderful week, and will take time to stand in awe of God's working in your life--whether you can see it or not.

 
 
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"What do you want to be when you grow up?" Following the lead of my friend, Glenn Colley, that's a question we ask our Piedmont Road young people all the time. Now, most of them say they want to be a faithful Christian. Our little Bekah used to say "a faithful kitchen." That's okay, God understands, and from what I understand from my Bible about God's sense of humor, I kind of suspect it put a smile on His face.

What about you? Yes, I know you want to be a faithful Christian? But what else? Well, what else is there? 

True, yet there are things that will aid you in your faithful Christian walk.

Mahalia Jackson said, "The Good Lord can make you anything you want to be, but you have to put everything in His hands."

What you want to be should be directly tied to what you can do to be a greater servant in the kingdom of God. After all, "you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away" (Jas. 4:14). Therefore, your short life and mine should be spent seeking to better serve God. That's right, "my life" isn't really mine. It belongs to the Lord.

So, what will you do with your life? 

Want to be financially successful? You can be, and in turn be a benefit to others (3 Jn. 1,2).

Want to be a better parent? It's never too late, and you can start right now training your children to be faithful Christians. Sit down with your children tonight, offer an apology and say "from tonight on, things are going to be different (Eph. 6:4).

Want to be a more diligent employee? Why not start today? Don't be slothful, be a standout! (Rm. 12:11).

Want to be a better friend? Perhaps all that's needed is a conversation over a cup of coffee and some apologies to set things right (Psa. 35:14).

So, whatever it is that I want to do, I must put it in His hands. But how? Well, have you talked to the Lord about it in prayer lately?

I hope you have a great day!

 
 
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Harry S. Truman is quoted as saying:

"How far would Moses have gone if he had taken a poll in Egypt? What would Jesus Christ have preached if he had taken a poll in the land of Israel? . . . It isn't polls or public opinion of the moment that counts. It is right and wrong and leadership."

If you wait for approval or permission to do right by someone, that opportunity may never come.

If you're waiting for the right time to correct a personal offense, you may wait until it's too late.

If it's the perfect opportunity you're looking for to share the Gospel of Jesus, then every other opportunity will have passed you by.

If you want the go ahead from a neighbor to do for them a good deed to show you care, the nod may never come.

If you're looking for approval from friends and family to render complete and total dedication to the Lord, you may wait for a tomorrow that never happens.

The Bible says, "For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation" (2 Cor. 6:2).

What if you always waited for permission to do the right thing? Something to think about.

I hope you have a great day!

 
 
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C.S. Lewis once wrote, "The moment you wake up each morning, all your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals." I might add to that, all the concerns for those you love and know as well. 

I don't know about you, but from the moment I get up my mind is racing, and sometimes it seems that it is working overtime as I try to sleep at night. I'm constantly thinking about lessons to be studied, essays needing to be written, visits to be made, personal studies to be conducted, and people, events, and situations that I need to talk to the Lord about.

This morning, I'm praying for:

Lives that have been touched by difficulty. 
Couples expecting children to be born.
Men and women in uniform around the world.
Homes that are in shambles.
Churches in turmoil.
My children, their school, teachers, and staff.

Sometimes, all that I need to pray for overwhelms my heart. 

Here's something that William Barclay said that we should keep in mind when we pray:

1. The love of God that wants the best for us.
2. The wisdom of God that knows what is best for us.
3. The power of God that can accomplish it.


"Ere you left your room this morning, did you think to pray?" I suspect you have a lot on your mind--much that needs to be prayed for. If not, you could at least pray for me :-).

The Psalmist said, "Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice" (Psa 55:17).

I hope you have a great day!