Eyes on the prize!

 Future  Comments Off on Eyes on the prize!
Jan 282018
 

“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14).

A man was slowly losing his memory.

After a lengthy examination-
– the doctor said that a risky operation on his brain might reverse his condition and restore his memory.

However, the surgery would be so delicate that a nerve could be severed, causing total blindness.

The surgeon asked “So, which would you rather have, your sight or your memory?”

The man pondered the question for a while and replied:
“My sight, because I would rather see where I am going than remember where I have been.”

Our enemy is always trying to dig up the past and keep us all bound up in our failures.

But be encouraged!
Today is a new day!
Today and every day we have a choice to make!

Like Paul, we must choose to press forward and put aside our past.

We must purpose to keep our eyes on the Lord-
– not on our successes or failures,
– but upon on what can we do for Him today!

Be free from the shackles of the past!
Keep your eyes on the prize!
There’s so much work to be done!

(PA)

But He knows the best!

 God's Work in Us, Trials  Comments Off on But He knows the best!
Jan 032018
 

The little boy was so excited as he and his mother waited for signs of life from the chicken egg they hoped would soon hatch.
The mother hen had left the nest, busy caring for other newborn, and they decided they had better put this egg in a box with a light in it, to keep it warm.

They waited and waited.
Finally they heard the first tiny tap and the chick began to peck on the eggshell to be set free.

The little chick pecked and pushed and pushed and pecked.

The little boy felt so sorry for him and wanted to help.
It would be so easy to just quickly crack open the shell and let him out.

But the mother cautioned him-
– explaining that it was important for the chick to have to work hard to get out of the shell so that his body would later be strong enough to survive outside the shell.

Leaving him alone and letting him work his way out was actually an act of love.

That is the way our heavenly Father feels toward us.
He sees the many challenges which we face.

And all He would have to do is-
– just speak a word and all our problems and challenges would be solved.

But He knows the best!

He knows that allowing us to work through them,
– and “peck our way through our challenges,”
– so to speak, will enrich our lives in the long run.

God is in the character-developing work.
And our trials help develop us into what he wants us to be.

James refers to this process when he says:
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James1:2-4).

Peter speaks of the same thing:
“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith — of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire — may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed” (1 Peter 1:4-7).

Because of God’s loving and benevolent plan and purposes for us-
Paul could write, “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

(PA)

Dec 312017
 

Toward the end of the nineteenth century-

Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel awoke one morning to read his own obituary in the local newspaper:

”Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, who died yesterday, devised a way for more people to be killed in a war than ever before, and he died a very rich man.”

Actually, it was Alfred’s older brother who had died.

A newspaper reporter had bungled the epitaph.

But the account had a profound effect on Nobel.

He decided he wanted to be known for something other than developing the means to kill people efficiently and for amassing a fortune in the process.

So he initiated the Nobel Prize-

– the award for scientists and writers who foster peace.

Nobel said:

”Every man ought to have the chance to correct his epitaph in midstream and write a new one.”

Few things will change you as much as looking at your own life as though it were finished.

What kind of legacy will you leave behind one day-

– when you are gone from this earth?

Will your children, grandchildren, and family members remember you-

– as one who followed obediently after the Lord each day of your life?

You and I are surrounded by people-family, friends, and acquaintances-who are watching the words we use and the things we do in this life.

It’s not too late to begin writing your epitaph.

Strive to leave a legacy-

– that will bring others to Jesus.

Ask the Lord to make your life a testimony-

– of His love and grace to those around you and those you leave behind.

(PA)

Self image!

 Identity  Comments Off on Self image!
Dec 132017
 

“Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God” (Romans 1:1).

These days-

– people never tire debating the importance of self-image!

We are told to understand-

– what formed our self-image,

– to consider how as parents we shape a child’s self-image,

– to help others with their self-image,

– to be concerned whether or not we have a healthy self-image.

…and the list goes on.

How do you view yourself?

Now compare your self-image to how Paul viewed himself.

He viewed himself as a servant-

– literally, a slave.

He belonged without reservation to Jesus.

He viewed himself as an apostle, one who had been sent.

His life’s work was to do what God sent him to accomplish as one appointed by God.

He viewed himself as set apart-

– specifically for the ministry of the Gospel, the good news of salvation in Jesus.

How he viewed himself affected what he did.

Viewing himself as a servant affected his attitude toward God and others.

What he did and why he did it was affected by understanding himself as one sent.

Being set apart affected his aspirations, what he hoped to accomplish.

We need to view ourselves like Paul-

– who saw himself from God’s perspective.

God formed his self-image!

Accepting what God wanted in his life enabled Paul to truly be what God wanted him to be.

Do you see yourself as a set apart sent servant?

The temptation is to be in control of your own life when instead you need to recognize that Jesus is Lord.

Ask God to help you be what He wants you to be.

(PA)

But He knows the best!

 God's Work in Us, Trials  Comments Off on But He knows the best!
Dec 022017
 

The little boy was so excited as he and his mother waited for signs of life from the chicken egg they hoped would soon hatch.
The mother hen had left the nest, busy caring for other newborn, and they decided they had better put this egg in a box with a light in it, to keep it warm.

They waited and waited.
Finally they heard the first tiny tap and the chick began to peck on the eggshell to be set free.

The little chick pecked and pushed and pushed and pecked.

The little boy felt so sorry for him and wanted to help.
It would be so easy to just quickly crack open the shell and let him out.

But the mother cautioned him-
– explaining that it was important for the chick to have to work hard to get out of the shell so that his body would later be strong enough to survive outside the shell.

Leaving him alone and letting him work his way out was actually an act of love.

That is the way our heavenly Father feels toward us.
He sees the many challenges which we face.

And all He would have to do is-
– just speak a word and all our problems and challenges would be solved.

But He knows the best!

He knows that allowing us to work through them,
– and “peck our way through our challenges,”
– so to speak, will enrich our lives in the long run.

God is in the character-developing work.
And our trials help develop us into what he wants us to be.

James refers to this process when he says:
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James1:2-4).

Peter speaks of the same thing:
“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith — of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire — may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed” (1 Peter 1:4-7).

Because of God’s loving and benevolent plan and purposes for us-
Paul could write, “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

(PA)