Always abounding!

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Oct 142017
 

“But you, be strong and do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded” (2 Chronicles 15:7).

If Satan had a barn for storing his weed seeds,

-the biggest vats would be filled with discouragement seeds,

-for he’s constantly sowing them in the hearts of faithful Christians.

Many pastors are utterly worn out.

Missionaries, seeing little tangible progress, are disheartened and ready to give up their work.

Lay workers sometimes ask themselves, “Am I doing any good or is this a waste of time?”

We don’t always see immediate and impressive results from our labour.

But God promises that our work shall be rewarded.

Paul told us to be always abounding in the work of the Lord –

– knowing our labor in Him is not in vain (1 Corinthians 15:58).

We have barns, too, filled with Gospel seed.

The Bible promises:

“He who continually goes forth weeping, bearing seed for sowing, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him” (Psalm 126:6).

So don’t give up or grow weary in well-doing-

– for in due season, we’ll reap a harvest if we do not lose heart (Galatians 6:10).

(PA)

Apr 072017
 

“If you love me keep my commandments.” John 14:15.

A ruthless businessman once said to author Mark Twain-
“Before I die I mean to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. I will climb Mount Sinai and read the Ten Commandments aloud from the top.”

“I have a better idea,” Twain remarked, “You could stay home here and keep them.”

Talk is cheap.

It’s what we do that counts—not what we say—and when our words don’t match our actions, we are, as the Apostle Paul put it, as empty vessels and clanging cymbals!

One of the best lessons I learned from one of my many teachers was the written comment he seemed to relish writing in bold red letters in the column of several of my written assignments.

It simply read, “Show me. Don’t tell me.”
I got the message!

I’ve never forgotten that lesson.
It really applies to all of life’s lessons we want to impart to others—especially to our children!

Whatever we want to teach others we need to model ourselves before we can make any lasting impact on anybody else.

Otherwise what we say is unbelievable and the only person we deceive in the long run will be ourselves.

As a general rule-
– we teach best that which we ourselves most need to learn.
And the place to begin modeling what we want to teach is at home!

(PA)

Feb 282017
 

plow1

Psalm 129:3 is a vivid description of personal suffering:

The plowers plowed upon my back; they made long their furrows.” (Ps 129:3 ESV)

Many other pictures of personal suffering are found in the Word of God: going through the storm, going through the furnace, going through a battle and carrying a burden.

Why would the psalmist use plowing as a picture of personal suffering?

For one thing, he felt as if people were treating him like dirt. They were saying, “You’re just like a dirty field, and we’re going to plow right up this field, and we don’t care how you feel.” If we live for Jesus, we can expect people to treat us the way they treated Him. They treated Him like dirt.

They are plowing on your back. The central truth in this picture is that plowing is preparation for a harvest. When people are treating you like dirt, when the plows of criticism and accusation dig in your back, remember:

God is preparing you for a harvest. What kind of a harvest?

That depends on the kind of seed you plant. If you plant seeds of revenge and hatred and malice, saying, “I’ll get even with them someday,” the harvest will be bitter.

You can plant the right seeds. But if you plant the seeds of the Word of God, letting love and peace and patience reign in your heart, you can say with the psalmist that the Lord is righteous–He will resolve my problem.

Then the harvest will be one of blessing, as in verse 8: “The blessing of the Lord be upon you; we bless you in the name of the Lord!”

If you want a harvest in your life, you must plow, plant and pour water. When people treat you like dirt, when the trials of life go right through your life like a plow, get ready for the harvest.

God has a great harvest of blessing for you!
So remember to plant the right seed.

(PA)

Dec 072016
 

vineyard 1“As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.” James 2:26.

A story is told of the renowned artist Paul Gustave Doré, who lost his passport while traveling through Europe.

So when he came to a border crossing, he explained his predicament to one of the guards.

Doré hoped he would be recognized and allowed to pass because he was so famous. The guard, however, said that many people had recently attempted to cross the border by falsifying their identities.

Doré firmly insisted that he was the man he claimed to be.

“Alright,” said the official, “I’ll give you a test, and if you pass it, we’ll allow you to go through.”

So he handed him a pencil and a sheet of paper and told the artist to sketch several peasants standing nearby.

Doré did it so quickly and skillfully that the guard was convinced he was indeed who he claimed to be.

In the Christian life, the relationship between faith and works can be a great thing.

On the one hand, when it comes to your standing before God-
there’s no amount of good deeds you can do to find acceptance.

It’s by faith alone.

However, that same faith must be given substance by one’s works.

Just like Doré, what you do must validate who you claim to be.

So instead of seeing your works as making you holy, think of them as confirmation of the reality that you’ve already been made holy.

And remember that while faith alone saves-
– the faith that saves is not alone!

Pray that God would show you areas in your life where you can be diligent in validating your faith to the world through good works.

Oct 272016
 

together“The LORD of Hosts says this: Make fair decisions. Show faithful love and compassion to one another.” Zechariah 7:9.

When our relationship with God is spiritually healthy-
– the people around us will know it by the way we treat them.

Too often we’re like the Israelites in Zechariah’s time-
– involved in religious activities that are more about ourselves than truly worshiping God.

God spoke through the prophet Zechariah to expose His people’s sinful hearts-
– as they mourned and fasted during an annual festival that commemorated the
destruction of the Temple.

God declared straightforwardly that their pious observances were-
– more about pleasing themselves
– than worshiping Him.

If the most important relationship we have has turned selfish and sinful-
– other areas of our lives will be affected.

Our relationships with the people around us will become self-serving and dysfunctional.

Nearly every prophet in the Bible, as well as our Lord Jesus-
– made a direct connection between loving God and loving people.

Worship God wholeheartedly, with selflessness and integrity-
– and His compassion will flow through you to others!

“Father, may my love for You be demonstrated in the ways-
I love the people You have placed in my life.”