Cedars of Lebanon
How we build is just as important as what we build. Are we using materials that will last forever, or those that will disappear? The Bible says, “…the godly will grow strong like the cedars of Lebanon.” (Psalm 92:12, NLT) It was the cedars of Lebanon that Solomon used to build God’s temple. Not surprisingly, when excavator’s unearthed King Tut’s tomb in Egypt, they found that the furniture, made of Lebanese cedar, appeared as fresh as if it had been made last week. Though over 3,000 years old, it was built to last. This begs the question: what are we building with? The Bible says, “…on the judgment day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done. The fire will show if a person’s work has any value.” (1Corinthians 3:13, NLT)
Your Inheritance Is In Your Bible
A woman died and left a will saying, “I give my nephew my Bible, and all it contains, plus my estate, after funeral expenses.” Her nephew was saddened when the funds from her estate barely covered her funeral. Over the next 30 years, he was always poor and didn’t open her Bible even once. When he finally did, after three decades, he found bank notes worth many thousands of dollars. His inheritance had been there all the time, but he didn’t care enough to discover it. Have you discovered the inheritance in your Bible? Don’t wait until the end of your life to find what you’ve been missing all along. As Job said, “I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.” (Job 23:12b, NKJV) Heaven and Earth will pass away, but God’s Word will last forever. (Matthew 24:35)
What Lie Are You Believing?
Do you feel there is a block between you and God? Then let me ask you: What lie are you believing? David believed that Saul would eventually kill him. It was a lie! But believing it caused David to live in fear, and not faith. Are you living in fear? Then, what lie are you believing? At the end of his life, David finally acknowledged, “Once I was young, and now I am old. Yet I have never seen the godly abandoned or their children begging for bread.” (Psalm 37:25, NLT) His experience had given him hope and dissolved the lie. I don’t have to experience everything Bible characters did in order to receive the benefit of their journey. I just have to believe that the same God who delivered them, who laid His life down for them, will deliver me.
Jesus Christ is God
C.S. Lewis wrote, “I have heard some people complain that if Jesus was God as well as man, then His sufferings and death lose all value in their eyes, ‘because it must have been so easy for Him’. If I am drowning in a rapid river, a man who still has one foot on the bank may give me a hand, which saves my life. Ought I to shout back (between my gasps) ‘No, it’s not fair! You have an advantage! You’re keeping one foot on the bank’! That advantage—call it ‘unfair’ if you like—is the only reason why he can be of any use to me. To what will you look for help if you will not look to that which is stronger than yourself?” (Mere Christianity) Look to Jesus! He is our only hope of being saved.
Have you been hurt by people? All of us have! The truth is, sometimes WE’VE been hurt, and other times, whether intentional or not, WE’RE THE ONES HURTING OTHERS. Those who survive the planet without becoming emotionally jaded are the ones who really win the game of life. So, how do you do that? The Bible says, “Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.” (Hebrews 12:15, NLT) “…be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4:32, NLT) Whenever we are unable to process our hurts in a healthy way, they become festering wounds, contaminating not just OUR lives, but even those closest to us. Over time we create alternate realities, a new north. “Above all else, guard your heart, for it affects everything you do.” (Proverbs 4:23, NLT)
Feeling Sorry For People
Recently, I was waiting at a store for tires to be put on my car when an elderly couple, severely hunched over with walkers, came in. My first thought about them was pity. But when we sat and chatted, I found that Laverne and Betty Bartz, 84 & 83 years old, and married 64 years, were quite extraordinary. Three times a week for the last two years, since they’re pretty much housebound, they go to Starbucks and give a gospel tract with a $5 gift certificate to the person in the car behind them. They’ve had numerous testimonies of people crying, even police officers, who felt their act of kindness was a kiss from God. It’s funny how things turn out. Perhaps, we should never judge a book by its cover.
Whoever Has the Most Hope…Wins!
We all wonder why certain things happen…some good, and some bad. Is anyone behind the wheel of our lives…anyone guiding and watching over our souls? The truth is: there are no accidental sparrows or snowflakes; no coincidental moments or mountains to climb. All are carefully choreographed by the Great Dancer in the Sky, the glorious God who right now is contemplating every molecule in the Universe, but none more special than the ones that make up His sons and daughters. We each are given the daily opportunity to have as much hope as God does. “Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise Him again—my Savior and my God!” (Psalm 43:5, NLT) Never forget: hope is eternal!
Positives and Negatives
All of us would much rather that positive things happen to us than negative ones. Yet, we each need both the positive and the negative to become the people God created us to be. Though I enjoy pleasure more than pain, both motivate me. Though I am grateful to be going to Heaven, the possibility of Hell still compels me. Spoiling children can be just as damaging as being overbearing. If I am never willing to do the hard things, the painful things, even the most difficult things, I will not become the person God designed me to be. The Bible says, “If we endure hardship, we will reign with him.” (2 Timothy 2:12, NLT) Today, two roads are before you: the easy road and the hard road. Which will help you become the person you really want to be?
The Greatest Joy In Life
God is a moving target! Either we move with Him, or we’re left behind. Jesus said, “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.” (Luke 11:23, NIV) The greatest joy in my life is flowing with God—moving with my Creator. Trusting Him so completely that I never question where He’s leading me or what He’s doing. I don’t want to trust an airplane pilot more than I trust God—to ever believe that I know what’s best for my life. I never have, and never will. The Bible says, “Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you.” (Psalm 37:5, NLT) And as the psalmist wrote, “Protect me, for I am devoted to you. Save me, for I serve you and trust you. You are my God.” (Psalm 86:2, NLT)
God of the Second Chance
All of us want a 2nd chance. Actually, we all need a 2nd chance. And the best news is: God wants to give it to us. Another opportunity to learn how to live—to be “Born Again,” to stop making ourselves the center of the universe—because, we’re not. To stop insisting on getting OUR expectations fulfilled, when God has a much better plan. It will take faith to receive it and patience to wait for it. We’ll need to swat away the flies of disappointment and discouragement. But, in the end, we’ll look back and see God was always worth waiting for. Today, invite the “God of 2nd Chance” to be the Lord of your life. Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.” (John 3:3, NLT)
Expectations and Offences
Do you have an offense in your heart? Has someone hurt you, or have you been wounded by an expectation that just didn’t take place. It’s been said that an expectation is an offense waiting to happen. Think about that for a moment. What offense do you have? Now, trace it back to an unfulfilled expectation. Someone didn’t act the way you hoped, or some thing didn’t happen the way you expected. The Bible says, “My soul, wait silently for God alone, for my expectation is from Him.” (Psalm 62:5, NKJV) I’ve wasted too much time waiting for my will to be done, or for someone else to act the way I thought best. Now, I’m just waiting on God. He’s worth waiting for, and has never failed me.
Have you ever had a “near-death experience?” I have. But now I’m having “death experiences” every day. They’re a lot better. I’m dying to myself, and becoming alive to God, dying to the world, and awakening to the Word. I’ve found: either I feed on the Word of God or the world feeds on me. So, how do you get to know God? Give up the idea that you know what should happen. Allow Him to run the show by dying to yourself. Paul the Apostle wrote, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20, ESV)