I found this video, produced by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation of Kansas City, Missouri to be, well “uncommon.” Hope it inspires you, as well.
The web address of the Foundation is noted at the end:
I found this video, produced by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation of Kansas City, Missouri to be, well “uncommon.” Hope it inspires you, as well.
The web address of the Foundation is noted at the end:
It seems so easy to fall into the temptation of making some kind of a list at the end of the year, and usually this falls into the category of “Resolutions,” or “The Year That Was” type of listing. There also seems to be plenty of “Best of/Worst of” lists that so many put together.
We don’t need a new Resolution, we need a new Revelation of Jesus.
Who He is, What He is. His Word and His Person.
Jesus spent most of His entire earthly ministry showing, revealing, and proving, Who He is, and What He is. To allow others to accept His Word and His Person. The same choice we have today is the same choice Jesus offered then: Do you accept His Word and His Person? You can’t separate Jesus from His Word, or His Person. He is, simply, the Word of God manifested in human form. If you accept His Word, you accept Him. He is still the only means of eternal salvation, and the only way to the Heavenly Father.
Yet, He is so much more. Our Healer. Our Provider. Our Helper.
Wow! If we would only just believe those 3 things about Jesus, and I mean really believe them, what a difference that would make in our lives. Every day. And, not just every day. But, every moment of every day. What is so important about just believing? Because … if we would just believe … if we really just believed … we would start acting like we believe. Do we act like we really believe it? I’m first in line about failing, miserably, at times, on that one fact. I say I believe, I know I believe … but, do I act like it? Does this belief affect my behavior? Change how I think, change how I act, and change how I speak?
It is true that we will act out how we really believe. I like to say that, “When I act on faith, I’m not acting.” I try to live up to that in every area of my life. Truth is, it’s not really me that is able to stand firm in faith while I am battling life’s storms, but it is Jesus dwelling inside of me that allows me to stand. And, I’m ok with that. Completely. I need to depend completely upon Jesus every moment of every day. If I’ll just do that, then Jesus is already “there” whenever something happens during the day. Yes, things happen which I can’t control, or have no control over. But … these things should only be what others do … not me! I can’t control what others say or do … but, I can control what I say or do. That’s the real difference between having Jesus dwelling inside of you … or not. There are so many people, which we come in contact with every day, which don’t have Jesus dwelling inside of them. But … we do. Shouldn’t we act differently from them? Shouldn’t we speak differently from them? Oh …. And, perhaps the most important thing of all, in dealing with others … Shouldn’t we react differently from them?
If we don’t act, or react, differently from them … then what is the difference between them and us? Most importantly … if we don’t act or react differently from those who don’t know Jesus … how will they know we know Jesus … how will they know we know … I mean … I know I know … but, do they know I know???
And … if I act “just like them,” then why would they want what I have … if “what I have” appears to be the same thing they have??? How can I witness to others about Jesus, and the difference He made, and makes, in my life … if I don’t act or speak any differently from them??? If there is no difference … then, and think about this one … If there is no difference in my life … I really don’t have anything to offer them … so why would someone ask me about something that it looks like I don’t already have? Careful! And, I’ve seen this happen: Before you know it, instead of being a witness for Christ … people will start coming up to you … and, witnessing to you!
Maybe what this new “Revelation” is all about is this:
When Jesus came to earth, He was the very image of God, manifested in human form. As Christians, we are chosen to be the same … exactly the same … the very image of God, manifested in human form. Which means we are the image of Jesus on earth. His Words. His Person. His mission. Are we? Am I?
The question of who Jesus is, is the most important question we will ever face, the most important decision we will every make.
How about this for a turn-around:
Jesus is “I am.”
Are we “Am I?”
Do people we know and come into contact with accept our word and our person?
Just like Jesus … and, that’s the bottom line … we are supposed to be “just like Jesus” …
Jesus spent His life manifesting the Truth of both His Word and His Person …
What truth are we displaying to those around us?
The old saying is true (that’s why it’s such an old saying):
If you were arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?
Jesus has turned this entire message around.
“A new Revelation of Jesus Christ.”
He is wanting us, every day, in every way, to “reveal” Him to others in the only way we can:
Though our Word and our Person.
What we say. How we act. How we react.
The “New Revelation of Jesus” is not about Him revealing something new to us … but about us revealing something new to others!
To “reveal” Jesus to those we come in contact with, every day.
Jesus living inside of us! Dwelling inside of us!
What wealth! What a treasure!
That’s what people want to see!
I get an image of someone bringing out a “treasure map,” and showing it to a few, select friends.
What would be their reaction?
They would huddle around … anxious to see what the treasure is … and, most importantly … where it is … They would, perhaps, depend upon you to lead them to the treasure …
I think the point is clear.
The question which comes to mind is this:
If you really did possess a “treasure map,” and for this example, this was true, and the treasure was available to all who would find it, it would make sense that you would find it first, to make sure the treasure was real. For, only then, could you, with full faith, share this treasure with others. And, if you did truly possess such a treasure … wouldn’t that affect your attitude? Wouldn’t that affect the way you acted? The way you talked? And … wouldn’t that make people want to be around you … wouldn’t that make people “want to have what you have?”
Another clear point.
If the room was dark … and, you had the only light … would everyone in the room just naturally gravitate toward you?
What incredible treasure we have! What incredible wealth we have! What incredible riches we have! The best part? It is for now … and for eternity!
And, yes, I’ll say it: The more of this treasure you give to others … the more you receive!!!
Let the Word go forth throughout the world, through time and space … and social media:
It’s free, and always will be!
Blessings to you, and your family.
Now, and always,
Richard. Vincent. Rose.
At some point, and now seems to be the time appointed, it’s time to think about “today’s economy” in light of this series. Or, maybe, in light of this series, to think about today’s economy.
The first thing we have to realize is that our employer, or our business, or “the State,” isn’t our provider.
God is our provider. Period. This won’t change.
We must face the facts. God is capable of supplying our every need. Period. I didn’t say our “wants.” I look at this statement, and, I’ll be honest … I know what I mean … I don’t mean that God is not capable of supplying our “wants” … but, how often have I written that if God gave us everything we thought we “wanted,” it would ruin us … And, worst of all, if God gave us everything we thought we wanted … it would ruin our relationship with Him. And, frankly, if we got everything “handed to us” that we wanted … it would ruin our relationship with a lot of people … and, not just friends and family. There! I had to include that!
Often, and I must say this, our “wants” seem to grow as God meeting our needs grows. The danger is this: Sometimes, the more our needs are met … the more “we get” … the less we may feel that we need God. Let’s let that one sink in. Is it true that the more we have, the more we want? Maybe another topic for another time, but necessary to at least mention here.
There have always been “bad times,” and there always will be. There have always been “good times,” and there always will be. Please keep these statements in proper context. There will always be people “with money.” There will always be people “in need.” This won’t change. I have learned that, no matter how bad the economy is … there are always people who have money, and lots of it. Am I equating success with money? For the point of the “present economy” and “need” I am using the term “money” in context. Let’s think about “success.” Throughout history, regardless of the “present economy,” there have always been people who were successful, and, yes, regardless of the “economy,” very successful.
What do you mean, “What am I talking about?” I answer that question with this question from recent history: During the Great Depression, and every “bad time” since, weren’t there people who were able to obtain incredible wealth? No, please understand I am not trying to downplay the severity of the times, only that, regardless of the times, or “present economy,” there were people getting extremely wealthy.
“Hey! Wait! Stop!”
“During those times, there were so many people who made money by immoral activities … even by breaking the law! What are you doing? Honoring them?!!!???”
Well … I hate to be the first one, if necessary, to break this news, but I must:
People making money by immoral means, or by breaking the law … didn’t start in recent history. As long as there have been people … which means humans … which means sinful man … which means …
“We ain’t grown.”
There will always be, and again this in context to the time we are living now, and history past, there will always be people who “do wrong.” Make money wrong. And, this “wrong” thinking/action directs their every move. Guess what? Their reward is only temporary … and, only for this world … ours is eternal, and for the World yet to come. While this is true, the point we’re trying to make is that regardless of the condition the world is in, God will still provide for His people. Period. That is, really, the only point I am trying to make. God will provide. Because: His provision depends upon Him, and not the world.
Does your provision depend upon Him … or the world?
We need to spend more time thinking about the Good News instead of the 6: 00 O’clock News.
(I think I just wrote that.)
I haven’t read the local newspaper in months. Not that it’s not a “good newspaper” (Did that phrase begin with good news …?”) … In fact, it’s a great newspaper. They have certainly been kind and gracious to me. And, I am most grateful for that. But, to the point, in relation to this writing: I decided, many, many, months ago, that I wouldn’t read the paper anymore … I couldn’t read the paper anymore … because (and this was the part of the paper I would always first gravitate to) they print a “police log,” and there were so many former students I knew, appearing in this part of the paper, that I finally just said, “I can’t read this anymore.” While this may have been even more of a reason for many to cherish this part of the paper … I just didn’t want to bring myself to the place of disappointment on so regular a basis, so I decided to just not read the paper at all …
Anyway, a few months ago, this was during “Summer Break,” I made a point to get the paper every day. After all, it was free, and available. (I think, “Man … Oh man … how often has that phrase, ‘free and available’ gotten us in trouble in the past …”) Anyway … this was a few months ago, when our country was in the throes of another “really bad economic time” cycle … I mean, it seemed like it was a really, really, bad time in this country … at least, that’s what I kept reading about … One day, I was reading the paper, and it seemed that every ad … at least every other ad in the paper carried a phrase like “during these hard times” or “during this bad economy,” and I’m serious, it seemed like every ad had something about our “bad economic times,” and due to this, there was a “price break” they were extending to their customers … I’m not making this up … it seemed like every ad had a negative about the economy …
That’s when I folded up the paper, and threw it on the table, exclaiming, “Man, if I keep reading this, I’ll start believing it!!!” I was serious, because I knew it is true: “If I keep reading this (after all it’s the newspaper), I’ll start believing it …”
“Hey! What are you saying? We shouldn’t stay informed? We shouldn’t read the news?”
“Hey! What are you saying?”
(Maybe they are saying that if we don’t read the paper, we won’t have anything to do as we sit at lunch, or at home … we’d be forced to actually speak or interact with someone???)
Maybe this is what I am saying: The newspaper has its place. No doubt. Television news? As an old time radio guy (with television experience-and, I starting writing published articles in the local paper in the 6th grade), I’ll pass on that. Because that’s not the point. I still pick up the paper (it’s free), and I have an obligation to do so in my job capacity. I do scan the paper for pictures of students, being portrayed in a positive way.
This is the point: God is our provider. Period.
He won’t let us down. He can’t.
He wants you to depend on Him.
And, if I can take a phrase (boy, that word “phrase” has come up a lot) from our present-day teens (or maybe teens from years ago?):
Now you know why I write so much about how important it is to spend time reading God’s Word.
As I read those newspaper ads to the point of memorizing them … I exclaimed, as I threw the paper across the room, “Man, if I keep reading this, I’ll start believing it!!!”
Here it is:
As you read the Bible, especially read God’s Word every day, my prayer is that you will make
the same declaration, with the same shout:
“Man, if I keep reading this, I’ll start believing it!!!”
Blessings to you, and your family,
Richard. Vincent. Rose.
Well, here we are at Part Twelve of this series, and still, we can’t get away from how much God does for us every day. Every day. It begins with our eternal security of salvation, yet there is so much more. Every Day. Perhaps Psalms 68:19 says it best: “Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation.”
This is why it is so important to pray every day, and read God’s Word, every day. I also believe the absolute best way to start your day is with prayer and Bible study. God knows what’s ahead … but, you don’t. So … be prepared, by starting your day with the One who holds the future-including today’s events, yet to come. I love how so many of the Psalms begin with praise to God … just like our day should begin. As Paul would write, we should, “In every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” (Philippians 4:6). Regardless of what you are facing, Paul encourages us to do the exact same thing the Psalmist would do: Yes, let God know your requests, pray to Him, but always add “thanksgiving” to include what He has already done for you. Why? God knows, what better way to build your faith, by recognizing what He has already done for you? And, by reading His Word, every day, then, “every day” you are reminded of what God has done for others throughout history, and be reminded, “every day,” what God’s promises are for you.
David (and let’s not forget this is King David) would begin the hymn of Psalm 103 with “Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name” (Verse 1). Can you imagine how different the world would be if the leaders of the nations would begin their day, on their knees, beginning with words like “Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.” Do we dare to imagine what our nation, and for our friends around the globe, what your nation would be like … if the leader of your nation began their day with “Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name?”
Hey! This is an “election year!”
How different would things be … if … well … you get the idea …
Remember, friends, that it is perfectly fine to say “God bless,” even “God bless America,” just as long as you, just as in the Apostles’ day … just as long as you don’t mention the name of Jesus … I guess that’s another topic for another time. Ever considered the fact that, in the time of local or nation calamity or disaster … it is perfectly ok to say, even on Government grounds … even on School grounds … in case of disaster … it is perfectly ok to say things like “our thoughts and prayers are with …” I still remember, clearly, the “graffiti” I once saw scribbled on the wall of a trailer I was unloading: “In case of nuclear attack, the ban on school prayer will be lifted.”
Can you imagine a government leader … in the middle of great times, when things are going well … can you imagine a government leader beginning their speech with a prayer of thanksgiving to God, something like, “Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation?”
Remember that the nation of Israel was first when they put God first.
When they didn’t, they fell …
I think I have a new quote:
“To be first, put God first.”
Back to King David, and Psalm 103:
“Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits … Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with loving-kindness and tender mercies; Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s” (Verses 2-5).
How much better would our day be, if we started with praise to God … to let Him know that we haven’t forgotten “all his benefits?” If begin our day by focusing on what God has already done for us, how do you think God would feel about that? How do you think our day would go?
I know … I know … What about when things go wrong? And, the worst of all: When someone treats us wrong, does us wrong, or talks about us wrong? The next verse of Psalm 103 addresses this: “The LORD executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed” (Verse 6).
If we can just learn to place all things in God’s hands … and, yes, I’ll say it … especially if we place other people in His hands. Often, this is the hardest thing of all to do.
I especially like that David praises God, not only for what He has done, but he praises and thanks God for Who He is, addressing the very character of God: “The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever. He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities” (Verses 8-10). Notice the first two characteristics mentioned are God’s mercy and grace, and reinforced in verses 11-12: “For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us” (Verses 11-12). Hard not to think that God removing our sins from us is at the top of the “benefits” list.
Then, as we wrote of last time, God is seen as the loving Father: “Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him” (Verse 13).
Not only does God, as Creator, know us, but He knows our weaknesses: “For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust” (Verse 14).
Yes, we are beneficiary of God’s grace and mercy, but let’s not forget that with benefits come responsibility: “But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children’s children; To such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them” (Verses 17-18). Let us never forget that God is sovereign, and He is in control of everything that happens in our lives: “The LORD hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all … Bless the LORD, all his works in all places of his dominion: bless the LORD, O my soul” (Verses 19, 22).
So, in closing, allow me to write, and say, “Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation.”
Blessings to you, and your family
Richard. Vincent. Rose.
I sure loved that “God’s Love for Us” video! As we continue to think about how blessed we are right now, we have to start with the fact that God really, really does love us. So much, in fact, that He gave Himself for us. And, all He seeks for us is what is best for us. He really, really does want to bless us … right now!
And then … we can bless others!
Ephesians 1:3 tells us that God has already “blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.” While, yes, this does point to our Heavenly reward … let’s also keep in mind that these blessings are, over time, given to us according to our need … and, our Christian growth. The key is always to be “in Christ,” having Him dwelling within us … and, allowing Him to manifest Himself in our daily lives. For others to see Him through, and in, us.
Remember, as the next verse says, “he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love” (Ephesians 1:4).
So … you didn’t choose Him … He chose you … And, He did it before He even created the world! How great and encouraging is that!
I think about how important “benefits” are in a job situation. How often have the “benefits” offered through a job made the difference in whether we took the job, or stayed on the job. I would venture to say that the “benefits package” offered through a job is one of the deciding factors in where we work. Or, don’t work. We all know that there are certain careers where these “benefits” offered make that particular career so highly sought after. On the other side of the coin, we also know there are companies which purposely limit their employees’ hours because if they gave more hours … they would have to pay or offer that employee “benefits.”
I think we don’t meditate on, or even consider all the benefits we have as a child of God, often enough. Yet, there are so many! Yes, salvation is enough! How about God’s very Spirit … Jesus Himself … living inside of us? However, a loving Father loves to lavish gifts on His children, right? A loving Father doesn’t need a “reason” to give a gift to his loved one. He doesn’t have to wait until a certain time of year. God owns everything! He doesn’t have to wait until “a month next week” to give us a gift. How much pleasure do we get from just being able to give a loved one a gift, something special … “just because …” God loves that!
God knows everything … especially our wants and our needs. Yet, it gives Him so much pleasure when we ask Him … when we go to Him personally … just us, alone … to let Him know what we need, and to hear us ask. He loves that!
Here’s something to think about: What is the one thing most children want (and need!) from their parents … and, for this writing, allow me to say, “from their Father.” It’s not the “newest this” or the “newest that” … the one thing, I understand, which most children desire the most from their father … is for their father to spend time with them … and, especially, for the father to want to spend time with them … A father who is always there, and willing to “drop everything” to come running to them …
I didn’t know this is the way this would go …
When I think about a Father like that, Who only wants to spend time with me, to do everything with me, and for me … How can I not think about our Heavenly Father? He loves us so much, and is willing to do anything, give anything, to have us to … just want to spend time with Him. I think of how God is so often the reverse of everything we have known … which makes sense, if you think about it. Anyway … we speak of children just wanting their father to want to spend time with them … And, here God is … just wanting us to spend time with Him … that’s it …
I think … if more children spent real quality time with their father … if more fathers just wanted to spend more quality time with their children … How different these children’s lives would be …
If we only spent more time with our Heavenly Father … how much different our lives would be … and, yes, I’ll say it … how much different the lives of those around us, and especially those whom we have influence over … would be.
I just don’t see how I can add to this.
I pray I can be as obedient in my life as I am in my writing …
I guess the writing about “benefits” will be for next time … I had it all planned out …
Blessings to you, and your family,
Richard. Vincent. Rose.
If there has been a common thread which continues to run throughout this series, it would be this statement from Hebrews 13:5: “Be content with what you have.”
God gives us a little to see how we handle it. How we handle it will determine if He gives us more. In other words, He gives us a little, so see what we would do if He gave us a lot.
Another common thread is the discussion of how important it is, how we “handle things.” Perhaps the most important characteristic we show to the world is “how we handle things.” Good things. Bad things. Honestly, I don’t know which circumstance reveals our character more: When we have less than we need … Or, when we have more than we need. When all is said and done … how people will remember us … will be largely based upon two things: How we “handled things,” and how we treated others. This is because both of these characteristics will be based upon how we mirror, or not-the image of Christ. How His influence … influenced us …. or, whether we allowed “others” (this can be both people and things) to influence us.
I guess it really is just a simple matter, this “influence,” of what you allow to control you. One of the great quotes I’ve ever heard is from my Pastor in Georgia:
“What you attach yourself to, you become a part of.”
It is, simply put, just a matter of control.
What we allow to influence us has the power … great power … to control us.
We try to write as much about how important it is how we act when things are going well, as when things are not going well. Especially, when true heartache is involved. Again, I can honestly say, from a Christian life standpoint, I’m not sure which is a harder test: Success or poverty. There are many quotes I could use, but the one from Dr. David Jeremiah I still love, how it is circumstances which reveal, not change, character. Or, from Dr. Martin Luther King, about how the true test of a man’s character is not when he is on the mountaintop, but when he is in the deep valley. Both valid. Both powerful. Both true.
I must say this: It is just a matter of control. Of who, or what, we allow to influence us. When we were kids, and boy this made us mad more often than not … our parents would always try to warn us about friends we had, people we were hanging out with … we hated that … and, let’s be honest, often we felt hate toward them (even though we didn’t really understand “hate” at the time) for trying to keep us away from who or what they thought would be a bad influence on us.
I wonder why that was?
Why did our parents, and sometimes our friends, and sometimes our teachers, try to warn us about what would happen if we continued to “hang out” with certain people? Or, try to stop us from doing certain things?
Why was that?
Has the principle behind such a warning changed? Have bad influences suddenly become ok for us to be around? Oh, yeah … I forgot … we are “all grown up now,” so we can’t be influenced by people or things anymore …
I just came in from outside, checking on a flower garden. We have been so busy this summer with work going on around the house, that, especially with equipment all around the house and yard, we haven’t mowed the grass in a month. I examined a new flower garden which I started earlier this summer, before the work began. If I don’t act right away … and yank those weeds out of the garden … get them out of there, away from the flowers … those weeds will take over the whole garden! Just the weeds being there, right now, have already hindered the growth of some really beautiful flowers … if I don’t act fast … and the bad weeds are already starting to influence the young, impressionable flowers … if I don’t act fast … if I don’t remove those weeds … if I don’t get them away from the flowers … if I don’t remove the weeds from the flowers … the weeds will take over … completely … the weeds will take over … will take complete control of the flowers … will take complete control of the garden … the flowers, with all their potential of being so beautiful … so beautiful, so lovely … will be destroyed … And, in so doing, the weeds will destroy the entire garden …
I “hate” to tell you this … but, I must: The weeds won’t mind a bit that the garden is destroyed. In fact … yes … even though God created the weeds, too … In fact … it seems that the entire reason for the existence of the weeds … is to “take over” …
Funny … as with so many things … we see it and warn our children … we see it and “yank out those weeds” in the garden … yet … now that we are “all grown up,” we can’t see it in our adult lives …
As a side note, some of the flowers in the “new garden” were transplanted, full grown, from an area which was overtaken by grass, trees, and weeds. They did well, even there, but I wanted them to have the opportunity to reach their full potential, so I “got them out of there” and put them in a special, newly cultivated area. They were even blooming at the time, and they never lost their blooms … they transplanted so well … what a great spot for them now! However … since I haven’t taken the time, in a while, to “weed” their new surroundings … even though they were strong, beautiful, full-grown flowers … if I don’t get those weeds away from them … as strong … as beautiful … as full-grown as they are … they won’t last much longer … not as long as those weeds are allowed to influence them … and, their environment.
I think there is a lesson in there, somewhere!
Guess what I’ll be doing tomorrow? And … that goes for the older, well established garden, too!
I weeded it early … but, not often … and, even though it is an old, well-established, vibrant, “growing wildly” flower garden … making it through a few cold, snow-filled winters … if I don’t “yank those weeds” out of its environment, we all know what will happen to it, as well.
Please note that both of these gardens, both young and old … are facing this new “enemy,” well capable of their destruction … during the summer … during the days of sunshine, when the sun is at its brightest …
Which further confirms my question of whether it is more difficult during bleak times … or sunny times?
I guess it just depends on what or who (and if I don’t get out there, that will be me) is allowed to influence their environment …
Remember that, sometimes, the greatest action, the action which results in, causes, and influences the most action … is inaction.
Richard. Vincent. Rose.
While our eternal reward/wealth is currently being stored for us in the Heavenly realm, there is absolutely no reason we can’t enjoy God’s favor and blessing-in everything we do-right now, today. I love to read about Joseph, and how those around him, who, if you think about it … weren’t believers … yet, they recognized the fact that God was with him, and it was God who allowed all Joseph did to prosper …
We are all in the middle of “something,” be it job, financial, or personal related. And, to be successful, we need-we must have- God’s favor. I think of Daniel. Simply put, here is the reason for Daniel’s great success: “Now God had brought Daniel into favor” (Daniel 1:9). We all know Daniel prayed, and read the Scriptures … there’s that “pray and read your Bible” example again … But, what about those around him? Were they aware of Daniel’s devotion to God? Remember that it would be Daniel’s faithfulness to prayer which his enemies would use to trap him … which led Daniel to be thrown into the den of lions … Another reminder that if you are the “real deal,” those around you will know it. Period. Yes, they may use it against you, but what kind of “Christian ammunition” are you giving those around you?
So … can you be in government … and be a Christian? Can you be in government and allow those around you to know of your faith? This may appear to be a tough question (which is unfortunate), or even a “trick question.” Yet, think of the two men we have mentioned, in this writing, from history: Joseph and Daniel. Joseph became second-in-command-next to the Pharaoh himself, of the most powerful nation on earth. What about Daniel? After Daniel had interpreted the dream of the great King Nebuchadnezzar (which Daniel had volunteered to do), here’s what the King had to say to Daniel:
“The king answered unto Daniel, and said, Of a truth it is, that your God is a God of gods, and a Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, seeing thou couldst reveal this secret. Then the king made Daniel a great man, and gave him many great gifts, and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief of the governors over all the wise men of Babylon …”
It is interesting that in both cases (Joseph and Daniel), it was the interpretation of dreams which God used to have these men promoted. And, both men served governments in a foreign land. What was constant in both men’s lives is that regardless of the fact that they lived in what would be considered “godless” times, serving under what would be considered “godless” governments, serving what would be considered a “godless” overall population, both serving in the most difficult of national circumstance … those in power and authority recognized their faith … and recognized from Whom each received their wisdom and knowledge from …
So, if you are the “real deal” … or not … those around you will know.
One of the greatest statements I’ve ever heard is from Pastor David Jeremiah:
“Circumstances don’t change character. They reveal character.”
So, let’s talk about promotion.
It’s true: If you will just work hard, be honest, show up every day, and not cause trouble, you can’t hide. “They” will notice you. I often say this about work: Isn’t it true that, when you are brand new at a job, it only takes a couple of days to figure out who works and who doesn’t. Who you can trust and who you can’t. Who is committed and who is not. Etc.
Make no mistake about it: Your talents and abilities come directly from the Lord. And, so do your promotions. Psalms 75:6-7 says it best: “For promotion (exaltation) cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up (exalts) another.” Yes, I do have that written on a card!
Here’s what Paul said about work, in Colossians 3: 23-24: “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.”
Two words, then four:
Trust God. He can be trusted.
Pray for wisdom. Read the Bible.
Read God’s promises. And … believe them … because they are true. Lay hold on the hope which you have because of God’s promises … which can not, and will not, fail.
God’s Word is His counsel. Believe, and trust in, His counsel:
“Wherein God, willing (determining) more abundantly to show the heirs of promise the immutability (unchangeableness) of his counsel … That by two immutable (unchangeable) things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation … to lay hold upon the hope set before us: Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast …”
Yes, life can be so tough … but, it didn’t just start being tough. It’s always been difficult, and yes, sometimes it seems, things appear to get worse the more we try to live by faith … Consider, however, that we weren’t as “open for attack” before we became a Christian. I used to say this about someone bragging about not ever being bothered:
“Satan never bothers me!”
My response: “Maybe that’s because you never bother him!”
The reason it is so important to “live out” your faith is because you never know who is watching you … but, rest assured … they are. In fact, it is safe to say, especially when you get hit with trouble or difficult circumstances or a tragedy … that it’s “all eyes on you!” Everyone will be waiting … watching … to see how you handle it! Maybe many of them (even unbelievers who recognize what you have) have come to you for advice … now … they will be watching to see what you do … how you act … how you react …
To “witness” if you are the “real deal,” after all.
These are the times you can be the greatest witness of all.
Yeah … but do I have to let other people-especially at work (!!!) know that I am a Christian?
The best way I can answer that is this:
Whether you are.
Or, whether you are not.
The two examples, Joseph and Daniel, were the same … at work, or not.
And, everyone knew it.
Paul put it this way:
“Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savor (fragrance) of his knowledge by us in every place. For we are unto God a sweet savor of (the fragrance of) Christ, in (among) them that are saved, and in (among) them that perish”
(2 Corinthians 2:14-15).
That settles it! Everywhere we go, through Christ, we will triumph, as well as show forth the reason why … Everywhere we go … among those who are saved, and those who aren’t …
Richard. Vincent. Rose.
We continue to meditate on the wealth that is being stored up for us, and continue to meditate on the blessings which God has graciously bestowed upon us, which we are enjoying, right now.
I can’t help but think, and this is being totally “human,” about taking the time and effort to do something for someone, or give someone something to bless them … and, they don’t appear to be grateful. Maybe they don’t even say “Thank you.” How does that make us feel?
Another note of strong honestly to add: When we give someone something, and they don’t even acknowledge it, don’t even tell us thanks … How exited are we to do anything else for them? I think you get the idea. I know … I know … when we do something for Jesus’ sake, even if it is to just give a drink of water to someone in His name … we are not doing it for the person receiving the gift, but we are doing it to honor Jesus …
And, our reward doesn’t come from the person we are blessing … it comes from Jesus …
However … let us always be grateful for what Jesus has already done for us … what we already have, which He has given us … and … please … let Him know we are grateful! Last chapter, I mentioned that I had the verses on prayer from Mark 11:23-24 taped up directly in front of me on my desk. Just to the left of that paper, I have this hand-written on a post-it note:
“The Lord hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad.”
I am glad … I want Him to know it, too, and I don’t mean this selfishly, but yes, I do want Him to continue to bless me … And, you, too.
I also try to read all I can about the promises of God contained in the Bible. About how He has blessed others, knowing that He is still capable of blessing one more person!!! Or … a whole group of people!!! Of course, I will always encourage you to read the Psalms, but don’t stop there! I just studied that there are over 1,000 prophecies in the Bible. The study was to show that a “prophesy” means a promise which God made about something that would happen in the future. Over 1,000 promises! It was written that the chances of just 17 of those promises coming to pass is one out of 450 billion x 1 billion x 1 trillion! That’s way over my head, math-wise, but I do know this: Not a single one of God’s promises has failed! Not a one! So … won’t you trust His promises today?
I’m always concerned about what we “fill our head” with, and about who we “hang with,” basically what or who we allow to influence our thinking. Remember that if something influences our mind … it influences our life … and, it influences our future … and, the future of those around us … those in our lives whom we have influence with …
Why not fill our minds … meaning fill our lives … with the promises of God? I write and I write about how it is ok to remind God of His promises … He wants you to remind Him! Remember … it’s not so that He won’t forget … He doesn’t want you to forget!
Let’s see … if you want to be successful … just find out what successful people did, and “do what they do/did, think like they do/did” … Even people who don’t know much about the Bible know that Solomon is considered the wisest man who ever lived.
I encourage you to read King Solomon’s prayer from 1 Kings, chapter 8.
Solomon was the son of King David, and, from his deathbed, here is part of King David’s charge (command) to Solomon, written in 1 Kings, chapter 2. David’s first command was for Solomon to “be thou strong therefore, and show thyself a man” (verse 2). Kids today … grownups today … “everyone” today seems to have an idea of how to “show themselves a man.” This seems to be such a big issue at a time when “he disrespected me!” is such a huge call to violence …
Let’s see … David is considered to be the greatest King ever in history … the young man he is speaking with, on his deathbed, giving instructions on how to “be a man,” would become the wisest man who ever lived … Looking for “secrets of success?” Fathers out there wanting to know how explain to their sons how to “show themselves a man?”
Here it is … in big, bold letters, men: “… keep the charge of the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgments, and his testimonies … that thou mayest prosper in all that thou doest … That the Lord may continue his word which he spake concerning me, saying, If thy children take heed to their way, to walk before me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul, there shall not fail thee a man on the throne of Israel” (verses 3-4).
I’ll say it: There were men that would come, who would “sit on the throne of Israel.” What happened? When these men stopped “showing themselves as men” as in the example given by King David to Solomon … the blessings of God, simply put, stopped … and God was forced into performing His Word … the promises of what would happen if these men kept His commands … and, what would happen if they didn’t.
Man repeatedly rejected the promises of God … not realizing-even that their unbelief-would also “kick in” the fulfillment of the promises of God. And, when the nation of Israel rejected Jesus … a direct descendent of King David, who had done more than anyone who ever lived to “show himself a man,” when He was rejected … Sadly, it set the stage for even more promises to be fulfilled …
Let’s repeat: “If you want to be successful … just find out what successful people did, and do what they do/did, think like they do/did” … Got it!
Not only was Solomon considered the wisest man who ever lived … he is also regarded as the richest man who ever lived … Got it!
So, when King Solomon dedicated the Temple … here is part of what he prayed: “Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in the presence of all the congregation of Israel … And he said, Lord God of Israel, there is no God like thee, in heaven above, or on earth beneath, who keepest covenant and mercy with thy servants that walk before thee with all their heart … so that (only if) thy children take heed to their way … have respect unto the prayer of thy servant, and to his supplication … to hearken unto the cry and to the prayer, which thy servant prayeth before thee today … Blessed be the Lord … there hath not failed one word of all his good promise … The Lord our God be with us, as he was with our fathers: That he may incline our hearts unto him, to walk in all his ways, and to keep his statutes, and his judgments, which he commanded our fathers …That all the people of the earth may know that the Lord is God, and there is none else … On the eighth day he sent the people away: and they blessed (thanked) the king, and went unto their tents joyful and glad of heart for all the goodness that the Lord had done …”
So, now we know what a successful son must do … a successful leader must do … a successful nation must do … in order for a son to continue to be successful … in order for a leader to continue to be successful … and, in order for a nation to continue to be successful …
Richard. Vincent. Rose.
As we’ve seen, the Bible is clear that “the wealth of the sinner is laid up (stored) for the just (righteous)” (Proverbs 13:22). We’ve written much that this may not happen “overnight,” that it is so important how we act-and react-along the way … while we are waiting …
One of the greatest, and most important lessons which God wants to teach us along the way is patience. Keep in mind that when the New Testament writers were alive, they all thought that the return of Jesus was imminent … was going to happen very soon, and certainly in their lifetimes. The church was also under heavy persecution. Think about it: Both of these statements are so true today. As we look around, seeing what’s happening in the world-yes, even in “our world,” can the return of Jesus be too far away? And, let’s face the truth: The church, worldwide, is under more persecution and attack than ever in history. Ever.
So, it stands to reason that the words of the New Testament writers are just as pertinent today. I know that is an “of course” statement, but must be said. That’s why so much was written about having patience … that “it’s not over yet” … that so much was written about how to act-and react while we are “waiting” for our reward. James put it this way:
“Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh” (James 5:7-8). Think about this: So much of what is written in the New Testament, after the Gospels and book of Acts, is about how we should act … while we are waiting … just like the farmer which James mentions here … How important are the actions of this farmer, how he acts-and reacts between the “early” rain and the “latter” rain? Wouldn’t his “harvest” depend upon what he does “in-between?”
I am reminded, as I think about the farmer, about our last chapter. About how important “what we already have” is. So often, God asks first about what we already have. Don’t worry, just as with Jesus and the loaves, God already knows what we have. He just wants to make sure we know what we already have! This farmer had already received (he already had) the first, early rain. It is now what he does while the time elapses before the latter rain which will determine how much he benefits from this latter rain. Wow! Just like us. Today! Our rain is coming, our harvest is coming … but, the size of that harvest will determine upon what we do while we are “waiting.”
Please don’t misunderstand the intent of this writing: Let’s not forget where our blessings come from. Yes, we must work, but our reward comes directly from God, as Paul would write:
“I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase” (1 Corinthians 3:6-7). Our actions are important to this harvest. God wants to provide for us now, but He is most of all interested in our eternal destination, our souls, and, while we “waiting,” of our being conformed to the image of His Son, Jesus, in whose Righteousness we now stand. Paul put it this way, in continuing to use a farmer as an example: “Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness” (2 Corinthians 9:10). That’s the harvest God is interested in! He wants to take care of you now, and for all of eternity! That’s a harvest! And, one worth “waiting” for!
But, how do we gain “patience?” Don’t worry, as a child of God, this is one attribute of the Christian life which I can assure you that God will help you with. If there is one area of faith I think we all have the most difficulty with, it is this act of faith known as “patience.” I don’t think I’ve ever met a Pastor who has not had one of these two character traits before God saved them, and changed them: Having a bad, quick temper, and being impatient. The fact that when you think of your Pastor, and words like “kind” and “patient” are among the first two words you think of, just proves how important these traits are, and how “patient, kind, and forgiving” God is with us, as He continues to bring us into circumstances which will build our patience, and by so doing, increase and build our faith. So much of this “waiting time” is put there-on purpose-in order to build our faith by building-first-our patience.
So, how do we gain patience? Jesus said it best (that’s another one of those “of course” statements), and most simply, in Mark 11:22: “Have faith in God.”
The hard part is that it is not one of those “just snap your fingers” and it happens things. Yes, God can act that quickly, and often does. We’ve all seen God make something happen immediately when called upon in faith. Yet, there’s that word “faith” again. How can we have faith without patience? I think it’s a fair statement to say that the more patience we have … the more faith we have … and, we can turn that around. The more faith we have … the more patience we have. And, will have. That’s the whole idea, mostly, behind this “waiting.” If we could just snap our fingers and make something happen … how would that build our faith? It wouldn’t … because that wouldn’t build our patience.
I’d like to close by sharing with you what immediately follows Jesus’ words of “Have faith in God” in the 11th chapter of Mark. I just happen to have these words printed on papers all over the house, where I can see them, and, in fact, I am looking at these words now, taped on my desk shelf here in the office. And, yes, I also have a copy of these words on my visor out in the truck:
“And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.
For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.”
I just can’t get away from Paul’s advice to “be content with such things as ye have” (Hebrews 13:5). I think what God is trying to convey to us is that this is the way we should live our lives, by looking at what He has blessed us with already … and not what He has blessed someone else with. And … to be grateful for what we have … not angry or envious at what someone else has.
Even in what we consider to be “difficult times,” we must not lose this focus of first looking at what we already have “in our storehouse.” When the poor widow cried out to Elisha, his first response, his first question was, “What hast thou in the house?” (2 Kings 4:2). Sometimes, we are so overcome by our circumstances that we look elsewhere for a solution first … then, if that doesn’t pan out, we look somewhere else, and, well, you get the idea. It’s the same with prayer: Prayer shouldn’t be our last resort, it should always be first on the list. When you adopt this prayerful attitude about everything, you will begin to look around and realize what you already have. If you do this, I promise your first response will be one of thanksgiving for what you already have “in the house.” The only thing this poor widow apparently had in her house was a small amount of oil. How did that work out?
By the way, even in spite of her great need … she was still willing to give … in faith … of what she already had …
Remember, we already have the greatest gift: The gift of salvation, and Jesus living inside of us!
And, the Holy Spirit, inside of us, standing by, waiting, just waiting for us to realize we have His help too! The world teaches us, and I will admit that one of my all-time favorite quotes is from Henry David Thoreau: “What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” Wow! I still love that quote! Years ago, I used to have a bracelet which had those very words inscribed. Mr. Thoreau’s quote is so true, yes Christian or not, and the world certainly uses this quote to inspire. Yet … think about this … As Christians, we have the very Spirit of God living inside of us! Living inside of us! And … just waiting … waiting … waiting … for you to ask for His help. If the world’s system can be furthered by statements such as this … how much more, yes “more than conquerors” (Romans 8:37) … should we be … If we have the very Spirit of God “within us?”
“Did he just say that this is true “Christian or not?” Yes, I did. We must remember that the world’s guiding principles were first originated by and through God’s Word. It doesn’t matter if you are talking about Military maneuvers, social hierarchy, work force delegation, money management, rules for success, it’s all there in the Bible. The world just takes a Biblical principle, and shapes it into “its own.” For instance, how about “whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” from Galatians 6:7? This is a Biblical principle, God set it in place, and it applies regardless of lifestyle.
How about this one, Wall Street?: “He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully” (2 Corinthians 9:6). The list goes on and on. Yes, this means that even “ungodly” people … are still, in a very real sense, living a life, and being rewarded for their actions … according to Biblical principles. They just don’t know the Source! Here’s one that, sadly perhaps, I have used for example purposes: “I have good news and I have bad news: Jesus is coming back.” Same thing applies to this statement: The fact that Jesus is returning is good news … in fact, great news. What should get us off of our “whatever it is that’s stopping us” is that this will be bad news to millions. Millions who will be lost, without Jesus, when that day comes. Remember that Paul used his description of the “end,” and the return of Jesus (2 Thessalonians) to encourage the church … and, to also make them realize there are so many who need Jesus, who, simply put, won’t be ready, and never, ever will be ready … unless someone tells them about Jesus, and about salvation … which is available only through Him. Period.
The wicked are storing up wealth for the righteous. What are we doing to share “the wealth” of what we have “within us?” Wealth that the world doesn’t understand … nor, will they understand … until it’s too late. Unless … unless someone intervenes in their lives … and explains to them what is, right now, available to them … just like it was made available to you.
When Jesus fed the 5,000, and then, in a separate miracle, He fed the 4,000, when the question arose among His disciples about how they could possibly feed so great a multitude, Jesus’ very first question was, in effect, “What do you have right now? What do you already have in your possession?” The miracle of feeding the 5,000 is found in Matthew 14, Mark 6, Luke 9, and John 6. The situation seemed hopeless. Thousands of people, and no food. What to do? Again, the first response Jesus gave, when questioned, “How …?” was this, and we quote from the feeding of the 4,000: “How many loaves have ye?” (Matthew 15:34; Mark 8:5). The secret to success? Bring what you already have to Him … and, He is more than capable of taking care of the rest. In fact, He wants to take care of the rest, but I think that first of all, we must realize what we already have. Allow Him to use that, especially allow Him to use that to bless others. If you will do that, just like with the “leftovers” from each of these miracles, there will be more than enough “left over” to take care of whatever need you may have.
He knows what you need. And, He knows what you already have. Are you ready to trust Him with what you already have in your storehouse? Or … is the real question, “Do you realize what you already have?” If so, then you will be able “in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” (Philippians 4:6).
And, only then will “the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (verse 7).
Richard. Vincent. Rose.