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Quickly passing

Revelation 22:12 – “And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.”

Can you believe that it is already April 8?! School will be done for the year sometime in the next 6 to 8 weeks. That is just crazy! Didn’t we just start? Weren’t we just making New Year’s resolutions? 

However you feel about the passing of time, it continues on whether you like it or not. The kids are getting older and taller every day. The wrinkles on my face are showing up. Gray hairs are starting to poke through. Ugh! Yet, despite my physical calamities, God has been good to me – He’s always good even when things are tough. 

But I digress in praise….

I was searching for something to write about today and came to this realization – it is the end of the entire Bible, or at least very, very close to the end, and God expressed this very important detail – “quickly”. 

Here is its’ definition, just in case we need clarity – “QUICK’LY, adverb Speedily; with haste or celerity. 2. Soon; without delay.” I can hear it now – “Duh!!” 

Yes, I know. But I wanted you to see the definition and insert “speedily” or “soon” or “without delay” when you re-read the verse above. 

John used this word (that God inspired him to use) three times in Revelation 22. He used “quickly” to describe Jesus’ return in verses 7,12 and 20. Three has always been a significant number in the Bible. Do you think it’s importance is any less diminished here? I think not. The Holy Spirit is getting His point across here. Jesus’ return is FAST approaching. 

I know people have been saying that since (to quote my dad) “Hector was a pup and now he’s an old dog!” (Sorry, a Southerism I couldn’t resist.)   It means they have been saying that for a really long time. But, it’s true! Look at the world around you. Take in what society thinks and feels and then look at the Bible. Search out prophecy about how things will look at the end and we are there. Political powers my not be completely in line just yet, but they are getting there. But the overall attitude and the falling away, it has begun. 

It’s bittersweet, really. We all eagerly anticipate this “quickly” but at the same time our hearts ache for those who are, as the writers of the Bible would say, “stiff necked”. We all know of people who just refuse over and over again. They choose not to accept Jesus for who He is. 

But that doesn’t mean we quit trying. That doesn’t mean we give up and wait in our houses for the trumpet to sound. No, that means we keep on going. Jesus didn’t sit down and keep to Himself when He knew His time was drawing near to be hung on be cross. He kept on going. He kept sharing, kept teaching, kept doing everything He could to draw others to Him. And we need to be about the same business – drawing people to Him, showing them His love and guiding them to the understanding of His Gospel. 

So today, despite how fast the calendar is flying, be about the business of sharing. Time is “quickly” passing. The trumpet will be sounding before you can bat an eye. 

The Little Things

Psalm 5:11 – “But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee.”

In my line of work, we celebrate the little things. We celebrate small steps that were diligently sought after and tirelessly worked toward. We tell them to everyone. We give rewards. We give accolades. We do it up big. Because by rejoicing in the small things, it gives us hope toward our bigger goal. 

Why should this train of thought be any different for my every day life? Why do I neglect to celebrate a lost 1/2 of a pound? Why do I not celebrate being able to turn on the dishwasher and enjoy some extra time with my family? Why do I not celebrate the extra cash left over at the end of the week? 

I don’t celebrate those things because sometimes I consider them too trivial to really matter. But are they? Are they really trivial? Or do they point me to a greater hope? Do they not show me God’s blessings in my life? Do they not show me that God has graciously provided all that I need – under budget? Doesn’t it show me that my family is important and needs my time? Doesn’t that fading half a pound show me that it can be done?

It is really all about perspective. I see that more and more every day. If I choose to see the small things and perceive them as blessings, my day takes on a whole new meaning. I find myself celebrating more and more. And with the added celebration comes more and more praise because I am choosing to see His hand at work in my life. 

So let me encourage you today to celebrate. Celebrate the little things. Choose to see those tiny little details that make life amazing. Choose to give praise and glory and honor to the One who has brought them into your life and to your attention. 

That little paper

Deuteronomy 18:9-13 – “When thou art come into the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee. Thou shalt be perfect with the LORD thy God.”

image

This was put on my windshield this weekend while we were shopping. It has been bothering me every since.

However, it did make me stop and think for a moment. Are the things that the children of Israel were taught still important today? Do they still apply or are they old lessons that are out of date? I believe they are absolutely relevant and applicable to today.

There is a reason that God warned His chosen people to stay away from these kind of people. 1. By listening to them, one is showing that they don’t trust God to hold their future. They think that if they could find out what is going to happen, that they would be better prepared to handle the situation and thus make a different outcome. That is way too much stress for me! I would rather let my all-knowing, all-caring, forever-trusting Savior hold onto things. He can deal with things much better than me! 2. It gives the appearance of evil. These people that are looking at cards and tea leaves and any other unusual thing for information are doing so not of their own power. They are seeking out things that are only found in the dark. I choose Light. I choose to let Light guide me instead of darkness. 3. They tell one only what one wants to hear. They don’t have my greater good in mind. Their words have no power to guide, only to deceive.

But I think the thing that disturbed me the most about this little paper was the fact that this person claims to be “Godly gifted”. God does not give gifts to people that inhibit His will or fail to give Him honor and glory. I will just go ahead and say it – Based on the Word of God, this person is wrong.

Ok, now that my little rant is over, how does this apply to today? Well, we have everything we need to solve any problem we have or any challenge we face right at our fingertips – the Bible. We don’t need a psychic or any such person to show us the way or guide us through our problems. You see, we have the One who holds tomorrow holding our hand today. Trust Him and Him alone to show you the way.

The Warning

Matthew 25:13 – “ Watch thereforefor ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.”

We are finishing up a long hard winter for some people. So much snow and ice and severely cold weather. Yuck! Yet, we have a pretty amazing weather prediction system. The meteorologist can predict weather fairly accurately. They don’t always get it right, but they are pretty close most of the time. 

We hear that a storm is coming, like a snow storm or a hurricane, and what do we do? We go out and stock up on water, can goods, and bread. We make sure that the batteries are working in our flashlights and that we have blankets if we need them. We make sure that we have extra cash, extra medicine and that Fido has extra food. We take every precaution that we can think of. We call our friends and family to make sure that they are prepared. 

But when it comes to our spiritual life, are we so prepared? When people hear that a storm will be passing through their area, they prepare for that short event and the quickly passing consequences. But do we warn others of the eternal consequences of the upcoming storm caused by sin? A day is coming when Jesus will return and the day of repentance will be over. You will warn your friend of the upcoming tornado but would you warn them of the consequences of sin by rejecting Jesus as their Savior? 

I am guilty. I let social pressures get to me. I don’t want people not to like me because I ask them about their eternal future. I like to be liked. But guess what? That won’t show people how to get to heaven. I try very hard to allow God to work through my life and I try very hard to acknowledge Him in all things. And that is good. But what I really need to do is say to people “hey, do you know Jesus?” Yet, those words are elusive to my vocabulary. I fail. 

But there is hope. Today is a new day with new opportunities. I need to be more brave. I need to be more concerned about a person’s spiritual wellbeing than my own popularity. 

That’s my challenge for you today, Princess. Be brave. You would share a weather warning. Make sure you care enough to give out the warning that God has left for us in the Bible – Jesus will return. Are you ready?

Psalm 119:73-80

Psalm 119:73-80                                                                                                                                                                                             

   “73 JOD. Thy hands have made me and fashioned me: give me understanding, that I may learn thy commandments. 

   74 They that fear thee will be glad when they see me; because I have hoped in thy word. 

   75 I know, O LORD, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me. 

   76 Let, I pray thee, thy merciful kindness be for my comfort, according to thy word unto thy servant. 

   77 Let thy tender mercies come unto me, that I may live: for thy law is my delight. 

   78 Let the proud be ashamed; for they dealt perversely with me without a cause: but I will meditate in thy precepts. 

   79 Let those that fear thee turn unto me, and those that have known thy testimonies. 

   80 Let my heart be sound in thy statutes; that I be not ashamed. “

I read this this morning and was touched. So many good things in these verse. I would like to look at each one individually this morning. 


73 – This verse identifies God as my Creator. He formed me in my mother’s womb and fashioned me to His liking. Now, I ask Him to give me understanding. My desire should be to understand more and more of Him and His commandments. It’s growing, plain and simple. God created me and all I have to do is ask and He will give me what I need to grow in the light of His love. 

74 – Fellowship. When I am around my brothers and sisters in Christ, it should be joyful because they know that I have been seeking God’s council in all that I do. And I can’t have fellowship if I don’t make an effort to seek out those who follow the Lord like I do. Fellowship is about attending my Local New Testiment church. 

75 – Sometimes I mess up. I don’t always seek out God’s will and desire for my life. And when I stray off the path, there are consequences. That is the time when I have to suck it up and accept the consequences for my actions. That is one of the times that I know that I am loved because He cares about me enough to correct me. And I know that His corrections are always right and just. 

76 – Even in times of correction, He is merciful. He does not give me what I deserve. He comforts me through my consequences. He has promised to never leave me nor forsake me. I cling to that promise with all that I am.

77 – This verse makes me think about a mother correcting her child after the child has done something completely against the rules and it requires some harsh discipline. The mother holds the child in her arms and comforts the crying child while gently explaining why what they did was wrong and that when you do that thing, you will be punished – not because the mother enjoys it, but because the child needs to learn that there is a right and a wrong way to do things. 

78 – Sometimes people are going to be mean to me even when I am doing the right thing. In those times, I can’t dwell on ways to get back at them. I must choose to instead seek out God’s council and wisdom on the matter. I need to leave the revenge to God. 

79 – This is a lofty request, one that makes me a little nervous – encouraging people to turn to me. I don’t always give the best advice. I don’t always listen like I should. But as I look back over these last two statements, I see the problem – “I”. I try to give my advice and listen with my ears. I need it give God’s advice and listen with His ears. 

80 – Now this verse, I can relate totally to. I pray that my heart remains firmly planted in God’s garden. I want my fruit to be sweet to His sight and to His taste. I do not want to be ashamed of any thing that I say or do because I want all that I say and do to be a reflection of Him.


So, there you have it , Princess. My short little verse by verse of this section of Psalm that truly touched my heart this morning. 

One step away

Romans 2:1,2 – “Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things. But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things.”

Judging. It is a common practice for us today. It is easy. You look at someone or see some action and boom! Judgement is passed. 

It is hard not to judge someone. We think that we are above reproach and therefore have the right to pass judgement upon someone, especially someone “in the world”. We see their action and see their clothes and we automatically assume that we know exactly how they are. What we don’t know is that on the inside a major war is raging for their eternity. We have no clue of the internal struggles that these people may be going through. Instead of bombarding them with judgements, we should be embracing them and encouraging their desire to walk a different path. 

We also read about and hear about people who have made the choice to seek out another affects instead of their spouse. In this case, we know by their actions and their choices that they have made this decision. However, we need to be cautious of our wrath and disappointment. We need to understand this truth – we are all but one step away from the same decision. 

One step away from choosing someone else over our spouse. One step away from seeking out the temporary comfort of drugs and alcohol. One step away from maxing out our credit cards and stepping into the world of bankruptcy. One step away from losing our jobs and our homes. 

There are times that require us to make judgements in regards to someone’s choice and actions. However, when those times do present themselves, we need to do so with love and the opportunity for forgiveness and restoration. Vengeance is something that we are to reject. It is not our responsibilty to seek it out. God will take care of that. But above all, we need to be careful. 

We need to be cautious in our judgements and we need to remember that only by the grace of God do we stand where we are today. He has given us the ability to recognize problems and potential situations that may cause us harm. We need to use it. We need to listen when He is whispering to our heart that this is just not right. 

I want to encourage you today, princess, to be cautious in your judgements. Be aware and appreciative of your delicate situation. Remember, you are only one step away. 


Selfishness

Psalm 36:2 – “For he flattereth himself in his own eyes, until his iniquity be found to be hateful.”

I have been known to say, quite frequently actually, “It’s their world and your just living in it!” Selfishness is running rampant in our world today. Too many people would rather think of themselves than any other. There are children being abandoned by their parents because they don’t fit into the parents’ plans. Families are being torn apart because one spouse chooses to leave the relationship for one reason or another. People are getting in car accidents because the other driver thinks that their text message is way more important than the person they are meeting on the road.

Selfishness is everywhere. It’s an epidemic really. It is a seed that has always been there but in our current social climate, it flourishes.

So, what do we do about it? How do we live an unselfish life? How do we tolerate those who choose to think only of themselves? Well, I don’t have all the answers but I know Someone who does.
Philippians 2:3 – “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.”
It is hard, sometimes, to do this. You don’t want to be at the bottom of the thought process. You want to do what you want to do. You don’t want to have to think about others along the way. But Jesus commands us to do just that – think of others along the way. Can you imagine how different His ministry would have been if He had thought of Himself at any time?

You see, it’s a great way to show others His love when you think of others more than yourself. You choose the hard things instead of the easy way out. You sacrifice your time and your efforts for someone else’s gain – and you are okay with it. You don’t complain when things get hard, you face them and move through them. You don’t become bitter and nasty when asked to do something.

Princess, I just want to encourage you to be different. Choose to walk away from selfishness. Choose to be the kind of person that is ready to serve no matter the cost. Choose to be the kind driver out there on the crazy road. Choose to be the one who volunteers to do the task. And shine on, sister – let them see His light coming through you.