Life and Eternity #373

Here is what I have seen: It is good and fitting for one to eat and drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labor in which he toils under the sun all the days of his life which God gives him; for it is his heritage. (Ecclesiastes 5:18)

God is the Giver of life. He has appointed our lives on earth with seasons of pleasure and pain, laughter and sorrow, work and play. By giving us the ability to work, He also gives us the ability to enjoy the fruit of our labor (Eccl. 2:24). God approves of us taking pleasure in our family, our friends and our earthly endeavors. The wise person is thankful to God for life, its opportunities and its challenges. Wisdom teaches us our life on earth is not the sum of our existence. God has also put eternity in our hearts. We long for something more than terra firma (Eccl. 3:11). The Bible explains where you came from , why you are here and where you are going. Enjoy your life, but do so by fearing God and keeping His commandments. Then the days of your life will be complete (Eccl. 12:13).

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The Lord’s Servant #372

24  And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, 25  in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, 26  and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.” (2 Timothy 2:24–26)

One ought not engage in raucous quarrels when attempting to teach the truth. Angry agitation is sinful and consequently, it does not produce a righteous outcome (Col. 3:8; Jas. 1:19-20). But, gentleness does not mean weakness. Nor does it mean one cannot “reprove” and “rebuke” as well as “exhort” when trying to persuade the lost (2 Tim. 4:2). The truth of the gospel corrects error, but only if we will use it to point out sin and its remedy. Repentance is needed where there is error, for error opposes the truth of God. Teaching the truth to those who are lost is not an “either, or” proposition; either be gentle and do not confront their error, or expose their error and thereby fail to be gentle. Without quarreling, the Lord’s servant must teach the truth plainly so that lost souls can “know the truth…come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil”.

Ashamed of Jesus and His Words #371

For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels. (Mark 8:38)

In yesterday’s passage, the apostle Peter exhorted Christians not to be ashamed of Christ in spite of suffering (1 Pet. 4:16). In today’s verse, Jesus explains what form being ashamed of him takes. He also tells what will happen to those who are ashamed of him. Christ cannot be separated from his word (after all, he is “the Word”, Jno. 1:1, 14). So, if one is ashamed of Christ’s words, then he is ashamed of Christ. One shows no allegiance to Christ while denying the words of his New Testament. When Jesus Christ returns he will be ashamed of (deny) those who showed their shame of him by refusing his words. Always remember that Jesus “has the words of eternal life” (Jno. 6:68). Never be ashamed of Jesus and his words. Be wise; Hear the words of Christ and do them (Matt. 7:24-25).

Do Not Be Ashamed #370

Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. (1 Peter 4:16, ESV)

The Son of God suffered and died at the hands of lawless, immoral men. Christians ought not expect better treatment when they are faithful to the Lord. Commit yourself to live your faith courageously. There will be those who will try to silence you with intimidation, humiliation or worse. Do not be ashamed of Christ! He despised the shame of the cross for our redemption and his present glory at the right hand of God (Heb. 12:2). Give honor to God by being faithful to Christ  – no matter what others say or do to you because you are a Christian.

Prayers Night and Day #369

Now she who is really a widow, and left alone, trusts in God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day. (1 Timothy 5:5)

Prayer is the faithful expression of a Christian’s dependency upon God. The woman in our text was really a widow, with no child or grandchild to care for her (1 Tim. 5:4). For her, prayer was not optional, it was life-sustaining. She would not survive without God. How and why do you pray? Do you pray as if your life depends on God? Do you pray knowing that without God you would not survive? Or, do you pray as an occasional afterthought? Do not take God for granted. Let us “pray without ceasing”, knowing our life on earth and throughout eternity depends on God (1 Ths. 5:17).

Morning Prayer #368

Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed. (Mark 1:35)

Prayer is the purposeful expression of one’s mind to God. It was first on Jesus’ mind of a morning, and his example urges us to pray each morning as we rise to face the day. Prayer is deliberate, not haphazard. And so, Jesus gave sufficient time to pray. He did not rush through prayer, but lingered in it as he spoke to his Father. Jesus went to a solitary place to pray, teaching us to do our best to remove distractions when we pray. Before the duties of the busy day engulf you, remember to pray. Linger in prayer to the Father, and be strengthened for the day ahead.

The Silver-Haired Head #367

The silver-haired head is a crown of glory, if it is found in the way of righteousness. (Proverbs 16:31)

The aged man or woman ought to be shown respect. Too often the elderly are forgotten by family and friends too busy to be bothered. How sad, both for the aged as well as those who carelessly dispose of them. (Remember, if you are blessed with a long life you will be the aged person one day. How will you want to be treated then?) Nevertheless, the aged are held to account by God. Being elderly does not give one the right to be cranky, unkind and mean-spirited. The honor of old age is observed in the righteous example that is consistently lived in spite of the constant realities of life’s last days. If you are young, show respect to the elderly. If you are aged, remember that your example of righteousness benefits many others, bringing glory to you and to your God.