Posts Tagged ‘benefits’

The Will of God

March 23rd, 2016

“That you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.” Colossians 4:12 NKJV.

Lack of obedience impairs your ability to hear from God.

My thoughts and comments today are about, “the will of God.”

God’s will is not secondary to anything, but primary to everything. “[God] works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will.” Ephesians 1:11 NIV. Through obedience, God includes you in the accomplishment of His will in His world, as well as His will in your life. In his letter, Paul clarified the supreme priority of God’s will, “We have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of His will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.” Read Colossians 1:9-13 NIV.

The will of God holds incomparable, personal benefits. Paul continues, describing unsurpassed results when the will of God inhabits your heart and mind: (1) living worthily, (2) pleasing to God, (3) abounding fruitfully, (4) a growing knowledge of God, (5) strengthening in His power, (6) being patient and enduring, (7) rejoicing and grateful, and (8) sharing a Godly inheritance. The Bible describes God’s will in these words – “His good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2 NIV.

I have found this to be true, “Your actions speak so loudly that I cannot hear a word you say.” Ralph Waldo Emerson 1802-88. Jesus told a story of a father and two sons. Their father asked each of them to work in his vineyard. One son refused his father, then reconsidered and did as his father asked. The other son readily agreed to do what his father asked of him, but neither started nor completed the task. Read Matthew 21:28-31 NKJV. Jesus asked his listeners, as I ask you, “Which of the two did the will of his father?” The answer should be obvious. Obedience is not what you say you will do; obedience is altogether what you do. You and I are to be defined as, “bond servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart.” Read Ephesians 6:5-8 NKJV.

More than once, I remember my Dad asking, “Allen, did you hear me?” He was not doubting my physical ability to hear. He was accurately questioning my willingness and intention to obey. Hearing presupposes obedience. When King Saul disobeyed the specific instructions of God, the prophet Samuel asked him, “Which does the Lord prefer: obedience or offerings and sacrifices? It is better to obey Him than to sacrifice the best . . to Him.” 1 Samuel 15:22 TEV. For obedience, God offers no option, accepts no substitute.

“God listens to the Godly man who does His will . . The man who does the will of God lives forever” John 9:31/1 John 2:17 NIV. Maybe you struggle to know God’s will at times. Maybe you have not recognized God’s voice or have not listened carefully enough. Or maybe you have procrastinated doing what God has spoken previously. Lack of obedience impairs your ability to hear anything further from God. God will not move forward in your life when you have unfinished business with His will.

Today, I pray for you to do “the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God” from your heart.

Christian Communications 2016

EDL hear the Word

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To Give Is To Grow

March 18th, 2016

Whenever you have the opportunity, you should do good to everyone.”  Galatians 6:11.

 Helping others benefits you and blesses them.  

My thoughts and comments today are that, “to give is to grow.”

Everyone has a selfish moment when you think, “Why should I help?” Here are some answers to help when you feel like just taking care of yourself. Helping others makes life easier, every task lighter, and any heart happier.

First in importance, God says to do so. The Bible is explicit. “Whenever you have the opportunity, you should do good to everyone, especially to your Christian brothers and sisters.” Galatians 6:11. “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in the power of your hand to do so. Proverbs 3:27 NKJV.

God has given you what someone else needs. “Be generous with the different things that God gave you, passing them around so all can get in on it.” Read 1 Peter 4:8-11 MSG. As was said of the turtle on top of a fence post, “He didn’t get there without a little help from somebody.” Wherever you are and whatever you achieve, you received a little help from someone. Jesus said, “Freely you have received, freely also give.” Matthew 10:8 NKJV.

 You will be blessed in the giving. So don’t hesitate. “So don’t get tired of doing what is good. Don’t get discouraged and give up, for you will reap a harvest of blessing at the appropriate time.” Galatians 6:9. Never discount the value of God’s blessing. His blessing multiplies your success and compounds your enjoyment of that.

You will accomplish more with God’s blessing than without. Apart from God, success may come with a measure of regret. “The blessing of the Lord makes a person rich, and adds no sorrow with it.” Proverbs 10:22. Not everything that looks like a blessing is, if you can’t find God there.

You will feel better about yourself. That is not as small a thing as it might first appear. There is enough about life and our common frailty that doesn’t always leave you feeling good about yourself. There is great benefit from seizing every opportunity to do good for others, releasing an inner sense of self-satisfaction and well-being.

Obedience is its own reward. Growth is the goal. When you lend a helping hand, everyone grows a little, and you will grow a lot. Helping others benefits you and blesses them.

Today, I pray for you to learn that you grow only when you help others to grow.

Christian Communications 2016 10107  

EDL giving - Anne Frank

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Blessings in Disguise

November 22nd, 2013

“Problems and trials . . are good for us.”  Romans 5:3 NLT.

Rejoice even when you have to look for a reason to do so.

My thoughts and comments today are about “blessings in disguise.”

Apparently, my Mom believed I always knew what was good and presumed I would consistently chose the good. I am assuming all that because, from my preteen years, I can still remember her frequent, and necessary, warning to me, “Allen, if you know what’s good for you, you won’t do that again.” When I failed to know what was “good for me,” by a practical process of elimination, both Mom and Dad assisted me to learn what wasn’t. But we are all a bit like that, confusing what’s good for us with what’s not.

The reality is that we really don’t always know what is good for us, or at least we live as though we don’t know. We make foolish choices too often. The obvious choice is seldom the right choice. By nature it seems, we are prone to self-indulgence. You may assume self-interest is a good thing, yet the Bible teaches that self-denial is the path to choose. “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” Luke 9:23-25 NKJV. What’s good for you is this: follow Jesus fully, whatever sacrifice that requires.

Every one of us would prefer receiving, whether approval, applause, acclaim, recognition, or reward, but Jesus taught, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:35 NIV. There is pleasure from what you receive, but that is comparatively brief; however, your satisfaction in what you give endures long after the gift. You might presume that what you give leaves you with less, but what you gives compounds itself to your benefit more than what you keep. “One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.” Proverbs 11:24-25 NIV. What’s good for you is this: generosity is a wise investment in your own well-being. See Matthew 19:29 NKJV.

Any one of us would prefer a carefree life, without pressures or problems, as unlikely as that is to happen, but the Bible teaches that problems are not always a problem; sometimes, problems can be blessings in disguise. Not everyone sees past their disguise. I expect yours or my first question would likely be, “How do problems benefit us?” The Apostle Paul, no stranger to suffering, reflects on those blessings in disguise as a reason for our joy, ”We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us . .” Romans 5:3 NLT. See James 1:2-4 NIV. What’s good for you is this: rejoice even when you have to look for a reason to do so. See John 16:33 NIV.

Look closer at both the context and conclusion of Paul’s words to Christ-followers in Rome. “Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of highest privilege where we now stand, and we joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.” Romans 5:2 NLT. On that foundation, Paul adds a further, less likely but equally as important, cause for rejoicing, “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us – they help us learn to endure. And endurance develops strength of character in us, and character strengthens our confident expectation of salvation. And this expectation will not disappoint us. For we know how dearly God loves us . .” Romans 5:3-5 NLT. Problems are no indication of God’s disfavor; problems are places where you discover God at His best.

My prayer for you today is that you not overlook any blessing, in whatever guise it comes.

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Success and Failure

July 31st, 2013

“The Lord was with [Joseph] and gave him success in everything he did.” Genesis 39:3 NIV

Success is found in your capacity to appreciate its blessings fully and honor God humbly.

My thoughts and comments today are about “success and failure.”

There is a lot of confusion about this idea of success. Opinions are as diverse as the individuals giving them. Whatever anyone else says, what you believe about success is of first importance. It is a good feeling when others see you as successful, but ultimately there are only two opinions that really matter, yours and God’s. Only how you view your life and accomplishments and, when you stand before God, whether He can say, “Well done, good and faithful servant,” will matter eternally.

The crowd is rarely right. If you are relying on the majority opinion you will be misled. The difference between what is popular or important is vast. There will be big surprises in eternity as to who and what merited applause and acclaim, as well as whose recognition truly mattered. You must answer a simple but important question, “Whose applause do I seek?” Jesus described the sad plight of those who, “loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.” John 12:43 NKJV.

As I have grown older I have learned that success is more about who I am and the quality of relationships that I have – with God, my spouse, our family, and our friends – than things I have or have done. The good opinions of acquaintances are appreciated, but the more accurate appraisal of those who have known me – in the ups and downs of life, both mine and theirs – is invaluable. If they speak well of my life, and family, and ministry, then I have had success.Here are some of my observations about success.

Success is related to clear priorities and enduring, eternal values. See Joshua 1:8 NIV. You will not give the effort needed or sacrifice required to anything you do not count as valuable and as a priority above your comfort and convenience. Success is the product of your doing well and doing so consistently for the long term. Many have made a lot of money and yet made a mess of their lives. Some have been praised for accomplishments at work, but left a destroyed marriage or family at home. Too much success, or the wrong kind of success, can destroy so much that is irreplaceable.

Success is not the product of your talent and hard work alone. Others will share knowledge and experience you do not possess, provide opportunities you have not earned, and give you help and expertise along the way and, more importantly than all, God will have been gracious toward you! “As long as Uzziah sought the Lord, God made him to prosper.” 2 Chronicles 26:5. Success will quickly sour if God is not honored as its Source. If you fail, fail at things unimportant. Where you succeed, succeed in things of eternal significance.

Success is found in your capacity to appreciate its blessings fully, share its benefits generously, handle its responsibilities wisely, and honor God humbly. Remember, as with Joseph, it is true, “The Lord gave [Joseph] success in everything he did.” Genesis 39:3 NIV. I pray that you experience the height of success in all you are and do, as the Bible says God desires for you. “Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, even as your soul prospers.” 3 John 2. Spiritual prosperity will be your crowning success. See Matthew 6:33 NKJV. Keep first things first; the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing. Without God, any success is just another failure.

My prayer for you this day is that you value the eternal above the temporal.

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Redeemed Lives

March 5th, 2012

“Bless the Lord . . Who redeems your life from destruction. Psalm 103:4 NKJV

“When trouble comes, abide in perfect peace and safety in God’s care.”

My thoughts and comments today are about “redeemed lives.”

The world is frequently an unsafe place, but you do not have to live in fear. There are things you will not evade because you were wise enough to see and avoid them. You will not foresee everything that could be hurtful, so you need a Redeemer who does! “Bless the Lord . . and forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with lovingkindness . . Who satisfies you with good things.” Psalm 103:1-5 NKJV. What a litany of blessing!

The context of King David’s words is essential to appreciate the vastness of God’s comfort. All that God is flows from His love to forgive and redeem. David is not peering wishfully into the future nor glancing nervously ahead as he writes these words. He is reflecting on the grace and mercy he has already experienced – looking at the faithfulness of God across his lifetime. Recognition of what God has done gives assurance of what God will always do, ever true to His character and nature.

Faith in the moment allows you to flee confidently to God’s arms when trouble comes and abide there in perfect peace and safety. Salvation does not promise trouble will not come. The Savior is your assurance that, come though it does, you are not alone and will be protected. “You have been a shelter for me, a strong tower from the enemy . . I will trust in the shelter of Your wings” Psalm 61:3-4 NKJV.

Read the Psalms. David experienced all that you will and probably more, yet found that God is always there to save and satisfy. See Psalm 91. Some years ago, Gayle and I had a terrible auto accident. It was not a danger we could have anticipated nor avoided. Driving at highway speeds on a city street, a drunk driver crossed into our lane striking our car head-on. Because there was a fatality, an investigator reconstructed the accident. His conclusion? There was no natural explanation how we survived such a collision. God “redeemed our lives from destruction.”

I awakened in the ICU about 36 hours after reconstructive, facial surgery. Though still groggy and dazed, I awakened to know that sometime while still unconscious there was a gentle word to my heart. I simply knew, as though I had heard the words audibly, “Tonight the devil tried to take your life, but I am with you.” God redeemed my life from destruction. God would satisfy our lives with good things, as He said; and He has, more than we could have imagined. See Jeremiah 29:11.

Yet the worst thing God ever saved me from was my sins, and His salvation alone would be sufficiently satisfying. More than any adversity that occurs, the greatest destroyer of life is your own sin and disobedience. Sin can steal more from you than any trouble or misfortune ever could. That’s how and where He truly “redeems your life from destruction.” This world is too frightening without Jesus in your life. And life is incomplete without “all His benefits . . Who crowns with you with lovingkindness and tender mercies, Who satisfies your mouth with good things.”

My prayer for you today is that you never live without the One who saves and satisfies.

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