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The Law of Return

February 13th, 2018

Life is reciprocal.

He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.”

Proverbs 11:25 NIV.

 My thoughts and comments today are about, “the law of return.”

Life is not random, even though it occasionally appears to be. Life is reciprocal. It is important that you understand, “The Law of Return.” The principle is rather simple, but applies either positively or negatively. “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 . . He who seeks good finds goodwill, but evil comes to him who searches for it.” Proverbs 11:24-27 NIV. What is not to understand? God’s heart and desire were clear to the Apostle John, “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.” 3 John 2 NKJV. God’s promises are fulfilled within the measure of your obedience.

Let me state the principle simply and in a practical way. You get what you give, not what you want or demand. What you do not give first you will not receive except as charity, however much you expect or insist otherwise. When you do the right things in the right way, the Creator’s loving touch and generosity can be seen everywhere. In far more instances than the exceptions, good things happen to people who do good things for others. That is the principle of sowing and reaping.

Good deeds reproduce good deeds. Good will responds to good will. Kind words are the response from kind words. Generosity creates gratitude. Conversely, inappropriate actions or unworthy attitudes result in a similar return. Be an example, a good one. Whatever you expect of others, demand even more of yourself. You are wise to heed the warning of God’s Word, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Matthew 7:1-2 NIV.

Life is not as you deem it to be, or wish that it were. Life is established on God’s terms, and works accordingly. You might muscle your will and way for a while, but inevitably and ultimately life works the way the Creator determined it should. As in the beginning, God has spoken over His creation, “Let there be, and there was.” That authority has not been revoked, nor will it be. God established eternal laws and principles by which His world works.

Foolishly and to minimal or temporary effect, you and I may try to force life to work the way we would prefer, but all efforts which are contrary to His Word, will, and wisdom, are eventually to little avail. Your lasting success, enduring satisfaction, and eternal reward depend on your learning God’s ways and cooperating with those. Isaiah was clear when He echoed God’s declaration, “’For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ says the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways..’” Isaiah 55:8-9 NKJV. It is foolish pride to think that any of us are wiser than God, even in the matters of our own daily life.

Jesus stated the truth simply, practically, and clearly. “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 7:12 NIV. That has often been referred to as the Golden Rule. The principle of return works for your good or to your loss, depending on how you choose to cooperate with its practical truth. “In the morning sow your seed, And in the evening do not withhold your hand; For you do not know which will prosper, Either this or that, Or whether both alike will be good.” Ecclesiastes 11:6 NKJV.

And Jesus identifies Himself with others,“Whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for Me.” Matthew 25:45 NIV. Our regard, or lack of regard, for others impacts what God is able to do for us. That too is the Law of Return. God’s Word is true and His provision is unfailing, “If you give, you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full measure, pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, and running over. Whatever measure you use in giving – large or small – it will be used to measure what is given back to you.” Luke 6:38 NLT.

My prayer for you and those who follow your example is, “May the Lord give you increase more and more, you and your children. May you be blessed by the Lord.” Psalm 115:14-15 NKJV.

Today, I pray for your life to abound with God’s grace and benevolence.

Christian Communications 2018

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Disappointments and Doorways

June 23rd, 2016

Disappointment can be a doorway to your greatest opportunity.

 “Moses my servant is dead. Now arise and go over this Jordan.” Joshua 1:1 NKJV.

My thoughts and comments today are about disappointments and doorways.”

Difficulties and disappointments will come. When they do it is difficult to stop staring at the past, to resist the present reality, and not to feel stuck where you are. It is difficult but it is not impossible. Optimism is the best cure. There really is no other good option to moving past the past. In the purposes of God, your focus is forward and optimism is your attitude.

Moses died, 120 years old and, “his eye was not dim nor his natural force abated.” Note Deuteronomy 34. The page of history is turned and a new and grander chapter begun. In God, every ending births a new and greater beginning. Moses is dead; promises remain and victories await. Joshua 1:1-11 NKJV.

You have to deal with present reality to embrace future possibilities. Moses’ death must have been Joshua’s biggest disappointment. He personally and Israel nationally lost a bold and brilliant leader; the only leader they had known. “Moses my servant is dead; now arise.” Moses is dead. Joshua must carry on. Israel stands at a pivotal national moment – on the brink of its destiny and the fullness of God’s promises.

Your biggest disappointment can be a doorway to your greatest opportunity. It was for Joshua and Israel. “Moses my servant is dead; now arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them.” Joshua 1:2 NIV. Several million people were waiting to know from Joshua what was next. They couldn’t go back where they were; they couldn’t stay where they are; they had to press onward. The realities were these. Before them was an uncrossable Jordan at flood tide. Across Jordan was Jericho, the most fortified city guarding the entry to Canaan. Beyond Jericho were scores of other fortified cities, war-hardened armies, and men of such stature as to be seen as giants. They had been here before and a generation died because of their unbelief. Numbers 13:31-33 and 32:9-12 NKJV.

We know the story and the dangers faced and victories achieved. Let’s consider the process and apply it to your situation. God always rests the future on His promises in the past. God reminds Joshua of the renewed promises. “Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you, as I said to Moses.” Joshua 1:3-4 NKJV. God assures Joshua of His continuing presence. “As I was with Moses, so shall I be with you. I will never fail you nor forsake you. Be strong and of a good courage.” Joshua 1:5-7 NKJV. Three times God called Joshua to strength and courage. The issue is settled. “If God is for us, who can be against us?“ Romans 8:31 NIV.

God prepared Joshua to lead Israel with confidence; He will do the same for you in your difficult and uncertain moments. “Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6 NKJV. The best is yet to come. This passage provides three things that are essential, not optional. (1) Speak the Word of God faithfully. (2) Dwell on God’s Word continually. (3) Live according to God’s Word consistently. “Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:8-9 NKJV. Jesus promised, “Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Mathew28:20 NIV.

Today, I pray for you that you refuse to settle for anything less than God’s highest and best.

Christian Communications 2016 and  Facebook.com/everydaylife.allenrandolph

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Biblical Faith

July 22nd, 2015

“Without faith, it is impossible to please God.” Hebrews 11:6 NIV.

Biblical faith is central and requisite to the Christian life.

My thoughts and comments today are about “Biblical faith.”

Life is difficult without a healthy measure of faith. Faith is natural unless compromised by opinions and circumstances. Disappointing experiences, damaged trust, and resultant doubts are usually the product of insincere promises or insufficient abilities to fulfill promises made. Yet your Christian life is completely dependent on faith. Paul reminded the Corinthian believers, “We walk by faith not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7.

Your life in Christ begins with the gift of faith, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9. Your spiritual life grows by faith’s increase, “. . if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the Gospel which you heard.” Colossians 1:22. Faith sustains you during and at the end of your journey, as faith did for “those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.” Hebrews 6:11-12.

And how is this journey of faith successfully accomplished? It’s simple really. “Looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith . .” Hebrews 12:2. Faith is neither something you create of yourself nor can you sustain apart from Jesus, alive in your heart. “God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.” Romans 12:3 NKJV. “Faith is not a mere sterile, intellectual belief, but it is that which confirms the heart, clarifies the mind, and controls the affections.” (Barnes’ Notes).

(1) Biblical faith is central and requisite to every aspect of the Christian life. Citing the example of Enoch, “as one who pleased God,” the Bible says, “Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.” Hebrews 11:5-6 NIV. Faith is essential, not optional. Biblical faith is described best in Hebrews 11:1.

(2) Biblical faith is: “the substance of things hoped for.” English lacks the breadth and richness of the original Greek text, in which the New Testament was primarily written. As used in this verse, “Substance” is closest to our word, “foundation, that which stands underneath to provide support.” Biblical hope is not at all wishful thinking; it is a spiritual reality established upon the solid rock of God’s Word. Read Matthew 7:24-27. The “things hoped for” are as certain as the singular character, absolute authority, and unchanging reliability of God. If God said it, I believe it. And that settles it. “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing [comes] by the Word of God.” Read Romans 10:17.

(3) Biblical faith is: “the evidence of things not seen.” As used in this verse, “Evidence” is “the irrefutable proof and unchangeable conviction.” The “things not [yet] seen” are envisioned in one’s heart and accompanied by unshakable conviction of their certainty. Read 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NIV. Abraham is a great example of this principle. Read Romans 4:19-21 NIV. You don’t choose what you believe; you choose who you believe and that determines what you believe. Jesus said, “Have faith in God.” See Matthew 11:22-24. I believe God.

Jesus used the example of a tiny mustard seed to encourage faith and demonstrate its power, “the smallest seed, when planted it grows and becomes the largest of plants . . if you have faith as small as a mustard seed . . nothing will be impossible for you.” Read Mark 4:31 and Matthew 17:20 NIV.

Today, I pray for you that your faith grows strong and rests fully upon God and His Word.

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Shoppers and Seekers

March 18th, 2015

“Those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.” Psalm 34:10 NIV.

There is no lack for those who seek God with a whole heart.

My thoughts and comments today are about “shoppers and seekers.”

When a sales clerk asks, “Can I can help you,” most shoppers answer, “Just looking.” You may be just shopping because you don’t yet know specifically what you are looking for. It is essential to know what you are seeking for in life. Or maybe you are “just looking,” hoping you will stumble upon what satisfies? Life is more fruitful when you are a seeker “on a mission,” knowing what you want and where to find it. That seems a metaphor for life. I observe three different kinds of people.

In life, there are shoppers.

Some people are just shopping. They just wander, having a general idea of what they want, but not really knowing where they will find it. Some know they are looking for something, but just haven’t decided exactly what that is yet. So people try this and try that, sometimes successfully, but often not. People keep looking, or just give up, and accept what they have; that’s sad and unnecessary.

In life, there are seekers.

Some are seeking right things – success, satisfaction, meaning, belonging, or purpose – but looking in all the wrong places, trying in all the wrong ways. Some are seeking things that don’t satisfy, such as influence, approval, admiration, applause, or achievement; there is nothing wrong with those, except when you do so for the wrong reasons. Others seek lesser things, such as power, wealth, pleasure, fame, or recognition for all the wrong reasons as well. Sadly, even when succeeding, they fail.

In America, we can take a lot of things for granted; we seek for luxuries while much of the rest of the world pursues necessities, seeking survival and safety – survival from starvation or disease and safety from political, racial, or religious violence and wars, without knowing there is a Savior who died for their sins, and a Father Who wants to bless and provide for them. Read 1 John 4:11/John 3:16-17.

EDL pix Psa 34.10Most importantly, let us be seekers after God. “Those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.”  Psalm 34:10 NIV.

Meditate on that wondrous promise. The Almighty God said, “I love those who love Me, and those who seek Me diligently will find Me.” Proverbs 8:17 NKJV. That’s the company in which I want to be found, not casually looking but actively, aggressively, and obediently seeking all that God offers. “You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13-14 NIV. Spiritually, are you a shopper or a seeker? There is no lack for those who seek God with a whole heart. Seek for God in the manner that God seeks for you – intently,lovingly, and enduringly. Read Jesus’ Parables of the lost sheep, lost coin, and lost son. Luke 15:1-31.

Consider these practical admonitions from Scripture. “Seek His face always.” Psalm 105:3-4 NIV; “Seek Him with all your heart and soul.” Deuteronomy 4:29-31 NKJV; “Seek first His Kingdom and righteousness.” Matthew 6:33-34 NIV; “Seek, and you will find.” Luke 11:9-1o; “Seek those things which are above, where Christ is.” Colossians3:1-2; “Seek the good of others.” 1 Corinthians 10:24 NIV. The Bible offers both a promise and a warning, “He who comes to God must believe that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him . . Seek the Lord while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near.” Hebrews 11:6/Isaiah 55:6.

Today, my prayer for you is that you will find all for which you seek, when you seek for God.

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A Life That Pleases God

June 11th, 2014

“God is giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him.” Philippians 2:13 NKJV.

A life that pleases God is the life most satisfying for you.

My thoughts and comments today are about, “a life that pleases God.”

Some days, you just don’t feel motivated. That’s not too bad unless that becomes true for most days, not just some. Motivation is engendered by having a reward worth acquiring or an accomplishment worthy of achieving, or a relationship worth pleasing. If your motivation is lacking, your efforts will be measured and minimal. If your motivations are unclear or impure, even your best efforts will be ineffective. Your first and enduring motivation should be to live a life that pleases God. A life that pleases God is the life most satisfying for you.

People of good heart want to please others who are important to them, as well they should, but without becoming people pleasers. “Serve [others] sincerely as you would serve Christ. Work hard . . do the will of God with all your heart. Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” Read Ephesians 6:5-8 NLT. One goal must have priority over every other: pleasing God whatever the cost or inconvenience.

“Whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance for you serve the Lord Christ.” Colossians 3:23-24 NKJV. “The reward of the inheritance” should be your incomparable and eternal motivation. The Apostle Paul held distinct goals for his life and the lives of those in his spiritual care: “That you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.” Read Colossians 1:9-12 NKJV. Imagine the satisfaction you would feel with the life Paul describes: worthy, fully pleasing, fruitful, and increasing in knowledge.

Alone, desire and intention are not enough; there is still something more needed. Your will must follow your willingness. Paul’s admonition applies, “Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means.” 2 Corinthians 8:10-12 NIV. God is not hard to please, not at all like some people for whom, “enough is never enough.” But know this clearly, God does expect your first and best. The life that pleases God loves the will of God, keeps His commands, follows His Word, serves wholeheartedly, considers others important, and lives charitably. Those are big expectations for an individual to fulfill. But Jesus is your example and enabler, “I always do what pleases Him.” John 8:29 NIV.

Here’s how this works for you. ”For God is working with you, giving you the desire to obey Him and the power to do what pleases Him.” Philippians 2:13 NLT. What you lack, God offers. As badly as a person may want to live a life pleasing to God, you must also recognize the secret is this: “God is working with you,” producing the desire in you to obey and supplying the power to “do what pleases Him.” What pleases Him? Obeying His will. “Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead . . make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ.” Hebrews 13:20-21 NKJV. The resurrection of Jesus assures you of His power to keep His promises.

Today, my prayer for you is that His pleasure with who you are and what you do is uppermost.

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