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Do the Right Thing

September 20th, 2013

“Don’t get weary and give up.”  Galatians 6:9 NLT.

Doing the right thing is always the right thing to do.

My thoughts and comments today encourage, “do the right thing.”

Everyone gets tired eventually. You try to do the right things, but the wrong things result. You believe the best of others, but are invariably disappointed. You let yourself be vulnerable and you get hurt – again. You can get tired of doing the right thing, especially when disappointed thoughts whisper that no one else does, which is untrue of course. Cry out to God as did David,“Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a right spirit within me . . Restore to me again the joy of Your salvation, and make me willing to obey you.” Psalm 51:10/12 NLT.

Do the right thing, because that is always the right thing to do. You may grow tired, but doing the right thing is never the wrong thing. “The ways of the Lord are right . .” Hosea 14:9 NIV. Be certain of that. And they are right for you, every time. “To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice . . Listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in His eyes . .” Proverbs 21:2-3/Exodus 15:26 NIV. There is satisfaction in doing what pleases and honors the Lord.

Do the right thing, because a blessing is promised when you do. God is faithful to honor obedience.The law of harvest dictates that, “Those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit.” Read Galatians 6:7-8 NLT. Yes, there are people and times that make that difficult, but the path of least resistance never leads to blessing. “So don’t get tired of doing what is good. Don’t get discouraged and give up, for we will reap a harvest of blessing at the appropriate time. Whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone . .” Galatians 6:9-10 NLT.

Imagine how sad it would be to tire of doing the right thing just before, “reaping the harvest of blessing at the appropriate time.” To Noah, God promised, “As long as the earth endures, seed time and harvest . . will never cease.” Genesis 8:22 NIV. If you sow righteous seed, you reap a righteous harvest.

Do the right thing, because doing so pleases God. Be assured, this is no small matter to God. There will be moments when you feel like you just can’t do what’s right “on your own,” and you would be exactly right; nothing in your Christian life was ever intended to be done in your own strength. Learn to lean on the Shepherd. ”The Lord is my Shepherd . . He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to His name.” Psalm 23:3 NLT.

My prayer for you today is that you discover the joy of righteousness.

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Do the Right Thing

May 18th, 2012

“Let it be known to you . . that we are not going to serve your gods.” Daniel 3:18 NASV

Do the right thing without regard to profit or pain.

My thoughts and comments today are, “do the right thing.”

Life presents you with consequential moments of decision. What you decide at such times shapes your life from that day forward. Some decisions are just choices with multiple acceptable options. However, there are matters that draw the line between right and wrong. At the risk of being ludicrous, let me illustrate the difference. What you choose to wear may be only a matter of preference and style, or the lack of it. However, which side of the freeway you decide to drive on will seriously impact the safety of others, and your own. The latter decision is consequential.

Three Hebrews were faced with a life shaping decision. Daniel 3:1-18. By royal command, the King decreed that everyone would bow down before a golden image at his command. To obey the king would desecrate their faith and renounce their God’s command – the first Commandment, “You shall have no other gods before Me . . you shall not bow down to them or serve them.” Exodus 20:3-5 NKJV.

They were captives in a foreign land. In spite of that beginning they had risen to places of privilege and prominence there. Everything they had gained and currently enjoyed would be forfeited. Of even greater gravity, to disobey the king would risk their lives. This was no small matter to the King, nor to them. Choices have consequence, immediate as well as eternal. They could make the right choice when it counted most because they had established a record of doing the right thing. See Daniel 1:3-8 NKJV.

What did they do? More importantly, what would you have done? Thankfully, the Bible records their answer. “Our God, Whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O King, But if not, let it known to you that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the golden image which you have set up.” Daniel 3:18 NKJV. These Hebrews did the right thing; they obeyed God rather than man. See Acts 5:29 NKJV/Proverbs 29:25 NIV.

They could make a right choice because they knew that was the right thing. They knew the right thing in the clutter of conflicting demands and inherent self preservation because they knew their God. Here is the secret to their moral and spiritual strength. They knew God’s ability and power, “Our God . . is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace.” They long before made a non-negotiable commitment, “Our God, Whom we serve . .” But as importantly, they knew God’s character, “He will deliver us from your hand, O King.”

When you are certain about God and your convictions, doing the right thing is simpler. They understood their deliverance from the furnace was not assured, but their deliverance from the King was. They trusted themselves to God’s hand, not the king’s. You can’t really know who you are until you are sure who God is. What is the thing with which you are struggling? Do what’s right.

Moses’ instruction to Israel is wise advice still today, “Listen to the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in His eyes . . Do what is right and good in God’s sight, so that it may be well with you.” Exodus 15:27/Deuteronomy 6:18 NIV. When tempted to do what friends pressure you to do, or what your own desires dictate you do, do what God wants you to do. That’s always the right thing. Doing the right thing is neither convenient nor always spares you hurt. You do the right thing because it is the right thing to do, without regard to profit or pain.

My prayer for you today is that you will never shy from doing what’s right to say or do.

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Serving Gladly

May 1st, 2012

“Serve the Lord with gladness.” Psalm 100:2 NKJV

“The only applause a true servant expects is the approval of his Master.”

My thoughts and comments today are about “serving gladly.”

Life is best lived with gladness. You, as well as others, can tell when you are doing something dutifully rather than gladly. A person’s performance, demeanor, and effort expose their heart, however busy their hands may be. Doing the right thing for God or others because you ought to or have to do it is vastly different from doing that because you are glad for the privilege of helping. Which would you say characterizes your service to God? Your service to others? There is little credit for doing the right thing with a wrong heart.

David, the shepherd and King of Israel, knew a little about worship. “Serve the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful singing. Know that the Lord Himself is God; it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture.” Psalm 100:2-3 NAS. David learned some practical things good for us to remember. When serving, your attitude is as important as your actions. The New Testament describes that principle this way, “Be . . fervent in spirit, serving the Lord.” Romans 12:11 NKJV. The idea is: serving with enthusiasm, pleasure, and satisfaction.

“Serving gladly” is not about your delight in the task; it is about your delight in God Himself – your fitting response in recognition of God and His rightful place in and over your life. Guard your motives when serving. Ample reward is promised to those who serve, but reward alone is not a proper motive. “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as though you are working for the Lord and not for men. Remember that the Lord will give you as a reward what He has kept for His people. For Christ is the real Master you serve.” Colossians 3:23-24 TEV. The only applause a true servant expects is the approval of his Master.

Serving others is an act of worship to God. The proper accompaniment to your songs is the sound of your joy in God and your love for serving others. Jesus spoke of the hungry, strangers, needy, sick, and prisoners and said, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these . . you did for Me . . Anyone who gives a cup of water in My name will certainly not lose His reward.” Matthew 25:40 NIV/Mark 9:41 NIV.

God doesn’t lack from your expression of kindness, your helping hand, your thankful words, or your practical generosity – your family, friends, and neighbor do! “Serving gladly” is every bit a worshipful act as is “joyful singing.” You rightly express your gratitude to Father God for His benevolent grace by your practical benevolence to His family, and the objects of His love – the world! John properly reasoned, “For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, how can he love God, Whom he has not seen?” 1 John 4:20 NIV.

A servant has to be careful to guard their heart. My dear friend, Campbell, taught me, “If you want to see how well you are doing as a servant to others, watch how you react when someone treats you like one.” I have found his advice a reliable and necessary guideline more times that I would like to admit. When I fail to serve you, I fail myself and fail my God.

My prayer for you today is that you discover the joy of serving God by serving others.

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Confidence and Courage

February 24th, 2012

“Be courageous . . the Lord your God will go ahead of you. Deuteronomy 31:6 NLT

“Courage does the right thing with no requirement of reward no regard for cost.”

My thoughts and comments today are about “confidence and courage.”

Things don’t always go the way you plan; relationships do not always endure as you wish. Situations are not always what you hope; explanations don’t come when you want. In such times, at all times, life is best when lived with courage.

Listen to Moses’ encouraging word to Israel when facing a future uncertain to them but not to their God; “Be strong and courageous . . the Lord your God will go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6 NLT. Your God who “goes ahead of you” will also be there with you. Your confidence that God “will go ahead of you and not fail or forsake you ” provides you courage to be strong and not afraid.” Read Isaiah 43:19 NIV.

Courage is a choice you make. In varying degrees, everyday life demands some measure of courage. A little bit here; a lot there. You bravely face your fear for the greater good that’s ahead, often for others’ benefit more than your own. There are those whose occupation requires great courage, such as firefighters, policemen, and soldiers. But ordinary people show courage every day as well. People face decisions and diagnoses with no promise of how their situation will turn out. In such times, David sang, “God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:26.

Courage is a character strength you develop. Strong and courageous are not things you suddenly are. They are qualities of character that grow over time and with experience. They are developed through many – as well as mini – choices you make along the way, many of them small but all of them right, until a situation arises that requires that you do what is right, though there is a consequence or personal price to pay. Courage does the right thing with no requirement of reward nor regard for cost. Courage will not let you flinch from a sacrifice the right choice may demand.

Courage is a conviction you hold. Why? Because when you don’t know what is ahead, God does. There are times when people need courage just to get up in the morning, when life hasn’t been kind to them lately. A doctor’s diagnosis was not what they wanted to hear; the employer was downsizing rather than promoting. Life does not allow you the chance to prepare exactly for what is ahead. Life would be more manageable, but a lot less exciting.

In the most devastating personal experience of my life, the Lord spoke to my heart a wondrous promise, “Your strength will equal your days.” Deuteronomy 33:25 NIV. I realized I did not worry about the demands of the days; however, I did fear the failure of my strength. Read 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 NKJV, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in (your) weakness.” The conviction of God’s strength and sufficient grace puts courage in my soul still today.

Courage is a confidence born of faith. By God’s grace and with your obedience, whatever is ahead will be graced. Marriage takes courage. Parenting takes courage. Business takes courage. Leadership takes courage. Obedience takes courage. Doing the right thing takes courage. Everyday life takes courage. A confident faith lets you choose to do the right thing because you believe that makes a difference, now and forever.

My prayer for you today is that you find your courage in God in the tough times.

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Do the Right Thing

February 10th, 2012

“This is what [God] requires: to do what is right . . before God.” Micah 6:8 NLT

“Doing the right thing now is simpler than undoing the wrong thing later.”

My thoughts and comments today are to “do the right thing.”

It is not always easy to know the right thing to do, and actually doing the right thing is only harder. There is no one who has not learned that doing the wrong thing is not a very good alternative. Wrong never turns out right! Our lives tell the story of times when we haven’t known or done the right thing and the difficulty, hurt, and regret that resulted.

This is not a problem new to this generation. The prophet Micah wrote to people who had lost their way; having abandoned the Law of God, they no longer even knew the right thing to do. Ever been there, done that? In answer to their questions of what they could do to regain God’s favor, Micah’s answer was simple, “The Lord has already told you what is good, and this is what He requires: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8 NLT. The basic observation I make from this passage is this: doing the right thing now is always simpler than undoing the wrong thing later. The right thing is rarely very complicated.

Examine that verse carefully and read it practically. God “has already told you;” they ignored but they could not plead ignorance. What does God want you to do? Do as God has told you – “what is good.” God does not make suggestions about right and wrong. He clearly sets forth His expectations in His Word – “this is what He requires.” Here’s the formula for pleasing God: “do what is right, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God.” Simple, isn’t it?

“Do what is right.” Doing wrong when you know what is right will never work out well for you. The Bible says, “Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.” James 4:17 NIV. Is there anything unclear about that? Doing the wrong thing is rarely human error. God put a moral compass – a conscience – inside your spirit that warns you of wrong whether or not you can fully understand or explain that. “Because of this (Day of judgment), I always try to maintain a clear conscience before God and everyone else.” Acts 24:16 NLT. Doing the right thing is always easier. Right and wrong is not what you want or decide it to be; it is what God declares it to be.

“Love mercy.” The right thing to do is to love to give mercy as much as you love to receive it. Everyone loves mercy that is shown to them; God calls you to love showing mercy to others as you desire to be extended to you. Jesus said, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy . . For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.” Matthew 5:7/James 2:13 NKJV.

“Walk humbly before your God.” Humility is the fruit of a personal realization of your own frailties when considering another’s failure. Humility is the only suitable posture of a person before God; arrogance and presumption of your innocence is distasteful. Peter learned the lesson painfully well, “Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. Therefore, humble yourselves . .” 1 Peter 5:5-6 NIV.

My prayer for you today is: do the right thing simply because it is the right thing to do.

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