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All of Life Is Sacred

July 10th, 2015

“Whatever you do in word or deed, do it all in the Name of Jesus.” Colossians 3:17 NIV.

The sacred gives dignity and purpose to all you do.

My thoughts and comments today are that “all of life is sacred.”

People attempt to separate and compartmentalize daily life into distinct activities – home, work, play, or church. Life is best when those blend together, each contributing and complementing the others. What you are at church or home should be the same when at work or play. You live as God designed when you approach all of life with reverence and gratitude.

The sacred is never successfully divorced from every part of your life. Your life and mine is to be publicly consistent, “. . among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the Word of life.” Philippians 2:16. Read Matthew 5:13-16 NLT. The sacred gives dignity and purpose to all you do. Secular culture tries to diminish the effect and depreciate the value of anything that is sacred. That pressure is increasingly visible today in diverse attempts to restrict and relegate the sacred away from the public square. Paul was clear, “Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus.” Colossians 3:17 NIV. Let me suggest what such an obedience would mean.

(1) What you do is on His behalf. Would that change what you do and how you do it? “Work hard and cheerfully at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” Colossians 3:23 NLT. Nor working for yourself!

(2) What you do is under His authority. Invest yourself only in activities under His authority. Jesus said, “And I will do whatever you ask in My name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask Me for anything in My name, and I will do it.” John 14:13-14 NIV. Why waste any portion of your life apart from His direction and involvement?

(3) What you do is with His partnership and power. I love this verse about the early disciples, “And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the Word through the accompanying signs.” Mark 16:20. What would your life look like – at home, work, play, or church – if your efforts were always with God’s blessing?

(4) What you do redeems the secular. The sacred redeems what would otherwise be devoid of value and vacantly secular. “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? . . God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple.” 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 NIV. There is no moment or activity of your life when or where Jesus is unwilling to be included and fully invested. Jesus’ presence makes all of life sacred.

Today, I pray for you to live for God as an undeniable testimony before a watching world.

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The First and Best

March 21st, 2011

“I will require your . . firstfruits and choicest of contributions.” Ezekiel 20:40 Amplified

“What would otherwise be ordinary is sacred when your best is first dedicated to God.”

My thoughts today are about the “first and best.”

The most liberating thing you will ever do is the decision to always give your first and best to God, and others. That single principle is counter-intuitive – going against everything that comes naturally to you. Self-centeredness inclines any person to reserve the first and best for themselves, and then give some portion to God and others out of what’s left. Second best is never good enough for a proper recognition of a life that is devoted to God, and thankful for His gifts and blessings.

The Bible teaches the principle of firstfruits as His command, not your option. “I will require your first . . and choicest of contributions . . the best of all firstfruits and of all your special gifts . . so that a blessing may rest on your household.” Ezekiel 20:40 Amplified/44:30 NIV. Without exception, the firstfruits were more than just the first; God asks for the first of the first, and the best of the first. Life never  works as it should until you decide to put God first and give Him your best. No matter how good, giving second best is never good enough.

God knows what you must learn: put God first in your life, and you will experience the best that He wants you to receive. “Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the best part of everything your land produces (firstfruits of all your increase/NKJV). Then He will fill your barns with grain, and your vats will overflow with the finest wine.” Proverbs 3:9-10 NLT. Simply stated, you will have enough today and reserves (barns) and satisfaction (wine va ts) for tomorrow. What would otherwise be ordinary is sacred when your best is first dedicated to God.

When God is not given the first, or you withhold your best from Him, then God is not first in your heart nor the center of your life. When your calendar is first submitted to God, you will always have enough time to do what you want and should. Abilities joyfully offered in service to God and others will result in the reward they are meant to bring you. Days you begin with God are more productive than they would have been. Choices that are submitted to God for direction will be more wise than they might have been without His counsel. Your life can be all that God intends; put God first in all you do, with all you have. Here’s the secret to Jesus’ life: “I do always the things that please (the Father).” John 8:29 NKJV.

Imagine your joy at the end of a day when you know you have truly pleased the Father. Don’t you think that would be the grandest of days and height of your satisfaction? Is it possible? Most certainly! “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, to Whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.” Hebrews 13:20-21 NKJV. God alone makes such a life possible, when you put Him first in everything.

My prayer for you today is that you give God your best always.

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A Job Well Done

September 29th, 2009

“Well done, good and faithful servant!” Matthew 25:21 NIV

“Praise and appreciation are the fuel that drives achievement.”

My thoughts today are about “a job well done.”

What is any more satisfying than to be complimented for something that you have done, and done well? Hollywood, Broadway, and Nashville give numerous awards for entertainers in movies, television, videos, stage, and most genres of music, it seems. In addition, there is the Pulitzer Prize for outstanding public service and achievement in American journalism, letters, and music; the Nobel Prizes for significant achievement, the best known of which is the Nobel Peace Prize; and one of the more prestigious, the Peabody Award in electronic media.

Praise and appreciation are the fuel that drives achievement. Parents accomplish that with their words, smiles, and hugs. Bosses do that with awards, plaques, certificates, bonuses or raises. Any award seems to mean more when the person or group giving recognition means the most to you. A stranger’s compliment may be flattering but fleeting; a friend’s praise is cherished forever.

I am not sure there would be any little league teams if Mom and Dad were not in the stands. Those kids don’t yet play for the love of the game; they play for the cheers and congratulations of their parents and coaches. Some years ago, when our children were young, my stepfather gave me great parenting advice, “every child needs a sufficient number of ‘atta boys or ‘atta girls every day.” If those don’t come from you, they will seek them elsewhere.

Let me add a small word of caution. The need for applause and public acclaim can become seductive, even addictive, feeding the ego and pride rather than inspiring better efforts and greater accomplishments. Your best work and deepest satisfaction should come when you find  personal joy in your own sense of knowing you offered your best and God is pleased, whether noticed by others or not.

There is a warning the Bible offers as well. Jesus warned those who “loved the praise (and approval) from men more than the praise (and approval) from God.” John 12:43 NIV/NAS. However great the applause and recognition of others might be, you will find no greater satisfaction than at the moment you finally stand before God and hear the Savior’s words, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You were faithful . . enter into the joy of your Lord.” Matthew 5:21 NKJV. May that entrance be grand and to the applause of Heaven! Every earthly trophy and tribute will pale in comparison. Live always with Heaven in mind.

When all is said and done, the only opinions that ultimately matter are the Lord’s, and your own. “Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord not men, because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does.” Ephesians 6:8 NIV. Your life should not accept any such distinction between the sacred and the secular. All you do for the cause and name of Christ is holy.

My prayer for you today is: don’t live for the crowd’s applause or approval; it never lasts.

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The Sacred and the Secular

July 1st, 2009

“Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the Name of Jesus.” Colossians 3:17 NIV

“The sacred was never meant to be divorced from any part of your life.”

My thoughts today are about “the sacred and secular.”

People seem to compartmentalize daily life into nice and tidy, separate areas such as home, work, play, and church. Life just doesn’t work that way. Isn’t it best when all of those blend together nicely, each contributing and complementing the others? Shouldn’t what you are at home be the same when at work, and couldn’t what you are at church be the same as when at home or play? When you find balance and consistency in all areas of everyday life, you will be the happiest.

The sacred was never meant to be divorced from the rest of your life, nor can you successfully achieve that. It is meant to give meaning and dignity and purpose to all of your life. Wasn’t that the essence of Jesus’ teaching about being lights in the world, shining light where it is most needed and useful? “Let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” See Matthew 5:13-16 NLT.

The sacred is meant to positively shape and influence the things people otherwise think of as secular. If not, the secular culture will seize the chance to become the change agent diminishing the effect and depreciating the value of anything that is sacred.

Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, “let it be (done) as a representative of the Lord Jesus.” Colossians 3:17 NLT. Let me suggest some ideas of what it could mean to do everything in the Name of the Lord Jesus. That could mean that what you do is on His behalf – that you are not living for yourself but rather for Him. How would that change what you do and how you do it? “Work hard and cheerfully at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people (or yourself).” Colossians 3:23 NLT.

I think that could mean that what you do is under His authority, unwilling to engage yourself in anything not under His authority. Jesus said, “I have given you authority . . to overcome all the power of the enemy, nothing will harm you.” Luke 10:19 NIV. Why would you ever want to do things that are apart from His direction and involvement? What would be the good of it? If God has not authorized it, why waste your life doing it?

I would also suggest that “in the Name of the Lord Jesus” means that what you do is with His partnership. I love this verse about the early disciples’ immediate efforts after Jesus returned to the Father, “And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs.” Mark 16:20 NKJV. What would your life look like – at home, work, play and church – if Jesus is working with you? What a difference from doing everything always on your own.

Doing everything in the Name of the Lord Jesus has the power to transform the secular into something sacred, and invests the sacred into exactly what would otherwise have been devoid of value and vacantly secular. There is no single moment or activity of your life that Jesus is not willing to be wonderfully included and fully invested. Jesus’ presence makes life sacred.

My prayer for you today is to invite Jesus to be the center of all you say and do.

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