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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 That authority has not been revoked, nor will it be.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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Distractions and Diversions

May 28th, 2014

“Anyone who starts to plow, then keeps looking back is of no use . .” Luke 9:62 TEV.

The devil is the master of distraction and deception.

My thoughts and comments today are about “distractions and diversions.”

Distractions happen. Distractions waste more of a person’s time than we realize when they occur. Ironically, while writing this, I became distracted. That happens easily to any of us. Interruptions occur; misdirection results. Here’s the problem. Typically, you are not interrupted by more important matters. Usually, lesser things crowd into your life and crowd out of your life things you cannot afford to procrastinate. Your success results from setting priorities, maintaining focus, and avoiding distraction.

A distraction can be a brief, pleasant diversion. However, any diversion has potential for a misdirection you may not intend. That can be costly if not noticed and corrected. Unfortunately, distractions come in all shapes and descriptions, some in the pretense of responsibilities or others disguised as opportunities. The devil is the master of distraction and deception, using love of the world, desires, worry, regret, greed, anger, offences, or temptations to dissuade you from being the person Christ means you to be.

Jesus spoke of the danger of spiritual distraction, “Anyone who starts to plow and then keeps looking back is of no use for the Kingdom of God.” Read Luke 9:57-62 TEV. See John 6:66-69 NIV. Jesus’ clearest teaching on distraction is found in a parable He told. Read Matthew 13:3-8 NIV. The same seed – with incalculable potential for good – had differing results, according to the reception of its truth. Jesus was not talking about farmers and fields, nor seed and soils. In His story, Jesus was describing people into whose hearts and lives the Word of God was sown, inefficiently in some but effectively in others. Read Matthew 13:18-23 NIV. Whatever diminishes your obedience to God’s Word, His will, and His ways is a distraction you cannot afford.

Beware; distractions preempt attention from what God is saying and doing in your life. “The evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart.” Vs 19. Your spiritual life requires priority and focus. Distractions dull God’s calling in your heart and diminish His dreams for you before their time of harvest.

Be careful; distractions prevent the Word of God from becoming rooted in your heart. “Since he has no root, he lasts only for a short time. When trouble comes . . he quickly falls away.” Vs 20-21. Avoid shallow convictions and superficial faith. See Colossians 2:6-7 NKJV.

Be watchful; distractions preoccupy your mind with worries and fears instead of God’s Word. “The worries of this life choke [the Word], making it unfruitful.” Vs 22. Worry ignores God’s Word while consuming thoughts and emotions with fear, suffocating hope, and destroying expectation. See Philippians 4:6-8 NLT/2 Corinthians 10:3-5 NKJV.

Jesus’ conclusion is, “. . the man who hears the Word of God and understands it. He produces a crop yielding a hundred, sixty, or thirty times what was sown.” Vs 23. Paul was neither distracted nor dissuaded, “None of these things move me, nor do I count my life dear to myself . . one thing I do, forgetting . . reaching . . I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Acts 20:22-24/Philippians 3:13-14 NKJV.

My prayer for you today is that you be steadfast, immovable, and always abounding.

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Something Better

October 25th, 2011

“God has appointed another seed [future] for me.” Genesis 4:25 NKJV

“For everything you have loved and lost, God has appointed something better.”

My thoughts today are about “something better.”

There will be times when the future may not look promising to you. You will consider your present struggle, add up past disappointment, and conclude that the future is likely more of the same. That’s just discouraging. But the past is not an accurate forecast of your future, nor is your present experience a preface to every tomorrow. God’s promise is, “As your days, so shall your strength be . . goodness and mercy . . all the days of my life.” Deuteronomy 33:25 NKJV. See also Psalm 23:6.

Never look into your future without calculating a purposeful God as a primary factor in that equation? “And we know that (God causes) all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose . . to be conformed to the image of His Son.” Romans 8:28-29 NKJV/NLT. Your life is never devoid of God’s purpose, unless you foolishly choose it to be.

Man’s early history includes tragedies and loss. Yours and my history began with marriage dissension and family rivalry, and just kept getting worse. See Genesis 3-4. Adam and Eve were escorted from the garden because of their foolish disobedience, and later their family is torn by jealousy and anger that sees one son taking the life of another. Where is God in all that, you may say? He was working His eternal purpose, in spite of man’s miserable failure. The glorious promise of a Savior and God’s gracious redemption are spoken to the Tempter in the midst of man’s worst hour: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise her heel.” Genesis 3:15 NKJV.

Seed holds the future. After Cain slew Abel, another son, Seth, was born to Adam and Eve. Eve recognized God’s sovereign faithfulness, “God has appointed another seed [future] for me instead of Abel, whom Cain killed.” Genesis 4:25 NKJV. Note this carefully; God “appointed” Eve another future. Someone wrote, ”There’s an appointment on God’s calendar with your name on it!”

Your future remains safely in God’s hands, “According to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Ephesians 3:11 NKJV. Your future may seem lost by random misfortune, or stolen by others’ cruel conduct, or forfeited by foolish choices, but your story is not fully written yet. For everything you have loved and lost, God has appointed something better. Why believe anything less? Look for the seed of your future; don’t dwell in the sorrow and loss of your past.

Recently, my friend, Wayne, brilliantly shared a rich perspective on one of my favorite and frequently quoted verses, “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not disaster, to give you a future and a hope.’” Jeremiah 29:11 NLT. Jeremiah wrote to a generation of captives in Babylon. They felt their future was taken from them; they thought anything good could only be found in Jerusalem. Your future is held in neither location nor circumstance; it is in God – His hand and purpose!

God’s plans include a grand future and a great hope for you. You will find that where you are, not where you thought you would be. Read Jeremiah 29:5-7 NLT. God’s direction to those captives sounds counter-intuitive, but is so very true. “My future is in Your hands.” Psalm 31:15 NLT. Live well now; rest your future in God. God always has something better for you.

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