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Life and Legacy

January 25th, 2019

Satisfaction is in God alone.
“Guard your heart above all else.” Proverbs 4:23 NLT.
My thoughts and comments today are about, “Life and Legacy.”

 

 

Life can get upside down and sometimes backwards. One of those ways that can happen when you believe the world’s model of greatness. It is assumed that the one who appears to exceed others’ abilities and achievements must be smarter, stronger, tougher, and more widely regarded. Inaccurately we reason, maybe somehow, they have more importance than others. In the world’s system that might be so.

But in the Kingdom of God, greatness is described as joyfully and generously serving others. Jesus taught that a satisfying life is about serving God and others, not placing yourself above and before others. Jesus warned, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.” Read Mark 9:33-37 NIV. Paul was clear, “For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men.” Romans 14:18.

Worldly-wise people can do spiritually foolish things. Solomon was the wisest of men, but his excess eventually overcame the wisdom with which he had begun, and to which he would return. He was given exceeding wealth, privilege, and prominence that provided everything he could desire. Yet his unbridled restraint provided unwise opportunity to explore anything his heart desired.

But Solomon finally recognized it all as vanity that created nothing more than futility and emptiness. More stuff just can’t satisfy. Never has. Never will. Because things alone are unsatisfying, they seem to leave an emptiness that the human heart tries to fill with lesser things.

That emptiness happens too easily, almost without notice at first. Without Godly wisdom, a person can become confused by things that seem important but are inconsequential. Solomon discovered, “This is what I have observed to be good: that it is appropriate for a person to eat, to drink and to find satisfaction . . during the few days of life God has given them.” Ecclesiastes 5:18 NIV. Satisfaction is found in God alone.

God’s Word is clear about what demands attention and what deserves your attention. People are always God’s priority – before things, even the best of things. Above all else that clamors for your attention and affections, God and family always merit your first and best.

Life is not about the external matters of, “what you do.” Goodness is internal, “why you do what you do.” Goodness is all about who you are. It begins in your heart. Jesus said, “A good person produces good deeds from a good heart. Whatever is in your heart determines what you say.” Read Luke 6:43-45 NLT.

Solomon advised, “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” Proverbs 4:23 NLT. And being who you can be has everything to do with your willingness and invitation to place Christ first and foremost in your heart. When Jesus has His rightful place, life is right side up and in spiritual order. Could that be why they describe good people as, “upright and upstanding?”

Your life can be your greatest legacy, and an abiding Godly example for your family and friends to follow. There is no inheritance you will leave behind that would exceed the heritage of your Godly instruction and personal example. Today, I pray for you to keep eternal values preeminent in your life.

Christian Communications 2019
Website and archives: allenrandolph.com
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Empty Lives

September 16th, 2015

“And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace.” John 1:16 NKJV.

Life without Jesus will never be all that life should be.

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

As a child, life is exciting, exhilarating, and filled with anticipation – Christmas as a child – first day of school – first date – finally, your driver’s license – falling in love – being married – starting your career – raising a family. Life too quickly fills with responsibilities and routines, each day wearing away a little of the mysteries and wonder. School becomes homework and hard work. Dating becomes complicated, even confusing. A driver’s license involves gasoline, and insurance, and repairs. Falling in love eventually brings rent or mortgage, and bills.

Too soon, spontaneity yields to a schedule that becomes repetitive, and you find yourself trudging through life feeling that emptiness – a sense of “same old, same old” – with something deep inside telling you that life is not meant to be that way. A better life is waiting for you. “And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace.” John 1:16 NKJV. Jesus replaces empty lives with full hearts.

Life without Jesus as its center will never be all that you long for life to be. Nothing, absolutely nothing, can take His place or fill that void. You see, that emptiness you feel in your soul runs so deep. You cannot fill empty lives with stuff; you cannot silence it with noise; you cannot ignore it with busyness. “Man has a purpose – to be in relationship with God . . when he forgets his purpose he forgets who he is and what life means.” Francis Schaeffer, Theologian and Christian philosopher. Life does not work well when you forget who you are and what life means.

Life cannot be what it is meant to be if you leave God out. God alone makes sense of everything else about your life. Jesus said, “I have come that you might have life and have it more abundantly.” John 10:10 NKJV. God makes what you have enough. God makes relationships enriching. God makes who you are meaningful and satisfying. God makes what you do fulfilling. God fills your future with hope and unlimited possibilities. See Jeremiah 29:11 NLT.

The Bible narrative begins with these words, “In the beginning . . the earth was without form, and void, and darkness covered . . and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” Genesis 1:1-2 NKJV. That is the way anyone’s life is until Jesus is invited to come in and set it right, and fill it with life and fullness, and give light and understanding. He is there, waiting for your invitation to do so today and every day that follows. “Until we all come to the knowledge of the Son of God . . to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” Ephesians 4:13 NKJV.

The Apostle Paul described where you find a full heart and full life, “That Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith that you may know the love of Christ that passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” Read Ephesians 3:14-19 NKJV. Don’t try to live life – even a moment of it – without Jesus filling your heart.

Today, I pray for you to make room for Jesus in everything you are and all you do.

Christian Communications 11309

 Empty Lives

Empty Lives

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Stuff Accumulates

June 7th, 2013

“Your attitudes . . must all be constantly changing for the better.” Ephesians 4:23 TLB.

Stuff that clutters your soul is not worth the cost of keeping it around.

My thoughts and comments today observe that “stuff accumulates.”

Last week, Gayle and I relinquished our storage unit. You know what that is, I assume. A storage unit is where you pay someone else to keep the stuff for which you have no more room. Stuff accumulates. When we examined what we had been storing, we realized that it would cost us less to replace the accumulated stuff, if and when ever needed, than to continue to pay someone to store it.

Some things there were once useful; a few things might be somewhat useful at a later time; some of it could be useful to someone else, but too much of it would not likely be needed again. Most of it ended up in the facility’s dumpster; a few things we brought back to sort or store; other things we gave away. If you own a storage facility, this is not criticism of you. You were clever enough to see a need and make a living. We paid you to keep our stuff that was not important enough to make room for at home.

In your personal life, stuff accumulates as well. And there’s a personal cost to you for storing away your collection of mental, emotional, and spiritual clutter that hinders more than helps. People  accumulate regrets, hurts, unprofitable relationships, habits, sins, bitterness, fears, grudges, unforgiveness, anger, disapproval, rejection, negativism, complaints, criticism – well, you get the idea. The cost is a heaviness of heart, a dullness of spirit, deep regrets, needless worry, or a weight on your very soul. The Apostle Paul made it clear, “Your attitudes and thoughts must all be constantly changing for the better. Yes, you must be a new and different person, holy, and good. Clothe yourself with this new nature.” Ephesians 4:23-24 TLB. Constantly changing for the better; that’s a worthy, Godly objective.

Sort through the clutter regularly; don’t just store it away. Be rid of it. It’s sometimes dirty work, but it is worth it. I suggest three practical ways to change your attitudes and thoughts: to yourself, admit the need for cleansing and changing; to God, confess it; with others, correct it. I remember my friend, Campbell, saying, “There’s one certain way that sins leave you – by your sincere confession to God.” John explains how that works, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9 NKJV. Jesus is faithful to forgive sins and cleanse unrighteousness, but He can’t if you cling to it like it’s something precious rather than pernicious. Read Proverbs 28:13 NIV.

Confession is much more than mere admission of wrongdoing; God knows what occupies your attitudes and thoughts. What may be hidden from others is clearly seen and known by God. It is a waste of your time and God’s to ignore or deny your sin. Confession recognizes your wrong and renounces it before God and others. Don’t defend it; don’t explain it; don’t justify it, don’t minimize it; confess it. Confession means, “saying the same thing [about your sin] as God says.” Stuff that clutters your soul – your mind, will, and emotions – is not worth the cost of keeping it around.

My prayer for you today is: be quick to confess your wrong and eager to be rid of it.

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Hindered and Entangled

May 13th, 2011

I will be out of the office for about two weeks, and will probably be unable to send EveryDay Life until the first week of June. I invite you to browse the archives of previous devotionals – 570 of them now at www.allenrandolph.com! – and maintain your daily devotional time in God’s Word. I will miss writing them; I hope you will miss reading them. I appreciate your doing so and the privilege of sharing my thoughts and comments from the practical truth of God’s Word . .

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“Let us throw off everything that hinders . . and entangles.” Hebrews 12:1 NIV

“Always know the difference between what needs to be kept and what needs discarded.”

My thoughts today are about “hindered and entangled.”

One of the problems with everyday life is all the stuff you accumulate and keep along the way. The older I get the more I have, but some of it is unused and of minimal value. To air out the garage yesterday (due to the untimely demise of a field rodent among the stuff there), I opened the windows in spite of the day’s warnings of thunderstorms and heavy rain. With the foreboding weather forecast, I took time to move my golf clubs safely away from the open window, just in case. Of course, by my disuse they are allowed to gather dust and rust, yet there I was worrying about their getting wet. Really, like other things where my truck should be, they are allowed to take space that could be used more beneficially. People’s lives can be like that.

Does your life feel that way sometimes? Life is better without stuff that hinders more than helps – remembering every slight suffered, holding old grudges, vividly recalling every mistake, indulging sins that grieve you, reciting every complaint, clinging to unhappiness, being constantly critical, worrying about the unknown, believing your doubts, regretting your wrong without changing, hurting people, making promises you won’t keep, wanting friends but being unfriendly, having friends that make you worse not better, and the list goes on and on! So much unnecessary stuff deserves no place in your life; such things are unprofitable.

The Bible picturesquely describes some things, “as useless as dried grass burning in a fire . . as useless as dried up springs of water or as clouds blown away by the wind – promising much but delivering nothing.” Isaiah 47:14/2 Peter 2:17 NLT. God advises you to, “throw off everything that hinders . . and entangles.” Hebrews 12:1 NIV. What hinders your being your best? What entangles your thoughts and emotions until you are dismayed and stuck where you are?

You know the stuff you have stored in and around your life that hasn’t been useful for a long time, if it ever was. When something or someone continually complicates your spiritual progress, you have to make a change. You have to be forceful and specific, “throw off . . run with perseverance . . fix your eyes on Jesus . . consider Jesus . .!” Hebrews 12:1-3 NIV. Don’t find a place to keep such things out of sight or out of mind; rid yourself of them! Refuse to tolerate what is unprofitable. Anything that doesn’t help the development of spiritual life can hinder it.

Paul gave good advice, “Those who have trusted in God must be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone. But avoid foolish controversies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless.” Titus 3:8-9 NIV. Be sure to always know the difference between what needs to be kept and what needs discarded.

My prayer for you today is that life is enjoyed, not encumbered with needless things.

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Getting Life Right

January 28th, 2011

“Good people live right.” Proverbs 20:7 CEV

“Stuff cannot satisfy, and more stuff just doesn’t satisfy more!”

My thoughts today are about “getting life right.”

I think we often get important things upside down and backwards. The world’s model of greatness is one who exceeds others’ abilities and achievements – being smarter, stronger, tougher, working harder, being revered, or even feared by most. Jesus described greatness in His Kingdom as joyfully, generously serving others, rather than expecting to be served. Jesus’ teaching is about getting life right, turning life right side up and going forward.

Worldly-wise people can do spiritually-foolish things. Solomon was the wisest of men, who ultimately did the most foolish of things. His excess eventually overcame his wisdom. He had exceeding wealth and position that provided everything he wanted while he tried anything his heart desired. He finally pronounced it all as vanity, creating nothing more than futility and emptiness. Read Ecclesiastes 1-2. Stuff does not satisfy and more stuff just doesn’t satisfy more! He got life upside down and backwards.

Maybe that’s been happening to you. A too busy life confuses a person about what seems important, and what really is, about what demands attention and what deserves it. People in your life always take priority. Above all else that clamors for your attention and affections, God and family require it.

Here’s my question: does living right make you a good person, or does a good person live right? The assumption seems to be that if you live right you are a good person because the right things make people good. Do people get the matter of goodness upside down and backwards? I am intrigued by Solomon’s explanation, “Good people live right, and God blesses the children who follow their example.” Proverbs 20:7 CEV. Life is not the external matter of what you do; Goodness is internal, why you do what you do.

Goodness is all about who you are; it begins in your heart. Jesus said, “A good person produces good deeds from a good heart. Whatever is in your heart determines what you say.” Luke 6:43-45 NLT. See Proverbs 4:23 NLT. And being who you can be has everything to do with your invitation and willingness to have Christ first and foremost in your heart. When Jesus is in His rightful place, life is right side up. Is that why they describe good people as “upright and upstanding”?

A last thought: it is wise to remember Solomon’s conclusion for good people who live right, “God blesses the children who follow their example,” assuming of course, that example is one of both Godliness and goodness. Your life should be your greatest legacy – a Godly example for your family and friends to follow. There is no inheritance you leave behind better than that.

My prayer for you today is that you keep eternal matters first, and your life upright.

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