1 John 2:5-6 – “But those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love him. That is how we know we are living in him. Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.”
I have very few absolutes in life. It doesn’t mean that I don’t have values. It just means what is truly important as guiding principles in my life are just that. They are absolute. Many know what I mean – those absolutes in our lives that can’t be waived or changed.
As believers, one principle that I believe holds true is that I can’t be happy in Jesus unless I obey His word and spirit. Looking back on my life since the age of 11 when I gave my heart to Jesus Christ and accepted him as my personal savior, I can see without exception that those times that were the happiest and I was most content was when I was following and obeying Christ.
The times when I look back and say I didn’t obey Christ were exactly the opposite. When you give your heart to Jesus Christ, you become a new creature. All things have passed away, and all things become new.
That’s exactly why we can’t be happy unless we are obeying Christ. When we are not obeying, when we are not following, we are in a place that we don’t belong. The Bible refers to us as strangers in a foreign land.
I remember the words to an old church hymn:
“Trust and obey, because there’s no other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.”
I pray that today you’ll commit to trusting in His guidance and control all day long. By doing so, you are in effect saying, “I love you Lord.”
Have a blessed day.
Luke 6:38 – “Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.”
Last weekend, I was in St. Petersburg doing some chores. I was out and about, and I went first to the Ace Hardware Store. When I made my payment at the cash register, the young cashier asked me if I’d like to donate my change to a well-known charity. I said sure. I then went to McDonald’s, and when I got to the drive-up window, the young cashier asked me if I wanted to donate my change to their charity. On the way home that day, I stopped by Wendy’s, and they, too, asked me to donate my change to their charity.
I must say, by the time I got to Wendy’s, I wasn’t feeling very charitable. I guess this is the new thing to ask for your change to give to charity.
The scripture that we have for today is probably one of the more controversial and abused. The idea that if I just give something then I’m going to get something back has often been misapplied to create a get-rich-quick scheme. And what’s worse, it’s a get rich quick money maker that is guaranteed by God.
But there is still real truth in this scripture. For us as believers, God has promised us that our gifts will not fail to come back to us. The blessings that come back to us, though, are not necessarily money, but they are blessings nonetheless.
Today, don’t be afraid to claim the promise God has provided us that we should give, and that in so doing, He will bless us abundantly.
Have a blessed day.
Matthew 5:14 – “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.”
It’s hard to appreciate the value of light in today’s time and culture. We’ve come so far, even in the last 100 years, through inventions of electrical light sources. Less than 150 years ago, our primary source of light came from burning oil lamps or sitting around a fire. In more recent years, there’s definitely been more effort placed into producing light. Nowadays, we just flip a switch.
The analogy of us as believers being compared to a light for the world doesn’t seem so significant in such a lit up world as we have today. But we’re not a light just to a world in partial darkness, we’re a light to a world in complete and total darkness.
I remember when I was a child, my family took an annual journey from Chicago to Memphis, and we always stopped in Missouri at a place called Meramec Caverns. This location was a Jesse James hideout. (I’m not sure if that’s true, but it always sounded good.)
As an adolescent at the time, I remember going into that cavern tour. It was well-lit with colored lights that made the stalactites glimmer in colorful beauty. But I also remember once we were deep in the cavern, without warning, they turned out the lights! I grabbed my mom’s and dad’s hands tight when those lights went out, because once they were out, you couldn’t see even your finger touching your nose. It was true and total darkness.
For purposes of understanding today’s scripture and the significance of what God is telling us, you almost have to see the world in such total darkness. Not with the night light in the corner but rather in complete and total darkness. Then contemplate that in that cavern’s darkness, we are not just another light. We are the light Jesus Christ projects to this world.
You are the light Christ has chosen to shine through in darkness. Be proud. You are a big deal.
Have a blessed day.