Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Motivation

"We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ." - 1 Thessalonians 1:3
Years ago my father worked for a nationwide retailer that gave its employees a vested interest in the company. The more they sold, the more shares they would be awarded. As they succeeded, the business succeeded, and as the business succeeded, so did they. This company learned that success comes from a healthy motivation.
Paul greatly appreciated the work, labor and endurance seen in the Thessalonians. He noted that they were a motivated group of believers who were driven by a much deeper commitment than most. Their faith empowered them to work hard, their love encouraged them to labor diligently and their hope invigorated them to endure to the end. Three spiritual qualities kept them motivated in the most difficult hour.
Faith, love and hope; every believer has these qualities, but not often drawn upon for motivation. From time to time, we will face the giants, but every day we will have to deal with the little foxes that pester us in our spiritual walk. The work, labor and endurance will be difficult at times, but trust in the Lord with all your heart, love the Lord with all your heart and hope in the Lord with all your heart and you will be sufficiently motivated for the greatest success.

Monday, October 20, 2014

People

"Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person." - Colossians 4:5-6 
It has been well said that one minute after death no one will say, "I wish I had spent more time at the office!" Or, "I wish I had put more time in home improvement!" When the tally sheet is opened for evaluation, I believe the greatest regret will be that more time wasn't spent with people.
While it is true that "you can't take it with you", it's also true that you can certainly "send it ahead" by making the best use of your time with people. Be wise with your use of time my friend and embrace every moment to be a blessing to others. Give them love, mercy, and grace, but above all... Give them Jesus!   

Think about this: "Jesus... wants us to see that the neighbor next door or the people sitting next to us on a plane or in a classroom are not interruptions to our schedule. They are there by divine appointment. Jesus wants us to see their needs, their loneliness, their longings, and he wants to give us the courage to reach out to them."
         - Rebecca Manley Pippert

Sunday, October 19, 2014

What to wear

"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience." - Colossians 3:12 
They say that clothes make the man. That may or may not be true, but clothes often tell a lot about the person. An immoral person will dress promiscuously, and a moral person will dress modestly. Most often the outer appearance is a reflection of the inner attitude.
Throughout this chapter Paul emphasizes the believer's daily choice of dress. He is focused on the spiritual clothing, not the material. When we have put on a "new self" (vs. 10), our heart changes and our outer appearance takes on a whole new look. When we are God's chosen people, we dress accordingly.
You are a child of the King my friend. The kingdom attire isn't expensive suits and gowns; the clothing of the court is "compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience". Before you spend time in your clothes closet thinking about what you will wear today, spend time in your prayer closet putting on the clothes that reflect a new heart.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Filled

"See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority." -Colossians 2:8-10 
Self help books and new life-changing programs are beyond number. The issue comes down to this;  people feel inadequate to face the challenges of life. Sadly, even believers find themselves in this deceptive rut. The lingering value of previous conferences quickly slips away as a new approach enters stage left. If the child of God would look within, they would have no need to look elsewhere.
The problem stated above is far from new. Paul found it necessary to give warning and counsel to the believers of his day. There have always been charlatans and profiteers that would take captive poor souls who were insecure. Human traditions have always been attractive for the moment. But in time, every tradition and philosophy loses it's luster and inadequacy returns with a vengeance. There is only one timeless answer that never fails the child of God. Look within, for you have been filled in HIM.
Where is your adequacy, security and sufficiency my friend? Do you feel as if the ground on which you stand constantly slips away? Is there a sense of hollowness in your philosophy of life? Well, take a moment and gaze upon your Savior. In Him the fulness of deity dwells and you have have been filled in Him, and He is all you need!

Friday, October 17, 2014

The Basics

"And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God." - Colossians 1:9-10
You can dress your car to the fives with the slickest hubcaps, sport suspension, finest audio system and sharpest interior tweaking. Yet, if you don't change the oil and keep the engine in good shape, eventually all that you will have is a pretty lawn ornament. You need to take care of the basics.
When you look carefully at Paul's prayer for the Colossians, he was all about their spiritual condition. I have no doubt that he had concern for their physical and financial issues, but his priority was for their knowing the will of God and living in a manner worthy of the Lord. He always prayed about the basics.
When you attend your church prayer service my friend, what is the focus of prayer? Prayers are lifted up for broken bones, lost jobs, safe traveling, church projects or youth activities. While all these requests are important, how much time is spent on the spiritual welfare of people? When do we pray without ceasing that our church family would be filled with spiritual wisdom to bear fruit in every good work and increase in the knowledge of God? Are we really praying for the basics?

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Thoughts

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." - Philippians 4:8
When our boys were children we had all kinds of toys to entertain and challenge their abilities. One such toy was called "Domino Rally". After a lengthy domino creation was built, the last step was to knock the first domino down and watch the rest follow. Life is like falling dominoes. Tyrone Edwards put it this way... "Thoughts lead on to purposes; purposes go forth in action; actions form habits; habits decide character; and character fixes our destiny."
When Paul wrote to the Philippians he directed them into a life of humility, joy, gentleness and contentment. While all this comes from a close walk with the Lord, it begins in our thought life and from there the spiritual dominoes will fall. When thoughts are right, your actions and lifestyle will be right.
What are you thinking today? What preoccupies your mind? Only you can choose what you think about. If you want to live a Godly life, start with your thoughts and the rest will fall into place.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Trade

"Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ" - Philippians 3:8 
We don't trade or barter much in our society. Everything is cash or credit. But I well remember my younger years before I was allowed to work for a salary. If I noticed something of great interest that a friend owned I would often offer to trade something I owned for such a prize. Sometimes I would trade far more than the treasure cost. But in my eyes, it was always worth the trade.
Paul recognized a treasure when he saw one. And he realized that such a treasure was knowing, gaining and being found in Christ Jesus . This prize was of great surpassing worth and nothing in his life would compare. Nothing that Paul had could bring equal satisfaction to his soul. So, he was willing to lose everything to gain Christ, because he knew that HE was worth the trade.
What are your treasures my friend? Is there anything that you want that you would give up everything to gain? Have you reached the place in your life to realize that the greatest prize is Christ? Are you wiling to give up or "trade" whatever would hinder knowing Him better? This is a classic "no brainer" since Jesus is always worth the trade.