I own a black truck; wash it and it shines like new money or at least most of it does. The hood on my black truck will never shine again and the reason is I fail to keep it washed and waxed. Because of my neglect it will never shine again without a fresh paint job. Now there is someone reading this and saying bring it to my shop and I’ll paint it for you. There’s been many a Christian that began passionately and became professional. What was once love for their daily Bible reading and prayer has now turned into a duty. Oh, these good folks aren’t doing anything terribly wrong they have just drifted from their passionate love for Him. I remember I was doing some snorkeling, I was so excited about what I was seeing I failed to realize that I had began to drift and then a current grabbed me and out in deep water I went. When I raised my head I was a long ways from where I should have been all because I neglected what I should have been paying attention to and then I drifted. That’s what happens, we neglect our time with the Lord and before we know it we are drifting away.
Hebrews 2:3How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation;How can you and I escape if we neglect our great salvation. Notice that verse didn’t say “how shall we escape if we reject such a great salvation?” It says neglect. Now that hood on my truck didn’t suddenly become dull it became that way because of what I didn’t do. It became dull because I neglected it. You and I must have a daily maintenance in our Christian life. Daily time in God’s Word turns on the light for the day; you see it’s not a book you’re missing but a person you spend time with, Jesus Christ.
Hebrews 10:7 Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. It’s neglecting time with Jesus. Yesterday morning I went out the door on my way to work when I felt a strong urge to pray. I walked over to the edge of the yard and began to pray. Don’t know why I felt that way but I obeyed the impulse of the Holy Spirit. Now it could have been the Lord slowing me down from an oncoming accident that might have injured me, I don’t know and may never know. It’s not my job to know it’s my job to obey realizing that God loves me and wants the best for me. If He wants to have me stop for a few minutes so He can talk with Him that’s fine; better than a dead battery. On Tuesday of this week I was in a bad part of Atlanta stopped at a stop sign when I heard a gunshot and at the same time I heard the bullet hit a tree close to me. Needless to say I got to moving very quickly. Later as I thought about that my heart began to beat fast as I got to thinking how I could have been killed had that bullet hit me in the head and not the tree. As I was thinking on that the Holy Spirit brought comforting words to my heart knowing that it was He that protects me. Have a blessed weekend, don’t forget that you are loved greatly by the Lord Jesus and don’t neglect Him this weekend.
Complaining is something we all do from time to time. We complain if it rains too much and we complain if it doesn’t rain enough. We complain if we miss an opportunity, we complain if we get sick, we complain if we….you get the picture I’m sure. There is not one who is reading this now that hasn’t been treated wrong at one time or another. We have cried, felt lonely and left behind and at times we have felt that no one even cares about poor little old me. Wait, there is nothing you or I can do about the troubles that come into our life is there? Well, I think there is! Troubles will come; that is for sure and if we live with a troubled attitude it will only make things worse. Try this instead of listing the troubles and problems why not make a gratitude list. That’s right, a list of things that you are grateful for. Let’s see! How’s your health? Are you enjoying eating every day and a loving family? Maybe you are glad the weekend is almost here? Do you have clothes to wear and someone who loves you? Maybe you’re the hero in your sons or daughters life? Are you taking a vacation in a few weeks? A wife who still loves you and has encouraging words for you each day? If all else fails you may have a pet that awaits your arrival each day. I love it, when all else has gone wrong I walk in the door and my dog is always glad I’m home. I am sure you can think of others to add to your list. Remember now only put on your list things you are grateful for. This is a terrific way to change your attitude in a hurry. You may say why is that? When I was in the military we were taught about our enemy but we were also taught about our weapon and how to use it. Now with that in mind let me show you something about our enemy. Our enemy only wants to do three things and he is very successful at doing them and he has destroyed many a person’s life.
John 10:10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: There they are Steal, Kill, Destroy…Steal your joy by your complaining… Kill your desires by dwelling on the past; which you can do nothing about. Destroy your zeal by getting you to think everybody is against you and no one loves you. Think like that and you’ll soon be depressed, stressed out and feel you’re hopeless. I love the next part of that verse…. I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. Now you can dwell on what’s going wrong or the abundant life! I choose the latter! I say let’s cut the pity party short and shift to the gratitude list because gratitude will get you much farther in life than complaining. The weapon we need to know how to use is our Bible; it needs to get off the table and into our hearts.
Psalms 119:11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. Notice he said in our heart not our head. This is not Bible memorization for that will be in your head. David said in your heart. Wonder what my wife would say if I said “sweetheart I love you with all my head?” No, I love her with all my heart and there is a big difference. With my heart I know her and love her. So it is with Jesus Christ I know Him and love Him with my heart.
Now get busy with your Gratitude list…..only things you’re grateful for! You have 10 minutes and we are turning the light out on the pity party.
The Miracle of forgiveness! Letting the stone go. Someone is angry at you, something you said offended them. Asking for forgiveness is an amazing experience but it’s easier to simply just let it slide, especially if it’s someone you’re not going to run into. It takes courage to walk up to someone and say “can I talk with you. I owe you an apology and I want to ask for your forgiveness.” Do we have the ability to forgive? Are we willing to say those words “I forgive you?” His face had been slapped, harsh words had been spoken to him, he had been beat and now someone spits in his face. This is an awful day but with all that is going on this man finds time and words to forgive.
Luke 23:34Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots. The voices are loud, this man is being bitten, he is thrown out of the city, the stones began to fly, one hits in above the eye another on his cheek bone, another in the head, the stones are coming now faster and faster he falls to the ground. The pain is excruciating he is rushed upon and more stones and more and more and just before this poor man dies he raises up with words of forgiveness.
Acts 7:59And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.
Acts 7:60And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.
Years ago I was working a factory job; we went work at 7 and got off at 3. The plant was closed on the week of July 4. For some reason they wanted to start an hour early on the last day we were to work before the plant closed. I couldn’t see the benefit but none the less that’s what was to be. There was no way I could go to work at 6 the nursery where our children stayed didn’t open until 6:30 each morning and sad to say that plant starting an hour early wasn’t that important to them. I told my supervisor that there was no way I could be there at 6 and he told me get there as soon as I could. I did but when I arrived my supervisor and his supervisor were waiting for me. His supervisor began to yell at me I just stood there for a moment hoping he would cool down but he just got louder. That is when I told him that he wasn’t going to talk to me like that but he kept yelling and then I yelled back at him telling him once again he wasn’t going to talk like that to me. Then he said come with me to my office. Now on the way to his office I began to feel like I handled the matter wrong so when we walked into his office I said before you say anything else I would like to apologize for my actions and ask for your forgiveness. He looked at me and never raised his voice again to me and then told my supervisor to help me get my work done. Forgiveness is a wonderful gift that we possess that is hidden in plain sight. It costs nothing and is worth millions. It is available to everyone and used by few. If you harness the power of forgiveness, you will be sought after and regarded highly. Not coincidentally, you will also be forgiven by others!
Proverbs 26:8 As he that bindeth a stone in a sling, so [is] he that giveth honour to a fool.
What good is a stone in his sling that will not come out? It’s like a person who goes to battle with his weapon and no ammunition. What if I were to tell you that I knew of something that cost nothing and is worth millions? At the same time was available to everyone and used by few. Would you be interested in knowing what it was? Abraham Lincoln, one of my all time hero’s said this. “Forgiveness is a secret that is hidden in plain sight. It costs nothing and is worth millions. It is available to everyone and used by few. If you harness the power of forgiveness, you will be sought after and regarded highly. And not coincidentally, you will also be forgiven by others!” When I read that my mind went quickly to Matthew chapter 18 of the King taking account of his servants and finding out that one owed him an enormous amount of money and didn’t have the resources to repay the amount. The King then clears his entire amount to nothing. What a wonderful blessing. What is interesting to me is that this same servant goes to one that owes him an amount that is payable but at the moment can’t pay. The forgiven servant gets angry and puts his friend in prison. Word got back to the King who calls for his servant and reminds him that he was forgiven of an amount that he could never repay. He then tells him that when he had opportunity to forgive another he refused. I am afraid that hits home too many times. I must ask myself “have I been forgiven by my heavenly Father of all and do I refuse to forgive those that have wronged me? Do I hold grudges, do I refuse to forgive? Oh, wait, if those who have wronged me would come and ask for me to forgive them I would. Let me say that forgiveness is not an emotion it’s a decision. Have you ever been trying to fall asleep and suddenly your peacefulness is interrupted by remembering what someone has done to you. Do you replay that event over and over in your mind, thinking that you should have just knocked his lights out when you had the opportunity? That’s right think like a boy forgetting you are now 45 or so years old. You have consumed yourself with that kind of thinking in the middle of the night while that person is home in bed getting a good night’s rest. Would you forgive that person if they would come and ask or even beg for your forgiveness? The sling is the power to forgive and the stone is the forgiveness that you have bound in the sling. Tomorrow I’ll write on the Miracle of forgiveness; letting the stone go.