The soul of the sluggard desires, and has nothing, But the desire of the diligent shall be fully satisfied. (Proverbs 13:4)
As I adjusted to the general education system in 6th grade, my mother taught me the principle of working hard. This is something that still resonates with me today, especially with senior year right around the corner.
Now that I am a senior getting ready to graduate high school, there comes the temptation to slack off and blow everything off to the last minute. This temptation is especially going to come with a 3-10 page research paper that all seniors must complete prior to graduating. However, every grade in the gradebook counts, because now you are looking for colleges and universities that demand such high academic standards. For many, Zoom and remote learning has created the perfect opportunity for us to be lazy and shoot for mediocrity.
However, it is the diligent, hard-working person who reaps profitable results. This attitude of diligence is what landed me on the honor roll for five consecutive school years, and what allowed me to earn the Principal’s Award for Mathematics this past school year.
When God sees our work ethic (whether in our academics, our personal responsibilies, our career, or even the way we worship and serve God), we will inevitaly reap good fruit. To be clear: You sow the seed of diligence, while God Himself produces the results.
Today, let us all use today as a day of productivity, not being idle or lax in what we done, but pour out our hearts and souls into each and every task or assignment God gives us. Let us allow the Holy Spirit to guide us and give us the wisdom and motivation to work for the kingdom of God, and for those around us. Amen!
In life, you can fail at anything. The one thing that you shouldn’t fail at is claiming your salvation. As a pastor and in life, you can fail by trying to please everyone. Preach a message that doesn’t hurt anyone’s feelings and doesn’t tell them that they are born a sinner. Tell them that everything will be fine if they are good enough and live by the “golden rule”, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you“. Teaching and preaching a “sermon” that makes people feel good is the way to be a failure if you are trying to “preach” for God but it might bring you success if you are doing it for your own gain financially or personally.
Jesus didn’t preach a message about feeling good or just doing good, although He did that very well. He taught that God loves you and He calls those whom He knows will work with Him and for Him. He taught that your life has meaning and purpose in God’s Kingdom if you follow Him and listen to Him. While the “golden rule” is good teaching that Jesus taught, it is not the only rule. It will not save your soul.
Believe in Jesus as your Savior and accept Him as your Lord, then you shall have eternal life in Him. There are no specific things that you have to do or perform. There is no specific amount of time that you have to give to Him in His service. But…when you realize the complete salvation that He bought for you with His blood and His life on the cross, you will want to serve Him and give Him whatever you can to work for Him. Because when He calls you to become His disciple you need to search the Scriptures and see what He paid for your soul and that’s what will humble you to the point of being His forever.
It doesn’t take a lot of education. His disciples were fishermen except for Matthew. God can use your talents whatever they may be simply because He is the One Who gave those talents to you. He knows what you can do and He will empower you to be able to do what He calls you to do. Having lots of letters behind your name and certificates on the wall doesn’t make you any better than one of the disciples. They learned at His feet and their education was just as good as any college education today. Make sure of Who you are serving in your walk with Him.
Every human after the fall is guilty of the same sin that Adam was guilty of. The sin of disobedience. Those of us who have chosen not to believe in Jesus for your salvation have disobeyed the call of God. If you have felt the call of God in your heart, it doesn’t matter if it was at church or a radio program or on the TV, then you should answer that call. Some people will answer and ask Jesus into their hearts and some will refuse.
So…are we guilty or not? Yes, we are all guilty of being sinners before we come to Jesus for our salvation. Can we be redeemed? Yes, even for the most heinous crimes imaginable and for the least crimes as well. Every sin, no matter how small, is equal in God’s sight! Sometimes we look at these things, meaning sins, with the wrong outlook. Stealing a pen is still stealing. Looking at a woman/girl with lust in your heart/mind is still adultery even if you never touch her. Your mind can conjure up all sorts of imaginings that you may not even be physically capable of doing sexually but it is still a sin in your mind. Our minds are the places where everything that we do and say or imagine comes to pass. That is why we should “capture every thought and bring it under the control of the Holy Spirit“.
Do we do this as Christians? Many times we don’t do it immediately so we have to ask Jesus to forgive us and give us the strength to capture it quicker when it happens again. It will happen because not one of us is perfectly able to do this. Jesus did but He was totally submitted to His Father’s will for His life and there isn’t a person on Earth capable of doing that today. Some may think that they can do it but they are being deceived by Satan.
Each of the Ten Commandments has been broken by preachers, teachers, carpenters and shepherds all over this world. It doesn’t matter what your occupation is but if you consider yourself a Christian and your heart has been changed to the point that you don’t do the things that you used to do…you will still fail in some way. We are human. Yes our heart belongs to Jesus and we read and study God’s Word but our mind can be tricked so easily into thinking something or imagining something that we shouldn’t. It takes prayer, every day, and seeking Him more than just once or twice a week to be successful in your walk with Jesus.
I pray that whoever reads this short message will seek Him out and give their heart to Jesus. Ask Him to come into your life and change you so that your life will be useful to Him from that point on. Then your eternity is secure and your life can be more than it has ever been or even more than you could imagine.
What do we do during this crisis? We live through it each day, one day at a time. Some days we even live hours or minutes at a time depending on our health and that of our loved ones. Life is very different today than it was six months or a year ago. We are trying to fight a virus that doesn’t kill everyone who is infected but those who have other “health challenges” such as diabetes or heart disease or COPD may not live through the infection. Sometimes it seems that it is age-related and sometimes it isn’t because there have been many young people who have died because of it.
Why? I think this time in history and the things which we are going through are God’s way of telling us to wake up and seek Him. Get out of your rut and the feeling that you are the only one that is experiencing what is happening in your life! God loves you and He is trying to get everyone’s attention but if you feel that He is calling you…please don’t walk away from it. Yes, life is different today, much different than we have had to endure in the past but God is still in control.
I know the questions: “Why are we being testing with this disease?” “Why does the world have to endure this?”
Because sometimes it takes a little hardship and the fear that comes with the virus to cause each of us to look at our lives and realize that there is more to this life than the self-centered way we’ve been living it. God is waiting to show you what He has in store for you. Not bad things but an abundant life into eternity with Him. God doesn’t place burdens on us that we can’t handle but sometimes we need His strength and His Spirit to get through the problem better than we could ever do it on our own.
We will not be beaten down by this problem regardless of the country you may live in because God is bigger than any problem or disease that we could ever face. Stay close to Him, follow Him and ask Him to be your Savior because He can heal every disease and give you strength to get through every problem in your life here and into eternity!
When you consider the birds of the air or even the fish and other animals in the wild, all of them depend on God for their lives. Their food and their shelter are provided for them by the grace and power of God. Now you can say that it is just instinct or the way that these animals are taught by their “parents” but that doesn’t work for many of them.
Think about sea turtles. They live for many years but they never actually know their mother or their father. They are born from an egg which has been laid in the sand by their mother but when they are born she is not there. They have to frantically race to the sea and many of them don’t make it. Birds scoop up these little ones by the hundreds before they ever enter the sea and even then they are small enough to be eaten by some fish. God provides them with the knowledge to find places to hide and to find food because this is where so-called “instincts” come from.
Why am I speaking about animals? Because God cares for them. He knows when one of them comes to the end of their life and falls to the ground or dies in the sea or anywhere they are. Since God cares for and knows about their death just as much as He knows and cares about each of us. He cares and knows about each of us in a more intimate way because we are made in His image! We are given talents and gifts by Him to use for His Kingdom in this life until our time is up. God knows your day of birth and He knows the day of your death, but in between those times we are supposed to work for Him in every area of our life.
Some of us push Him away for a while because we think that we can do it on our own, but we can’t. Many of us hear His call on our life and just ignore it and we have many problems come up in our life. These problems usually come in the form of sickness or some other problem for which we need His hand or His strength to get through. Sometimes we will turn to Him and follow Him after these things and sometimes we become angry and push Him away. Don’t consider that you can outsmart God, He knew which reaction that you would exhibit. So if you’ve pushed Him away, He will try another one.
God uses every area of your life for His Kingdom. You don’t have to be a pastor or a deacon or a missionary…just be you. God created each of us with a unique gift or ability which nobody else has and He can and will use that gift for His Kingdom and glory even if it doesn’t happen until your last day on this Earth. Each of us has a date with destiny and we will meet God on that day. It is up to you and your decision to give your heart to Him even if you only have a minute to live…don’t waste it.
You know that most of us are not taught to expect much from the Creator. In Sunday school and during our worship service we hear about what He did in David’s life and we wonder why hasn’t God used me in some way? Granted, we aren’t going to kill a giant like David did but the giants that we have to deal with today are more insidious and even more hurtful than Goliath. There are so many giants today which compete for supremacy over us such as alcoholism, drug addiction, sex addiction and the list could go on and on.
God gives each of us some talent or acumen that no one else has, yet many of us don’t pursue using them. Sometimes we are afraid to use them because we think that we won’t be accepted. So, should we use our talents for God’s glory or our own? The best advice I can give is to pray about it and listen for His answer. When we find out what our talent or God’s calling is on our lives some of us don’t like what we know to be His will. Then we strike out on our own and attempt to live our life the way we feel is the right way. Will God let you do this? Of course He will. He let Jonah do the very same thing but He turned Him around. So, when things begin to go wrong in your life and you know that you have been walking and living your way instead of His way, you will remember this.
Do we expect anything from God? In today’s church, I don’t think that there are many people who believe that God is even listening or even interested in us at all. Yes, there are some who read and study God’s Word diligently but most seem indifferent to what it says, let alone meditate on it.
If you are expecting anything from God, then you need to know Him and be known by Him. God loves each of us and truly wants us to know just how much. But if He doesn’t hear from you or see that you are trying to get to know Him better why should He answer when you pray? Seek Him out when you feel convicted that you need Him. If you don’t do so, you might not get another chance.
To follow Jesus, the disciples all gave up something. Their livelihood, their reputation in some way, virtually all of them let something go in order to follow Jesus and they did so willingly.
A man from about 140 years ago once said this: “Beware of no one more than yourself, we carry our worst enemies within us.” Charles H. Spurgeon
Sometimes when we think we have given up a lot in order to follow Jesus and be useful to Him, we really haven’t given up much at all. On top of that, we are our own enemies because we can convince ourselves of things which we haven’t done or shouldn’t do even when God has called us to do these things.
So…what would you give up?
Would you go on a fast for a few days or maybe a couple of weeks, drinking only juice and water? I have done it myself but it was nine years ago, right before I was called to preach a few months later. I had to pray a lot but I was also working full time at a computer shop, so being away from home and food and cooking made it a little easier. Just work, drink water and go to the restroom a lot. Then after a week, it got easier and so on. I am not bragging about this because it truly was hard to do without all day and then come home and smell supper being cooked. I actually made it through about thirty days with juice and water and some protein drinks made with water (I know that last was kinda cheating). But after three weeks without solid food it is hard for your mind and your will to push back hard enough. The good thing about it, I lost thirty pounds!
Would you give up watching TV? I think this is even harder than fasting from food. I have heard of people who don’t even have a TV in their home and that’s great! I’m sure they don’t have computers or smartphones either. Although I could save a couple of hundred dollars a month cutting off the Internet and satellite TV. I don’t want to be without my phone though, just for emergencies.
What else could you and I give up? Snacks? Candy? Coffee…no, scratch that. Chocolate…can’t do it because it is in the same field as coffee.
Truthfully, we are our own enemies because we will listen to those voices which pop up in our mind. We think that they are our own ideas when they could be suggestions from Satan. The more we listen to them, the more influence they have over our lives. We can also talk ourselves out of doing things which we know God has called us to do. We become our own worst enemy because of this and sometimes we will even talk ourselves into doing something, thinking that it is the Holy Spirit talking to us.
If you don’t believe me just think back over your life and find those schemes or whatever you want to call them which didn’t work out so good. You heard about an “opportunity” or a “hot tip” and you thought “What will it hurt to give it a shot?”, “Who am I hurting but my own bank account?” I’ve done it, you know someone who has done it or you have done it and tried to forget about it. You mind and your thoughts are easy for Satan to manipulate because he’s been doing it for thousands of years. He knows where your buttons are and he know exactly how hard to push them so that it is tempting the first time and then it becomes a bit more and pretty soon…well you get the picture. It’s just like any of the temptations which he messes up other people’s lives and yours too, if you’re honest.
It is hard to push those ideas and temptations away when you are tired or hungry like Jesus was when He was tempted, but He used the Word of God against Satan and we have know it well enough to do the same thing. We will never know it though, unless we read it and study it every day, year after year. God’s Word is full of encouragement and heartache and wisdom and promises, but we need to know them so we can use them in our every day lives. Here is the challenge that I am putting here:
So…can you give up about fifteen minutes each day to read and pray about one chapter in God’s Word? Then do it again tomorrow and the next day until you’ve finished the New Testament. Then start on the Old Testament and do the same thing because after 21 days, reading God’s Word will have become a habit and it will be a habit that your heart and soul will truly miss when you miss one or two times.
I found this on my Facebook page and I thought that more people should read this today so they will know that God loves each one of them.
The boy put his winter clothes on for the cold and told his father:
“Ok dad I’m ready”
His Dad, the pastor, said: “Ready for what?”
“Dad, it’s time to go outside and distribute our flyers.”
Dad replied: “Son, it’s very cold outside and it’s drizzling.”
The child looked surprised at his father and said: “But dad, people need to know about God even on rainy days.”
Dad replied, “Son, I’m not going outside in this weather.”
With despair, the child said: “Dad, can I go alone? Please!”
His father waited for a moment and then said: “Son, you can go. Here’s the flyers, be careful.”
“Thank you dad!”
And with this, the son went out into the rain. The 11-Year-old walked all the streets of the village, handing out the flyers to the people he saw.
After 2 hours walking in the rain and in the cold and with his last flyer in his hand, he stopped in a corner to see if he saw someone to give the flyer too, but the streets were totally deserted. Then he turned to the first house he saw, walked to the front door, touched the bell several times and waited, but no one came out.
Finally the boy turned to leave, but something stopped him. The child turned back to the door and began to touch the bell and pound the door strongly with his knuckles. He kept waiting. Finally the door was opened gently.
A lady came out with a very sad look and gently asked:
“What can I do for you, son?
With radiant eyes and a bright smile the child said:
“Lady, I’m sorry if I upset you, but I just want to tell you that God really loves you and that I came to give you my last flyer, which talks about God and His great love
The boy then gave her the flyer.
She just said, “Thank you, son, God bless you!”
Well, next Sunday morning, the pastor was in the pulpit and when the service began he asked:
“Someone has a testimony or something they want to share?”
Gently, in the back row of the church, an older lady stood up. When she started talking, a radiant and glorious look sprouted from her eyes:
“Nobody in this church knows me. I have never been here, even last Sunday I was not Christian.
My husband died a while ago leaving me totally alone in this world. Last Sunday was a particularly cold and rainy day, and it was also in my heart; that on that day I came to the end of the road, since I had no hope and didn’t want to live anymore.
Then I took a chair and a rope and went up to the attic of my house. I tied and one end of the rope to the rafters of the roof; then I climbed onto the chair and put the other end of the rope around my neck.
I then stood on the chair, so alone and heartbroken, I was about to throw myself off the chair, when suddenly I heard the loud sound of the door being knocked.
So I thought: “I’ll wait for a minute and whoever it is will go”
I waited and waited, but the door knocking was getting louder and louder every time. It got so loud that I couldn’t ignore it anymore.
So I wondered, who could it be?
No one ever comes close to my door or come to visit me!
I released the rope from my neck and went to the door, while the bell was still ringing and the door was still being knocked on.
When I opened the door, I couldn’t believe what my eyes saw, in front of my door was the most radiant and angelic child I’ve ever seen.
He’s smile, ohhh, I can never describe it! The words that came out of his mouth made my heart, dead so long ago, come back to life, when he said with the VOICE OF CHERUB: “Lady, I just want to tell you that God really loves you”
“When the little angel disappeared between the cold and the rain, I closed my door and read every word of the flyer.
Then I went to the attic to remove the chair and rope.
I didn’t need them anymore. As you see. Now I am a happy daughter of the King.
As the direction of the boy, when he left, was to this church, I came personally say thank you to that little angel of God who came just in time and, in fact, to rescue my life from an eternity in hell. And replaced it with an eternity in God’s presence. “
Everyone cried in the church.
The Pastor came down from the pulpit to the first bench of the front, where the little angel was sitting; he took his son in his arms and cried uncontrollably.
Before you complain, think about what you have. Before you look at someone with a critical eye, turn your gaze on your own life first. Before you come to the end of your life, make sure that dying is all that you have left to do. Life is too short to live it without enjoying it first. But the enjoying of life for some people means that there is sin in their lives. They don’t think that you can enjoy being a Christian. Enjoyment doesn’t seem to be part of their thought processes when they think of serving God or even being a Christian.
King David, the author of Psalms, enjoyed the Lord. He praised the Lord and danced and sang while he praised God. That doesn’t sound like a joyless person. That is not a depressed and sad person because God brings joy into your life. Think about the blessings which Jesus brings into your life when you are saved! He forgives ALL of your sins, He gives you a new heart for serving Him and others, He changes your outlook on life because of the blessings that you receive when you become an adopted child of God!
Those blessings in this life are not the only blessings that you get from Jesus and from knowing Him as your Savior. Your eternity and your destination in it has changed as well. When you were a sinner, and every person who has come to Jesus (including myself) is a sinner, your eternity would’ve taken you into an eternity of torment. The only difference between your sinful life and the one you have now is that you have Jesus in it. Some theologies say that we are not put in the lake of fire like Satan will be, but being separated from the love of God and His Presence for eternity would be punishment enough. There will not be anything life-giving in hell. No water, no food, no cool streams of any kind and God’s Presence will not be there either.
Remember the story of Lazarus and the rich man? Lazarus was taken to Paradise with Abraham and the rich man was in hell. He asked for Lazarus to bring him just one drop of water because of the agony that he was in. But Abraham told him that there is a gulf between us that no one can cross over. He even asked if Lazarus could rise from the dead and tell his brothers to repent and not come to this place, but Abraham said no, they have the Prophets and the Law. They wouldn’t repent even if someone were to come back from the grave.
Your life before giving your heart and soul to Jesus is very different from the one you will enjoy after bringing His Presence into your heart. That is the reason for leading a joyful life after Jesus has saved you and made you into a new creation, different and precious to Him and to the Father. Serve Him in joy because with God all things can be joyful regardless of how the world may look at them. He will give you the strength to get through every obstacle and every pain and your life will be a beacon of hope to someone until you go to be with the Lord.