9-Selfish for a second or Joyful for Eternity
Nothing gives the Lord, greater pleasure then to help His children.
If you only knew the peace that comes with the conviction that you are in the place and circumstances where God wants you to be… and that you are doing the thing for which he created you. What a difference it makes!
As soon as you try living this way, you will find that God’s purpose for your life is maximum creativity, achievement and responsibility-not less.
But the truth is that our lives are made up of the sum of the small things. If we do not let God into these everyday details, practically speaking we are not letting Him in at all.
What is my plan of “letting Him in?”
Would you like to have God’s guidance for your life?
If you would, first you have to believe that He is God and can guide you.
But faith is not belief. Faith is belief plus what you do with that belief.
Belief becomes faith only at the point of action. If you want to hear God, you will have to face up squarely to the questions; “Am I willing to do whatever He tells me to do?”
What is my plan of “doing?”
This is a decision that must be resolved before you can receive any guidance from God, before your Christian adventure can begin.
“How hard it is for our proud wills to bow the neck and call Him ‘Master and Lord’! Yet how we must; if we are to take even the first step toward maturity, or fulfillment or greatness” (Peter Marshal-Under Sealed Orders).
The action is ours… Are you willing to tell God now that you will follow His plan wherever it may lead?
How can I guide others to act out God’s plan for them?
This is important because God has given us free will, and this He will never violate. He holds in a more profound respect than any of us could the sanctity of every human personality.
Therefore He requires the complete consent of our wills before He will enter our hearts and live.
We want to here God speaking to us… but we are afraid of what we might hear.
We would follow Christ… but we don’t want our friends to think us odd.
We want God’s way… but we also want our way.
But to solve this difficulty we must ask Him to take control of our life. And if you truly mean it, He will. It may be that His plan for you will not be revealed for sometime. You will have to follow His lead, keep watching for His guidance.
His plan for you will be a gradual training process. He will send His power into you gradually, to give you power to defeat temptations, to chase away your fears, to give you a quiet heart, to make you joyous and free.
What is “God’s Wisdom” for me?
“Do not store up for yourself treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
How are people going to read the “Bible” through me?
This is a part of the Sermon on the Mount which Jesus has provided s as part of the directions to reach His Kingdom. We can trade in our Treasures here on earth for treasures in heaven. Why should we pay attention to this message; well Jesus came down from heaven to our earth, so he should know about how to get there. In this message He tied our heart to our valued treasure. It is pointed out that if our heart to our valued treasure. It is pointed out that if our heart is tied to daily earthly cares, we are not building our treasures in heaven; which we need to do while we are here on earth. Only that which we give back to God is ours forever.
How has the “Bible” marked us?
How did the message bring out this explanation; well let us look at the passage. Moths are not a big problem for me along with rust. Eastern areas where Jesus came from. treasures, consisted partly in costly clothes stored up. Well; moths were a big problem for them. “Rust” (to their metal coins) added to “moths” can be translated into being “consumed” and “used up.” Our Lord is teaching us how perishable are earthly treasures, in heaven are treasures that are imperishable and can not be taken from you. Then Jesus points out “that” which our heart values most will be our god. Martin Luther puts it this way; “What a man loves, that is his god. For he carries it in his heart, he goes about with it night and day, he sleeps and wakes with it.” Having earthly treasures are not wrong; bu many flatter themselves that all is right between them and God, while their closest attention, anxiety, work, and time are exhausted upon these earthly pursuits.
The Resurrection of Christ from the Dead is ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT items in the whole fund of human knowledge: the grand event of the ages toward which all previous history moved, and which all subsequent history finds its meaning.
List two specifics which you need to improve in, within each of the five areas: physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual.
Is it a Fact? Did he really rise from the dead? If he did not, what became of his body? If enemies stole it, they surly would have produced it, for they stopped short of nothing to discredit the story, even to murdering of those who told it. If friends stole it, they would have known they were believing a lie, but men do not become martyrs to what they know to be false. The Roman soldiers guarding the tomb would not have put their careers, lives and future on the line for a lie.
Then provide some ideas on how you can act to provide improvements sought in above question?
Even many of the Jews, the enemy would not have put themselves in line for death by being involved, if it was a lie. An example is Josephus, a Jewish historian of that time, born and educated in Jerusalem, a general in the Jewish army stated: “There was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works. He was Christ. Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men among us condemned him to the cross. He appeared to his followers alive again the third day.”
One thing is Certain: those who were involved at that time an published their involvement in Jesus rising from the dead BELIEVED IT TO BE A FACT. They rested their faith and lives not only on the empty tomb, but on the fact that they had SEEN Jesus A LIVE after his burial; not once, not twice, but at least ten recorded times; and not singly, nor alone, but in groups of two, seven, ten, eleven, five hundred.
An Hallucination? Could it not have been an ecstasy? a dream? a fantasy of an excited imagination? an apparition? Different groups of people do not keep on seeing the same hallucination. 500 people in a crowd would not all dream the same dream at the same time. More over, they were not expecting it and did not want to believe it until it happened. They considered it an “idle tale” at first (Luke 24:11). They did not believe it until it was proven and they had to.
Only in a Coma? Could it not be that Jesus was not really dead when they buried him, and that he came to again? In the first place, the professional executioners – the Roman Soldiers (who pierce his side and drained his heart fluids and blood) along with the Jewish leaders present would have had to be in cahoots or fooled. Either possibility would be unthinkable. Also in that case, weak and exhausted from the beatings AND the crucifixion, he could hardly have removed the heavy stone door and gotten out of the tomb and past the Roman guards. Besides he had new powers that he had never manifested before – to appear and disappear through locked rooms. The eleven (or 120), in a group, personally saw him slowly rise from the earth, and disappear behind the clouds.
The Records Tampered With? Could it not be that the resurrection was a later addition to the story of Christ invented years later to glorify a dead hero? It is known, from historical records outside Christian approved records, that the sect known as Christians came into existence in the reign of Tiberius, and that the thing that brought them into existence was their belief that Jesus had risen from the dead. The resurrection was not a later addition to the Christian faith, but the very cause and start of it. They rested their faith not on records, but what they had seen with their own eyes. The records were the result of their faith, not the cause of it. Had there been no resurrection there would have been no New Testament, Christianity, and no Church.
What are your plans to work on the “Brokenness in your Life?”
Resurrection is based not on trickery, but on historic fact. To think otherwise would be to think that a Carpenter, a group of fishermen, and other poorly educated individuals conned billions of intelligent individuals over almost two thousand years. They would have completed the greatest scam that ever was performed, even to the extent that millions of individuals died for. That the most talented individuals in the world, could not stop or effectively uncover. This places the belief that the Resurrection was a fake a scientific impossibility and instead the most important fact of all time.
The best proof of the Resurrection will be found in your heart. But how can we relate our heart to God?
Can you and I really be friends with God as we would earthly friends?
Can we relate personally that same Jesus Christ whose words we written two thousand years ago?
Will these words and Christ be really alive to us?
Can we actually meet Him, talk with Him, as His help for our everyday affairs? Yes!
Millions of men and women down the ages say, “Yes”.
Why do we have problems with this personal relationship? Maybe it is because we say that we believe in god, yet we doubt Gods promises?
We say that in God we trust, yet we worry and try to manage our own affairs.
We say that we love Thee, O Lord, and yet we do not obey Thee.
We believe that thou has the answers to all our problems, and yet we do not commit to His solutions.
I realize that to you, it is quite unbelievable, that God would guide your life; arrange the details of your everyday life.
To say that you, can directly, and in full possession of your faculties; get into communication with God sounds almost fantastic.
But that is precisely what is possible.
Do you realize what this tremendous fact’s significance is to you?
It means that no single event of your life will ever have to be faced alone –
- Neither sorrow nor bereavement
- pain nor loneliness
- joy nor laughter.
It means that you need never make any decision with out His help and His guidance.
It means help for every part of your life.
But let us be honest – do we really want to find, this personal relationship with Him?
This relationship that was established through his Resurrection.
Why do I believe God is my Father in Heaven?
One of God’s most important promises for you is “If with all your heart ye shall truly seek me, ye shall ever surely find me.”
Ah, there perhaps is our first clue of difficulty – “if with all your heart…”
Ask yourself, am I after all seeking God with my whole heart?
Or must I say in all honesty, “I want God, and yet I don’t yet trust Him. I want to commit to Him, and yet I don’t, for I would be afraid to…”
I wonder if you are brave enough to face the truth?
Perhaps there are times, when we flirt with this trust and commitment – to help us over some difficult problem; but what about that everyday life?
We can’t treat God that way!
Do you really want to deal with God?
Why do I want to join him in Heaven?
Are there not some things you love better than Him – maybe it is that neat compromises we have made whereby our religion will not interfere with our life… maybe it is the secret gods which we indulge and commit to…
Do we love them more then we love Him?
Do we want Him, but on our terms?
We want His way, but we want our way to be in control.
We pray, “Thy will be done,” as long as it does not conflict with our will.
We want to be Christians, but we don’t want our friends to think we are strange.
We want to be “OK” with both sides.
We want to be friends with everybody.
We do not want to make that choice, “Earth’s Child or God’s Child.”
What must I do, to turn my life over to him?
How am I going to keep from being “Selfish?”
Therefore we try to play the middle. We are willing to go to His Church for an hour a week but the minister better no interfere with our lives.
We will support the church financially, but not as much as we should, for we must also support “Earth’s Way.”
We will state we are a member of some church, but we will also state the right to live as we please.
Then we wonder why we cannot have a real meaningful relationship with God.
The truth is there whether we accept it or not – God is not hiding – but we are!
God is not pretending – look at His Son’s Cross and Resurrection!
But are we pretending?
Look into your own heart and see.
What will I do to change my purpose in life?
It is possible for you to live in this world as “God’s Child” –
- to have no fear at all
- to be able to anticipate tomorrow with a thrill of delight
- to have no fear of anything –
- neither of sickness
- nor unemployment
- nor loneliness
- nor death
- nor anything at all.
But there is a price to be paid. We must be ready to give up something’s, and that is always had to do.
And your heart might ask: “Is it worth all that?”
Yes, it is worth any price, but you must be willing to pay any price.
Won’t you think now of His love and commitment to you, will you try to return equal love and commitment.
Won’t you close your eyes now, and with all the love you have, tell Him that you love Him and commit to Him.
Tell Him that you want and need Him, and that He take control of your life completely and guide you.
For if you are willing to release your will to his control, then you will receive that very personal relationship, that indescribable peace, and escape from the Earth’s Child” bondage.
Then, you will never doubt again that fellowship with God is possible, but you will discover that it is the most truthful fact in our whole world.
Let us have less talking, and more commitment, less work and more love, less pressure and more relationship.
What difference has it made to you when, you have consciously acknowledged God’s control of your life?
And you, too, may have that fellowship with the risen Christ. Indeed, you will not believe the fact of the Resurrection for yourself until the living Christ lives in your own heart. When you have in your own life that sense of His nearness and His power – ah, then, you too, will know!
Your life may be guided by Christ… Your problems may be solved by His wisdom… Your weakness may be burned into strength by His help… Your struggles may become – victories by His grace… Your sorrows may be turned into joy by His comfort.
To you there may come the same wonderful changes that have come to other men and women all down through the years.
God hasn’t given up on you. He can still do great things for you, in you, and through you. God iis ready and waiting and able. What about you? Are you yielded to him; that is willingly, and completely surrendered. We will make you his disciple according to the plan “for which” in His love, He designed for you.
GOD BE IN MY HEAD
God be in my head,
and in my understanding;
God be in my eyes,
and in my looking;
God be in my mouth,
and in my speaking;
God be in my heart,
and in my thinking;
God be at my end,
and my departing.
If you are with me so far, you are ready for a series of important questions.
- Do you believe God is your Father in Heaven?
- Do you want to join him in heaven as His Child because this is your purpose for existence?
- Are you ready to turn your life over to Him?
- Now the hardest question! Will you be able to give up being selfish (to gain the benefits of earth) and will you become unselfish (completely committed to the training and preparation program God has set up for you)?
“‘Thy Kingdom come.’ there is energy, drive, purpose in these words; an intensity of desire for the coming of perfection into life. Not the limp resignation that lies devoutly in the road and waits for the steam roller; but a total concentration on the total interests of God, which must be expressed in action. It is useless to utter – fervent petitions for that kingdom to be established and His will be done, unless we are willing to do something about it ourselves.” (Evelyn Underhill, The Spiritual Life).
If you have answered yes to the above questions, you now have to start working on accomplishing your part of this plan. The Kingdom of Heaven is more valuable than anything else we can have, and a person must be willing to give up everything to obtain it.
“The Kingdom of heaven is like this. A man happens to find a treasure hidden in a field. He covers it up again, and is so happy that he goes and sells everything he has, and then goes back and buys that field.”
How valuable is the kingdom to you and why?
The most important step you must take at this moment, is to start orientating your mind to a new basic purpose.
“Also, the Kingdom of heaven is like this. A man is looking for fine pearls, and when he finds one that is unusually fine, he goes and sells everything he has, and buys that pearl.”
What does it mean to “sell everything” for the kingdom?
You are no longer working toward the purpose of satisfying your personal needs or wants. This has to become third in line of your priorities. Jesus, taught that the kingdom is now, Christ brought it, and it is relevant to today.
So he replied, “This means, then, that every teacher of the Law who becomes a disciple in the Kingdom of heaven is like a homeowner who takes new and old things out of his storage room.”
What relation does our faith have to Jesus’ ability to be at work? Why does he look for faith?
Let us rise with Christ from the bondage of Earth, and into the Love of God’s family.
You will feel it’s warmth…
love that is tender and sweet.
Nothing that has been said, nothing that could be said, or ever will be said will replace what God will say to you when you graduate: “I love you, and you love me, come to me so that we may share Love.”
So I shall make my plea, to those who will respond to God’s call.
There never has been a time when there was a greater need for “God’s Children.”
If the morals fail, the country is doomed. The breakdown of morals and ethics will mark the breakdown of the nation.
This country’s morals when started were based on Christianity and it will need to continue any future success with Christianity. Much of the world is finding this out. And they are changing, will we?
We should not worry about it or anything else, we should have faith.
If you are a Christian, if you are a child of God then your worrying is sinful.
It is nothing, more or less than lack of trust in God. The only way to deal with worry is the way of faith.
faith in the presence of God.
faith in the purposes of God.
faith in the promises of God.
When we resist things we cannot change, then we have strain – inner tension – and that is wrong.
Worrying about it fearing it, does not help. Life must go on, and so must we.
Worrying is rejecting God’s control. If not God’s control, Who? To what else will you cling? What would you substitute for Christian faith?
With this faith and with your commitment, it is time to act.
Can you honestly say that God and not money, is your master? One test is to ask which one occupies more of your thoughts, time and efforts.
“No one can be a slave of two masters, he will hate one and love the other, he will be loyal to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
“This is why I tell you: do not be worried about the food and drink you need to order to stay alive, or about clothes for your body. After all, isn’t the body worth more than clothes? Look at the birds: they do not plant seeds, gather a harvest and put it in barns; yet your Father in heaven takes care of them! Aren’t you worth much more than birds? Can any of you live a bit longer by worrying about it?
“And why worry about clothes? Look how the wild flowers grow: they do not work or make clothes for themselves. But I tell you that not even King Solomon with all his wealth had clothes the wild grass – grass that is here today and gone tomorrow, burned up in the oven. Won’t he be all the more sure to clothe you? What little faith you have!
“So do not start worrying. Where will my food come from? or my drink? or my clothes? (These are the things the pagans are always concerned about.) Your Father in heaven knows that you need all these things. Instead, be concerned about everything else with the Kingdom of God and what he requires of you, and he will provide you with all these other things. So do not worry about tomorrow; it will have enough worries of its own. There is no need to add to the troubles each day brings.”
What do you do to counteract anxiety in order to concentrate on the kingdom?
In order to join God in Heaven, the most important thing in your life, mind, emotions and whole being must become your Love of your Father in Heaven and your desire to join him there. God wants us to seek healthy thoughts and motives, not just healthy food and exercise.
“For from his heart come the evil ideas which lead him to kill, commit adultery and do other immoral things; to rob, lie, and slander others.”
What would stimulate your memory of God’s mercy?
We must root out these evil ideas and replace them with holy ideas. This means that you must work as hard as you can to develop this Love and desire. It means that you must change your basic desires, needs, thoughts, and actions to reflect this highest priority. It means that you must adjust your life from Now and Me; to the Future and Him along with His Family.
If we change our orientation to joining Good in Heaven; we will want to do every thing that will help us get there, and stop doing things that will hinder us. Failing to follow the training rules God has provided us, will hinder us. Therefore we must follow his training rules just as an athlete or a person on a diet? These rules are their to help us, not to restrict us; they provide the guidance to perform within the training plan. These same rules also guide us to be better human family members and therefore people who are interesting and happy individuals who other people would like to know. We become “models” for others to follow. Others will want to know how we do it and how they can become the same, “God’s light to the world.”
Failure to follow the training rules (better know as “Sins”) hurt us and can cause us to not make our objective, These failures hurt God because he loves us and wants to see us join him. God is a proud father, of his creation, wit special emphasis on “His Children.” The pain we cause our Father’s pride, cannot be measured in earth’s terms, when we do something that does not add to our “Glory” as his Child. God is such like a “Coach” who we hurt by not following his plan; therefore we must tell him we are sorry and we are going to try hard to follow his plan.
The Golden Rule is laid down as the summary of the whole teaching of the Law. It involves complete self-giving. It is pointed out that it is not what we say about our loyalty to God that counts, but doing his will and that alone (Matt. 7:15-28). We should concentrate on all we can do to show our love for God and others. We also see it in the following quote.
“Teacher,” he asked, “which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
“Jesus answered, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and the most important commandment. The second most important commandment is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’ The whole Law of Moses and the teachings of the prophets depend on these two commandments.”
By Jesus, definition, what kind of “Lover” are you?
(Luke 14:25-35) provides us a parable which illustrates that the service of God is costly and demands sacrifice. All the quests who were invited had good reasons for staying away, but none of them was prepared to put the obedience of God before his own private concerns. It is this lesson which our Lord reinforces on the cost of being a Child of God and the necessity for self-renunciation.
Now is the time to trust Him. Give Him your life. He will love you like you have never been loved before.
You would like to feel that there is a God who is interested in you of course, You don’t want to make any big mistakes that will mess-up your life.
Suppose you are ready to call God’s bluff! Suppose you are willing to give it a trial. How does God, become real to you? “What do you do?”
Well He wants lives – all or nothing. He wants your life committed to Him now – not tomorrow.
When you do, you will be home. You will know for yourself His warm and wonderful love, how he will guide you, and help you, give you joy you have never had before.
It is important to listen to what God’s word says, but it is much more important to obey it, do what it says.
Faith Without Works is Death
“Do not deceive yourselves by just listening to his word; instead, put it into practice. Whoever listens to the word but does not put it into practice is like a man who looks in a mirror and sees himself as he is. He takes a good look at himself and then goes away and at once forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks closely into the perfect law that sets people free, who keeps on paying attention to it and does not simply listen and then forget it, but puts it into practice – that person will be blessed by God in what he does.”
What from God’s Word here will you put into action this week?
Indeed, James would seem to be bent on contradicting Paul, when he says that “Faith without works is dead” (James 2:26), but in reality there is no contradiction at all. James means by “faith” empty professions of belief, creeds that are mere lip service, in the same sense as the saying of Jesus: “Not every one that saith unto me Lord, Lord shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in Heaven” (Matt. 7:21).
No one would have agreed with him more than St. Paul. The kind of “works” which Paul condemns, is the hopeless attempt to win salvation by observing all the niceties of Jewish moral and ceremonial law. Whereas the kind of “works” that James regards as indispensable, is the practice of Christian behavior that Paul binds together inseparably with the possession of Christian faith.
Do we just read the Bible and not have people read the Bible through our actions. Do we mark our Bible and not have the Bible mark us.
Religion that is not commitment, trust, and service is not religion at all. There is no merit in being trained on Christian doctrine if we do no more than that. We have only to look at the Old Testament, to see that the real reason why Abraham’s faith is extolled is that he was the kind of man who was prepared to sacrifice his son, because he believed it was the will of God. Even Rahab receives honorable mention for assisting Joshua’s spies. In other words, faith without deeds to back it up is an empty shell (James 2:1-26). When someone claims to have faith, what he or she may have is intellectual assent – agreement with a set of Christian teachings – incomplete faith.
“My brothers, what good is it for someone to say that he has faith if his actions do not prove it? Can that faith save him? Suppose there are brothers or sisters who need clothes and don’t have enough to eat. What good is there in your saying to them, ‘God bless you! Keep warm and eat well!’ – if you don’t give them the necessities of life? So it is with faith: if it is alone and includes no actions than it is dead.
It becomes quite clear that we must act out our faith. Isn’t it worth trying! To you there may come the same wonderful changes that have come to other men and women all down through the years.
Your life may be guided by Christ… Your problems may be solved by His wisdom… Your weakness may be burned into strength by His help… Your struggles may become – victories by His grace… Your sorrows may be turned into joy by His comfort.
And you too, may have that fellowship with the risen Christ. Indeed, you will not believe the fact of the Resurrection for yourself until the living Christ lives in your own heart. When you have in your own life that sense of His nearness and His power – ah, then, you too will know!
Wise leaders recognize that life is far too complex to comprehend apart from God’s revelation and guidance. Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee has faced this reality many times. Huckabee was a prominent pastor of a twenty-five-hundred-member church in Texarkana. By all accounts he was a successful Christian leader, yet there was an uneasiness in his soul. Huckabee acknowledged that God clearly led him to resign his church and enter Arkansas politics. Later, while governor of Arkansas, Huckabee regularly faced situations that were beyond his wisdom to know what to do. Huckabee notes: “Being governor has led me to depend on faith with a new sense of urgency. I face situations every day that would be insurmountable without using the faith God has given me to make decisions.” Huckabee’s career and leadership of his state was dependent in large part on God’s revelation of his will to Huckabee and Huckabee’s subsequent response of obedience to what he believed God was revealing. Is it possible for a governor to be led by God’s revelation? Certainly!
Remind me, heavenly Father, that I should spend time with you today and every day. Make me a disciple of yours, anxious to learn all that you would teach me. Amen.