I share this post not to draw attention or for sympathy but to share a truth that perhaps will minister to someone. In the last two-and-one-half years Holli and I have gone through some times where finances were tight. Thank the Lord, somehow, someway, God always provides. Recently my mind turned to an old gospel song…
“I don’t worry about tomorrow, I just live from day to day.
I don’t borrow from it’s sunshine, For the skies may turn to gray.
I don’t worry, O’er the future. For I know what Jesus said.
And today, I’ll walk beside Him. For He knows what is ahead.”
Most of us are familiar with that verse… I’m very familiar with that verse. But as I listened to the song recently, God spoke to me in the second verse;
“I don’t know about tomorrow. It may bring me poverty.
But the one who feeds the sparrow, He’s the one who stands by me.”
Notice those lines… “it may bring me poverty…” God doesn’t keep us from trials. Sometimes, the money is tight. Sometimes, there may be no money… but God promises to walk with us through it. Just as He feeds the sparrow, He will feed and provide for us.
Do you struggle with your thought life? Is there something you are worried about and although you know you shouldn’t worry, you do? I understand… I’ve been there. Lots of people… maybe most people have been there.
Isaiah 26:3 says, “He will keep thee in perfect peace whose mind is fixed on Thee.” Think about that verse.
Peace is something everyone wants. Someone might ask a person, “what do you want the most?” And they might respond, “World peace.”
But in addition to world peace, as individuals, we want peace. Some seek peace in a glass of alcohol. Some seek peace… an instant high… in drug use. Some seek peace in a trip or a shopping spree. Some may go on a hike or go to a secluded place to find peace.
But Isaiah tells us, we can have peace right where we are. We don’t have to take a trip… we don’t have to go on a shopping spree.
Isaiah says, “He will keep thee in perfect peace whose mind is fixed on Thee..” So, instead of focusing on our problems, we should stay fixed on Jesus.
Do you remember the story of the disciples in the boat and a storm came up? In the midst of that, Jesus came to the disciples walking on the water. The disciples were stunned. Peter said “Lord, if it is you… let me come to you on the water” and Jesus told him to come.
Simon Peter took a few steps and then, he took his eyes off Jesus to see a wave and when he did, he began to go under. He cried out to Jesus and Jesus saved him. As long as he was fixed on Jesus, he was fine. But when he took his eyes off Christ, he began to sink.
The same thing happens with us. Isaiah says, “He will keep in perfect peace those whose mind is fixed on Thee.” I don’t know what you are struggling with today, but Jesus promises to be with us… we must keep our eyes fixed on Jesus.
Living the Christian life is tough. We give our lives to Christ. We confess our sins and we are forgiven. But, we still live in a sinful world. We still battle temptation and temptation is powerful. So, how do we handle temptation in this sinful world?
Paul tells us how in Galations 2:20. Paul says, “I am crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God.”
Think about that verse… “Paul says “I am crucified with Christ…it is not I who live but Christ lives in me…”
Paul is saying that every day we have to ask the Lord to crucify the flesh within us. It has to happen daily. Even though when we ask Christ in our hearts our sins are forgiven… the old flesh is still there… our old nature is still there… and it is powerful… and the only way it can be defeated is through the power of the Holy Spirit. We can’t defeat it on our own. That’s why Paul says, “I am crucified with Christ…”
Every day we have to ask the Lord to crucify our old flesh. But it grows back. So it has to be crucified again… and again… and again… and again…
We ask the Lord to crucify it and Christ replaces it and helps us live the Christian life.
So, is there something from your old manner of life you are struggling with? Something that constantly trips you up? Every day ask the Lord to crucify it… and fill you with His Holy Spirit.
“Don’t be a hypocrite!”
Or, “you are a hypocrite!”
Have you ever said that or have you heard someone else say it? More than likely you have. The word most commonly used to describe someone who appears to be religiously pious but, in reality, they are living a double life. On Sunday, they attend church and sound holy. But Monday through Saturday, it’s a different story.
Paul dealt with hypocrisy in Galations 2. Paul told about a time when he had to confront Peter. When no Jews were around, Peter was easting with the Gentiles. But, when some prominent Jews showed up, Peter wouldn’t eat with the Gentiles. He was being hypocritical.
Now, technically everyone of us is a hypocrite in that none of us are perfect Christians. But, although we aren’t perfect, it should bother us when we don’t live as we should. It should bother us that at times, we are hypocritical.
Simply put, a hypocrite is someone who says one thing and does another. A hypocrite is one who professes to live the Christian life but in reality, they don’t.
A hypocrite praises God on Sunday and then cusses up a storm during the week.
A hypocrite may quote some Bible verses but fails to live by them.
A hypocrite may gladly tell you where they attend church and then, criticize the Pastor or other staff.
A hypocrite is a play actor.
I’ve heard people say, “I don’t attend church because of all the hypocrites at the church.” I hear you… and that bothers me too. But, everyone of us are hypocrites do a degree. Friend, if your justification for not attending church is not wanting to be around the hypocrites, you are really just justifying your absence. You will not find a church that doesn’t have hypocrites.
Instead of focusing on the hypocrisy of others, let’s look at ourselves. We need to put ourselves on the altar and ask the Lord to reveal any hypocrisy in us. As the Spirit convicts, we need to confess it and live for Christ.
Let’s not be hypocrites! Instead, live for the Lord and be real in your faith.
Are you a people pleaser? Lots of us are. I admit… I have some of it in me.
A “people pleaser” is someone who does things to… please people. We may say certain things because we know people like to hear it. Or, we may do something just because we know someone will like it.
Pastor’s and Ministers frequently face this temptation. Everyone wants to be liked. That’s how we are wired. And, we want the people in our churches to like us so… we may do something things… make some decisions… based on pleasing people.
Paul faced this. In the opening verses of Galations, Paul writes, “For am I now seeking the favor of men or of God?” Then Paul adds, “Are am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.”
Think about those last words… “…. if I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.” In other words, we can’t please men and God.
If we are living our lives trying to please others, there will come a time when we are faced with the dilemma of, “do I please men or please God?” When we come to that, our desire should be to please God.
Maybe you are struggling with something. You know what God would want you to do but, doing that may cost you some friends… it may even cost you some money. Our goal, every day, should be to please God. If we please God, everything else takes care of itself.
All of us have experienced the temptation of Satan. But have you ever wondered where Satan came from? Isaiah 14:12-14 tells us.
Satan was originally an angel. He was referred to as “star of the morning.” But, the Bible says Satan wasn’t content being an angel. He wanted to be God. Isaiah 14:13 says, “You have said in your heart, I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God. I will sit on the mount of assembly.”
Satan had an “I” problem. He was full of himself and wanted to be God. Because of his pride, God caat him out of heaven. The Bible says, “You will be thrust down to Sheol, the recesses of the pit.” So, Satan was cast out of heaven.
Satan had the same problem that has plagued man for years; pride. He wasn’t happy just being an angel; he wanted to be God.
Is pride preventing you from admitting you need a Savior? Is pride preventing you from asking someone for help? Is pride preventing you from admitting you made a mistake?’
Pride turned an angel into the devil. Pride has been the fall of many people. Jesus said, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth” (Matt. 5:5).
Every day, when we get up, it is a precious, precious promise to know that God is with us. Sometimes, we may have some anxiety about what we are going to face that day. But, even though we may experience some fear we know this, if we are in the center of God’s will, God is with us.
The Psalmist said the same. In Psalm 56;9, he writes, “This I know; that God is for me” (Psalm 56:9).
The Psalmist had some enemies that were attacking him. In verse 1, the Psalmist says, “… man has trampled upon me… fighting all day long he oppresses me.”
So he was facing some adversity. Yet, in spite of that he could say, “This I know… that God is for me.”
Think about that… “this I know…” Sometimes when we are going through some trials we can forget that God loves us. God cares for us. God is not going to forsake us. That doesn’t mean the tough times stop. But, even though we are facing tough times, if we are in the center of God’s will, God is with us.
Today, if you are in the center of God’s will, God is with you. God loves you.
With the Psalmist we can say, “This I now that God is for me.”
The storm may rage around me… but God is for me.
People may criticize me… but God is for me.
I may go through some trials… but God is for me.
Money may get tight… but God is for me.
Today, if you are in the center of God’s will, doing what God wants you to do, God is for you.