How many of you like to watch something. The home that I’m working at this week has tons of bird feeders. The owner is constantly making sure the feeders are clean and full of food and then she sits back with binoculars and watches. I have to admit I’ve been watching too, especially the hummingbirds, and I usually don’t have time to notice. Ezekiel 3 tells us that we are a watchman for each other. The job of a watchman was to stay alert and sound the alarm to save his people. In fact our job is a matter of life and death. This may make some uncomfortable, but today in this world of live and let live or judge not least you be judged, we still have a responsibility from God.
Now let’s set some parameters: 1) The Bible is clear that we must do everything in love. I’m convinced that the care shown to the woman at the well was Jesus showing us how to be truthful and loving. 2) Jesus also instructs us to take the log out of our eye so we can see clearly to inspect someone else’s eye. 3) We need to have biblical solutions and be willing to help. If we keep these in mind, then look around and see who God has put in your line of sight. God is clear that he wants ALL to come to salvation through Jesus and we are his tools to make that happen. During the 200 years after Jesus had established his church, the Romans took note of something. Tertullian reported that they said ” Look how they love one another”. If our goal is to watch, love, and help like Ezekiel says then others will notice. Today, pray that God will purify us to be a watchman for his kingdom and to glorify the one who can save.
I’ve always worked around construction sites. From the age of 5, my dad would have me help where I could and talk to the workers. I remember when I was 8 I saw a brickmason with what I thought was candy and asked for a piece. What he had was a can of tobacco but as an 8 yr. old I was convinced I was right because I was 8 and knew everything. Some of us never grow out of this and religious people are no different.
The Pharisees, Saul, David, and others thought they were right. Proverbs 16:2 says, “All a person’s ways seem right to them but motives are weighed by God.” And just in case you’re like me, Solomon says something similar in 21:2. How do we, as believers, keep our motives pure. Proverbs 3:5,6 says to lean on God and not on our understanding and he will make straight paths for us. We do this by reading God’s words: Psalms 12:6 says God’s word is flawless. The Psalms and Proverbs are big on that theme. In Hebrews 4:12 we see God’s word is active and when used, judges our thoughts so that, if we aren’t stubborn, we can make Godly choices.
At 43, I can still channel my 8 yr. old self. After so many times of telling the brickmason I was right, my dad said let him have one. I swallowed that and got sick for the next 30 min, but never have tried that again. I pray that today we acknowledge God first and his word and live by the Spirit that brings life. Try his word today and avoid some of the “belly aches” that come from thinking we have the answers. God bless you.
In Matthew 6:33 we are instructed to seek first the kingdom of God.
Now that you have that song in your mind, let’s take a Biblical journey of what that means. Ever since Adam and Eve exited the garden, man has wanted to get that place with God back. God made a promise to Abraham that one day his seed would again inherit the earth and that is what Jesus tells us to seek first. It’s not just the land we seek but a place where we can walk with God as Adam did. Deuteronomy 6 says that closeness with God should be with Him on our mind at all times of the day. Are you and I seeking that first?
I think it is the importance of that kingdom which drives us to be different. For Abraham it was leaving everything he knew behind, for Moses it was trusting God was in control, for Joseph it was facing trials and success knowing God has a plan, for David it was facing a giant, for Jesus it was giving up this life for others, and for you and I it is living a life to show others that light.
That joy that we are a part of causes us to think: what will I do in my first 100 years. We focus our finances in a way to live out our retirement here on earth, how much more should we think and plan for eternity. Start today by selling God for you and others and maybe we can keep that campfire song in our mind as a reminder of what God through Jesus has in store.
Have you noticed that there is a book about every subject. There are books on marriage, parenting, preaching, finding God’s will for our lives, etc. I listen to Christian talk radio and it seems like everyone that preaches or speaks has a book to sell or give you for a donation. What about the book that God wrote. Many people buy books on God’s will like: Do Something, God’s Will for your life, and any number of books promising to find that specific thing that is just for you.
Philippians 2 gives us a seemingly simple yet admittedly hard will that God has for all of our lives. In fact, if done, promises that our light for God will shine like the stars in the sky. Philippians 2:14 says to do everything without arguing or complaining. God’s word always seems to get to the point and save you hundreds at Barnes and Nobles. This verse, if followed, promises that we will not have labored in vain on the day of Christ.
Is God’s will for our life really just 6 words? Try it. Today just listen to what is going on around you. There is complaining and arguing on politics, religion, driving skills or lack thereof, and the speed at which we get our fast food and God hates it. In Numbers 14 this issue kept the children of Israel out of the promised land. The place that God had planned for them. What “promised lands” are we missing out on due to our attitude.
Just yesterday as our work crew pulled up to the construction site, one of the workers from the other crew met us and said, “The Christians are here”. He said he was listening to the preaching and music we were listening to and was enjoying it. You can shine in this world if we focus on God and his son. Like the song says, “The things of this world will grow strangely dim in the light of his glory and grace.”
One of the verses in the Bible that I love is in Hebrews 11 where Abel is mentioned. Genesis 4 mentions that he was born to Adam and Eve, gave his best as an offering to God, and was killed by his brother Cain. This seems like a tragic story but Abel is mentioned in Hebrews 11. This chapter is known as the faith chapter and the first person mentioned was Abel. Hebrews says, “By faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead.” (Hebrews 11:4)
So many of us want to have a lasting influence. Some think education, work, family, sports, or any number of things we achieve will have a lasting impact. Matt.6 tells us to store up treasures with God and this will keep our heart devoted to him. The very little we know about Abel is important because the sacrifice he gave had eternal value. I once asked a 94 yr. old preacher from our area what advice he would give to our youth group. Preacher Ferrell said do one thing a day that has eternal value. What a challenge from a man who is still speaking to us through that challenge even though he is now gone.
Do you want to have a lasting legacy? We can start by accepting Jesus as our Savior and giving whatever is our best to him. What would Abel’s “fatty portions” be equivalent to in our lives. Is it your time, money or abilities. Give those in the service to God and our lives will speak even after we are gone.
Happy Labor Day. This holiday was started to give praise to the American workforce for their contributions to our country. What does the Bible say about our work for God. Obviously we know the Bible says that works can’t save someone. Paul writes in Galatians that salvation is a gift of God through Jesus. This idea that work isn’t needed has kind of permeated our Christian culture.
We can’t be Blind to what the Old and New Testament says about our relationship to God and the work that produces. In Proverbs, Solomon gives us many verses like 6:6 where we are to consider the ant and how hard they work and 31:10 where the virtuous women is praised for her work. Solomon says work is good to keep us from poverty and this is both physical and spiritual.
In the New Testament, James tells us that our faith and works are married together and can’t be separated. All of the people of faith in Hebrews were commended for what they did. So on this Labor Day maybe we honor God with some work for what he has already done. We can’t earn salvation but we can say thank you by what we do.
If you haven’t been paying attention, its football season. A new season of hope, optimism, and excitement for what could be coming for your team. As a fan of the South Carolina Gamecocks my joy lasts until our first loss and then the thoughts turn to next year. I see so many people put so much thought and preparation into tailgating and cheering on their team and it makes me think: What if we put this much excitement into serving the ONE true God. I think of Psalms 122:1 where David says he was glad to be able to glorify God in the house of the Lord. This wasn’t just one verse, the pages of the Psalms are filled with praises to God from men excited by what God has done, is doing, and will do when his kingdom comes. No disappointment of being on the wrong side of a football score.
This is a morning to wake up and glorify a God who when we put our hope in him through his son Jesus, never disappoints. When we read Rev. 21 and 22 we read about why we should have more hope, excitement, and optimism than an Alabama fan. So as this excitement over this time of year in football fades, remember you are a child of God and that excitement will never fade. Jesus says to seek his kingdom first. When is the last time you thought about what you will do in your first ten years in the kingdom, who are your ” top 5″ people you want to meet, what it will be like to have communion with Jesus, etc. I have to admit when I focus on this, football seems to fade, as it should. This morning we will be at different areas of the world but I hope God is pleased when as a unified body we lift praises to our God.