Privileged people. And…it’s true of every person.
Sadly…sometimes society loses sight of this and considers one group of people privileged…and others underprivileged.
But it doesn’t stop there. Individuals assume that others are privileged…but they are not. When that happens…these individuals do not rise to the level of their God-given potential.
The message must be this – every person is created by God…bears His very image — and because of that each person is privileged.
Privilege is about the endowment of God – who gifts every person with great potential. No one is to be ever considered as anything other than privileged.
Privileged by divine providence…saved by grace…and then empowered by the Holy Spirit.
Jesus died for every person – that means privileged.
Who’s waiting to wear your mantle? That is…who is watching your life and wanting a double portion of your spirit?
Elisha knew that if he were with Elijah when he went to heaven…he would inherit a double portion of Elijah’s spirit.
It was the mantle that Elijah left behind which symbolized the double portion – Elijah’s power and influence.
And it happened just that way. Elisha struck the Jordan with Elijah’s mantle — and the waters parted…as with Elijah.
Who’s observing your life…and praying that your mantle will fall on them – your special touch with God…your power in prayer…and your spiritual influence?
Prepare your mantle – and may there be many who want to inherit it.
Right or wrong? That question never goes away.
It’s there with every decision in life – moral choices…vocational choices…behavioral choices.
In the end your life will be measured by how you answered this question.
The Bible has a word that speaks to this – righteousness. “…filled with the fruit of righteousness…” This describes a life that is characterized by choosing right over wrong.
Train your eyes to always see the righteous side of every thought and action – and then follow the path to which it points.
How about your value system? Your lifestyle? Your thought life? Your attitudes? It is the pursuit for righteousness that must guide every step.
Keep right. That’s the call of Jesus on your life.
Carnal weapons…or mighty weapons. Which will you choose for the battles you face?
This is the choice the Apostle Paul describes: “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.”
Yes…the battle is real. You face it every day. The forces of evil are always at work.
But…what kind of weapons are you using? Are your weapons carnal – like the world uses? Or are they mighty – like the Spirit uses?
Sometimes Christians make the wrong choice on this. They choose weapons that are selected from the arsenal of the world – argument…protest…anger.
Instead…the choice must always be the weapons of the Spirit of God – intercession…love…and truth.
Be sure to choose your weapons carefully.
Assuming the best. That is a good practice in dealing with people.
You have a choice – believe the best…the worst…or something in between.
Jesus never excused sin…but He also assumed the best in people. He renamed Simon…calling him the rock. He saw something good in a repentant tax collector…and went to dinner with him. He met an outcast woman in Samaria…and offered her the water of life.
You are often called upon to make a choice. How do I take a comment? What was meant by that decision? Is there some hidden message in what I just heard?
The challenge is to give people the benefit of the doubt…to put the best face on circumstances…to start with the assumption of best intentions.
Jesus did. And He’ll help you do the same.
The last mile. Watch out for the temptations of advancing years.
“As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God…”
Wealth wasn’t enough — tribute from many nations flowed into his coffers. Influence was not enough — he had won the allegiance of the peoples about him. Intelligence was not enough — he is known as the wisest man who ever lived.
So…what does it take to successfully finish the last mile?
Renewed passion. Every day there must be a determination to stoke the fires of a passion after God.
Consistent practices. The disciplines of faith – Bible reading…prayer…worship…service – must be persistent.
Eager expectation. A growing desire for heaven must fill the heart.
Be faithful to the end.
An evil deed…lurking in the shadows of the heart. And when the opportunity is right…the deed is done.
Elisha told Hazel that he was pondering great evil in his heart. But Hazael responded: “How could your servant, a mere dog, accomplish such a feat?”
But…the next day Hazael placed a damp cloth over the face of the sleeping king…and the terrible deed was done.
When a respected leader falls…we ask how could such a thing ever happen?
But if truth be known…there had been evil thoughts lurking in the heart for some time.
Jeremiah said “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”
What is the answer? Keep your heart and mind stayed on Jesus.
And…be careful about what lurks in the shadows of your heart.
Pragmatics and faith. They are not the same.
Pragmatics is about observable and verifiable results. Faith is about obedience and dependence upon God.
The three Hebrew children refused to bow to the king’s image. When threatened with a fiery furnace…they said to Nebuchadnezzar: “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it…But even if he does not…we will not…worship the image of gold…”
The God we serve is able to save us — that’s a focus on pragmatics. Even if he does not – that’s a focus on faith.
Our culture is focused on pragmatics – what works. But faith is about obedience and trust.
Always – faith first. Pragmatics will follow.
Entering God’s presence. This is the priority of prayer.
But first…you will need to let all the noise subside – the cares of the world…the treacheries of life…all the distractions.
Remember…prayer is not only about requests…but it is also a time to wait on God. “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength…”
Prayer is more than an information exchange. It is a time to be together with the Lord.
Jesus often found a place of solitude and prayer. Those times would have been much more than a time of information exchange. It was Jesus’ time with the Father.
Busy schedules can be an enemy of prayer – just to fit prayer in may miss the waiting part.
Prayer is about relationship – getting to know God personally. It’s the path to intimacy with God.
The second mile. And…it’s more significant than the first.
Jesus said: “If someone asks you to go one mile, go with him the second.”
The first mile is duty…the second is charity. The first is what people see…the second is done in secret. The first is for display…the second is for compassion. The first mile is law…the second mile is grace.
The first mile is to show sympathy. It’s the second mile to weep with the bereaved.
The second mile is what makes a minister a shepherd…not a CEO.
The second mile clings to faith against all attacks of discouragement.
The second mile is about the cross — laying down your life…offering your body as a living sacrifice.
Be willing to go the second mile.