Glorying in the cross. The cross should be the centerpiece of your life.
Let it be the focus of your affections…so that your heart is captured by a fresh revelation of the suffering Servant of the Lord.
Let it be the focus of your worship….so that your heart is stirred by the work of Jesus for you.
Let it be the focus of your whole life…so that daily you take up your cross and follow Jesus.
The cross must be the focus of every pulpit. Preaching the lifestyle of Jesus…His ethics…and His miracles is good. But only His blood can save you.
Paul said: “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ…”
Make the cross the centerpiece of your life.
Fitting in. Most people make that a priority.
Their family…church…workplace – they want to feel like they fit in.
But…fitting in has two sides.
It’s good to fit in when relationships encourage good behavior. Choose your friends carefully – they’ll make you a better person.
And…in the process…you’ll be a source of blessing to them. Do what you can to help every member of your family…church…and workplace to fit in.
But…fitting in can have a bad side. Young people sometimes compromise their integrity and morals…just to fit in. They let the desire to fit in erode their character and principles.
Adults can do the same. The desire to be accepted can lead to compromise and loss of godly values.
So…be wise and prayerful when it comes to fitting in.
God’s redemption plan. It’s incomprehensible…but glorious.
That God became a man. “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us…”
That Jesus would die for the sins of the world. “…and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.”
That the Holy Spirit should be given to the church. “…he shall give you another Comforter…”
That Jesus is preparing a place for you. “I go to prepare a place for you.”
How is it that God could conceive such a marvelous plan as this?
Answer? His love. It’s a plan that flows out of God’s loving heart. No mortal could claim authorship.
So today…rejoice in God’s glorious plan for your redemption.
The quest for authenticity. Deep in the soul is the desire to be real.
Though sometimes hidden by sin…underneath is a desire to be authentic – so what is observable is an accurate reflection of what is on the inside.
Hypocrisy is uncomfortable. That is…trying to cover up what God wants you to be.
The Bible calls it purity of heart. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” This describes the quest for authenticity.
Some call it transparency…or vulnerability…letting the outside be an accurate reflection of what is on the inside.
And this is what God sees — “People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
Join the quest for authenticity.
An eight-year-old king. How can that ever work?
Because King Joash had a faithful mentor – Jehoiada the priest. Together they led a godly reformation.
This is always what is needed – a godly adult…and a young person who is willing to listen.
Without this society can never be strong…healthy…and godly.
Sometimes you’ll have a faithful adult…but the young person refuses to listen. Or you have an unworthy adult…who fails to lead in proper ways.
It sounds so simple – but it is this failure that results in ghettos…over-populated prisons…and unsafe streets.
Where do you fit? If you are an adult…look for ways to influence young people in the way of righteousness. And if you are young…look for good examples to follow.
An obedient eight-year-old…and a faithful mentor – that will transform society.
Exegesis and hermeneutics. Both are essential…if you want to be a good student of God’s Word.
Exegesis deals with what the Bible says. Hermeneutics deals with what the Bible means.
It’s like crossing a bridge — knowing what was said…and then what it means.
When you read a passage found in the Bible…ask yourself what the author intended to communicate. Then take the second step – and deal with interpretation.
The Bible is a reliable guide for life. It is comprehensive and relevant. But…it must be properly understood.
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
Let this be a top priority in your life – to grasp the context of Scripture…and then properly apply it to your life.
Think – think – think. Do that before you make decisions in life.
Lives will be ruined when people make thoughtless decisions.
Life is serious business. A few unwise decisions…and life can become unbearable and wasted.
The key is to think – think about the inevitable consequences of the decisions you make.
When you see someone making shipwreck of life…you cannot help but ask why. It may not be difficult to identify the impact of unwise choices.
But wait. Careful thinking is not enough. It calls for prayerful thinking – asking the Holy Spirit to lead you. The Spirit knows what you don’t know. He sees consequences…so ask Him for guidance.
Yes…think – think – think. But do that prayerfully and with humility.
That’s God’s way. Don’t miss it.
Losing your cool. And…the price tag is high.
Emotions spill over…words become coarse…irrationality takes over – and someone is hurt.
The Bible speaks about controlling the tongue…curbing angry responses…and letting humility rule the spirit.
But…it’s hard. Sometimes people get to you – their hostility…insults…and obnoxious behavior. It may feel like you will explode.
Life is filled with circumstances that might cause you to lose your cool. Something as ordinary as children who misbehave…someone arriving late…a harsh word.
But the Holy Spirit can give you control over your emotions. And…the Spirit will help you speak strongly when needed – but always with compassion and self-control.
Stay close to Jesus. He will help you so that you will not lose your cool.
Better than advertised. Let that be a principle to live by.
When the Queen of Sheba visited Solomon she said: “…not even half the greatness of your wisdom was told me; you have far exceeded the report I heard.”
She had heard about Solomon’s wisdom…but it far exceeded what she had been told. The reality was greater than what she had been told.
Sometimes…the opposite is true. The reality is far less than what has been promoted.
When people speak of the gospel…their lives should be an example of its truth. Sadly…people are disappointed when the walk is inferior to the talk.
When churches promote their ministries…the reality should exceed the promotion.
Let people say about you – not even the half has been told.
Your first words. What will they be…when you first meet Jesus?
Jesus said: “I am going there to prepare a place for you…I will come back and take you to be with me…”
Paul says: “Now I know in part; then I shall know fully…”
Theses verses point to a personal relationship with Jesus.
So…what will be your first words?
Will you ask for answers to long-held questions? Will you look for a decision on arguments and doctrinal questions? Will you speak about the place He has built for you?
Probably not. Instead…you likely will have expressions of deep gratitude for saving grace and matchless mercy.
Then again…you may be speechless – and simply fall on your face in worship and adoration.
What a glorious moment that will be.