An impression. It’s the impact you make upon others.
The driver in the car next to you…the visitor at the door…the members of your family…and everyone else – you make an impression on them.
Think of Jesus — His impression on Nicodemus…Pontius Pilate…the woman caught in adultery. They would never be the same.
Jesus brought hope…healing…encouragement…and eternal life. His impression was transformational.
And…so should yours be.
Think about the impression you make. What about sarcasm…or aloofness…or accusation? Avoid them all.
And…as the saying goes: “You will never have a second chance to make a first impression.”
Personal convictions…and the law of the land. Sometimes they’re on a collision course.
So it was with the disciples…and they declared themselves: “We ought to obey God rather than men.”
Causes are different – they can allow for some flexibility. They deal with preferences.
Convictions are different. They touch the soul. There is no wiggle room there.
There comes a time when it’s all on the line. It’s either God’s way…or man’s way. The choice becomes clear…and immediate.
Sadly…for some believers today…the choice they make may cost them their lives.
So…think about the depth of your convictions. Then you’ll be ready if the moment ever comes.
“We ought to obey God rather than men.”
A ghost. Or…so it seems.
It happened to the disciples – one night on the Sea of Galilee. Through the mist of the sea…and in the darkness of the night — they were sure it was a ghost. And they were terrified.
So it is in life. You may think it’s a ghost…and are terrified. But the Lord says: “It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
What may look like a ghost…turns out to be Jesus. A trial…a reversal…a misfortune – and it looks like a ghost.
But…it becomes an opportunity for Jesus to reveal His power and glory.
Today…there maybe something in your life that looks like a ghost – and you are terrified.
But…take another look. Listen for another voice.
“It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
Ruins. That’s all that remains.
But…they still speak of the glory of what once was…but is no more.
Their magnificent buildings…their expansive roadways – and all the reminders of opulence and luxury.
The Egyptians…Babylonians…Greeks… and Romans – they each had their turn.
But…now it’s just ruins.
So it will be for your life – nothing but ruins…only reminders of what once was – unless Jesus is Lord.
The Apostle John said: “The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.”
So today…live in the light of eternity. Choose between what is passing away and what will remain forever.
Invest in heaven. Build His kingdom. Cultivate a relationship with God.
Ruin-proof your life.
The sovereignty of God. It can be a source of great comfort.
One person enjoys a long life – another’s life is cut short. One is blessed with many talents – another is limited in creative and expressive talent.
Where is fairness?
The answer is found in the sovereignty of God. “Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own?”
But…where is the comfort in this? Just knowing that God has acted according to His wisdom.
So…when you question His ways…you can trust His heart. He always does what is right and best.
There can be no greater comfort than this.
The sovereignty of God.
Not of this world. That is a very significant identification.
Jesus prayed: “They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.”
Some take this to mean isolation – that Christians should separate themselves from other people.
Others take it to mean a badge to be worn – so others can observe their spirituality.
Yet…some see it as a yardstick – a way to measure the spirituality of others.
So…how are we to follow Jesus in this?
By demonstrating a new nature…the very spirit of Jesus within.
By practicing a lifestyle that is patterned after Jesus…reflecting His likeness.
And by being a person for others…as modeled by Jesus.
Not of this world.
From the mouths of fools. But…they spoke eternal truth.
It happened at the place of crucifixion. The chief priests and teachers of the law heaped insults on Jesus. “He saved others…but he can’t save himself.”
But…no truth greater than this has ever been spoken.
Jesus had a choice – save Himself or others. He chose others. And…in doing so…He became the Savior of the world.
Utter defeat – that’s how it seemed. Jesus appeared powerless…weak…an object of shame and disgrace.
Not so. For…it was in this moment every demonic force was defeated…the great redemptive mission was accomplished…and our eternal salvation was purchased.
“He saved others…but he can’t save himself.”
From the mouths of fools…but they spoke eternal truth.
Behavior and conviction. Both are important.
Behavior is the byproduct of conviction. It is the consequence — the effect.
But…if the focus is first on behavior — with disregard for conviction — the end will be tragic.
This is why behavior modification alone is ineffective. As a stand-alone…it will not endure.
In other words…it’s all about the heart. This is where convictions are held. When the heart is right…behavior is right. That must be the sequence.
Behavior modification can result in reformation…but convictions well formed will result in transformation.
Jesus offers a new heart – and that leads to right behavior.
“Create in me a clean heart, O God…”
Mediators. They try to bring resolution between opposing parties.
That’s the backdrop to the cry of Job: “If only there were someone to mediate between us…”
He was looking for an answer to his dispute with God Almighty – about his innocence.
And…it’s the cry of mortals – how to find a bridge between man’s sinful nature and a holy God.
The Bible gives us the answer: “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”
Today…you have Jesus as your mediator. Through Him you have pardon and reconciliation. He is your bridge between your total unworthiness and His unmerited favor.
This is the result of Jesus’ work at Calvary.
The dispute is settled.
A time of refreshing. It’s when a cool breeze drives away the oppressive heat.
This is the word picture that Peter uses to describe the new life in Christ. “…turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord…”
It’s a familiar experience – the room is hot and stuffy…and someone opens a window. Suddenly…there is a refreshing. It’s a moment of relief.
So it is spiritually. Sin has a stifling effect. There is a struggle to find some relief.
Then…the gospel is heard. Repentance comes…and with it the assurance of salvation.
So…open the window of your heart…and welcome the refreshing breeze of the Holy Spirit.