To be a blessing requires us to be Christ-centered, humbly loving others, forgiving, grateful. This is an overwhelming expectation, but God enables us. And, as we grow in Him, we become more and more this way.
And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed. (2 Corinthians 9:8)
God, faithful and generous, gives us what it takes and then rewards us!
Jesus said: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35)
Given my private pilot history, and my husband’s extensive commercial pilot experience, we watch a lot of aviation shows. I am so overwhelmed with the skilled and disciplined pilots who fight to the end, never giving up, sometimes to a safe, or at least survivable, landing, sometimes to disaster. They continue to apply their knowledge and skills, trying different methods, never giving in, never giving up. I admire them. And I ache when they don’t make it.
And I am dismayed by the less trained or careless pilots who make serious mistakes.
There is a lesson there for us.
From the spiritual point of view as Christians, we are in Christ’s army, we are to grow in the knowledge and grace of God, and we are to stay faithful through this troubled time. We are never to give in. We are never to give up. We are to fight to the finish.
The difference from aviation, of course, is that we know we are headed to eternity with God. Regardless if, from the world’s perspective, we fail, as long as we stay faithful to the Lord, we are successful.
Jesus said to the twelve, “You do not want to go away also do you?” Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. We have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.” (John 6:67-69)
Stand firm in your belief.
Never Give In
In our post-Christian world, we increasingly have pressure to agree with society in ways that contradict God’s word. Don’t do it!
Never Give Up
Right to the end, keep the faith. Keep fighting.
Finish the Fight
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing. (2 Timothy 4:7-8)
Humans have been blaming others for their own actions since the Garden of Eden when Adam blamed God, and Eve blamed the serpent. I’ve heard blame called “The Second Original Sin.”
The man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate.” Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” And the woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” (Genesis 3:12-13)
Adam blamed God. Eve blamed the serpent.
Blame continued throughout the Bible and continues today.
“Because you said that, I …”
“The system made me poor.”
“If I weren’t poor, I wouldn’t have stolen/looted.”
“That makes me angry.”
“I was born in the wrong body.”
“It wasn’t me.”
“Not my fault.”
Blaming others supposedly exonerates yourself making yourself the victim rather than responsible. Blame means no repentance, no growth.
There are a lot of possible drivers, including, for example: pride, self-defense, self-promotion, self-deception, denial of sin.
For unbelievers who blame, we need to pray they see their sin, repent, and believe in Jesus Christ, We need to pray they receive saving faith.
God is very clear that we are responsible. Period.
When we sin, it is our own fault. Period.
Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. (James 1:13-14)
And what’s more, if we deny our sin, we call God a liar. Not good!
If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. (1 John 1:8)
If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us. (1 John 1:10)
God saved us for holiness God does not want us to sin. Don’t blame Him! We’re responsible.
What to Do
It is a sin for a Christian to blame something or someone else for our sin.
When we sense we are blaming, STOP and confess. Repent. Determine not to blame.
Father, thank You for showing me when I blame others, trying to escape responsibility. I confess that this is sin, and that I have sinned. Please help me be aware when I blame and help me stop, I want so much to walk in a manner worthy of you.
Everyone who is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD. (Proverbs 16:5)
Don’t Be Proud
We are what we are because of God: He chose our birthdate, gender, race, ethnicity, parents, country, intelligence, talents, etc. etc. etc. etc. All things come from Him (Romans 11:36).
We, though, are responsible, and we have responsibilities. We are to work hard in the Lord. We are to walk in a manner worthy of Him.
But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me. (1 Corinthians 15:10)
Stomp Pride When You Sense It
We must be alert to times we praise ourselves rather than God.
IMMEDIATELY, when you see it, sense it, smell it, confess your sin of pride.
With humility, acknowledge God’s rule in your life, and confess your dependence on Almighty God.
And repeat as often as necessary!
Father, HELP! We want to please You. We reject pride, knowing that You created us, Your moral children, and that You are sovereign over all things. Please show us when we are prideful, for we want to confess our pride. Thank You that You will forgive and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
At one point in my career, we often talked about being intentional, being purposeful. We wanted better to align our activities with our goals.
Being intentional is a good plan for life. If we don’t know where we want to go, any road will get us there! When we have a goal, deliberately working towards that end improves the likelihood we will achieve our aim.
God’s Holy Plan WILL Be Accomplished
Almighty, Sovereign God has a holy plan. He works everything according to that plan, and His plan will be perfectly completed. He does everything intentionally, with purpose.
Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things which have not been done, saying ‘My purpose will be established and I will accomplish all My good pleasure.’ (Isaiah 46:10)
I know that You can do all things, and that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted. (Job 42:2)
We have obtained an inheritance having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will. (Ephesians 1:11)
God Intentionally Works His plan For Individuals
The Bible is clear that God has a purpose for this world and for all individuals, and is working to perfectly achieve His holy will.
He meant …
As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive. (Genesis 50:20)
He sent …
Now do not be grieved or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. (Genesis 45:5)
So that …
“So that,” a statement of purpose , or subsequent results, is used nearly a thousand times in the Bible.
God acts in a certain way so that He accomplishes His purpose. (For example, Exodus 11:9)
Jesus acted in a certain way to get His desired results, including making His message clear. (For example, Luke 5:24)
People (believers and nonbelievers/rejectors) act in certain ways and get specific results. (But remember, God’s purpose cannot be thwarted.)
Since God–Father, Son, Holy Spirit–is totally in control and is working His holy plan, we can trust Him. We are responsible, but He is sovereign.
Whatever happens to us, believers, is for a loving purpose, and is worked by God for good. (Romans 8:28)
We know He has promised glory for those who believe. (Romans 8:30)
God is sovereign, has kind intention for believers, cannot be thwarted, and always accomplishes His plan.
There is every reason to trust Him.
God–Father, Son, Holy Spirit–You are worthy of all praise. You are holy, almighty, loving, just. Thank You for saving us and that You have thrilling plans for us who believe in You. Thank You for telling us that Your plans will be fulfilled. Help us to trust You and look forward to your loving work in our lives.
In these very troubled times, we should learn from Habakkuk.
Like Habakkuk, many of us are crying out to God about the wickedness in our world. There is violence, iniquity, wickedness, destruction, strife, contention, perverted justice … and more. (Habakkuk 1:3-4)
When Yahweh told Habakkuk what He was going to do, Habakkuk wasn’t happy either, because Yahweh told Habakkuk He would judge Israel through the Chaldeans, a people even more wicked than they.
To swallow that news, Habakkuk reminded himself of who Yahweh is, and we must do that as well.
And God is remembering mercy, and will continue to remember mercy, through these hard times, through His judgment. He is always who He is all the time. There are many accounts of people coming to saving faith in the midst of, and because of, hard times.
And, like Habakkuk, we must resolve right now to exult in Yahweh no matter what.
Though the fig tree should not blossom, and there be no fruit on the vies, though the yield of the olive should fail and the fields produce no food, though the flock should be cut off from the fold, and there be no cattle in the stalls, yet I will exult in Yahweh, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation. The Lord Yahweh is my strength, and He has made my feet like hinds’ feet, and makes me walk on my highs places. (Habakkuk 3:17-19)
God–Father, Son, Holy Spirit–is always awesome and always worth of praise. Praise Him now, and determine to keep praising Him regardless.
My dad and I went on a tour into a deep cave. At the deepest point, the guide had all the lights extinguished. And it was DARK! The dark pressed in and felt like a presence I could touch. The dark even extinguished noise. People whispered, and then fell silent. It was harder to keep my balance. People held on to each other. When the tour director struck a match, the small light changed everything. There was a collective sigh of relief. People started talking. That was many years ago and I can still feel the overwhelming realization of the oppression of darkness and light’s impact.
I don’t need to talk about the darkness in our world right now. You see it too, I know.
Those who walk in darkness have rejected Jesus Christ. They didn’t comprehend the light (John 1:5) and they love darkness rather than light, for their deeds are evil (John 3:19). They don’t come to the light lest their deeds be exposed (John 3:20).
This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. (John 3:19)
As we get closer and closer to the end, evil will increase. (2 Timothy 3:13)
God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. (1 John 1:5)
Jesus again spoke to them, saving, “I am the Light of the world, he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.” (John 8:12)
Light: A Gift
We* all once walked in darkness (Ephesians 2:1-3), but when we believed in Jesus Christ, we were transferred out of the kingdom of darkness and into the kingdom of Christ. (Colossians 1:13)
I have come as Light into the world so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness. (John 12:46)
Those who believe in Jesus Christ, the Light of the world, have become light in the Lord. (Ephesians 5:8)
Light: A Responsibility
Now that we are light in the Lord, we are to walk as children of Light. (Ephesians 5:8)
Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)
God–Father, Son, Holy Spirit–thank You for your unfathomable gift of rescuing us from darkness and transferring us to the kingdom of Jesus Christ. Thank You that we are now light in the Lord. Help us to live in Your Light, shining out into the darkness, that people may come to know You and that You may be glorified.
*”We” means those who believe/trust in Jesus Christ and have received Him as Lord and Savior.
I woke up feeling ill this morning. This was unexpected, especially since I felt so well yesterday. (I’m fine now.) I had been praying about what to post this week, so my unexpected, short-term ailment, was, I believe, an answer to prayer!
But life is like that: we may have an unexpected challenge, opportunity, tragedy, or joy coming, even this afternoon.
Some things we can plan for, just in case, like when to plant where we live. I came close to buying plants last week, even though, historically, we have a freeze late in May. Well.. the forecast today (Friday) and tonight is 6″ – 11″ of snow, and low temperatures in the 20s! And our first roses bloomed on Wednesday!
Spiritually, life is like that, and we must be prepared.
Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence. (1 Peter 3:15)
Be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. (Ephesians 5:15-16)
You must also be ready: for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will. (Matthew 24:44)
How to be ready for the unexpected
Know God’s word. He tells us about Himself. He tells us what is coming. He tells us what to watch out for. He tells us how to live. In order to know God’s word, we must regularly and prayerfully study His word. We must meditate on His word, firmly planting His word in our hearts, which most likely means memorizing verses for meditation.
Be in fellowship with God. If you have saving faith, you are saved from the penalty of sin. But we still sin and must confess our sins to Almighty God. We must live in the attitude of gratitude and worship. We must pray without ceasing.
Be alert. Be alert to temptations. Be alert to the roaring lion who seeks to devour us. Be alert to opportunities.
Be ready. Be ready to defend the hope that is within us. Be ready for the Master’s return.
Be diligent. Be holy in your conduct. Be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless.
Keep your eyes on Jesus.
God is on the side of those who believe in Him, who have placed their trust in Christ Jesus