If the Lord gave you what you really deserved, would you be ready for it? Would you look forward to it with joy or does the thought frighten you? What we fail to recognize is that it is not just a hypothetical question.
The Lord render to every man his righteousness and his faithfulness: (1 Samuel 26:23)
These were words spoken by David when he interacted with King Saul who sought to kill him. He knew that God was sovereign and would return upon men that which they have rendered to others. The same still holds true today. The New Testament describes the principle as sowing and reaping. What you sow, you will also reap. It may take some time before it arrives, but it is coming. Just like it takes all summer for apples to grow and ripen on a tree, it may take most of a person’s life before they reap what they sow, but be sure, they will reap.
Much of this principle concerning sowing and reaping is in relation to how we treat other people. If we sow righteousness towards others, then we will get righteous treatment back, but if we sow wickedness then wickedness awaits us.
Some may ask, “What guideline could I follow that would aid me in sowing righteousness?” The answer would be to love your neighbor as yourself. (Matthew 22:39). If you allow your actions to be motivated by what is best for another person or make decisions that enable you to meet the needs of someone else instead of focusing on yourself, you will most consistently sow righteousness. This doesn’t require you to give all of your money to the poor or even to live a dejected life. It only requires you to start focusing on others instead of yourself. Give somebody recognition. Show patience and mercy, try looking at situations from the other person’s perspective or even take time to listen to people and their problems are opportunities that each of us have to sow righteousness. It will not cost you one penny, but it will be an investment worth millions of dollars.
For you, the world of people is a field ready for planting. What kind of seeds will you sow?
To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse: (Colossians 1:2a)
What is it to be faithful in Christ? Is it to abide by a doctrine of beliefs? Do I need to continually learn doctrine and make sure that my beliefs are correct? Doctrine is important, but looking back over my life, I can say that such a task has been a life-long endeavor. Doctrine may be important, but it does not make us faithful.
Is being faithful in Christ a matter of living a certain way or up to a certain code of behavior? We would all agree that God hates sin and that any aspect of sin in the life of a believer is besetting. But at what point of living would a person be considered as faithful? How much sin is allowed or how many times can a person fall before they are considered as unfaithful? If this were the standard for faithfulness, then nobody would be faithful, because everyone is still a sinner and falls short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)
So, what is it to be faithful? The word faithful comes from the Greek word pistos which means faith or believe. To be faithful could be stated as to be believing. Those who are faithful in Christ are those who continue to believe in God and his testimony to men.
When the trial comes, they believe in the goodness of God. When they face great need, they believe that God will provide for them as he provides for the birds in the air. (Matthew 6:26). When loved ones die, they believe in look for his comfort. When they have been sinned against, they believe in God’s solution and forgive passing all vengeance to God. The faithful in Christ are those who exercise faith as they face situations in life. Never is it easy, but with Christ in us who is greater than all that is in the world, it always is possible.
To accomplish this, the step is simple: abide in the vine. What is abiding? It is to continue, to tarry, to stay, or to remain with Jesus. It is turning your heart and affection towards him. Jesus commended Mary as she demonstrated this important aspect of the believer’s life. To be faithful, you will need to sit at the feet of Jesus and have a love relationship with him. The earlier mentioned incorrect views were part of a duty relationship to Christ. Those you cannot always perform. God is more concerned with our hearts because when the heart is right, everything else will fall into place.
I don’t understand why God has allowed this to happen. It does not make any sense. It’s useless. Have you heard these terms before? Have you said these or similar words? One of my favorite songs that we sang in the nursing home ministry back in the early 80’s was Someday, He’ll Make It Plain To Me. There are some situations in life that we will not be able to understand until we get to the other side in glory, but there are many times that we will be able to make sense of events that do not seem to make sense. How we can gain this ability is found in Proverbs chapter two.
Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and judgment, and equity; yea, every good path.
There is a blessing to be received for memorizing scripture, but as with all spiritual blessings it is dependent on the condition of the heart and not the action performed. When I was the principal of a Christian school, we had children memorize a portion of scripture each month. It was a mandatory obligation for which many waited until the end of the month to achieve. For those who did the task out of obligation, I believe that they received little or no benefit from the task because Proverbs 2:1-2 indicates that those receiving and hiding the word of God as a treasure are doing so in the hope of gaining wisdom, knowledge and understanding. Scripture memory out for obligation purposes falls short of this.
God later promises to those, whose hearts are crying out or seeking him as a hid treasure, that they will gain and find what they seek and also gain protection from God. It is after this that God shares that the result of receiving God’s word as a treasure will bring an understanding of every good path. From this we can be confident that if there is a way to know and understand God’s ways, it is through hiding God’s word in the heart of a person truly seeking him.
The enemy of hope is pride. It is a proud heart that raises itself up in trying to deal with matters too lofty for itself. It is a proud heart that refuses to adjust its behavior to what The Lord wants. As a dependent child submits himself to his nurturing mother, a prideful heart will not stand in awe before God and submit itself to him and his plan. A prideful heart cannot and will not wait on The Lord.
Trouble waiting on the Lord reveals a prideful heart that wants to take over. As anxiety builds, so is pride. A person resists submitting to God because they have already submitted to their own pride.
Pride still comes before the fall (Proverbs 16:18). Pride is not confined to the act of looking down at others. It is the attitude that people have after their hearts have been deceived into thinking that they can handle matters greater than their ability. Whether it be sin, raising children, managing finances, work, or any other area of life makes no difference. Pride moves man into the driver’s seat of his life and as long as he remains there, he will not experience hope.
Man does not need to do anything to get hope. He simply needs to remove himself and his prideful heart from the plan. When he does, The Lord takes over and with him comes hope.
Make sure that you wait and wait. Yes, wait and wait! For the Christian there are two aspects of waiting in his life. Regardless of how difficult life may become, The Lord wants you to wait and wait.
I wait for the Lord, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope. (Psalm 130:5)
One aspect of waiting is found in the word hope. Hope is not something that a person desires or hopes will possibly one day happen. Hope is the expectancy of what we know will happen and is yet to come. We have the hope of casting off our mortality and putting on immortality. We have the hope of the Lord’s return, heaven, seeing The Lord, ruling and reigning with him, the wiping away of all tears and countless other promises in Scripture. These things will take place as promised, but until then, we need to patiently endure. When we patiently endure, we are hoping.
Another aspect of waiting is found in the term “wait”. To wait comes from the word that means “to bind together” or “to collect”. By waiting, a believer holds himself back from anxiously trying to solve the problems in life and allows The Lord to handle them. Philippians states it as, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” In today’s terms we could say to those trying to deliver themselves from the struggles of life, “Get a hold of yourself!” A famous addictions recovery program has captured the phrase, “Let go and let God.” What these phrases have in common is that an individual needs to stop trying and wait on God.
Ask yourself, “am I holding myself back from trying to deliver myself? Am I anxiously trying to bring about answers to my own prayers? Am I accomplishing God’s will in my own power or by my own efforts? If so, you need to WAIT for what God has determined to be your hope and WAIT on God by getting ahold of yourself and stop seeking deliverance by your flesh.
He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him. (Psalm 126:6)
Why has the Lord allowed this trial? What should I do ? Can anything be gained through these adverse circumstances? A look at Psalm 126 may give you some insight.
This psalm was written in regards to Israel and their deliverance from captivity in Babylon, which lasted for about 70 years. Many people refer to this psalm in regards to evangelism, but its true purpose is in relation to trials.
As Israel was taken to a land where they did not want to go, trials take us places in life where we do not want to go. During times of trials, our hearts become heavy and our eyes wet with tears. It is in the midst of these tears that The Lord wants us to continue on and bear our precious seed. The word for precious also carries the idea of a possession. This possession is what we have given to us as people of God. The New Testament speaks in this manner: “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us” (2 Corinthians 4:7).
God promises that if we continue on through tears, we will produce fruit in our lives. The purpose for the trial is the fruit. Seeds of faith produce fruit of faith. Patience produces greater patience and also the fruit of victory for others as you patiently encourage them along.
As you struggle along, sow seeds of forgiveness, temperance, gentleness and you will receive a bounty of fruit for yourself, others and for the glory of God.
Peace, in my opinion, is one of the most misunderstood terms in the bible. Sometimes people refer to peace as a state of happiness. Others refer to it as a condition where they are sure about something I.e. “I have peace about it. Yet others consider it a state of contentment. Although these emotions may be present with peace! these beliefs about peace are wrong.
The term peace carries the idea of “to set at one” much like to reset a broken leg or arm. With that understood, peace is the state that occurs after a state of division, confusion or disharmony. Consider two countries who are at the brink of war. A negotiator brings representatives of each country together for peace talks to where they finally arrive at terms of peace. The end result is two countries that were at a division are brought together again. When this occurs, the countries are said to be at peace. Sometimes we use the term correctly by saying that we need to see somebody and make peace. Others may say that somebody has made or is a peace with God.
This same condition occurs in our hearts. Problems may arise in life to where our hearts are confused, hurt or fearful. At that point, The Lord brings promises from his word to our attention. Immediately after he speaks to us, our hearts are set at one again. The problem may still be present in our lives, but his word has restored our hearts.
In Psalm 122:7, the Psalmist speaks of Jerusalem in these words: Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces. Notice that peace occurs in Jerusalem and not outside of Jerusalem. Many think that when The Lord brings peace to their lives everything will be wonderful. It will not be and until the Lord returns, it never will be. But his promises of peace will occur within the walls of Jerusalem and for us within the walls of our heart. Regardless of what takes place in our lives, we can have peace in our hearts.
While in the midst of a trial, seek God through his word so that he may set your heart at one again.