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Archive for the ‘faithfulness’ Category

I want to be more like God.

I will never be God, something my imperfections remind me of quite frequently.

But I can certainly strive to imitate His nature.

Only good things will result from my demonstrating these characteristics so aptly described by the psalmist:

“But you, O Lord, are a God of compassion and mercy, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness.” (Psalm 86:15)

Do those around me want to see me display compassion and mercy and slowness to anger and unfailing love and faithfulness?

Of course.

People in your life want to see the same from you.

How much more influence would we have at work or home or school if people thought, “Yeah, that __________, he/she is so compassionate, so gracious, so cool-tempered, so loving and so godly.”

Let’s be like God, my friends.

God will love it.

And so will those whom God has placed into our lives.

As always, I love you
Martin

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What is the most important thing in life?

Being ready for the next life.

Here is King David’s view of priorities:

“My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; He is mine forever.” (Psalm 73:26)

On what — or on whom — is the strength of your heart based?

What gets you out of bed and motivated to pursue goals during the day?

Let’s make sure that serving God is our primary purpose in this life.

Even when our flesh and emotions are really struggling.

This way, we’ll be sure to serve and be blessed by Him forever in the next life.

Hmmm…. it really is a marvelous promise that God wants to fill our hearts and bless our souls forever.

As always, I love you
Martin

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Sometimes we struggle to see how our situation can improve.

Troubles of one sort or another are threatening us or perhaps even attacking us.

We’ve seen other people suffer or perhaps give up on a marriage or on a career or a church life or avoiding bankruptcy when faced with these troubles.

Will we do the same?

Have we done the same?

The Bible is filled with stories of people who faced difficult times and yet they did not cower or compromise.

Instead, they followed their convictions and remained committed to Almighty God as their Deliverer, their rescuer from on high.

We can experience the same if we’ll just have 20-20 vision.

I’m talking about II Chronicles 20:20.

This is a passage within a larger story about a massive pagan army coming against the children of God who were being led at the time by King Jehoshaphat. The king had done the math and knew that his volunteer army of laymen was no match for the bloodthirsty masses of soldiers marching toward the Hebrews.

The Israelites’ only hope was the intercession of God and the king knew that.

I encourage you to read the chapter by clicking this link so you can see how wonderful our God is to those who love and trust Him.

A key verse in the chapter is the verse mentioned above:

“Believe in the Lord your God, and you will be able to stand firm. Believe in his prophets, and you will succeed.

The rest of the chapter shows that is just what happened. The Hebrews poured out that belief by having an awesome worship service once they had marched out to confront the enemies. Even though the Hebrews knew they couldn’t defeat the enemy militarily, they positioned themselves in the face of the enemy in order to watch the work of the God who is sovereign over the universe.

Please read the chapter in order to gain a new appreciation for how awesome our God really is.

And try to remember Jehoshaphat’s counsel the next time you face a serious challenge.

God is our fortress and we need not fear.

The Bible given us by inspired writers is our manual for life that always produces success when followed.

Never shaken. Always succeeding.

That sure sounds good to me.

Let’s live with 20-20 vision.

Others just might see this as the best way for them, too.

As always, I love you
Martin

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My hair has a bit more gray than it used to.

But my faith should also have more green than it used to.

You’ve perhaps heard that the best grapes come from the oldest vines.

I like that idea.

So does God.

Check out what Psalm 92:14 says about faithful believers:

Even in old age they will still produce fruit; they will remain vital and green.”

You know some people at your church who fit this description, volunteering frequently and overflowing with vibrancy in their relationships with other church members and visitors.

They are wonderful role models for us all.

And they are fountains of blessing for God who loves to see their fruitful love for others.

Their gray hair might be chemically colored but their spiritual vibrancy and fruit-bearing is visible for all to see.

I want to be like this.

Even if you don’t yet have gray hair, I pray that you’ll demonstrate a green faith.

You’ll be making the world a better place.

As always, I love you
Martin

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I need to pray for more wisdom and humility so that I’ll walk like Enoch.

Here are the messages from Hebrews 11:5 and Genesis 5:23-24 that explain why:

It was by faith that Enoch was taken up to heaven without dying — ‘he disappeared, because God took him’ (Genesis 5:24). For before he was taken up, he was known as a person who pleased God.”

Enoch lived 365 years, walking in close fellowship with God. Then one day he disappeared, because God took him.”

I want to be known by all as a person who seeks to please God.

And when my walking begins on the streets of gold, I hope that my legacy on earth will be known as one deeply in love with God.

I pray the same for you.

We can’t expect God to lift us to heaven apart from physical death.

But we can sure do our best to walk in close fellowship with Him and strive to please Him.

Let’s commit to do these things by faith.

As always, I love you
Martin

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The Old West wasn’t tamed by farmers who quit work at lunchtime.

Instead, there was feeding animals at sunrise, planting seed in the morning, plowing and mending fences in the early afternoon and repairing barns and checking on animals in the late afternoon until it was dark.

Though the order might have varied from farmer to farmer, the basic framework of responsibility was the same.

Keep busy. Keep progressing.

We’re a better nation now because of what those diligent folk did there and elsewhere around the country.

Of course, the principle of never slacking off applies in a spiritual sense as well.

Solomon — a lover of the soil — knew about keeping busy and productive.

Here’s what he had to say about the diligent lifestyle:

“Plant your seed in the morning and keep busy all afternoon, for you don’t know if profit will come from one activity or another—or maybe both.” (Ecclesiastes 11:6)

If you’re in sales, you know that your livelihood depends on heeding this principle.

If you’re a fisherman, you know it applies on the water as well.

Virtually every endeavor we can imagine reveals the same truth — those who stay focused on their mission all day are the ones who succeed most frequently.

Please apply Solomon’s principle at your job. You’ll be a better employee. Your supervisor and co-workers will appreciate how you’re helping the company to succeed and have more revenue to share with workers.

Apply the principle if you’re in school. You never know if the additional review of book chapters you do in the afternoon before a test will help you score the A rather than a B or C.

And keep looking for opportunities to share news of God’s blessings in your life. Or keep looking for opportunities to pray with somebody about a pressing need in his or her life. We never know when a door is going to open for such opportunities.

What IS certain is that if we never look for them and if we never prepare for them, then we won’t go through them.

And what profit is that to us? Or to the Kingdom?

Let’s keep busy for Jesus. It’s how the Kingdom progresses in its mission to lead people to Christ.

As always, I love you
Martin

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There is no place for coasting when it comes to faithfulness.

We can’t push the accelerator to the floorboard of faith in order to cruise down the highway of holiness and then take our eyes off the road and foot off the gas AND expect to roll right into glory.

We’ve got to keep pressing into spiritual growth and spiritual service until we leave this life.

No exceptions.

Simply stated, there is to be no retirement from faithfulness.

If we start coasting too early, there will be a steep price.

I was reminded of this fact this morning while reading my Bible. In 2 Chronicles 16, a formerly good king for the southern kingdom of Judah made a very bad decision that was nothing like the many good decisions he had made earlier in his reign.

For 35 years, King Asa had led the people into a closer walk with God and had prayed to the Lord before making important decisions and had called his subjecrts to trust God with all of their hearts.

But then something changed in Asa’s heart and he no longer felt the need to trust God.

When the arch-enemy nation of Israel (the name of the northern kingdom during Israel’s divided years) started building a large fortress to allow an economic blockade of Judah from its trading partners to the north, Asa didn’t pray to God as he had during other times of threat and turmoil.

Instead, Asa trusted his gold and hired a thug king and his army to attack Israel.

The plan worked in a worldly sense. Israel abandoned the unfinished fortress and, temporarily, Asa and Judah were safe.

But God was furious that Asa had turned to a pagan king for help rather than to the God who had done so much — sometimes in miraculous ways — to help Judah.

God sent a prophet named Hanani to Asa with a message and the king then made his situation worse.

“The eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. What a fool you have been! From now on you will be at war.”

“Asa became so angry with Hanani for saying this that he threw him into prison and put him in stocks. At that time, Asa also began to oppress some of his people.” (vv. 9-10)

More than three decades of memories regarding God’s grace, provision and faithfulness were ignored in Asa’s latter-day refusal to repent.

It got even worse.

Verse 12 tells of Asa developing a serious foot disease three years later that would have prompted any believer to press into the Lord in prayer. But not Asa. He was still mad.

Verse 12 says that Asa did not pray to God but instead “turned only to his physicians.”

Within two years, he was dead.

How sad.

So many years of faithfulness and spiritual victory. And then a spiritually tragic ending.

Let’s keep pressing forward until the Lord lifts us upward. Let’s reject Satan’s lie that we can coast into heaven.

Please.

As always, I love you
Martin

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