In the thirty-ninth year of his reign, Asa developed a serious foot disease. Yet even with the severity of his disease, he did not seek the LORD’s help but turned only to his physicians. 13 So he died in the forty-first year of his reign. (2 Ch 16:12–13).
King Asa was one of the Kings of Judah. When he was under attack he turned to foreign nations for help. God sent Hananai to rebuke the King for not turning to the Lord for assistance. This only made Asa angry. At the end of his life he contracted this serious foot disease. Again he turned to everyone BUT the Lord.
Are we following the pattern of Asa? Are we serving God only in name? Do we talk about His greatness yet never turn and trust Him for help? We turn to our Doctors, the voting booth, friends, television personalities, self-help books, and attempts at manipulation and spin, all while the Lord waits for us to turn to Him.
Whatever the problem, He is greater. Whatever the need, He can meet it. Let’s avoid the sin of King Asa and instead turn FIRST to the Lord who really is our help and our anchor . . . but only if we ask.
Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.
And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father. (Colossians 3:17).
We do not just represent the Lord when we are in church; we represent Him everywhere we go and in everything we do. The question is: are we bringing Him honor or dishonor as we represent Him?
Paul says we should live for the Lord with gratitude. It is not a chore, it is a privilege to work for the King. People who work at the White House work “at the pleasure of the President” and all consider it an honor to serve the country in that way.
We likewise serve at the pleasure of the Lord. We should gratefully and joyfully seek to live our lives to bring Him honor. We should conduct ourselves in a way that brings growth to God’s Kingdom. That means honoring Him in the manner in which we work, the things we say, the values we embrace, the way we handle times of crisis, and more.
Paul reminds us in Colossians . . . and now I am reminding you right here.
And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing his glory.
The truth that Christ lives in those who have embraced Him is deep and profound. And that truth leads to others:
1. You never will have to face anything alone.
2. Whatever you do, good or bad, you do before His presence.
3. When you doubt your forgiveness the assurance of God’s Spirit in you testifies that you are fully forgiven.
4. When you feel you do not have strength to do what He has commanded (forgive, love, stand strong etc.) He will give you His strength.
As you worship today be filled with wonder and gratitude that He does not simply call to us from above . . . He lives in us.
For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13).
If you read the wider context of this text (which is what you should always do) you see Paul is not saying life will be easy or that everything will turn out the way we want it to turn out. He is saying, “No matter what happens, I will get through this because of the strength Christ gives.”
Is the burden heavy today? Do circumstances threaten to overwhelm you? Remember this truth: You are NOT alone! Your strength may be failing but His never will. You may not know how you will ever get through this time, but He knows the way back home.You may wonder if God hates you. . . He doesn’t. He has not abandoned you; He walks beside you. Rest in Him . . . even as the storms rage around you.
Above all, you must live as citizens of heaven, conducting yourselves in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ.
If you travel to another country the government expects you to conduct yourself in a manner worthy of your citizenship. There is a sense in which you represent your country, your hometown, your school, your family, wherever you go and in whatever you do.
Paul reminds us we represent Jesus as we live in this world. He exhorts us to live as citizens of Heaven and to conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of what we profess to believe.
You really are Christ’s Ambassador today. People will draw conclusions about Jesus because of what they see in you. They will watch how you handle frustration, failure, annoying people, and painful memories. They are watching the way you work, the way you treat your family, and the priorities they see in your life (which is often different from what we speak with our mouth).
Live today as a citizen of Heaven. Bring honor to His name by the way you live today.
Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will reward each one of us for the good we do, whether we are slaves or free. (Ephesians 6:7–8).
No matter what is on your To-Do List today, each of those items present a choice: Will you work grudgingly or joyfully? Will you view these tasks as necessary evils or will you see them as opportunities to glorify God?
The Bible reminds us that everything we do is ultimately for the Lord. So, even if people do not see or appreciate what you do; even if it is a task you don’t particularly enjoy, work to the best of your ability as an offering to the Lord.
Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.
The last three chapters of Ephesians are filled with practical instruction. These two verses seem to sum those teachings up.
The Lord saved us so we could reflect His glory in the world. That will reveal itself in the way we live our lives, the way we view the world, the way we treat each other, and in the kind of homes we build.
It is summed up this way: it is a “life filled with love, following the example of Christ.” It is more than rules we have to follow, it is about the new heart God gives us. His people should spend more time listening than correcting; we should be more compassionate than judgmental; more humble than self-righteous. Love SEES other people. We are to love in the same way that Jesus loves us.
Go, be the representative of Christ that He called you to be! You’ll know you are on the right road if you find yourself growing in compassion and grace.
be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.
The apostle Paul (reflecting the heart of Jesus) gives us a simple prescription: Be Kind. Be Tender. Forgive.
When Christians follow this prescription, people are drawn to us. They see Jesus in our actions. They may not know it, but they do.
When we don’t follow the prescription churches divide, people feel condemned (rather than loved); people move from church to church because they continually find offense. The world finds these people unattractive and push us away.
What a simple recipe! Try being kind rather than harsh in your words and in your actions. Be tender (treat others as you wish others would treat you when you struggle). Understand that most people are doing their best and have good days and bad days, just like we do. And most of all, forgive.
We must never forget that we were sinful and broken people when the Lord found us. We were owed nothing. Yet, in His grace and kindness, He forgave us. No offense committed against us can equal what we have been forgiven. When we remember this, we find it easier to forgive others. If we forget it . . . we become a real pain to hurting people.
Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. (Ephesians 3:20).
Sometimes we excuse our sinful tendencies with the words, “that’s just the way I am.” The implication is: I can’t change so deal with it. When talking about others we might say, “They will never change!”
Sometimes when we look at the barbarity of our times we think, “There is nothing that can be done.” We surrender to the depraved hatred of our society because we believe it is hopeless.
Stop thinking this way! Paul reminds us that the Lord is able to do more than we ask or even imagine! Though we may be powerless, He is not. He can retrain habits, change hearts, bring revival, and restore relationships. As a follower of Christ there is no need to “give up.” Remember who God is. Reflect on His power. Pray boldly. Move forward with confident anticipation.
But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead.
When people get married something unfortunate happens to their relationship. They begin to take for granted all the good things that drew them to their spouse. Instead they focus on the quirks, faults, an weaknesses. Choose to celebrate and give thanks for the good things.
It is not just in marriage. It happens in the church as you compare it “unfavorably” to the new and exciting show down the road. it happens on the job when you forget how fortunate you are to have a good job and instead see only the parts of the job that are unpleasant. The solution? Give thanks for the blessings of the job.
This also happens in the Christian faith. We see the blessing someone else has; we focus on the trial that we are going through; and we feel burdened instead of blessed. It is time to go back to the beginning of our relationship and remember: we were dead in our sin and God made us alive. We were lost and God loved us. We were headed to Hell and He stamped our ticket to Heaven! We are blessed beyond measure! We should be dancing not plodding!!!
It is all a question of whether you remember how you got here in the first place. Take time to remember and give thanks
For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. (Galatians 5:13).
Jesus came to set us free. He set us free from having to earn salvation by endlessly trying to be “good enough”. He set us free from our addiction to sin. We are recovering sin-addicts. Christ has broken the addiction so we can now choose to live God’s way.
Some mistakenly think that this freedom means we can do whatever we want and “God will forgive us.” However, that is a perversion of freedom. It would be like saying, as a citizen of the USA I am free. So, I can shoot you and take all your possessions as my own. That attitude leads to anarchy!
The goal of freedom should be to see the value of everyone around you. It is about serving other people freely and joyfully. What we discover is this: Joy, happiness, and fulfillment are not gained by material riches. Surprisingly, we find joy as we learn to appreciate and serve one another.
The freedom to serve one another is the opposite of the “entitlement society” that is all around us. We can easily fall into “me first” attitude. Entitlement leads to conflict, service leads to to peace. Entitlement sees others in terms of what they can do for us. Service sees, appreciates, and treasures others.
Look beyond yourself today. You have been set free to see the world in all its richness. You have been given eyes to see the treasure in others. Don’t miss it.